Special Report

100 Best Movies of All Time

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

10. City Lights (1931)
> Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
> Directed by: Charles Chaplin
> Starring: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee

“City Lights” is not only frequently considered Charlie Chaplin’s best film, but also one of the greatest films of all time. The silent film – in which Chaplin’s tramp character tries to financially assist a blind girl – was released after talking pictures had been developed and is perhaps the greatest representation of Chaplin’s genius.

Source: Courtesy of Miramax

9. Pulp Fiction (1994)
> Genre: Crime, Drama
> Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
> Starring: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson

“Pulp Fiction,” Quentin Tarantino’s follow-up to “Reservoir Dogs,” is among the 1990s’ most definitive films. A wildly inventive mix of crime, film-noir, and comedy, the movie scored the Palme d’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. Its reputation has held up well over the past 25 years, with 96% of audiences giving the film a positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

8. Sunset Boulevard (1950)
> Genre: Drama, Film-Noir
> Directed by: Billy Wilder
> Starring: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim

Though much lampooned since its release, the sardonic “Sunset Boulevard” remains one of the best movies about fame and Hollywood. As the aging silent film star Norma Desmond, Gloria Swanson, utters one of filmdom’s greatest lines, “All right Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup.” Critics gave the film a 98% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and 95% liked “Sunset Boulevard.”

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

7. Casablanca (1942)
> Genre: Drama, Romance, War
> Directed by: Michael Curtiz
> Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid

“Here’s lookin’ at you, kid,” is one of Hollywood’s most famous lines. Its source – wartime melodrama “Casablanca” – is just as iconic. The movie set a standard for romance and atmosphere that everything released after strived to match.

Source: Courtesy of RKO Radio Pictures

6. Citizen Kane (1941)
> Genre: Drama, Mystery
> Directed by: Orson Welles
> Starring: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore

Sometimes called the greatest film of all time, Orson Welles’ precocious masterpiece (he was 25 when he co-wrote, directed, and starred in it), is the story of Charles Foster Kane, a newspaper tycoon modeled after William Randolph Hearst. Welles played the title role in a performance that has been called “nothing less than astonishing,” and critics found the movie itself “exciting,” “arresting,” and “a visual marvel” that “helped define the language of film.”

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

5. Schindler’s List (1993)
> Genre: Biography, Drama, History
> Directed by: Steven Spielberg
> Starring: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

One of the greatest retellings of one of the worst chapters in human history. Liam Neeson plays Oskar Schindler, a Catholic businessman who uses his position to save hundreds of Jews from extermination. Steven Spielberg does not spare the viewer from the horrors of the Holocaust, yet the film provides viewers messages of hope and redemption. “Schindler’s List” was nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won seven. Ninety-seven percent of critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes liked the film.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

4. 12 Angry Men (1957)
> Genre: Drama
> Directed by: Sidney Lumet
> Starring: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam

This quintessential courtroom drama scored a 100% Freshness rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and 97% of the audience liked it. Though it is now considered a masterpiece, it opened poorly, barely making enough to recoup its production and advertising costs. Its reputation began to grow several years later when it began appearing on TV.

Source: Courtesy of Metro Pictures Corporation

3. Sherlock Jr. (1924)
> Genre: Action, Comedy, Romance
> Directed by: Buster Keaton
> Starring: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Joe Keaton

While not fully appreciated upon its release – a Variety review declared that movie to be “about as unfunny as a hospital operating room” – “Sherlock Jr.” is now recognized as one of the greatest films ever made. The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1991, 67 years after its initial release.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

2. The Godfather (1972)
> Genre: Crime, Drama
> Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
> Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan

Francis Ford Coppola’s gangster epic “The Godfather” breathed new life into the American film industry upon its release in 1972. The film won best picture at the Academy Awards and continues to entertain movie fans to this day. The film currently has 98% positive ratings from both critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

1. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
> Genre: Crime, Drama
> Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
> Starring: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall

Critics awarded “The Godfather: Part II” a 97% Freshness rating (matched by a 97% audience score) on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics consensus on the site hailed this all-star saga for setting “new standards for sequels that have yet to be matched or broken.” Critics generally found it deeper and more powerful than the first “Godfather,” and the Chicago Tribune called it “a landmark work from one of Hollywood’s top cinema eras.” Not surprisingly, it won six Academy Awards, including best picture, best director, and best actor in a supporting role (Robert De Niro).