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The Greatest Films of All Time



This list is my personal opinion. I have seen all the films on the AFI top 100 list, as well as a ton of films on AFI’s 400 nominated film list. I have seen a bunch of foreign movies offered by the Criterion Collection. I have also seen some American movies offered by the Criterion Collection. I have even seen foreign movies not offered by the Criterion Collection. Despite all my movie watching, I still have a ways to go and so this list, unfortunately, is incomplete. I figure I have at least 100 or 250 foreign films I need to watch before I truly feel like I have a good foundation for making a “Top Films” list. Plus, I need to watch an additional 150 or 200 English language films so that I have the domestic classics sufficiently covered. So, I figure I have about 350 films I need to watch in order to feel good about my film list compiling qualifications. Take this list with a grain of salt. For a more qualified list, check out the top 1000 films compiled by

Judging methodology: (my objective view of the film) + (my personal appreciation for the film) + (my take on the film’s significance) – (recency bias).

  1. Objective view of the film: this is when I step back and evaluate how good the film was. It’s not a measure of my enjoyment or entertainment. It’s about technical skill, richness, and depth. It’s about how well the story was told and how well the film making was executed. This is one of the criteria that puts Citizen Kane on top of every movie list.
  2. Personal appreciation for the film: this plays a pretty big role. There are movies that I just love and can’t get out of my head. Those films will score high on my list.
  3. Film’s significance: technological achievements, artistic achievements, and social achievements all get lumped into this category. Some films  just seem important. I don’t know why.
  4. Recency bias: basically if I saw a film recently (like Lincoln) and thought it was equally as awesome as a film I saw a while ago (It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World) the recently viewed film well get penalized. The reason for this is that as times goes by I tend to develop a lesser opinion about films. Which means a year from now I may think that Lincoln is somewhat awesome and not fully awesome. Anyway, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is easily one of my favorite comedies of all time so it would rank higher than Lincoln if I was to omit the my objective view of the film and film’s significance criteria.

I tried to make this film as objective as possible, while still reflecting my taste in movies. I hope you enjoy this list and if you want know what my favorite films are check out my favorite films of all time.

 The Greatest Films Of All Time

  1. The Rules of the Game
  2. Citizen Kane
  3. Rashomon
  4. M
  5. Grand Illusion
  6. Casablanca
  7. Bicycle Thieves
  8. Lawrence of Arabia
  9. The Seven Samurai
  10. The Godfather
  11. Metropolis
  12. The Wizard of Oz
  13. Breathless
  14. On the Waterfront
  15. Schindler’s List
  16. The Grapes of Wrath
  17. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  18. Raging Bull
  19. Un Chien Andalou
  20. Gone With the Wind
  21. Tokyo Story
  22. La Dolce Vita
  23. L’Avventura
  24. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
  25. The Seventh Seal
  26. The Best Years of Our Lives
  27. Sansho the Bailiff
  28. Some Like it Hot
  29. Come and See
  30. Modern Times
  31. The Battle of Algiers
  32. Rear Window
  33. The Searchers
  34. Rebecca
  35. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  36. The Maltese Falcon
  37. Jules and Jim
  38. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  39. Persona
  40. La Strada
  41. Double Indemnity
  42. Sunset Boulevard
  43. Battleship Potemkin
  44. In the Mood for Love
  45. Star Wars: A New Hope
  46. Chinatown
  47. Aguirre, the Wrath of God
  48. Army of Shadows
  49. Cool Hand Luke
  50. Psycho
  51. A Bridge on the River Kwai
  52. The 400 Blows
  53. 12 Angry Men
  54. The Wages of Fear
  55. High Noon
  56. A Clockwork Orange
  57. The Last Picture Show
  58. Andrei Rublev
  59. 8 1/2
  60. Playtime
  61. To Kill A Mockingbird
  62. Contempt
  63. Bonny and Clyde
  64. Nosferatu
  65. Apocalypse Now
  66. Paths of Glory
  67. It Happened One Night
  68. All About Eve
  69. Fanny and Alexander
  70. Night of the Hunter
  71. Annie Hall
  72. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
  73. Singin’ in the Rain
  74. Ashes and Diamonds
  75. Ikiru
  76. From Here to Eternity
  77. Dog Day Afternoon
  78. Throne of Blood
  79. The Sweet Smell of Success
  80. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  81. It’s a Wonderful Life
  82. Women in the Dunes
  83. Taxi Driver
  84. The Exterminating Angel
  85. The Lost Weekend
  86. Nashville
  87. Wild Strawberries
  88. The Sound of Music
  89. Stagecoach
  90. Apu Trilogy
  91. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  92. Raise the Red Lantern
  93. The Godfather II
  94. Badlands
  95. Shane
  96. Solaris
  97. Bringing Up Baby
  98. Vertigo
  99. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
  100. Cries and Whispers
  101. A Touch of Evil
  102. North By Northwest
  103. Ben Hur
  104. Knife in the Water
  105. The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeois
  106. All The President’s Men
  107. Doctor Zhivago
  108. Ran
  109. American Beauty
  110. The Wild Bunch
  111. The Conformist
  112. My Fair Lady
  113. The Graduate
  114. Blade Runner
  115. Three Colors Trilogy
  116. Late Spring
  117. Do The Right Thing
  118. Le Samouraï
  119. The Deer Hunter
  120. East of Eden
  121. Ugetsu Monogatari
  122. The Face of Another
  123. Days of Heaven
  124. Chungking Express
  125. Sons of the Desert
  126. Stalker
  127. Sullivan’s Travels
  128. Spirited Away

I have seen all of these movies. Though, I wish I had kept notes on some of them because many of the flicks are quite fuzzy in my brain. Anyway, this list is just an opinion. Don’t get too upset if you don’t like the order or feel I have omitted some deserving films. I don’t know why this list went all the way until 127. I honestly feel I should have cut it off at around 50 or 60 so that it would feature strictly the best (in my opinion) films. But, each time I wanted to stop I just HAD to add one more. Once I reached the 100’s I was pretty much adding random films that I though were really good. I admit, this list loses a lot of steam towards the end. I believe the beginning of the list has way more foreign films than the latter part of the list. Not sure why that is, maybe I’m hallucinating.

Facts about the list:

Average year for the films is: 1960.1
Average year for the top 10 is: 1947.7
Average year for the top 30 is: 1951.6
Average year for the bottom 30 is: 1969.8

Films by decade:

1920’s: 5
1930’s: 11
1940’s: 13
1950’s: 37
1960’s: 27
1970’s: 22
1980’s: 6
1990’s: 5
2000’s: 2

The highest ranked movies from the 1920’s are: Metropolis (11) and Un Chien Andalou (19)
The highest ranked movies from the 1930’s are: The Rules of the Game (1) and M (4)
The highest ranked movies from the 1940’s are: Citizen Kane (2) and Casblanca (6)
The highest ranked movies from the 1950’s are: Rashomon (3) and The Seven Samurai (9)
The highest ranked movies from the 1960’s are: Lawrence of Arabia (8) and Breathless (13)
The highest ranked movies from the 1970’s are: The Godfather (10) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (38)
The highest ranked movies from the 1980’s are: Raging Bull (18) and Come and See (29)
The highest ranked movies from the 1990’s are: Schindler’s List (15) and Raise the Red Lantern (92)
The highest ranked movies from the 2000’s are: In the Mood for Love (44) and Spirited Away (128)

1957 and 1954 had the most films represented on this list of any year (7).
52 of the 127 films are foreign (non English).
Average year of foreign films is 1960.3

More stats to come!

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