It was 1895 when Auguste and Louis Lumière used a cinematograph machine to project moving images onto a screen. Audiences have been enraptured by cinema ever since. Naturally, movies have come a long way since the early days of 50-second reels, resulting in a rich variety of styles. Meanwhile, every cinematic era has put forth its respective slate of timeless masterpieces.
One might wonder: Why do most movies age poorly while a choice few seem to get even better over time? The foremost answer, it would seem, boils down to auteurism. That is to say, the greater the creative stamp a filmmaker can put on their work, the better the chances are the work will appreciate over time.
Another noticeable trend among the best movies of all time? Many of them don’t take place within their respective periods. Depicting the past or the future—or a separate world altogether—is often a safer bet than depicting the present reality. Last but not least, a great film usually delivers the goods on multiple fronts. That means everything from the writing to the music to the acting is memorable, if not downright iconic. At the end of the day, of course, there is no one solitary answer—just like there is no one type of great film.
Whatever the reasons, the best movies of all time arguably represent the pinnacle of artistic achievement in the modern era and that makes them worth celebrating over and over again. Here to do just that is Stacker, which has weighted IMDb ratings and Metascores equally to create a unique score. Only English-language movies released in the U.S. were considered for the list, and each movie needed at least 20,000 votes on IMDb. If the movie didn’t have a Metascore, it was not included. Counting down from #100, here are the best movies of all time.
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