So where do you go to find out which films are considered the greatest ever? Everyone has their list, but is there a consensus on which films really are the best? I took a look at what some of the larger websites such as Rotten Tomatoes, MetaCritic and IMDB list in their top 30 lists to develop an idea on some sort of concensus.

Rotten Tomatoes

  1. A Hard Days Night
  2. The Third Man
  3. The Wizard of Oz
  4. Modern Times
  5. The Godfather
  6. Dr. Strangelove
  7. King Kong
  8. Metropolis
  9. All About Eve
  10. Singing in the Rain
  11. Rear Window
  12. Battle of Algiers
  13. Laura
  14. Citizen Kane
  15. The Conformist
  16. The Philadelphia Story
  17. The 400 Blows
  18. Cool Hand Luke
  19. Chinatown
  20. North by Northwest
  21. Seven Samurai
  22. The Maltese Falcon
  23. On the Waterfront
  24. Sweet Smell of Success
  25. The Adventures of Robin Hood
  26. Man On Wire
  27. Rashomon
  28. The Wages of Fear
  29. Toy Story 2

This list is labeled as “best reviewed movies”, which really doesn’t state that these are the best films ever, just the films that are given the highest accolades from their approved critics. As you can see in this list—which is based solely on the reviews from an approved list of critics—mostly films prior to the 1980s are listed.

IMDB

  1. 9.1 The Shawshank Redemption (1994) 493,105
  2. 9.1 The Godfather (1972) 394,556
  3. 9.0 The Godfather: Part II (1974) 233,902
  4. 8.9 Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo. (1966) 150,515
  5. 8.9 Pulp Fiction (1994) 399,788
  6. 8.9 Schindler’s List (1993) 264,499
  7. 8.8 12 Angry Men (1957) 111,189
  8. 8.8 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) 204,387
  9. 8.8 Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) 267,356
  10. 8.8 The Dark Knight (2008)
  11. 8.8 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) 349,533
  12. 8.8 Star Wars (1977) 311,347
  13. 8.7 Casablanca (1942) 162,303
  14. 8.7 Shichinin no samurai (1954) 92,939
  15. 8.7 Goodfellas (1990) 219,516
  16. 8.7 Fight Club (1999) 364,787
  17. 8.7 Cidade de Deus (2002) 158,090
  18. 8.7 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) 373,829
  19. 8.7 Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) 234,801
  20. 8.7 Rear Window (1954) 114,129
  21. 8.7 Psycho (1960) 137,496
  22. 8.7 The Usual Suspects (1995) 257,234
  23. 8.7 C’era una volta il West (1968) 70,315
  24. 8.6 The Silence of the Lambs (1991) 234,801
  25. 8.6 The Matrix (1999) 365,391
  26. 8.6 Se7en (1995) 265,905
  27. 8.6 Memento (2000) 259,019
  28. 8.6 It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) 98,253
  29. 8.6 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) 314,806
  30. 8.6 Sunset Blvd. (1950) 52,262

This list appears to be very much fueled by testosterone. While Rotten Tomatoes tops list consists of 99% and 100% rated films, IMDB’s rating system keeps their number one rated film with a 9.1 out of 10. IMDB’s ratings are provided by registered users, where Rotten Tomatoes is purely from approved and accepted critics.

MetaCritic

  1. Godfather, The 1972 100
  2. Superman II 1981 99
  3. Army of Shadows 2006 99
  4. Pan’s Labyrinth 2006 98
  5. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days 2008 97
  6. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 1964 96
  7. Ratatouille 2007 96
  8. Manchurian Candidate, The 1962 94
  9. Spirited Away 2002 94
  10. Pulp Fiction 1994 94
  11. Killer of Sheep 2007 94
  12. Hurt Locker, The 2009 94
  13. Sita Sings the Blues 2010 94
  14. WALL-E 2008 94
  15. Sideways 2004 94
  16. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The 2003 94
  17. Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The 2000 93
  18. Reversal of Fortune 1990 93
  19. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2000 93
  20. Schindler’s List 1993 93
  21. Amadeus: Director’s Cut 2002 93
  22. Yi Yi (A One and a Two) 2000 92
  23. Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The 2007 92
  24. Class, The 2008 92
  25. Raging Bull 1980 92
  26. 35 Shots of Rum 2009 92
  27. There Will Be Blood 2007 92
  28. Toy Story 1995 92
  29. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The 2001 92
  30. Werckmeister Harmonies 2001 92

MetaCritic is by far the least consistent and most inconclusive of these three lists. Most films prior to 1999 are not represented, and those that are, are often not represented enough. I find this list to be highly inaccurate due to its lack of films prior to 1999.

Conclusion

If you only use these lists, then The Godfather would be on top. Number one on both MetaCritic and Rotten Tomatoes, and solidly placed number two on IMDB. My conclusion based of the consensus between the three movie review rating sites is:

  1. The Godfather
  2. Pulp Fiction
  3. Dr. Strangelove
  4. Rear Window
  5. Schindler’s List
  6. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  7. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Of course this doesn’t mean these films are the greatest ever, as all three websites are very much inconclusive in one way or another. I personally don’t agree with the list.

How do you think this list really stands up to the idea of the greatest films ever? Did I miss another website that offers a rating system?

Comments

comments

SHARE
Previous articleIron Man 2
Next articleAlice in Wonderland
Aaron Weiss founded CinemaFunk in September 2009 after recieving his degree in Cinema Studies from the University of Central Florida. In 2012, he received his Master's in Cinema Studies from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He works full-time as a Senior Web Strategist at Tampa SEO Training Academy. When not doing either, Aaron is watching Indycar races, taking a hike, or riding his bike in Tampa, FL.