The Best Movie of the Past 100 Years, According to Critics

During the early weeks of the pandemic lockdown, restless Americans turned to streaming services as a lifeline and they haven’t looked back. Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ have all gained millions of subscribers in the United States and worldwide since the first quarter of 2020.

It is no surprise that when faced with stressful circumstances and perhaps a plethora of free time, people have chosen to consume art in the form of TV and film. Cinema always has had the ability to move people to anger, tears, compassion and action. A great movie can shed light on someone’s experience despite any cultural or demographic differences with the viewer. The movies with the broadest appeal highlight the most universal human emotions and trials.

Using information generated by the American Film Institute, 24/7 Tempo has picked the best American movies of the past 100 years, according to top directors, producers, film critics and more.

The director with the most movies in the mix of finalists for the top spot is none other than Stephen Spielberg. Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder also boast several movies on the list. Spanning the years 1915 to 1996, from Charlie Chaplin’s silent films to modern classics like “Pulp Fiction” and “Fargo,” these movies are loved by critics and viewers alike.

Perhaps it is time to pick up another pandemic hobby: watching all 100 of the finalists for the greatest American movies. What better time to tap into the universality of human experience than during a global pandemic?

“Citizen Kane,” made in 1941, is on many best film lists, including the AFI’s. “Citizen Kane” also does well on Rotten Tomatoes and Esquire’s list. It was made by Orson Welles when he was only 24 years old and has stood the test of time for nearly a century. It grossed $1.6 million, not adjusted for inflation. The movie, which Welles directed, stars himself, Joseph Cotten and Dorothy Comingore.

Click here to see the critics’ choices for 100 best films of the past 100 years.