100 Best Movies of All Time

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Source: Courtesy of United Artists

50. Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)
> Genre: Action, comedy, drama
> Directed by: Charles Reisner, Buster Keaton
> Starring: Buster Keaton, Tom McGuire, Ernest Torrence

Risking their lives for their art seems somewhat commonplace for actors nowadays. Back in 1928, Buster Keaton starred in this Romeo and Juliet drama shaded with comedy. It’s most known for a house front falling on our hero, leaving him virtually untouched.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

49. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
> Genre: Adventure, sci-fi
> Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
> Starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester

Initial lackluster response upon release prompted MGM to consider pulling the movie from theaters. But theater owners made a case for its stay, seeing a spike in attendance by young adults. This boosted the film’s financial success.

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

48. Alien (1979)
> Genre: Horror, sci-fi
> Directed by: Ridley Scott
> Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt

This classic sci-fi horror flick had its roots in comedy, believe it or not. Screenwriter Dan O’Bannon made a film with John Carpenter when both were studying film at USC called “Dark Star.” One of the characters was an alien in the form of a beach ball. The alien got a massive reworking to become the Alien.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

47. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
> Genre: Biography, drama, history
> Directed by: Steve McQueen
> Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender

Destiny played a hand in the making of this film. Director Steve McQueen wanted to write a film about slavery in which a black man that was born free was later forced into servitude. Struggling to get the script written, his wife handed him the biography of Solomon Northup.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

46. Vertigo (1958)
> Genre: Mystery, romance, thriller
> Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
> Starring: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes

Contemporary “Vertigo” fans almost missed their chance at seeing it. Alfred Hitchcock bought back the rights to this and four other films and left them to his daughter in his will. Off the grid for about 30 years, “Vertigo” was re-released in the mid-80s along with the other four.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

45. Raging Bull (1980)
> Genre: Biography, drama, sport
> Directed by: Martin Scorsese
> Starring: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci

The movie was actually Robert De Niro’s passion project. It took him years to convince his friend and collaborator, Martin Scorsese, to make it. Scorsese wasn’t a fan of sports, and less so of boxing, not finding it to be a good visual medium. It has since become one of the film essentials.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

44. The Gold Rush (1925)
> Genre: Adventure, comedy, drama
> Directed by: Charles Chaplin
> Starring: Charles Chaplin, Mack Swain, Tom Murray

Perhaps Charlie Chaplin’s most famous movie, it was also his last before the talkies changed films forever. Deemed a comedic masterpiece, it secured his place as an icon as The Tramp. Its mix of comedy, social satire, and tenderness made it an enduring film.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

43. It Happened One Night (1934)
> Genre: Comedy, romance
> Directed by: Frank Capra
> Starring: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly

The film was the first to win in all five major Oscars categories. This did not happen again until 1975, with “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and later in 1991, with “The Silence of the Lambs.” It paved the way for the screwball comedy and is considered one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

42. The Night of the Hunter (1955)
> Genre: Crime, drama, film-noir
> Directed by: Charles Laughton
> Starring: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish

The film’s allure is its ability to straddle both children’s fairytale and film noir. This was the esteemed British actor Charles Laughton’s first directing effort. Panned by critics when it was released, it has since grown in stature.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

41. The Last Picture Show (1971)
> Genre: Drama
> Directed by: Peter Bogdanovich
> Starring: Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd

The stars aligned for this film. Director Peter Bogdanovich spotted the novel’s intriguing title at a drugstore. He picked it up for a few moments before putting it back. A few weeks later, actor friend Sal Mineo handed him a copy and recommended that he turn it into a film. It was nominated in six Academy Award categories and won two..