Special Report

100 Top Grossing Movies of All Time

Charles Stockdale

Source: Courtesy of RKO Radio Pictures

10. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $973,370,000
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $184,925,486
> Estimated tickets sold: 109.0 million
> Starring: Adriana Caselotti, Harry Stockwell, Lucille La Verne

Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” is the top grossing animated film of all time when adjusting for inflation. It is the first animated feature to include sound and be in color. In addition to its theatrical success, the movie sold the most VHS copies of any film.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

9. The Exorcist (1973)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $987,650,856
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $232,906,145
> Estimated tickets sold: 110.6 million
> Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair

Based on the novel by William Peter Blatty, director William Friedkin’s film about a young girl who is possessed by an evil spirit frightened millions in theaters across the country. The controversial movie is one of the few horror films nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Though it didn’t win that award, it took home two Oscars, including Best Writing – Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

8. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $1,108,530,015
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $111,721,910
> Estimated tickets sold: 124.1 million
> Starring: Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin

Director David Lean followed up his immensely successful “Lawrence of Arabia” (No. 85 on this list) with the epic romance film “Doctor Zhivago” about the life of a Russian poet and doctor during and after the Russian Revolution. The movie, which stars Omar Sharif and Julie Christie, was nominated for 10 Oscars and won five.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

7. Jaws (1975)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $1,143,743,684
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $260,000,000
> Estimated tickets sold: 128.1 million
> Starring: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss

Released in 1975, “Jaws” is often considered to be the first summer blockbuster. The film, about a great white shark that is terrorizing a beach town, offers a master class in suspense and scared countless viewers away from the ocean. The movie currently has a 98% Freshness score on Rotten Tomatoes, with audience members giving it a rating of 90%.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

6. The Ten Commandments (1956)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $1,169,830,000
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $65,500,000
> Estimated tickets sold: 131.0 million
> Starring: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter

Charlton Heston stars as Moses in this three hour and 40 minute Biblical epic from director Cecil B. DeMille. The movie, which is a remake of a 1923 film by DeMille, is the highest grossing movie of the 1950s. The film won just one Oscar (out of seven nominations) for Best Special Effects.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

5. Titanic (1997)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $1,210,459,714
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $659,363,944
> Estimated tickets sold: 135.5 million
> Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane

Director James Cameron (“Avatar”) packed theaters across the country with this tale of an upper class woman falling in love with a poor artist aboard the doomed Titanic. Part romance and part disaster film, the movie was No. 1 at the domestic box office for 15 weekends straight. “Titanic” is also tied for most Oscar wins (11) and nominations (14) in Academy Award history.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

4. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $1,266,758,899
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $435,110,554
> Estimated tickets sold: 141.9 million
> Starring: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote

Out of all of Steven Spielberg’s many blockbuster films, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” brought in the most money at the domestic box office. The movie, in which a young boy helps a small alien return to his home planet, grossed more than its production budget during its first wide release weekend and proceeded to spend a total of 17 weeks at the top of the box office. It won four Oscars, but lost Best Picture to “Gandhi.”

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

3. The Sound of Music (1965)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $1,272,392,836
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $159,287,539
> Estimated tickets sold: 142.5 million
> Starring: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker

“The Sound of Music” stars Julie Andrews as Austrian nun Maria, who leaves her convent to take a position as a governess for a large family in the lead-up to World War II. Andrews had won an Oscar for Best Actress in “Mary Poppins” (No. 27 on this list) previously. “The Sound of Music” won five Oscars, including Best Picture.

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

2. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $1,590,607,135
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $460,998,507
> Estimated tickets sold: 178.1 million
> Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

Massive blockbuster “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope,” originally released simply as “Star Wars,” launched one of cinema’s most beloved franchises. The inventive tale of good versus evil triggered a worldwide following, leading to its initial theatrical release running for 135 continuous weeks. The movie won a total of six Oscars.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

1. Gone With the Wind (1940)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $1,806,415,766
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $200,852,579
> Estimated tickets sold: 202.3 million
> Starring: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Thomas Mitchell

Historical epic “Gone With the Wind,” the most expensive Hollywood film ever produced at the time, has gone on to become the top grossing of all time. When looking at its multiple domestic releases, it is the only movie to sell more than 200 million tickets since its release. It is often considered to be among the most definitive Hollywood films. It won eight Oscars, including Best Picture.