List of films considered the best  

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This page List of films considered the best is part of the film series.Illustration: screen shot from L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat
This page List of films considered the best is part of the film series.
Illustration: screen shot from L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat

"I beg you, learn to see 'bad' films; they are sometimes sublime". --Ado Kyrou, Le Surréalisme au cinéma, p. 276

"They can keep their Bressons and their Cocteaus. The cinematic, modern marvelous is popular, and the best and most exciting films are, beginning with Méliès and Fantômas, the films shown in local fleapits, films which seem to have no place in the history of cinema." --Le Surréalisme au cinéma (1953) by Adonis A. Kyrou

"Nick James [...] commented this week that Citizen Kane is now 'established as cinema's Shakespeare'. This is a telling remark, even if it was just a soundbite. It indicates where these latest lists are coming from and why they are so frustrating for younger critics. The lists judge cinema as literature. The critics' list, certainly, reads like a reading-list Oxbridge students get sent before their first term. Don't even come here, says such a list, unless you've read all these. La Règle du jeu is your Flaubert, Vertigo D.H. Lawrence - ooh, they let us do Lawrence in the second year! - and Murnau's Sunrise, that's definitely Beowulf." --Jason Solomons, 2002, The Guardian

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While it is impossible to determine objectively the greatest film of all time, it is possible to list films considered the greatest ever by a sizeable populace of the film-watching community. The criterion for inclusion in this article is that the film is considered the "greatest" in a quantitative survey – be it a critics' poll, popular poll, or awards. Many of these measures focus on American films, but those considered the greatest within their respective countries are included at the end.


In polls of critics and filmmakers

Academy Awards

Ever since their inception in 1928, the Academy Awards (the Oscars) have been seen as the most significant of the film award ceremonies, though it should be noted that dominance is dependent upon the competition in film that year as well as a film's own merits. The first film to dominate an Oscars ceremony was Frank Capra's It Happened One Night in 1935. It was the first film to win five awards. Moreover it won the "Oscar grand slam" by winning Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Screenplay—a feat that has subsequently been repeated only twice, by One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1976 and by The Silence of the Lambs in 1991.

In 1939, Gone with the Wind was nominated for 13 awards and two special citations. It won eight of the Awards to beat It Happened One Night's record. All About Eve (1950) broke the nominations record with 14, and won in six categories.

Gigi was the film to break Gone with the Wind's record, winning in all nine of its nominated categories at the ceremony for films made in 1958. However, its moment at the top was short-lived, as the epic Ben-Hur went on to win 11 Oscars from 12 nominations the following year.

Ben-Hur's eleven Oscars remains the record. This achievement in turn has been equalled twice—by Titanic in 1997 with 11 awards from 14 nominations, and by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which won in all 11 of its nominated categories in 2003 in the greatest 'sweep' in the history of the Academy Awards, despite not having been nominated in any of the four acting categories.

In audience polls

Rank Film Year Rating
1 The Godfather 1972 9.1
2 The Shawshank Redemption 1994 9.1
3 The Godfather: Part II 1974 8.9
4 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 1966 8.8
5 Pulp Fiction 1994 8.8
6 Casablanca 1942 8.8
7 Schindler's List 1993 8.8
8 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 1980 8.8
9 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 2003 8.8
10 Seven Samurai 1954 8.8

In particular genres


  • Tale of Tales (Сказка сказок) (1979) - Yuriy Norshteyn's short film was voted by a large international jury to be the greatest animated film of all time at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympiad of Animation and the 2002 Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films.
  • Akira (1988) was chosen as the top anime ever by Anime Insider in fall 2001.
  • Toy Story (1995) was voted #1 on the Top 100 Animated Features of All Time by the Online Film Critics Society (list published March 2003). Toy Story was also the first animated movie to be nominated for a Best Screenplay award at the Oscars.
  • What's Opera, Doc? (1957), directed by Chuck Jones was voted the greatest animated short of all time in animation historian Jerry Beck's 1994 poll of animators, film historians and directors.



  • The Last Waltz (1978), Martin Scorsese's chronicling of The Band's farewell concert on Thanksgiving Day in 1976. Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune calls it "The greatest rock concert movie ever made -- and maybe the best rock movie, period." Terry Lawson of the Detroit Free Press comments that "This is one of the great movie experiences." The review at Total Film comments "In what is rightly considered the greatest concert film ever shot . . .". Rolling Stone dubbed it the greatest film about music ever made. All Movie Guide said that the film is "considered to be [one] of the best-looking and sounding rock films ever".
  • Stop Making Sense (1984) Film critic James Berardinelli wrote that Jonathan Demme's capturing of the Talking Heads in concert was "the best concert film to date when it first came out, and nothing in the past decade-and-a-half has come close to toppling it from that position." Edward Guthmann of the San Francisco Chronicle had similar praise: "Has there ever been a live concert film as vibrant or as brilliantly realized? I don't think so."




  • Lawrence of Arabia Voted best epic by readers of Total Film in May 2004. In addition, Peter O'Toole's performance as T.E. Lawrence was ranked number one in Premiere magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.


  • Psycho: the Alfred Hitchcock classic tops AFI’s list of the 100 most thrilling American films.
  • Halloween: Voted best horror film of all time by readers of SFX magazine in June 2004, also listed on AFI's most thrilling films ever.
  • The Exorcist: Voted scariest movie of all time by Entertainment Weekly, also listed on AFI's most thrilling films ever.




  • Casablanca is the top film on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions list, which ranks films in which there is "a romantic bond between two or more characters, whose actions and/or intentions provide the heart of the film’s narrative".

Science fiction

  • Blade Runner - Voted the best science fiction film by a panel of scientists assembled by the British newspaper The Guardian in 2004.
  • Serenity - was voted number one in SFX magazine's reader's poll of 2007. There were 3,000 responders

Superhero/Comic book adaptions

  • Spider-Man 2 was selected the number one comic-to-cinema adaption in a poll of critics at


  • Bull Durham was number 1 on the Rotten Tomatoes countdown of the top sports movies.



In particular countries




  • Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (English: God and the Devil in the Land of the Sun, also known as Black God, White Devil). An example of Brazilian cinema movement known as Cinema Novo, is considered by many critics to be the best Brazilian movie of all time. It was also named the best Brazilian film from a poll conducted by the Brazilian film magazine Contracampo (no. 27).










The Netherlands


  • Flåklypa Grand Prix (Pinchcliffe Grand Prix - 1975 - Ivo Caprino): The people's choice for "Best Norwegian Film of the Century" during the 2005 Bergen International Film Festival.
  • Ni Liv (Nine Lives - 1957 - Arne Skouen): The critics' choice for "Best Norwegian Film of the Century" during the 2005 Bergen International Film Festival.



  • The Emigrants (Utvandrarna): Jan Troell's naturalist masterwork was the first Scandinavian film to receive Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Director, and it is often cited in Sweden as the greatest Swedish film of all-time.
  • Persona: voted "Best Picture" by US National Society of Film Critics. This film by acclaimed director Ingmar Bergman also reached the highest position (#5) of any Swedish film on Sight & Sound's 1972 list of greatest films of all time.
  • The Seventh Seal: also directed by Ingmar Bergman, is the highest rated Swedish film on the IMDB.
  • Sällskapsresan (The Charter Trip) was voted in the TV program "Folktoppen" as the funniest Swedish film ever made.


United Kingdom


United States

Korea, The Republic of

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "List of films considered the best" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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