The 222 Most Iconic American Movies of All Time

by morganhahn | created - 23 Feb 2012 | updated - 2 weeks ago | Public

No sequels - The first film represents the whole universe.

 Refine See titles to watch instantly, titles you haven't rated, etc
  • Instant Watch Options
  • Genres
  • Movies or TV
  • IMDb Rating
  • In Theaters
  • On TV
  • Release Year
  • Keywords




IMDb user rating (average) to
Number of votes to »




Reset



Reset
Release year or range to »




































































































1. The Godfather (1972)

R | 175 min | Crime, Drama

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: 1,401,455 | Gross: $134.97M

2. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

100 Metascore

Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor | Stars: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr

Votes: 345,405 | Gross: $22.20M

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

PG | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

90 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 mysterious Darth Vader.

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

Votes: 1,096,074 | Gross: $322.74M

4. Gone with the Wind (1939)

Passed | 238 min | Drama, History, Romance

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: 259,023 | Gross: $198.68M

5. Citizen Kane (1941)

PG | 119 min | Drama, Mystery

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: 356,011 | Gross: $1.59M

6. Jaws (1975)

PG | 124 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

87 Metascore

When a killer shark unleashes chaos on a beach resort, it's up to a local sheriff, a marine biologist, and an old seafarer to hunt the beast down.

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

Votes: 499,052 | Gross: $260.00M

7. Psycho (1960)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

97 Metascore

A Phoenix secretary embezzles forty thousand dollars 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: 522,592 | Gross: $32.00M

8. King Kong (1933)

Passed | 100 min | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi

90 Metascore

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: 72,633 | Gross: $10.00M

9. Casablanca (1942)

PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War

100 Metascore

A cynical nightclub owner protects an old flame and her husband from Nazis in Morocco.

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

Votes: 465,526 | Gross: $1.02M

10. Dr. No (1962)

PG | 110 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

78 Metascore

A resourceful British government agent seeks answers in a case involving the disappearance of a colleague and the disruption of the American space program.

Director: Terence Young | Stars: Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Bernard Lee, Joseph Wiseman

Votes: 131,880 | Gross: $16.07M

11. The Terminator (1984)

R | 107 min | Action, Sci-Fi

84 Metascore

A seemingly indestructible android is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Paul Winfield

Votes: 713,327 | Gross: $38.40M

12. Rocky (1976)

PG | 120 min | Drama, Sport

70 Metascore

A small-time boxer gets a supremely rare chance to fight a heavy-weight champion in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.

Director: John G. Avildsen | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers

Votes: 461,471 | Gross: $117.24M

13. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure

85 Metascore

In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before Adolf Hitler's Nazis can obtain its awesome powers.

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

Votes: 792,110 | Gross: $248.16M

14. Back to the Future (1985)

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

87 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: 908,456 | Gross: $210.61M

15. Jurassic Park (1993)

PG-13 | 127 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller

68 Metascore

During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

Votes: 763,677 | Gross: $402.45M

16. Alien (1979)

R | 116 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

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: 695,963 | Gross: $78.90M

17. The Shining (1980)

R | 146 min | Drama, Horror

63 Metascore

A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers

Votes: 759,008 | Gross: $44.02M

18. The Graduate (1967)

PG | 106 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

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: 234,279 | Gross: $104.95M

19. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

PG | 216 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

100 Metascore

The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks.

Director: David Lean | Stars: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins

Votes: 236,242 | Gross: $44.82M

20. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

PG | 115 min | Family, Sci-Fi

91 Metascore

A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home world.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote, Dee Wallace

Votes: 330,234 | Gross: $435.11M

21. Scarface (1983)

R | 170 min | Crime, Drama

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: 648,777 | Gross: $45.60M

22. Mission: Impossible (1996)

PG-13 | 110 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

59 Metascore

An American agent, under false suspicion of disloyalty, must discover and expose the real spy without the help of his organization.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Béart, Henry Czerny

Votes: 352,546 | Gross: $180.98M

23. Blade Runner (1982)

R | 117 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

89 Metascore

A blade runner must pursue and terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space, and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos

Votes: 613,563 | Gross: $27.00M

24. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

82 Metascore

After discovering a mysterious artifact buried beneath the lunar surface, mankind sets off on a quest to find its origins with help from intelligent supercomputer HAL 9000.

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

Votes: 528,201 | Gross: $56.95M

25. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

A young FBI 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: 1,099,930 | Gross: $130.74M

26. Pulp Fiction (1994)

R | 154 min | Crime, Drama

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: 1,596,563 | Gross: $107.93M

27. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

PG-13 | 103 min | Comedy

61 Metascore

A high school wise guy is determined to have a day off from school, despite what the Principal thinks of that.

Director: John Hughes | Stars: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones

Votes: 283,522 | Gross: $70.14M

28. The Exorcist (1973)

R | 122 min | Horror

82 Metascore

When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb

Votes: 324,757 | Gross: $232.91M

29. Ghostbusters (1984)

PG | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

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: 317,337 | Gross: $238.63M

30. The Matrix (1999)

R | 136 min | Action, Sci-Fi

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: 1,467,259 | Gross: $171.48M

31. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

PG | 95 min | Comedy

96 Metascore

An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a War Room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn

Votes: 406,599 | Gross: $0.28M

32. Planet of the Apes (1968)

G | 112 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

79 Metascore

An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans

Votes: 154,086 | Gross: $33.40M

33. The Big Lebowski (1998)

R | 117 min | Comedy, Crime

71 Metascore

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire of the same name, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi

Votes: 647,638 | Gross: $17.50M

34. Titanic (1997)

PG-13 | 194 min | Drama, Romance

75 Metascore

A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates

Votes: 931,811 | Gross: $659.33M

35. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

PG-13 | 178 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

92 Metascore

A meek Hobbit from the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to destroy the powerful One Ring and save Middle-earth from the Dark Lord Sauron.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean

Votes: 1,471,949 | Gross: $315.54M

36. Die Hard (1988)

R | 132 min | Action, Thriller

72 Metascore

An NYPD officer tries to save his wife and several others taken hostage by German terrorists during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

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

Votes: 706,485 | Gross: $83.01M

37. The Seven Year Itch (1955)

Not Rated | 105 min | Comedy, Romance

When his family goes away for the summer, a so far faithful husband is tempted by a beautiful neighbor.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell, Evelyn Keyes, Sonny Tufts

Votes: 30,204 | Gross: $12.00M

38. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

R | 116 min | Drama, War

76 Metascore

A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D'Onofrio, Adam Baldwin

Votes: 594,212 | Gross: $46.36M

39. Forrest Gump (1994)

PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, Romance

82 Metascore

The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, Vietnam, Watergate, and other history unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field

Votes: 1,562,159 | Gross: $330.25M

40. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

R | 136 min | Crime, Drama, Sci-Fi

80 Metascore

In the future, a sadistic gang leader is imprisoned and volunteers for a conduct-aversion experiment, but it doesn't go as planned.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates, Warren Clarke

Votes: 672,634

41. Braveheart (1995)

R | 178 min | Biography, Drama, History

68 Metascore

When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen

Votes: 875,127 | Gross: $75.60M

42. Fight Club (1999)

R | 139 min | Drama

66 Metascore

An insomniac office worker and a devil-may-care soapmaker form an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Meat Loaf, Zach Grenier

Votes: 1,635,592 | Gross: $37.03M

43. Rosemary's Baby (1968)

R | 137 min | Drama, Horror

96 Metascore

A young couple moves in to an apartment only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer

Votes: 166,077

44. Airplane! (1980)

PG | 88 min | Comedy

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: 186,521 | Gross: $83.40M

45. The Princess Bride (1987)

PG | 98 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

77 Metascore

While home sick in bed, a young boy's grandfather reads him the story of a farmboy-turned-pirate who encounters numerous obstacles, enemies and allies in his quest to be reunited with his true love.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright, Chris Sarandon

Votes: 350,462 | Gross: $30.86M

46. Dirty Dancing (1987)

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

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: 169,984 | Gross: $63.95M

47. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

Not Rated | 115 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

76 Metascore

A young New York socialite becomes interested in a young man who has moved into her apartment building, but her past threatens to get in the way.

Director: Blake Edwards | Stars: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen

Votes: 148,534

48. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

G | 83 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy