Greatest Movies of All Time

What's the greatest movie of all time? If you ask that question to 100 people you'd probably get well over 25 different films thrown back at you. The question has been debated for years and as films are subjective can we really ever crown just one film the greatest of all time? For the past couple of months I've been compiling my own list based on other top film lists. I've assigned each film on these lists a certain number of points based on their placing to try and create the ultimate top movie list. After looking at a total of twelve lists and polls 741 movies received at least a point.

I awarded films between one and ten points depending on where they appeared on a list and one point if they appeared on an A-Z list, plus a point for each Best Picture Oscar winner and a further point for winning five or more Oscars. 

Deciding which lists to include and which to ignore was difficult. Various lists have pros and cons. In the end I decided to include as many as I could in order to spread my net the widest. The only lists I purposely ignored were country specific lists such as the AFI and BFI top film lists. Below are the lists I chose and what I think is good and bad about each one.

The IMDb Top 250
Pros - Voted for my movie fans worldwide, open to any film, from any era and any country.
Cons - Populist and skewed towards the modern era.
Most surprising inclusion - Star Trek (2009)

Sight & Sound's Top 250
Pros - Highly regarded, voted for by film makers and critics. 
Cons - Skewed towards older films, features a lot of movies most people will never have heard of, let alone seen.
Most surprising inclusion - Listen to Britain (1942)

Rotten Tomatoes Top 100
Pros - One of the internet's most popular critical websites.
Cons - Difficult to distinguish between films as so many have 100%.
Most surprising inclusion - Sound City (2013)

Time Magazine's Top 100
Pros - World famous magazine, list open to any film made after 1923.
Cons - Voted for by just a couple of men, ignores films made before 1923.
Most surprising inclusion - The Apu Trilogy

Entertainment Weekly's Top 100 Movies
Pros - A well judged list which balances new and old, American and rest of the world.
Cons - Voted for by just one man, out dated.
Most surprising inclusion - The Producers (1968)

Empire Magazine's Top 500 (note I only included top 250 from this list)
Pros - One of the world's biggest movie magazines, voted by critics and fans alike.
Cons - Populist, blockbuster heavy, fan boy friendly.
Most surprising inclusion - School of Rock (2003)

Total Film Magazine's Top 100
Pros - Like Empire it's well read, voted for by critics and movie fans.
Cons - See Empire.
Most surprising inclusion - Avatar (2009)

Guinness Book of Film Top 100
Pros - Offers five movies per genre which gives under represented genres a chance to shine.
Cons - Features some laughable inclusions.
Most surprising inclusion(s) - Armageddon (1998), Evita (1996), Con Air (1997), Ghost (1990)  

Critics Lists (Roger Ebert's Top 10, A.O. Scott's Top 12 & Mark Kermode's Top 10)
Pros - The favourite movies of influential film critics who watch more films than most.
Cons - Subjective, don't go deep.
Most surprising inclusion - Love and Death (1975)

Oscars (a point for a Best Picture win and a second point for 5 or more awards)
Pros - The world's premier film awards, highly respected and sought after.
Cons - Only started in 1927, American bias, known for getting it wrong.
Most surprising inclusion(s) - Cimarron (1931), Titanic (1997)



  1. An interesting idea. My only concern would be how under-represented genres like science fiction and horror are on such lists. Even the best of them tend to get short shrift and many deserve more consideration.

    Still, I'm curious to see the results. Personally, I think I'd hand it to Casablanca.

    1. That's a good point about horror and sci fi. I considered including lists of just best of genres but unless I included one of each genre I'd be giving an unfair advantage to some films. I want to try and make it as inclusive as possible but I agree thst certain genres are often short changed.

  2. This sounds like something I would love to do if I had more free time. I'm a sucker for statistics like this. I imagine that two of those films are Casablanca and Citizen Kane. Possibly Psycho as well.

    1. Only one of those films is on all six lists. The other two are on all but one and I expect all three will be in the top 25 but I've still got some way to go. I've been considering including genre specific lists but giving them less weight.

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