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100 best movies of all time

  • 100 best movies of all time

    It was 1895 when Auguste and Louis Lumière used a cinematograph machine to project moving images onto a screen. Audiences have been enraptured by cinema ever since. Naturally, movies have come a long way since the early days of 50-second reels, resulting in a rich variety of styles. Meanwhile, every cinematic era has put forth its respective slate of timeless masterpieces.

    One might wonder: Why do most movies age poorly while a choice few seem to get even better over time? The foremost answer, it would seem, boils down to auteurism. That is to say, the greater the creative stamp a filmmaker can put on their work, the better the chances are the work will appreciate over time.

    Another noticeable trend among the best movies of all time? Many of them don't take place within their respective periods. Depicting the past or the future—or a separate world altogether—is often a safer bet than depicting the present reality. Last but not least, a great film usually delivers the goods on multiple fronts. That means everything from the writing to the music to the acting is memorable, if not downright iconic. At the end of the day, of course, there is no one solitary answer—just like there is no one type of great film.

    Whatever the reasons, the best movies of all time arguably represent the pinnacle of artistic achievement in the modern era and that makes them worth celebrating over and over again. Here to do just that is Stacker, which has weighted IMDb ratings and Metascores equally to create a unique score. Only English-language movies released in the U.S. were considered for the list, and each movie needed at least 20,000 votes on IMDb. If the movie didn't have a Metascore, it was not included. Counting down from #100, here are the best movies of all time.

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  • #100. Amadeus (1984)

    - Director: Milos Forman
    - Stacker score: 89.1
    - Metascore: 88
    - IMDb user rating: 8.3
    - Runtime: 160 minutes

    Winner of eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, this 1984 biopic chronicles the life of Amadeus Mozart, namely through the eyes of his bitter contemporary, Antonio Salieri. Striving for authenticity, director Milos Forman shot the film using only natural light, arguably taking some cues from Stanley Kubrick, who did the same when making “Barry Lyndon.” To prepare for his role as the famous composer, actor Tom Hulce practiced piano for four-to-five hours a day before filming began.

  • #99. The Hurt Locker (2008)

    - Director: Kathryn Bigelow
    - Stacker score: 89.1
    - Metascore: 95
    - IMDb user rating: 7.6
    - Runtime: 131 minutes

    Kathryn Bigelow’s career hit a second stride with the release of this gripping Iraq War drama, which follows a bomb disposal team from one job to the next. Instead of traditional character development, the story coasts by on a wave of sustained and almost unbearable tension. It won a total of six Academy Awards, making Bigelow the first and only woman in history to win for Best Director.

  • #98. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

    - Director: George Miller
    - Stacker score: 89.1
    - Metascore: 90
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 120 minutes

    Aussie director George Miller resurrected his classic “Mad Max” franchise in 2015, with Tom Hardy taking on the lead role, formerly played by Mel Gibson. However, most fans would argue it's Charlize Theron's Furiosa who steals the show in this dazzling adventure movie, which sees her and Mad Max escaping the clutches of an evil warlord. As one might expect, the explosive action goes down in a post-apocalyptic wasteland inhabited by all sorts of depraved humans. While rumors of a follow-up persist, a recent lawsuit made the prospect seem doubtful.

  • #97. The Truman Show (1998)

    - Director: Peter Weir
    - Stacker score: 89.1
    - Metascore: 90
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 103 minutes

    A film that only gets more prescient with time, 1998's “The Truman Show” takes place in a completely fabricated town, where cameras lurk behind every corner and every citizen is an actor or actress. Every citizen, that is, except Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey), the unwitting subject of a 24-hour reality show. As Truman catches on to the truth behind his existence, his cozy reality begins to collapse around him. Meanwhile, a megalomaniac named Christof (Ed Harris) pulls all the strings from above. Proving just how poignant the movie was and remains, a psychological condition known as the Truman Show Delusion has arisen in its wake.

  • #96. Finding Nemo (2003)

    - Directors: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
    - Stacker score: 89.1
    - Metascore: 90
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 100 minutes

    Given Pixar's masterful grip on storytelling and computer animation alike, it's no surprise that the studio dominates when it comes to the best films of the 21st century. One of their most celebrated efforts is this 2003 adventure, in which a clownfish named Marlin navigates a perilous undersea terrain to find his missing son, Nemo. Until “The Incredibles 2” came along in 2018, this was Pixar's highest worldwide grossing film to date.

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  • #95. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

    - Director: Jonathan Demme
    - Stacker score: 89.1
    - Metascore: 85
    - IMDb user rating: 8.6
    - Runtime: 118 minutes

    This 1991 crime drama wasn't the first to put Hannibal Lecter up on the big screen, but it was certainly the most impactful. Playing the iconic sadist to lizard-like perfection was actor Anthony Hopkins, who engages in a battle of wits with FBI Agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), as he helps her track down a serial killer named Buffalo Bill. Winner of five Academy Awards, the film was followed by a sequel, a prequel, a TV show, and even an 8-bit video game-style short film.

  • #94. The Circus (1928)

    - Director: Charles Chaplin
    - Stacker score: 89.6
    - Metascore: 90
    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Runtime: 72 minutes

    Charlie Chaplin bridged slapstick comedy with tender melancholy in “The Circus.” Chaplin's role was as the “Little Tramp,” a drifter who gets hired as a clown when he accidentally runs into the middle of a circus performance while trying to evade police officers. As a clown, Little Tramp is only funny when he's not trying to be and suffers from an ill-fated infatuation with a bareback rider. The movie won an Academy Award at the first presentation ceremony of the awards in 1929 for “Versatility and genius in writing, acting, directing, and producing.” In spite of this achievement, the process of filming was the worst in Chaplin's career. He was in the process of divorcing Lita Grey as her lawyers dragged Chaplin's name through the mud and sought to acquire his studio assets, forcing an eight-month pause in production.

  • #93. Stagecoach (1939)

    - Director: John Ford
    - Stacker score: 89.6
    - Metascore: 93
    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Runtime: 96 minutes

    “Stagecoach” goes down in history as the film featuring John Wayne in his breakthrough role as the Ringo Kid. The storyline follows a ragtag group of characters aboard the Overboard stagecoach en route from Arizona Territory to New Mexico while the threat of outlaws—or an Apache attack—waits around every bend.

  • #92. The Producers (1967)

    - Director: Mel Brooks
    - Stacker score: 89.6
    - Metascore: 96
    - IMDb user rating: 7.6
    - Runtime: 88 minutes

    Putting show business in its crosshairs, this scathing satire follows two scheming producers as they plot the biggest Broadway flop of all time. The name of that flop is “Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden” and it’s every bit as offensive as one might expect. The movie earned Brooks his sole Academy Award, for Best Original Screenplay.

  • #91. Little Women (2019)

    - Director: Greta Gerwig
    - Stacker score: 89.6
    - Metascore: 91
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 135 minutes

    Greta Gerwig’s sophomore directorial effort cemented her status as a veritable auteur, making her 2020 Oscars snub that much harder to swallow. Her take on Louisa May Alcott’s seminal novel is the last and arguably the best in a long line of big-screen adaptations. Actors Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen play the March sisters and lead a talented cast.

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