Actor Robert De Niro in the movie 'The Godfather II.'

100 best dramas of all time

August 4, 2023
Paramount Pictures // Getty Images

100 best dramas of all time

Dramatic elements elicit strong emotions and pull you into the intimate core of human relationships. Drama as a film category spans a range of genres, including horror, thrillers, noirs, and comedy. These movies can center on heartwarming subjects, be viewed with a tissue in hand, or take deep dives into serious matters. Alex Garland's 2024 sci-fi release "Civil War," for instance, explores the United States' potential future under an authoritarian dictatorship. "Dune: Part Two," the eagerly awaited 2024 sequel to Denis Villeneuve's 2021 "Dune" film, invites audiences to consider the corrupting nature of religious power.

This celebrated movie genre has its roots in the term "melodrama," which gets a bad rap as a description for films that are overwrought or sentimental. However, consider how the term "melos," a Greek word for "music," links with drama and becomes a word that captures the way sweeping scores and evocative musical soundtracks work in films to spark deep emotions. It's a drama if it evokes powerful emotions across subjects such as politics, mythology, and technology, among many others. Dramatic themes also appear in animated children's films, classic romances, and dark histories.

If it puts knots in the belly, makes the skin crawl, sets off fireworks, or gets the waterworks flowing, it's a movie indulging in drama in the most pleasurable sense. Drama undergirds suspense and fear. It's the element that makes the audience identify with the characters. Dramas inspire empathy as well as critical thinking.

Stacker examined data, as of July 2023, on more than 4,000 dramas across the globe to come up with a Stacker score—a weighted index between IMDb and Metacritic data. To qualify, a film had to have at least 5,000 IMDb user votes and a Metascore. Ties were broken by IMDb user votes. Every film on the list has been considered according to the cinematic history and development of drama.

Here are the top 100 films guaranteed to move you.

#100. Roma (2018)

- Director: Alfonso Cuarón
- Stacker score: 90.10
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- IMDb user votes: 164,401
- Runtime: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Alfonso Cuarón wrote and directed this loosely autobiographical drama based on his childhood. He cast Yalitza Aparicio in her first acting role as Cleo, a pregnant and unwed housekeeper in 1970s Mexico City. Cuarón's style merges intimate scenes of emotional havoc within the larger context of political unrest.

#99. Before Midnight (2013)

- Director: Richard Linklater
- Stacker score: 90.10
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- IMDb user votes: 165,529
- Runtime: 1 hour and 49 minutes

Actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy co-wrote the third installment of Richard Linklater's "Before" trilogy, which focuses on an American man and French woman and their love story over the years. "Before Midnight" comes nine years after the previous sequel and uses techniques like long takes and naturalistic dialogue to present the nuances of love and relationship throughout time.

#98. Cool Hand Luke (1967)

- Director: Stuart Rosenberg
- Stacker score: 90.10
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 182,812
- Runtime: 2 hours and 7 minutes

"Cool Hand Luke" is one of the most influential prison dramas—films that often present ideas around the caging of the human spirit as a thematic conflict. Paul Newman portrays a charismatic hero, a prisoner infused with an unshakeable rebellious spirit in the face of relentlessly oppressive authority.

#97. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

- Director: Ang Lee
- Stacker score: 90.10
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- IMDb user votes: 276,394
- Runtime: 2 hours

Michelle Yeoh impacted Hollywood screens with this epic action film set in 19th-century imperial China. The film features Yeoh's character, who embarks on an epic chase to retrieve her lover's sword, which was stolen from her. The film won four Academy Awards the following year, including Best Foreign Language Film.

#96. Moonlight (2016)

- Director: Barry Jenkins
- Stacker score: 90.10
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- IMDb user votes: 320,019
- Runtime: 1 hour and 51 minutes

Barry Jenkins creates distinct and original visual poetry in his intimate coming-of-age drama about a boy growing up in Miami. The narrative follows Chiron as a child, teenager, and young adult as he grapples with his identity amid the harshest circumstances. Jenkins offers a complex portrait of Black gay masculinity within a culture bent on betrayal and injustice.

#95. Marriage Story (2019)

- Director: Noah Baumbach
- Stacker score: 90.10
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- IMDb user votes: 327,113
- Runtime: 2 hours and 17 minutes

The intensity of the lead performances in "Marriage Story" adds all-too-relatable anguish to this divorce drama. Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver play creatives—she's an actor, and he's a playwright—who embark on a blistering split. Laura Dern won Best Supporting Actress for her role as a stealthy attorney who goes for the jugular with ease.

#94. The Lives of Others (2006)

- Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
- Stacker score: 90.10
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- IMDb user votes: 398,217
- Runtime: 2 hours and 17 minutes

"The Lives of Others" focuses on an officer hired to spy on a playwright and his lover. As he watches the couple, his objective becomes skewed, along with his loyalties, making for a tense watch as the story unfolds.

#93. Platoon (1986)

- Director: Oliver Stone
- Stacker score: 90.10
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 425,135
- Runtime: 2 hours

Oliver Stone's "Platoon" presents an open critique of the Vietnam War as irrational and corrupt. Charlie Sheen plays a privileged enlistee driven by a sense of patriotic duty that soon tests his humanity as he becomes as violent and brutal as the world around him.

#92. L.A. Confidential (1997)

- Director: Curtis Hanson
- Stacker score: 90.10
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 595,984
- Runtime: 2 hours and 18 minutes

This stylish police procedural updates film noir—a genre exposing the dark underbelly of glitz and the corruption beneath law and order. The ensemble cast of Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger, James Cromwell, and Danny DeVito perform in this classic noir plotline where darkness seduces, and no one's morals make it out unscathed.

#91. The Social Network (2010)

- Director: David Fincher
- Stacker score: 90.10
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- IMDb user votes: 727,321
- Runtime: 2 hours

Jesse Eisenberg plays Mark Zuckerberg in this drama about the invention of Facebook. Aaron Sorkin won an Oscar for adapting the book "The Accidental Billionaires" into a screenplay filled with his signature dialogue—snappy comebacks and long diatribes that prove which characters are the smartest in the room. Director David Fincher centers the story on broken relationships and the social pain that fuels ruthless ambition.

#90. Gravity (2013)

- Director: Alfonso Cuarón
- Stacker score: 90.10
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- IMDb user votes: 843,205
- Runtime: 1 hour and 31 minutes

Sandra Bullock carries the suspense-driven "Gravity" as the single surviving astronaut caught in a harrowing disaster in space. Though co-star George Clooney makes appearances, the film centers on the isolation of a woman forced to face her tragic past and either succumb or work to survive. "Gravity" offers a meditation on the limits of technology and universal fears about being totally alone.

#89. A Brighter Summer Day (1991)

- Director: Edward Yang
- Stacker score: 90.63
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 11,656
- Runtime: 3 hours and 57 minutes

This languid coming-of-age film follows a young boy growing up in Taiwan in the 1960s. The film follows him as he goes through love and loss and slowly begins to lead a life that continues to guide him down the wrong path.

#88. Close-Up (1990)

- Director: Abbas Kiarostami
- Stacker score: 90.63
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 21,425
- Runtime: 1 hour and 38 minutes

Inspired by a true story, director Abbas Kiarostami became fascinated and asked the real counterparts if they would star in his film reenactment. This resulted in one of the most iconic films in Iranian history, one which remains more captivating with every watch.

#87. The Best of Youth (2003)

- Director: Marco Tullio Giordana
- Stacker score: 90.63
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- IMDb user votes: 22,637
- Runtime: 6 hours and 6 minutes

Italian director Marco Tullio Giordana crafts a decades-spanning film with the 2003 "The Best of Youth." The film follows two brothers through the events of not only their lives but the events of postwar Italy. It won the Un Certain Regard Award at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.

#86. Umberto D. (1952)

- Director: Vittorio De Sica
- Stacker score: 90.63
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 26,984
- Runtime: 1 hour and 29 minutes

"Umberto D." follows an elderly man who fakes an illness in an attempt to buy time to collect money to pay rent. It's a realistic portrayal of the differences between the lower and middle classes, not straying away from the harsh realities of life. Despite its sorrowful message, director Vittorio De Sica makes it so you cannot look away.

#85. Red River (1948)

- Directors: Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson
- Stacker score: 90.63
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- IMDb user votes: 32,866
- Runtime: 2 hours and 13 minutes

John Wayne does what he does best in this dramatic 1940s Western, playing Tom, a cattle rancher who finds himself increasingly irritable and stressed as he undertakes an epic cattle drive. In 1990, more than 40 years after its release, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

#84. Jules and Jim (1962)

- Director: François Truffaut
- Stacker score: 90.63
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- IMDb user votes: 43,179
- Runtime: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Released just three years after he changed French cinema with "400 Blows," François Truffaut released another game changer. This film focuses on a love triangle rather than the story of a young boy, though it is just as tragic as his previous film, as it begins at the cusp of World War I.

#83. High and Low (1963)

- Director: Akira Kurosawa
- Stacker score: 90.63
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- IMDb user votes: 48,485
- Runtime: 2 hours and 23 minutes

Unlike his sprawling actions or epics, "High and Low" differs greatly from Akira Kurosawa's other popular films. It follows a wealthy company executive, Kingo Gondo, who attempts a company buyout. His plans are halted when he receives a call that his son has been kidnapped, but he soon finds out the victim is his chauffeur's son instead. This quandary leaves Gondo torn between saving this child's life and pursuing his ambitions.

#82. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

- Director: William Wyler
- Stacker score: 90.63
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 67,604
- Runtime: 2 hours and 50 minutes

William Wyler directed this definitive post-World War II drama about soldiers who return home to small-town life. One of the men was played by real-life veteran Harold Russell, a nonprofessional actor who lost both hands in the war. He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, in addition to an honorary award, for his realistic performance of a man in crisis.

#81. Amour (2012)

- Director: Michael Haneke
- Stacker score: 90.63
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- IMDb user votes: 103,232
- Runtime: 2 hours and 7 minutes

Depicting a heart-wrenching story of an elderly couple as they love and age, "Amour" depicts a harrowing and realistic portrayal of the aftermath of a stroke. The film won the top prize (the Palme d'Or) at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film the following year.

#80. Paths of Glory (1957)

- Director: Stanley Kubrick
- Stacker score: 90.63
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- IMDb user votes: 203,466
- Runtime: 1 hour and 28 minutes

Perhaps Stanley Kubrick's most revered war film, "Paths of Glory" makes its antiwar sentiment clear with its fearless portrayal of morality during World War I. Kirk Douglas plays a heroic colonel who doesn't view his soldiers as expendable, defending them once charges of cowardice are lobbed at them. Though the film was ignored at the Academy Awards, it remains one of Kubrick's more celebrated movies. Douglas would later praise it, telling Roger Ebert: "There's a picture that will always be good, years from now. I don't have to wait 50 years to know that; I know it now."

#79. Manchester by the Sea (2016)

- Director: Kenneth Lonergan
- Stacker score: 90.63
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- IMDb user votes: 295,762
- Runtime: 2 hours and 17 minutes

Casey Affleck won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as a working-class uncle who loses everything and must return to the seaside town he'd prefer to leave behind in order to take care of his nephew. Critics praised the film for its everyday realism and naturalistic performances. Michelle Williams also stars in the film that mixes hard-won moments of peace with heartbreaking anguish.

#78. Chinatown (1974)

- Director: Roman Polanski
- Stacker score: 90.63
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 336,447
- Runtime: 2 hours and 10 minutes

Roman Polanski directed this neo-noir film, influenced by thrillers from the 1940s and 1950s. Jack Nicholson plays a private investigator pulled further into the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles. The ending revelation shocks by making the overarching corruption an intimate terror with no escape hatch.

#77. Spotlight (2015)

- Director: Tom McCarthy
- Stacker score: 90.63
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 484,741
- Runtime: 2 hours and 9 minutes

"Spotlight" was a surprise Best Picture Oscar winner after Alejandro G. Iñárritu won Best Director for "The Revenant." An ensemble cast, including Best Supporting Actor and Actress nominees Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams, stars as part of the team of journalists who broke the true story of child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Boston. The drama unfolds by taking the audience on an investigation fueled by emotional shocks.

#76. La La Land (2016)

- Director: Damien Chazelle
- Stacker score: 90.63
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- IMDb user votes: 620,851
- Runtime: 2 hours and 8 minutes

Damien Chazelle revamped the classic Hollywood musical with this hit set in modern Tinseltown. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling brought star power to this romantic tale that casts a nostalgic eye on bittersweet love. "La La Land" transforms iconic Los Angeles landmarks into set pieces that make this film a love letter to the city and the industry.

#75. Whiplash (2014)

- Director: Damien Chazelle
- Stacker score: 90.63
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- IMDb user votes: 914,309
- Runtime: 1 hour and 46 minutes

J.K. Simmons won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of a relentlessly brutal music teacher with a standard of perfection that can't be reached. Miles Teller plays a new drum student with ambition and drive that can't be tamped down. The two clash. Set in the world of jazz bands, "Whiplash" offers a drama about abusive tactics that can nonetheless drive virtuoso achievement.

#74. No Country for Old Men (2007)

- Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
- Stacker score: 90.63
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 1,008,490
- Runtime: 2 hours and 2 minutes

The Coen brothers' icy meditation on pervasive evil is adapted from Cormac McCarthy's novel. This acclaimed film returns to the Coens' frequent themes around greed, crime, and absurdity. Tommy Lee Jones plays a neo-Western sheriff, and Javier Bardem is the enigmatic villain, Anton Chigurh.

#73. The Dark Knight (2008)

- Director: Christopher Nolan
- Stacker score: 90.63
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- IMDb user votes: 2,738,162
- Runtime: 2 hours and 32 minutes

"The Dark Knight" features a stylish, shadow-filled production design, which captures its bleak and fatalistic themes, linking comic book subjects with philosophical brooding. Critics found Heath Ledger's performance as Joker a work of genius. The late actor received a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar for an influential, scene-stealing role that captured the cultural longing for angst-driven mayhem.

#72. Pépé le Moko (1937)

- Director: Julien Duvivier
- Stacker score: 91.15
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- IMDb user votes: 7,835
- Runtime: 1 hour and 34 minutes

French actor-singer Jean Gabin stars as one of France's most wanted criminals in this whimsical drama. Taking refuge in Algiers, he plans an escape that gets compromised once he meets a woman from Paris and begins to fall in love with her.

#71. Early Summer (1951)

- Director: Yasujirô Ozu
- Stacker score: 91.15
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 9,073
- Runtime: 2 hours and 5 minutes

Though many of his films focus on the same interfamily issues, Yasujirô Ozu's dramas do not get old. Instead of focusing on the people surrounding a woman character and making her decisions for her, this film centers on Noriko, who must choose between marrying her father's business associate or a childhood friend that has come back into her life.

#70. Late Spring (1949)

- Director: Yasujirô Ozu
- Stacker score: 91.15
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 18,137
- Runtime: 1 hour and 48 minutes

Yasujirô Ozu mastered the family drama in his time as a director, and "Late Spring" is undoubtedly his most popular after "Tokyo Story." The film focuses on a young woman caring for her elderly father, who intends to arrange a marriage for her well-being after his death.

#69. Yi Yi (2000)

- Director: Edward Yang
- Stacker score: 91.15
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 26,514
- Runtime: 2 hours and 53 minutes

"Yi Yi" is a heartfelt family drama following a Taiwanese family through three generations. The film does not shy away from topics such as loss and death. It also explores ineffable experiences like regret and lost love. The film is deeply realistic, making it all the more impossible to forget once the film comes to a close.

#68. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

- Director: Otto Preminger
- Stacker score: 91.15
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- IMDb user votes: 68,732
- Runtime: 2 hours and 41 minutes

The courtroom melodrama is a staple of American cinema, and director Otto Preminger's nearly three-hour trial film gives a rapt audience the vicarious thrills of acting as judge and jury. During its release in 1959, the film had a scandalous subject—murder as revenge for assault—presented in what seemed graphic detail. Jimmy Stewart goes against type as a defense attorney who will do what it takes to win.

#67. La Dolce Vita (1960)

- Director: Federico Fellini
- Stacker score: 91.15
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- IMDb user votes: 75,848
- Runtime: 2 hours and 54 minutes

Despite its sprawling runtime of almost three hours, "La Dolce Vita" remains a significant and poignant venture into Italian cinema. The film follows a reporter drifting through life as he falls in love, gets into trouble, and in the end, finds a purpose in life once again. It remains one of Italian cinema's most celebrated films.

#66. My Left Foot (1989)

- Director: Jim Sheridan
- Stacker score: 91.15
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- IMDb user votes: 77,240
- Runtime: 1 hour and 43 minutes

Daniel Day-Lewis won his first Academy Award for Best Actor for this 1989 classic, playing an Irish writer and painter who suffered from cerebral palsy. The film portrays the character with the utmost empathy and allows Lewis to play his character with integrity, sex appeal, and wit.

#65. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

- Director: John Ford
- Stacker score: 91.15
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 79,398
- Runtime: 2 hours and 3 minutes

John Ford's late-career Western pairs Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne, each actor bringing the weight of their star power to their roles. The film unravels the story of Ransom Stoddard (Stewart), who returns to town to attend the funeral of Tom Doniphon (Wayne). Upon his return, Stoddard recounts how, when he first arrived as a young law school graduate, the townspeople were being terrorized by Liberty Valance, and Doniphon was working to defend them. Together, the two worked against Valance, but in their own ways. The film critiques the power that comes with heroism by questioning the ways masculine myths are made.

#64. Ikiru (1952)

- Director: Akira Kurosawa
- Stacker score: 91.15
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 82,633
- Runtime: 2 hours and 23 minutes

While he's known for his riveting epics, director Akira Kurosawa tones it down for this languid character drama. The film, like many of Kurosawa's work, runs for over two hours, laying down a story about a man coming to terms with the news that he has a terminal illness.

#63. Yojimbo (1961)

- Director: Akira Kurosawa
- Stacker score: 91.15
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 126,614
- Runtime: 1 hour and 50 minutes

Influencing the spaghetti Western genre, this film focuses on a ronin who arrives in a town that is fractured by two men at the center of a turf war. Like many of Akira Kurosawa's films, "Yojimbo" eventually turns into a thrilling action film, as the ronin gets the men to eventually turn on each other after asking them both to hire him as their bodyguard.

#62. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

- Director: Frank Capra
- Stacker score: 91.15
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- IMDb user votes: 474,641
- Runtime: 2 hours and 10 minutes

Frank Capra's sentimental take on alternate realities wasn't a hit when it premiered in theaters in 1946. Once released on television, it became a traditional family watch every holiday season, especially considering its copyright had expired and stations could air it for free. Jimmy Stewart, as an everyman who's given a second chance to appreciate the good things in life, gives a performance that captures the fears of losing what's precious. The film offers sweet relief and a happy ending.

#61. There Will Be Blood (2007)

- Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
- Stacker score: 91.15
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 608,556
- Runtime: 2 hours and 38 minutes

Paul Thomas Anderson depicts American economic conquest and cynical capitalist values in this film set within the turn-of-the-century oil industry. Daniel Day-Lewis infuses his oil tycoon with a ruthless intensity in this drama about how those with power prey upon the weak.

#60. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

- Director: Peter Jackson
- Stacker score: 91.15
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- IMDb user votes: 1,712,495
- Runtime: 2 hours and 59 minutes

Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy brings large-scale, spellbinding spectacle intercut with characters pushed to extremes. The second installment is known for showcasing the CGI creature Gollum (Andy Serkis), who epitomizes the dangers of obsession. Battle sequences are widescreen wonders with sweeping movements that put the audience in the middle of the action.

#59. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

- Director: Frank Darabont
- Stacker score: 91.15
- Metascore: 82
- IMDb user rating: 9.3
- IMDb user votes: 2,764,897
- Runtime: 2 hours and 22 minutes

The drama in Shawshank State Prison moves between moments of horrific violence and heartwarming boosts. Morgan Freeman plays Red, the inmate who befriends Andy (Tim Robbins), and their bond grows across harrowing decades, each pulled by the hope of freedom and the promise of a life uncaged.

#58. Au hasard Balthazar (1966)

- Director: Robert Bresson
- Stacker score: 91.67
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- IMDb user votes: 21,726
- Runtime: 1 hour and 35 minutes

"Au hasard Balthazar" follows a donkey with the same name as he is passed from owner to owner for reasons that he cannot understand. Through the filmmakers' use of story and sound, the film becomes a story revered for its empathetic and realistic qualities.

#57. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

- Director: Ernst Lubitsch
- Stacker score: 91.67
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- IMDb user votes: 35,679
- Runtime: 1 hour and 39 minutes

This whip-smart drama crosses the bounds into a romantic comedy, with a charismatic Jimmy Stewart leading the film. It focuses on two characters—Alfred and Klara—who work together in a gift store, much to each other's chagrin. What they don't know, though, is that they are falling for each other through anonymous correspondence. The plot should sound familiar to those who grew up in the 1990s. It was remade into Nora Ephron's "You've Got Mail" with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan headlining.

#56. Sunrise (1927)

- Director: F.W. Murnau
- Stacker score: 91.67
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 52,542
- Runtime: 1 hour and 34 minutes

"Sunrise" follows a married man who falls under the spell of another woman and plots to murder his wife. His plans go awry when he finds his feelings for his wife rekindled. Directed by F.W. Murnau, a master of German expressionism, "Sunrise" features images synched with sound effects and score, paving the way for talkies.

#55. Battleship Potemkin (1925)

- Director: Sergei Eisenstein
- Stacker score: 91.67
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- IMDb user votes: 59,760
- Runtime: 1 hour and 6 minutes

Still taught in film schools today, "Battleship Potemkin" tells the story of sailors who revolt against their superiors due to the poor working conditions on the battleship Potemkin. The political movie brought Soviet cinema to the world's attention. Using various kinds of montage editing, Sergei Eisenstein was able to show what is essentially unfilmable, such as the plight of the masses and the pervasive power of the ruling class. The film was so controversial that it was banned in the United Kingdom until 1954 for fear of an uprising.

#54. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)

- Director: Cristian Mungiu
- Stacker score: 91.67
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- IMDb user votes: 62,051
- Runtime: 1 hour and 53 minutes

Set in communist Romania, the film tells the story of two roommates who attempt to conduct an abortion, which is illegal in the country. Despite being made for $900,000, the film grossed over $10 million worldwide. It also won the Palme d'Or at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

#53. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

- Director: Céline Sciamma
- Stacker score: 91.67
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 100,104
- Runtime: 2 hours and 2 minutes

One of the most celebrated LGBTQ+ films of the past decade, Céline Sciamma's 2019 film focuses on two women: artist Marianne (Noémie Merlant) and her subject Héloïse (Adèle Haenel). As Marianne's painting for Héloïse's groom unfolds, so too does romance between artist and subject. Its subject matter is handled with care, tender in the love it shows between its two main characters, and its slow pace breathing life into a fantastic drama.

#52. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

- Director: Elia Kazan
- Stacker score: 91.67
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- IMDb user votes: 111,627
- Runtime: 2 hours and 2 minutes

Elia Kazan's adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Southern Gothic play offered a coda to romantic notions of femininity. Vivien Leigh plays another Southern belle, but this time, as Blanche DuBois, who is vulnerable and whose feminine wiles seem less a source of power than a cruel charade. Marlon Brando's famous "Stella" wail became an iconic expression of masculine anguish.

#51. Taxi Driver (1976)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 91.67
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 871,374
- Runtime: 1 hour and 54 minutes

"Taxi Driver" centers on the psychotic vigilante Travis Bickle. Robert De Niro captures the character's unpredictable insanity as he descends into violence. Martin Scorsese's thriller also stars Jodie Foster as a child prostitute and presents New York City as the gritty backdrop for Bickle's schemes of revenge that enact the very brutality he rails against.

#50. Quo Vadis, Aida? (2020)

- Director: Jasmila Žbanić
- Stacker score: 92.19
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- IMDb user votes: 36,171
- Runtime: 1 hour and 41 minutes

Director Jasmila Žbanić crafts a dramatization of the Srebrenica massacre through the eyes of a mother, who is a translator for the United Nations. The film won Best International Film at the 2021 Independent Spirit Awards and was also nominated for Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards the same year.

#49. The Battle of Algiers (1966)

- Director: Gillo Pontecorvo
- Stacker score: 92.19
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 62,850
- Runtime: 2 hours and 1 minute

Almost 60 years after its original debut, "The Battle of Algiers" continues to remain poignant. The film recounts the violent conflict that happened when Algerians fought for independence against French rule in the 1950s. By showing the story through the eyes of the revolutionaries—the film was a co-production between Italy and the new Algerian Front de Libération Nationale—and filming as if the camera were spontaneously recording, the film places the viewer right in the middle of the fight.

#48. The Night of the Hunter (1955)

- Director: Charles Laughton
- Stacker score: 92.19
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- IMDb user votes: 92,974
- Runtime: 1 hour and 32 minutes

Robert Mitchum plays a murderous psychopath posing as a preacher who preys on a widow (Shelley Winters) and her children in this slow-burning thriller. In one iconic scene, given homage in Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing," the preacher tells the tale of good and evil with the love and hate tattoos on his fingers that signal the dark side in everyone.

#47. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

- Director: John Ford
- Stacker score: 92.19
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 96,698
- Runtime: 2 hours and 9 minutes

This adaptation of John Steinbeck's classic novel offers a searing look at a family caught in the turmoil of the Great Depression. Director John Ford is better known for his rousing Westerns; however, "The Grapes of Wrath" is a quiet masterpiece that uses melodrama and stark black-and-white compositions to depict extremes of poverty and injustice in migrant communities. Henry Fonda plays Tom, a man caught in a desperate system. He vows to fight the power, giving the film's social justice themes contemporary resonance.

#46. The Apartment (1960)

- Director: Billy Wilder
- Stacker score: 92.19
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 187,782
- Runtime: 2 hours and 5 minutes

Billy Wilder directed this classic romance that sizzles with an undercurrent of heartache. There's a spark for the lovebirds (Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon), but they're both caught in a seedy city where love seems impossible. Lemmon plays a junior exec who rents out his apartment as a love nest to higher-ups, and MacLaine plays an elevator operator caught in the fray.

#45. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

- Director: Steve McQueen
- Stacker score: 92.19
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 718,965
- Runtime: 2 hours and 14 minutes

Steve McQueen's Best Picture Oscar winner adapts the true story of Solomon Northrup, a free Black man kidnapped and sold into slavery during the 1800s. The film depicts unbearable violence and irrational injustice that make up the horrors of slavery. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Northrup, who, though free by the film's conclusion, endures tortures that belie a happy ending or offer the audience relief over the true history of which they've witnessed a mere glimpse.

#44. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Stacker score: 92.19
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- IMDb user votes: 1,432,345
- Runtime: 2 hours and 49 minutes

"Saving Private Ryan" redefined the war film with its harrowing opening battle sequence of troops storming the beach on D-Day in 1944. Director Steven Spielberg and cinematographer Janusz Kamiński captured the visceral elements of combat with desaturated film stock and a hand-held camera indifferent to the chaos of death and suffering. Matt Damon starred as Private James Ryan, a soldier who needs to go home, with Tom Hanks as the sensitive English teacher turned army captain.

#43. Past Lives (2023)

- Director: Celine Song
- Stacker score: 92.71
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- IMDb user votes: 5,584
- Runtime: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Celine Song makes her directorial debut with this tender film about lost love and reconciliation as two childhood friends reunite for one week. The film is languid in its pace, allowing the decades that are displayed in it to unfold slowly as if the viewer is in the same position as the characters.

#42. The Rules of the Game (1939)

- Director: Jean Renoir
- Stacker score: 92.71
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- IMDb user votes: 30,304
- Runtime: 1 hour and 50 minutes

Walking the tightrope between drama and comedy, "The Rules of the Game" follows various upper-class French society folks and the people they employ before World War II breaks out. At the time of its release in 1939, the film elicited a violent response, and its original negative was destroyed during World War II. It was reconstructed in 1959 and has been revered for its adept use of the full camera; actors come and go in the background, middle ground, and foreground, hinting at subplots.

#41. Rififi (1955)

- Director: Jules Dassin
- Stacker score: 92.71
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 35,779
- Runtime: 1 hour and 58 minutes

This French film follows a jewel thief as he embarks on the biggest heist of his career along with three other ex-cons. It appears to be going according to plan, but as the film continues, it becomes clear that the characters' endeavors may threaten the lives of every party involved. The film's 30-minute heist scene was shot in near silence and has influenced the genre in its wake.

#40. Double Indemnity (1944)

- Director: Billy Wilder
- Stacker score: 92.71
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 161,615
- Runtime: 1 hour and 47 minutes

Billy Wilder's sinister film noir dramatizes insurance fraud and murder, but the seduction of crime itself drives the real story. Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray star as a married woman and an insurance salesman who team up in this cynical thriller that revels in criminality and roots for the couple to get away with it.

#39. Sunset Blvd. (1950)

- Director: Billy Wilder
- Stacker score: 92.71
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- IMDb user votes: 228,245
- Runtime: 1 hour and 50 minutes

This iconic moving picture depicts what cinemagoers love: a classic Hollywood tale. The film focuses on an aging silent film star who hires a young screenwriter in an attempt to make her Hollywood comeback. It's not only unabashed in its humor but also its warnings of fame and fortune.

#38. A Separation (2011)

- Director: Asghar Farhadi
- Stacker score: 92.71
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 250,601
- Runtime: 2 hours and 3 minutes

As the name suggests, this film follows a couple on the brink of divorce after they cannot decide whether to stay in Iran to care for a parent with Alzheimer's disease or migrate for a better life. "A Separation" became the first Iranian film to win an Academy Award in 2012, taking home the award for Best Foreign Language Film.

#37. Apocalypse Now (1979)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 92.71
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- IMDb user votes: 685,581
- Runtime: 2 hours and 27 minutes

Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" takes the adage "war is hell" to hallucinatory and brutal extremes. This Vietnam War film is widely considered a masterpiece despite numerous versions and documented chaos during production. "Apocalypse Now" offers a cinematic rendition of the insanity of the era and the events it depicts.

#36. Children of Paradise (1945)

- Director: Marcel Carné
- Stacker score: 93.23
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 20,596
- Runtime: 3 hours and 9 minutes

Actor, singer, and model Arletty stars as Claire, a courtesan who is the subject of the infatuation of four men. What follows is a story about lust and how it can enrich, ruin, and entangle multiple lives.

#35. The Conformist (1970)

- Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
- Stacker score: 93.23
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- IMDb user votes: 32,222
- Runtime: 1 hour and 53 minutes

Adapted from the Alberto Moravia novel of the same name, "The Conformist" follows an Italian man who travels to France in an attempt to assassinate his former professor. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and is still regarded as one of the best political films in history.

#34. Notorious (1946)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 93.23
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- IMDb user votes: 104,084
- Runtime: 1 hour and 42 minutes

Alfred Hitchcock's mastery of suspense goes full tilt in the spy drama "Notorious." Cary Grant plays an agent who falls for his mole (Ingrid Bergman). Their thwarted love story overlays the plot about uncovering Nazis, but their romance itself seems just as dark and twisted by the end.

#33. Touch of Evil (1958)

- Director: Orson Welles
- Stacker score: 93.23
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8
- IMDb user votes: 107,277
- Runtime: 1 hour and 35 minutes

The white movie star Charlton Heston plays a Mexican man in the classic noir "Touch of Evil," his hair and face makeup effectively using "brownface." At the same time, Latino actors in smaller roles conform to racial stereotypes. "Touch of Evil" is considered one of Orson Welles' masterpieces, known for its inventive opening extended take, more than three minutes of a roving crane shot following a car with a bomb in the trunk through city streets crowded with pedestrians.

#32. Ran (1985)

- Director: Akira Kurosawa
- Stacker score: 93.23
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 130,155
- Runtime: 2 hours and 42 minutes

Inspired by William Shakespeare's "King Lear," this epic follows a warlord who wants to pass his kingdom to his three sons. Though it was released toward the end of Akira Kurosawa's life and career, it's a culmination of everything he ever put on screen, filled with well-choreographed action, stellar acting, and a care for cinema.

#31. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

- Director: Isao Takahata
- Stacker score: 93.23
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- IMDb user votes: 290,046
- Runtime: 1 hour and 29 minutes

Perhaps Studio Ghibli's most harrowing film, "Grave of the Fireflies'' follows a Japanese brother and sister during the final months of World War II. The beautiful animation and heart-wrenching story force viewers to confront the horrors of war and its impact on those who find themselves caught in the crossfires.

#30. Gone with the Wind (1939)

- Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood
- Stacker score: 93.23
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 323,951
- Runtime: 3 hours and 58 minutes

One of the most popular movies of all time takes place during the Civil War and Reconstruction, focusing on white Southerners whose plantations and way of life are gone with the wind. Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable have fiery charisma as Scarlett and Rhett. Hattie McDaniel, as Mammy, became the first Black actor to win an Academy Award; however, she was forced to sit in the back of the ceremony's venue, echoing the institutional racism romanticized in the film and undergirding the film industry at the time.

#29. Boyhood (2014)

- Director: Richard Linklater
- Stacker score: 93.23
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- IMDb user votes: 361,010
- Runtime: 2 hours and 45 minutes

Richard Linklater filmed "Boyhood" across 12 years, using the same actors to capture the experience of growing up. Ellar Coltrane plays the boy at the center of the film—he was 6 when filming began—with Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as his parents. Linklater wrote the script over the years as well, producing an experiment that allows audiences to see actors change over time without CGI or casting different actors for different stages of life.

#28. Goodfellas (1990)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 93.23
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- IMDb user votes: 1,200,037
- Runtime: 2 hours and 25 minutes

Virtuoso cinematography and dazzling film techniques give Martin Scorsese's epic about gangster life jolts of beauty and humor despite the seamy criminality it depicts. Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci join Scorsese regular Robert De Niro as wise guy mafiosos in this true story about the limits of loyalty.

#27. Sansho the Bailiff (1954)

- Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
- Stacker score: 93.75
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- IMDb user votes: 17,431
- Runtime: 2 hours and 4 minutes

Released toward the end of director Kenji Mizoguchi's 100-film-spanning career, this film rivals many of his previous works. "Sansho the Bailiff" follows two children that are sold into slavery and subsequently embark to find their mother. It's a harrowing story but a necessary one for all cinephiles to watch.

#26. Army of Shadows (1969)

- Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
- Stacker score: 93.75
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 24,805
- Runtime: 2 hours and 25 minutes

Director Jean-Pierre Melville crafts a stellar adaptation of Joseph Kessel's novel of the same name. The film follows its main character as he joins the French Resistance during World War II. "Army of Shadows" depicts the tense and uneasy life of the revolutionaries at the time.

#25. The Leopard (1963)

- Director: Luchino Visconti
- Stacker score: 93.75
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- IMDb user votes: 27,529
- Runtime: 3 hours and 6 minutes

Burt Lancaster stars as a prince looking to protect his family's wealth and status in this historical drama filled with epic battles and beautiful set design. The film won the Palme d'Or at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival and has since been included in the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage's list of 100 Italian films to be saved and preserved.

#24. Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

- Director: Alexander Mackendrick
- Stacker score: 93.75
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- IMDb user votes: 34,112
- Runtime: 1 hour and 36 minutes

The title of this scathing drama belies the darkness under the surface. In late 1950s Manhattan, publicist Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) will do whatever it takes to get to the top, including wrecking his sister's budding romance. Strikingly bleak, black-and-white cinematography adds to the cynicism.

#23. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

- Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
- Stacker score: 93.75
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 57,734
- Runtime: 1 hour and 54 minutes

Based on the real-life figure Jeanne d'Arc, this 1928 film follows the famous trial the revolutionaries faced, ultimately resulting in her martyrdom. The movie is beautifully shot in rich black-and-white film stock, adding to its historical and realistic quality.

#22. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

- Director: John Huston
- Stacker score: 93.75
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 128,619
- Runtime: 2 hours and 6 minutes

In John Huston's "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," Humphrey Bogart and Tim Holt play down-and-out Americans looking for work in Mexico during the 1920s. It's an adventure classic that teaches a somber lesson about get-rich-quick schemes filled with bitter irony around lost gold.

#21. All About Eve (1950)

- Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
- Stacker score: 93.75
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 134,722
- Runtime: 2 hours and 18 minutes

Bette Davis steals scenes in this slick melodrama about competition between women. "All About Eve" still holds the record for most Academy Award nominations, in a tie with 14 total. The film is famous for its acerbic dialogue, including Davis' iconic line: "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night."

#20. Rashomon (1950)

- Director: Akira Kurosawa
- Stacker score: 93.75
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 173,746
- Runtime: 1 hour and 28 minutes

One of the original "whodunnits," Akira Kurosawa's 12th film is one which made him the prominent figure that he remains today. The film focuses on four different perspectives of the same event, which resulted in an assault and a murder. Unlike other films of the same genre, "Rashomon" doesn't attempt to give viewers concrete answers but asks them to ponder "the impossibility of truly understanding human psychology" and make conclusions for themselves.

#19. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

- Director: Guillermo del Toro
- Stacker score: 93.75
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 683,663
- Runtime: 1 hour and 58 minutes

Taking place during the Spanish Civil War, "Pan's Labyrinth" follows a young girl as her reality becomes intertwined with a fantasy world. The film received the longest standing ovation in the history of the Cannes Film Festival, coming in at a whopping 22 minutes.

#18. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 93.75
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- IMDb user votes: 1,309,256
- Runtime: 3 hours and 22 minutes

"The Godfather: Part II" is that rare sequel considered on par with the original. Francis Ford Coppola returns to the Corleone family, this time in Vito's youth, to explore how a man becomes a criminal titan. Robert De Niro plays the young Vito, who confronts and accepts the price of being a mobster.

#17. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

- Director: Peter Jackson
- Stacker score: 93.75
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- IMDb user votes: 1,926,004
- Runtime: 2 hours and 58 minutes

The first chapter of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy wowed audiences with technical bravado as it tells the story of a Hobbit from the Shire who sets out on an epic journey. Special effects merged with intensive location set pieces on a spectacular scale. J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth comes to life with vivid detail and sweeping shots of the fantasy world.

#16. Fanny and Alexander (1982)

- Director: Ingmar Bergman
- Stacker score: 94.27
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 65,642
- Runtime: 3 hours and 8 minutes

Written and directed by the famed Ingmar Bergman, the semi-autobiographical film was originally shot as a TV miniseries detailing the life of sister-and-brother duo "Fanny and Alexander" and the turn-of-the-century upper-class Swedish family, the Ekdahls. The original cut of the film came in at 312 minutes, but Bergman was forced to cut it down to 188 minutes for the theatrical version.

#15. Three Colors: Red (1994)

- Director: Krzysztof Kieślowski
- Stacker score: 94.27
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb user votes: 106,770
- Runtime: 1 hour and 39 minutes

The final installment of director Krzysztof Kieślowski's "Three Colors" trilogy, this edition focuses on model Valentine, whose life becomes intertwined with a retired judge. The film was subsequently nominated for three Academy Awards, including Kieślowski for Best Director.

#14. Metropolis (1927)

- Director: Fritz Lang
- Stacker score: 94.27
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 179,166
- Runtime: 2 hours and 33 minutes

One of the only science fiction films to be produced during the silent film era, "Metropolis" was ahead of its time. Nearly a century later, the film still holds up; its futuristic themes of increasing income inequality leading to unrest seem a near possibility. Its beautiful set design and cinematography rival many films of today.

#13. Modern Times (1936)

- Director: Charles Chaplin
- Stacker score: 94.27
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- IMDb user votes: 249,789
- Runtime: 1 hour and 27 minutes

"Modern Times" emulates the Great Depression through the Tramp character (Charlie Chaplin), caught in the bureaucracies and factories of an unfair, industrialized world. In one iconic scene, the Tramp gets swallowed by a production line machine and ends up as a literal cog rolling through machinery that dwarfs his vulnerable body.

#12. Parasite (2019)

- Director: Bong Joon Ho
- Stacker score: 94.27
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- IMDb user votes: 866,345
- Runtime: 2 hours and 12 minutes

A touchstone in modern Korean cinema, "Parasite" took the world by storm when it won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2020—the first foreign film to win the award. The film is a sharp takedown of the wealthy upper class, unflinching in its critique of capitalism.

#11. Tokyo Story (1953)

- Director: Yasujirô Ozu
- Stacker score: 94.79
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- IMDb user votes: 64,646
- Runtime: 2 hours and 16 minutes

Directed by famed Japanese director Yasujirô Ozu in 1953, "Tokyo Story" remains a poignant family drama. The film focuses on an elderly couple who leave the countryside to join their children in Tokyo, along with the widow of one of their sons. Despite its slow pace, the drama remains a touchstone in cinema decades later.

#10. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

- Director: David Lean
- Stacker score: 95.31
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 302,814
- Runtime: 3 hours and 38 minutes

A sprawling biopic, "Lawrence of Arabia" is adapted from the memoirs of a British soldier who attempted to help unify Arab tribes during World War I. Coming in at a whopping 218 minutes, the film captures one's attention the whole way through with a riveting tale and beautiful cinematography.

#9. Citizen Kane (1941)

- Director: Orson Welles
- Stacker score: 95.31
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- IMDb user votes: 452,637
- Runtime: 1 hour and 59 minutes

"Citizen Kane" usually sits near or at the top of best movie lists. Why? Director Orson Welles produced a film where every shot composition expresses emotion and theme, and does so beautifully as it tells the story of a reporter trying to discover the meaning of a dead tycoon's last words, "Rosebud." "Citizen Kane" makes expressive use of deep focus and background and foreground planes in shots that depict the enlarging and then shrinking of Kane (Welles) that align with the character's rise and fall.

#8. City Lights (1931)

- Director: Charles Chaplin
- Stacker score: 95.83
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- IMDb user votes: 189,490
- Runtime: 1 hour and 27 minutes

Charlie Chaplin's Tramp character epitomizes the humanity of people experiencing poverty during the Great Depression, drawing empathy in the audience through charm and humor. As the film industry transitioned to sound talkies, Chaplin, who starred, wrote, and directed, had mastered the evocative drama of silent cinema. In "City Lights," the Tramp woos a blind woman in a story about recognizing love and sympathy beyond social strictures.

#7. Seven Samurai (1954)

- Director: Akira Kurosawa
- Stacker score: 95.83
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- IMDb user votes: 354,683
- Runtime: 3 hours and 27 minutes

Of the many Akira Kurosawa films listed, "Seven Samurai" is undoubtedly his most celebrated. The epic follows seven men as they work to defend a village against a gang of raiders in 16th-century Japan. The film brings together a group of lovable characters, telling a story of loyalty, friendship, and morality.

#6. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

- Director: Peter Jackson
- Stacker score: 95.83
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- IMDb user votes: 1,897,575
- Runtime: 3 hours and 21 minutes

The third installment of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is the singular film to sweep the Academy Awards, winning every category in which it was nominated, including Best Picture. The film brought a new entry to the classic Hollywood spectacle, this time with CGI and special effects grandeur aimed at building Middle-earth and its epic wars in remarkable detail. In this installment, Gandalf and Aragorn work to distract Sauron's attention while Frodo and Sam journey to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring.

#5. Pulp Fiction (1994)

- Director: Quentin Tarantino
- Stacker score: 95.83
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- IMDb user votes: 2,122,629
- Runtime: 2 hours and 34 minutes

"Pulp Fiction" became one of the most influential films of contemporary cinema due to its innovative use of soundtrack, dialogue, and structure—where characters who die reappear in later scenes that buck traditional chronology. Director Quentin Tarantino fused art house aesthetics with "pulp" styles to create a film that was rousing and original, filled with humor and ideas, amid the shock and horror.

#4. Casablanca (1942)

- Director: Michael Curtiz
- Stacker score: 96.35
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- IMDb user votes: 586,707
- Runtime: 1 hour and 42 minutes

"Casablanca" features one of the most famous break-up scenes of all time, and it takes place on a foggy tarmac before Rick and Ilsa say goodbye forever. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman play the star-crossed lovers who exchange quips and looks of longing. "Casablanca" lures audiences with the drama of nostalgia and the bittersweet notion that love doesn't amount to a hill of beans, so enjoy it while it lasts.

#3. Schindler's List (1993)

- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Stacker score: 96.35
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- IMDb user votes: 1,392,733
- Runtime: 3 hours and 15 minutes

To tell the story of the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust, director Steven Spielberg focuses on the relationship between businessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) and his nemesis, the brutal Nazi commander Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes). Black-and-white cinematography gives the film a documentary vibe, but it still has the emotional jolts that make Spielberg famous.

#2. 12 Angry Men (1957)

- Director: Sidney Lumet
- Stacker score: 97.40
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 9
- IMDb user votes: 819,613
- Runtime: 1 hour and 36 minutes

"12 Angry Men" condenses courtroom drama into a claustrophobic jury deliberation room where a defendant's life hangs in the balance. Director Sidney Lumet uses tight close-ups and framing to create tension while the jurors showcase their own moral foibles and prejudices as they decide the fate of the 18-year-old boy on trial. Henry Fonda plays the critical thinker who manages to persuade the rest to take a closer look at the evidence and their assumptions.

#1. The Godfather (1972)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 100
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 9.2
- IMDb user votes: 1,924,228
- Runtime: 2 hours and 55 minutes

The first entry in Francis Ford Coppola's "Godfather" trilogy gave the gangster genre a new poetic brutality. Iconic assassination scenes became unforgettable for audiences shocked by a haunting musical score atop staid compositions interrupted by violence. The famous line about making offers that can't be refused shows that no one, regardless of wealth and power, is safe from the mob.

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