People who make movies can judge movies the best. This list contains ranks from studio chiefs, Oscar winners, and TV royalty. It is hard to come up with a list of famous movies of all time. We all have different tastes and we classify movies in different ways. But we might have come up with one of the most objective lists of most iconic movies of all time.
There are many lists of movies. You cannot even list them all. And if you have any other ideas, share them in the comments.
We start off with the 1972 American crime movie masterpiece. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, it remains one of the most iconic movies of all time. Some prefer Godfather Part II with both Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.
But the first one helped launch Pacino’s career. And Marlon Brando is amazing in his role as Vito Corleone.
Fun fact: Paramount Pictures bought the rights of the novel by Mario Puzo for just $80,000 at the time. They bought it before the novel gained popularity.
The movie won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor (Marlon Brando), and Best Adapted Screenplay. The movie also earned seven other nominations for Pacino, Duvall, and Caan for Best Supporting Actor.
Love it or hate it, there is no denying Psycho is an iconic movie. The 1960 psychological horror thriller is a masterpiece by Alfred Hitchcock. The director made a couple of other great movies, but Psycho tops them all.
Based on a novel of the same name by Robert Bloch, the movie stars Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Janet Leigh, and Martin Balsam.
Psycho departure from Hitchcock’s previous movies. He filmed it on a lower budget in black-and-white. In the beginning, the critics considered the movie controversial. It received mixed reviews.
But the audience loved it. Nowadays, critics praise it as a masterpiece of cinematic art.
The 1941 American drama movie by Orson Wells has topped many lists of best movies of all time. Fans consider it one of the greatest, if not the greatest movie of all time.
It is a quasi-biographical movie examining the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane, played by Welles. The character draws inspiration from the American media barons William Randolph Hearts and Joseph Pulitzer, as well as tycoons Samuel Insull and Harold McCormick.
Fun Fact: Despite the title of one of the greatest movies of all time, Citizen Cane failed to recoup its costs at the box office. After an American revival in 1956, the movie got its respect.
You can either love or hate Quentin Tarantino. There is no middle ground. If you love him, you love Pulp Fiction. If you hate him, you probably have mixed feelings about the iconic black comedy crime movie starring John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson, and Uma Thurman.
The movie tells several stories of criminals in Los Angeles. The title itself refers to the pulp magazines popular during the mid-20th century.
Tarantino found inspiration in the graphic violence and punchy dialogue in these magazines. The plot of the movie occurs out of chronological order. And it is self-referential from its opening moments.
The movie won the Palme d’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. It earned Academy Award nominations for Travolta, Jackson, and Thurman, boosting their careers in the process.
Pulp Fiction changed the cinematic world. The development, marketing, distribution, and profitability made a huge influence on independent cinema at the time.
For many years, Titanic remained the movie with the most Academy Awards. James Cameron directed, wrote, and co-produced the epic romance and disaster movie.
Titanic incorporates both historical and fictionalized aspects. With young Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in the titular roles, the movie launched their career.
Titanic earned 14 Academy Award nominations, tying All About Eve in 1950. And won 11, tying Ben-Hur for most even. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won 11 Oscars in 2003.
The international gross of the movie of more than $1.8 billion made it the first movie to reach the $1 billion mark. It remained the highest-grossing movie of all time until Cameron surpassed his own movie with another masterpiece, Avatar in 2010.
The 1993 American epic historical drama by Steven Spielberg follows the story of Oskar Schindler, a German Industrialist who saved more than a thousand Jewish refugees from the Holocaust.
The movie stars Liam Neeson as Schindler, with Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley rounding up the main cast.
The idea about the movie first came in 1963. Poldek Pfeffeberg, one of the survivors, made his life mission to tell the story of Schindler. Spielberg got interested in the story after he read a book review of Schindler’s Ark.
Fun fact: Unsure whether he can make a movie about the Holocaust, Spielberg tried to pass the project to several directors before making it.
The Wizard of Oz
The 1939 American musical fantasy movie remains one of the greatest movies of all time. It is the most commercially successful adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s fantasy novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Directed by Victor Fleming, the movie stars Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale. At the time, the movie proved revolutionary for its use of Technicolor, fantasy storytelling, musical score, and memorable characters.
Today, it remains a source of many quotes referenced in popular culture.
Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in titular roles. Can it get any better than that? The 1942 American romantic drama movie set the plot during World War II. It focuses on a man who has to choose between his love for a woman and helping her husband escape from Casablanca and continue his fight against the Germans.
No one in the production at the time expected anything spectacular from Casablanca. Despite the A-list cast, the production team was content with another average Hollywood movie. The movie used the publicity from the Allied invasion of North America. The production rushed the movie into release to take advantage of the moment.
The Shawshank Redemption
Written and directed by Frank Darabont, the movie follows the plot of the 1982 Stephen King novella, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. It tells the story of a banker getting sentenced to life in State Penitentiary for the murders of his wife and her lover.
Over the following two decades, the banker befriends a fellow prisoner starts a money-laundering operation led by the prison warden.
Darabont purchased the movie rights to the story in 1987. But he started developing the movie five years later. Fun fact: he wrote the script in an eight-week period.
The movie received positive reviews on its release. But it earned only $16 million during the initial theatrical run at the box office. The movie faced fierce competition from movies like Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction. Combine that with the general unpopularity of prison movies and lack of female characters, the movie didn’t sit well with the audience.
Yet, it earned seven Academy Award nominations. Following the re-release, it reached a box office of $58.3 million. More than 320,000 VHS copies got shipped throughout the US, making it one of the top rented movies of 1995.
Some Like it Hot
This 1959 American black and white romantic comedy stars Marilyn Monroe as the titular character. The movie opened to critical and commercial success thanks to the performance by Monroe. It received six Academy Award nominations.
The movie plays with the idea of homosexuality and features cross-dressing. Because of this, the movie got produced without approval from the Motion Picture Production Code.
The success of Some Like it Hot served as the final nail in the coffin for the Hays Code.