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100 best dramas of all time, according to critics

100 best dramas of all time, according to critics

This compilation of the 100 best movie dramas of all time shows the deep richness of films made since the beginning of the last century, from countries across the globe.

Stacker compiled data on all feature-length dramas with at least four critic reviews through Metacritic and ranked them according to Metascore, with ties broken internally by Metacritic. Rankings are accurate as of Jan. 26, 2021.

The top picks come from the United States, Europe, and Asia, and run the gamut from Charlie Chaplin’s silent movies starring the Tramp to animated features such as Dumbo. The collection continues with crime films ranging from The Reversal of Fortune, covering the murder trial of Claus von Bulow, to dramas tackling war, such as The Hurt Locker.

Charlie Chaplin’s genius shines through without dialogue even as talkies were beginning to make their appearance in such releases as City Lights and Modern Times, which considered the social and economic effects of the then-new assembly lines. Among the most current films, released in 2020, Nomadland takes an updated look at some of those same issues, in this case, the uncertainty of today’s economy, which leaves older Americans scrambling for work while living in vans and RVs. The character played by Frances McDormand is left rudderless after the gypsum plant in her hometown closes.

A group of Chinese and Japanese releases made the list, some by the noted director Akira Kurosawa. He described his Rashomon as a reflection of life, where meanings are sometimes unclear. His Seven Samurai merged the characteristics of American Westerns with Japanese traditions such as the swordplay drama.

Westerns made in the United States looked at some fundamental questions of the country, including the meaning of law and democracy and the still-open question of the place of guns in our society. Other movies on the list focus on love, greed, and fear—emotions that know no boundaries and are common to all of our lives.

Read on to find out which of the films you have seen and whether you agree with critics.

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#100. Masculin Féminin (1966)

- Director: Jean-Luc Godard
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 103 minutes

This romantic drama consists of a series of vignettes that follow young Parisians. The dialogue was written the night before each scene, and in some cases improvised. The film was shot in Sweden: The famous director from that country, Ingmar Bergman, went to see it and pronounced it a classic case of Godard: mind-numbingly boring.

#99. Reversal of Fortune (1990)

- Director: Barbet Schroeder
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 111 minutes

This film tells the story of the urbane, Danish-born Claus von Bülow, who was accused of trying to kill his wealthy socialite wife, Sunny von Bülow, in their Newport, Rhode Island, mansion by giving her an overdose of insulin. He is found guilty but his conviction is overturned on appeal. He is represented by Alan Dershowitz, who has frequently been in the news during the last few years as an ardent defender of former President Donald Trump. Jeremy Irons won an Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of von Bulow. Sunny von Bulow lived until 2008, never awakening from her coma.

#98. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

- Directors: Orson Welles, Fred Fleck, Robert Wise
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 88 minutes

In this movie about the dwindling fortune of a wealthy Midwestern family, a woman is kept from the man she loves by her heir. RKO executives decided they needed to cut the film and redo the ending, but Orson Welles was already in Brazil working on a new movie, so the task was assigned to director Robert Wise and writer James Cotton. A happy ending replaced Welles’ original, and the change caused a falling out among the men. They eventually reconciled, but in Wise’s case, the break lasted more than 40 years.

#97. Call Me By Your Name (2017)

- Director: Luca Guadagnino
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 132 minutes

This film tells the story of a romance between a teenager and an older man working for his father in Italy in the 1980s. Before the movie was shot, there was only one rehearsal, of a scene in which the men roll on the grass making out. During a scene in which the men hike to a waterfall, they shout with excitement, but in truth they were walking through stinging nettle that covered the mountainside.

#96. The Servant (1963)

- Director: Joseph Losey
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 116 minutes

When a British aristocrat hires a valet, the result is a tense psychological battle. The director, Joseph Losey, was at one time was blacklisted in Hollywood. While shooting The Servant, he was hospitalized for two weeks, but filming did not stop. Dirk Bogarde kept going, guided by Losey’s over-the-phone instructions.

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#95. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)

- Director: Luis Buñuel
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 102 minutes

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie can be described as a plotless series of dreams of six middle-class people trying to have a meal together. It includes three of what director Luis Buñuel said were his recurring dreams: forgetting his lines while on stage, following his dead cousin into a house full of cobwebs after meeting him on the street, and waking up to his dead parents staring at him.

#94. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

- Director: Ang Lee
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 120 minutes

Ang Lee’s epic tells the story of a young Chinese warrior who steals a sword, complete with martial arts battles and stunning scenery. He described the movie as "a dream of China...that probably never existed." The actress Ziyi Zhang did not have any martial arts training, but rather relied on her dance experience to learn the moves.

#93. La La Land (2016)

- Director: Damien Chazelle
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 128 minutes

An actress, Mia, played by Emma Stone, and a pianist, Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling, fall in love in Los Angeles. Gosling took piano lessons two hours a day, six days a week to learn to play the music by heart. One of his own auditions sparked the scene where a casting director interrupts Mia's performance to take a phone call.

#92. Elevator to the Gallows (1958)

- Director: Louis Malle
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 91 minutes

A businessman murders his employer, who is also the husband of his mistress. The director, Louis Malle, makes a cameo appearance when he mistakes the character played by Jeanne Moreau for a prostitute. The music was improvised by Miles Davis, who recorded it with a quartet of musicians one night from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m.

#91. The French Connection (1971)

- Director: William Friedkin
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 104 minutes

The movie is based on a heroin case that actually took place in New York City in the 1970s. The lead characters are based on two real-life detectives, Eddie Egan and Sonny Grasso. One scene, in which the detectives chase a drug dealer while one is dressed in a Santa Claus suit, is based on a real tactic that Egan and Grasso used, realizing that the dealers would not spot them as cops.

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#90. Marriage Story (2019)

- Director: Noah Baumbach
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 137 minutes

This drama tells the story of a difficult divorce involving a theater couple, that critics called tender, funny and sad, all in one. New Yorker critic Richard Brody described Marriage Story as a movie of “duelling monologues, spoken and unspoken: two hours of sharp, painful, witty, and elegant talk that is nonetheless rooted in the impossibility of communication.”

#89. Carlos (2010)

- Director: Olivier Assayas
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 334 minutes

This TV miniseries features Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, also known as Carlos the Jackal, a Venezuelan revolutionary who founded a global terrorist network and raided the 1975 Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting. He was a Marxist dedicated to the Palestinian cause. Roger Ebert wrote that for Carlos, “his religion and his cause were the same, and they were himself. This is a terrifying portrait of an egomaniac who demands absolute obedience, and craves it even more when his power and relevance are drained away.” The real Carlos warned Assayas repeatedly not to make the movie.

#88. Chimes at Midnight (1965)

- Director: Orson Welles
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 115 minutes

This comedy drama was directed by Orson Welles and stars him as William Shakespeare’s Sir John Falstaff. The movie was based on a play written by Welles that compressed Shakespeare’s plays Henry IV, V, VI and Richard III into one show.

#87. Lady Bird (2017)

- Director: Greta Gerwig
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 94 minutes

This coming of age drama stars Saoirse Ronan as a 17-year-old in Sacramento, California. The movie shows Ronan with an eruption of acne, which was real and which she helped to convince the director, Greta Gerwig, to leave in as a realistic touch.

#86. Apocalypse Now (1979)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 147 minutes

A secret mission descends into madness in this movie based loosely on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, with the Vietnam War in 1970 substituted for the Congo. Rotten Tomatoes called it a “haunting, hallucinatory Vietnam War epic” that is “cinema at its most audacious and visionary.” For the movie’s 40th anniversary in 2019, Francis Ford Coppola re-edited it for what he called his final version.

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#85. The Apartment (1960)

- Director: Billy Wilder
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 125 minutes

Inspired by Brief Encounter by Noel Coward, The Apartment stars Bud Baxter, an insurance accountant and bachelor played by Jack Lemmon, who lets his bosses use his apartment for their affairs. Shirley MacLaine plays Fran Kubelik, an elevator operator, who tries to kill herself when she realizes one of those bosses is not going to leave his family for her. When director Billy Wilder saw Brief Encounter, he wondered about the unknown character who had lent the apartment for the extramarital affair.

#84. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

- Director: Vincente Minnelli
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 113 minutes

A musical comedy about young love, Meet Me in St. Louis stars Judy Garland as one of the Smith sisters, trying to meet the shy boy next door. Garland and Minnelli met on the set and were soon married. The movie premiered in St. Louis on Nov. 22, 1944.

#83. Schindler's List (1993)

- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Runtime: 195 minutes

The movie introduced the world to Oskar Schindler, a factory owner who saved 1,200 Jews from the Nazi concentration camps of World War II. He and his wife, Emilie, protected Jewish workers even as he made munitions for the Nazis. Schindler’s original list was found in 1999 in a suitcase hidden in the attic of his apartment in Hildesheim, Germany.

#82. Sideways (2004)

- Director: Alexander Payne
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 127 minutes

Two college friends, one of whom is about to marry, visit California wine country in this comedy that Roger Ebert called surprisingly moving. The surprising star was pinot noir, the production of which had increased 170% a dozen years later, according to an NPR article. Winemakers called its new popularity The Sideways Effect.

#81. Inside Out (2015)

- Directors: Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 95 minutes

Riley moves from the Midwest to San Francisco to a new house and new school in this Pixar Animation Studios release that looks inside her mind, where Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger become cartoon characters. Which emotions didn’t make the cut? Hope, Envy, Ennui, and Pride were among them. "At one point, we fooled around with having 27 different emotions,” director Pete Docter told The Hollywood Reporter. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year.

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#80. The Wild Child (1970)

- Director: François Truffaut
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 83 minutes

This movie is based on a true story: A child who cannot speak, walk, read, or write is found in a forest outside Aveyron, France, in 1798. A doctor who observes him at an asylum realizes he is not deaf nor intellectually impaired, but has been deprived of human contact. The Los Angeles opening took place a week before a girl was found in that city who had similarly been raised without human interaction. The doctors treating her had a private viewing.

#79. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

- Director: Isao Takahata
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 89 minutes

A Japanese anime, Grave of the Fireflies was based on Akiyuki Nosaka's 1967 story. It tells the story of two orphans trying to get through the final months of World War II. Roger Ebert wrote that it belonged on any list of the greatest war films ever made. Isao Takahata himself lived through a terrible air attack on his hometown of Okayama.

#78. The Irishman (2019)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 209 minutes

In The Irishman, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, an alleged Mafia hitman confesses to his crimes. De Niro wanted the movie to keep the name of the book on which it was based: I Heard You Paint Houses.” The house seen at the beginning of the film is the same one that appears in another Scorsese film, Goodfellas.

#77. Mr. Turner (2014)

- Director: Mike Leigh
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Runtime: 150 minutes

The movie recounts the last 25 years of the life of painter J.M.W. Turner, who died in 1851. He once had himself tied to the mast of a ship before he painted a snow storm. He turned down 100,000 pounds for his work so he instead donate it to the British nation, even though Queen Victoria detested his work. The actor who played Turner, Timothy Spall, took private art lessons from a British artist for about two years to prepare for the role.

#76. Pulp Fiction (1994)

- Director: Quentin Tarantino
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Runtime: 154 minutes

Two hitmen look for a suitcase stolen from their boss in this movie with a a roster of stars: Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, John Travolta, Amanda Plummer, and others. It won the Academy Award for best original screenplay. Seven years earlier, Tarantino had been a 23-year-old high-school dropout who acted part time but was broke, according to Vanity Fair.

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#75. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

- Director: John Frankenheimer
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 126 minutes

Frank Sinatra and Janet Leigh star in this political thriller about a former prisoner of war who is brainwashed into becoming an assassin in a Communist plot. The movie was not released in many of the former “Iron Curtain” countries, such as Poland and Hungary, until after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1993, because of the political nature of the plot.

#74. Taxi Driver (1976)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 114 minutes

Robert De Niro plays a disturbed Vietnam veteran who drives a taxi cab overnight in New York City, alongside Jodie Foster as an underage prostitute. Vietnam Veterans of America called De Niro’s character “perhaps Hollywood’s most psychotic Vietnam veteran (and that’s saying something).” Screenwriter Paul Schrader told The Hollywood Reporter that he thought of the cab as a “metal coffin that moved through the city with a kid who appeared to be in the midst of things but really was alone.” Scorsese and others squatted in the back of the cab to film, while the sound man was in the trunk.

#73. 45 Years (2015)

- Director: Andrew Haigh
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 91 minutes

A couple is about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary when the husband receives some disturbing news about an old love that sends their marriage into a tailspin. It is based on David Constantine’s short story, In Another Country, in which the body of a man’s former girlfriend is found perfectly preserved in the Alps from 50 years earlier.

#72. The Searchers (1956)

- Director: John Ford
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 119 minutes

A veteran of the Civil War, John Wayne, sets off to rescue his niece, who has been abducted by Comanches. Buddy Holly and drummer Jerry Allison saw the movie and used Wayne’s trademark line, “That’ll be the day,” for the 1957 album.

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

- Director: John Ford
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 123 minutes

A senator, famous for shooting the man who terrorized a town, returns for his friend’s funeral in this Western that features two men in love with the same woman. The New Yorker called it the “greatest American political movie.” and it delves into many of America’s fundamental principles around democracy, a free press, and the ongoing debate over guns. John Wayne and James Stewart both played characters 30 years younger than they were in real life.

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#70. Dunkirk (2017)

- Director: Christopher Nolan
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 106 minutes

During a desperate battle during World War II, Allied soldiers from Great Britain, Belgium, and France are surrounded by Germans and forced to evacuate from the beach in Dunkirk, where they are trapped. The movie won three Oscars: for film editing, sound editing, and sound mixing. Approximately 30 survivors attended the opening in London and found the soundtrack to be louder than the battle.

#69. Amour (2012)

- Director: Michael Haneke
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 127 minutes

George and Anne Laurent are retired music teachers whose love is challenged when Anne has a stroke. Emmanuelle Riva, 84, became the oldest person ever nominated for a best actress Oscar, besting Jessica Tandy, who received the nomination at age 80 for Driving Miss Daisy.

#68. Before Midnight (2013)

- Director: Richard Linklater
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 109 minutes

This is the third in a series starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, a couple who meet in their 20s and now are at the end of a vacation in Greece. The romantic drama began with Before Sunrise in 1995, followed by Before Sunset in 2004. The movie is dedicated to Amy Lehrhaupt, who inspired the first movie. She and Richard Linklater had lost touch and he learned in 2010 that she had died only a few weeks before he started shooting Before Sunrise.

#67. Carol (2015)

- Director: Todd Haynes
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 118 minutes

Based on a Patricia Highsmith novel, this is the story of an aspiring photographer, a young woman in her 20s, who has a love affair with an older woman in New York City in the 1950s. As the older woman, Carol Aird, leaves her marriage, her husband questions her fitness as a mother. Carol was inspired by Virginia Kent Catherwood, a Philadelphia socialite with whom Highsmith had a love affair with in the 1940s. Catherwood lost custody of her daughter because she was gay.

#66. La Dolce Vita (1960)

- Director: Federico Fellini
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 174 minutes

La Dolce Vita looks at Federico Fellini’s week in the life of a tabloid journalist, Marcello Mastroianni, who is living in Rome, and the beautiful women he pursues, an heiress and a superstar actress, while engaged. The scene at the Trevi Fountain was shot in the spring while it was cold—Mastroianni was drunk because he had an entire bottle of vodka to try to stay warm.

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#65. A Separation (2011)

- Director: Asghar Farhadi
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 123 minutes

Set in Tehran, A Separation is the first Iranian film to win an Oscar, for best foreign language film. It follows a bank employee named Nader, whose wife leaves him when he refuses to move abroad to make a better life for their daughter. Nader hires a married woman, Razieh, to care for his father who has Alzheimer’s disease. Angry after he finds his father tied to the bed, he shoves her. She is pregnant, and when she falls outside the apartment and loses her baby, her unstable husband takes Nader to court, though there are many doubts about what caused her miscarriage.

#64. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

- Director: Kathryn Bigelow
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 157 minutes

Zero Dark Thirty tells the story of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. The movie was controversial because of its treatment of the CIA’s torture of terrorism suspects during the administration of President George W. Bush. The New Yorker, in an article titled Zero Conscience in 'Zero Dark Thirty,'” accused director Kathryn Bigelow of milking “the U.S. torture program for drama while sidestepping the political and ethical debate that it provoked.”

#63. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

- Director: Otto Preminger
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 161 minutes

When an Army lieutenant is accused of murdering a bartender, his defense is temporary insanity, saying the bartender raped his wife. But then problems arise. The police surgeon finds no evidence of rape, and a lawyer discovers the lieutenant is exceedingly jealous and his wife is a flirt. James Stewart plays a small town lawyer in the movie, but his father found it to be so distasteful that he took out an ad advising people not to see it.

#62. The Hurt Locker (2008)

- Director: Kathryn Bigelow
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 131 minutes

Set in Iraq, this movie looks at an elite squad that disarms bombs. The title comes from Vietnam War era military slang meaning a serious injury, whether physical or emotional. Soldiers in Iraq talked of explosions sending one to the hurt locker, and it can also refer to suicide or snipers.

#61. Double Indemnity (1944)

- Director: Billy Wilder
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 107 minutes

This film noir features murder and insurance fraud, and an insurance representative seduced into the scheme. The plot was based on the 1920s murder trial of Ruth Snyder, which author James M. Cain turned into a novel. She was later executed in the electric chair in Sing Sing Correctional Facility in New York and was photographed by the New York Daily News as she died. It was the first photograph of an execution in an electric chair.

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

- Director: Céline Sciamma
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 122 minutes

A painter is commissioned for a wedding portrait of a young woman at the end of the 18th century in Brittany. The portrait is meant to be completed in secret but a romance develops the two women. In real life, director Céline Sciamma and Adele Haenel, who plays the bride-to-be Heloise, are former lovers who parted on good terms.

#59. My Fair Lady (1964)

- Director: George Cukor
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 170 minutes

Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn star in the musical inspired by George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, in which Professor Henry Higgins bets that he can teach flower girl Eliza Doolittle to speak properly. The marbles that Higgins put into Doolittle’s mouth in the movie aren’t marbles at all, but grapes. Hepburn had expected to sing her own numbers, and she walked out when she first learned that she would be dubbed. She later apologized, but promised herself would never accept another musical role unless she could do her own singing. Marni Nixon sang most of her songs.

#58. The Social Network (2010)

- Director: David Fincher
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 120 minutes

Mark Zuckerberg creates what will become Facebook as a Harvard University student, but is sued by the Winklevoss twins and Divya Narendra, who claim he stole their idea. Zuckerberg reportedly had no plans to see the movie, but relented and went with some employees. He later said that it got his clothes right even if there were other inaccuracies.

#57. L'Argent (1983)

- Director: Robert Bresson
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 85 minutes

A fake 500-franc note is passed person to person until the situation turns tragic and ends in murder. The movie is the last that was directed by Robert Bresson, a French director known for a minimalist style that was more popular with critics than theater goers. He retired after failing to raise funds for an adaptation of the Book of Genesis.

#56. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

- Director: James Whale
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 75 minutes

Dr. Frankenstein and his monster are not dead but have survived, and Dr. Frankenstein is forced by the mad Dr. Pretorius to create a woman to be the monster’s companion. Colin Clive, who plays Frankenstein, had broken his leg in a riding accident not long before filming, and was seated in many of his scenes.

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#55. Lovers Rock (2020)

- Director: Steve McQueen
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 70 minutes

The movie looks at the Black life in Britain in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, following a woman named Martha attending a blues party. The name refers to a music genre, a romantic version of reggae created by British-born children of Caribbean immigrants. The house parties drew young people who were not welcome at the white clubs, and the Janet Kay song “Silly Games” is at its center. The movie is the second in Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe” series.

#54. Modern Times (1936)

- Director: Charles Chaplin
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 87 minutes

Charlie Chaplin is in his Little Tramp character as a factory worker, trying to live in modern industrial society, but failing to keep up on the assembly line. He is mistaken for a communist when he waves a red flag he picks up, is arrested, and meets The Gamine in the police van. The boss of the factory is drawn from Henry Ford.

#53. Gravity (2013)

- Director: Alfonso Cuarón
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 91 minutes

In Gravity, astronauts are working on the Hubble Space Telescope when disaster strikes: A Russian satellite explodes and sends space debris ripping into the telescope and the space shuttle. The astronauts, played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, are marooned and struggling to survive.

#52. Nomadland (2020)

- Director: Chloé Zhao
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 108 minutes

A woman who lost everything in the Great Recession sets out across the American West, living in a van. Based on the book by Jessica Bruder, the film looks at older Americans living in RVs and vans, working where they can. Nomadland was filmed in seven states. Frances McDormand did some of the work done by nomads, including harvesting beets and packaging Amazon orders.

#51. The Battle of Algiers (1966)

- Director: Gillo Pontecorvo
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 121 minutes

The people of Algiers are fighting for independence from France, with the National Liberation Front or FLN leading the resistance. The violence increases with torture and bombings. The story is mostly told through two characters, Ali La Pointe on one side and Colonel Mathieu on the other. The film is one of few movies to be nominated in nonconsecutive years for an Oscar: for best foreign film in 1966, and for screenplay and direction in 1968.

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#50. Mean Streets (1973)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 112 minutes

The streets of New York City’s Little Italy is the setting for this crime film featuring a small-time gangster who works for his uncle making collections and starring Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro. But only six of the 27 days of filming actually took place in New York City. The remainder was done in Los Angeles, because Scorsese couldn’t afford to do all of it in New York.

#49. Children of Paradise (1945)

- Director: Marcel Carné
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 189 minutes

The story of an actress and the men who love her, including a mime who comes to her aid when she is unfairly accused of pickpocketing a watch, was shot during the Nazi occupation in Paris and Nice, with the designer and the composer both in hiding because they were Jewish. The Nazi had banned all movies over 90 minutes, so Marcel Carné made two movies and showed them together after France was liberated.

#48. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

- Director: John Ford
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 129 minutes

Based on John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Grapes of Wrath follows a poor family forced off their land in the Midwest, who travel to California during the Great Depression. Producer Darryl Zanuck investigated the migrant camps to see if Steinbeck had overstated the conditions there, and was appalled to find out that he had not.

#47. Parasite (2019)

- Director: Bong Joon Ho
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Runtime: 132 minutes

In this film about class in Korea, the destitute Kim family moves in on the wealthy Park family after the son begins to tutor the Park daughter. Soon all of the Kims have been hired, but when the Parks go camping for a weekend, the story takes a strange turn. The film won four Academy Awards: best picture, best director, best original screenplay, and best international feature. In an interview with The Atlantic, Bong Joon Ho described tutoring for a rich family while he was in college, and thinking it would be fun if his friends could infiltrate the house one by one.

#46. Nashville (1975)

- Director: Robert Altman
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 160 minutes

This drama follows a number of people preparing for a political convention for an independent candidate who wants to ban lawyers from Congress and rewrite the national anthem runs for president. The result is five days of Nashville country and gospel music. The film was largely improvised, and all of the actors or actresses wrote and performed their own songs.

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#45. Rocks (2019)

- Director: Sarah Gavron
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 93 minutes

This coming of age movie is set in London, where a teenager takes care of her younger brother after their mother leaves. The critic Carlos Aguilar wrote in the Los Angeles Times that it “differentiates itself from other recent explorations of modern girlhood set amid immigrant communities.” It won awards from the British Independent Film Awards and at the Brussels and Dublin international film festivals.

#44. Killer of Sheep (1978)

- Director: Charles Burnett
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 80 minutes

Killer of Sheep captures Los Angeles’ Watts neighborhood in the mid-1970s. Life in Watts is seen through Stan, who worn down by working in a slaughterhouse. Discouraged by money problems, he takes joy in small moments. “The film offers no solutions; it merely presents life—sometimes hauntingly bleak, sometimes filled with transcendent joy and gentle humor,” according to its website. It was shot on location in Watts on a budget of less than $10,000, most of it grant money. It won a prize at the 1981 Berlin International Film Festival.

#43. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

- Director: Steve McQueen
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 134 minutes

Solomon Northrup is a free man from upstate New York, but he is abducted and sold into slavery before the Civil War. The tree where several men were lynched in the movie was not only used for lynching, but is surrounded by graves. The movie marked the feature film debut for Lupita Nyong’o, who won the Oscar for best supporting actress.

#42. Rosemary's Baby (1968)

- Director: Roman Polanski
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 137 minutes

A young couple wants to have a child but Rosemary, played by Mia Farrow, is convinced she is the victim of a satanic plot by her elderly neighbors and her husband. The movie was Roman Polanski’s Hollywood debut. Farrow was served divorce papers by Frank Sinatra while on the set; he reportedly wanted her to stop filming.

#41. Manchester by the Sea (2016)

- Director: Kenneth Lonergan
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 137 minutes

A loner returns to his hometown from Boston after his brother dies to take care of his 16-year-old nephew and is haunted by an unspeakable tragedy from his past. The movie takes place along the Massachusetts coast; the town was called Manchester until 1989, when the name was changed by the state legislature, 344 years after it was incorporated.

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#40. 12 Angry Men (1957)

- Director: Sidney Lumet
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- Runtime: 96 minutes

The foreman of a jury holds out on a verdict, trying to force his fellow jurors to reconsider the case. The director, Sidney Lumet, had the actors repeat their lines while in the same room to give them a sense of what it would be like to be shut up together. The movie, which examines group dynamics as the jury deliberates and jurors change their view, is used by professors in MBA programs.

#39. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

- Director: Ernst Lubitsch
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 99 minutes

A romantic comedy, The Shop Around the Corner features a love story between two gift shop employees in Budapest who think they dislike each other but are actually falling for each other as anonymous pen pals. The director held off making the film until both James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan were available.

#38. Ran (1985)

- Director: Akira Kurosawa
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 162 minutes

The setting is medieval Japan and an elderly warlord turns over his empire to his three sons, only to have them turn on each other. Over the course of writing the script, it came to be based on Shakespeare’s King Lear. Akira Kurosawa’s wife died during the filming and he halted work but returned to finish. “Ran” was his 28th film and the Cannes Film Festival honored him in 1985 with a special trophy for achievement when it opened.

#37. Days of Being Wild (1990)

- Director: Wong Kar-Wai
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 94 minutes

The drama features a man trying to find out who his real mother is after learning that the prostitute who has raised him is not. But she refused to reveal his mother’s name. This is the first part of a trilogy. “In the Mood for Love” from 2000 is the second part; 2046, released in 2004, is the last.

#36. Roma (2018)

- Director: Alfonso Cuarón
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 135 minutes

Roma explores the life of a maid in the 1970s, working for a middle-class family in Mexico. When the husband runs off with his mistress, the wife asks the maid, Cleo, to join the family on a vacation. Meanwhile Cleo has learned she is pregnant. Roma was based on Liboria "Libo" Rodriguez, the nanny who cared for director Alfonso Cuarón’s family: She is still part of his family’s life.

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#35. Dumbo (1941)

- Directors: Samuel Armstrong, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen, John Elliotte
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 64 minutes

Dumbo is a young elephant who is made fun of because of his oversized ears, but all of that ends when his friend shows him he can fly. Dumbo was so popular that Time magazine planned to put him on its cover as the “Mammal of the Year” in a play on “Man of the Year,” but when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, those plans were scrapped and Dumbo was replaced by Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Dumbo still appeared inside in the cinema section.

#34. American Graffiti (1973)

- Director: George Lucas
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 110 minutes

American Graffiti salutes the early 1960s in this movie of rock 'n' roll, hot rods, and four teenage friends contemplating their futures. Inspired by George Lucas’ upbringing in Modesto, California, this coming of age movie was his second feature film. Wolfman Jack was chosen to play himself because Lucas remembered hearing him on the radio while Lucas was in high school.

#33. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

- Director: Elia Kazan
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 122 minutes

Based on Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, A Streetcar Named Desire stars Vivien Leigh as Blanche DuBois, a high school teacher who moves in with her sister when the family loses its home to creditors, and clashes with her brother-in-law. The set of the Kowalski apartment gets smaller throughout the film to emphasize Blanche's claustrophobia. The Catholic League of Decency threatened the film with a condemned rating, forcing cuts, and Kazan’s full version wasn’t seen until 1993.

#32. Battleship Potemkin (1925)

- Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 66 minutes

The setting is the Russian Revolution, and the crew of the Battleship Potemkin revolts against the officers. Demonstrations break out in Odessa, resulting in a massacre. Some countries, including the United Kingdom and France, banned the movie not because of indecency, but because of fears that it would encourage sympathy for Communism. The New Yorker called Sergei Eisenstein cinema’s first modernist.

#31. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)

- Director: Cristian Mungiu
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 113 minutes

A woman helps a friend get an abortion in Romania in the 1980s when abortions were illegal. Contraception was also illegal in the country under the regime of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who tried to build his country through population growth, resulting in orphanages filled with unwanted children. The movie, despite widespread praise, failed to get an Oscar nomination and some critics thought that was because of the subject.

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#30. Gone with the Wind (1939)

- Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 238 minutes

This Southern classic of a romance between the manipulative Scarlett (Vivien Leigh) and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) was set against the Civil War and Reconstruction. The film was based on the book by Margaret Mitchell about an antebellum South of plantations, including the movie’s beloved Tara, and gracious living. In 2020, HBO Max restored the movie, noting that it denied “the horrors of slavery” on which that world rested.

#29. Rififi (1955)

- Director: Jules Dassin
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 118 minutes

In this French crime thriller based on a book of the same name, four men plot a jewelry heist from the show window of the famous Mappin & Webb, but then things go wrong. The heist scene is more than a half hour long and plays without dialogue or music. Critic Roger Ebert wrote that “Rififi” was one of two films that invented the modern heist movie.

#28. Le Petit Soldat (1963)

- Director: Jean-Luc Godard
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 88 minutes

“Le Petit Soldat” looks at love across the political divide of Algeria, as a man and woman on opposite sides of the war for independence from France fall for one another. The movie, Jean-Luc Godard’s second after “Breathless,” was actually completed in 1960, but French censors delayed its release. They banned it for scenes of brutal methods on both sides, the French government and the Algerian fighters.

#27. My Left Foot (1989)

- Director: Jim Sheridan
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 103 minutes

Christy Brown, an Irish man with cerebral palsy, learns to write and paint with his left foot, the only limb he can control. Despite a diagnosis after his birth that he is mentally impaired and should be placed in an institution, his mother sees his intelligence and talent. When he died in 1981, he had produced hundreds of paintings and had written four books of poetry, four novels, and a memoir.

#26. Jules and Jim (1962)

- Director: François Truffaut
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 105 minutes

A woman named Catherine chooses between two friends, Jules and Jim, both of whom fall in love with her before World War II in Paris. But after the war, in Germany, Catherine begins to love the other man. The novel that inspired the movie was based on the experiences of Henri-Pierre Roche, and his Catherine was not only alive when the movie was released, but attended the opening.

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#25. Metropolis (1927)

- Director: Fritz Lang
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 153 minutes

“Metropolis” is a love story set in a seemingly Utopian city that is actually split between the workers and the wealthy. Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels were such fans of the movie that Goebbels told Fritz Lang that he could make him an honorary Aryan though his mother was Jewish.

#24. All About Eve (1950)

- Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 138 minutes

An aging Broadway star takes a fan into her circle, unaware that the younger actress wants her parts and her fiance. Bette Davis and Gary Merrill, co-stars in the movie, fell in love during its filming and married a few weeks after it was finished. In a 1983 interview, Davis said being chosen for the film saved her career after a series of failures: "He resurrected me from the dead,” she said of the director, Joseph Mankiewicz.

#23. Rashomon (1950)

- Director: Akira Kurosawa
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 88 minutes

A bride’s rape and the murder of her husband, a samurai, are described by three people at the trial: the bride herself, the samurai’s ghost, and a bandit who allegedly committed them. Later, a priest, the woodcutter who found the body, and another man find shelter in what remains of a gatehouse called Rashomon and the story unfolds with twists. Akira Kurosawa said of the movie that it was a reflection of life.

#22. Seven Samurai (1954)

- Director: Akira Kurosawa
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Runtime: 207 minutes

Another classic from Akira Kurosawa, Seven Samurai” recounts the tale of a 16th-century village that hires warriors to protect against bandits. The BBC wrote that Kurosawa combined the conventions of the traditional Western with a melding of two Japanese genres, the swordplay film and the period drama.

#21. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

- Director: Guillermo del Toro
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 118 minutes

The stepdaughter of a ruthless Spanish army officer embraces a fantasy world in Spain in 1944. The faun in the movie was inspired by a dream Guillermo del Toro had as a child: A faun would step out from behind a grandfather clock at midnight. The ruined town seen when the film opens is Belchite Zaragoza, in Aragón, Spain, destroyed during the Spanish Civil War.

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

- Director: John Huston
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 126 minutes

Two Americans join with a prospector to search for gold in the Sierra Madre mountains in Mexico. They find treasure but their good luck is threatened by greed and bandits. The movie won three Oscars—best actor in a supporting role, best director, and best screenplay—and was nominated for best picture.

#19. Pépé le Moko (1937)

- Director: Julien Duvivier
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 94 minutes

Pepe le Moko takes refuge in the casbah of Algiers, from the police, from rivals hoping to vanquish him, and from women who want him. Homesick and trapped, he is lured out by a Parisian beauty. A BBC documentary reported that the film was an inspiration for Graham Greene’s The Third Man.

#18. Touch of Evil (1958)

- Director: Orson Welles
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 95 minutes

This film noir set on the Mexican border includes kidnapping, murder, and corruption. Janet Leigh’s agent rejected the part for her without consulting her because of the low pay, but she took it after receiving a letter from Orson Welles. Charlton Heston regretted not giving the Mexican drug enforcement officer whom he played an accent. “I took the easy answer: ‘He’s very well educated, mostly in the U.S., he comes from a bilingual family; he speaks perfect English,’” he wrote in his autobiography. “That was lazy of me, and wrong. No one speaks perfect English, and no one not raised speaking it is totally without an accent.”

#17. Moonlight (2016)

- Director: Barry Jenkins
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 111 minutes

The story tracks three periods of an African American man’s life: his adolescence, mid-teenage years and young adulthood. The three actors who played Chiron never met during production, according to the director. The movie is based on a play by MacArthur Fellow Tarell Alvin McCraney, “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” which had not been produced.

#16. City Lights (1931)

- Director: Charles Chaplin
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 87 minutes

This is another Charlie Chaplin classic, in which a tramp falls in love with a blind flower girl and helps her get money for an operation that could restore her sight. Winston Churchill visited the set and Chaplin made a short movie with him. Albert Einstein attended the opening in Los Angeles, while George Bernard Shaw was at the premiere in London.

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#15. Army of Shadows (1969)

- Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 145 minutes

A story of resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied France, this movie offers a clear-eyed look at what it was like to fight the Germans and collaborators. The head writer and co-director were veterans of the resistance. The director hired dancers for the scene of German soldiers marching down the Champs Elysees to get the correct look.

#14. The Night of the Hunter (1955)

- Director: Charles Laughton
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 92 minutes

A widow’s children resist telling their mother’s new husband, a preacher, where their father hid the $10,000 he stole. A serial killer, Dutch-born Harry Powers, was the inspiration for the character of the preacher. Charles Laughton wrote in Esquire of Robert Mitchum, who played the preacher: “All this tough talk is a blind, you know. He's a literate, gracious, kind man, with wonderful manners, and he speaks beautifully—when he wants to. He's a tender man and a very great gentleman. You know, he's really terribly shy.

#13. Fanny and Alexander (1982)

- Director: Ingmar Bergman
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 188 minutes

Viewers meet the Ekdahl clan through the eyes of 10-year-old Alexander in a movie that has been described as Ingmar Bergman’s most autobiographical and his goodbye to cinema. The children grow up in a wealthy and loving family, but after their father’s death, their mother marries a bishop with whom Alexander has a strained relationship.

#12. Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

- Director: Alexander Mackendrick
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 96 minutes

A Broadway columnist, J.J. Hunsecker, convinces a press agent to break up his sister’s romance. New York City police detective Eddie Egan, the inspiration for Gene Hackman’s ‘Popeye’ Doyle in The French Connection, makes a return appearance. Lt. Harry Kello, a narcotics officer, is based on Egan.

#11. Notorious (1946)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 102 minutes

In this post wartime drama, a woman is asked to spy on Nazis in South Africa. Director Alfred Hitchcock approached Nobel Prize-winner Robert Millikan about how to make an atomic bomb. Millikan would not say but agreed that the uranium could fit in a wine bottle.

 

#10. Three Colors: Red (1994)

- Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 99 minutes

In this romantic drama, a retired judge is found to be invading people’s privacy and listening in on their phone calls. The movie is part of a trilogy, with the others titled Blueand White.” The director asked Irène Jacob if she had ever wanted a different name and she did: Valentine. It became the name of her character.

#9. The Conformist (1970)

- Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 113 minutes

This political drama involves an Italian fascist sympathizer who is trying to order the assassination of his former teacher. A phone number used in the film is that of Jean-Luc Godard, whom Bernardo Bertolucci admires. Bertolucci first considered Brigitte Bardot for the character of Anna Quadri, before casting Dominique Sanda.

#8. Boyhood (2014)

- Director: Richard Linklater
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 165 minutes

The film looks at the life of a boy named Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, from childhood until he begins college, including scenes of family dinners, graduations, and the other milestones. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette play his parents. The movie was 12 years in the making and in an interview with The Guardian, Linklater described Coltrane this way: “Ellar was the kind who was going to be his own guy, he had not come out of a cookie cutter."

#7. Casablanca (1942)

- Director: Michael Curtiz
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 102 minutes

This classic features Rick Blaine, an expatriate cafe owner played by Humphrey Bogart, and his former lover, Ingrid Bergman, who is trying to flee Casablanca with her husband at the beginning of World War II. The movie includes Rick’s memorable line, “Here’s looking at you, kid,” and the song, “As Time Goes By,” played by Dooley Wilson as Sam. Casablanca won three Oscars for best picture, best director, and best screenplay.

#6. The Leopard (1963)

- Director: Luchino Visconti
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 186 minutes

In the midst of social disruption in Sicily in the 1860s, the Prince of Salina, or the Leopard, tries to hold on to his position. As his fortunes decline, a former peasant, Don Calogero Sedara, becomes wealthy. The director was disappointed that Burt Lancaster was cast as the prince, but after the men had a public confrontation, he changed his mind. Visconti had wanted Laurence Olivier for the part.

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#5. The Godfather (1972)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 9.2
- Runtime: 175 minutes

The Godfather is the first of Francis Ford Coppola’s three films about the Corleone crime family in New York. As the series begins, Vito Corleone is still the godfather of the operation and a generational dispute erupts over whether to traffick drugs. Meanwhile his youngest son, Michael, a decorated World War II veteran, tries to steer clear of the family’s criminal operations. Marlon Brando used cotton wool to stuff his cheeks prior to his audition, so that Don Corleone would "look like a bulldog.” For the filming, he wore a mouthpiece, which is showcased at the American Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York.

#4. Citizen Kane (1941)

- Director: Orson Welles
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 119 minutes

The final word from newspaper magnate, Charles Foster Kane, is one the best known in film history: rosebud. A reporter works to decipher its meaning and to illuminate Kane’s life. The movie was a failure with audiences at first, and booed at the 1941 Academy Awards ceremony, but then was re-released in the 1950s.

#3. Journey to Italy (1954)

- Director: Roberto Rossellini
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 97 minutes

This drama starring Ingrid Bergman features an unhappily married couple on vacation in Naples. The husband is played by George Sanders, who in his autobiography wrote that he found making this movie to be exasperating. He found the director, Roberto Rossellini, to be more interested in scuba diving. The hotel where the couple stays was featured once in The Sopranos.

#2. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

- Director: David Lean
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 228 minutes

“Lawrence of Arabia is an account of T.E. Lawrence, who has been described by biographer Scott Anderson as a “young, bashful Oxford scholar who rode into battle at the head of an Arab army and changed history.” He united the troops during World War I to fight the Turks; many Arab countries banned the film but in Egypt, Omar Sharif organized a viewing for President Gamal Abdel Nasser and it went on to be hit there.

#1. Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)

- Director: Robert Bresson
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 95 minutes

This film tells the story of a donkey, Balthazar, as he moves from one owner to another, some of whom are kind and some of whom mistreat him, and of his first owner, Marie. The farm girl also finds cruelty and beauty in her life. The director said in an interview that he was moved to make the movie after reading Dostoyevsky's novel The Idiot, in which the main character talks of his fondness for donkeys.

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