A 24-Year Old’s Top 200 Movies of All-Time

It was my birthday yesterday and as tradition I have updated my top 200 favorite movies of all-time. There are 21 new films on the list and a lot of shifting has been done. I’m not going to write much about any of the specific films because I would rather let the list speak for itself. If you want to know my reasoning, just click on the “View a Clip” link next to each movie.

I’d be happy to know your thoughts in the comments!

200 – 151 | 150 – 101 | 100 – 51 | 50 – 1

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  • You actually have “The Usual Suspects” ranked twice. At #124 and again at #110.

  • My thoughts:

    Nice to see “Forrest Gump” and “Field of Dreams” ranked lower. Hopefully next year they’ll be off the list entirely. Same for “No Country for Old Men” (one of the most overrated films of the last decade). “Spartacus” doesn’t belong anywhere near the list (and certainly not ahead of “The Producers”, “Up”, or “A Serious Man”, for starters). Nice to see “Rope” on the list, and pretty high too!

    “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”: what a wonderful movie. Big drop for “Once”, which I don’t really get (I love that movie). Bit depressed to see “The Sound of Music” (my favorite movie musical of all-time) ranked so low.

    Some really good movies in the 100-51 range, including several (“Rear Window”, “Finding Nemo”, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “Jaws”, “The Purple Rose of Cairo”, and “Some Like it Hot”) that would almost certainly make my top 50. However, “The Matrix”, “Gone With the Wind”, “Cabaret”, “Cache”, and “Die Hard” really don’t belong this high (and a lot of them frankly wouldn’t make my top 500 even).

    On to the top 50: I can’t find much fault with most of your selections here. “The Godfather” is a solid, if predictable #1 choice (it wouldn’t be my personal #1, but it’s in my top 5 for sure). You finally saw “The Wages of Fear”, huh? Terrific film (although the ending bugged me a bit). “The Wizard of Oz”… well, that’s just a personal dislike for me. After viewing it again, I now agree that “The Return of the King” is a terrific movie. But where’s “The Two Towers” (my personal favorite of the trilogy)?

    “Duck Soup” should be way higher, but then it’s my favorite movie of all-time. At the very least it should be higher than that mess “Moulin Rouge!” (oh how I hated that movie, apart from “Come What May”).

    Your list (though I disagree with a lot of it) reminded me that there are still quite a few films I need to see (including a lot of Bergman’s and plenty of Godard’s).

    A Few Final Thoughts:

    Did I miss “E.T”? If I did, where was it? It absolutely should be there, or that’s a huge oversight.

    I’ll never understand why so many people love “There Will Be Blood”. Day-Lewis was great. The movie… not so much.

    “West Side Story” is overrated in my book, although it’s a very good movie. “Chicago”, “Once”, “The Sound of Music”, and “Singin in the Rain” are all better movie musicals.

    Still haven’t seen “Crimes and Misdemeanors”, I assume? I’d expect it would make this list if you had.

    Terrence Malick’s “Badlands” and “Days of Heaven”: must sees (particularly with “Tree of Life” coming soon). On the other hand, maybe you did see them and didn’t like them.

    Nice job, as always.

  • Just found “E.T”. 108: way too low. That movie belongs in the top 10.

  • beautiful list. And unlike many internet lists, it shows you have an expansive palette and can recognize greatness in a variety of genres. Well done.

    the big question mark for me is SHORT CUTS (1993) over NASHVILLE in the robert altman selections. Just bizarre but to each their own. NASHVILLE would make my top 25 and maybe even my top 10.

    Now please see DODSWORTH (1936) and THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937) and L’ATALANTE (1934) so they can be on your list next year and expand the 30s entries.

  • @Matt – Good catch. Number 110 should be ‘The Shining’. I’m on the road now, but I’ll fix it when I get home.

    @G1000 and @NathanielR – It’s incredibly difficult compiling a top 200 because every film on this list I adore. Most of the rankings have only to do with personal tastes at the time of compiling. I hope to continue adding to my viewing canon and change this list every year. Thanks for the input!

  • Anessa

    I have to say that if I made a top 200 list only about 60 movies would match up, but I think that has to do with that I’m an 18 year old girl. For instance, my all-time top movie would probably be Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind.

    That doesn’t mean I think your list great, it has a lot of variety and keeps true to many classics. There’s also movies I haven’t seen on your list, so thats something i have to look in to.

  • Brandon Cooley

    I have a lot of agreements and disagreements. I saw West Side Story and I thought it was just okay. It’s good to see Pulp Fiction and 2001 in the top ten. Have you seen The Grapes of Wrath or Schindler’s List. Both of those would be in my top 50. Yesterday I saw the Battle of Algiers and that film is amazing. It would be in my top 100. I tried to make a top 100 list, but it’s very hard. If I had to choose my favorite movie would be Raging Bull or Star Wars. However, I still need to see some movies from Fellini and Bergman.

    @G1000 Sorry, but I didn’t care for Duck Soup. Also, No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood in my opinion are excellent movies. I agree with you on E.T. though.

  • Brandon Cooley

    I just realized that I have seen exactly half of the movies on this list. It just proves that I have a lot to see which is great.

  • Holden

    Movies that should be rated higher in my opinion, are that of The Dark Knight, Once, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Fight Club, Casablanca, Fargo, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Elephant, Little Miss Sunshine, The Departed, Se7en, Trainspotting, Eternal Sunshine Of the Spotless Mind, On the Waterfront, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Shawshank Redemption, Psycho.

    Movies that should be rated lower or not be on the list in my opinion, are that of Apocalypse Now, Fanny and Alexander, Citizen Kane, Forrest Gump, West Side Story (BIG TIME,) Short Cuts, Gladiator, Braveheart, Chicago, Titanic, A Serious Man, The Sound of Music, Nashville, Moulin Rouge, Annie Hall, Wages of Fear, The Wizard of Oz.

    Movies that should be on the list in my opinion, are that of Stand By Me, Donnie Darko, Into the Wild, The Hurt Locker, 12 Monkeys, Batman Begins, Dirty Harry.

  • Holden

    Movies that should be rated higher in my opinion, are that of The Dark Knight, Once, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Fight Club, Casablanca, Fargo, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Elephant, Little Miss Sunshine, The Departed, Se7en, Trainspotting, Eternal Sunshine Of the Spotless Mind, On the Waterfront, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Shawshank Redemption, Psycho.

    Movies that should be rated lower or not be on the list in my opinion, are that of Apocalypse Now, Fanny and Alexander, Citizen Kane, Forrest Gump, West Side Story (BIG TIME,) Short Cuts, Gladiator, Braveheart, Chicago, Titanic, A Serious Man, The Sound of Music, Nashville, Moulin Rouge, Annie Hall, Wages of Fear, The Wizard of Oz.

    Movies that should be on the list in my opinion, are that of Stand By Me, Donnie Darko, Into the Wild, The Hurt Locker, 12 Monkeys, Batman Begins, Dirty Harry.

  • Quinn

    I’ve seen 56 of the movies on your list.

    Some that I think should be higher are Forrest Gump (in the top ten), Kill Bill Vol.1 and 2, Little Miss Sunshine, Up, Titanic, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Once, The Sixth Sense, WALL-E, On the Waterfront, Jaws, American Beauty, Toy Story, Psycho, Gone with the Wind, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Godfather Part II, Fargo, Singin’ in the Rain, Vertigo, Citizen Kane,

    Some I think should be lower are Gigi, Braveheart, Chicago, The Dark Knight, A Serious Man, Shakespeare In Love, Cache, Memento, Annie Hall, Lord of the Rings:Return of the King, West Side Story (alot lower)

    Soime I think should be on it are Million Dollar Baby (top 20), Terms of Endearment, Saving Private Ryan, Toy Story 2 and 3, Inception, Up in the Air, Where the Wild Things, Sophie’s Choice, All About Eve, Juno, Pan’s Labyrinth, and a bunch of others I can’t think of now.

    I was very happy to see Moulin Rouge on the list. I’m not sure where it ranks on mine but I LOVE it.

    I’ve only seen Raging Bull once. i liked alot, but it wouldn’t make my top ten. Perhaps it will one day as I see it more.

    One thing I love about your list is YOUR list. I know lots of people who kind of feel pressured to love a movie because it is such a classic and constantly ranked as one of the bests. But on your list, Casablanca is 30 and films like Moulin Rouge are higher than it. Citizen Kane is 15.

    This is my top ten:
    10. “Gone with the Wind”
    9. “Siphie’s Choice”
    8. “Fargo”
    7. “Vertigo”
    6. “Psycho”
    5. “Singin’ In the Rain”
    4. “Citizen Kane”
    3. “The Godfather Part I & II”
    2. “On the Waterfront”
    1. “Forrest Gump”

    Great list and HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I love your website

    P.S. You should make a list of the best movies of the 2000’s

  • Davin

    For all the oddball choices, Godfather is still number one, oh well. A little anticlimactic. Barton Fink is one of my favorites, good choice. And because I know I’ll be the only person to throw it out there, Way to go on In a Lonely Place, I caught that last year on demand, wonderful movie.

  • Jose

    I’d rather not discuss which films should and should not be on the list, since it’s your own personal list and everyone will always find fault with one’s list. But I will say happy belated birthday.

  • raguabros

    Nice to see you got it all sorted out. I gotta do a list of my own but everyone would bash it for having The Village in the top 5 :P

  • It just has to be ‘The Sound of Music’ at No.1 for me. The music, scenery, Julie Andrews, and a good story loosely based on the von Trapp’s real life experiences make it the best.

  • “Sound of Music”: one of my favorites too.

  • Quinn

    Just saw Lord of the Rings: Return of the King again. I love and its my favorite of the series, but the last 25 minutes or so are just so awkward and I feel like Peter Jackson just didn’t know how to end it. There were too many endings (When Frodo sees the Fellowship again, when Aragorn is crowned king, when Frodo leaves with Bilbo, and when Sam goes home to his wife and kids which is where it finally ended.) The scene were Frodo is lying in bed and he sees Gandalf and Merry and Pippin and the rest of the Fellowship is a pretty terrible scene in my opinion. Also, Elijah Wood was, in my opinion, not good. I would have liked an other actor much better like Tobey Maguire. But even though it probably seems like i hate it after reading that, I do love it and would make my list, just not top 20.

    I also saw “The Maltese Falcon” recently, and it should be MUCH higher. It would probably make my top ten.

  • Andrew R.

    YAY: A nice amount of modern movies, I hate that most movie lists have no movies from this decade.

    The clips (that worked).

    Your #1.

    NAY: Gigi-NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.

    Serious Man-I liked it a lot, but 134? Very extreme.

    OMISSIONS: Sunset Blvd and Metropolis…unforgivable, sorry.

    OVERALL: Good solid list. I liked it.

  • Honestly, I am voiceless. The Shawshank Redemption is phenomenal. I’am not too old film fanatic, in fact, this film came out the same yearI was very young, and consequently I’am to a greater extent used to films with fabulous special effects, edge-of-your-seat action, et cetera. This movie has zero of that, and however, it appeals so closely to me . Way Frank Darabont uses the tale of Red to drive on the tale, the excellent the movie music applied (note the harmonica used merely earlier Red receiving the letter at the end). The entire film, from starting to finish, from actions to music, is a beacon of hope, judgement, and repurchase. The cast is perfect, Morgan Freeman(Red) in reality brings about a fresh feel to the film, and that’s exactly what the film is, what a movie should be. Really recommended for each viewer.

  • I was revisiting this list today, and have one thing to add: where is “Lost in Translation”. I just saw it, and it was utterly incredible. Have you not seen it? Or did you just not love it enough to put in on the top 200.

    It has to be the former, right? Because I just can’t imagine anyone seeing that movie and not loving it.

  • There are a number of movies that I’ve seen and I’ve loved, but I just flat out forgot them when assembling my list. ‘Lost in Translation’ is one of those. ‘Schindler’s List’ is another. There’s probably a bunch more, too.

  • Quinn

    Just saw To Kill A Mockingbird again (I saw once before, but I was basically asleep and couldn’t follow a thing. But this time, I just finished the book about a week ago. That was unbelievable BTW) and it should be so much higher than where you have it. Definitely in my top 10.

  • That’s another movie I DEFINITELY need to re-watch.

  • Quinn

    Also, I’ve been wondering this since you first posted this….IN the picture above is that you or a still from a movie?

  • Haha, that’s a still from ‘Pierrot le fou’ by Jean-Luc Godard – one of the new additions to the list.

  • Fergus

    Crikey, I didn’t spot one David Lynch film! Aren’t you embarrassed?

  • Jose

    Yeah Alex!

  • Weird, I revisit this page the same day two others comment on it. Really weird.

    I checked it out for inspiration on my personal endeavor to create a top 100. I have seen 157 of these. Good choices, although I find Winter Light to be interestingly high. It’s not my favoite Bergman by a long shot. But I appreciate the meditative nature of it.

    As for Lynch? He wouldn’t make my top 200 either. Other than Elephant Man

  • Jose

    Really Davin, not even Mullhollan Dr.?

    And when will we see your personal list?

  • Definately not Mulholland Dr. I never understood the hype there. It’s a clever puzzle of a film, but I found it to be too focused on its own plot devices than on important things like its characters or purpose (other than messing with the audience). I suppose I would consider Eraserhead as well.

    As for seeing my list, to be honest, I am pretty much just doing it for the hell of it. I hadn’t actually thought of posting it. Maybe I will on my birthday for the sake of tradition. But there are a few movies I need to see before I’ll feel qualified to give it a shot. So I guess my answer is eventually… maybe.

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