Best movie from the year you were born

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April 1, 2021
Popperfoto // Getty Images

Best movie from the year you were born

Cinema arguably remains the most culturally significant art form in modern American history. A quality film doesn’t just straddle the full spectrum of sight and sound but serves as both a reflection of and catalyst to the cultural norms of its time. In that regard, a truly great work can be cherished not just for its writing, acting, directing, cinematography, and music, but also as visual documentation of the era in which it was released. Hence, the best movie from the year you were born is both a great film in and of itself and, furthermore, an illuminating window into a personal history you definitely don’t remember.

Curiously digging into your own past or not, there’s really no wrong reason to check out the best movie from the year you were born. Stacker compiled data on the top feature-length films from the past 100 years and crowned a champion using the Stacker score—an equally weighted blend of IMDb and Metacritic scores. Films had to have at least 2,500 votes and a Metascore to make the list. Ties were broken by Metascore and further by IMDb votes. A handful of years in the ’20s did not have sufficient Metacritic data; in that case, the #1 film was determined by IMDb user rating. Let’s find out if the top movie from your birth year has aged as gracefully as you.

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1 / 100
Charles Chaplin Productions

1921: The Kid

- Director: Charles Chaplin
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Votes: 114,516
- Runtime: 68 minutes

Charlie Chaplin was perhaps the biggest star of the silent movie era, and “The Kid” remains one of his most iconic works. It centers on Charlie the Tramp, who takes an orphan under his wing and then must fight to keep him. According to legend, the on-screen dynamic between Chaplin and the orphan was directly inspired by the recent death of Chaplin’s own infant son. Explore the thrilling life of Charlie Chaplin in our story: Charlie Chaplin: The life story you may not know.

2 / 100
Prana-Film GmbH

1922: Nosferatu

- Director: F.W. Murnau
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Votes: 89,281
- Runtime: 94 minutes

This German expressionist take on the story of “Dracula” set early benchmarks for the horror genre. Adapted without the permission of Bram Stoker’s estate, it just barely survived an arduous legal battle before arriving in theaters. Actor Max Schreck plays the vampire Count Orlok, who vies for the affection of another man’s wife. You may also like our quiz on iconic scenes from Nosferatu and 24 other horror films available here.

3 / 100
Hal Roach Studios

1923: Safety Last!

- Directors: Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Votes: 18,572
- Runtime: 74 minutes

Next to Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd was one of the silent era’s most accomplished comedic talents. In “Safety Last!,” the actor gets in over his head as a young man who’s forced to climb a tall building as part of a publicity stunt. It features a very famous scene in which Lloyd hangs from the hands of a huge clock.

4 / 100
Buster Keaton Productions

1924: Sherlock Jr.

- Director: Buster Keaton
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Votes: 42,584
- Runtime: 45 minutes

“Sherlock Jr.” tells the story of a film projectionist, played by Buster Keaton, whose dream of being a private investigator is put to the test after he’s framed for stealing a pocket watch. The movie is rife with stunts, gags, and action sequences, one of which resulted in Keaton fracturing his neck.

5 / 100
Goskino

1925: Battleship Potemkin

- Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein
- Stacker score: 92.2
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 66 minutes

An early master class in filmmaking, this Russian drama recounts both the 1905 uprising aboard Battleship Potemkin and the adjoining street demonstrations. It features the legendary “Odessa Steps” sequence, during which unarmed protestors square off against military officers. Sergei Eisenstein’s radical use of montage and quick-cut editing would influence a legion of subsequent directors.

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6 / 100
Buster Keaton Productions

1926: The General

- Directors: Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Votes: 81,771
- Runtime: 67 minutes

Buster Keaton co-wrote, co-directed, and starred in this Civil War-era adventure story. Inspired by actual events, Keaton portrays an engineer who attempts to recover a stolen locomotive. The action culminates with a now-famous bridge stunt, which was the most expensive scene in silent movie history.

7 / 100
Universum Film (UFA)

1927: Metropolis

- Director: Fritz Lang
- Stacker score: 94.3
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 153 minutes

Fritz Lang’s sci-fi masterpiece takes place in the futuristic city of Metropolis. Just below the utopian surface, an exploited underground workforce toils away so that the rich can play. When the son of a wealthy architect falls in love with a working-class leader, it sparks a revolution.

8 / 100
Charles Chaplin Productions

1928: The Circus

- Director: Charles Chaplin
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 72 minutes

On the run for a crime he didn’t commit, Charlie Chaplin plays The Tramp, who takes up a life in the circus. So goes this romantic comedy, which walks the tightrope between various tones and emotions. It was the seventh-highest grossing movie of the silent era.

9 / 100
Pabst-Film

1929: Diary of a Lost Girl

- Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Votes: 4,109
- Runtime: 79 minutes

Silent-era legend Louise Brooks plays a pharmacist’s daughter named Thymian Henning in this once-controversial classic. Impregnated out of wedlock, Henning is sent to a strict reform school for disobedient girls. The German film is one among a number of collaborations between Brooks and director Georg Wilhelm Pabst.

10 / 100
Universal Pictures

1930: All Quiet on the Western Front

- Director: Lewis Milestone
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 152 minutes

Based on a gripping anti-war novel, this World War I drama is easily one of the most violent and uncompromising movies of its time. Follow a group of young German soldiers as they encounter terror and disillusionment while fighting for their country. It was the first film from Universal Studios to win the Oscar for best picture—then known as “outstanding production”—a feat the studio wouldn’t match for 43 years.

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11 / 100
Charles Chaplin Productions

1931: City Lights

- Director: Charles Chaplin
- Stacker score: 95.8
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 87 minutes

Even as talkies surged in popularity, Charlie Chaplin stuck to his silent-era roots when making 1931’s “City Lights.” It finds The Tramp, played by Chaplin, resorting to various extremes as he tries to raise money for a beautiful blind girl. The work was in production for more than three years before reaching completion.

12 / 100
Shochiku

1932: I Was Born, But ...

- Director: Yasujirô Ozu
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 100 minutes

Two young brothers confront the reality of their socioeconomic status in this Japanese silent comedy from Yasujirô Ozu. Upon their discovery, the boys engage in temper tantrums and other forms of protest. Ozu loosely remade the film in 1959 as the Technicolor dramedy “Good Morning.”

13 / 100
Paramount Pictures

1933: Duck Soup

- Director: Leo McCarey
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 69 minutes

One of the Marx Brothers’ finest hours, “Duck Soup” centers on the escalating tension between two fictional nations. At the heart of the story is Rufus T. Firefly, played by Groucho Marx, impromptu president of Freedonia. Despite its slapstick execution, the film poignantly tackles a number of political themes.

14 / 100
Columbia Pictures Corporation

1934: It Happened One Night

- Director: Frank Capra
- Stacker score: 87.5
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 105 minutes

Frank Capra’s beloved rom-com stars Claudette Colbert as a spoiled heiress, who runs away from home and gets tethered to an undercover reporter, played by Clark Gable. Colbert told a friend it was the worst film she’d made to date, only to watch it become a huge success. Both she and Gable won Oscars for their respective performances.

15 / 100
Universal Pictures

1935: The Bride of Frankenstein

- Director: James Whale
- Stacker score: 90.1
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 75 minutes

Frankenstein’s monster, played by Boris Karloff, gets a love interest in this iconic sequel, which blends genuine horror with elements of satire. Karloff was so well-known by this point that he was billed under his last name alone.

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16 / 100
Charles Chaplin Productions

1936: Modern Times

- Director: Charles Chaplin
- Stacker score: 94.3
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 87 minutes

Continuing his fight against the talkie tide, Charlie Chaplin released “Modern Times” in 1936 as a silent film with sound effects. This time around, The Tramp struggles to keep pace with a modern industrial society. Chaplin did consider making the film a talkie at one point, but eventually determined it would only detract from the work.

17 / 100
Paris Film

1937: Pépé le Moko

- Director: Julien Duvivier
- Stacker score: 91.7
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 94 minutes

Based on a novel of the same name, this French romantic drama takes place in the Casbah quarter of Algiers. While hiding out from the authorities, crime boss Pépé le Moko, played by Jean Gabin, falls for a Parisian woman, played by Mireille Balin. In his review, writer Graham Greene claimed it “raised the thriller to the level of poetry.”

18 / 100
Gainsborough Pictures

1938: The Lady Vanishes

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 91.7
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 96 minutes

Master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock churned out this black-and-white classic, in which a middle-aged woman mysteriously vanishes from a train … or does she? The movie jumps between various characters and storylines and offers occasional comic relief. A critical and commercial success, it holds the #39 spot on the British Film Institute’s list of Best 100 British Films.

19 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

1939: Gone With the Wind

- Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood
- Stacker score: 92.7
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 238 minutes

In this blockbuster adaptation, Scarlett O’Hara, played by Vivien Leigh, goes from pouty girl to tormented woman during the Civil War and Reconstructionist eras. Making the work was no easy task, with production experiencing all kinds of setbacks, including brutal clashes between various egos and personalities. Nevertheless, when adjusted for inflation, it remains the most profitable film in Hollywood history.

20 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

1940: The Shop Around the Corner

- Director: Ernst Lubitsch
- Stacker score: 92.2
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 99 minutes

Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart play a pair of antagonistic gift shop employees in this charming rom-com. As they butt heads at work, the two form an unwitting romance by way of an anonymous pen pal exchange. Both this film and 1998’s “You’ve Got Mail” are based on an original play by Hungarian writer Miklós László.

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21 / 100
RKO Radio Pictures

1941: Citizen Kane

- Director: Orson Welles
- Stacker score: 95.3
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 119 minutes

More than a mere milestone, “Citizen Kane” provides a singular education in atmosphere, editing, cinematography, creativity, and technique. Director and star Orson Welles plays newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane, modeled after William Randolph Hearst, whose unquenchable ambitions remain elusive even after his death. It’s reported that Welles was injured twice during the shoot, and that he drank so much tea it caused his skin color to change.

22 / 100
Popperfoto // Getty Images

1942: Casablanca

- Director: Michael Curtiz
- Stacker score: 96.4
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 102 minutes

“Casablanca” tells the story of Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, who runs a nightclub in Morocco that doubles as a haven for World War II refugees. Surrounded by danger on all sides, Blaine enters a world of trouble when agreeing to help an old flame, played by Ingrid Bergman. While the screenplay might nowadays seem like the stuff of perfection, it wasn’t even complete by the time filming began.

23 / 100
Universal Pictures

1943: Shadow of a Doubt

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 89.6
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 108 minutes

No stranger to pitch-perfect noir, Alfred Hitchcock unleashed this juicy psychological thriller. Young Charlotte “Charlie” Newton, played by Teresa Wright, receives a jolt of excitement with the arrival of her beloved Uncle Charlie, played by Joseph Cotten. But that excitement turns to dread when she learns that Charlie may very well be the infamous “Merry Widow” killer.

24 / 100
Paramount Pictures

1944: Double Indemnity

- Director: Billy Wilder
- Stacker score: 92.7
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 107 minutes

Adapted from a novel by James M. Cain, “Double Indemnity” follows an insurance agent, played by Fred MacMurray, as he’s drawn into a lurid murder scheme by a mysterious femme fatale, played by Barbara Stanwyck. The classic film noir was co-written by famous mystery writer Raymond Chandler, who frequently clashed with director Billy Wilder behind the scenes.

25 / 100
Société Nouvelle Pathé Cinéma

1945: Children of Paradise

- Director: Marcel Carné
- Stacker score: 93.8
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 189 minutes

Shot in Nazi-occupied France on a then-astronomical budget, this sprawling drama became a critical and commercial smash. Set in 1830s Paris, it tells the story of a beautiful courtesan, played by Arletty, and the men who vie for her affection. A recent restoration brought the film back to life in all its stunning sound and glory.

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26 / 100
RKO Radio Pictures

1946: Notorious

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 93.2
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 102 minutes

At the behest of government agent T.R. Devlin, played by Cary Grant, a woman, played by Ingrid Bergman, infiltrates a secret Nazi group in this classic spy thriller. When romance ensues between the pair, it complicates her mission. The film holds an impressive Metascore of 100, where numerous critics agree that this is Alfred Hitchcock at the top of his game.

27 / 100
Rialto Pictures

1947: Quai des Orfèvres

- Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 106 minutes

Based on a novel, this French crime drama follows a music hall performer and her jealous husband as they attempt to cover up a murder. Seattle Times critic Moira Macdonald wrote, “For those with a taste for classic movies, it’s like finding a buried treasure.” It was director Henri-Georges Clouzot’s first film in the wake of his controversial masterpiece “Le Corbeau.”

28 / 100
Warner Bros.

1948: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

- Director: John Huston
- Stacker score: 93.8
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 126 minutes

There’s no honor among thieves in John Huston’s timeless tale of greed and betrayal. It sends two down-on-their-luck men on a hunt for gold in Mexico, where paranoia gets the best of them. Long-running TV show “The Simpsons” once parodied the film in the episode “Three Men and a Comic Book.”

29 / 100
London Film Productions

1949: The Third Man

- Director: Carol Reed
- Stacker score: 92.7
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 93 minutes

Pulp novelist Holly Martins, played by Joseph Cotten, heads to postwar Vienna to investigate the death of his friend Harry Lime, played by Orson Welles. What he uncovers is a much broader conspiracy with Lime at its very center. Director Carol Reed’s use of off-kilter theme music and harsh lighting drives home a lingering sense of unease, positioning Martins as a mere pawn in someone’s international game.

30 / 100
Daiei Motion Picture Company

1950: Rashomon

- Director: Akira Kurosawa
- Stacker score: 93.8
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 88 minutes

Akira Kurosawa’s tale of unreliable narration is so influential that there’s an official term bearing its name. That’s not to mention the film’s lasting influence on cinema itself, being one that continues to this day. Witness a brutal crime from four unique perspectives, each of which reveals the storyteller’s underlying motives.

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31 / 100
Warner Bros.

1951: A Streetcar Named Desire

- Director: Elia Kazan
- Stacker score: 92.2
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 122 minutes

This adaptation of a famous play depicts the hostile relationship between Blanche DuBois, played by Vivien Leigh, and her brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski, played by Marlon Brando. Their ongoing battle lays bare a number of domestic struggles and hypermasculine themes. It’s one of just two films in history to win three Academy Awards for acting.

32 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

1952: Singin’ in the Rain

- Directors: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
- Stacker score: 94.8
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 103 minutes

The transition from silent films to talkies makes for glorious entertainment in this 1952 musical. Despite the positive vibes, things were reportedly quite grueling behind the scenes. Not only did Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor suffer dance-related injuries, but Gene Kelly was reportedly very demanding of his peers. In fact, Reynolds once said that completing this film and surviving childbirth were the two hardest experiences of her life.

33 / 100
Warner Bros.

1953: The Band Wagon

- Director: Vincente Minnelli
- Stacker score: 87.5
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 112 minutes

What’s supposed to be a career-reviving Broadway show gets transformed beyond recognition by an egomaniacal director. Hollywood icon Fred Astaire stars alongside fellow dancer Cyd Charisse and imparts an uplifting spirit. The film was co-written by the same team behind “Singin’ in the Rain” from the previous year.

34 / 100
Paramount Pictures

1954: Rear Window

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 95.8
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 112 minutes

One of Alfred Hitchock’s best-known works tells the story of a wheelchair-bound photographer, played by James Stewart, with a penchant for voyeurism. Upon witnessing a potential murder, he decides to investigate. As Hitchcock would later tell director Francois Truffaut during a now-famous interview, the film, which also featured Grace Kelly, was inspired by two actual murder cases.

35 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

1955: The Night of the Hunter

- Director: Charles Laughton
- Stacker score: 93.2
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 92 minutes

Set during the Great Depression, “The Night of the Hunter” follows a vicious grifter as he preys upon a gullible woman. The film endures as a gripping classic, namely thanks to a harrowing performance by lead actor Robert Mitchum. This was the only film directed by actor Charles Laughton.

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36 / 100
Warner Bros.

1956: The Searchers

- Director: John Ford
- Stacker score: 90.1
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 119 minutes

More than just an acclaimed John Wayne Western, “The Searchers” is celebrated as one of Hollywood’s greatest achievements. Wayne plays Civil War veteran Ethan Edwards, who embarks on a perilous journey in order to save his niece from savage Comanches. The actor was so enamored with the role and the film that he named one of his own children after the character he portrayed.

37 / 100
Orion-Nova Productions

1957: 12 Angry Men

- Director: Sidney Lumet
- Stacker score: 96.9
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 9
- Runtime: 96 minutes

A lone holdout must convince a jury of his peers to reassess their guilty verdict in this gripping drama. Screenwriter Reginald Rose came up with the story after serving on a jury in a 1954 manslaughter case. Before appearing on the big screen, it debuted in that year as a live TV episode in the CBS “Studio One” anthology series.

38 / 100
Paramount Pictures

1958: Vertigo

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 95.3
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 128 minutes

Alfred Hitchcock is back with this classic tale of suspense, in which a private investigator, played by James Stewart, falls in love with Kim Novak, the woman he’s been hired to follow. A relative disappointment upon its initial release, the film went on to earn substantial acclaim. It even knocked “Citizen Kane” off the top of the British Film Institute’s list of the 50 Greatest Films of All Time in 2012.

39 / 100
Warner Bros.

1959: North by Northwest

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 94.3
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 136 minutes

Alfred Hitchcock kept the iconic movies coming in the late 1950s, as evidenced by this seminal thriller. Due to a case of mistaken identity, a New York ad executive, played by Cary Grant, gets embroiled in an international conspiracy. Grant was reportedly so confused by the script that he didn’t know what the movie was about while filming it.

40 / 100
Shamley Productions

1960: Psycho

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 94.8
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 109 minutes

Hot on the heels of “North by Northwest” came Alfred Hitchcock’s game-changing slasher flick. Not just famous for its shape-shifting story and brutal shower scene, it’s also the first film to ever feature a toilet flushing. Paramount executives were initially hesitant to finance the film, prompting Hitch to pay for the movie out of his own pocket.

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41 / 100
20th Century Fox

1961: The Hustler

- Director: Robert Rossen
- Stacker score: 88.5
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 134 minutes

Audiences are introduced to pool shark “Fast” Eddie Felson, played by Paul Newman, in this classic drama. Reeling from a pivotal loss, Felson puts everything on the line while hustling his way out of the gutter. The character reappeared as a mentor in Martin Scorsese’s 1986 sequel “The Color of Money.”

42 / 100
Horizon Pictures (II)

1962: Lawrence of Arabia

- Director: David Lean
- Stacker score: 95.3
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 228 minutes

David Lean’s three-plus-hour epic was a massive influence upon a legion of subsequent filmmakers, including Steven Spielberg. Rife with unforgettable scenes, it chronicles the adventures of World War I British officer T.E. Lawrence, played by Peter O'Toole. On assignment in Arabia, Lawrence unifies warring Arab tribes in their fight against the Turks.

43 / 100
20th Century Fox

1963: The Leopard

- Director: Luchino Visconti
- Stacker score: 93.8
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 186 minutes

Like the novel upon which it’s based, Luchino Visconti’s historical drama depicts the final days of a waning aristocracy. The story takes place in 19th-century Sicily and builds toward a stunning 45-minute ballroom sequence. Multiple versions of the film exist, including one that reportedly runs for 205 minutes.

44 / 100
Columbia Pictures Corporation

1964: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

- Director: Stanley Kubrick
- Stacker score: 94.3
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 95 minutes

Dark comedies don’t get much darker than this one, in which a series of farcical mishaps result in nuclear war. What ended up on screen was in some ways toned down from Stanley Kubrick’s original vision. An early cut of the film included a pie fight in the war room, and an early script had aliens watching the whole ordeal from deep space.

45 / 100
Internacional Films

1965: Chimes at Midnight

- Director: Orson Welles
- Stacker score: 89.6
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 115 minutes

Orson Welles adapts multiple Shakespeare plays in this underrated drama, about the adventures of Sir John Falstaff, played by Welles, and Prince Hal, played by Keith Baxter. After being negatively received at Cannes, the film vanished for decades. It’s since been restored and reappraised and is now considered one of the director’s finest works.

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46 / 100
Argos Films

1966: Au Hasard Balthazar

- Director: Robert Bresson
- Stacker score: 93.2
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 95 minutes

Robert Bresson presents a world of cruel indifference in this heart-wrenching drama. In telling the story of a mistreated donkey, the French director explores themes of sin and sainthood. This is the kind of film experience that will stick with the viewer for days.

47 / 100
Toho Company

1967: Samurai Rebellion

- Director: Masaki Kobayashi
- Stacker score: 90.6
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 128 minutes

A samurai must choose between the demands of his master and the desires of his offspring in this Japanese drama. Examining codes of honor within a rigid social hierarchy, the story builds toward a series of violent events. Critic Roger Ebert wrote, “As extreme a samurai film as I’ve seen in both senses (the ethics and the violence), and one of the best.”

48 / 100
William Castle Enterprises

1968: Rosemary’s Baby

- Director: Roman Polanski
- Stacker score: 91.7
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 137 minutes

A haunting musical theme sets the stage for Roman Polanski’s nightmarish horror flick. Is the pregnant Rosemary, played by Mia Farrow, growing something evil inside her or is it all in her head? This makes up the second part of the director’s informal “Apartment Trilogy.”

49 / 100
Rialto Pictures

1969: Army of Shadows

- Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
- Stacker score: 94.3
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 145 minutes

Adapted from a novel of the same name, this World War II drama takes viewers deep into the French underground. A former resistance fighter, director Jean-Pierre Melville lends the work an atypical sense of intimacy. It didn’t reach the U.S. market until 37 years after its initial release.

50 / 100
Mars Film

1970: The Conformist

- Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
- Stacker score: 93.8
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 113 minutes

Often regarded as Bernardo Bertolucci’s best film, “The Conformist” follows a compliant Italian man turned political assassin. Upon meeting the wife of his target, the man’s loyalties are put to the test. Citing an “unsettling blend of images and ideas,” critic Andrew O’Hehir attests that “it’s the very strangeness of Bertolucci’s masterpiece that has made it so influential in cinema history.”

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51 / 100
Columbia Pictures

1971: The Last Picture Show

- Director: Peter Bogdanovich
- Stacker score: 90.1
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 118 minutes

Welcome to the small and somber town of Anarene, Texas, circa 1951. As a group of teenagers come of age against a bleak backdrop, they ruminate upon what the future has in store. The film employs black-and-white cinematography and haunting imagery to evoke a perennial atmosphere of aimlessness and despair.

52 / 100
Paramount Pictures

1972: The Godfather

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

As impactful today as it was the year you were born, if that was 1972, “The Godfather” is the quintessence of classic cinema. It centers on the Corleone crime family, whose members struggle to maintain power against a sea of rivals. Who would have guessed that Oscar-winning star Marlon Brando was reading off cue cards the whole time?

53 / 100
Universal Pictures

1973: American Graffiti

- Director: George Lucas
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 110 minutes

Before he unleashed “Star Wars,” George Lucas crafted this loving ode to early 1960s America. Dripping with nostalgia, it trails a group of teenagers as they cruise around their California town over the course of a single night. Their adventures play out against a never-ending backdrop of hit oldies tunes.

54 / 100
Paramount Pictures

1974: The Godfather: Part II

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 93.8
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 9
- Runtime: 202 minutes

After helming the first “Godfather” movie, director Francis Ford Coppola was so exhausted that he didn’t want to sign on for a sequel. Nevertheless, he and writer Mario Puzo soon found themselves compelled to tell parallel stories about two Corleone men coming into power. “The Godfather: Part II” was thus born.

55 / 100
Paramount Pictures

1975: Nashville

- Director: Robert Altman
- Stacker score: 90.1
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 160 minutes

Director Robert Altman’s penchant for juggling multiple characters and storylines is on full display in this star-studded dramedy. Set in Nashville, Tennessee, over the course of five days, it chronicles the overlapping adventures of various locals and visitors. Music plays a recurring role and lends the film a convivial mood before things take a dark turn.

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56 / 100
Columbia/TriStar

1976: Taxi Driver

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 91.7
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 114 minutes

From Martin Scorsese came this 1976 masterpiece, in which a war veteran-turned-cab driver in New York City slowly loses his mind. During its most iconic moment, star Robert De Niro says to himself in a mirror, “You talkin’ to me?” As it turns out, the line was improvised by the famous actor, who’d heard Bruce Springsteen utter it at a concert just days before.

57 / 100
Lucasfilm Ltd.

1977: Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope

- Director: George Lucas
- Stacker score: 91.7
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Runtime: 121 minutes

Before the sequels, spin-offs, theme park attractions, conventions, video games, and Happy Meal toys, there was an ambitious 1977 movie about a space war between interplanetary rebels and an evil empire. One has to wonder if the phenomenon would’ve been the same had the movie been released under its early working title: “Adventures of the Starkiller as Taken From the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars.” Seriously, that was the name given to the second draft of the screenplay.

58 / 100
Paramount Pictures

1978: Days of Heaven

- Director: Terrence Malick
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 94 minutes

Director Terrence Malick lets the Oscar-winning cinematography do most of the talking in this mysterious period drama. It takes place in the early 20th century and follows a poor couple, played by Richard Gere and Brooke Adams, out to the Texas panhandle, where they enact a dangerous scheme. While an ethereal quality persists, the film also documents harsh turn-of-the-century labor practices.

59 / 100
United Artists

1979: Apocalypse Now

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 92.7
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 147 minutes

Francis Ford Coppola plunged deep into the heart of darkness with this loose adaptation of a Joseph Conrad novel. Set during the Vietnam War, it sends a seasoned officer, played by Martin Sheen, on a dangerous mission with life-changing repercussions. The film was re-cut and re-released more than once, most recently as “Apocalypse Now: Final Cut.”

60 / 100
Chartoff-Winkler Productions

1980: Raging Bull

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 129 minutes

Martin Scorsese’s portrait of boxer Jake LaMotta, played by Robert De Niro, is among the most uncompromising character studies ever committed to celluloid. Presented in black-and-white, it interweaves LaMotta’s professional bouts with his violent outbursts at home. Indisputably gritty, the work also retains a certain poetic sensibility.

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61 / 100
Bavaria Film

1981: Das Boot

- Director: Wolfgang Petersen
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 149 minutes

This sprawling World War II drama takes viewers deep below the ocean’s surface, chronicling the exploits of a German U-boat crew. Mundane daily rituals are punctuated by occasional action sequences within a claustrophobic atmosphere. It’s all based on a non-fiction book of the same name by former U-96 submarine crew member Lothar-Günther Buchheim.

62 / 100
Svenska Filminstitutet (SFI)

1982: Fanny and Alexander

- Director: Ingmar Bergman
- Stacker score: 94.3
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 188 minutes

Ingmar Bergman’s semi-autobiographical period piece tells the story of its title characters, two privileged siblings growing up in an unconventional household. An idyllic existence is uprooted by the death of their father, which casts a long and dark shadow over the events that follow. Two distinct versions of the film exist—a theatrical version and a TV version—the latter of which runs for 312 minutes.

63 / 100
Eôs Films

1983: L’Argent

- Director: Robert Bresson
- Stacker score: 88.5
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 85 minutes

Loosely based on a posthumous Tolstoy novella, this offbeat crime drama follows a counterfeit note as it passes from one person to the next. True to form, director Robert Bresson uses the story as a conduit for themes of sin, redemption, and persecution. It earned him a best director prize at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival.

64 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

1984: This Is Spinal Tap

- Director: Rob Reiner
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 82 minutes

This trailblazing mockumentary chronicles England’s “loudest rock band” on its American comeback tour. It bombed at the box office and has since become a cult classic. Co-screenwriter and star Christopher Guest went on to create a number of similarly iconic mockumentaries, including “Waiting for Guffman” and “Best in Show.”

65 / 100
Rialto Pictures

1985: Ran

- Director: Akira Kurosawa
- Stacker score: 92.7
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 162 minutes

Akira Kurosawa’s epic combines Shakespeare’s “King Lear” with stories of the Mōri samurai clan. It takes place in medieval Japan and pits three sons against one another over control of their father’s empire. The influential director was 75 by the time of its release.

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66 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

1986: Platoon

- Director: Oliver Stone
- Stacker score: 90.1
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 120 minutes

Vietnam War veteran turned Hollywood icon Oliver Stone drew upon personal experience when crafting this acclaimed war drama. It tells the story of a young army volunteer, played by Charlie Sheen, who gets swept up in the conflict between two of his superiors. The film won four Academy Awards, including best picture and best director.

67 / 100
Orion Classics

1987: Au Revoir les Enfants

- Director: Louis Malle
- Stacker score: 87.5
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 104 minutes

French director Louis Malle conjures elements of his own childhood in this semi-autobiographical drama. It takes place during World War II in a Catholic boarding school, where two best friends hide a deadly secret. Critic Peter Bradshaw wrote that “every scene is masterful” in his review for The Guardian.

68 / 100
Toho Company

1988: Grave of the Fireflies

- Director: Isao Takahata
- Stacker score: 93.2
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 89 minutes

Produced by Studio Ghibli, this animated World War II drama presents a gripping story of survival. Follow two siblings as they try to find their parents in the wake of an American firebombing. Japanese author Akiyuki Nosaka wrote the novel upon which the film is based, having experienced fire-bombings firsthand.

69 / 100
Miramax

1989: My Left Foot

- Director: Jim Sheridan
- Stacker score: 91.7
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 103 minutes

Daniel Day-Lewis delivers an Oscar-winning turn as Irish artist Christy Brown in this biographical drama. Suffering from cerebral palsy, Brown learns to paint and write using only his left foot. The film is one out of three major collaborations between Day-Lewis and director Jim Sheridan.

70 / 100
Warner Bros.

1990: Goodfellas

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 92.2
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Runtime: 146 minutes

Depicting three decades in the life of an American gangster, Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” reinvented style and substance to massively influential effect. It’s based on the book “Wiseguy” by Nicholas Pileggi, who thought it was a prank when Scorsese first expressed interest. The two eventually connected and even worked together again on 1995’s “Casino.”

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71 / 100
Walt Disney Productions

1991: Beauty and the Beast

- Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
- Stacker score: 91.1
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 84 minutes

Disney Studios was in the midst of a latter-day renaissance when it released this box-office blockbuster. Cursed by an evil spell, a beast must convince his captive to find the prince hiding within him. Primarily hand-drawn, the film made additional use of newly developed computer animation for its now-famous ballroom sequence.

72 / 100
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

1992: Unforgiven

- Director: Clint Eastwood
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 130 minutes

Clint Eastwood hopped back into the saddle for this exalted Western drama, pulling triple duty as director, producer, and star. He plays former gunslinger William Munny, who comes out of retirement for one final job. The film won four Academy Awards, including best picture and best director.

73 / 100
Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment

1993: Schindler’s List

- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Stacker score: 95.3
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Runtime: 195 minutes

Turning away from kid-friendly fare, Steven Spielberg debuted this award-winning World War II drama. Liam Neeson portrays Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who ends up saving more than 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust. Spielberg refused to accept a salary for directing the film or take in any of the profits, saying to do so would be akin to taking “blood money.”

74 / 100
Miramax

1994: Pulp Fiction

- Director: Quentin Tarantino
- Stacker score: 95.3
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Runtime: 154 minutes

Two years after “Reservoir Dogs,” director Quentin Tarantino cemented his legacy with this quintessential crime drama. Telling three interconnected stories of pulpy violence, it rendered substantial impact on the movies released in its wake. Uma Thurman only agreed to play gangster’s wife Mia Wallace—one of her most iconic roles—after Tarantino read her the entire script over the phone.

75 / 100
Walt Disney Pictures

1995: Toy Story

- Director: John Lasseter
- Stacker score: 92.7
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 81 minutes

An overnight game-changer, Pixar’s feature debut was the first fully computer-animated film. It depicts a group of personified toys that spring to life and compete for their owner’s attention. The film’s box office success helped pave the way for both Pixar’s legacy and computer animation at large.

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76 / 100
Channel Four Films

1996: Secrets & Lies

- Director: Mike Leigh
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 136 minutes

An adopted African American woman, played by Marianne Jean-Baptiste, tracks down her biological mother, played by Brenda Blethyn, in this British drama. Their subsequent relationship doubles as a poignant character study with an emotional core. Much of the dialogue was improvised, with director Mike Leigh encouraging the actors to develop their own characters.

77 / 100
Warner Bros.

1997: L.A. Confidential

- Director: Curtis Hanson
- Stacker score: 89.6
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 138 minutes

Based on a novel by James Ellroy, this period crime drama goes straight to the heart of 1950s police corruption and racial tension. In the wake of a brutal killing, three policemen with three different codes must work together to solve the crime. Brilliant performances, solid writing, and Curtis Hanson’s deft direction effectively transport viewers to a bygone era.

78 / 100
Amblin Entertainment

1998: Saving Private Ryan

- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Stacker score: 92.2
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Runtime: 169 minutes

Steven Spielberg wasn’t finished detailing the horrors of World War II until he released this Oscar-winning masterpiece. Following an explosive invasion sequence, a group of soldiers advance behind enemy lines in search of a paratrooper, played by Matt Damon. To help ensure accuracy, the main actors went through tactical training and a 10-day boot camp before shooting began.

79 / 100
Universal Studios Inc.

1999: Being John Malkovich

- Director: Spike Jonze
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 113 minutes

See the world through John Malkovich’s eyes for about 15 minutes at a time in this surrealist dramedy. Depressed puppeteer Craig Schwartz, played by John Cusack, seizes the opportunity and changes multiple lives in the process. The debut feature from director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is as delightfully quirky now as it was upon its release.

80 / 100
1+2 Seisaku Iinkai

2000: Yi Yi

- Director: Edward Yang
- Stacker score: 91.1
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 173 minutes

Clocking in at just under three hours, Edward Yang’s sweeping drama follows the respective members of a middle-class Taipei family. Technical brilliance and emotional intimacy strike a perfect balance, turning every moment into a miniature work of art. It premiered at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, where Yang took home the prize for best director.

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81 / 100
Studio Ghibli

2001: Spirited Away

- Director: Hayao Miyazaki
- Stacker score: 94.8
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Runtime: 125 minutes

Animation wizard Hayao Miyazaki remains best-known for this wondrous fantasy film, in which a young girl enters a parallel world. Oozing with imagination, the story draws upon Japanese Shinto-Buddhist folklore. It won the Academy Award for best animated feature.

82 / 100
New Line Cinema

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

- Director: Peter Jackson
- Stacker score: 90.6
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Runtime: 179 minutes

This blockbuster sequel continues the adventures of hobbits Frodo and Sam as they attempt to destroy an all-powerful ring. It also introduces a shifty creature named Gollum, who was brought to life using stunning computer-generated imagery. Speaking of Gollum, did you know that The Beatles expressed interest in creating their own adaptation of Tolkien’s trilogy in the 1960s, with John Lennon matched to play the devious creature?

83 / 100
New Line Cinema

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

- Director: Peter Jackson
- Stacker score: 95.3
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Runtime: 201 minutes

Peter Jackson capped off his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy in spectacular style with this epic adventure. Frodo and Sam reach the last leg of their journey while the forces of good and evil engage in one final battle. In addition to sweeping at the Oscars and earning more than a billion dollars at the box office, it reportedly holds the record for the highest body count in a single movie.

84 / 100
Focus Features

2004: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

- Director: Michel Gondry
- Stacker score: 89.6
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 108 minutes

In this off-kilter dramedy, a couple, played by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, fall out of love and take extreme measures to move past the heartbreak. Specifically, they undergo a medical procedure that erases one another from each other’s memories. Hovering just beyond the absurd premise is a modern exploration of love and loss.

85 / 100
Mandragora

2005: The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

- Director: Cristi Puiu
- Stacker score: 85.9
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 153 minutes

Tragedy and dark comedy collide in Cristi Puiu’s scathing classic, which snagged the Un Certain Regard award at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. The odyssey of a dying man, played by Ion Fiscuteanu, functions as a brutal indictment of the Romanian health care system. Puiu’s documentary-like approach makes the ordeal seem all too real and all too frustrating.

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86 / 100
Estudios Picasso

2006: Pan’s Labyrinth

- Director: Guillermo del Toro
- Stacker score: 93.8
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 118 minutes

Guillermo del Toro mixes history and fantasy as only he can in this gripping Oscar-winner. Set in Spain during the early Francoist era, it follows a young girl, played by Ivana Baquero, into a mythical universe. “Bewitchingly bonkers,” is how critic Nigel Andrews described the film in his review for Financial Times.

87 / 100
Mobra Films

2007: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

- Director: Cristian Mungiu
- Stacker score: 91.7
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 113 minutes

With help from her friend, a woman seeks an illegal abortion in this tense drama. The story takes place in 1980s Romania, when abortions were a crime punishable by death. A ticking clock sets the stage and the mood alike.

88 / 100
Walt Disney Pictures

2008: WALL·E

- Director: Andrew Stanton
- Stacker score: 93.2
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 98 minutes

Pixar takes viewers to a future wasteland, where human consumption has rendered the planet uninhabitable. A garbage-collecting robot wades through literal mountains of trash before hopping aboard a space-bound flight. Whereas most Pixar films use anywhere from 50,000 to 75,000 storyboards, this one reportedly involved as many as 125,000.

89 / 100
Disney/Pixar

2009: Up

- Directors: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
- Stacker score: 88.5
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 96 minutes

One of the most famous opening sequences in animation history gives way to the story of an old man and his flying house. With help from a young boy and thousands of balloons, the man takes off for Paradise Falls. Some viewers might wonder: How many balloons would it take to lift a house in real life? Anywhere from 100,000 to 23.5 million, according to different calculations.

90 / 100
Columbia Tri Star Marketing Group

2010: The Social Network

- Director: David Fincher
- Stacker score: 89.6
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 120 minutes

What happens when a spiteful misfit goes on to create the most popular social network of all time? This movie posits an answer in the form of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, portrayed deviously by Jesse Eisenberg. As intriguing the underlying thesis may be, the film reportedly plays it quite loose with the facts.

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91 / 100
Asghar Farhadi Productions

2011: A Separation

- Director: Asghar Farhadi
- Stacker score: 92.7
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 123 minutes

Director Asghar Farhadi offers a glimpse of modern Iranian culture through the disintegration of a marriage. Determined to leave the country for better opportunities, a woman files for divorce. The powerful drama was nominated for two Academy Awards, winning for best foreign language film.

92 / 100
Les Films du Losange

2012: Amour

- Director: Michael Haneke
- Stacker score: 90.1
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 127 minutes

A couple’s enduring love is put to the test in this award-winning drama from director Michael Haneke. When the wife, played by Emmanuelle Riva, suffers a massive stroke, Jean-Louis Trintignant, who plays her husband, must confront some heartbreaking realities. As with much of Haneke’s work, the story marches at a gradual pace toward an unforgettable finale.

93 / 100
Regency Enterprises

2013: 12 Years a Slave

- Director: Steve McQueen
- Stacker score: 92.2
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 134 minutes

Based on the real-life memoir of Solomon Northup, this historical drama explores America’s cruel past. Living the life of a free man up North, Northup, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, is abducted by kidnappers and sold into slavery down South. This was the first film produced and directed by an African American to win the Academy Award for best picture.

94 / 100
IFC Films

2014: Boyhood

- Director: Richard Linklater
- Stacker score: 93.2
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 165 minutes

Shot over the course of 12 years, Richard Linklater’s experimental drama brings a whole new meaning to the coming-of-age conceit. Not so much a story as much as it is a collection of telling scenes, the film trails Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, from boyhood to college-age adolescence. Patricia Arquette won an Academy Award for her supporting role as Mason’s mother.

95 / 100
Disney/Pixar

2015: Inside Out

- Directors: Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen
- Stacker score: 91.1
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 95 minutes

Leave it to Pixar to turn the inner machinations of the human mind into a computer-animated adventure. As a young girl named Riley grapples with a major life change, so too do her personified emotions. The filmmakers consulted with both a psychology professor and an emotions expert when bringing Riley’s interior world to life.

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96 / 100
Amazon Studios

2016: Manchester by the Sea

- Director: Kenneth Lonergan
- Stacker score: 90.6
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 137 minutes

Kenneth Lonergan’s somber drama tells the story of Lee Chandler, played by Casey Affleck, who’s been hollowed out by a personal tragedy. Suddenly tasked with guardianship over his nephew, Chandler struggles to leave the past behind. The film won two Academy Awards for best actor and best original screenplay, respectively.

97 / 100
Warner Bros.

2017: Dunkirk

- Director: Christopher Nolan
- Stacker score: 89.6
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 106 minutes

World War II allied soldiers are attempting to flee Germany and the enemy is closing in. Christopher Nolan’s war saga moves at a breakneck pace and often to the beat of a ticking clock. As it turns out, that very tick-tock effect was sourced from Nolan’s own stopwatch.

98 / 100
Esperanto Filmoj

2018: Roma

- Director: Alfonso Cuarón
- Stacker score: 90.1
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 135 minutes

Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón revisits his early childhood in this semi-autobiographical drama. Presented in black-and-white, it depicts an upper middle class family and their maid, played by Yalitza Aparicio, in 1970s Mexico City. The film won three Academy Awards, including best foreign language film and best director.

99 / 100
Barunson E&A

2019: Parasite

- Director: Bong Joon Ho
- Stacker score: 94.8
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Runtime: 132 minutes

Audiences are still waxing rhapsodic about this best picture-winner from South Korea’s Bong Joon Ho. When members of a poor family con their way into an upper class household, it leads to devastating consequences. Socioeconomic themes make for a consistent foundation atop which one unpredictable plot point gives way to another.

100 / 100
Cor Cordium Productions

2020: Nomadland

- Director: Chloé Zhao
- Stacker score: 88.5
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 107 minutes

Those born in 2020 will have to age a few years before they can appreciate this award-winning drama. Having lost her home to the Great Recession, a widow, played by Frances McDormand, takes up the life of a modern nomad. Always striving for authenticity, director Chloé Zhao cast real-life nomads in various supporting roles.

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