Special Report

100 Best Movies of All Time

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

30. Toy Story 3 (2010)
> Genre: Animation, adventure, comedy
> Directed by: Lee Unkrich
> Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack

Usually, when you get to sequel No. 3, the franchise has lost some (often much) of its steam. But not in this case. “Toy Story 3” marks the first time a sequel was nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards with neither of the preceding films being recognized similarly.

Source: Courtesy of The Criterion Collection

29. The Great Dictator (1940)
> Genre: Comedy, drama, war
> Directed by: Charles Chaplin
> Starring: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie

Great art often takes important topics and issues, and in “The Great Dictator,” Charlie Chaplin did so fearlessly — and to great effect. His 1940 masterpiece — and first talkie — was fully intended to inflame Adolf Hitler in the only way Chaplin could do it. The speech at the end of the film, “to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance,” is as relevant today as it was then.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

28. North by Northwest (1959)
> Genre: Adventure, mystery, thriller
> Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
> Starring: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason

The movie’s lead, Cary Grant, allegedly told Hitchcock that the script was “terrible” halfway through filming and that he had no idea what was going on. Grant believed the film was going to be a bomb. Hitchcock banked on his confusion aiding his character and therefore the film.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

27. Double Indemnity (1944)
> Genre: Crime, drama, film-noir
> Directed by: Billy Wilder
> Starring: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson

Detective fiction writer Raymond Chandler, who also penned “The Big Sleep,” was brought on board to co-write the script for “Double Indemnity” with Wilder. The two detested each other so much that Chandler walked out and wouldn’t return until his list of demands were met. The movie now a suspense-filled masterpiece.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

26. Paths of Glory (1957)
> Genre: Drama, war
> Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
> Starring: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou

Kubrick’s seminal anti-war film nearly had a different ending. In earlier drafts, he gave it a happier ending to make it more appealing to the public. Then Kubrick changed his mind and went with the ending from the novel the movie was based on.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

25. Rear Window (1954)
> Genre: Mystery, thriller
> Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
> Starring: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey

Written by mystery writer Cornell Woolrich, the original screenplay had no love story or neighbors for the wheelchair-bound James Stewart’s character to spy on. Hitchcock and screenwriter John Michael Hayes changed that. Hayes spent time with Grace Kelly to impart Kelly’s personality and character traits into the character of Lisa.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

24. Psycho (1960)
> Genre: Horror, mystery, thriller
> Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
> Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles

Hitchcock’s decision to shoot the movie in black and white was driven purely by cost. Seeing that many bad, cheap “B” movies shot in black and white were performing well at the box office, he gambled that a good inexpensive black and white/w movie could do well and he was right.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

23. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
> Genre: Adventure, drama, war
> Directed by: David Lean
> Starring: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins

Two uncredited screenwriters wrote this epic World War II action film that would achieve great success, critically and commercially. Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson had to work in secret because their names were on the Hollywood blacklist for alleged communist associations. They were posthumously awarded Oscars in 1984.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

22. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
> Genre: Action, adventure
> Directed by: Steven Spielberg
> Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman

When Spielberg was directing for Paramount Pictures on this venture, he incorporated the studio’s mountain logo, dissolving it into a real summit, which served as the opening shot of the film. Artfully done, it set the stage for the adventure about to unfold..

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

21. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
> Genre: Adventure, drama, western
> Directed by: John Huston
> Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt

This film was one of the first to be shot almost entirely on location outside of the U.S. in Mexico. While studio chief Jack L. Warner was impressed with the dailies, he went ballistic over the film’s rising costs. But when it was released, the film exceeded its original investment of $3 million.