Every year there are new blockbuster movies and potential classics that audiences can enjoy for generations to come. If you are looking for a list of great movies – arguably the best movies Hollywood has ever made, then start with this list of 20 best movies as your guide.
The American Film Institute and other critically respected organizations update their “Best” lists every year. Though the rankings may change, and there are occasionally new entries toward the top, here are the consistently ranked top Hollywood movies.
20 – To Kill A Mockingbird. Gregory Peck gives an unforgettable performance in this adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic novel. His search for justice has inspired and influence courtroom dramas ever since.
19 – E.T. No other film captured the imagination of young audiences in the 1980s than E.T. This extra-terrestrial teamed up with Drew Barrymore to form the best chemistry between a child and alien that the big screen has ever seen.
18 – Alien. Director Ridley Scott’s best film to date. Spawning multiple sequels that never lived up to the quality of this break-out film. A must-see for any sci-fi fan.
17 – Rear Window. How many of Hitchcock’s films usually make “best-of” lists? We could easily put five of them up here. But James Stewart’s performance is unbelievable.
16 – Unforgiven. This movie handed Clint Eastwood an Oscar for Best Picture and remains a classic revenge tale.
15 – Pulp Fiction. A more recent addition to the American Film Classic library. This put Quentin Tarrantino on the map and inspired a generation of screenwriters.
14 – King Kong. A classic, and innovative at the time for this use of stop motion animation in the much-copied Empire State Building climax.
13 – 12 Angry Men. Another courtroom drama for the ages. Shot almost entirely in a jury deliberation room, this movie proves a play can be adapted effectively for the screen.
12 – Annie Hall. A comedy classic that won Woody Allen the Best Director award from the Academy, even though he did not show up to accept. This movie became a template for off-beat romantic comedies that still works today.
11 – Rocky. If the Rocky series had ended after the first movie, this would still be a sports classic. This humble love story about a fighter who finally gets his shot never gets old.
10 – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A breakthrough in animation on the scale of Pixar’s achievements, and even greater considering the lack of technology. This movie is still beautiful.
9 – Casablanca. The story of a love-torn man during World War Two. Proof that the lives of two people can have a great impact on the entire world.
8 – Chinatown. Roman Polanski’s epic film about a private eye played by a young Jack Nicholson who gets in over his head.
7 – North By Northwest. Another Hitchcock movie that stands the test of time. A caper that unfolds when the wrong man is targeted.
6 – Wizard of Oz. An epic that every family can watch and enjoy together no matter how young or old.
5 – Schindler’s List. Steven Spielberg’s classic story of how one man saved so many from the horrors of the concentration camps.
4 – Titanic. James Cameron’s epic story of love caught in the middle of a world-famous disaster.
3 – Gone With the Wind. One of the most famous adaptations. This Civil War drama remains a staple of best Hollywood movie lists.
2 – Citizen Kane. Orson Welles’ story of a fallen titan broke the rules of story and directing.
1 – The Godfather. The end all be all of the gangster films. Francis Ford Coppola’s classic is the story of a mafia family that still feels fresh today.
Use this list of 20 best movies to become acquainted with film history and the various films in every genre that have stood the test of time.