Top 30 Favorite Movies Of All Time

by brianberta | created - 04 Feb 2015 | updated - 1 week ago | Public

These are my 30 favorite films of all time. If your favorite movie isn't on here, tell me its title in the comments, and I'll make sure to watch it. As I watch other movies, this list will be updated.

By the way, I made a youtube video showing my 30 favorite films. It will be different than this list, but if you're interested, you can watch it here:

May 26, 2017 version:

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1. Stalker (1979)

Not Rated | 162 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

A guide leads two men through an area known as the Zone to find a room that grants wishes.

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky | Stars: Alisa Freyndlikh, Aleksandr Kaydanovskiy, Anatoliy Solonitsyn, Nikolay Grinko

Votes: 92,976 | Gross: $0.23M

I like to think of Tarkovsky as the Russian Kubrick. Like Kubrick, he would often tell simple, yet grand stories. This is my favorite Tarkovsky film. This movie is a story of immense consequences. While the film mainly focused on the meaning of life and both knowing and feeling too much, it was quite obvious at times that some of the dialogue in the movie were thoughts of Tarkovsky himself. At some points in the movie, it would talk about the 'unselfishness' of art and the shallowness of technology which claimed it to be no more than an 'artificial limb'. The film contains some of the best dialogue I've ever seen. Also, the cinematography looked amazing. The mixture of color and sepia made for many great shots. No movie has ever had this great of an impact on me. This is why this gets the top spot.

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

82 Metascore

A space-opera spanning the dawn of man to humanity reaching the stars, 2001: A Space Odyssey tells the story of the Black Monolith, humanity's evolution and the rise of A.I.'s ultimate supercomputer HAL 9000.

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

Votes: 521,028 | Gross: $56.95M

This film got me interested in classic films. It is definitely a must-see. I was enthralled throughout the whole experience. The movie offers some great ambiguity which makes the movie even more amazing and re-watchable. I feel like this is one of the most complex films that I've ever seen. There were many memorable scenes which blew me away such as the Stargate sequence. The music was also well-written, and it perfectly fits the movie. Finally, I also think that it has the most beautiful cinematography out of all the movies I've seen. It has numerous strengths. Everyone should watch this film at least once.

3. Eraserhead (1977)

Not Rated | 89 min | Horror

87 Metascore

Henry Spencer tries to survive his industrial environment, his angry girlfriend, and the unbearable screams of his newly born mutant child.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph, Jeanne Bates

Votes: 86,866 | Gross: $7.00M

This is the weirdest movie I've ever seen. I love the amount of imagination in weird films, and this film nails it on being weird. Besides just being weird, however, it contains some nice ambiguity that makes for some interesting interpretations. Every time I watch it, I feel like I pick up on another detail which could possibly mean something else, and I also think of other interpretations to set pieces which I didn't think of before. It provides something new each time I watch it. Also, the effects are very disturbing and well-done. It's an outstanding debut film. So far, it's my favorite Lynch film.

4. The Tree of Life (2011)

PG-13 | 139 min | Drama, Fantasy

85 Metascore

The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents' conflicting teachings.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken

Votes: 153,215 | Gross: $13.30M

Not pretentious at all. Overall, this film has an immensely compelling story which explores disconnect and questioning your existence on a level made otherworldly and spiritual by its religious angle. Multiple sections of the film showcase Malick's talents at their best such as the Cosmos sequence and the final act. This is easily one of the most beautiful films I've seen; not only due to its themes, but also due to the gorgeous visuals and the way they're edited into the film since the actors seem to be used an dancers due to the film's ballet like quality.

5. Late Spring (1949)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama

Noriko is twenty-seven years old and still living with her widowed father. Everybody tries to talk her into marrying, but Noriko wants to stay at home caring for her father.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Chishû Ryû, Setsuko Hara, Yumeji Tsukioka, Haruko Sugimura

Votes: 11,527

A truly powerful film which feels more sad the more I think of it. It appears to attack Japanese tradition by showing how the marriage of the younger generation results in the mortality of the older generation. Both Shukichi and Noriko are pressured by society to do something which neither of them wants to do in the end. Through several somber scenes, both of them are forced to abandon their beliefs in order to conform to these societal standards. In addition to this, Setsuko Hara gave a brilliantly subtle performance.

6. Persona (1966)

Not Rated | 83 min | Drama, Thriller

A nurse is put in charge of a mute actress and finds that their personae are melding together.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Margaretha Krook, Gunnar Björnstrand

Votes: 82,687

Thomas Elsaesser once said "...writing about Persona has been for film critics and scholars what climbing Everest is for mountaineers: the ultimate professional challenge." I completely agree with him. Despite being under 90 minutes, this is one of the most complex films I've run into. There are several interpretations one could use for it as it has several shocking and unique scenes such as its opening. Also, I really liked the visual aspect. The surreal imagery was as memorable as it was shocking.

7. Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, Music

A collection of expertly photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity and the relationship between them.

Director: Godfrey Reggio | Stars: Lou Dobbs, Ted Koppel

Votes: 30,890 | Gross: $1.72M

This movie is more than just an assortment of images. It is, essentially, a visual representation of the meaning of its title. That may seem uninteresting at first. However, the film handles it so well that the film can feel very absorbing at times. A large portion of this movie's power lies in its soundtrack. It conveys numerous emotions that somewhat hint at the meaning of the film. The best use of its soundtrack comes into play at the ending. Also, some of the time lapses made the film feel hallucinogenic.

8. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

R | 133 min | Drama

80 Metascore

A criminal pleads insanity after getting into trouble again and once in the mental institution rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients.

Director: Milos Forman | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Will Sampson, Michael Berryman

Votes: 801,291 | Gross: $112.00M

Topped by fantastic performances from Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher, this movie has the power to be both uplifting and disheartening when it wants to be. The onscreen battles by McMurphy and Nurse Ratched are unforgettable and iconic. I liked how McMurphy continuously rebelled against her rule. Finally, the movie's ending is both heartbreaking and powerful. Its ending is a favorite of mine as it always sends chills down my spine. I sometimes forget how engaging this film is.

9. Man with a Movie Camera (1929)

Not Rated | 68 min | Documentary, Music

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: 19,050

If I could go back in time to see one movie, I'd pick this one. This documentary is most famous for pioneering numerous camera techniques. It impressed me with all of them, and its editing was equally impressive. Also, I loved the orchestra soundtrack. It enhanced my enjoyment of the film in multiple scenes, and it fit the movie really well. It also has a thesis. It appears to show a montage of an audience seeing the film as the director gathers footage for it.

10. Come and See (1985)

Not Rated | 142 min | Drama, War

After finding an old rifle, a young boy joins the Soviet resistance movement against ruthless German forces and experiences the horrors of World War II.

Director: Elem Klimov | Stars: Aleksey Kravchenko, Olga Mironova, Liubomiras Laucevicius, Vladas Bagdonas

Votes: 40,508

In my opinion, this is the most horrifying non-horror movie ever made. It can get incredibly powerful because of some of its scenes. Examples of its most effective scenes include the church burning scene and its ending. It provides several methods of horrifying the viewer and all of them worked really well. I don't think that many films besides a few exploitation films are as horrifying as this one is. To be blunt: This is the greatest and the most effective anti-war film ever made.

11. Gummo (1997)

R | 89 min | Comedy, Drama

19 Metascore

Lonely residents of a tornado-stricken Ohio town wander the deserted landscape trying to fulfill their boring, nihilistic lives.

Director: Harmony Korine | Stars: Nick Sutton, Jacob Sewell, Lara Tosh, Jacob Reynolds

Votes: 28,131 | Gross: $0.02M

This is a highly underrated film which feels more mysterious upon re-watches. Korine creates the surreal by bombarding our senses with cold reality and by infusing the repulsive with art. As shocking as it is fascinating, it seems to cross the line to such great of an extent that the viewer doesn't know whether to squirm or be awe-struck. Either way, however, you cannot help but be captivated by its unique and striking tone that you remain mesmerized from beginning to end.

12. Paths of Glory (1957)

Not Rated | 88 min | Drama, War

After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses the soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready

Votes: 149,348

From the opening scene, it's shown that the corrupt generals value military success over human life. This gut-wrenching anti-authority concept is extended throughout the film by General Broulard's methods of achieving his goals and the discussions of his worrying philosophies on war and the kangaroo court the prisoners get. Once you start to feel powerless by the end, the brilliant final scene shows that while war can dehumanize of your virtues, they're still there, waiting to be reawakened.

13. Hunger (2008)

Not Rated | 96 min | Biography, Drama

82 Metascore

Irish republican Bobby Sands leads the inmates of a Northern Irish prison in a hunger strike.

Director: Steve McQueen | Stars: Stuart Graham, Laine Megaw, Brian Milligan, Liam McMahon

Votes: 59,605 | Gross: $0.15M

What I love about this movie is its unique structure. The first and third acts felt like bookends to the dialogue sequence in the middle. The 1st act showed the failed protests and the consequences they had on both the guards and the prisoners, the 2nd act showed a prisoner brainstorming for a more organized protest, and the 3rd act showed that protest in action. Also, the 20+ minute scene of dialogue near the middle was fantastic. Finally, the ending was also well-done.

14. 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: 664,505

Behind all the explicit scenes, this is a smart film. It explores the nature of free will and the relationship between man and the government. The character arc that Alex goes through is unique and enthralling. The movie also surprisingly makes us become attached to Alex's character. On top of that, the film has outstanding visuals and camerawork with many intricately designed settings. Finally, who can forget the iconic and haunting score which plays at the beginning?

15. To Be or Not to Be (1942)

Passed | 99 min | Comedy, War

86 Metascore

During the Nazi occupation of Poland, an acting troupe becomes embroiled in a Polish soldier's efforts to track down a German spy.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch | Stars: Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack, Felix Bressart

Votes: 22,477

I found this film compelling due to its satiric depiction of the Nazi's. During the scene where Joseph was impersonating Col. Ehrhardt, it felt like he was exaggerating his behavior only to reveal that the real Col. Ehrhardt acts more ridiculous. Displaying them as incompetent made for a powerful attack on the Nazi's. Also, many of the humorous lines and scenes from the film were quite memorable and they lingered with me for a while due to the film's interpretive aspect.

16. Seconds (1966)

R | 106 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

An unhappy middle-aged banker agrees to a procedure that will fake his death and give him a completely new look and identity - one that comes with its own price.

Director: John Frankenheimer | Stars: Rock Hudson, Frank Campanella, John Randolph, Frances Reid

Votes: 13,613

I liked how the film depicted the company as untrustworthy from the beginning. It also did a good job describing how Arthur met his downfall. The thought-provoking scenes when the movie discussed this were powerful. It also had a powerful ending. Also, a lot of the middle felt like a bizarre escapist fantasy. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I first watched it, but I was completely blown away by it.

17. Magnolia (1999)

R | 188 min | Drama

77 Metascore

An epic mosaic of interrelated characters in search of love, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson | Stars: Tom Cruise, Jason Robards, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Votes: 264,893 | Gross: $22.46M

When I consider how this movie is able to create suspense and heartbreak out of just about every scene, contain one of the most surprising movie scenes of all time, and the fact that it never gets boring at all, it sticks out as one of the most impressive films I can think of. We witness the pains and struggles of the characters in this epic throughout its 3 hour runtime, and the film remains absorbing from beginning to end. Also, the ensemble cast was terrific.

18. Touch of Evil (1958)

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

99 Metascore

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: 90,150 | Gross: $2.24M

This film remains shocking due to the actions Hank Quinlan takes once his crimes begin to catch up to him. He first attempts to drink his troubles away, but after more info about him comes out, he starts taking drastic measures to cover up his tracks, measures which secure his status as one of cinema's great villains. Along with several brilliant sequences and a great cast, this film will linger with you long after watching it.

19. All That Jazz (1979)

R | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

Director/choreographer Bob Fosse tells his own life story as he details the sordid life of Joe Gideon, a womanizing, drug-using dancer.

Director: Bob Fosse | Stars: Roy Scheider, Jessica Lange, Leland Palmer, Ann Reinking

Votes: 23,110 | Gross: $37.82M

I didn't know much about this movie other than the fact that it was a musical about a stage director. Based off of its title, I assumed that it was going to be sort of like "Grease". However, I was completely surprised and blown away by how dark, unsettling, and haunting the film was. Its representation of death was masterfully done and absorbing at times. Also, the editing was equally impressive. It made my jaw drop at numerous points.

20. Pi (1998)

R | 84 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

72 Metascore

A paranoid mathematician searches for a key number that will unlock the universal patterns found in nature.

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman, Pamela Hart

Votes: 157,992 | Gross: $3.22M

I like weird films. They aren't for everyone as some people like to relax when they watch films. However, I love them. I love the sprightly feelings that they evoke from the viewer. The conflicts that Max faces are intriguing, the effects are great, and its ambiguous ending is a nice and satisfying way to end the film. It always impresses me just as much, if not, more on future viewings. It also looked very good, despite its low budget.

21. Holy Motors (2012)

Not Rated | 115 min | Drama, Fantasy

84 Metascore

From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the shadowy life of a mystic man named Monsieur Oscar.

Director: Leos Carax | Stars: Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue

Votes: 35,692

This more I watch this, the more mysterious it feels. The film's point is to detail the evolution and the death of cinema. One thing I noticed upon revisiting it was after the entr'acte, it was difficult to tell whether the "appointments" Oscar went to were really appointments of if they were actually happening as they seemed to blend into reality. There's also many other great interpretive sequences which were quite brilliant.

22. The House Is Black (1963)

20 min | Documentary, Short

Set in a leper colony in the north of Iran, The House is Black juxtaposes "ugliness", of which there is much in the world as stated in the opening scenes, with religion and gratitude.

Director: Forugh Farrokhzad | Stars: Forugh Farrokhzad, Ebrahim Golestan, Hossein Mansouri

Votes: 3,356

My issue with some documentaries on slum-like areas is that their primary goal appears to be to shock the audience. However, this film blew me away, because not only was it painfully true, but the narration which played over it seemed to juxtapose art with ugliness. This made the film feel poetic. There were also a few powerful moments such as the classroom scene near the end. The film focused on the environment as well as leprosy.

23. The Battle of Algiers (1966)

Not Rated | 121 min | Drama, War

95 Metascore

In the 1950s, fear and violence escalate as the people of Algiers fight for independence from the French government.

Director: Gillo Pontecorvo | Stars: Brahim Hadjadj, Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi, Tommaso Neri

Votes: 46,061 | Gross: $0.06M

This is an influential film in the way of how it sacrificed character development in service of showing the events in the film on a larger scale: The numerous sequences where Ali wasn't present highlighted this. I also loved how it appeared to have a 2 act structure, the first of which showing their rebellion starting off successfully while the 2nd half showed the government's response (this was compelling due to the documentary feel of it).

24. The Phantom Carriage (1921)

Not Rated | 100 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

On New Year's Eve, the driver of a ghostly carriage forces a drunken man to reflect on his selfish, wasted life.

Director: Victor Sjöström | Stars: Victor Sjöström, Hilda Borgström, Tore Svennberg, Astrid Holm

Votes: 8,456

I found its plot to be highly interesting as it felt dark and unsettling. I also liked the special effects of the ghosts as they looked great for the year the film was made in. Most importantly, I appreciate that this film works both as a disturbing horror story and a compelling character study. This film has a haunting atmosphere which makes it stick out from many other horror films. Finally, I love its atmospheric soundtrack.

25. Days of Heaven (1978)

PG | 94 min | Drama, Romance

93 Metascore

A hot-tempered farm laborer convinces the woman he loves to marry their rich but dying boss so that they can have a claim to his fortune.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard, Linda Manz

Votes: 44,341

I'm not entirely sure why, but I put off seeing this film for a while. However, I'm glad I got around to it. It had outstanding and atmospheric cinematography along with several great visual set pieces. Some people complained that the story was slight, but I disagree with that argument, because it has several layers of subtlety such as its character motivations which can be picked up on re-watches. Finally, the acting was great.

26. Sansho the Bailiff (1954)

Not Rated | 124 min | Drama

In medieval Japan, a compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him, but are separated, and the children grow up amid suffering and oppression.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Yoshiaki Hanayagi, Kyôko Kagawa, Eitarô Shindô

Votes: 12,083

This movie appears to go beyond the limits of storytelling by showing both the beauty and horror of nature and making the viewer appreciate both. In addition, Zushio's character arc is compelling due to the tragedy of it (while we don't see what gets him to change upon growing up, what makes that aspect unsettling are the implications of what caused him to end up that way). Mizoguchi also symbolizes the water as something mystical.

27. Diabolique (1955)

Not Rated | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

The wife and mistress of a loathed school principal hatch a plan to murder him while having the perfect alibi. They carry out the plan...but then his body disappears.

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

Votes: 54,599

The reason this movie works so well is because it's slow and drawn out. It makes it feel like Christina is stuck in a never ending nightmare. I felt her distress throughout the picture, and this constant slow-burning tension is part of what makes the climax so terrifying. I initially didn't like the epilogue as I thought it went overboard, but considering that the film feels like a never ending nightmare, I'd say the ending is more than fitting.

28. Johnny Got His Gun (1971)

R | 111 min | Drama, War

71 Metascore

In this tragic, dark, anti-war satire, a patriotic young American in WW1 is rendered blind, deaf, limbless, and mute by a horrific artillery shell attack. Trapped in what's left of his body, he desperately looks for a way to end his life.

Director: Dalton Trumbo | Stars: Timothy Bottoms, Kathy Fields, Marsha Hunt, Jason Robards

Votes: 13,768

This is a horrifying movie which is terrifying and engaging. It worked well at terrifying me with the hopelessness of its plot, and the flashbacks and hallucinations in it were all creative. Its ending is really exceptional as well, and it is a perfect way to end the film. It's one of the darkest endings ever to any film I've watched before. No scene went on for too little or too long. It's one of the best anti-war films ever made.

29. Some Like It Hot (1959)

Not Rated | 121 min | Comedy, Romance

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: 211,724 | Gross: $25.00M

I thought Monroe was great, because she sounded charismatic with an undercurrent of stupidity. I thought this was a great blend for the character she played. While Spats Columbo wasn't onscreen much, I think the greatness came from the complications which Joe and Jerry's plan caused. and the humor this led to. Once I started to figure out how the movie was going to end, the movie went in a different direction than I expected.

30. The Killing (1956)

Not Rated | 84 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Crooks plan and execute a daring race-track robbery.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards, Jay C. Flippen

Votes: 71,258

In my opinion, this is one of Kubrick's most underseen films. I thought it was a fantastic noir film. It has great dialogue, numerous twists and shocking scenes, and a shocking final act which pulls the rug out from you several times. I kept on getting more and more engaged as it went on. I kept on wondering whether their heist was going to be successful or not. I also really liked the cast. They were all outstanding.

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