TOP 100 MOVIE LISTS
Citizen Kane (1941) Acclaimed for its innovative narrative structure, deep focus
photography and sound track, Welles' first feature tells the story of a William
Randolph Hearst-like publisher's ultimately empty rise to power.
Casablanca (1942) Bogart, as jaded idealist Rick Blaine, an American nightclub
owner in French Morocco who sacrifices the love of a lifetime to join the world's
fight against the Nazis. When the picture debuted, it marked the beginning of
a beautiful friendship with generations of moviegoers. "Here's looking at you,
The Godfather (1972) Brando is Don Vito Corleone, the sympathetic Godfather of
a New York crime family, whose business it is to make offers people can't refuse.
Visually beautiful images of times and locales contrast with the film's graphic
Gone With The Wind (1939) Margaret Mitchell's "Immortal tale of the old South"
has Leigh as Scarlett and Gable as Rhett. The burning of Atlanta was a high water
mark for screen excitement. As poet Ogden Nash put it, "The Civil War was quite
a fight and not a mere diversion; I never knew how tough it was before Dave Selznick's
Lawrence of Arabia (1962) The epic story of T.E. Lawrence, a British officer who
leads an Arab revolt against Turkey during World War I. The film became renowned
for Lean's direction and Freddie Young's cinematography.
The Wizard of Oz (1939) Garland's Dorothy Gale is transported from her black-and-white
Kansas home to the colorful land of Oz via tornado. From here she journeys down
the Yellow Brick Road and is helped by a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and a Cowardly
Lion on their way to see the Wizard. The Harold Arlen/Yip Harburg score is highlighted
by "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
The Graduate (1967) Hoffman, a recent college graduate, spends his summer trying
to find out what to do next in this biting comedy. The Simon and Garfunkel score
is as much a character in the movie as Bancroft's amorous Mrs. Robinson or Ross'
On The Waterfront (1954) Brando, a longshoreman who "could have been a contender"
rebels against his brother and corruption on New York City docks in this powerful
story that mirrors the political climate of the early 1950s.
Schindler's List (1993) Neeson is an opportunistic German industrialist who saves
hundreds of Jews from the death camps during World War II by giving them jobs
in his factory. "The list is life."
Singin' In The Rain (1952) This musical set in Hollywood during the conversion
from silent to sound films has Kelly singing, dancing and splashing in puddles.
Reynolds and O'Connor lend support in some of the most delightful song and dance
numbers ever filmed.
It's A Wonderful Life (1946) This Christmas classic features a complex performance
by Stewart as a suicidal man redeemed by friendship and the recognition that each
person's life touches many others. Remember every time a bell rings, an angel
gets his wings.
Sunset Boulevard (1950) Swanson is ready for her close-up in this pungent slice
of Hollywood life depicting a reclusive, former silent screen actress who kills
her screenwriting, gigolo boyfriend.
The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957) Guinness is the rigid British officer who
refuses to bow to torture in a Japanese prison camp during World War II. Holden
is an American who escapes from the camp, then must return to sabotage a bridge
constructed to perfection by inspired POWs under Guinness' command.
Some Like It Hot (1959) Wilder's comic take on the 1928 St. Valentine's Day massacre
provided sex symbol Monroe with two of her most unusual rivals, Curtis and Lemmon
Star Wars (1977) A landmark science fiction fantasy about a young man, Luke Skywalker,
who finds his calling as a Jedi warrior and with the help of "droids" and an outlaw
named Han Solo, then embarks on a mission to rescue a princess and save the galaxy
from the Dark Side. "May the force be with you."
All About Eve (1950) Fasten your seat belts for a bumpy ride in this story of
an aging actress who is undone by a young, ambitious fan. Sophisticated performances
by Davis, Sanders and Baxter shine in this scathing look at the world of the theater.
17. The African
Queen (1951) Spinster Hepburn and drunkard boat captain Bogart battle each other
and an uncharted river in this unlikely love story set in Africa at the outbreak
of World War I.
Psycho (1960) Leigh is on the lam with stolen money and makes the mistake of checking
into the Bates Motel, run by Perkins...and his mother. Hitchcock's horror film
is best remembered for the shower scene and Bernard Herrmann's chilling score.
19. Chinatown (1974)
Nicholson is Jake Gittes, a private detective in 1930s Los Angeles who is lured
into the world of water rights and land deals while investigating the death of
mysterious Dunaway's husband.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975) Nicholson is a troublemaker committed to
a mental institution who sparks new life in the downtrodden inmates, giving them
purpose and self-worth. His war on the system is fought at every step by Fletcher's
The Grapes of Wrath (1940) This moving Depression-era social drama based on John
Steinbeck's novel, follows the hopeful migration of workers from the Oklahoma
dust bowl through their subsequent disillusionment upon reaching California the
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Kubrick's science fiction epic puts mankind in context
between ape and space voyager. The film created a stir for its special effects,
the computer HAL, and the debate about the meaning of the film's final sequence.
23. The Maltese
Falcon (1941) Huston's directorial debut found detective Bogart trying to solve
his partner's murder intertwined with recovering the elusive statue of a black
bird. His efforts are impeded by a mysterious femme fatale, a corpulent Greenstreet
and a cryptic Lorre.
Raging Bull (1980) De Niro is Jake LaMotta, the middleweight boxing champion whose
opponents in the ring are no match for the demons he fights in his personal life.
Once a peerless atavistic boxer, LaMotta takes a fall and never recovers, eventually
becoming a broken, overweight man who masquerades as a stand-up comic. The film
is often noted for Thelma Schoonmacher's achievement in editing.
E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) Eliot is a young boy from a broken home who
discovers an extraterrestrial creature that has been stranded on earth light years
from home. Together they form a universal friendship, and Eliot helps E.T. "Phone
Dr. Strangelove or: How I ... (1964) Kubrick's black comedy focuses on an American
president, played by Sellers in one of his three roles, who must contend with
a Soviet nuclear attack on the United States and his own maniacal staff, including
Scott's memorable General Turgidson.
Bonnie And Clyde (1967) Dunaway and Beatty star in the story of real-life 1930s
bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, which mixed romance, adventure, glamour,
comedy and violence in a way never seen before. "We rob banks."
Apocalypse Now (1979) Based loosely on Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness,
Coppola's Vietnam epic follows Sheen up the Mekong River into Cambodia to find
Brando, an officer who has gone mad in the jungle and is running his own empire.
29. Mr. Smith Goes
to Washington (1939) Stewart's idealistic young Senator Jefferson Smith locks
horns with a powerful political machine in Capra's often biting satire about Washington.
Stewart is aided by hard-boiled secretary Arthur, some Boy Rangers and a 24-hour
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) A scraggly Bogart leads a trio of gold
prospectors destroyed by greed in this taut psychological drama. John Huston directed
his father in a stellar performance.
Annie Hall (1977) Allen's Alvy Singer is trying to find love in the Big Apple,
despite his neurosis, and falls in love with Keaton's aspiring singer. This comedy
also launched a women's fashion trend based on Annie Hall's "look."
The Godfather, Part II (1974) The sequel to The Godfather shows us the world of
Don Vito Corleone before and after the story in the original film. Pacino is his
son Michael, who struggles to bring the family into the modern age. In the film's
extended flashback sequences, De Niro is the young Vito as he gains power in the
New York City Mafia.
High Noon (1952) On his wedding day, Cooper is forced to face an old enemy alone
as the people of his town turn their backs on him. His Quaker bride, Kelly, ultimately
comes to his aid as the clock ticks toward noon and the inevitable shootout.
34. To Kill A Mockingbird
(1962) Peck's Atticus Finch is a widowed Southern lawyer defending a black man
accused of raping a white woman. At home, he raises his daughter, Scout, and his
son, Jem, and teaches them about compassion and the evils of prejudice. Foote's
screenplay is based on Harper Lee's novel.
It Happened One Night (1934) This battle of the sexes love story between a runaway
heiress who shows her legs to hitch a ride and an unemployed newspaperman who
separates their beds at night with a blanket known as the "walls of Jericho,"
was an unqualified success and still provides inspiration for many comedies.
36. Midnight Cowboy
(1969) Voight is Joe Buck, a country boy who arrives in New York City to make
his fortune as a hustler. As he struggles to maintain a living, he meets Hoffman's
Ratzo Rizzo, and the two friends work together to find a better life. "I'm walkin'
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) World War II veterans from different strata
of society face difficult readjustments to everyday civilian life in this thoughtful
film, which simply and realistically shows a real-life soldier coping with devastating
Double Indemnity (1944) This crackling adaptation of James Cain's shady tale of
an insurance man lured into murder was brilliantly cast with the usually "nice
guy" MacMurray as the slick agent in love with calculating Stanwyck.
Doctor Zhivago (1965) Lean's adaptation of Boris Pasternak's sweeping novel stars
Sharif as the married Dr. Zhivago, whose feelings for Lara, played by Christie,
inspire him to write beautiful love poems that contrast with the stark realities
of life in Russia after the 1917 Communist Revolution.
North By Northwest (1959) Grant is the Hitchcockian man caught up in something
he doesn't understand as he travels from New York to Mount Rushmore in this mire
of spies, counterspies and romance.
West Side Story (1961) The Sharks and the Jets square off in this film adaptation
of the landmark Broadway musical. It's the Romeo and Juliet story in 1950s New
York City, and it features songs by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, including
"Somewhere" and "America."
Rear Window (1954) When a broken leg forces photographer Stewart to become wheelchair-bound
in his New York City apartment, he amuses himself by spying on his neighbors and
soon becomes obsessed when he thinks he has witnessed a murder. Kelly, as his
fashion-model girlfriend, helps with amateur detective work.
King Kong (1933) With a mixture of live action, animation and special effects,
this film follows the plight of a giant ape whose love for the beautiful Wray
leads to his death atop the Empire State Building. But it wasn't the airplanes
that killed the mighty Kong - "It was beauty killed the beast."
The Birth Of A Nation (1915) This now-controversial film about the Civil War and
its aftermath was the first of the great American epic films and a landmark in
the development of the motion picture.
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) Williams' play is brought to the big screen with
Brando as Stanley Kowalski, the blue-collared brute married to the sister of an
emotionally fragile, aging Southern belle named Blanche DuBois. "Stella!"
46. A Clockwork
Orange (1971) McDowell and his "droogs" terrorize their way through London in
this dark social satire with an eye on the cause and effects of "ultraviolence."
47. Taxi Driver
(1976) De Niro is Travis Bickle, a New York City cab driver whose rage builds
in a lonely, dark world, until his attempt to befriend and free Foster's 12-year-old
prostitute from her pimp culminates in a violent shoot-out. "You talkin' to me?"
48. Jaws (1975)
Spielberg pits three men against a Great White Shark that has been attacking swimmers
at an island resort in New England. The film redefined the word "blockbuster,"
and John Williams' score still haunts swimmers around the world.
Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937) The first feature-length animated film
charmed audiences with its fluid artwork, fairytale characters and charming songs
such as "Whistle While You Work."
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) Newman and Redford are two offbeat outlaws
who run (and jump) from the law, then flee to Bolivia where they meet a bloody
end. The action-filled, lightly comic Western features the Burt Bacharach song
"Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head."
The Philadelphia Story (1940) Hepburn reprises her stage role as a haughty heiress
who is about to wed a pompous self-made man. Reporter Stewart helps her down from
her pedestal and into the arms of ex-husband Grant.
From Here to Eternity (1953) The image of waves crashing over the passionately
embracing Kerr and Lancaster is one of the most sensual ever filmed in this story
of Army life in Honolulu on the eve of World War II. The bombing of Pearl Harbor
interrupts the two love affairs in the film.
Amadeus (1984) Abraham's Salieri declares war against the heavens for speaking
through the genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, played by Hulce. Flashbacks illuminate
the mad, energetic brilliance of Mozart, and Salieri's struggle with his own mediocrity.
54. All Quiet On
The Western Front (1930) This anti-war drama, based on Erich Maria Remarque's
novel, follows the lives of a group of fresh-faced German boys who join the Army
during World War I.
The Sound of Music (1965) Andrews is Maria, a nun who becomes governess to the
Von Trapp family in this film adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway
musical. Maria falls in love with the children and their handsome widowed father
just as Austria is being annexed by the Nazis. The film's songs include the title
song, "Do-Re-Mi," and "Climb Every Mountain."
M*A*S*H (1970) Sutherland's Hawkeye, Gould's Trapper and Kellerman's Hotlips push
the boundaries of irreverence in this bawdy, black comedy about the members of
a mobile medical unit during the Korean War.
The Third Man (1949) Zither music, a giant ferris wheel and a spectacular late-in-the
film appearance by Welles as the mysterious "Harry Lime" highlight this tale of
intrigue in post-World War II Vienna.
Fantasia (1941) Disney's groundbreaking union of classical music and animated
images is a visual feast for young and old. Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer's Apprentice
is one of the film's most indelible images.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) Dean's defining role as a tortured high-school student
also seemed to define a generation of 1950s teenagers who felt lonely and isolated
from their parents and sought solace with friends and authority-defying drag racing.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Ford is Indiana Jones, an archeologist with a flair
for dramatic situations that follow him from the Amazon, through Egypt and on
to the lost Ark of the Covenant. Poison darts, a giant rolling ball, pits full
of snakes and an army of Nazis are just a few of the obstacles in his quest.
Vertigo (1958) San Francisco police detective Stewart's fear of heights and boredom
in retirement makes him the foil in an elaborate murder plot. Novak is the mysterious
woman with whom he falls in love. Hitchcock's mastery made the city and surrounding
locations central to the plot.
Tootsie (1982) Hoffman stars in this comedy about a temperamental out-of-work
actor who puts on a dress and lands the role of a lifetime in a TV soap opera.
Love interest Lange and her lonely father make situations even more complicated
in this gender-bending love story.
Stagecoach (1939) Wayne was propelled to stardom in this film as a vengeance-seeking
fugitive whose outlook on life is transformed after he boards a stagecoach bound
for Lordsville. One of a new style of big budget Westerns, the film is notable
for Ford's first use of Monument Valley and its sensitive character studies.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) Dreyfuss is a man obsessed in Spielberg's
science fiction fantasy that celebrates the possibility of friendly extraterrestrial
The Silence of the Lambs (1991) "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice
Chianti" hisses Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant serial killer engaged by
Foster's FBI agent in an effort to capture another killer on the loose.
(1976) Finch is the news anchor on the brink of madness, Dunaway the aggressive
producer on the climb and Holden the network head who upholds a moral code...temporarily.
Chayefsky and Lumet's satire on television had the nation yelling "I'm mad as
hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"
The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Sinatra, a brain-washed, former POW from the Korean
War, suspects that a fellow soldier, hailed as a hero, is actually something else.
Harvey is the "hero" who has been trained as an assassin, and a Queen of Hearts
is the key to his personality.
An American In Paris (1951) A Gershwin score and the dancing of Kelly and Caron
are at the center of this fluid, visually beautiful love story set in post-war
Paris. The ballet sequence, filmed in the style of Impressionist paintings, is
Shane (1953) Former gunslinger Ladd helps a family of settlers defend themselves
against some murdering cattlemen in this landmark Western. Ladd's stoic Shane,
who is idolized by the settlers' son, is the archetypal Western hero.
70. The French
Connection (1971) Hackman stars as "Popeye" Doyle, a brash New York City detective
who uncovers a heroin-smuggling operation. The car chase under the elevated train
tracks is movie legend.
Forrest Gump (1994) Hanks is Forrest Gump, who despite being mentally challenged,
tries hard, is honest and places his trust in luck. He tells his life story to
anyone who sits next to him at a bus stop, and the flashbacks follow Forrest and
his good heart through some of the highlights of modern American history. Through
the use of digital imagery, Forrest appears to interact in scenes with John F.
Kennedy, John Lennon and George Wallace. "Life is like a box of chocolates."
Ben-Hur (1959) This epic remake of the 1926 film features Heston as the title
character, a wealthy Jew whose former childhood friend, a Roman, causes him to
lose everything. He eventually gets his revenge in the film's spectacular chariot
Wuthering Heights (1939) Olivier stars as the brooding master of Wuthering Heights
who roams the English moors in search of his lost love, played by Oberon. Gregg
Toland's moody cinematography infuses the Emily Bronte-based film with a haunting
The Gold Rush (1925) In one of his most famous films, lone Alaskan prospector
Chaplin attempts to stave off hunger by dining on his shoe, much to the consternation
of cabin mate Swain, who imagines that Charlie is a giant chicken.
With Wolves (1990) Costner directs and stars in this epic vision of the old West,
where a disillusioned soldier leaves the Civil War and strikes out to the prairie
on his own. After a difficult start, he learns to live, love and respect the land
when the Sioux Indians welcome him into their tribe.
City Lights (1931) The Little Tramp falls hopelessly in love with a blind flower
girl in this tragi-comedy about self-sacrifice and the depth of true love.
American Graffiti (1973) A group of high school graduates decide their next steps
in this comical coming-of-age story set in an innocent California town in the
early 1960s. The film featured a grown-up Howard and made stars of Ford and Dreyfuss.
Rocky (1976) Stallone is Rocky Balboa, the underclassed boxer from Philadelphia
whose dream is to fight for the championship belt. With the help of his new love,
Shire, and his wily and irascible boxing coach, Meredith, he steps into the ring
against Weathers' Creed and exits an American film icon.
The Deer Hunter (1978) Cimino's epic film about friendship chronicles the lives
of three steelworkers and their friends whose lives are irrevocably changed by
a tour of duty in Vietnam. The film is renowned for the Russian roulette scenes.
The Wild Bunch (1969) Holden is the leader of a band of outlaws in 1913 Texas
who want to pull one final heist before retiring. Peckinpah's use of slow motion
and Lou Lombardo's editing are considered milestones in the Western genre.
Modern Times (1936) Chaplin ended the silent era with this film about a little
man working on an assembly line, who is literally caught in the hub of an industrialized
society, and after several trips to the hospital and jail, ultimately finds happiness
with a kindred soul.
Giant (1956) Edna Ferber's saga of wealth and prejudice during twenty-five years
in the life of a Texas ranching family boasts the sprawling Texas countryside,
co-stars Taylor, Hudson and Dean, and features a fistfight in a diner fought to
the strains of "The Yellow Rose of Texas."
Platoon (1986) Sheen is a young man from a privileged background who volunteers
to serve in Vietnam and experiences the horror of war first-hand. He tries to
make sense of the madness through the leadership provided by Dafoe's sensitive
Sergeant Elias and Berenger's scarred and unfeeling Sergeant Barnes.
84. Fargo (1996)
A frigid Minnesota landscape is the setting for a series of gruesome murders intertwined
with a botched kidnapping job. McDormand is Marge, the pregnant police officer
who reconstructs the crime with a style all her own. "You betcha."
85. Duck Soup
(1933) Released at the height of the Depression, this Marx Brothers comedy is
a satirical attack on politics and the absurdity of war. In one memorable scene,
Groucho, dictator of the mythical country of Freedonia, mistakes Harpo for his
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) Based on an historical incident, this film features
Laughton as Captain William Bligh, an excellent seaman whose lack of humanity
and rigid adherence to regulations forces Gable's Fletcher Christian to lead a
mutiny against him.
Frankenstein (1931) Whale ushered in a new era of horror films, and Karloff was
never quite able to shake his image as the frightening, yet often sympathetic
"monster" of Dr. Frankenstein.
Easy Rider (1969) Fonda, Hopper, and Nicholson take to their choppers to find
America in a film that became an anthem for the 1960s' cultural dialogue on freedom,
individualism and patriotism.
Patton (1970) The film's opening scene Scott as Patton speaking in front of an
American flag that fills the screen sets the stage for an epic biography of the
World War II general.
The Jazz Singer (1927) It wasn't really the first "talkie," but its release marked
the death knell for silent pictures when Jolson, as the rabbi's son who wants
to be a Broadway star, told the audience "You ain't heard nothin' yet."
91. My Fair
Lady (1964) Harrison's Henry Higgins takes a bet that he can transform the young
cockney Eliza Doolittle, played by Hepburn, into a proper lady in this musical
adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. Lerner and Loewe's songs include
"Wouldn't It Be Loverly" and "The Rain In Spain."
A Place in the Sun (1951) When the brooding Clift meets beautiful socialite Taylor,
he has to do something about his pregnant girlfriend Winters. Whether or not Winters'
drowning death is accidental, Clift must pay the ultimate price.
93. The Apartment
(1960) Lemmon is a career-climbing executive who offers his boss the use of his
apartment for an extra-marital fling and soon gets tangled up with the boss' flighty
and fragile girlfriend, played by MacLaine.
GoodFellas (1990) This gangster film for modern day is based on the true story
of Henry Hill, played by Liotta, who dreamed as a kid of becoming a member of
the glamorous mob who ran his New York neighborhood. De Niro and Pesci are members
of the family he ascends to, until he breaks the code and eventually falls from
Pulp Fiction (1994) Tarantino weaves together several stories that juggle plot
lines, time frames and characters that inhabit the seamy side of Los Angeles including
Travolta and Jackson as hit-men with strong moral codes, Willis as a low-life
boxer and, of course, The Gimp.
The Searchers (1956) Considered by many to be Ford's masterpiece, the film stars
Wayne as an Indian- hating ex-soldier who spends years in an obsessive search
for his niece, who was abducted during an Indian raid.
Bringing Up Baby (1938) With the help of her pet leopard Baby and a wire-haired
terrier named George, madcap heiress Hepburn derails the staid life of paleontologist
Grant in this fast-paced screwball comedy.
Unforgiven (1992) Eastwood directs and stars as a formerly notorious gunslinger
who is forced to return to his murderous ways after his wife dies and his family
needs money. The film was noted for challenging the morality of Western stereotypes
created by American film.
Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967) Tracy and Hepburn share the screen for the
last time as the parents of a woman who brings Poitier, her African-American fiance,
home for dinner and tests the family's socially liberal resolve.
Doodle Dandy (1942) The life of song-and-dance man George M. Cohan, energetically
portrayed by Cagney, covers the earliest days of vaudeville to the development
of the American musical stage play. The World War II musical features such rousingly
patriotic Cohan songs as "Over There" and "It's a Grand Old Flag."
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