No industry likes to bestow its own with awards and prizes more than the film industry. Each year, seemingly endless film festivals and award shows grant prizes for the “best” pictures and exemplary achievements of the people who worked on the countless movies produced that 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 — and critics — connect with more than others.
24/7 Tempo has identified the 55 best movies of all time based on user and critic ratings from the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and Rotten Tomatoes.
Movies that score well with both audiences and reviewers online generally satisfy the majority of audiences. These flicks tend to have a few basic characteristics in common: a strong, coherent storyline; richly drawn and well-acted characters; exceptional cinematography and (if applicable) special effects; and a satisfying ending.
The movies on this list share those virtues to a greater or lesser extent. They span cinema history from 1920 to 2020. They include silent films and technologically dazzling blockbusters. Many feature famous performers of the past and present, as well as some of the film world’s most acclaimed directors — Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Francis Ford Coppola. Here’s who won the Oscar for Best Director every year since the Oscars began.
Some of these movies will be familiar to almost anyone, while others are more obscure but well worth discovering. For those seeking even lesser-known movies, here are the 40 best movies you’ve probably never seen.
To determine the best movies of all time, 24/7 Tempo developed an index based on several measures from the Internet Movie Database and Rotten Tomatoes. The index is a composite of the movies’ IMDb rating, Rotten Tomatoes audience score, and Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score. All ratings were weighted equally. Only films with at least 25,000 reviews on IMDb, 5,000 audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and 10 Tomatometer critics reviews were considered. Data was collected mid-March 2021. Supplemental data on domestic box office and production budgets by movie came from industry data site the Numbers.
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