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100 best American movies of all time – ABC17News.com


New Line Cinema
Horses run through water with riders who have their heads covered in black cloth.
Since the early 20th century, Hollywood has been the epicenter of the American film industry. Though the first film made entirely in Hollywood was a short film entitled “In Old California” in 1910, the first completed Hollywood film—1908’s “The Count of Monte Cristo”—began production in Chicago.
Sunset Boulevard’s first movie studio opened around 1911, and eventually many East Coast studios had relocated to Los Angeles by 1915. Since then, production studios have blossomed outside of the ones in LA, and though it remains the premier location for all things film, Paramount is the only movie studio still located in Hollywood itself.
American film production includes countless contributions to film history’s canon, timeless staples that transcend age or accolades, and singular visions considered to be some of the greatest art ever made.
Stacker compiled data on thousands of American movies to come up with a Stacker score—a weighted index split evenly between IMDb and Metacritic ratings—that allowed us to rank the 100 greatest American movies of all time. To qualify as American, the film had to be produced by American production studios, though this doesn’t mean the film is necessarily in English or takes place on American soil. The film also had to have at least 5,000 IMDb user votes, and ties were broken by the number of votes received.
Here are the top 100 American movies of all time, starting at #100 and counting down to #1.
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Universal Pictures
A family sits in the living room together looking at a newspaper scattered on the floor.
– Director: Alfred Hitchcock
– Stacker score: 89.6
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 108 minutes
A man wanted for murder (Joseph Cotten) hides among his initially unassuming relatives until his bored teenage niece begins to suspect something hidden underneath his charming veneer— even when it seems like he has been cleared of all doubt. The film served as the initial inspiration for the 2013 film “Stoker” directed by Park Chan-wook.

40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks
Spike Lee sitting at a booth with a woman as he looks behind his seat.
– Director: Spike Lee
– Stacker score: 89.6
– Metascore: 93
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 120 minutes
On the hottest day of the summer in Brooklyn, already simmering racial tensions explode between the Black community and local Italian pizza shop owner Salvatore “Sal” Fragione (Danny Aiello) when a neighborhood local notices the shop’s “wall of fame” doesn’t showcase any Black men. “Do the Right Thing” is cited by some as one of the greatest films of all time and was the feature film debut for actors Rosie Perez and Martin Lawrence.

Pathé
A woman looks closely at something.
– Director: Julian Schnabel
– Stacker score: 89.6
– Metascore: 92
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 112 minutes
Based on the memoir by the same name, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” depicts the life of former Elle France editor Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric) after suffering a paralyzing stroke at age 43. With only movement in his left eye remaining, Bauby uses it to dictate his memoir and his experience in his compromised body. Though it did not win any, the film was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Film Editing.

Horizon Pictures
Marlon Brando lying down.
– Director: Elia Kazan
– Stacker score: 89.6
– Metascore: 91
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 108 minutes
When a powerful mob boss murders a longshoreman who plans to testify against him, a former-boxer-turned-dockworker, the dead man’s sister, and a priest team up to expose his control of the Hoboken waterfront and bring him to justice. The film, starring Marlon Brando, was nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won eight, including Best Picture.

Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions
Diane Keaton and Woody Allen talking as she gets into a cab.
– Director: Woody Allen
– Stacker score: 89.6
– Metascore: 92
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 93 minutes
A comedian (Woody Allen) breaks the fourth wall in his examination of his former relationship with a struggling nightclub singer, reflecting on his life, his upbringing, and what went wrong with the romance itself, intertwining the comedic, the surreal, and the fantastical. The film beat out the original “Star Wars” movie for Best Picture at the 50th Academy Awards.
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Tribeca Productions
Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Ray Romano
– Director: Martin Scorsese
– Stacker score: 89.6
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 209 minutes
Philadelphia truck driver Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) becomes embroiled with a local crime family in the 1950s, and as he climbs through the ranks, he soon finds himself in close contact with powerful Chicago Teamster and organized crime affiliate Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), a relationship that spans nearly 20 years. The film is based on the true story of Sheeran and the nonfiction book “I Heard You Paint Houses” by Charles Brandt.

AMLF
Mozart making a wild face during a show.
– Director: Milos Forman
– Stacker score: 89.6
– Metascore: 88
– IMDb user rating: 8.4
– Runtime: 160 minutes
A fictionalized biographical account of legendary composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the film chronicles the famed musician’s life in the second half of the 18th century and a fabricated rivalry between him and Italian composer Antonio Salieri. Both Tom Hulce and F. Murray Abraham were nominated in the Best Actor category at the 57th Academy Awards for their portrayals of Mozart and Salieri, respectively. The film won Best Picture, and Abraham went home with the Best Actor prize.

Regency Enterprises
Kim Basinger hugging a man.
– Director: Curtis Hanson
– Stacker score: 89.6
– Metascore: 90
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 138 minutes
In 1950s Los Angeles, the corrupt police force tasks three of its unpredictable detectives with an unsolved murder at a downtown LA coffee shop years prior, each man armed with his own obsessions and motives in relation to the case. Lead actors Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce were still relatively unknown upon the movie’s release; the film acted as the jumping-off point for their careers.

Syncopy
A pier covered in soldiers waiting to board a boat.
– Director: Christopher Nolan
– Stacker score: 89.6
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 106 minutes
Chronicling the titular evacuation of World War II, this war film depicts the trapped Allied troops of Britain, Belgium, France, and Canada who were cornered by German soldiers on the shores of Dunkirk and how these 330,000 soldiers were eventually brought to safety. The film utilizes little dialogue, focusing heavily on visuals, sound, and music, and was shot on IMAX 65-mm film.

Focus Features
Kate Winslet talks to Jim Carrey in a library.
– Director: Michel Gondry
– Stacker score: 89.6
– Metascore: 89
– IMDb user rating: 8.3
– Runtime: 108 minutes
A woman (Kate Winslet) coming out of a painful breakup requests the removal of all related memories to ease her recovery. When her ex-boyfriend (Jim Carrey) discovers what she’s done, he elects to do the same—but soon realizes that he still loves her. The inventive film, which unfolds using a nonlinear narrative, explores themes of love, loss, and memory; it picked up the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
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Pixar Animation Studios
Turtles and a blue fish hide behind a stump looking at another fish.
– Directors: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
– Stacker score: 89.6
– Metascore: 90
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 100 minutes
Overly cautious clownfish father Marlin frustrates his son Nemo, who doesn’t want the shortened fin he was born with to inhibit him. In an attempt to prove to his father that he’s capable of taking care of himself, he’s caught by a diver, and Marlin must set out on an oceanic journey to get his son back. “Finding Nemo” was the first Pixar film to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and the studio has dominated the category ever since.

Paramount Pictures
Jim Carrey through a tv screen that says On Air.
– Director: Peter Weir
– Stacker score: 89.6
– Metascore: 90
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 103 minutes
Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) seems to have the perfect suburban life. Little does he know, his life is actually a fabricated soap opera being broadcast to the American public. Gradually, Truman realizes what’s going on behind the scenes of his idyllic existence and must choose whether to do something about it. At the 71st Academy Awards, “The Truman Show” received nominations for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for Ed Harris.

Universal Pictures
Michael J. Fox and Lea Thompson looking at each other.
– Director: Robert Zemeckis
– Stacker score: 89.6
– Metascore: 87
– IMDb user rating: 8.5
– Runtime: 116 minutes
When teenager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) goes back in time and comes face-to-face with his young parents, he finds himself caught in an unintentional love triangle with the two of them. Now he must help his father win the affection of his mother in order to ensure his eventual existence. The immense success of “Back to the Future” spawned two sequels and earned its place as a pop culture touchstone, with an animated series, stage musical, comic book series, multiple video games, and a ride at Universal Studios theme park.

Paramount Pictures
A man in a suit sitting on the floor while a woman smothers him with a hug.
– Director: Preston Sturges
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 96
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 94 minutes
A con artist (Barbara Stanwyck) sets her sights on the fortune of an unsuspecting wealthy man (Henry Fonda), but things become complicated when she starts to fall for him. When her scheme is exposed and the man cruelly dumps her, she begins to plot her way back into his life. This Preston Sturges classic has appeared on numerous “greatest films of all time” lists.

ABC Entertainment
A man with long hair plays the guitar in a long sleeved shirt and leather vest.
– Director: Robert Altman
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 96
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 160 minutes
Numerous peoples’ lives intertwine in Music City in this classic Robert Altman drama, from lawyers and reporters to country singers, all somehow circling back to the famous Tennessee capital’s music business. Screenwriter and frequent Altman collaborator Joan Tewkesbury based part of the script on her own experience visiting Nashville.
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Columbia Pictures
Randy Quaid and Cybill Shepherd leaning against a classic car.
– Director: Peter Bogdanovich
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 93
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 118 minutes
Two best friends in their senior year of high school contemplate their future as graduation looms closer. When the realities of their dead-end hometown start to sink in, one boy thinks to enlist in the army, while the other takes charge of a local business, both eyeing to escape their town for good. The film was the feature debut for actress Cybill Shepherd, while actors Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman won Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively.

Universal Pictures
Frankenstein and his bride hold hands.
– Director: James Whale
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 95
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 75 minutes
This sequel to the classic Universal monster film begins where “Frankenstein” left off, as Dr. Frankenstein recovers from his mob-related injuries and begins dabbling in creating a mate for his creation. Meanwhile, his creation remains at large, fleeing those who want him dead without understanding his true intentions. A remake was set to be written by “Jurassic Park” screenwriter David Koepp as part of a planned “Dark Universe” of old Universal monsters, though as of March 2022 Koepp said he was no longer attached and does not know what has happened to the project.

Armada Productions
A man in a long sleeve shirt and vest points at John Wayne, in western wear.
– Director: Howard Hawks
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 93
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 141 minutes
When a gunslinger is put in jail for murder in a local saloon, the gunslinger’s powerful rancher brother soon comes around, threatening to break his brother out of jail. The sheriff (John Wayne) must enlist the help of town locals in order to keep the rancher at bay until the marshall comes. The film was used as the inspiration for John Carpenter’s 1976 film “Assault on Precinct 13.”

M.C. Productions
Frank Sinatra looks worried as a woman looks at him.
– Director: John Frankenheimer
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 126 minutes
A platoon of U.S. soldiers is captured by the enemy near the end of the Korean War and brainwashed. Returning home with the platoon’s sergeant deemed a hero, the captain finds himself troubled by bizarre nightmares, and he and a fellow soldier uncover a terrible plot. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Richard Condon and stars Frank Sinatra.

C.V. Whitney Pictures
John Wayne, wearing a red and white plaid shirt, cowboy hat and dark bandana around his neck, holds a pistol.
– Director: John Ford
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 119 minutes
In this classic John Wayne western, a Civil War veteran returns home to Texas when members of his brother’s family are attacked by Comanches. He begins his quest to hunt down those who are missing, eventually picking up the trail of his niece alongside her adopted brother. It is considered by some to be one of the greatest films ever made.
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Warner Bros.
Audrey Hepburn and two men cheering in a lavish living room.
– Director: George Cukor
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 95
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 170 minutes
This beloved musical follows a lower-class cockney girl (Audrey Hepburn) in Edwardian London who is taken under the wing of arrogant phonetics professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison). Higgins is so certain of his abilities that he trusts he can transform the young woman into someone who can pass for the elite. The film is adapted from the 1956 stage musical of the same name, which is itself adapted from the 1913 George Bernard Shaw play “Pygmalion.”

Walt Disney Productions
Mickey Mouse wearing a wizard hat.
– Directors: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe Jr., Norman Ferguson, David Hand, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 96
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 125 minutes
This experimental Disney film features a series of animated segments set to iconic pieces of classical music, including “The Nutcracker Suite,” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” and “Night on Bald Mountain,” interspersed with live-action preludes to each segment from music composer and critic Deems Taylor. “Fantasia” was the first to use a stereophonic sound system, as well as a sound production system called Fantasound that was only ever used for this film.

Esperanto Filmoj
A woman holding two kids in the back seat of a car.
– Director: Alfonso Cuarón
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 96
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 135 minutes
In Mexico City in the 1970s, live-in housekeeper Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) helps care for the four children of married couple Antonio (Fernando Grediaga) and Sofía (Marina de Tavira) but must contend with the problems that arise when Antonio decides to run away with his pregnant mistress. With 10 Academy Award nominations, “Roma” remains tied with 2000’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” for the most Academy Award nominations given to a non-English language film.

Faliro House Productions
Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy talking at a dinner table.
– Director: Richard Linklater
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 109 minutes
The third installment of Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy finds longtime lovers Celine and Jesse (Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke) reflecting on their relationship and their lives since meeting nine years prior on a train to Vienna while vacationing in Greece. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Jalem Productions
Paul Newman lying down with his legs chained together.
– Director: Stuart Rosenberg
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 92
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 127 minutes
When a petty criminal (Paul Newman) is sentenced to two years in prison, his rebellious attitude and disrespect for authority make him a hero in the eyes of his fellow inmates but a nuisance to the prison guards—even the toughest guys in there can’t help but respect him. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Donn Pearce and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for George Kennedy.
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Asia Union Film & Entertainment Ltd.
A woman with two swords ready to fight.
– Director: Ang Lee
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 120 minutes
When a warrior (Chow Yun-fat) bequeaths his sword to his lover, it is stolen, and the chase to find it leads those in pursuit to the House of Yu, where a nobleman’s highly physically skilled teenage daughter awaits them. Until “Roma” tied it in 2018, it held the title for the most Academy Award nominations ever for a non-English language film (10).

Heyday Films
Scarlett Johansson and Laura Dern sitting on a bench looking to the side.
– Director: Noah Baumbach
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 137 minutes
An ugly coast-to-coast divorce is chronicled in this drama, as a stage director and his actor wife (Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson) navigate the unpleasantness of family court in determining the custody of their son. The film is loosely based on the director’s own split from actress Jennifer Jason Leigh and was nominated for Best Picture at the 92nd Academy Awards, winning Best Supporting Actress for Laura Dern’s performance as the Johansson character’s divorce lawyer.

A24
Mahershala Ali talking to a little boy eating at a diner.
– Director: Barry Jenkins
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 99
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Runtime: 111 minutes
Told in three formative chapters of one man’s life, the film follows Chiron (played at various life stages by Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes), a young Black man from Miami navigating his manhood and sexuality within his community and struggling with the pleasure and pain of falling in love. “Moonlight” won Best Picture at the 89th Academy Awards and is based on the unpublished, semi-autobiographical drama-school play by Tarell Alvin McCraney entitled “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.”

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
A witch in all black with a green face and hands.
– Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, Richard Thorpe, King Vidor
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 92
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 102 minutes
Based on the classic children’s fantasy novel by L. Frank Baum, the story follows dispirited Dorothy (Judy Garland), who is whisked away in a tornado to the magical land of Oz. Once there, she meets an array of charming creatures, friends, and a wicked foe as she journeys to the Emerald City to meet the revered Wizard and return home to Kansas. The film became a pop culture icon in America and is regarded by some as a masterpiece.

Hemdale
Charlie Sheen in military gear walking past a military jeep.
– Director: Oliver Stone
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 92
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 120 minutes
A young, naive college student (Charlie Sheen) leaves his studies to enlist in the Vietnam War, and his idealism fades when the horrors of war and infighting within his own unit pits soldiers against one another. The film is the first installment in director Oliver Stone’s “Vietnam War” series, followed by “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Heaven & Earth.”
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Columbia Pictures
Joseph Mazzello, Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Patrick Mapel looking at a computer screen.
– Director: David Fincher
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 95
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 120 minutes
Who needs Facebook friends when you have enemies? The controversial rise to power of tech billionaire Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) is chronicled in the collaboration between powerhouse creatives David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin, a blistering critique of one man’s quest for power above all else. It is considered by some to be one of, if not the best, films of the 2010s.

Warner Bros.
Sandra Bullock in a space suit floating above earth.
– Director: Alfonso Cuarón
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 96
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 91 minutes
Two astronauts sent into space—one on his final mission before retirement (George Clooney), the other a medical engineer on her first mission (Sandra Bullock)—are caught by disaster when a routine spacewalk turns into the destruction of their shuttle, trapping the helpless pair in space. The film was lauded for its revolutionary special effects and received 10 Academy Award nominations, winning seven, including Best Director, Best Visual Effects, and Best Cinematography.

Bold Films
J.K. Simmons with a serious look on his face looking at someone drumming.
– Director: Damien Chazelle
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 89
– IMDb user rating: 8.5
– Runtime: 106 minutes
An aspiring young jazz drummer named Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) endures tough love from the brutal Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), an instructor at Andrew’s elite music conservatory known for his unorthodox teaching. When Fletcher moves Andrew into the top jazz ensemble, Andrew’s pursuit of perfection becomes tested by Fletcher’s ruthless methods. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won three.

Walt Disney Pictures
A cartoon of a lion smiling.
– Directors: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 88
– IMDb user rating: 8.5
– Runtime: 88 minutes
This classic Disney animated film follows a young lion named Simba, whose father, ruler of the animal kingdom in Africa, is killed by his wicked brother Scar in a plot to usurp him. Though Simba was intended to have perished along with his father, he escapes and ultimately, with the help of his friends, finds himself and his purpose. The film’s plot is strikingly similar to that of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

The Samuel Goldwyn Company
A family sitting in a living room with a woman kneeling and smiling up at a man sitting in a chair.
– Director: William Wyler
– Stacker score: 90.6
– Metascore: 93
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 170 minutes
This drama follows the lives of three soldiers returning home from World War II whose dreams of homecoming are soon complicated by the realities of readjusting to life as civilians. One has lost both of his hands, one must return to a loveless marriage, and the other is forced to reckon with a family that grew up without him. The film took home seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
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Walt Disney Pictures
Lin-Manuel Miranda and Chris Jackson shaking hands onstage dressed as founding fathers.
– Director: Thomas Kail
– Stacker score: 90.6
– Metascore: 90
– IMDb user rating: 8.4
– Runtime: 160 minutes
The live stage recording of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash hit Broadway production made its way to living rooms around the world in 2020 through Disney+, and finally, everyone was able to enjoy the musical interpretation of the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton. “Hamilton” received numerous award nominations, including 12 Primetime Emmy nominations, taking home two wins, including for Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded).

Walt Disney Animation Studios
A cartoon of a little boy watching a bug sing on his foot.
– Directors: Norman Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen
– Stacker score: 90.6
– Metascore: 99
– IMDb user rating: 7.5
– Runtime: 88 minutes
Based on the 19th-century children’s novel “The Adventures of Pinocchio,” the animated Disney film follows an enchanted marionette who becomes alive after his puppeteer wishes on a falling star but must go on a journey before becoming a real boy. The film was the first Disney animated feature to win competitive Academy Awards.

Bryna Productions
Kirk Douglas in a military uniform and hat.
– Director: Stanley Kubrick
– Stacker score: 90.6
– Metascore: 90
– IMDb user rating: 8.4
– Runtime: 88 minutes
Starring screen legend Kirk Douglas, this anti-war film from Stanley Kubrick follows Douglas’ Colonel Dax, who must plan a suicidal attack against a German trench position at the orders of his superiors. When three soldiers refuse to go through with the attack, they are tried for cowardice, and Dax comes to defend them. The film’s anti-war position and depiction of the French army led to it being famously censored in France.

Amazon Studios
Casey Affleck sitting in a chair.
– Director: Kenneth Lonergan
– Stacker score: 90.6
– Metascore: 96
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 137 minutes
A man becomes the primary caretaker of his teenage nephew after his older brother dies and must leave his job in Boston, return to the village he grew up in, and reckon with the circumstances that separated him from his wife and community. It was named by the National Board of Review as the best film of 2016.

Paramount Pictures
Jack Nicholson in a suit.
– Director: Roman Polanski
– Stacker score: 90.6
– Metascore: 92
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 130 minutes
In pre-World War II Los Angeles, private detective J.J. “Jake” Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is hired by a woman to investigate her husband’s assumedly adulterous activities—until he discovers that the woman who hired him is an imposter, at which point he is sent down a twisted path of personal and civic corruption. The film drew inspiration from “the success of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in siphoning off most of the Owens River … and bringing it to the Los Angeles basin,” according to the New York Times, in what was known widely as the California Water Wars.
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Participant
Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams sitting at a conference table.
– Director: Tom McCarthy
– Stacker score: 90.6
– Metascore: 93
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 129 minutes
A team of reporters at The Boston Globe in 2001 are tasked with investigating allegations that more than 80 local priests have sexually abused children, with incidents going back decades. The reporters must interview victims and unseal sensitive documents in their quest to prove a massive coverup within the Catholic Church. The film is based on the real-life investigative reporting of The Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team and won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Summit Entertainment
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone dancing in the street.
– Director: Damien Chazelle
– Stacker score: 90.6
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 128 minutes
This modern musical and love letter to Los Angeles follows two young lovers (Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling) who meet and find themselves at an eventual crossroads when their separate desires for success become at odds with their impassioned love affair. Its 14 Academy Award nominations tied “All About Eve” and “Titanic” for most Oscar nominations ever received.

Brandywine Productions
Sigourney Weaver and two men inside a space craft.
– Director: Ridley Scott
– Stacker score: 90.6
– Metascore: 89
– IMDb user rating: 8.5
– Runtime: 117 minutes
Investigating a distress call from an unknown vessel, the crew aboard a starship is awakened from their hibernation in deep space on their return to Earth. When they discover the abandoned ship, a host of horrors laying dormant on it follow the crew back to their own vessel. With a cast led by Sigourney Weaver, this wildly successful film and its ensuing franchise spawned video games, comic books, and novels, and is considered by many to be one of the best science fiction films of all time.

Paramount Vantage
Josh Brolin in western wear in a field.
– Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
– Stacker score: 90.6
– Metascore: 92
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 122 minutes
Weathered Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) tracks a brutal killer (Javier Bardem) on the hunt for his missing cash while leaving a string of bodies in his ruthless wake. Meanwhile, a hunter (Josh Brolin) in the wrong place at the wrong time has come into possession of the missing money and becomes the object of the killer’s undaunted quest. The film is based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name and won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Warner Bros.
Heath Ledger dressed as the Joker in a purple suit standing in the street.
– Director: Christopher Nolan
– Stacker score: 90.6
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 9.0
– Runtime: 152 minutes
The second installment in Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy follows the Caped Crusader (Christian Bale) as he battles his most infamous enemy, the Joker (Heath Ledger) when the Clown Prince of Crime threatens to overtake Gotham City with his particular brand of chaos and anarchy. Ledger, who died six months before the film’s release, was posthumously awarded the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.
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Castle Rock Entertainment
Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman dressed in inmate shirts and jeans.
– Director: Frank Darabont
– Stacker score: 90.6
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 9.3
– Runtime: 142 minutes
Based on a Stephen King story, the film follows a man (Tim Robbins) convicted for a crime he didn’t commit and his life in the tough Shawshank Prison as he adapts to the brutal life inside and forms relationships with the other inmates—including Red (Morgan Freeman)—while serving two consecutive life terms. The film received seven Academy Award nominations but didn’t reach its true success with audiences until it was released on VHS.

Otto Preminger Films
A man in a suit talks with an army soldier at the sheriff office.
– Director: Otto Preminger
– Stacker score: 91.1
– Metascore: 95
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 161 minutes
This courtroom drama stars Jimmy Stewart as a semi-retired lawyer who takes on the case of a man accused of murder, partnering with the district attorney and an out-of-town prosecutor to prove his client innocent. However, the business partner of the victim is hiding a secret that could change the course of the case. The film is based on the novel of the same name by John D. Voelker, a former Michigan Supreme Court Justice.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Katharine Hepburn reads a letter to Cary Grant while a man and woman look on.
– Director: George Cukor
– Stacker score: 91.1
– Metascore: 96
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 112 minutes
A Philadelphia socialite (Katharine Hepburn) splits from her husband (Cary Grant) and prepares to wed a new groom, but when she crosses paths with both her ex and a nosy tabloid reporter (Jimmy Stewart), she finds her affections caught between the three men. After a series of box-office flops, the film was a comeback for Hepburn.

John Ford Productions
John Wayne in western wear.
– Director: John Ford
– Stacker score: 91.1
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 123 minutes
A senator (Jimmy Stewart) attends the funeral of an old friend (John Wayne), a man who had once saved him from a gang of outlaws led by a man named Liberty Valance, and flashbacks provide insight into how these two men faced the notorious criminal. Though not used in the film, the song “(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance,” based on the film’s plot, became popular and reached #4 on the music charts in 1963; it has since been covered by artists such as James Taylor and Jimmie Rodgers.

Liberty Films
James Stewart hugging a little girl.
– Director: Frank Capra
– Stacker score: 91.1
– Metascore: 89
– IMDb user rating: 8.6
– Runtime: 130 minutes
This classic Christmas tale follows down-on-his-luck George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), who has spent his life giving to others but is on the brink of taking his life. Just when he’s about to end it all, he’s saved by a guardian angel who shows George what the world would really be like without him in it. Though now considered to be one of the greatest films of all time, it was initially such a bomb that it closed its production studio and virtually tanked the director’s career.
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Walt Disney Pictures
A cartoon of a beautiful woman holding hands with a beast in a suit.
– Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
– Stacker score: 91.1
– Metascore: 95
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 84 minutes
A young prince transformed by the ghastly spell of an enchantress imprisons the father of a headstrong village girl. When she goes to his castle to get her father back, she begins to soften the ferocious prince with the help of his enchanted servants. It was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and won Best Original Score and Best Original Song for the titular track.

Paramount Vantage
Daniel Day-Lewis in a blue shirt with suspenders and a tattered western hat.
– Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
– Stacker score: 91.1
– Metascore: 93
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 158 minutes
In oil-rich California at the turn of the 19th century, former silver miner Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) finds his calling in oil prospecting, using his adopted son H.W. to create a false image of family values to gain the trust of landowners. But Plainview meets his match in Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), a zealous pastor who challenges Plainview’s underhanded motives. The film picked up a win for Best Cinematography at the Academy Awards and won Day-Lewis his second Best Actor Oscar. It’s cited by many as one of the greatest films of the 21st century, if not the very best.

Walt Disney Pictures
A crowd of various toys smiling.
– Director: Lee Unkrich
– Stacker score: 91.1
– Metascore: 92
– IMDb user rating: 8.3
– Runtime: 103 minutes
The third installment of the beloved Pixar franchise sees Woody and the gang accidentally left at a daycare when their former owner Andy leaves for college. The toys soon realize there’s something nefarious going on and must find a way to escape. It became the third animated film (after “Beauty and the Beast” and “Up”) to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.

New Line Cinema
Sean Astin and Elijah Wood peering over rocks.
– Director: Peter Jackson
– Stacker score: 91.1
– Metascore: 87
– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Runtime: 179 minutes
The second film in Peter Jackson’s trilogy adaptation of the classic J.R.R. Tolkien novels continues the journey of Frodo Baggins to destroy the One Ring after the Fellowship of the Ring has splintered, while his friends and companions from the first installment now embark upon their own journeys. The film received numerous accolades and a slew of nominations, including six at the 75th Academy Awards, winning for Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects.

D.W. Griffith Productions
Rows of people lining the stairs.
– Director: D.W. Griffith
– Stacker score: 91.7
– Metascore: 99
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 197 minutes
This silent epic from filmmaking icon D.W. Griffith parallels four intercutting storylines across several centuries: a contemporary tale, the fall of the Babylonian empire, the life and death of Christ, and a depiction of events surrounding 1572’s St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre. The film was among the first to be included for preservation in the National Film Registry of the United States in 1989.
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
A woman reads a letter in bed while a man in a suit sits next to her bedside.
– Director: Ernst Lubitsch
– Stacker score: 91.7
– Metascore: 96
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 99 minutes
Unbeknownst to two constantly at-odds employees at a general store in Budapest (played by Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan), the anonymous pen pal each has been writing to is the other. While they continue to bicker while working, they unwittingly fall in love. The screenplay was based on a Hungarian play called “Parfumerie” by Miklós László.

Warner Bros.
A man dressed as Robinhood.
– Directors: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley
– Stacker score: 91.7
– Metascore: 97
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 102 minutes
This adaptation of the legendary tale of Robin Hood stars Errol Flynn as Sherwood Forest’s bandit king. When the scheming Prince John plots to take the throne from his kidnapped brother King Richard, Robin Hood must band together with his men and his romantic interest, Maid Marian (Olivia de Havilland), to prevent Prince John from carrying out his plan. The film was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 1995.

Warner Bros./Seven Arts
Four cowboys walking in a line.
– Director: Sam Peckinpah
– Stacker score: 91.7
– Metascore: 97
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 135 minutes
An aging outlaw (William Holden) prepares for his last robbery alongside his trusty gang, but he eventually discovers that the heist is a setup by his former partner. Soon, the outlaw and his gang find themselves on the run from the fierce criminal. The film became controversial at the time of release due to its graphic depictions of violence.

Charles K. Feldman Group
Marlon Brando in a white tank top looks seriously at a woman.
– Director: Elia Kazan
– Stacker score: 91.7
– Metascore: 97
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 122 minutes
Starring Marlon Brando and based on the play by Tennessee Williams, a troubled former schoolteacher moves to New Orleans to live with her sister and her brother-in-law, but her presence pushes her sister’s marriage to its already-cracking brink. The film was responsible for Marlon Brando’s rise to Hollywood stardom, as he was relatively unknown when cast.

William Castle Productions
Mia Farrow looks back as she reaches up to a bookshelf.
– Director: Roman Polanski
– Stacker score: 91.7
– Metascore: 96
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 137 minutes
Young Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) and her struggling actor husband Guy (John Cassavetes) move into a beautiful new apartment in New York City where a grisly murder once took place. But after Rosemary becomes pregnant and Guy suddenly begins booking gigs, she begins to suspect something sinister is happening with their nosy older neighbors. This film is often cited as one of the greatest horror films ever made.
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Pixar Animation Studios
Three colorful cartoon characters sitting at a modern switchboard.
– Directors: Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen
– Stacker score: 91.7
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 95 minutes
This charming take on the struggles of adolescence is told through the eyes of the emotions themselves: Anger, Joy, Sadness, Disgust, and Fear. They all comprise 11-year-old Riley, whose move from the Midwest to San Francisco takes a difficult toll on her mental health. The film received the Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the 88th Academy Awards.

Columbia Pictures
Robert De Niro driving a taxi.
– Director: Martin Scorsese
– Stacker score: 91.7
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 114 minutes
A disturbed Vietnam War veteran (Robert De Niro) suffering from insomnia takes a job as a late-night cabbie and becomes increasingly detached from reality. He indulges in delusions of cleaning up New York City from filth and crime, but his good intentions are outweighed by his violent ideations. The seminal Scorsese picture has had a lasting influence on cinema and pop culture since its release in 1976 and is widely considered one of the greatest films of all time.

Lucasfilm
Mark Hamill in the desert wrapped in a blanket.
– Director: George Lucas
– Stacker score: 91.7
– Metascore: 90
– IMDb user rating: 8.6
– Runtime: 121 minutes
In the first installment of the classic pop culture touchstone, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) is held captive by the cruel leader of the Galactic Empire, and young Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and dashing but incorrigible Han Solo (Harrison Ford) must band together with the help of two droids in order to save her and restore peace to the galaxy. Winner of six Oscars, including for its groundbreaking visual effects, it is considered one of the most culturally influential films of all time.

Twentieth Century Fox
A man drives an old car with an older woman and a girl in the passenger seat, all looking very serious.
– Director: John Ford
– Stacker score: 92.2
– Metascore: 96
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 129 minutes
A man (Henry Fonda) returns home to his family after being released from jail to find that their farm has been foreclosed and they’ve been kicked off their land. Together they set out for California to start a new life. The film is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by John Steinbeck.

Warner Bros.
Humphrey Bogart and a woman in all black standing together.
– Director: John Huston
– Stacker score: 92.2
– Metascore: 97
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 100 minutes
A private detective (Humphrey Bogart) takes on a case for a beautiful and enigmatic woman, eventually finding himself tangled in an intricate web of crime, all leading to an elusive, bejeweled statuette. The film is based on Dashiell Hammett’s novel of the same name and is considered to be the first major example of film noir.
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The Mirisch Corporation
Jack Lemmon draining pasta with a tennis racket while Shirley MacLaine looks on.
– Director: Billy Wilder
– Stacker score: 92.2
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 8.3
– Runtime: 125 minutes
The classic Billy Wilder comedy follows a small clerk (Jack Lemmon) at a big-time New York insurance company whose apartment unintentionally becomes the liaison spot for his bosses’ extramarital affairs. When his manager promotes him in exchange for use of the apartment, the clerk discovers that the girl he’s interested in (Shirley MacLaine) is the manager’s mistress. Like Wilder’s previous film, the comedy “Some Like it Hot,” the film pushed the limits of the Production Code, which limited portrayals of adultery in film.

Regency Enterprises
A group of black people standing behind a fence, one man looking up.
– Director: Steve McQueen
– Stacker score: 92.2
– Metascore: 96
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 134 minutes
A free Black man in upstate New York (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is taken against his will and sold into pre-Civil War slavery, enduring cruelty and hardship while struggling to survive and maintain his dignity over the course of a grueling dozen years. His eventual encounter with a Canadian abolitionist offers the chance to change his life. The film is based on the memoir of Solomon Northup and won the Oscar for Best Picture at the 86th Academy Awards.

Walt Disney Pictures
A cartoon rat holding a wooden spoon and looking at a view of a city.
– Directors: Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava
– Stacker score: 92.2
– Metascore: 96
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 111 minutes
Remy the rat knows his true calling lies beyond the lowly confines of a normal rodent’s life, so he sets off for Paris in the hopes of making it in the culinary world. With the help of an awkward cook, Remy finds himself able to follow his dream of cooking food in a very peculiar way. The movie won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

Warner Bros.
Ray Liota and Joe Pesci smoking at a bar.
– Director: Martin Scorsese
– Stacker score: 92.2
– Metascore: 90
– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Runtime: 145 minutes
Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) grows up in Brooklyn surrounded by the mob and eventually becomes a part of it, rising through the ranks and securing immense wealth and luxury for himself—until mistakes and drug addiction loosen his grip, and Hill finds his life unraveling. The film is based on the true story of Henry Hill and was adapted from Nicholas Pileggi’s nonfiction book “Wiseguy.”

DreamWorks
Matt Damon in military clothing.
– Director: Steven Spielberg
– Stacker score: 92.2
– Metascore: 91
– IMDb user rating: 8.6
– Runtime: 169 minutes
Set during the invasion of Normandy in World War II, missing Private Ryan (Matt Damon) is somewhere behind enemy lines, and it’s up to Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) and his men to cross over into German territory to find him. Each man on the mission undergoes a personal journey while searching for the lost private. The film is known for its brutal, 23-minute Omaha Beach invasion scene toward the beginning of the movie, which by itself cost a whopping $12 million to film.
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Paramount Pictures
A blonde woman in dark sunglasses yelling at a man.
– Director: Billy Wilder
– Stacker score: 92.7
– Metascore: 95
– IMDb user rating: 8.3
– Runtime: 107 minutes
An insurance salesman (Fred MacMurray) gets wrapped up in the charms of a beautiful woman (Barbara Stanwyck) intent on murdering her husband to reap the financial rewards. The two plot together to get rid of him, but the man’s daughter and a detective (Edward G. Robinson) become suspicious, and the truth begins to unravel. The classic film “set the standard for film noirs,” according to Cinephilia & Beyond.

Walt Disney Pictures
A cartoon cowboy smiling and standing on a bed.
– Director: John Lasseter
– Stacker score: 92.7
– Metascore: 95
– IMDb user rating: 8.3
– Runtime: 81 minutes
Woody, a cowboy toy, sees his position as owner Andy’s favorite toy threatened when the ultra-cool Buzz Lightyear space ranger action figure shows up as Andy’s birthday present. After Andy’s family moves and Woody and Buzz get trapped in a neighbor’s house, they must settle their differences and work as a team to make it back home. The first feature film from Pixar Animation Studios, it was also the first entirely computer-animated film.

Paul Gregory Productions
A man stands over a woman in bed looking at him with her arms crossed.
– Director: Charles Laughton
– Stacker score: 93.2
– Metascore: 99
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 92 minutes
Religious zealot and ruthless killer the Rev. Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) murders women after marrying them for their money but ends up being caught and arrested for stealing a car. After meeting a man in prison with a hidden stash of riches somewhere, Powell makes it his mission to find the fortune once he’s released, tracking down the man’s widow and two children, one of whom knows where the money is. The film is iconic for its utilization of surrealism and German expressionism, setting it apart from other Hollywood films of the era.

RKO Radio Pictures
Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant pulled over by a police officer in their car with palm trees in the background.
– Director: Alfred Hitchcock
– Stacker score: 93.2
– Metascore: 100
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 102 minutes
United States government agent T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant) enlists the daughter (Ingrid Bergman) of a convicted Nazi war criminal to work as a spy and help bring more of them to justice—but he begins to fall for her. When her mission lands her in Brazil, covertly winning the affections of a Nazi hiding out there, Devlin must witness her fall further undercover. Despite censorship rules forbidding “excessive” kissing scenes, Hitchcock got around this for “Notorious” by directing the actors “to stay intertwined but, every three seconds or so, come up for air.”

Universal International Pictures
Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh hugging.
– Director: Orson Welles
– Stacker score: 93.2
– Metascore: 99
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 95 minutes
On the American side of the border between the U.S. and Mexico, a car bomb goes off, prompting the investigation of corrupt police captain Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles) and Mexican drug enforcement officer Miguel Vargas (Charlton Heston). But when Vargas begins to suspect Quinlan is up to some illicit dealings, he and his wife are suddenly put in danger. In order to portray a man roughly 20 years his senior, Welles had to don prosthetic makeup.
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Selznick International Pictures
Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh hugging.
– Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood
– Stacker score: 93.2
– Metascore: 97
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 238 minutes
This controversial Civil War epic tells the story of Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh), a spoiled Southern belle whose life becomes marked by survival and hardship during the war and Reconstruction in the South. In the process, she juggles impassioned love affairs with two men, one of whom is charming rogue Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). To this day, it remains the highest-grossing movie of all time when adjusted for inflation.

IFC Productions
A young boy leaning over his bed.
– Director: Richard Linklater
– Stacker score: 93.2
– Metascore: 100
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 165 minutes
In Richard Linklater’s groundbreaking film, the ups and downs of childhood and adolescence are chronicled for young Mason (Ellar Coltrane) as he endures his parents’ divorce and comes of age, experiencing numerous milestones in his life and evolving his relationship with his parents. The film was considered innovative because it was shot over the course of 12 years, accurately reflecting the physical growth of its characters.

American Zoetrope
Martin Sheen in camo pants and a dark green shirt at the top of stairs, surrounded by soldiers.
– Director: Francis Ford Coppola
– Stacker score: 93.2
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 8.5
– Runtime: 147 minutes
Tasked with terminating a rogue officer who has allegedly gone insane, Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) takes a perilous journey through Vietnam accompanied by an array of colorful soldiers assisting him in his search. The film was plagued by an infamously difficult production chronicled in the documentary “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse.”

Pixar Animation Studios
A cartoon robot looking up at the stars.
– Director: Andrew Stanton
– Stacker score: 93.2
– Metascore: 95
– IMDb user rating: 8.4
– Runtime: 98 minutes
The last remaining robot on an earth ravaged by garbage and since abandoned by humans is the curious and sturdy little WALL·E, a trash-collecting robot who spends his days alone, entranced by a scene from “Hello, Dolly!” He finds companionship upon the arrival of the sleek, modern robot EVE, and when she leaves, WALL·E stows away with her, traveling toward the humans now residing in outer space. The film was nominated for six Oscars and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

Norma Productions
Two men in suits talking to a woman in a restaurant.
– Director: Alexander Mackendrick
– Stacker score: 93.8
– Metascore: 100
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 96 minutes
Powerful New York entertainment writer J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) finds himself losing his grip over his younger sister, who, to his disapproval, becomes romantically entangled with a jazz musician. Wanting them to be split apart by any means necessary, he hires a publicist (Tony Curtis) to break them up. The American Film Institute lists J.J. Hunsecker at #35 out of 50 movie villains on its list of “100 Years … 100 Heroes and Villains.”
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Warner Bros.
Humphrey Bogart and two other men eating in front of a tent.
– Director: John Huston
– Stacker score: 93.8
– Metascore: 98
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 126 minutes
In 1925, two down-on-their-luck wanderers meet up with a veteran prospector in Mexico, deciding to join him on a hunt for gold in the Sierra Madre mountains. Along with treasures, they discover bandits and other criminals lurking in the wilderness, the ruthless elements of nature, and their own greed that threatens to tear them all apart. Starring Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston, the film was adapted from the novel of the same name by B. Traven and won three Academy Awards.

Twentieth Century Fox
A woman smoking in bed looking angry while an older woman stands at her bedside.
– Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
– Stacker score: 93.8
– Metascore: 98
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 138 minutes
An aspiring actress named Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) is determined to take the spotlight from her idol, Margo Channing (Bette Davis), who takes forlorn Eve under her wing. Soon maneuvering her way into Margo’s Broadway role and eventually causing problems within Margo’s personal life, Eve finds great success—until she meets a drama critic (George Sanders) who sees through her schemes. It is tied for most Academy Award nominations (14) with “Titanic” and “La La Land.”

Ashton Productions
Marilyn Monroe.
– Director: Billy Wilder
– Stacker score: 93.8
– Metascore: 98
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 121 minutes
Two struggling jazz musicians (Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon) accidentally witness a mob murder after a gig and go on the run disguised as women in an all-female jazz band in order to elude the criminals. As they find their schtick more difficult to maintain, one of them falls for a beautiful band member (Marilyn Monroe), while the other becomes the object of a wealthy older man’s affection, all while the mobsters close in on them. The film’s dabbling in cross-dressing and queer romance was considered revolutionary for the time.

Paramount Pictures
Robert De Niro with a mustache in a jacket and tie in the street.
– Director: Francis Ford Coppola
– Stacker score: 93.8
– Metascore: 90
– IMDb user rating: 9.0
– Runtime: 202 minutes
In the follow-up to Coppola’s masterpiece, the lives of late patriarch Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) and his son Michael (Al Pacino) are contrasted. Vito’s early life in Sicily and New York in the early 20th century, which sees his induction into a life of crime, is paralleled with Michael’s attempts to expand the family business into new territories. Winning the Oscar for Best Picture at the 47th Academy Awards, the film became the first sequel to ever win that award.

New Line Cinema
A wizard in gray with a pointy hat travels on a horse and cart up a green hill.
– Director: Peter Jackson
– Stacker score: 93.8
– Metascore: 92
– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Runtime: 178 minutes
The arduous journey of hobbit Frodo Baggins begins here, as the discovery of the evil One Ring upon inheriting it from his uncle leads Frodo on a quest that the fate of all Middle-earth rests on. Unlike most franchise films, Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was shot nonstop in one go, beginning principal photography in 1999 and finalizing at the end of 2000.
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Charles Chaplin Productions
Charles Chaplin inside the wheels of a machine.
– Director: Charles Chaplin
– Stacker score: 94.3
– Metascore: 96
– IMDb user rating: 8.5
– Runtime: 87 minutes
Charlie Chaplin’s iconic Little Tramp sees himself employed at a newfangled factory, dealing with machinery he can barely keep up with and getting into situations that throw him in prison. In between his time in jail, he befriends a homeless girl (Paulette Goddard), and both try to navigate the difficulties of adjusting to modern times. The film provided commentary on the anxieties of the Great Depression.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Cary Grant running with an airplane behind him.
– Director: Alfred Hitchcock
– Stacker score: 94.3
– Metascore: 98
– IMDb user rating: 8.3
– Runtime: 136 minutes
When ad executive Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is mistaken for a government agent, he ends up hunted by a ruthless spy and his associates on a cross-country journey, where he meets a beautiful but enigmatic woman (Eva Marie Saint). As the chase continues, Roger finds himself increasingly cornered by his pursuers. The film has been called the “first James Bond movie” due to its stylistic influence on the eventual franchise.

Columbia Pictures
A large group of people seated at a round table.
– Director: Stanley Kubrick
– Stacker score: 94.3
– Metascore: 97
– IMDb user rating: 8.4
– Runtime: 95 minutes
When United States General Jack Ripper (Sterling Hayden) loses his marbles, he detonates an impending nuclear strike on the U.S.S.R. that will effectively wipe out all life on Earth. U.S. politicians and military brass must band together to determine the best course of action in order to stop the bomb and save the world—if they even know how to do that. The satire of Cold War anxiety goes down in history among the best comedies of all time.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Gene Kelly dancing and singing in the rain.
– Directors: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
– Stacker score: 94.8
– Metascore: 99
– IMDb user rating: 8.3
– Runtime: 103 minutes
As the transition from silent films to “talkies” begins sweeping Hollywood, some film stars find the switch more difficult than others. Though actors Don (Gene Kelly) and Lina (Jean Hagen) have been romantically partnered in their films, their casting in a musical has a slight problem: Lina can’t sing, so a perky young actress is hired to sing over her. The timeless film influenced many musicals since, including 2016’s “La La Land.”

Shamley Productions
A man and woman looking out of window blinds.
– Director: Alfred Hitchcock
– Stacker score: 94.8
– Metascore: 97
– IMDb user rating: 8.5
– Runtime: 109 minutes
Lonely Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) tends to the care of his roadside Bates Motel along with his housebound mother, Norma, when young Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) stops by for the night on her fraught journey with $40,000 stolen cash in tow. A brief interlude on her quest to take the money and run off with her boyfriend, kind but quirky Norman seems to be the perfect gentleman—at least at first. The film’s shower scene is among the most famous film sequences in history.
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Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions
James Stewart, wearing a brown hat, driving a car.
– Director: Alfred Hitchcock
– Stacker score: 95.3
– Metascore: 100
– IMDb user rating: 8.3
– Runtime: 128 minutes
A retired cop (Jimmy Stewart) with an intense fear of heights is wrapped up in the strange case of an old friend’s wife (Kim Novak) he must prevent from taking her life. As he finds himself becoming obsessed with her, he realizes that the case is stranger and more dangerous than he thought. The dolly zoom filming technique originated with this film.

RKO Radio Pictures
A man at a podium giving a speech in front of a large Kane sign.
– Director: Orson Welles
– Stacker score: 95.3
– Metascore: 100
– IMDb user rating: 8.3
– Runtime: 119 minutes
A reporter is tasked with investigating the meaning behind newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane’s dying word and ends up discovering a complex life behind the corporate icon. Though he discovers more and more about Kane’s upbringing, he finds himself at a loss to decipher the meaning behind “rosebud.” The film was massively influential, radically changing the film industry.

Miramax
John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in black suits pointing guns.
– Director: Quentin Tarantino
– Stacker score: 95.3
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 8.9
– Runtime: 154 minutes
This nonlinear, interconnected crime story follows multiple strands featuring philosophical, burger-loving hitmen (Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta), their fearsome crime boss (Ving Rhames), his junkie wife (Uma Thurman), a washed-up boxer (Bruce Willis) who’s been paid to throw a match, and two jittery robbers (Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer) holding up a diner—all leading back to one mysterious briefcase. Quentin Tarantino’s breakout film received widespread critical and commercial success, winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1994 as well as the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Charles Chaplin Productions
Charles Chaplin holding a flower for a woman kneeling down.
– Director: Charles Chaplin
– Stacker score: 95.8
– Metascore: 99
– IMDb user rating: 8.5
– Runtime: 87 minutes
This classic Chaplin film follows the actor’s homeless Little Tramp character as he falls in love with a blind flower girl on the streets and learns that she and her grandmother face an impending eviction. After undertaking a series of failed attempts at acquiring money for the girl, a chance encounter with a millionaire changes everything. Though lead actress Virginia Cherrill was scouted by Chaplin, the two didn’t get along, with Chaplin even attempting to replace her at one point during production.

Universal Pictures
Liam Neeson standing on a train platform behind soldiers talking to a line of people.
– Director: Steven Spielberg
– Stacker score: 95.8
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 9.0
– Runtime: 195 minutes
In 1939 Kraków, Poland, businessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) joins the Nazi party out of convenience to reap the financial rewards of World War II, staffing his new factory with Jewish workers. Schindler protects his workers when SS officers begin exterminating Jews and saves thousands of lives in the process. The film is based on the novel “Schindler’s Ark” by Thomas Keneally, which is itself based on the true story of Schindler and his wife, Emilie.
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New Line Cinema
Orlando Bloom with a crowd on horseback with weapons and armor.
– Director: Peter Jackson
– Stacker score: 95.8
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 9.0
– Runtime: 201 minutes
The epic conclusion to Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy sees the battle to end all battles: for Gondor and for the fate of Middle-earth. Meanwhile, Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee inch ever closer to destroying the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. Among a plethora of accolades, “The Return of the King” is notable for becoming the first fantasy film to receive the Academy Award for Best Picture, and also for tying with “Titanic” and “Ben-Hur” for a record-breaking 11 Oscar wins.

Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions
James Stewart looking through a large photo lens.
– Director: Alfred Hitchcock
– Stacker score: 96.4
– Metascore: 100
– IMDb user rating: 8.5
– Runtime: 112 minutes
In the heat of the summer, bored L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies (Jimmy Stewart), a local photojournalist who is in a wheelchair after an injury, begins using his telephoto lens to observe the inhabitants of his apartment complex. When he accidentally witnesses what he believes to be a murder in one of the apartments, he becomes obsessed with cracking the case from afar. Much has been written on the film’s exploration of voyeurism.

Warner Bros.
Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman sitting on a couch together with cocktail glasses.
– Director: Michael Curtiz
– Stacker score: 96.4
– Metascore: 100
– IMDb user rating: 8.5
– Runtime: 102 minutes
In Casablanca, Morocco, during World War II, American expatriate nightclub owner Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) meets ex-lover Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) and her husband, a famous fugitive of the Czech Resistance (Paul Henreid). As the Germans close in on the wanted man, Rick must wrestle with his unresolved feelings and help his old flame’s husband get to safety. The film includes some of the most famous lines of all time, including “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

Orion-Nova Productions
A group of men in white shirts and ties in a room arguing.
– Director: Sidney Lumet
– Stacker score: 96.9
– Metascore: 96
– IMDb user rating: 9.0
– Runtime: 96 minutes
The dozen members of a jury in a murder trial leave the courtroom to deliberate, deciding the fate of a Latino teen accused of murdering his father. While all men are sequestered in a room attempting to reach a unanimous decision, one man (Henry Fonda) remains an outlier, casting doubt on the case and exposing each man’s personal prejudices. Almost the entirety of the film takes place in one room, while the names of the characters are never revealed—the jurors only refer to each other by number.

Paramount Pictures
Marlon Brando in a suit with a red rose boutonnière.
– Director: Francis Ford Coppola
– Stacker score: 100
– Metascore: 100
– IMDb user rating: 9.2
– Runtime: 175 minutes
Ruthless and powerful Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) is the head of an Italian-American crime family with immense influence in New York City. His son Michael (Al Pacino) returns home from World War II attempting to avoid the family business and settle down with Kay (Diane Keaton), but circumstances lead him to take over his family’s murky dealings. The film won the award for Best Picture at the 45th Academy Awards and revitalized Brando’s career.
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