Sunday, 5 May 2013

The Greatest Films of All Time #1-33

For the last couple of months I've been combining top movie lists to find out once and for all what the best movies ever made are. You can read about the process here and a full list of 742 films in contention will be released later but here is the top 33 in ascending order.

1st (44 points) The Godfather (1972)
Francis Ford Coppola's gangster epic tops Entertainment Weekly and Time's lists and appears on every single list I looked at. A clear winner, beating the second place movie by 8 points.

2nd (36 points) Citizen Kane (1941)
The film regarded by many as the best ever ends up 2nd on my list with 36 points. Poorer showings on the more populist lists such as the IMDb prevents it from being number one. It makes an appearance on every list bar the Oscars.

=3rd (24 points) The Godfather Part II (1974)
A full 12 points behind Citizen Kane and 20 behind the film for which it is a sequel to, The Godfather Part II still manages to end up at joint 3rd helped by its IMDb placing and Oscar haul.

=3rd (24 points) Vertigo (1958)
The first of many Alfred Hitchcock movies on this list, Vertigo recently overcame Citizen Kane to top the Sight and Sound poll. Strong showings on six other lists helps it to =3rd place.

5th (23 points) Casablanca (1942)
A film which is popular with both the snootier and more populist lists, Casablanca is a film which pops up towards the top of most of the lists I looked at.

6th (22 points) Singin' in the Rain (1952)
The first musical on my list, it appears on each of the poll lists but not in the critics or Oscars lists.

7th (21 points) Dr. Strangelove (1964)
The first Stanley Kubrick movie to appear and a film which features solidly across the board on the lists I looked at. The top comedy on the list.

=8th (20 points) Pulp Fiction (1994)
The first film on this list that you could accurately call 'modern' and the first appearance for Quentin Tarantino whose films are popular on the magazine and internet lists.

=8th (20 points) Seven Samurai (1954)
The first Japanese movie on this list and a film which pops up on most of the lists I looked at, being similarly placed on both populist and critical lists. 

=10th (19 points) Chinatown (1974)
Popping up around the middle of Empire and Sight and Sound's lists, Chinatown creeps into the top ten alongside three others on 19 points. Roman Polanski's neo-noir was nominated for eleven Academy Awards but won only one.

=10th (19 points) North by Northwest (1959)
The second Hitchcock movie in the top ten, North by North West is amongst the director's most popular and accessible. It can be described as the template for the blockbuster which emerged twenty years later.

=10th (19 Points) Raging Bull (1980)
Martin Scorsese's highest placing film, Raging Bull is one of several which vie for the acclaimed director's all time greatest movies. It's loss to Ordinary People at the 53rd Academy Awards is often regarded as the biggest upset in Oscar history.

=10th (19 points) Some Like it Hot (1959)
Billy Wilder's highest placed film, some like it hot was a screw ball comedy which is creditied as one of the films which helped to see off the Hays Code for good. Marilyn Munroe stars.

=14th (18 points) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The top science fiction movie on this list, its influence can be felt forty-five years later in the science fiction of today. Stanley Kubrick's second film on the list.

=14th (18 points) On the Waterfront (1954)
A revolution in naturalistic acting, Marlon Brando won an Oscar for a film which also won Best Picture. The film was nominated for an incredible eight Academy Awards.

=14th (18 points) Psycho 1960)
Yet another Hitchcock movie (his 3rd in the top 15), Psycho stretched the boundaries of what was allowed in the Code era Hollywood. It's conclusion is magnificent and its score is amongst the most famous in film history.

=17th (17 points) Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
The first in George Lucas' double trilogy and the highest placed on this list. Star Wars is still one of the most popular movies of all time, more than thirty-five years after its release. It continues to make millions of dollars each year.

=17th (17 points) The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Despite a lukewarm box office reception, The Shawshank Redemption was nominated for seven Oscars and is the highest rated movie on the IMDb. A high placing in Empire's poll is its only other appearance on the twelve lists I used.

=17th (17 points) The Third Man (1949)
This British film noir is remembered for its atmospheric cinematography and musical score. It appeared on three times as many lists as The Shawshank Redemption but with lower placings.

=17th (17 points) Tokyo Story (1953)
The second Japanese film inside the top 20, Tokyo Story is considered the fifth best film ever made by Sight and Sound.

21st (16 points) Apocalypse Now (1979)
The highest placed war movie on this list, Apocalypse Now is Frances Ford Coppola's third film on the list. A troubled production couldn't stop the film from becoming a critical hit.

=22nd (15 points) Gone With the Wind (1939)
Criticised for its glorification of slavery, Gone With the Wind nevertheless manages to sneak into the top twenty-five on this list with strong showings on Entertainment Weekly and Empire's lists. Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Academy Award for her performance in this film.

=22nd (15 points) Jaws (1975)
Steven Spielberg's first appearance on the list, Jaws became the archetype summer blockbuster. It's terrifying visuals and score still make some fearful of stepping into the water over nearly forty years later.

=22nd (15 points) Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Based on the life of a First World War solider, LoA clocks in at 216 minutes making it a favourite for a cosy Sunday afternoon film. The film won seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor and featured on seven of the twelve lists I looked at.

=22nd (15 points) Schindler's List (1993)
A second Spielberg appearance and something vastly different from his first. A personal and harrowing film, Schindler's List is still the benchmark when it comes to depicting our species darkest hour.

=22nd (15 points) Taxi Driver (1976)
A second appearance for Scorsese for what is my personal favourite film. Popular with fans and critics alike the movie catapulted its star and director towards the big time. An edgy classic with controversial themes. (My favourite film of all time).

=27th (14 points) All About Eve (1950)
Nominated for a record fourteen Academy Awards, All About Eve won six and is the only film in history to feature four female Oscar nominated performances.

=27th (14 points) La Dolce Vita (1960)
Federico Fellini's film won the Palme d'Or at Cannes as well as an Oscar and appeared in two of the three individual critics top 10's that I used.

=27th (14 points) Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
A third Spielberg film, Raiders was the first in the still running, still (ish) popular Indiana Jones series. Thirty years after its release it remains one of the highest grossing films ever made.

=27th (14 points) Rear Window (1954)
Hitchcock's forth film (the most for any director thus far), Rear Window is as tense as they get. The film was nominated for four Oscars but failed to win any. 

=27th (14 points) Sunset Boulevard (1950)
A second Billy Wilder film following Some Like it Hot at number 10, this film noir turns the camera on Hollywood and isn't afraid to show its dirty underbelly. An undisputed American classic.

=27th (14 points) The Searchers (1956)
The highest ranked Western on the list, John Ford's film was named the greatest Western of all time by the AFI in 2008. It got points in five of the twelve lists I looked at.   

33rd - 77th


  1. Wow, the whole list actually seems pretty accurate to what I would imagine being at the top of a best movie list. Everything besides Shawshank that is, which I agree is a fantastic movie but I was a little surprised to see it ranked quite so high.

    1. Shawshank is so high largely because of the IMDb list where it is number 1. It's a little high for my liking.

  2. Here's a contra list with more emphasis on world cinema