Best Movies of All Time

Want to be a movie buff but don’t know where to start? Or are you just looking for a few more great films to round out your knowledge? I’ve put together this list of classic, essential, or otherwise great movies—the best films of all time—with links to reviews as I write them. All reviews are free from major spoilers unless marked.

If you’re more interested in the best films of a specific genre or a special interest, check out my page of lists.

 

Title Length Director Year Category Rating
12 Angry Men 1:36 Sidney Lumet 1957 drama PG
2001: A Space Odyssey 2:41 Stanley Kubrick 1968 sci-fi G
A Christmas Story 1:34 Bob Clark 1983 Christmas PG
A Fish Called Wanda 1:49 Charles Crichton, John Cleese 1988 comedy, crime R
A Fistful of Dollars 1:39 Sergio Leone 1964 western R
A Hard Day’s Night 1:27 Richard Lester 1964 comedy, music G
A Streetcar Named Desire 2:02 Elia Kazan 1951 drama PG
A Trip to the Moon 0:13 Georges Méliès 1902 comedy NR
Airplane! 1:28 Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker 1980 comedy, parody PG
Akira 2:04 Katsuhiro Ôtomo 1988 action, animated, sci-fi R
Alien 1:57 Ridley Scott 1979 horror, sci-fi, thriller R
Aliens 2:17 James Cameron 1986 action, sci-fi, thriller R
Almost Famous 2:42 Cameron Crowe 2000 adventure, comedy, music R
Amelie 2:09 Jean-Pierre Jeunet 2001 adventure, romance R
American Beauty 2:02 Sam Mendes 1999 drama R
Annie Hall 1:33 Woody Allen 1977 comedy, romance PG
Apocalypse Now 2:33 Francis Ford Coppola 1979 drama, war R
Back to the Future 2:00 Robert Zemeckis 1985 adventure, comedy, sci-fi PG
Battle Royale 1:54 Kinji Fukasaku 2000 action, adventure, drama R
Ben-Hur 3:44 William Wyler 1959 adventure, epic, historical G
Black Swan 1:48 Darren Aronofsky 2010 drama, indie, thriller R
BlacKkKlansman 2:15 Spike Lee 2018 biopic, comedy, crime, indie R
Blade Runner 1:57 Ridley Scott 1982 film noir, sci-fi R
Bonnie and Clyde 1:52 Arthur Penn 1967 crime R
Bottle Rocket 1:31 Wes Anderson 1996 comedy, crime, indie R
Breakfast at Tiffany’s 2:10 Blake Edwards 1961 comedy, romance NR
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1:50 George Roy Hill 1969 biopic, western PG
Carrie 1:38 Brian De Palma 1976 horror, teen, thriller R
Casablanca 1:42 Martin Curtiz 1942 romance PG
Charade 1:53 Stanley Donen 1963 comedy, mystery, romance G
Chinatown 2:11 Roman Polanski 1974 film noir, mystery R
Citizen Kane 1:59 Orson Welles 1941 drama PG
City of God 2:10 Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund 2002 crime, drama R
Close Encounters of the Third Kind 2:15 Steven Spielberg 1977 drama, sci-fi PG
Colossal 1:49 Nacho Vigalondo 2016 comedy, drama, indie R
Dances with Wolves 3:56 Kevin Costner 1990 drama, epic, historical, western PG-13
Dead Poets Society 2:08 Peter Weir 1989 comedy, drama PG
Die Hard 2:12 John McTiernan 1988 action, Christmas R
Dog Day Afternoon 2:05 Sidney Lumet 1975 crime, drama, lgbt R
Donnie Darko 2:13 Richard Kelly 2001 indie, sci-fi, teen R
E.T. – The Extra Terrestrial 2:01 Steven Spielberg 1982 sci-fi PG
Enter the Dragon 1:50 Bruce Lee, Robert Clouse 1973 action R
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 1:48 Michel Gondry 2004 drama, indie, romance R
Ex Machina 1:48 Alex Garland 2014 mystery, sci-fi, thriller R
Fantastic Mr. Fox 1:27 Wes Anderson 2009 animated, comedy PG
Fargo 1:38 Coen Brothers 1996 comedy, crime, drama, indie R
Fight Club 2:31 David Fincher 1999 action R
Following 1:10 Christopher Nolan 1999 crime, indie, mystery R
For a Few Dollars More 2:12 Sergio Leone 1965 western R
Frances Ha 1:26 Noah Baumbach 2012 comedy, drama, indie R
Full Metal Jacket 1:58 Stanley Kubrick 1987 drama, war R
Gangs of New York 2:47 Martin Scorsese 2002 crime, drama, historical R
Ghost World 1:52 Terry Zwigoff 2001 comedy, indie, teen R
Gladiator 2:35 Ridley Scott 2000 action, drama, epic, historical R
Goldfinger 1:50 Guy Hamilton 1964 action, thriller PG
Gone with the Wind 3:58 Victor Fleming 1939 drama, epic, historical, romance G
Good Will Hunting 2:06 Gus Van Sant 1997 drama R
Goodfellas 2:28 Martin Scorsese 1990 biopic, crime R
Grave of the Fireflies 1:29 Isao Takahata 1988 animated, drama,
historical, war
NR
Guardians of the Galaxy 2:02 James Gunn 2014 comedy, sci-fi, superhero PG-13
Harold and Maude 1:31 Hal Ashby 1971 romance PG
Heat 2:50 Michael Mann 1995 crime, thriller R
High Noon 1:25 Frank Zinnemann 1952 drama, western PG
Hot Fuzz 2:01 Edgar Wright 2007 action, comedy, mystery, parody R
How the Grinch Stole Christmas 0:26 Chuck Jones, Ben Washam 1966 Christmas NR
I, Tonya 2:00 Craig Gillespie 2017 biopic, comedy, drama, indie R
In Bruges 1:47 Martin McDonagh 2008 comedy, crime, drama, indie R
Inglourious Basterds 2:33 Quentin Tarantino 2009 adventure, historical, war R
Interstellar 2:49 Christopher Nolan 2014 sci-fi PG-13
Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1:55 Philip Kaufman 1978 horror, sci-fi, thriller PG
Iron Man 2:06 Jon Favreau 2008 superhero PG-13
Jaws 2:10 Steven Spielberg 1975 adventure, thriller PG
Juno 1:36 Jason Reitman 2007 comedy, indie, teen PG-13
Jurassic Park 2:05 Steven Spielberg 1993 sci-fi, thriller PG-13
Lady Bird 1:34 Greta Gerwig 2017 comedy, drama, indie, teen R
Laura 1:28 Otto Preminger 1944 film noir, mystery NR
Lawrence of Arabia 3:48 David Lean 1962 biopic, epic, historical PG
Little Miss Sunshine 1:41 Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris 2006 comedy, drama, indie R
Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels 2:00 Guy Ritchie 1998 comedy, crime, indie R
Logan 2:21 James Mangold 2017 drama, superhero R
Lost in Translation 1:44 Sofia Coppola 2003 drama, indie R
Metropolis 2:33 Fritz Lang 1927 sci-fi NR
Midnight Cowboy 1:53 John Schlesinger 1969 drama R
Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1:32 Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam 1975 comedy, parody PG
Moonrise Kingdom 1:34 Wes Anderson 2012 adventure, comedy, drama, romance PG-13
Moulin Rouge 2:10 Baz Luhrmann 2001 musical PG-13
Mulholland Drive 2:27 David Lynch 2001 drama, lgbt, mystery, thriller R
Murder on the Orient Express 2:11 Sidney Lumet 1974 mystery PG
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 2:09 Frank Capra 1939 drama NR
My Fair Lady 2:52 George Cukor 1964 romance G
Network 2:01 Sidney Lumet 1976 drama R
North by Northwest 2:16 Alfred Hitchcock 1959 action, mystery NR
O Brother, Where Art Thou? 1:48 Coen Brothers 2000 adventure, historical PG-13
Office Space 1:29 Mike Judge 1999 comedy R
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 2:13 Milos Forman 1975 drama R
Pan’s Labyrinth 1:58 Guillermo del Toro 2006 fantasy, historical, thriller R
PK 2:33 Rajkumar Hirani 2014 comedy, romance NR
Platoon 2:00 Oliver Stone 1986 war R
Primer 1:19 Shane Caruth 2004 indie, sci-fi PG-13
Psycho 1:49 Alfred Hitchcock 1960 horror, mystery, thriller R
Pulp Fiction 2:58 Quentin Tarantino 1994 crime, indie R
Raging Bull 2:09 Martin Scorsese 1980 biopic, drama R
Rain Man 2:13 Barry Levinson 1988 drama R
Rear Window 1:52 Alfred Hitchcock 1954 mystery NR
Rocky 2:02 John G. Avildsen 1976 drama PG
Roman Holiday 1:58 William Wyler 1953 comedy, romance NR
Rosemary’s Baby 2:17 Roman Polanski 1968 horror, thriller R
Saving Private Ryan 2:50 Steven Spielberg 1998 epic, historical, war R
Say Anything 1:40 Cameron Crowe 1989 comedy, drama, romance, teen PG-13
Scarface 2:50 Brian de Palma 1983 crime R
Schindler’s List 3:15 Steven Spielberg 1993 biopic, drama, epic, historical R
Secretary 1:51 Steven Shainberg 2002 comedy, drama, indie, romance R
Seven Samurai 3:28 Akira Kurosawa 1954 epic, historical NR
Shaun of the Dead 1:40 Edgar Wright 2004 comedy, horror, indie, parody R
Sideways 2:07 Alexander Payne 2004 comedy, drama, indie R
Silver Linings Playbook 2:02 David O. Russell 2012 comedy, romance R
Snatch 1:44 Guy Ritchie 2000 comedy, crime R
Some Like It Hot 2:02 Billy Wilder 1959 comedy G
Spanglish 2:11 James L. Brooks 2004 comedy, drama, indie PG-13
Spirited Away 2:05 Hayao Miyazaki 2001 animated, adventure, fantasy PG
Stand By Me 1:29 Rob Reiner 1986 adventure, teen R
Star Wars: A New Hope 2:05 George Lucas 1977 fantasy, sci-fi PG
Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back 2:07 George Lucas 1979 fantasy, sci-fi PG
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi 2:16 George Lucas 1981 fantasy, sci-fi PG
Sunset Boulevard 1:55 Billy Wilder 1950 film noir G
Superbad 1:59 Greg Mottola 2007 adventure, comedy, teen R
Taxi Driver 1:54 Martin Scorsese 1976 crime, drama R
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 2:34 James Cameron 1991 action, sci-fi R
Terms of Endearment 2:12 James L. Brooks 1983 comedy PG
The African Queen 1:46 John Huston 1951 adventure, romance PG
The Apartment 2:05 Billy Wilder 1960 comedy, drama, romance NR
The Big Lebowski 1:59 Coen Brothers 1998 comedy R
The Blues Brothers 2:28 John Landis 1980 adventure, comedy, music, musical R
The Breakfast Club 1:37 John Hughes 1985 comedy, drama, teen R
The Darjeeling Limited 1:44 Wes Anderson 2007 drama R
The Dark Knight 2:32 Christopher Nolan 2008 action, crime, superhero PG-13
The Deer Hunter 3:02 Michael Cimino 1978 drama, war R
The Departed 2:31 Martin Scorsese 2006 crime R
The French Connection 1:44 William Friedkin 1971 crime, thriller R
The Godfather 2:57 Francis Ford Coppola 1972 crime, drama, epic R
The Godfather: Part II 3:20 Francis Ford Coppola 1974 crime, drama, epic R
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 2:59 Sergio Leone 1966 epic, western R
The Graduate 1:46 Mike Nichols 1967 comedy, drama PG
The Grand Budapest Hotel 1:40 Wes Anderson 2014 adventure, comedy R
The Grapes of Wrath 2:09 John Ford 1940 drama G
The Great Dictator 2:06 Charlie Chaplin 1940 comedy, parody, war G
The Green Mile 3:09 Frank Darabont 1999 drama R
The Jerk 1:44 Carl Reiner 1979 comedy R
The Karate Kid 2:06 John G. Avildsen 1984 action, teen PG
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou 1:59 Wes Anderson 2004 comedy R
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 3:48 Peter Jackson 2001 epic, fantasy PG-13
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 3:21 Peter Jackson 2003 epic, fantasy PG-13
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 3:55 Peter Jackson 2002 epic, fantasy PG-13
The Magnificent Seven 2:08 John Sturges 1960 action, western NR
The Maltese Falcon 1:41 John Huston 1941 film noir, mystery PG
The Nightmare Before Christmas 1:16 Henry Selick 1993 animated, Christmas PG
The Perks of Being a Wallflower 1:42 Stephen Chbosky 2012 drama, romance, teen PG-13
The Princess Bride 1:38 Rob Reiner 1987 adventure, comedy, fantasy, parody, romance PG
The Producers 1:28 Mel Brooks 1967 comedy PG
The Rocky Horror Picture Show 1:40 Jim Sharman 1975 comedy, horror, indie, lgbt, musical R
The Room 1:39 Tommy Wiseau 2003 drama, parody R
The Royal Tenenbaums 1:50 Wes Anderson 2001 comedy R
The Shawshank Redemption 2:22 Frank Darabont 1994 drama R
The Shining 2:26 Stanley Kubrick 1980 horror, thriller R
The Silence of the Lambs 2:18 Jonathan Demme 1991 horror, mystery, thriller R
The Squid and the Whale 1:28 Noah Baumbach 2005 drama, indie R
The Third Man 1:48 Carol Reed 1949 film noir, mystery NR
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 2:06 John Huston 1948 adventure NR
The Usual Suspects 1:48 Bryan Singer 1995 crime, indie, mystery R
The Wizard of Oz 1:52 Victor Fleming 1939 adventure G
This is Spinal Tap 1:25 Rob Reiner 1984 comedy, music, parody R
To Kill a Mockingbird 2:10 Robert Mulligan 1962 drama NR
Tootsie 1:59 Sydney Pollack 1982 comedy PG
Unforgiven 2:10 Clint Eastwood 1992 western R
V for Vendetta 2:12 James McTeigue 2005 action, drama, thriller R
Walk the Line 2:16 James Mangold 2005 biopic, drama, music PG-13
West Side Story 2:33 Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise 1961 musical PG
Who Framed Roger Rabbit 1:44 Robert Zemeckis 1988 animated, comedy, film noir, mystery PG
Your Name 1:46 Makoto Shinkai 2016 animated, drama, romance, teen PG

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