Best Films For Each Year 1888-2011

by metters | created - 14 Feb 2012 | updated - 15 Feb 2012 | Public

I've tried to pick the best film for each year since the birth of cinema. The choice of films has been based importance, influence, quality and sometimes just personal preference. A couple of years around the early 1900s I've missed out, because if I haven't seen or heard of any film from that year I'd prefer to skip the year than pick a film I've not heard of at random. Some years had an obvious choice, other years needed a more difficult decision, with 2, 3 or even more films for some years. There are bound to be some disagreements, but hey-ho this is just my opinion.

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1. Roundhay Garden Scene (1888)

Not Rated | 1 min | Documentary, Short

7.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In the garden, a man asks his friends to do something silly for him to record on film.

Director: Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince | Stars: Annie Hartley, Adolphe Le Prince, Joseph Whitley, Sarah Whitley

Votes: 4,246

These 2 seconds of celluloid film represent the first time moving images were captured on film, creating an industry that would take over the culture of hundreds of millions of people. From this to The A-Team in just 122 years!

2. Leisurely Pedestrians, Open Topped Buses and Hansom Cabs with Trotting Horses (1889)

Documentary, Short

5.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Add a Plot

Director: William Friese-Greene

Votes: 225

3. Monkeyshines, No. 1 (1890)

Not Rated | 1 min | Short, Comedy, Family

5.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

One of W.K.L. Dickson's laboratory workers horses around for the camera.

Directors: William K.L. Dickson, William Heise | Star: Giuseppe Sacco Albanese

Votes: 960

Notable for being the first film from the Edison company, which would go on to pioneer cinema techniques in the early years.

4. Dickson Greeting (1891)

Not Rated | 1 min | Short

5.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

"A little while ago there was a great convention of women's clubs of America. Mrs. Edison is interested in women's clubs and their work and she decided to entertain the Presidents of the ... See full summary »

Director: William K.L. Dickson | Star: William K.L. Dickson

Votes: 963

I always imagine him as saying "Welcome to the movies"

5. Pauvre Pierrot (1892)

4 min | Animation, Comedy, Short

6.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

One night, Arlequin come to see his lover Colombine. But then Pierrot knocks at the door and Colombine and Arlequin hide. Pierrot starts singing but Arlequin scares him and the poor man goes away.

Director: Émile Reynaud

Votes: 916

6. Blacksmith Scene (1893)

Unrated | 1 min | Short

6.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Three men hammer on an anvil and pass a bottle of beer around.

Director: William K.L. Dickson | Stars: Charles Kayser, John Ott

Votes: 1,603

7. Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze (1894)

1 min | Documentary, Short

5.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A man (Thomas Edison's assistant) takes a pinch of snuff and sneezes. This is one of the earliest Thomas Edison films and was the first motion picture to be copyrighted in the United States.

Director: William K.L. Dickson | Star: Fred Ott

Votes: 1,421

8. Employees Leaving the Lumière Factory (1895)

1 min | Documentary, Short

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A man opens the big gates to the Lumière factory. Through the gateway and a smaller doorway beside it, workers are streaming out, turning either left or right. Most of them are women in ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière

Votes: 4,786

The first short from the Lumiere Brothers, who would bring movies to the masses in France and lead to the Europeans domination of films for the next 2 decades.

9. The Arrival of a Train (1896)

1 min | Documentary, Short

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A train arrives at La Ciotat station.

Directors: Auguste Lumière, Louis Lumière

Votes: 7,867

10. The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight (1897)

20 min | Documentary, News, Sport

5.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

The first known feature film! A very unusual filmed record of the Corbett-Fitzsimmons fight originally ran over 90 minutes in length.

Director: Enoch J. Rector | Stars: James J. Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons, Billy Madden, George Siler

Votes: 239

As the description states, notable as being the first feature length film, running at a mammoth 90 minutes, when nearly all other films of the day were little over 1 minute.

11. American Flag (II) (1898)

Short

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

"This picture shows our national flag waving in the breeze. Coloring adds greatly to the effectiveness of this film."

Director: William Heise

Votes: 6

12. A Kiss in the Tunnel (I) (1899)

1 min | Short, Comedy, Romance

5.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A humorous subject intended to be run as a part of a railroad scene during the period in which the train is passing through a tunnel.

Director: George Albert Smith | Stars: Laura Bayley, George Albert Smith

Votes: 966

13. The Enchanted Drawing (1900)

2 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A cartoonist defies reality when he draws objects that become three-dimensional after he lifts them off his sketch pad.

Director: J. Stuart Blackton | Star: J. Stuart Blackton

Votes: 815

One of the earliest and most influential examples of animation, although it would be another 14 years until Gertie The Dinosaur that the animations featured a recognisable personality.

14. Fun in a Butcher Shop (1901)

Short, Comedy, Fantasy

6.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Two enterprising Dutchmen are at work at their sausage mill. A constant stream of boys and men are coming into the sausage factory and depositing with the butchers, dogs, cats and various ... See full summary »

Votes: 8

15. A Trip to the Moon (1902)

TV-G | 13 min | Short, Adventure, Fantasy

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the Moon.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Georges Méliès, Victor André, Bleuette Bernon, Brunnet

Votes: 34,098

The entire sci-fi genre began with this film.

16. The Great Train Robbery (1903)

TV-G | 11 min | Short, Action, Western

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A group of bandits stage a brazen train hold-up, only to find a determined posse hot on their heels.

Director: Edwin S. Porter | Stars: Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson, A.C. Abadie, George Barnes, Justus D. Barnes

Votes: 13,448

17. The Whole Dam Family and the Dam Dog (1905)

5 min | Short, Comedy, Family

5.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

The Whole Dam Family and The Dam Dog is a popular fad which has been widely advertised by lithographs and souvenir mailing cards, and has recently been made the subject of a sketch in a New... See full summary »

Director: Edwin S. Porter | Stars: William Courtenay, Frank Daniels, May Irwin, Charlotte Walker

Votes: 558

18. San Francisco: Aftermath of Earthquake (1906)

1 min | Documentary, Short, History

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Footage shot not long after the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco is edited together so that more than one scene and more than one vantage are included. We see fire raging. We see burned-out... See full summary »

Votes: 460

19. The Dog and His Various Merits (1908)

2 min | Short, Documentary

5.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

We see a working dog, a beggar's dog, a shepherd's dog, and a milkman's dog. The working dog is locked inside a large wire wheel; the dog runs inside the wheel, turning it to run a machine.... See full summary »

Votes: 361

20. The Sealed Room (1909)

11 min | Short, Drama, History

6.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A king exacts vengeance upon his faithless mistress and her lover.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Arthur V. Johnson, Marion Leonard, Henry B. Walthall, Linda Arvidson

Votes: 551

21. Frankenstein (1910)

Unrated | 16 min | Short, Horror, Sci-Fi

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Frankenstein, a young medical student, trying to create the perfect human being, instead creates a misshapen monster. Made ill by what he has done, Frankenstein is comforted by his fiancée ... See full summary »

Director: J. Searle Dawley | Stars: Mary Fuller, Charles Ogle, Augustus Phillips

Votes: 2,765

The first time this legendary creature appeared on the screen.

22. Dante's Inferno (1911)

68 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Loosely adapted from Dante's Divine Comedy and inspired by the illustrations of Gustav Doré the original silent film has been restored and has a new score by Tangerine Dream.

Directors: Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan, Giuseppe de Liguoro | Stars: Salvatore Papa, Arturo Pirovano, Giuseppe de Liguoro, Pier Delle Vigne

Votes: 1,502

23. The Avenging Conscience: or 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' (1914)

Not Rated | 78 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Prevented from dating his sweetheart by his uncle, a young man turns his thoughts to murder.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Henry B. Walthall, Spottiswoode Aitken, Blanche Sweet, George Siegmann

Votes: 915

24. The Birth of a Nation (1915)

Not Rated | 195 min | Drama, History, War

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The Stoneman family finds its friendship with the Camerons affected by the Civil War, both fighting in opposite armies. The development of the war in their lives plays through to Lincoln's assassination and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Henry B. Walthall, Miriam Cooper

Votes: 18,713 | Gross: $10.00M

25. Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916)

Not Rated | 197 min | Drama, History

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, Mae Marsh, F.A. Turner

Votes: 11,752

26. Cleopatra (1917)

125 min | Biography, Drama, History

6.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

The story of Cleopatra, the fabulous queen of Egypt, and the epic romances between her and the greatest men of Rome, Julius Caesar and Antony.

Director: J. Gordon Edwards | Stars: Theda Bara, Fritz Leiber, Thurston Hall, Alan Roscoe

Votes: 269

27. Chase Me Charlie (1918)

Comedy

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Chase Me Charlie was an anthology consisting of excerpts from several of Chaplin's short films made for the Essanay Company, including The Tramp, Shanghaied, In the Park and The Bank.

Directors: Charles Chaplin, Langford Reed | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Leo White, Ben Turpin

Votes: 73

28. Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl (1919)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Romance

7.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A frail waif, abused by her brutal boxer father in London's seedy Limehouse District, is befriended by a sensitive Chinese immigrant with tragic consequences.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Donald Crisp, Arthur Howard

Votes: 7,816

29. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Unrated | 67 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.

Director: Robert Wiene | Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover

Votes: 44,655

30. The Kid (1921)

Not Rated | 68 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The Tramp cares for an abandoned child, but events put that relationship in jeopardy.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Jackie Coogan, Carl Miller

Votes: 80,622 | Gross: $5.45M

31. Nosferatu (1922)

Unrated | 81 min | Fantasy, Horror

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau | Stars: Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder

Votes: 74,638

The birth of horror films, and still one of the best.

32. Safety Last! (1923)

Not Rated | 70 min | Comedy, Thriller

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

When a store clerk organizes a publicity stunt, in which a friend climbs the outside of a tall building, circumstances force him to make the perilous climb himself.

Directors: Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor | Stars: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, Bill Strother, Noah Young

Votes: 14,583 | Gross: $0.62M

33. Greed (1924)

Not Rated | 140 min | Drama, Thriller, Western

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved.

Director: Erich von Stroheim | Stars: Gibson Gowland, Zasu Pitts, Jean Hersholt, Dale Fuller

Votes: 7,610

34. The Lost World (1925)

Unrated | 106 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The first film adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic novel about a land where prehistoric creatures still roam.

Director: Harry O. Hoyt | Stars: Wallace Beery, Bessie Love, Lloyd Hughes, Lewis Stone

Votes: 3,713 | Gross: $0.55M

A milestone in special effects, with the stop-motion animated dinosaurs being brought to life with a realism never seen before.

35. Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (1926)

Not Rated | 81 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A handsome prince rides a flying horse to far-away lands and embarks on magical adventures, which include befriending a witch, meeting Aladdin, battling demons and falling in love with a princess.

Directors: Lotte Reiniger, Carl Koch

Votes: 4,123

36. Metropolis (1927)

Not Rated | 153 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
98 Metascore

In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge

Votes: 126,150 | Gross: $0.03M

One of the greatest films ever made; will always be relevant and will always be a stunning example of the medium.

37. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

Not Rated | 114 min | Biography, Drama, History

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

In 1431, Jeanne d'Arc is placed on trial on charges of heresy. The ecclesiastical jurists attempt to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer | Stars: Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, André Berley, Maurice Schutz

Votes: 31,275 | Gross: $0.02M

38. Man with a Movie Camera (1929)

Not Rated | 68 min | Documentary, Music

8.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention.

Director: Dziga Vertov | Star: Mikhail Kaufman

Votes: 17,654

39. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Unrated | 136 min | Drama, War

8.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I.

Director: Lewis Milestone | Stars: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray, Arnold Lucy

Votes: 50,207 | Gross: $3.27M

40. City Lights (1931)

G | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

8.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

With the aid of a wealthy erratic tippler, a dewy-eyed tramp who has fallen in love with a sightless flower girl accumulates money to be able to help her medically.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers

Votes: 125,612 | Gross: $0.02M

Although 1931 was tough, between this and Frankenstein, ultimately Chaplin's film had to take it with it's perfect balance of comedy and sentiment, a remarkably difficult balance to achieve.

41. The Mummy (1932)

TV-PG | 73 min | Fantasy, Horror

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A living mummy stalks the beautiful woman he believes is the reincarnation of his lover.

Director: Karl Freund | Stars: Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Arthur Byron

Votes: 18,557

Another tough choice between The Mummy and Freaks. But in the end The Mummy wins it for Jack Pierce's revolutionary make-up techniques.

42. King Kong (1933)

Not Rated | 100 min | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi

7.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal ape who takes a shine to their female blonde star. He is then captured and brought back to New York City for public exhibition.

Directors: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack | Stars: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot, Frank Reicher

Votes: 69,368 | Gross: $10.00M

43. It Happened One Night (1934)

Not Rated | 105 min | Comedy, Romance

8.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns

Votes: 73,436

44. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Not Rated | 75 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

7.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson

Votes: 35,930

45. Modern Times (1936)

Passed | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

8.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
96 Metascore

The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman, Tiny Sandford

Votes: 164,987 | Gross: $0.16M

46. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

G | 83 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

7.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Exiled into the dangerous forest by her wicked stepmother, a princess is rescued by seven dwarf miners who make her part of their household.

Directors: William Cottrell, David Hand, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, Ben Sharpsteen | Stars: Adriana Caselotti, Harry Stockwell, Lucille La Verne, Roy Atwell

Votes: 149,105 | Gross: $184.93M

47. Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations (1938)

Not Rated | 111 min | Documentary, Sport

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The document of the 1936 Olympics at Berlin.

Director: Leni Riefenstahl | Stars: David Albritton, Arvo Askola, Jack Beresford, Erwin Blask

Votes: 3,386

This, along with Part 2 (Festival Of Beauty), marked the birth of modern documentary film-making techniques, many of which are still used today. This is a purely visual feast that presents the sports in a more intimate was than anyone had managed previous.

48. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Not Rated | 129 min | Comedy, Drama

8.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold

Votes: 85,844 | Gross: $9.60M

49. The Great Dictator (1940)

G | 125 min | Comedy, Drama, War

8.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel's regime.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie, Reginald Gardiner

Votes: 157,684

50. Dumbo (1941)

Approved | 64 min | Animation, Drama, Family

7.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Ridiculed because of his enormous ears, a young circus elephant is assisted by a mouse to achieve his full potential.

Directors: Samuel Armstrong, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen, John Elliotte | Stars: Sterling Holloway, Edward Brophy, James Baskett, Herman Bing

Votes: 96,325 | Gross: $1.60M

Some people may disagree, and put Citizen Kane at the top of the list for 1941, Dumbo wins it for me. Cinema is essentially for entertainment, and there's nothing more entertaining than the little elephant who learnt to fly.

51. Casablanca (1942)

PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
100 Metascore

In Casablanca in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate encounters a former lover, with unforeseen complications.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains

Votes: 429,703 | Gross: $1.02M

The most beautiful and mesmerising romances to be captured on screen. Highly regarded as one of the best, and rightly so.

52. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Approved | 108 min | Thriller

8.0
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A young woman discovers her visiting uncle may not be the man he seems to be.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Henry Travers

Votes: 49,509

53. Laura (1944)

Not Rated | 88 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery

8.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating.

Director: Otto Preminger | Stars: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price

Votes: 35,175

54. Brief Encounter (1945)

Not Rated | 86 min | Drama, Romance

8.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Meeting a stranger in a railway station, a woman is tempted to cheat on her husband.

Director: David Lean | Stars: Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway, Joyce Carey

Votes: 28,882

55. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

PG | 130 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

8.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
89 Metascore

An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 312,441 | Gross: $7.27M

56. Black Narcissus (1947)

Not Rated | 101 min | Drama

8.0
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: Deborah Kerr, David Farrar, Flora Robson, Jenny Laird

Votes: 17,304

57. Rope (1948)

Approved | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

8.0
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Two young men strangle their "inferior" classmate, hide his body in their apartment, and invite his friends and family to a dinner party as a means to challenge the "perfection" of their crime.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, Dick Hogan

Votes: 105,610

58. The Third Man (1949)

Not Rated | 93 min | Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller

8.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime.

Director: Carol Reed | Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard

Votes: 127,375 | Gross: $0.45M

59. Harvey (1950)

Not Rated | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

8.0
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Due to his insistence that he has an invisible six foot-tall rabbit for a best friend, a whimsical middle-aged man is thought by his family to be insane - but he may be wiser than anyone knows.

Director: Henry Koster | Stars: James Stewart, Wallace Ford, William H. Lynn, Victoria Horne

Votes: 47,363

60. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Approved | 92 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

7.8
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe

Votes: 68,432

61. Umberto D. (1952)

Not Rated | 89 min | Drama

8.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
92 Metascore

An elderly man and his dog struggle to survive on his government pension in Rome.

Director: Vittorio De Sica | Stars: Carlo Battisti, Maria Pia Casilio, Lina Gennari, Ileana Simova

Votes: 18,399 | Gross: $0.07M

62. Gojira (1954)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

7.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
78 Metascore

American nuclear weapons testing results in the creation of a seemingly unstoppable, dinosaur-like beast.

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Takashi Shimura, Akihiko Hirata, Akira Takarada, Momoko Kôchi

Votes: 21,569 | Gross: $2.42M

In a year also featuring Rear Window, Dial M For Murder and On The Waterfront, 1954 presented a difficult choice. But as a horror/sci-fi fan I cannot ignore the achievements of this film, and the influence it has spawned throughout the world.

63. Diabolique (1955)

Not Rated | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The wife and mistress of a cruel headmaster conspire to kill him; after the murder is committed, his corpse disappears, and strange events begin to plague the two women.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot | Stars: Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse, Charles Vanel

Votes: 47,877

64. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Not Rated | 80 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates, King Donovan

Votes: 37,616

65. 12 Angry Men (1957)

Not Rated | 96 min | Crime, Drama

8.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
96 Metascore

A jury holdout attempts to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler

Votes: 517,983

66. Horror of Dracula (1958)

Approved | 82 min | Horror

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Jonathan Harker begets the ire of Count Dracula after he accepts a job at the vampire's castle under false pretenses.

Director: Terence Fisher | Stars: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough, Melissa Stribling

Votes: 17,030

This narrowly edges out Vertigo, because as the first major Hammer film it represents a resurgence in British film making and in horror films, that would lead to Night Of The Living Dead 10 years later and the rise of the horror genre in the 70s.

67. North by Northwest (1959)

Not Rated | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Mystery

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis

Votes: 243,492 | Gross: $13.28M

68. Peeping Tom (1960)

Not Rated | 101 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A young man murders women, using a movie camera to film their dying expressions of terror.

Director: Michael Powell | Stars: Karlheinz Böhm, Anna Massey, Moira Shearer, Maxine Audley

Votes: 24,323 | Gross: $0.08M

Although Psycho may (with good reason) be regarded as one of the best films of all time, let alone 1960, Peeping Tom knocks it off the list with its voyeurism - seeing the murders through the eyes of the killer is more unsettling than anything in Psycho. A film so far ahead of it's time director Michael Powell's career never recovered, because people just didn't get it.

69. The Hustler (1961)

Not Rated | 134 min | Drama, Sport

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An up-and-coming pool player plays a long-time champion in a single high-stakes match.

Director: Robert Rossen | Stars: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott

Votes: 66,845

70. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Not Rated | 129 min | Crime, Drama

8.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice.

Director: Robert Mulligan | Stars: Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton, Rosemary Murphy

Votes: 242,838

71. The Birds (1963)

PG-13 | 119 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
87 Metascore

A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette

Votes: 142,477 | Gross: $11.40M

Special mention should be given to The Haunting, as a perfect example of how to give an audience scares without having the need to show a monster on screen.

72. A Hard Day's Night (1964)

G | 87 min | Comedy, Music, Musical

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
96 Metascore

A "typical" day in the life of The Beatles, including many of their famous songs.

Director: Richard Lester | Stars: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr

Votes: 34,095 | Gross: $13.78M

A burst of pure joy and energy onto the cinema screens, and the perfect embodiment of what Beatlemania was. And anyone who's seen Albert & David Maysles' documentary The Beatles First US Visit will recognise that this film is perhaps more realistic than you may first think|

73. The War Game (1965 TV Movie)

48 min | Documentary, Drama, War

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A docudrama depicting a hypothetical nuclear attack on Britain.

Director: Peter Watkins | Stars: Michael Aspel, Peter Graham, Kathy Staff, Peter Watkins

Votes: 5,281

74. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

R | 178 min | Western

8.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
90 Metascore

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Aldo Giuffrè

Votes: 559,069 | Gross: $6.10M

75. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

R | 111 min | Action, Biography, Crime

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
81 Metascore

Bonnie Parker, a bored waitress falls in love with an ex-con named Clyde Barrow and together they start a violent crime spree through the country, robbing cars and banks.

Director: Arthur Penn | Stars: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman

Votes: 87,279

Opened up a whole new grim world of realistic crime violence.

76. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
86 Metascore

Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter

Votes: 481,427 | Gross: $56.95M

Despite the undoubted quality of Rosemary's Baby and the game-changing Night Of The Living Dead, 1968 is trumped by 2001: A Space Odyssey. I don't think it needs any further explanation.

77. Kes (1969)

PG-13 | 111 min | Drama, Family

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young, English working-class boy spends his free time caring for and training his pet falcon.

Director: Ken Loach | Stars: David Bradley, Brian Glover, Freddie Fletcher, Lynne Perrie

Votes: 14,775

78. MASH (1970)

R | 116 min | Comedy, Drama, War

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
79 Metascore

The staff of a Korean War field hospital use humor and high jinks to keep their sanity in the face of the horror of war.

Director: Robert Altman | Stars: Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman

Votes: 59,677 | Gross: $81.60M

79. The French Connection (1971)

R | 104 min | Action, Crime, Drama

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
96 Metascore

A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey, Tony Lo Bianco

Votes: 90,974

A tough call between this and A Clockwork Orange. As good as A Clockwork Orange is, it is too mired by the hype and controversy around it. The French Connection, however, represents a new manner of film making that is more rough, documentary-like, putting the audience at the centre of the action in a way that would inspire such shaky-cam films as Blair Witch, Cloverfield and Trollhunter.

80. The Godfather (1972)

R | 175 min | Crime, Drama

9.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.2/10 X  
100 Metascore

The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton

Votes: 1,288,504 | Gross: $134.97M

81. The Wicker Man (1973)

R | 88 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A police sergeant is sent to a Scottish island village in search of a missing girl whom the townsfolk claim never existed. Stranger still are the rites that take place there.

Director: Robin Hardy | Stars: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Britt Ekland

Votes: 53,352 | Gross: $0.06M

A very tough choice for 1973, from three of the best and most influential horror films ever made; films that were not simply examples of the genre, but which represented horror crossing over into the mainstream. My ultimate choice of The Wicker Man, over The Exorcist and Don't Look Now, is essentially just down to personal preference. I just like it better.

82. The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974)

Not Rated | 110 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Herzog's film is based upon the true and mysterious story of Kaspar Hauser, a young man who suddenly appeared in Nuremberg in 1828, barely able to talk or walk, and bearing a strange note.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Bruno S., Walter Ladengast, Brigitte Mira, Willy Semmelrogge

Votes: 13,854

Some people think The Godfather Part II should be here for 1974. But as my favourite director, Werner Herzog has to be in this list somewhere. Again, this is just personal preference.

83. Jaws (1975)

PG | 124 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

8.0
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87 Metascore

A local sheriff, a marine biologist and an old seafarer team up to hunt down a great white shark wrecking havoc in a beach resort.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary

Votes: 461,234 | Gross: $260.00M

84. Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

R | 91 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
89 Metascore

A police sergeant and an unlikely band of criminals defend a closing LA precinct office on New Years Eve against an army of gang members.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Austin Stoker, Darwin Joston, Laurie Zimmer, Martin West

Votes: 35,197

Narrowly beats out Taxi Driver, but John Carpenter's incredibly tense story represents 'thriller' with effectiveness not seen since Hitchcock, and from this you can see the elements that would appear to even greater success in his horror films.

85. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

PG | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

8.7
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92 Metascore

Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.

Director: George Lucas | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness

Votes: 1,015,383 | Gross: $322.74M

A toss up between two of the classic sci-fi films, Star Wars or Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. At the end of the day nobody can deny the cultural influence this film has had.

86. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Unrated | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Horror

8.0
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71 Metascore

Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger, Gaylen Ross

Votes: 97,174 | Gross: $5.10M

87. Apocalypse Now (1979)

R | 147 min | Drama, War

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
94 Metascore

During the Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade Colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest

Votes: 497,330 | Gross: $83.47M

A year of many great films, with Life Of Brian, Alien and Scum all being personal favourites. But Coppola's nightmare of war is dizzying, nauseating and completely mesmerising.

88. Airplane! (1980)

PG | 88 min | Comedy

7.8
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78 Metascore

A man afraid to fly must ensure that a plane lands safely after the pilots become sick.

Directors: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker | Stars: Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Leslie Nielsen, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Votes: 176,032 | Gross: $83.40M

Another difficult year to choose from, with The Empire Strikes Back, The Elephant Man and The Blues Brothers all being worthy contenders. But Airplane wins out, with it's rapid-fire gags that maintain a constant good standard marking it a cut above the average comedy. Watch it, and be surprised about how many jokes have permeated into the popular subconscious.

89. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure

8.5
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85 Metascore

Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies

Votes: 732,446 | Gross: $248.16M

At the last minute thought this should go on the list instead of Das Boot. Whereas Das Boot is a very good film - an intense experience of life aboard a German U-Boat - Raiders gets this year for the same reason as Dumbo in 1941: Pure entertainment factor. It is a film that never grows old, unlike Indi himself (unfortunately).

90. The Thing (1982)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
57 Metascore

A crew in Antarctica finds a neighboring camp destroyed and its crew dead. Whatever killed them is nowhere to be found, unless it's hidden in plain sight.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Masur

Votes: 293,212 | Gross: $13.78M

As a Star Trek fan it's hard for me not to put The Wrath Of Khan here. But Trek didn't quite have the widespread impact that The Thing did, with it's innovations in special effects and showcasing how to make a tense, paranoid film.

91. Scarface (1983)

R | 170 min | Crime, Drama

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
65 Metascore

In Miami in 1980, a determined Cuban immigrant takes over a drug cartel and succumbs to greed.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

Votes: 599,224 | Gross: $45.60M

92. Ghostbusters (1984)

PG | 105 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

7.8
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71 Metascore

Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.

Director: Ivan Reitman | Stars: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis

Votes: 299,316 | Gross: $238.63M

I found this quite a difficult year to choose from. The Terminator, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Gremlins and Blood Simple are all superior examples of their respective genres. But ultimately Ghostbusters has the charm, humour and memorable gags that stand it apart from the others.

93. Back to the Future (1985)

PG | 116 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
86 Metascore

Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover

Votes: 828,921 | Gross: $210.61M

94. The Fly (1986)

R | 96 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
79 Metascore

A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz, Joy Boushel

Votes: 131,871 | Gross: $40.46M

Alien missed the list for 1979 to Apocalypse Now. And here too must Aliens miss a place, because I feel that for it's impact on cinema alone - it it's ground breaking make up effects and barely-veiled analogies to real life (i.e. the virus which slowly destroys the body) The Fly deservedly takes the pedestal for 1986.

95. Withnail & I (1987)

R | 107 min | Comedy, Drama

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In 1969, two substance-abusing, unemployed actors retreat to the countryside for a holiday that proves disastrous.

Director: Bruce Robinson | Stars: Richard E. Grant, Paul McGann, Richard Griffiths, Ralph Brown

Votes: 33,704 | Gross: $1.54M

96. Die Hard (1988)

R | 132 min | Action, Thriller

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
70 Metascore

John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

Director: John McTiernan | Stars: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson

Votes: 654,986 | Gross: $83.01M

The modern action film, in all it's explosive glory, was born with Bruce Willis In A Vest Part 1, aka Die Hard.

97. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)

PG | 90 min | Adventure, Comedy, Music

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
44 Metascore

Two seemingly dumb teens set off on a quest to prepare the ultimate historical presentation with the help of a time machine.

Director: Stephen Herek | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin, Terry Camilleri

Votes: 91,668 | Gross: $40.49M

Concluding a decade of all-time great comedies that began with Airplane!, ends with Bill & Ted as they go on their most excellent historic adventure. The silliness is never too silly, and the laughs just keep coming. Touch of class added courtesy of George Carlin.

98. Goodfellas (1990)

R | 146 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

8.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
89 Metascore

The story of Henry Hill and his life in the mob, covering his relationship with his wife Karen Hill and his Mob partners Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito in the Italian-American crime syndicate.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco

Votes: 813,175 | Gross: $46.84M

99. Terminator 2 (1991)

R | 137 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
75 Metascore

A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her ten year old son, John Connor, from a more advanced cyborg.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick

Votes: 823,777 | Gross: $204.84M

100. Braindead (1992)

R | 104 min | Comedy, Horror

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
54 Metascore

A young man's mother is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey. She gets sick and dies, at which time she comes back to life, killing and eating dogs, nurses, friends, and neighbors.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Timothy Balme, Diana Peñalver, Elizabeth Moody, Ian Watkin

Votes: 82,525 | Gross: $0.24M

Reservoir Dogs may have wowed the world with its release in 1992, but Braindead makes the list for it's sheer absurdity. Never before had comedy and horror been used together to such effectiveness, with a level of gore so repulsive and ridiculous, that you're laughing before you even notice the horror.