Essential movies of film history

by huberzol | created - 19 Sep 2013 | updated - 19 Sep 2013 | Public

in chronological order - five from each decade

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1. Nosferatu (1922)

Unrated | 81 min | Fantasy, Horror

8.0
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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: 74,607

2. The Gold Rush (1925)

Not Rated | 95 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

8.2
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A prospector goes to the Klondike in search of gold and finds it and more.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Mack Swain, Tom Murray, Henry Bergman

Votes: 77,210 | Gross: $5.45M

3. Battleship Potemkin (1925)

Unrated | 66 min | Drama, History

8.0
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In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel's officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre.

Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein | Stars: Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barskiy, Grigoriy Aleksandrov, Ivan Bobrov

Votes: 44,273 | Gross: $0.05M

4. The General (1926)

Not Rated | 67 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

8.2
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When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines.

Directors: Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender, Jim Farley

Votes: 60,735

5. À propos de Nice (1930)

Not Rated | 25 min | Documentary, Short, Comedy

7.5
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What starts off as a conventional travelogue turns into a satirical portrait of the town of Nice on the French Cote d'Azur, especially its wealthy inhabitants.

Directors: Boris Kaufman, Jean Vigo

Votes: 3,019

6. It Happened One Night (1934)

Not Rated | 105 min | Comedy, Romance

8.2
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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: 73,392

7. Modern Times (1936)

Passed | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

8.5
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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: 164,890 | Gross: $0.16M

8. Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)

Approved | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

8.0
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A priest tries to stop a gangster from corrupting a group of street kids.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan

Votes: 17,102

9. Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Not Rated | 102 min | Comedy, Family, Romance

8.0
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While trying to secure a $1 million donation for his museum, a befuddled paleontologist is pursued by a flighty and often irritating heiress and her pet leopard, Baby.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Charles Ruggles, Walter Catlett

Votes: 47,908

10. Gone with the Wind (1939)

G | 238 min | Drama, History, Romance

8.2
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97 Metascore

A manipulative woman and a roguish man conduct a turbulent romance during the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood | Stars: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Thomas Mitchell, Barbara O'Neil

Votes: 238,321 | Gross: $198.68M

11. Citizen Kane (1941)

PG | 119 min | Drama, Mystery

8.4
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100 Metascore

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead

Votes: 328,884 | Gross: $1.59M

12. Dumbo (1941)

Approved | 64 min | Animation, Drama, Family

7.3
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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: 96,299 | Gross: $1.60M

13. Casablanca (1942)

PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War

8.5
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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: 429,525 | Gross: $1.02M

14. The Big Sleep (1946)

Approved | 114 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery

8.0
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Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely, Martha Vickers

Votes: 69,046

15. Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Not Rated | 89 min | Drama

8.3
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In post-war Italy, a working-class man's bicycle is stolen. He and his son set out to find it.

Director: Vittorio De Sica | Stars: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Elena Altieri

Votes: 108,667 | Gross: $0.33M

16. Rear Window (1954)

PG | 112 min | Mystery, Thriller

8.5
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A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter

Votes: 355,017 | Gross: $36.76M

17. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

PG-13 | 111 min | Drama

7.8
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A rebellious young man with a troubled past comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies.

Director: Nicholas Ray | Stars: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus

Votes: 69,910

18. Touch of Evil (1958)

PG-13 | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

8.1
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A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, Janet Leigh, Joseph Calleia

Votes: 80,719 | Gross: $2.24M

19. Some Like It Hot (1959)

Not Rated | 121 min | Comedy, Romance

8.3
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97 Metascore

When two male musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft

Votes: 195,820 | Gross: $25.00M

20. Ben-Hur (1959)

G | 212 min | Adventure, Drama, History

8.1
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90 Metascore

When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd, Haya Harareet

Votes: 180,570 | Gross: $74.70M

21. Psycho (1960)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

8.5
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97 Metascore

A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin

Votes: 476,056 | Gross: $32.00M

22. From Russia with Love (1963)

PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

7.5
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85 Metascore

James Bond willingly falls into an assassination ploy involving a naive Russian beauty in order to retrieve a Soviet encryption device that was stolen by SPECTRE.

Director: Terence Young | Stars: Sean Connery, Robert Shaw, Lotte Lenya, Daniela Bianchi

Votes: 97,508 | Gross: $24.80M

23. A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

R | 99 min | Western

8.0
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65 Metascore

A wandering gunfighter plays two rival families against each other in a town torn apart by greed, pride, and revenge.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volontè, Marianne Koch, Wolfgang Lukschy

Votes: 163,355 | Gross: $14.50M

24. The Graduate (1967)

PG | 106 min | Comedy, Drama

8.0
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77 Metascore

A disillusioned college graduate finds himself torn between his older lover and her daughter.

Director: Mike Nichols | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross, William Daniels

Votes: 224,709 | Gross: $104.95M

25. Easy Rider (1969)

R | 95 min | Adventure, Drama

7.4
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86 Metascore

Two counterculture bikers travel from Los Angeles to New Orleans in search of America.

Director: Dennis Hopper | Stars: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Antonio Mendoza

Votes: 81,699 | Gross: $41.73M

26. Dirty Harry (1971)

R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

7.8
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When a mad man calling himself 'the Scorpio Killer' menaces the city, tough as nails San Francisco Police Inspector Harry Callahan is assigned to track down and ferret out the crazed psychopath.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Andrew Robinson, Harry Guardino, Reni Santoni

Votes: 123,272

27. The Godfather (1972)

R | 175 min | Crime, Drama

9.2
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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: 1,287,850 | Gross: $134.97M

28. Crime Busters (1977)

PG | 98 min | Action, Comedy, Adventure

7.2
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An attempted robbery turns to be an unexpected recruitment when two unemployed men mistakenly break into a police office instead of a store.

Director: Enzo Barboni | Stars: Terence Hill, Bud Spencer, David Huddleston, Luciano Catenacci

Votes: 8,244

29. 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: 1,014,014 | Gross: $322.74M

30. Alien (1979)

R | 117 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

8.5
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83 Metascore

After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as a distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform, and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright

Votes: 642,350 | Gross: $78.90M

31. Friday the 13th (1980)

R | 95 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

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

A group of camp counselors are stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp which, years before, was the site of a child's drowning.

Director: Sean S. Cunningham | Stars: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor, Robbi Morgan

Votes: 94,399 | Gross: $39.75M

32. First Blood (1982)

R | 93 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

7.7
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62 Metascore

Former Green Beret John Rambo is pursued into the mountains surrounding a small town by a tyrannical sheriff and his deputies, forcing him to survive using his combat skills.

Director: Ted Kotcheff | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, Richard Crenna, Bill McKinney

Votes: 187,412 | Gross: $47.21M

33. 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: 732,106 | Gross: $248.16M

34. Top Gun (1986)

PG | 110 min | Action, Drama, Romance

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

As students at the United States Navy's elite fighter weapons school compete to be best in the class, one daring young pilot learns a few things from a civilian instructor that are not taught in the classroom.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Tom Cruise, Tim Robbins, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer

Votes: 239,532 | Gross: $179.80M

35. Dirty Dancing (1987)

PG-13 | 100 min | Drama, Music, Romance

6.9
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65 Metascore

Spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances "Baby" Houseman falls in love with the camp's dance instructor, Johnny Castle.

Director: Emile Ardolino | Stars: Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach, Cynthia Rhodes

Votes: 157,893 | Gross: $63.95M

36. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

8.6
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85 Metascore

A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons

Votes: 1,004,470 | Gross: $130.74M

37. Pulp Fiction (1994)

R | 154 min | Crime, Drama

8.9
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94 Metascore

The lives of two mob hitmen, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis

Votes: 1,475,425 | Gross: $107.93M

38. The Usual Suspects (1995)

R | 106 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

8.6
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77 Metascore

A sole survivor tells of the twisty events leading up to a horrific gun battle on a boat, which began when five criminals met at a seemingly random police lineup.

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin

Votes: 824,535 | Gross: $23.34M

39. American Pie (1999)

R | 95 min | Comedy

7.0
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58 Metascore

Four teenage boys enter a pact to lose their virginity by prom night.

Directors: Paul Weitz, Chris Weitz | Stars: Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Alyson Hannigan

Votes: 334,578 | Gross: $102.56M

40. The Matrix (1999)

R | 136 min | Action, Sci-Fi

8.7
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73 Metascore

A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving

Votes: 1,356,851 | Gross: $171.48M

41. Shrek (2001)

PG | 90 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

7.9
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84 Metascore

After his swamp is filled with magical creatures, Shrek agrees to rescue Princess Fiona for a villainous lord in order to get his land back.

Directors: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson | Stars: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow

Votes: 512,185 | Gross: $267.67M

42. Oldeuboi (2003)

R | 120 min | Action, Drama, Mystery

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

After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days.

Director: Chan-wook Park | Stars: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang, Dae-han Ji

Votes: 406,813 | Gross: $0.71M

43. No Country for Old Men (2007)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

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

Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen | Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson

Votes: 688,736 | Gross: $74.28M

44. The Dark Knight (2008)

PG-13 | 152 min | Action, Crime, Drama

9.0
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82 Metascore

When the menace known as the Joker emerges from his mysterious past, he wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, the Dark Knight must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine

Votes: 1,862,056 | Gross: $534.86M

45. Avatar (2009)

PG-13 | 162 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

7.8
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83 Metascore

A paraplegic marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez

Votes: 964,629 | Gross: $760.51M