Mickey Rooney in <EM>National Velvet</EM> Mickey Rooney in National Velvet

The American Film Institute celebrates America's 100 most inspiring movies in a three-hour CBS special AFI'S 100 Years... 100 Cheers, airing tonight at 8 pm/ET. Appearing in no fewer than seven films on the list including Babes in Arms, Captains Courageous, Boys Town and National Velvet  is screen legend Mickey Rooney, who spoke with TV Guide about his life and career.

TV Guide: Is Babes in Arms your favorite of the 10 movies you made with Judy Garland?
Mickey Rooney:
I enjoyed doing all those musicals with Judy. We enjoyed working with each other, and the music by [Richard] Rodgers and [Lorenz] Hart was great. How can you miss with that?

TV Guide: What was it like working with Spencer Tracy in Boys Town?
There was only one Spencer Tracy. We made [that film] in two weeks: one in the studio and one in Nebraska. And to this day, I'm the honorary mayor of Boys Town.

TV Guide: National Velvet was the last movie you did before you went into the Army, right?
Yes, I was in the Army for three years. I was in a Jeep show and we played the front lines. I received a Bronze Star, which I wear today with reverence.

TV Guide: What do you think of today's movies?
There are good pictures today, but movies have changed a bit. I think musicals should come back, but they don't know how to do them. I just finished a movie with Ben Stiller and Robin Williams called Night at the Museum. I enjoyed that.

TV Guide: Have any movies inspired you?
No, the Lord inspired me.

TV Guide: Do you ever plan on retiring?
No, we don't retire. We inspire.