No industry likes to bestow its own with awards and prizes than the film industry. Each year, seemingly endless film festivals and award shows grant prizes for the “best” pictures and exemplary achievements by the people who work on the countless movies produced each year.
And while it may appear to be an impossible task to determine which movies are the best in such a vast, somewhat subjective artistic field, there are undeniably certain films that audiences connect with more than others.
In determining the 50 best movies of all time, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed movie ratings as decided by critics and general audiences on Rotten Tomatoes and Internet Movie Database. This resulting list of films therefore contains both critical darlings of the film world as well as movies that have wide audience appeal, such as the eternal fan favorite, “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.”
The greatest movies of all time list contains films released in every decade since the 1920s. The most popular decade for films on the list is the 1950s, during which 12 movies were released, including “Singin’ in the Rain,” “On the Waterfront,” and “12 Angry Men.” The second most frequent time period is the 1970s, often referred to as “New Hollywood.” This decade includes movies like “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Chinatown.”
There are also eight directors who managed to have more than one of their films on this list. Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and Billy Wilder each have three. Charlie Chaplin and Alfred Hitchcock do even better with four each.
Some of the movies by directors with only one film on the list were actually not successful upon first release. Charles Laughton’s “The Night of the Hunter” was a critical and commercial failure when it came out in 1955. Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” – now considered a beloved classic – also lost money at the box office. Time has vindicated these once misunderstood masterpieces.
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