Special Report

100 Top Grossing Movies of All Time

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

90. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $489,358,642
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $315,544,750
> Estimated tickets sold: 54.8 million
> Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom

The first film in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy grossed the least of the three, though it also was distributed to the fewest number of theaters. The movie — which follows the hobbit Frodo as he sets out on his journey to save Middle Earth — won four Oscars.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

89. The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $490,274,860
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $84,563,118
> Estimated tickets sold: 54.9 million
> Starring: Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters

“The Poseidon Adventure” is a disaster film in which a group of survivors attempts to escape the confines of a flipped cruise ship. The movie’s star-studded cast features Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters, and Red Buttons. In addition to winning an Oscar for Best Music (for the song “The Morning After”) the film received a Special Achievement Award from the Academy for its exceptional visual effects.

Source: Courtesy of RKO Radio Pictures

88. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $491,150,000
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $23,650,000
> Estimated tickets sold: 55.0 million
> Starring: Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Fredric March

This drama about three World War II veterans returning from overseas was a huge hit when released around the holidays in 1946, selling an estimated 55 million tickets since its release. The film went on to win seven Oscars at the 1947 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

87. Rocky (1976)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $491,507,200
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $117,235,147
> Estimated tickets sold: 55.0 million
> Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young

Written by and starring Sylvester Stallone, “Rocky” is the film that put the action star on the map. The movie about an unusually driven young boxer was the top grossing film released in 1976 and has produced seven sequels to date, including the recent Creed flicks.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

86. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $491,769,742
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $112,892,319
> Estimated tickets sold: 55.1 million
> Starring: Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick

The musical cult classic has drawn millions of viewers over the years, many of whom are repeat viewers who partake in the movie’s unique culture of audience participation. The film continues to be periodically screened at theaters across the country to this day.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

85. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $495,052,410
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $45,306,425
> Estimated tickets sold: 55.4 million
> Starring: Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn

David Lean’s epic about British Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence leading Arab troops into battle against the Turks was the top grossing film released in 1962. The Best Picture-winner has been re-released multiple times, the most successful run being in 1989, when it grossed nearly $7 million.

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Film Distribution Company

84. Lady and the Tramp (1955)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $497,712,657
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $93,602,326
> Estimated tickets sold: 55.7 million
> Starring: Barbara Luddy, Larry Roberts, Peggy Lee

The animated Disney classic’s unadjusted domestic gross of $93.6 million was achieved in three wide releases: the original release in 1955, a re-release in 1980, and another release in 1986. The tale of two dogs from opposite sides of the tracks received a live action remake in 2019, which received significantly worse reviews from both critics and audience members than the original.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

83. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $499,390,604
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $135,189,114
> Estimated tickets sold: 55.9 million
> Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr

Steven Spielberg’s 1977 flick about a man’s experiences following an alien encounter wowed audiences. It currently has a 95% Freshness rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and an 85% approval rating from audiences. While nominated for eight Oscars, it only won one for cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

82. West Side Story (1961)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $500,194,304
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $44,055,492
> Estimated tickets sold: 56.0 million
> Starring: Natalie Wood, George Chakiris, Richard Beymer

The musical about two lovers from rival New York gangs was a smash success, winning 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, in 1962. It’s the second highest grossing movie released in 1961, behind Disney’s “101 Dalmatians.”

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

81. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
> Domestic gross (adj. for inflation): $501,358,776
> Domestic gross (unadjusted): $318,087,620
> Estimated tickets sold: 56.1 million
> Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Richard Harris

While the 2011 sequel “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” is the top grossing movie in the Harry Potter franchise when not adjusting for inflation, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” takes the top position when adjusting to 2020 dollars. Despite the financial success of this first film in the series, there are five Harry Potter movies with higher Rotten Tomatoes critics ratings.