A couple times a year a discussion comes up on what the ‘Best Movie of All Time‘ is. While there is a consensus at what some of the Best Movies are by popular vote, there is no such thing as a right or wrong answer on the subject. Whenever someone asks me about my favorite movie I end up listing a handful of films because it’s impossible for me to narrow it down in the moment. I wanted to get to the bottom of this and have a definitive answer, so what did I do? I started to make a list.
The proper way to do this would be to categorize it by genre, but that’s a lot of work, so maybe we can do that in the future — for now we’ll stick to my personal list. Writing down film after film, I ended up getting to about 80 different movies before I stopped, 76 to be exact. I tried my best to cut the fat as best as I could and I narrowed it down to 50. So these are my Top 50 Movies of All Time.
It’s nearly impossible to begin to rate them, so this list is up for grabs because I don’t think I could do it. Some of these picks are full-fledge franchises (not all movies are equally as good in any give series, but I can’t leave any out) and I don’t have any animated films on here either because that will turn into a list of its own — I will save that for later.
As I final note, you have to take into account that I was born in 1990. That doesn’t mean I’m devoid to liking classics films like Citizen Kane, Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind or Lawrence of Arabia — they just didn’t have an impact on me the same way the films on this list did. If I wanted to put on my critical hat and dive into every aspect of film, impact and timelessness, yes, they would have to be on there. Just know again, that this is my list, my preference and my rules.
Follow below and check out my opinion on the matter. Do you agree? Disagree? Am I crazy? What did I miss? Let me know in the comment section below and let’s dig into it.
American History X, The Deer Hunter, Taxi Driver, Predator, Rain Man, A Few Good Men, The Prestige, Scent of a Women, Blood Diamond, Thin Red Line, Contact, The Piano, Amadeus, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind & Seven Samurai.
My Top 50 Movies of All Time
Jurassic ParkIn Steven Spielberg’s massive blockbuster, paleontologists Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler and mathematician Ian Malcolm are among a select group chosen to tour an island theme park populated by dinosaurs created from prehistoric DNA. While the park’s mastermind, billionaire John Hammond, assures everyone that the facility is safe, they find out otherwise when various ferocious predators break free and go on the hunt.
JawsWhen a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island, police chief Martin Brody wants to close the beaches, but mayor Larry Vaughn overrules him, fearing that the loss of tourist revenue will cripple the town. Ichthyologist Matt Hooper and grizzled ship captain Quint offer to help Brody capture the killer beast, and the trio engage in an epic battle of man vs. nature.
GladiatorSet in Roman times, the story of a once-powerful general forced to become a common gladiator. The emperor’s son is enraged when he is passed over as heir in favour of his father’s favourite general. He kills his father and arranges the murder of the general’s family, and the general is sold into slavery to be trained as a gladiator – but his subsequent popularity in the arena threatens the throne.
Shawshank RedemptionAndy Dufresne is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murders of his wife and her lover and is sentenced to a tough prison. However, only Andy knows he didn’t commit the crimes. While there, he forms a friendship with Red, experiences brutality of prison life, adapts, helps the warden, etc., all in 19 years.
InceptionDom Cobb is a thief with the rare ability to enter people’s dreams and steal their secrets from their subconscious. His skill has made him a hot commodity in the world of corporate espionage but has also cost him everything he loves. Cobb gets a chance at redemption when he is offered a seemingly impossible task: Plant an idea in someone’s mind. If he succeeds, it will be the perfect crime, but a dangerous enemy anticipates Cobb’s every move.
InterstellarIn Earth’s future, a global crop blight and second Dust Bowl are slowly rendering the planet uninhabitable. Professor Brand, a brilliant NASA physicist, is working on plans to save mankind by transporting Earth’s population to a new home via a wormhole. But first, Brand must send former NASA pilot Cooper and a team of researchers through the wormhole and across the galaxy to find out which of three planets could be mankind’s new home.
Close Encounters of the Third KindScience fiction adventure about a group of people who attempt to contact alien intelligence. Roy Neary witnesses an unidentified flying object, and even has a “sunburn” from its bright lights to prove it. Roy refuses to accept an explanation for what he saw and is prepared to give up his life to pursue the truth about UFOs.
AvatarOn the lush alien world of Pandora live the Na’vi, beings who appear primitive but are highly evolved. Because the planet’s environment is poisonous, human/Na’vi hybrids, called Avatars, must link to human minds to allow for free movement on Pandora. Jake Sully, a paralyzed former Marine, becomes mobile again through one such Avatar and falls in love with a Na’vi woman. As a bond with her grows, he is drawn into a battle for the survival of her world.
The Lord of the Rings TrilogyThe future of civilization rests in the fate of the One Ring, which has been lost for centuries. Powerful forces are unrelenting in their search for it. But fate has placed it in the hands of a young Hobbit named Frodo Baggins, who inherits the Ring and steps into legend. A daunting task lies ahead for Frodo when he becomes the Ringbearer – to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom where it was forged.
Harry Potter FranchiseHarry Potter is a series of fantasy novels written by British author J. K. Rowling. The novels chronicle the lives of a young wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Indiana Jones TrilogyIndiana Jones is an American media franchise based on the adventures of Dr. Henry Walton “Indiana” Jones, Jr., a fictional professor of archaeology that began in 1981 with the film Raiders of the Lost Ark. A prequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, was released in 1984.
Star Wars FranchiseStar Wars is an American epic space-opera media franchise created by George Lucas, which began with the eponymous 1977 film and quickly became a worldwide pop-culture phenomenon.
Batman (Nolan Trilogy)A young Bruce Wayne travels to the Far East, where he’s trained in the martial arts by Henri Ducard, a member of the mysterious League of Shadows. When Ducard reveals the League’s true purpose — the complete destruction of Gotham City — Wayne returns to Gotham intent on cleaning up the city without resorting to murder. With the help of Alfred, his loyal butler, and Lucius Fox, a tech expert at Wayne Enterprises, Batman is born.
Pirates of the Caribbean FranchisePirates of the Caribbean is a series of fantasy swashbuckler films produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and loosely based on Walt Disney’s eponymous theme park attraction.
The Matrix TrilogyThe Matrix is an American media franchise created by the Wachowskis. The series primarily consists of a trilogy of science fiction action films beginning with The Matrix (1999) and continuing with two sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions (both in 2003), all written and directed by the Wachowskis and produced by Joel Silver.
The Marvel Cinematic UniverseThe Marvel Cinematic Universe is an American media franchise and shared universe centered on a series of superhero films, independently produced by Marvel Studios and based on characters that appear in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.
Alien FranchiseIn deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate a distress call from an alien vessel. The terror begins when the crew encounters a nest of eggs inside the alien ship. An organism from inside an egg leaps out and attaches itself to one of the crew, causing him to fall into a coma.
The Godfather TrilogyWidely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, this mob drama, based on Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name, focuses on the powerful Italian-American crime family of Don Vito Corleone. When the don’s youngest son, Michael, reluctantly joins the Mafia, he becomes involved in the inevitable cycle of violence and betrayal. Although Michael tries to maintain a normal relationship with his wife, Kay, he is drawn deeper into the family business.
The PianistIn this adaptation of the autobiography “The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945,” Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish Jewish radio station pianist, sees Warsaw change gradually as World War II begins. Szpilman is forced into the Warsaw Ghetto, but is later separated from his family during Operation Reinhard. From this time until the concentration camp prisoners are released, Szpilman hides in various locations among the ruins of Warsaw.
Saving Private RyanCaptain John Miller takes his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have been killed in combat. Surrounded by the brutal realties of war, while searching for Ryan, each man embarks upon a personal journey and discovers their own strength to triumph over an uncertain future with honor, decency and courage.
The Last SamuraiCapt. Nathan Algren is an American military officer hired by the Emperor of Japan to train the country’s first army in the art of modern warfare. As the government attempts to eradicate the ancient Samurai warrior class in preparation for more Westernized and trade-friendly policies, Algren finds himself unexpectedly affected by his encounters with the Samurai, which places him at the center of a struggle between two eras and two worlds.
Life is BeautifulA gentle Jewish-Italian waiter, Guido Orefice, meets Dora, a pretty schoolteacher, and wins her over with his charm and humor. Eventually they marry and have a son, Giosue. Their happiness is abruptly halted, however, when Guido and Giosue are separated from Dora and taken to a concentration camp. Determined to shelter his son from the horrors of his surroundings, Guido convinces Giosue that their time in the camp is merely a game.
BraveheartWilliam Wallace is the medieval Scottish patriot who is spurred into revolt against the English when the love of his life is slaughtered. Leading his army into battles that become a war, his advance into England threatens King Edward I’s throne before he is captured and executed, but not before becoming a symbol for a free Scotland.
Good Will HuntingWill Hunting has a genius-level IQ but chooses to work as a janitor at MIT. When he solves a difficult graduate-level math problem, his talents are discovered by Professor Gerald Lambeau, who decides to help the misguided youth reach his potential. When Will is arrested for attacking a police officer, Professor Lambeau makes a deal to get leniency for him if he will get treatment from therapist Sean Maguire.
ScarfaceAfter getting a green card in exchange for assassinating a Cuban government official, Tony Montana stakes a claim on the drug trade in Miami. Viciously murdering anyone who stands in his way, Tony eventually becomes the biggest drug lord in the state, controlling nearly all the cocaine that comes through Miami. But increased pressure from the police, wars with Colombian drug cartels and his own drug-fueled paranoia serve to fuel the flames of his eventual downfall.
A Beautiful MindA human drama inspired by events in the life of John Forbes Nash Jr., and in part based on the biography “A Beautiful Mind” by Sylvia Nasar. From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash Jr. experienced it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash soon found himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery.
Into the WildChristopher McCandless, son of wealthy parents, graduates from Emory University as a top student and athlete. However, instead of embarking on a prestigious and profitable career, he chooses to give his savings to charity, rid himself of his possessions, and set out on a journey to the Alaskan wilderness.
E.T. the Extra-TerrestrialAfter a gentle alien becomes stranded on Earth, the being is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott. Bringing the extraterrestrial into his suburban California house, Elliott introduces E.T., as the alien is dubbed, to his brother and his little sister, Gertie, and the children decide to keep its existence a secret. Soon, however, E.T. falls ill, resulting in government intervention and a dire situation for both Elliott and the alien.
Blade Runner 2049Officer K, a new blade runner for the Los Angeles Police Department, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. His discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard, a former blade runner who’s been missing for 30 years.
2001: A Space OdysseyAn imposing black structure provides a connection between the past and the future in this enigmatic adaptation of a short story by revered sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke. When Dr. Dave Bowman and other astronauts are sent on a mysterious mission, their ship’s computer system, HAL, begins to display increasingly strange behavior, leading up to a tense showdown between man and machine that results in a mind-bending trek through space and time.
Almost FamousSet in 1973, it chronicles the funny and often poignant coming of age of 15-year-old William, an unabashed music fan who is inspired by the seminal bands of the time. When his love of music lands him an assignment from Rolling Stone magazine to interview the up-and-coming band Stillwater — fronted by lead guitar Russell Hammond and lead singer Jeff Bebe William embarks on an eye-opening journey with the band’s tour, despite the objections of his protective mother.
Rocky FranchiseRocky Balboa, a small-time boxer from working-class Philadelphia, is arbitrarily chosen to take on the reigning world heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed, when the undefeated fighter’s scheduled opponent is injured. While training with feisty former bantamweight contender Mickey Goldmill, Rocky tentatively begins a relationship with Adrian, the wallflower sister of his meat-packer pal Paulie.
TitanicJames Cameron’s “Titanic” is an epic, action-packed romance set against the ill-fated maiden voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic; the pride and joy of the White Star Line and, at the time, the largest moving object ever built. She was the most luxurious liner of her era — the “ship of dreams” — which ultimately carried over 1,500 people to their death in the ice cold waters of the North Atlantic in the early hours of April 15, 1912.
The Social NetworkIn 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer genius Mark Zuckerberg begins work on a new concept that eventually turns into the global social network known as Facebook. Six years later, he is one of the youngest billionaires ever, but Zuckerberg finds that his unprecedented success leads to both personal and legal complications when he ends up on the receiving end of two lawsuits, one involving his former friend. Based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires.”
ArrivalLinguistics professor Louise Banks leads an elite team of investigators when gigantic spaceships touch down in 12 locations around the world. As nations teeter on the verge of global war, Banks and her crew must race against time to find a way to communicate with the extraterrestrial visitors. Hoping to unravel the mystery, she takes a chance that could threaten her life and quite possibly all of mankind.
8 MileThe people of Detroit know 8 Mile as the city limit, a border, a boundary. It is also a psychological dividing line that separates Jimmy Smith Jr. from where and who he wants to be. A provocative fictional examination of a critical week in Jimmy’s life.
DriveDriver is a skilled Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver for criminals. Though he projects an icy exterior, lately he’s been warming up to a pretty neighbor named Irene and her young son, Benicio. When Irene’s husband gets out of jail, he enlists Driver’s help in a million-dollar heist. The job goes horribly wrong, and Driver must risk his life to protect Irene and Benicio from the vengeful masterminds behind the robbery.
The ShiningJack Torrance becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer’s block. He settles in along with his wife, Wendy, and his son, Danny, who is plagued by psychic premonitions. As Jack’s writing goes nowhere and Danny’s visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel’s dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell-bent on terrorizing his family.
The RevenantWhile exploring the uncharted wilderness in 1823, frontiersman Hugh Glass sustains life-threatening injuries from a brutal bear attack. When a member of his hunting team kills his young son and leaves him for dead, Glass must utilize his survival skills to find a way back to civilization. Grief-stricken and fueled by vengeance, the legendary fur trapper treks through the snowy terrain to track down the man who betrayed him.
Schindler’s ListBusinessman Oskar Schindler arrives in Krakow in 1939, ready to make his fortune from World War II, which has just started. After joining the Nazi party primarily for political expediency, he staffs his factory with Jewish workers for similarly pragmatic reasons. When the SS begins exterminating Jews in the Krakow ghetto, Schindler arranges to have his workers protected to keep his factory in operation, but soon realizes that in so doing, he is also saving innocent lives.
Forrest GumpSlow-witted Forrest Gump has never thought of himself as disadvantaged, and thanks to his supportive mother, he leads anything but a restricted life. Whether dominating on the gridiron as a college football star, fighting in Vietnam or captaining a shrimp boat, Forrest inspires people with his childlike optimism. But one person Forrest cares about most may be the most difficult to save — his childhood love, the sweet but troubled Jenny.
Fight ClubA depressed man suffering from insomnia meets a strange soap salesman named Tyler Durden and soon finds himself living in his squalid house after his perfect apartment is destroyed. The two bored men form an underground club with strict rules and fight other men who are fed up with their mundane lives. Their perfect partnership frays when Marla, a fellow support group crasher, attracts Tyler’s attention.
GoodfellasA young man grows up in the mob and works very hard to advance himself through the ranks. He enjoys his life of money and luxury, but is oblivious to the horror that he causes. A drug addiction and a few mistakes ultimately unravel his climb to the top. Based on the book “Wiseguy” by Nicholas Pileggi.
Requiem for a DreamImaginatively evoking the inner landscape of human beings longing to connect, to love and feel loved, the film is a parable of happiness gloriously found and tragically lost. “Requiem for a Dream” tells parallel stories that are linked by the relationship between the lonely, widowed Sara Goldfarb and her sweet but aimless son, Harry. The plump Sara, galvanized by the prospect of appearing on a TV game show, has started on a dangerous diet regimen to beautify herself for a national audience.
The Silence of the LambsJodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI’s training academy. Jack Crawford wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight into a case and that Starling, as an attractive young woman, may be just the bait to draw him out.
No Country for Old MenWhile out hunting, Llewelyn Moss finds the grisly aftermath of a drug deal. Though he knows better, he cannot resist the cash left behind and takes it with him. The hunter becomes the hunted when a merciless killer named Chigurh picks up his trail. Also looking for Moss is Sheriff Bell, an aging lawman who reflects on a changing world and a dark secret of his own, as he tries to find and protect Moss.
There Will Be Blood Ruthless silver miner, turned oil prospector, Daniel Plainview moves to oil-rich California. Using his adopted son HW to project a trustworthy, family-man image, Plainview cons local landowners into selling him their valuable properties for a pittance. However, local preacher Eli Sunday suspects Plainviews motives and intentions, starting a slow-burning feud that threatens both their lives.
The Kings SpeechEngland’s Prince Albert must ascend the throne as King George VI, but he has a speech impediment. Knowing that the country needs her husband to be able to communicate effectively, Elizabeth hires Lionel Logue, an Australian actor and speech therapist, to help him overcome his stammer. An extraordinary friendship develops between the two men, as Logue uses unconventional means to teach the monarch how to speak with confidence.
WarriorAn estranged family finds redemption in the unlikeliest of places: the MMA ring. Tommy, an ex-Marine with a tragic past, returns home and enlists his father, a recovering alcoholic and former wrestling coach, to train him for “Sparta,” the biggest MMA tournament ever held. But when Tommy’s underdog brother, Brendan, fights his way into the tournament, the two brothers must finally confront each other and the forces that pulled them apart.
Ex MachinaCaleb Smith a programmer at a huge Internet company, wins a contest that enables him to spend a week at the private estate of Nathan Bateman, his firm’s brilliant CEO. When he arrives, Caleb learns that he has been chosen to be the human component in a Turing test to determine the capabilities and consciousness of Ava, a beautiful robot. However, it soon becomes evident that Ava is far more self-aware and deceptive than either man imagined.
What’s number one if I had to pick?
If I had to pick one, point blank — What’s your favorite movie of all time? It’s Jurassic Park.
While these are my favorites, what are the films you’ve seen the most? For example, when October rolls around I’ll watch Halloween every year, when December rolls around I’ll watch Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Home Alone a few times, when summer hits I’ll watch The Way Way Back and when I need a feel good movie to get me out of a bad mood I’ll watch something like Step Brothers or various Adam Sandler flicks.
This happens every year on repeat… funny when you think about it — the movie you’ve seen the most amount of times is probably something tied to a holiday, season or mood, not because it’s your favorite. Don’t you agree?
That’s all I have for now.
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