Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

100 best movies of all time

  • 100 best movies of all time
    1/ Dreamworks

    100 best movies of all time

    In 1895, Auguste and Louis Lumière used a cinematograph machine to project moving images onto a screen, and audiences have been more or less enraptured by cinema ever since. Naturally, movies have come a long way since the early days of 50-second reels. From every respective cinematic era there have emerged at least a handful of masterpieces, many of which continue to draw acclaim and analysis to this day. Now, Stacker is putting all those masterpieces in one place.

    Before diving into the list of best of movies, one might wonder: why do most movies age poorly while a choice few seem to get better with time? The foremost answer, it would seem, boils down to auteurism. In other words, the greater the creative stamp a filmmaker can put on their work, the better the chances are the work will appreciate over time. Another noticeable trend among the best movies of all time is that many of them don’t take place within their respective time periods. It seems depicting the past or the future—or a complete separate world—is often a safer bet than depicting the present reality. Last but not least, a great film usually delivers the goods on multiple fronts. That means everything from the writing to the music to the acting is memorable, if not downright iconic. Ultimately, there is no one solitary answer, just like there is no one type of great film.

    Whatever the reasons, the best movies of all time arguably represent the pinnacle of artistic achievement in the modern era, which is why they’re worth celebrating. Here to do just that is Stacker, which has weighted IMDb ratings and Metascores equally to create a unique score. Only English-language movies released in the U.S. were considered for the list, and each movie needed at least 20,000 votes on IMDb. If the movie didn’t have a Metascore, it was not included. Counting down from #100, here are the best movies of all time.

    ALSO: 100 best action films of all time

  • #100. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
    2/ Blueprint Pictures

    #100. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    Stacker score: 88.5

    IMDb user rating: 8.2

    Metascore: 88

    Year released: 2017

    Director: Martin McDonagh

    It might have lost in the Best Picture category at the 2018 Oscars, but critics and fans alike still consider this dark comedy to be among the greatest films of all time. Starring Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrelson, the movie follows a Missouri mother (McDormand) as she publicly prods the local police over their inability to solve her daughter’s murder, highlighting their incompetence by way of three billboards. Not only is the film loosely based on real life events, but it ended up inspiring similar actions across the country.

  • #99. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
    3/ Universal Pictures

    #99. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

    Stacker score: 88.5

    IMDb user rating: 7.9

    Metascore: 91

    Year released: 1982

    Director: Steven Spielberg

    No 1980s childhood was complete without multiple viewings of this Steven Spielberg classic, which depicts the adventures of a young boy and his alien friend. Bolstered by iconic sequences, memorable dialogue, a majestic score, and a narrative told largely from a child’s point of view, the film endures to this day as a quintessential crowd pleaser. To think, Spielberg initially conceived “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” as a home invasion movie involving aliens before making it a family film. Never one to waste a good idea, he channeled the home invasion premise into “Poltergeist.”

  • #98. The Hurt Locker
    4/ Voltage Pictures

    #98. The Hurt Locker

    Stacker score: 88.5

    IMDb user rating: 7.6

    Metascore: 94

    Year released: 2008

    Director: Kathryn Bigelow

    Despite being the lowest grossing Best Picture winner of all time, this Iraq War movie from Kathryn Bigelow delivers a truly intense—and highly acclaimed—moviegoing experience. Specifically, it follows a bomb squad sergeant (Jeremy Renner) as he dismantles various explosives, nearly all of which can deactivate at any moment. According to at least one war veteran, the movie is far from realistic. According to most audiences and critics: who cares?


     

  • #97. Her
    5/ Annapurna Pictures

    #97. Her

    Stacker score: 88.5

    IMDb user rating: 8

    Metascore: 90

    Year released: 2013

    Director: Spike Jonze

    Set in the not-too-distant future, this 2013 comedy-drama chronicles the romantic relationship between a lonely writer (Joaquin Phoenix) and his sentient operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). The movie was written and directed by Spike Jonze, who’d previously helmed surrealist works like “Being John Malkovich,” “Adaptation,” and “Where the Wild Things Are.” To help establish the visual palette of the future, Jonze reportedly took inspiration from the colors at Jamba Juice, resulting in a movie that is indeed colorful.


     

  • #96. The Incredibles
    6/ Pixar Animation Studios

    #96. The Incredibles

    Stacker score: 88.5

    IMDb user rating: 8

    Metascore: 90

    Year released: 2004

    Director: Brad Bird

    Before the recent sequel soared past a billion dollars at the box office, there came this unforgettable 2004 original. In “The Incredibles,” a retired family of superheroes are called into action one last time, lest the world be destroyed by a spastic villain with a longstanding grudge. Veteran animator Brad Bird wrote, directed, and even provided the voice for one of the movie’s main characters, Edna Mode.  


     

  • #95. The Pianist
    7/ R.P. Productions

    #95. The Pianist

    Stacker score: 88.5

    IMDb user rating: 8.5

    Metascore: 85

    Year released: 2002

    Director: Roman Polanski

    Based on a true story, this World War II drama takes place inside the Warsaw ghetto, where a Jewish musician struggles to survive. In addition to winning Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay at the Academy Awards, the film earned lead star Adrien Brody a gold statue for Best Actor. However, the victory was somewhat bittersweet, as it’s a role that continues to haunt Brody to this day.


     

  • #94. Raiders of the Lost Ark
    8/ Paramount Pictures

    #94. Raiders of the Lost Ark

    Stacker score: 88.5

    IMDb user rating: 8.5

    Metascore: 85

    Year released: 1981

    Director: Steven Spielberg

    The Indiana Jones saga kicked off in 1981 with what was arguably the best film of the franchise, in which Indy (Harrison Ford) races against Nazis in a quest for the Ark of the Covenant. Numerous sequels would follow—all of them directed by Steven Spielberg—but none could truly capture the ingenuity of the original: no matter how many fans rally behind “The Last Crusade.” That said, there’s always a chance  “Indiana Jones 5” will defy expectations to be the best one of them all. 


     

  • #93. American Beauty
    9/ DreamWorks

    #93. American Beauty

    Stacker score: 88.5

    IMDb user rating: 8.4

    Metascore: 86

    Year released: 1999

    Director: Sam Mendes

    Sam Mendes might be best known today as the man behind James Bond movies like “Skyfall,” but among true cinephiles, his most significant work remains “American Beauty” from 1999. Written by “Six Feet Under” and “True Blood” creator Alan Ball, the film uses suburban malaise as a backdrop while exploring many sexual or violent taboos. It would go on to win five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.  

  • #92. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
    10/ Lucasfilm

    #92. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

    Stacker score: 88.5

    IMDb user rating: 8.8

    Metascore: 82

    Year released: 1980

    Director: Irvin Kershner

    It might rank lower on the list than “Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope,” but for many critics and fans, 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back” still reigns supreme as the never-ending franchise’s best installment. In the film, Luke Skywalker manifests the Force with a little help from Yoda, while he and his fellow rebels evade the wrath of Darth Vader and the evil empire. The action culminates with one of the biggest—and most misquoted—reveals in cinematic history.

  • #91. The Departed
    11/ Warner Bros.

    #91. The Departed

    Stacker score: 88.5

    IMDb user rating: 8.5

    Metascore: 85

    Year released: 2006

    Director: Martin Scorsese

    Director Martin Scorsese is no stranger to some of Hollywood’s best films, and he enters the list with this Irish gangster epic from 2006. Inspired by a Hong Kong thriller called “Infernal Affairs,” “The Departed” finds a criminal and cop going undercover on the opposite sides of the law. Bringing the wild premise to life is an array of notable talent, including Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga, Alec Baldwin, and Martin Sheen.

  • #90. Forrest Gump
    12/ Paramount Pictures

    #90. Forrest Gump

    Stacker score: 88.5

    IMDb user rating: 8.8

    Metascore: 82

    Year released: 1994

    Director: Robert Zemeckis

    The name’s Forrest, Forrest Gump, and he’s played expertly by Tom Hanks in this iconic film. Based on a novel, the movie follows Forrest from childhood to adulthood, simultaneously touching down on a number of America’s most historic moments. In lieu of taking a big upfront salary, Hanks opted for a cut of the film’s profits instead, and reportedly netted over $70 million.  

  • #89. Waltz with Bashir
    13/ Bridgit Folman Film Gang

    #89. Waltz with Bashir

    Stacker score: 89.1

    IMDb user rating: 8

    Metascore: 91

    Year released: 2008

    Director: Ari Folman

    In this autobiographical film, Israeli writer and director and former soldier Ari Folman attempts to reconstruct his own memories of a brutal war massacre by interviewing other soldiers who were there. Bringing the story to life is harrowing narration and an expertly rendered animation style. While the film is not English-language per se, it was widely screened in America to rapturous acclaim. It also won both a Directors Guild of America Award and a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Directing and Best Screenplay, respectively, in the documentary category. 

  • #88. Persepolis
    14/ 2.4.7 Films

    #88. Persepolis

    Stacker score: 89.1

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 90

    Year released: 2007

    Director: Vincent Paronnaud

    Based on a graphic novel, this adult animated film starts out during the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and centers on a young girl named Marjane 'Marji' Satrapi. What at first feels like a victory for Marji’s family becomes the opposite, as a tyrannical regime overtakes the country. In response, Marji moves to Vienna to study, where she encounters a different type of torment, prompting her to wonder where she truly belongs. Lending their respective voices to the North American version of “Persepolis” were notable stars like Iggy Pop, Sean Penn, and Gena Rowlands.

  • #87. Patton
    15/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #87. Patton

    Stacker score: 89.1

    IMDb user rating: 8

    Metascore: 91

    Year released: 1970

    Director: Franklin J. Schaffner

    Real life Gen. George S. Patton got a movie of his own in 1970, with actor George S. Scott tackling the title role. Set during the World War II phase of Patton’s career, the film finds him clashing with superiors and subordinates alike, all while successfully overseeing countless military campaigns. Legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola co-wrote the screenplay, for which he won an Academy Award. The movie took home a seven Oscars in 1971.  

  • #86. This Is Spinal Tap
    16/ Spinal Tap Productions

    #86. This Is Spinal Tap

    Stacker score: 89.1

    IMDb user rating: 8

    Metascore: 91

    Year released: 1984

    Director: Rob Reiner

    The mockumentary to which all other mockumentaries aspire, “This is Spinal Tap” follows England’s loudest fictional band as it embarks on a tour of disastrous proportion. In addition to being a hilarious work of art, the movie remains a cornerstone of pop culture, with the band itself once appearing in an episode of “The Simpsons.” While the film and its subsequent merchandising might sound like a blatant success story for all those involved, many its participants recently filed a lawsuit, claiming that they’d been bilked out of millions in profits.

  • #85. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
    17/ Fritz Genschow Films

    #85. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

    Stacker score: 89.1

    IMDb user rating: 7.6

    Metascore: 95

    Year released: 1937

    Director: William Cottrell

    Four years and $1.7 million in the making, which was a ton in 1937, this timeless classic—about a princess who escapes the wrath of an evil queen and seeks shelter with seven dwarfs—was executed to family-friendly perfection. Meanwhile, not only was “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” Disney’s first full-length animated feature, but it was also the first animated film ever to be released in color and with sound. Of course, that’s merely brushing the surface when it comes to the movie’s many accomplishments. After all, it did pave the way for a studio and a genre that are both stronger today than ever before.

  • #84. Ben-Hur
    18/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    #84. Ben-Hur

    Stacker score: 89.1

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 90

    Year released: 1959

    Director: William Wyler

    Featuring epic chariot battles and a cameo from Jesus Christ himself, this 1959 adventure film stars Charlton Heston as Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince who must fight for his freedom after being sold into slavery. It won an astounding 11 Academy Awards in 1960, including Best Picture. Far less memorable was a 2016 remake, which opened to little fanfare and swiftly tanked at the box office.  

  • #83. Before Sunset
    19/ Warner Independent Pictures

    #83. Before Sunset

    Stacker score: 89.1

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 90

    Year released: 2004

    Director: Richard Linklater

    The second installment in Richard Linklater’s acclaimed Before Trilogy finds American Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Frenchwoman Celine (Julie Delpy) reconnecting nine years after they first crossed paths in 1995’s “Before Sunrise.” Jesse is now a published writer, and Celine an environmental activist. Like its predecessor, and likewise its successor, 2013’s “Before Midnight,” the film is about nothing and everything all at once, following Jesse and Celine as they see sights, talk life, and flirt with romance against a rich Parisian backdrop.

  • #82. Raging Bull
    20/ Chartoff-Winkler Productions

    #82. Raging Bull

    Stacker score: 89.1

    IMDb user rating: 8.2

    Metascore: 89

    Year released: 1980

    Director: Martin Scorsese

    Middleweight boxing champion Jake Lamotta is the subject of this gripping 1980 biopic from Martin Scorsese. Playing the rugged boxer to superb effect is actor Robert De Niro, who won an Academy Award for his performance. It was actually De Niro who convinced Scorsese to make the film, after reading Lamotta’s memoir while shooting “The Godfather II.” Proving just how committed he was to the role, De Niro gained 60 pounds to play Lamotta in the movie’s later scenes.

  • #81. Blade Runner
    21/ Westwood Studios Inc.

    #81. Blade Runner

    Stacker score: 89.1

    IMDb user rating: 8.2

    Metascore: 89

    Year released: 1982

    Director: Ridley Scott

    Infusing the sci-fi genre with neo-noir overtones, this Ridley Scott flick has gained a healthy cult following since its somewhat lackluster 1982 release. In the film, a Blade Runner named Deckard (Harrison Ford) hunts down and assassinate four rogue replicants, all of whom are trying to increase their preordained lifespans. Reportedly unhappy with the original theatrical version, Scott oversaw the release of a director’s cut in 1992, and then a final cut in 2007. For those seeking the best version, skip straight to the final cut. A sequel, “Blade Runner 2049,” was released in 2017.   

  • #80. Mad Max: Fury Road
    22/ Warner Bros.

    #80. Mad Max: Fury Road

    Stacker score: 89.1

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 90

    Year released: 2015

    Director: George Miller

    Aussie director George Miller resurrected his classic “Mad Max” franchise in 2015, with Tom Hardy taking on the lead role; formerly played by Mel Gibson. However, most fans would argue it’s Charlize Theron’s Furiosa who steals the show in this dazzling adventure movie, which sees her and Mad Max escaping the clutches of an evil warlord. As one might expect, the explosive action goes down in a post-apocalyptic wasteland inhabited by all sorts of depraved humans. While rumors of a follow-up persist, a recent lawsuit made the prospect seem doubtful.

  • #79. The Truman Show
    23/ Paramount Pictures

    #79. The Truman Show

    Stacker score: 89.1

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 90

    Year released: 1998

    Director: Peter Weir

    A film that only gets more prescient with time, 1998’s “The Truman Show” takes place in a completely fabricated town, where cameras lurk behind every corner and every citizen is an actor or actress. Every citizen, that is, except Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey), the unwitting subject of a 24-hour reality show. As Truman catches on to the truth behind his existence, his cozy reality begins to collapse around him. Meanwhile, a megalomaniac named Christof (Ed Harris) pulls all the strings from above. Proving just how poignant the movie was and remains, a psychological condition known as the Truman Show Delusion has arisen in its wake.

  • #78. Up
    24/ Pixar Animation Studios

    #78. Up

    Stacker score: 89.1

    IMDb user rating: 8.3

    Metascore: 88

    Year released: 2009

    Director: Pete Docter

    After opening with the saddest 10 minutes in animated movie history, this 2009 Pixar film dives into the story of an old man named Carl Fredricksen, who equips his home with thousands of balloons, and then soars into the stratosphere. Joined by a stowaway named Russell, the old man journeys to Paradise Falls, where danger awaits. Naturally, the movie’s premise might lead one to ask: how many balloons would it take to lift a house in real life? Pixar’s own technicians estimated it would take up to 23.5 million balloons to rip the house from its foundations and send it into flight.    

  • #77. Finding Nemo
    25/ Pixar Animation Studios

    #77. Finding Nemo

    Stacker score: 89.1

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 90

    Year released: 2003

    Director: Andrew Stanton

    Given Pixar’s masterful grip on storytelling and computer animation alike, it’s no surprise that the studio dominates when it comes to the best films of the 21st century. One of their most celebrated efforts is this 2003 adventure, in which a clownfish named Marlin navigates a perilous undersea terrain to find his missing son, Nemo. Until “The Incredibles 2” came along in 2018, this was Pixar’s highest worldwide grossing film to date.    

  • #76. The Silence of the Lambs
    26/ Strong Heart/Demme Production

    #76. The Silence of the Lambs

    Stacker score: 89.1

    IMDb user rating: 8.6

    Metascore: 85

    Year released: 1991

    Director: Jonathan Demme

    This 1991 crime drama wasn’t the first to put Hannibal Lecter up on the big screen, but it was certainly the most impactful. Playing the iconic sadist to lizard-like perfection was actor Anthony Hopkins, who engages in a battle of wits with FBI Agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), as he helps her track down a serial killer named Buffalo Bill. Winner of five Academy Awards, the film was followed by a sequel, a prequel, a TV show, and even an 8-bit video game-style short film.

  • #75. Days of Heaven
    27/ Paramount Pictures

    #75. Days of Heaven

    Stacker score: 89.6

    IMDb user rating: 7.9

    Metascore: 93

    Year released: 1978

    Director: Terrence Malick

    Set during the turn of the 20th century, “Days of Heaven” follows a romantic couple named Bill and Abby as they take up employment on a Texas farm, where they pretend to be siblings. When it’s discovered that the landowner has feelings for Abby, the couple try to exploit those feelings for personal gain. Featuring lush cinematography and sparse dialogue, the movie cemented director Terrence Malick’s status as a visual maestro, albeit one of an elusive nature. True to his mysterious persona, Malick went on a 20 year hiatus after this film was released.  

  • #74. Badlands
    28/ Warner Bros.

    #74. Badlands

    Stacker score: 89.6

    IMDb user rating: 7.9

    Metascore: 93

    Year released: 1973

    Director: Terrence Malick

    Terrence Malick’s first feature length film is also one of his most straightforward. Like a bucolic answer to “Bonnie & Clyde,” “Badlands” centers on a teenage girl named Holly (Sissy Spacek) and her older boyfriend Kit (Martin Sheen), who embark on a killing spree through South Dakota. Included in the movie is dreamy theme music by Carl Orff. Decades later, composer Hans Zimmer paid homage to Orff’s theme when scoring the film “True Romance,” which features a similar story premise.

  • #73. Cool Hand Luke
    29/ Jalem Productions

    #73. Cool Hand Luke

    Stacker score: 89.6

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 91

    Year released: 1967

    Director: Stuart Rosenberg

    In this 1967 drama, Paul Newman plays a laid back inmate in a rural prison, who routinely clashes with his overseers. Ex-convict Donn Pearce authored the book upon which the film was based and co-wrote the screenplay. Despite his involvement, Pearce would later express disappointment in the finished product.

  • #72. Annie Hall
    30/ Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions

    #72. Annie Hall

    Stacker score: 89.6

    IMDb user rating: 8

    Metascore: 92

    Year released: 1977

    Director: Woody Allen

    Woody Allen is still cranking out new movies, which may or may not see the light of day, at the age of 82. Meanwhile, 1977’s “Annie Hall” remains one of his most groundbreaking achievements, namely for its unconventional style. Specifically, Allen breaks the fourth wall, incorporates animation, reads minds, time jumps, and employs a variety of comedic devices, all while telling a relatively simple love story. Not only was the movie influential as a work of art, but the title character (played by Diane Keaton) became something of a fashion icon.    

  • #71. The Social Network
    31/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    #71. The Social Network

    Stacker score: 89.6

    IMDb user rating: 7.7

    Metascore: 95

    Year released: 2010

    Director: David Fincher

    In adapting Ben Mezrich’s book about the founding of Facebook, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher definitely took some liberties, but the result is one of the most compelling works of the modern era. As Sorkin and Fincher see it, this is a dark tale of revenge, in which Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) gets back at all those who never accepted him. He does this by stealing ideas and putting himself at the top of the world’s biggest social network. From the gripping drama to the haunting score to everything in between, there are no shortages of reasons to see this masterpiece.    

  • #70. No Country for Old Men
    32/ Paramount Vantage

    #70. No Country for Old Men

    Stacker score: 89.6

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 91

    Year released: 2007

    Director: Ethan Coen

    Filmmaking duo the Coen Brothers didn’t let the dense prose of Cormac McCarthy inhibit them from faithfully adapting “No Country for Old Men.” In the 2007 film, a man (Josh Brolin) comes upon $2 million in missing drug money, and soon finds himself being hunted by a ruthless killer (Javier Bardem). For the most part, the movie stays true to the source material, while terrific performances bring every character even further to life.

  • #69. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    33/ Focus Features

    #69. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    Stacker score: 89.6

    IMDb user rating: 8.3

    Metascore: 89

    Year released: 2004

    Director: Michel Gondry

    All the broken hearts out there can certainly relate to this surrealist film from director Michel Gondry and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. It takes place in a society that seems quite similar to modern day America, with perhaps a single exception: there’s a medical procedure that will erase ex-lovers from one’s memory. After Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) suffer a bad break up, they decide to undergo the procedure, only to discover that love still finds a way.

  • #68. Back to the Future
    34/ Universal Pictures

    #68. Back to the Future

    Stacker score: 89.6

    IMDb user rating: 8.5

    Metascore: 87

    Year released: 1985

    Director: Robert Zemeckis

    Few adventure films have held up with the same panache as 1985’s “Back to the Future,” which delivers one iconic scene after another. Featuring a downright twisted premise, the movie follows young Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) as he journeys into the past, only to end up as the object of his future mother’s affection. Suddenly, Marty finds himself playing matchmaker between his two teenage parents, with his own existence hanging in the balance. Two sequels and an animated TV series would follow.

  • #67. The Dark Knight
    35/ Warner Bros.

    #67. The Dark Knight

    Stacker score: 89.6

    IMDb user rating: 9

    Metascore: 82

    Year released: 2008

    Director: Christopher Nolan

    More than just the gold standard of comic book adaptations, “The Dark Knight” holds the #3 spot on the list of IMDb’s Highest Rated Titles. As the second film in Christopher Nolan’s heralded "Dark Knight" trilogy, it sees Christian Bale returning as the caped crusader, and squaring off against Heath Ledger’s Joker. According to legend, Ledger drew inspiration from bands like The Sex Pistols and movies like “A Clockwork Orange” when preparing for the role.

  • #66. The Producers
    36/ Crossbow Productions

    #66. The Producers

    Stacker score: 90.1

    IMDb user rating: 7.7

    Metascore: 96

    Year released: 1967

    Director: Mel Brooks

    Featuring hit musical numbers like “Springtime for Hitler,” this 1967 Mel Brooks comedy tells the story of two producers who set out to make the biggest flop in Broadway history, since that would actually net them more money. As it turns out, the film is actually based on the exploits of real life swindlers that Brooks encountered as a young man working in New York. Not only did “The Producers” win an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, but the subsequent play version won a record number of Tony Awards.

  • #65. The Best Years of Our Lives
    37/ The Samuel Goldwyn Company

    #65. The Best Years of Our Lives

    Stacker score: 90.1

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 92

    Year released: 1946

    Director: William Wyler

    In this harrowing 1946 drama, three soldiers return home after serving in World War II, and then struggle to reintegrate into society. It was directed by William Wyler, a former Air Force major whose previous war film, “Mrs. Miniver,” is held in similarly high regard. Despite the grim and depressing tone, “The Best Years of Our Lives” was the biggest box office success since 1939’s “Gone With the Wind.”

  • #64. Before Midnight
    38/ Faliro House Productions

    #64. Before Midnight

    Stacker score: 90.1

    IMDb user rating: 7.9

    Metascore: 94

    Year released: 2013

    Director: Richard Linklater

    Richard Linklater’s "Before" trilogy goes out on high note—or does it?—with this 2013 film, which picks things up nine years after the events of “Before Sunset.” Now, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) are living together as a married couple with two twin daughters, though cracks are starting to show in their relationship. Like its predecessors, the film retains a loose narrative, and covers a spectrum of both philosophical and humanistic themes.

  • #63. Call Me by Your Name
    39/ Frenesy Film Company

    #63. Call Me by Your Name

    Stacker score: 90.1

    IMDb user rating: 8

    Metascore: 93

    Year released: 2017

    Director: Luca Guadagnino

    Based on a novel by André Aciman, this coming-of-age drama takes place in the 1980s Italy, and centers on the budding romance between a teenage boy (Timothée Chalamet) and the older man (Armie Hammer) hired to help the boy’s father for the summer. Exploring themes of innocence and experience, the films drifts by at a relaxed pace, as if viewers themselves are on a European holiday. Veteran filmmaker James Ivory handled screenwriting duties.    

  • #62. Platoon
    40/ Hemdale

    #62. Platoon

    Stacker score: 90.1

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 92

    Year released: 1986

    Director: Oliver Stone

    Loosely inspired by his own experiences, Oliver Stone wrote and directed this award-winning Vietnam War film, in which a young soldier named Chris (Charlie Sheen) encounters brutal conflict on every conceivable front. In addition to fighting a largely unseen enemy, Chris must also grapple with the ongoing showdown between two of his commanding officers. That’s not to mention the psychological battle Chris fights from within.

  • #61. L.A. Confidential
    41/ Regency Enterprises

    #61. L.A. Confidential

    Stacker score: 90.1

    IMDb user rating: 8.3

    Metascore: 90

    Year released: 1997

    Director: Curtis Hanson

    Adapted from James Ellroy’s brilliant pulp novel, this 1997 crime drama takes place in 1950s Los Angeles, and follows three police officers as they investigate a horrific murder. As the probe deepens, the officers come up against a tide of corruption, the source of which hits closer to home than they ever could have imagined. Included in the star-studded cast are Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger, Kevin Spacey, Guy Pearce, and James Cromwell.  

  • #60. Whiplash
    42/ Bold Films

    #60. Whiplash

    Stacker score: 90.1

    IMDb user rating: 8.5

    Metascore: 88

    Year released: 2014

    Director: Damien Chazelle

    True to its name, the debut film from Damien Chazelle came at audiences hard and fast in 2014, earning heaps of acclaim and no shortage of awards in the process. It tells the story of a jazz student named Andrew (Miles Teller) who endures physical and psychological torture under the tutelage of an abusive instructor (J.K. Simmons). To secure funding for the project, Chazelle first shot “Whiplash” as a short film, which won the Short Film Jury Award at Sundance. Needless to say, funding was quickly secured soon after.

  • #59. Gravity
    43/ Warner Bros.

    #59. Gravity

    Stacker score: 90.1

    IMDb user rating: 7.7

    Metascore: 96

    Year released: 2013

    Director: Alfonso Cuarón

    Years in the making, this wildly popular 3D space adventure follows two astronauts, played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, as they struggle to survive after their shuttle is destroyed. To bring the story to life, director Alfonso Cuarón and his team had to invent new technology before the shoot even began. This might not be the most scientifically accurate space movie of all time, but it’s certainly among the most successful.  
     

  • #58. The Shawshank Redemption
    44/ Castle Rock Entertainment

    #58. The Shawshank Redemption

    Stacker score: 90.1

    IMDb user rating: 9.3

    Metascore: 80

    Year released: 1994

    Director: Frank Darabont

    Even decades after its release, “The Shawshank Redemption” still holds the #1 spot on IMDb’s list of Highest Rated Titles. Here on Stacker’s list, it doesn’t necessarily fare as well, but that’s not to say the film is anything short of spectacular. Based on a novella by Stephen King, it tells the story of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a falsely accused banker who grapples with decades of prison life starting in the mid-1940s. Helping him cope is a fellow inmate named Red (Morgan Freeman).

  • #57. The Last Picture Show
    45/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    #57. The Last Picture Show

    Stacker score: 90.6

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 93

    Year released: 1971

    Director: Peter Bogdanovich

    Set in a withering West Texas town circa 1951, this brilliant drama from Peter Bogdanovich chronicles a group of high school students as they fool around, grapple with various emotions, and try to figure out what the future has in store. Winner of two Academy Awards, the film offers a bleak, but utterly empathetic portrait of teenage life, and one that still resonates decades later. In 1990, Bogdanovich directed a follow-up, “Texasville,” to relatively little fanfare.

  • #56. The Manchurian Candidate
    46/ M.C. Productions

    #56. The Manchurian Candidate

    Stacker score: 90.6

    IMDb user rating: 8

    Metascore: 94

    Year released: 1962

    Director: John Frankenheimer

    Fearing its political premise—about a former prisoner-of-war soldier who’s brainwashed into becoming an assassin—was far too controversial, the upper echelon over at United Artists were initially reluctant to finance this harrowing thriller. In fact, it took a personal plea from President John F. Kennedy himself, on behalf of star Frank Sinatra, to get “The Manchurian Candidate” approved. Alas, the project went forward, and resulted in one of the best films of all time.

  • #55. The French Connection
    47/ Philip D'Antoni Productions

    #55. The French Connection

    Stacker score: 90.6

    IMDb user rating: 7.8

    Metascore: 96

    Year released: 1971

    Director: William Friedkin

    Short-tempered New York City cop Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle (Gene Hackman) is on the trail of drug smugglers in this 1971 crime drama from William Friedkin. Based on real life events, as depicted in a book by Robin Moore, the movie culminates with a now-famous car chase sequence, much of which was filmed without proper permits.

  • #54. Manchester by the Sea
    48/ Amazon Studios

    #54. Manchester by the Sea

    Stacker score: 90.6

    IMDb user rating: 7.8

    Metascore: 96

    Year released: 2016

    Director: Kenneth Lonergan

    Dramas don’t get much more somber than this one from acclaimed writer/director Kenneth Lonergan. In the film, a brooding handyman (Casey Affleck) is given guardianship over his 16-year-old nephew and thereby forced to confront some traumatic demons from his own past. Michelle Williams co-stars, and turns in one of her finest performances.  

  • #53. Chinatown
    49/ Paramount Pictures

    #53. Chinatown

    Stacker score: 90.6

    IMDb user rating: 8.2

    Metascore: 92

    Year released: 1974

    Director: Roman Polanski

    This noirish thriller takes place in 1937 and centers on private investigator J.J. “Jake” Gittes (Jack Nicholson), who gets embroiled in a vicious scheme involving L.A.’s water supply. Frequently pointed to as an absolute masterclass in filmmaking, the movie delivers taut writing, exceptional acting, and an ending that goes straight to the bone. Faye Dunaway and John Huston co-star.

  • #52. Spotlight
    50/ Participant Media

    #52. Spotlight

    Stacker score: 90.6

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 93

    Year released: 2015

    Director: Tom McCarthy

    Given recent events, Hollywood might have to make a sequel to this award-winning drama, in which Boston Globe reporters uncover a child abuse scandal involving the local Catholic Archdiocese. Not only is the film based on a true story, but a number of real-life Boston Globe journalists were on hand as consultants. Reportedly, Walter Robinson even said of his on-screen counterpart, “If Michael Keaton robbed a bank, the police would quickly have me in handcuffs.”

     

  • #51. La La Land
    51/ Summit Entertainment

    #51. La La Land

    Stacker score: 90.6

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 93

    Year released: 2016

    Director: Damien Chazelle

    Modernizing the traditional musical, “La La Land” takes place in the city of dreams, and tells the story of two aspiring artists, one a musician (Ryan Gosling) and the other an actress (Emma Stone). Kicking the film off on a high note is a six-minute song-and-dance number that goes down in the middle of freeway traffic. Filming the scene took two days and involved stitching three consecutive shots together to create what appeared to be a single take.

     

  • #50. Dunkirk
    52/ Ealing Studios

    #50. Dunkirk

    Stacker score: 90.6

    IMDb user rating: 8

    Metascore: 94

    Year released: 2017

    Director: Christopher Nolan

    Depicting the evacuation of Allied forces from the French seaport of Dunkirk, this 2017 war film throws viewers into the action during its opening scene and never lets up throughout the entire 106-minute runtime. Like most films based on true stories, this one came under fire for omitting key details of the actual event. However, one might argue Nolan was striving for an authentic sense of atmosphere over historical accuracy. To that end: mission accomplished.

  • #49. There Will Be Blood
    53/ Paramount Vantage

    #49. There Will Be Blood

    Stacker score: 90.6

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 93

    Year released: 2007

    Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

    Loosely inspired by an Upton Sinclair novel, this Paul Thomas Anderson drama follows oilman Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he rises to power at the turn of the century. One of the few things getting in Plainview’s way is a local pastor named Eli, played brilliantly by Paul Dano. As the two figures butt heads time and again, the film itself becomes a gripping study of ambition and exploitation.

  • #48. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
    54/ New Line Cinema

    #48. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

    Stacker score: 90.6

    IMDb user rating: 8.7

    Metascore: 87

    Year released: 2002

    Director: Peter Jackson

    Next to the “Star Wars” saga, Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy (and the subsequent “Hobbit” prequels) endures as one of the most celebrated franchises of all time. In this 2002 installment, Frodo and Sam continue their journey to Mordor, in hopes of destroying an all-powerful ring. Joining them for the trip is a shifty creature named Gollum, who has plans of his own.  

  • #47. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
    55/ Paramount Pictures

    #47. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

    Stacker score: 91.1

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 94

    Year released: 1962

    Director: John Ford

    Director John Ford and actor John Wayne collaborated on a number of celebrated movies, including this one from 1962. In the film, a senator (James Stewart) returns to the town where he once famously shot a man named Liberty Valance. Or did he? As he recounts the tale, it’s revealed that a gunslinger named Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) might be the story’s true hero.

  • #46. It's a Wonderful Life
    56/ Liberty Films

    #46. It's a Wonderful Life

    Stacker score: 91.1

    IMDb user rating: 8.6

    Metascore: 89

    Year released: 1946

    Director: Frank Capra

    This 1946 classic might make for ideal holiday viewing, but the truth is there’s never a wrong time to watch it. Directed by Frank Capra and starring James Stewart, “It’s a Wonderful Life” shows a businessman (Stewart) what life would have been like had he never existed. To think, the movie itself wouldn’t exist had a frustrated writer named Philip Van Doren Stern not sent his rejected short story out as a Christmas card to all his friends and loved ones.

  • #45. Beauty and the Beast
    57/ DisCina

    #45. Beauty and the Beast

    Stacker score: 91.1

    IMDb user rating: 8

    Metascore: 95

    Year released: 1991

    Director: Gary Trousdale

    The recent live action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” might have raked in a large sum of dollars at the box office, but it’s the 1991 animated version that holds up as a bona fide work of art. Released by Disney in the midst of a major comeback, the film tells a tale as old as time. It’s about a young prince who’s doomed to exist as a beast, unless he can earn the love of his captive and thereby reverse the spell. It’s an absolutely charming movie, provided one doesn’t think too hard about the somewhat disturbing implications.  

  • #44. Toy Story 3
    58/ Walt Disney Pictures

    #44. Toy Story 3

    Stacker score: 91.1

    IMDb user rating: 8.3

    Metascore: 92

    Year released: 2010

    Director: Lee Unkrich

    Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) and the gang are back for the third installment in the “Toy Story” franchise. This time around, Andy is college bound, and hence a little too old to play with toys. Following his negligence, the toys end up at a local daycare center, where the children are ruthless, and an evil bear named Lotso runs the show at night.

  • #43. The Philadelphia Story
    59/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    #43. The Philadelphia Story

    Stacker score: 91.7

    IMDb user rating: 8

    Metascore: 96

    Year released: 1940

    Director: George Cukor

    Starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart, this 1940 classic takes place days before socialite Tracy Lord (Hepburn) is set to remarry a stuffed shirt millionaire. Things seem to be running smoothly enough until Lord’s ex-husband (Grant) and a reporter (Stewart) enter the picture, and respectively express feelings for her. What ensues is an Old Hollywood romantic comedy of the highest order.

  • #42. The Grapes of Wrath
    60/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #42. The Grapes of Wrath

    Stacker score: 91.7

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 95

    Year released: 1940

    Director: John Ford

    Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by John Steinbeck, this 1940 drama takes place in California’s Dust Bowl at the height of the Great Depression and chronicles the struggles of an impoverished family. In spite of its bleak themes, the movie was both a financial and critical success, winning two Academy Awards. Inspired by the film, famous folk singer Woody Guthrie penned his iconic song “The Ballad of Tom Joad.”

  • #41. A Streetcar Named Desire
    61/ Charles K. Feldman Group

    #41. A Streetcar Named Desire

    Stacker score: 91.7

    IMDb user rating: 8

    Metascore: 96

    Year released: 1951

    Director: Elia Kazan

    A renowned play by Tennessee Williams leapt onto the big screen in 1951, with Elia Kazan helming, and Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh tackling the respective lead roles. In the film, a troubled woman named Blanche DuBois (Leigh) moves in with her sister Stella (Kim Hunter), only to find herself at odds with Stella’s brutish husband, Stanley (Brando). This is one of only two films in history to win three Academy Awards for acting.

  • #40. Rosemary's Baby
    62/ William Castle Productions

    #40. Rosemary's Baby

    Stacker score: 91.7

    IMDb user rating: 8

    Metascore: 96

    Year released: 1968

    Director: Roman Polanski

    A true exercise in terror, this 1968 film stars Mia Farrow as Rosemary, a woman who goes to sleep one night and wakes up pregnant the next day. As many sinister events unfold around her, Rosemary realizes her feverish nightmare on the night in question wasn’t a nightmare after all and that she might be carrying the spawn of Satan himself. Making the creepy premise that much creepier is some haunting theme music from Krzysztof Komeda.  

  • #39. Amadeus
    63/ AMLF

    #39. Amadeus

    Stacker score: 91.7

    IMDb user rating: 8.3

    Metascore: 93

    Year released: 1984

    Director: Milos Forman

    Winner of eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, this 1984 biopic chronicles the life of Amadeus Mozart, namely through the eyes of his bitter contemporary, Antonio Salieri. Striving for authenticity, director Milos Forman shot the film using only natural light, arguably taking some cues from Stanley Kubrick, who did the same when making “Barry Lyndon.” To prepare for his role as the famous composer, actor Tom Hulce practiced piano for four to five hours a day before filming began.

  • #38. Inside Out
    64/ Kettledrum Films

    #38. Inside Out

    Stacker score: 91.7

    IMDb user rating: 8.2

    Metascore: 94

    Year released: 2015

    Director: Pete Docter

    Representing yet another home run from Pixar, this 2015 animated feature primarily takes place within the mind of a young girl named Riley. After Riley’s family moves to a new city, she suffers a range of emotions, each personified by a specific character. As Riley seeks mental balance in her new surroundings, her emotions embark on a harrowing journey of epic proportion. Featured in the film are the voices of comedic talents like Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, and Lewis Black.  

  • #37. Ratatouille
    65/ Pixar Animation Studios

    #37. Ratatouille

    Stacker score: 91.7

    IMDb user rating: 8

    Metascore: 96

    Year released: 2007

    Director: Brad Bird

    In this animated flick from Pixar, an epicurean rat named Remy ends up inside the kitchen of a once-famous French restaurant, where he puts his culinary skills to work. Rather than risk exposure, Remy hides inside the hat of a bumbling kitchen employee named Alfredo Linguini and controls Linguini’s movements by pulling on his hair. Thanks to their teamwork, the French restaurant re-attains its status as a veritable dining destination. But will Remy and Linguini’s cuisine impress the harshest critic in France? Watch to find out.

  • #36. Goodfellas
    66/ Warner Bros.

    #36. Goodfellas

    Stacker score: 91.7

    IMDb user rating: 8.7

    Metascore: 89

    Year released: 1990

    Director: Martin Scorsese

    Few movies are more quotable or compulsively watchable than 1990’s “Goodfellas,” which chronicles the rise and fall of Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta), a criminal with close ties to the Italian-American mafia. Between the deft camerawork, the brilliant acting, the gripping violence, and the iconic soundtrack, the movie is quite simply a gift that keeps on giving, revealing new details with every viewing. A number of actors in the film would later appear in HBO’s hit show “The Sopranos,” and that’s no coincidence. After all, “The Sopranos” creator David Chase did once refer to “Goodfellas” as his Koran.    

  • #35. Saving Private Ryan
    67/ DreamWorks

    #35. Saving Private Ryan

    Stacker score: 91.7

    IMDb user rating: 8.6

    Metascore: 90

    Year released: 1998

    Director: Steven Spielberg

    Featuring one of the most memorable battle scenes in movie history, “Saving Private Ryan” follows Capt. Miller (Tom Hanks) and his squad as they track down a paratrooper named Private Ryan (Matt Damon), before Ryan’s mother loses her last son to World War II. Director Steven Spielberg decided to helm the film as a tribute to his own father, who served in both the U.S. Army and Signal Corps during the very same war. The movie would go on to win five Academy Awards, including Best Director.

  • #34. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
    68/ Lucasfilm

    #34. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

    Stacker score: 91.7

    IMDb user rating: 8.6

    Metascore: 90

    Year released: 1977

    Director: George Lucas

    The biggest franchise in cinematic history started with this groundbreaking space epic, which introduced audiences to Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Obi Wan Kenobi, and Darth Vader. Inspired by everything from Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” to the works of philosopher Joseph Campbell, George Lucas unleashed a fully realized world, and one that’s still unfolding by way of new installments. Ultimately, this is a franchise so impactful that there might one day be an actual Millennium Falcon flying through space, if only because some genius “Star Wars” fan made it happen.

  • #33. The Adventures of Robin Hood
    69/ Warner Bros.

    #33. The Adventures of Robin Hood

    Stacker score: 92.2

    IMDb user rating: 8

    Metascore: 97

    Year released: 1938

    Director: Michael Curtiz

    The story of Robin Hood has been adapted for the big screen multiple times since the dawn of cinema, but it’s this 1938 version that ranks as the best one, according to fans and critics alike. Famously starring Errol Flynn in the title role, the movie sees Robin Hood leading the resistance against an oppressive king. Not only was the film a massive success upon its initial release, but it raked in even more cash after being re-released in technicolor 10 years later.

  • #32. The Maltese Falcon
    70/ Warner Bros.

    #32. The Maltese Falcon

    Stacker score: 92.2

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 96

    Year released: 1941

    Director: John Huston

    From the acclaimed novel by Dashiell Hammett came this classic film noir, in which hard boiled private eye Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) outmaneuvers cunning criminals and duplicitous dames while hunting for a priceless statuette. In the years leading up to this celebrated film, Warner Bros. had released two previous versions, one of them being a comedic misfire. Proving just how legendary this third version remains, a 45-pound prop statuette used in the film sold at auction in 2013 for a whopping $4 million.

  • #31. 12 Years a Slave
    71/ Regency Enterprises

    #31. 12 Years a Slave

    Stacker score: 92.2

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 96

    Year released: 2013

    Director: Steve McQueen

    Based on the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup, this 2013 drama tells the true story of a free black man (Chiwetel Ejiofor) from the north, who’s abducted and sold into slavery down south. Over the following 12 years, Northup and his peers suffer unspeakable torment and abuse at the hands of a sadistic slave-owner (Michael Fassbender). The gripping film won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture.   

  • #30. Taxi Driver
    72/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    #30. Taxi Driver

    Stacker score: 92.2

    IMDb user rating: 8.3

    Metascore: 94

    Year released: 1976

    Director: Martin Scorsese

    One of Martin Scorsese’s earliest masterpieces, this 1976 film follows a mentally unbalanced taxi driver named Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), whose pent up disgust with New York City slowly devolves into violence. Co-starring as a 12-year-old prostitute is Jodie Foster, in one of her most challenging roles. According to legend, screenwriter Paul Schrader made numerous revisions to Foster’s character after meeting an underage prostitute in real life.

  • #29. Double Indemnity
    73/ Paramount Pictures

    #29. Double Indemnity

    Stacker score: 92.7

    IMDb user rating: 8.3

    Metascore: 95

    Year released: 1944

    Director: Billy Wilder

    In this 1944 film noir from Billy Wilder, an insurance salesman (Fred MacMurray) is lured into a murderous plot by a gorgeous femme fatale (Barbara Stanwyck). While accomplished mystery author Raymond Chandler helped write the screenplay, and even has a secret cameo in the film, the movie itself is based on a book by James M. Cain. Another one of Cain’s novels, “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” featured a similar premise and was adapted twice for the big screen.  

  • #28. Toy Story
    74/ Pixar Animation Studios

    #28. Toy Story

    Stacker score: 92.7

    IMDb user rating: 8.3

    Metascore: 95

    Year released: 1995

    Director: John Lasseter

    If the current era of computer animation kicked off with a single film, that film is 1995’s “Toy Story,” about a bunch of toys who spring to life when their owners aren’t looking. Firing on every cylinder, the movie immediately made Woody and Buzz Lightyear two household names. The film also made Pixar a veritable force to be reckoned with. Look for a fourth installment to premiere in 2019.  

  • #27. The Night of the Hunter
    75/ Paul Gregory Productions

    #27. The Night of the Hunter

    Stacker score: 93.2

    IMDb user rating: 8

    Metascore: 99

    Year released: 1955

    Director: Charles Laughton

    Renowned film critic Pauline Kael called this 1955 thriller “one of the most frightening movies ever made.” While modern audiences might not necessarily agree, they can still find plenty to relish when watching “Night of the Hunter,” a truly off-kilter work that stars Robert Mitchum as crazed religious fanatic Harry Powell. Following the clues left behind by his former prison cellmate, Powell finagles his way into the life of a widow and her two children, taking every conceivable measure to find out where they’re hiding $10,000 in cash.

  • #26. Gone with the Wind
    76/ Selznick International Pictures

    #26. Gone with the Wind

    Stacker score: 93.2

    IMDb user rating: 8.2

    Metascore: 97

    Year released: 1939

    Director: Victor Fleming

    Sagas don’t get much more sweeping than this four-hour epic from 1939. Based on Margaret Mitchell’s equally voluminous novel, “Gone with the Wind” depicts the ongoing struggles of an eccentric woman named Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh), as she encounters hardship and romance during the Civil War and subsequent Reconstruction era. Meanwhile, getting the film made in the first place was its own sweeping saga. Specifically, the studio went through numerous directors, writers, and actors before arriving at the final product.

  • #25. Boyhood
    77/ IFC Productions

    #25. Boyhood

    Stacker score: 93.2

    IMDb user rating: 7.9

    Metascore: 100

    Year released: 2014

    Director: Richard Linklater

    A film quite unlike any other, 2014’s “Boyhood” chronicles the life of its protagonist, Mason (Ellar Coltrane), over the course of 12 years. What truly distinguishes the work, however, is the fact that director Richard Linklater actually took 12 years to make it, meaning Mason’s development authentically unfolds before the viewer’s eyes. Like so many Linklater films, this one relies on the humanistic strength of its characters to get its point across, as opposed to adhering to a strict narrative. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke co-star.  

  • #24. Apocalypse Now
    78/ Zoetrope Studios

    #24. Apocalypse Now

    Stacker score: 93.2

    IMDb user rating: 8.5

    Metascore: 94

    Year released: 1979

    Director: Francis Ford Coppola

    Putting a surrealist spin on a classic Joseph Conrad novel, this 1979 film takes place during the Vietnam War and sends Capt. Willard (Martin Sheen) into the deepest regions of the Cambodian jungle. His mission? To find and assassinate a crazed colonel named Kurtz (Marlon Brando), who’s become the overlord to a jungle tribe. To get the film made, director Francis Ford Coppola put up several million dollars of his own money and underwent all sorts of medical trauma during the shoot. Needless to say, the effort paid off, as the movie endures as a genuine masterpiece. Decades after its initial release, Coppola rolled out an expanded version, also known as “Apocalypse Now Redux.”

  • #23. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    79/ Produzioni Europee Associate

    #23. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    Stacker score: 93.2

    IMDb user rating: 8.9

    Metascore: 90

    Year released: 1966

    Director: Sergio Leone

    Representing the final installment in Sergio Leone’s famous “Dollars" trilogy (aka “The Man With No Name" trilogy), this 1966 spaghetti Western finds three gritty gunslingers squaring off over a fortune in buried gold. Thanks to its uncompromising depiction of violence, the movie and its predecessors injected new life into the Western genre, and helped certify Clint Eastwood’s A-list status.

  • #22. WALL·E
    80/ FortyFour Studios

    #22. WALL·E

    Stacker score: 93.2

    IMDb user rating: 8.4

    Metascore: 95

    Year released: 2008

    Director: Andrew Stanton

    Set in the distant (or not too distant) future, “WALL·E” represents one of Pixar’s most ambitious projects, and features virtually no dialogue for the first 20 minutes. It follows the adventures of its title character, a lovable robot who’s tasked with wading through garbage on an uninhabitable Earth. After boarding a spaceship, WALL·E discovers what humans have been up to since they destroyed the planet. And what is that, one might ask? Eating and watching TV, mostly.  

  • #21. Touch of Evil
    81/ Universal International Pictures

    #21. Touch of Evil

    Stacker score: 93.8

    IMDb user rating: 8.1

    Metascore: 99

    Year released: 1958

    Director: Orson Welles

    The name Orson Welles might be most synonymous with 1941’s “Citizen Kane,” but this 1958 effort is similarly phenomenal. After opening with one of the most famous tracking shots in history, the film dives into the story of scandal, corruption, and murder in a small Mexican border town. Starring as Police Capt. Hank Quinlan is Welles himself, who later claimed this was the most fun he’d ever had making a picture.

  • #20. Some Like It Hot
    82/ Ashton Productions

    #20. Some Like It Hot

    Stacker score: 93.8

    IMDb user rating: 8.3

    Metascore: 97

    Year released: 1959

    Director: Billy Wilder

    In this 1959 comedy, two male musicians (Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon) dress up like women and join an all-female band, as they simultaneously evade murderous mobsters. Still adjusting to their new personas, the men befriend singer and ukulele-player Sugar Kane Kowalczyk, played by Marilyn Monroe. While Monroe’s performance is nowadays the stuff of legend, she was reportedly difficult to work with during the shoot, frequently showing up late and forgetting her lines.

  • #19. The Wizard of Oz
    83/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    #19. The Wizard of Oz

    Stacker score: 93.8

    IMDb user rating: 8

    Metascore: 100

    Year released: 1939

    Director: Victor Fleming

    Essential viewing among children of all ages, this 1939 film tells the story of Dorothy (Judy Garland), a farm girl who gets knocked out during a tornado and wakes up in the magical world of Oz. With the help of a lion, a scarecrow, and a tinman, Dorothy and her dog Toto search for the wonderful wizard, in hopes he can send her home. Along the way, she famously incurs the wrath of a wicked witch.

  • #18. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
    84/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    #18. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

    Stacker score: 93.8

    IMDb user rating: 8.4

    Metascore: 96

    Year released: 1964

    Director: Stanley Kubrick

    Acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick enters the list with 1964’s “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” a movie that puts the 'dark' in dark comedy. In the film, a series of miscommunications leads to a nuclear showdown between the world’s most powerful nations. As intentionally ridiculous the movie is, an early version of the script was even more so, with aliens watching the whole fiasco from space.

  • #17. The Godfather: Part II
    85/ Paramount Pictures

    #17. The Godfather: Part II

    Stacker score: 93.8

    IMDb user rating: 9

    Metascore: 90

    Year released: 1974

    Director: Francis Ford Coppola

    Continuing “The Godfather” saga to rapturous acclaim (and six Academy Awards), this 1974 sequel finds Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) squaring off against a sea of troubles while trying to both expand and legitimize his empire. Also, depicted is a young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro), who journeys to America from Italy in the early 1900s, and ascends to power after murdering the local don. After De Niro won an Academy Award for his performance, he and Marlon Brando became the only two actors in history to win an Oscar for their portrayal of the same character.

  • #16. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
    86/ New Line Cinema

    #16. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

    Stacker score: 93.8

    IMDb user rating: 8.8

    Metascore: 92

    Year released: 2001

    Director: Peter Jackson

    Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy kicked off in 2001 with this celebrated installment. After coming into possession of a powerful ring, a hobbit named Frodo (Elijah Wood) and his companions set out to destroy the relic before it ends up in the wrong hands. Hot on their tail are a range of murderous creatures, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the all-powerful ring.  

  • #15. All About Eve
    87/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #15. All About Eve

    Stacker score: 94.3

    IMDb user rating: 8.3

    Metascore: 98

    Year released: 1950

    Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

    In this 1950 drama, an obsessive actress (Anne Baxter) climbs her way to the top of a theater company by ruthlessly manipulating her supposed idol (Bette Davis). Written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, “All About Eve” cynically—albeit accurately—portrays show business as a cruel and unforgiving industry, especially to actresses of a certain age. The film was nominated for 14 Academy Awards (winning six of them), which ties it with “Titanic” and “La La Land” for the most Oscar nominations in Hollywood history.

  • #14. Modern Times
    88/ Charles Chaplin Productions

    #14. Modern Times

    Stacker score: 94.3

    IMDb user rating: 8.5

    Metascore: 96

    Year released: 1936

    Director: Charles Chaplin

    Charlie Chaplin reprised his role as The Tramp for this 1936 masterpiece, which stuck to silent era traditions despite being made in the age of talkies. In the film, The Tramp struggles to make ends meet in a highly industrialized world, famously slithering his way through the gears of a machine during one of the era’s most epochal scenes. Chaplin was reportedly inspired to make the film after talking about machinery and technology with Mahatma Gandhi.

  • #13. North by Northwest
    89/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    #13. North by Northwest

    Stacker score: 94.3

    IMDb user rating: 8.3

    Metascore: 98

    Year released: 1959

    Director: Alfred Hitchcock

    No list of great films is complete without Alfred Hitchcock, and this 1959 thriller finds the famous director at the top of his game. The movie stars Cary Grant as a New York ad executive, who gets caught up in the world of international espionage after being mistaken for a notorious spy. What follows is an epic struggle for survival, which culminates with a deadly showdown on Mount Rushmore.

  • #12. Sweet Smell of Success
    90/ Norma Productions

    #12. Sweet Smell of Success

    Stacker score: 94.8

    IMDb user rating: 8.2

    Metascore: 100

    Year released: 1957

    Director: Alexander Mackendrick

    Some of the best films take a little time to catch on with audiences, eventually obtaining masterpiece status. Such was the case with 1957’s “Sweet Smell of Success,” which underperformed upon its initial release, but has since earned itself a very loyal following. Converging multiple genres such as drama and noir, the movie centers on an unscrupulous Broadway columnist named J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster), who goes to great lengths to destroy his sister’s relationship with a jazz musician.

  • #11. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    91/ Warner Bros.

    #11. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

    Stacker score: 94.8

    IMDb user rating: 8.3

    Metascore: 99

    Year released: 1948

    Director: John Huston

    The ultimate exercise in greed-based paranoia, this 1948 film stars Humphrey Bogart as Fred Dobbs, a down-on-his-luck thief who uncovers a fortune in gold with the help of two men. Soon enough, Dobbs suspects the others are conspiring against him, with his subsequent actions eventually leading to his demise. The movie won three Academy Awards, including two for writer/director John Huston, and later provided the framework for a classic episode of “The Simpsons.”

  • #10. Singin' in the Rain
    92/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    #10. Singin' in the Rain

    Stacker score: 94.8

    IMDb user rating: 8.3

    Metascore: 99

    Year released: 1952

    Director: Stanley Donen

    Arguably the most celebrated musical of all time, “Singin’ in the Rain” takes place during the rise of talkies, and finds the members of a production company struggling to adapt. Not only did Gene Kelly star, co-direct, and choreograph the film, but he performed a song-and-dance number with a temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Debbie Reynolds co-stars in her breakthrough role as Kathy Selden.

  • #9. Psycho
    93/ Shamley Productions

    #9. Psycho

    Stacker score: 94.8

    IMDb user rating: 8.5

    Metascore: 97

    Year released: 1960

    Director: Alfred Hitchcock

    Far more than a heralded thriller, 1960’s “Psycho” paved the way for the modern slasher genre, and furthermore upended various mainstream conventions. In telling the story of a murderous hotel owner, Alfred Hitchcock relied on everything from quick cuts to gripping music to a shape-shifting narrative, thereby delivering a completely new cinematic experience. To this day, the famous shower scene is among the most important sequences in movie history.  

  • #8. Schindler's List
    94/ Universal Pictures

    #8. Schindler's List

    Stacker score: 94.8

    IMDb user rating: 8.9

    Metascore: 93

    Year released: 1993

    Director: Steven Spielberg

    While Steven Spielberg was no stranger to serious fare by the early 1990s, he nevertheless caught audiences by surprise when he released this award-winning drama. It tells the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who ultimately saved 1,100 Jewish lives during the Holocaust. Spielberg forewent a salary when making the film, and donated the profits to a charitable foundation.

  • #7. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
    95/ New Line Cinema

    #7. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

    Stacker score: 95.3

    IMDb user rating: 8.9

    Metascore: 94

    Year released: 2003

    Director: Peter Jackson

    In the final installment of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, the forces of good and evil do battle over the fate of Middle Earth, while Frodo reaches the last leg of his journey. Not only did the film earn over a billion dollars at the box office, but it won 11 Academy Awards out of 11 nominations, giving it the highest perfect score in Oscar history.

  • #6. Pulp Fiction
    96/ Miramax

    #6. Pulp Fiction

    Stacker score: 95.3

    IMDb user rating: 8.9

    Metascore: 94

    Year released: 1994

    Director: Quentin Tarantino

    Quentin Tarantino’s second directorial effort arguably remains his most quintessential work. Interweaving three violent stories—while simultaneously paying homage to a host of influences—”Pulp Fiction” is quite simply the stuff that great cinema is made of. Speaking of influences, the hit film was happy to pay it forward, inspiring a wave of upcoming auteurs.

  • #5. Citizen Kane
    97/ RKO Radio Pictures

    #5. Citizen Kane

    Stacker score: 95.8

    IMDb user rating: 8.4

    Metascore: 100

    Year released: 1941

    Director: Orson Welles

    Here’s a movie so great that when something else is likewise terrific, that thing is often referred to as the “Citizen Kane” of its respective arena. Accordingly, this 1941 film—which depicts the ambitious rise of newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles)—has only gotten better with age. It might no longer retain the #1 spot on lists of the greatest films, including this one, but ask the right cinephile, and they will likely assert “Citizen Kane” is still the best movie of them all.

  • #4. Rear Window
    98/ Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions

    #4. Rear Window

    Stacker score: 96.4

    IMDb user rating: 8.5

    Metascore: 100

    Year released: 1954

    Director: Alfred Hitchcock

    In addition to striking the perfect balance of intrigue and suspense, this 1954 Hitchcock film endures through its perennial relatability. After all, who hasn’t wondered what his or her neighbor might be up to behind closed doors? In “Rear Window,” the answer is potentially murder. Or is a wheelchair-bound James Stewart simply letting his paranoia get the best of him? To say anything more is to spoil the fun of watching this classic for the first time.  

  • #3. Casablanca
    99/ Warner Bros.

    #3. Casablanca

    Stacker score: 96.4

    IMDb user rating: 8.5

    Metascore: 100

    Year released: 1942

    Director: Michael Curtiz

    This 1942 masterwork takes place in the Moroccon town of Casablanca, where jaded nightclub owner Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) helps refugees flee to America to evade Nazi capture. After Blaine’s former flame (Ingrid Bergman) and her husband show up seeking his help, he finds himself entering a world of trouble. Most cinephiles would argue “Casablanca” is the result of a perfect screenplay, yet when that very same screenplay was passed around under a different name in the 1980s, professional readers chastised it for having “too much dialog” and “not enough sex”. Nevertheless, the original script and subsequent film was about as close to perfect as a movie could get for its time.

  • #2. 12 Angry Men
    100/ Orion-Nova Productions

    #2. 12 Angry Men

    Stacker score: 96.4

    IMDb user rating: 8.9

    Metascore: 96

    Year released: 1957

    Director: Sidney Lumet

    Snagging the #2 slot is this taut 1957 drama from Sidney Lumet, in which 12 (angry) jurors determine the fate of a suspected murderer. What starts as an open-and-shut case becomes something far more complex, as a lone holdout convinces the others that the defendant might not be guilty after all. As the debate unfolds, each juror’s own respective prejudices bubble to surface, with all the action taking place inside the jury room.  

  • #1. The Godfather
    101/ Paramount Pictures

    #1. The Godfather

    Stacker score: 100.0

    IMDb user rating: 9.2

    Metascore: 100

    Year released: 1972

    Director: Francis Ford Coppola

    Stanley Kubrick himself used to reluctantly theorize that “The Godfather” was the greatest movie ever made, and most audiences and critics certainly agree. Chronicling the exploits of the Corleone crime family, this 1972 masterpiece delivers everything one could ask for in a film, fusing elements of drama, violence, and suspense to absolute perfection. Indeed, there’s virtually no aspect of “The Godfather” that doesn’t remain iconic to this day, hence its status as the best movie of all time.

2018 All rights reserved.