From The Kid (1921) to The Godfather (1972), here are the 100 best Hollywood movies of all time.
In 1910, a short silent Western titled ‘In Old California’ was entirely shot in Hollywood, California. Before that, film production in America predominantly happened in Chicago, and filmmaking back then was still a cottage industry. A year later, movie studios sprang up on Hollywood’s Sunset Blvd. And Hollywood sure has come a long way from the silent era to the 1930s Golden Age, right up to the era of visual effects and superheroes. More than a century later, the American film industry remains the film capital of the world. Hollywood’s economic and cultural dominance can be deeply felt in our everyday lives. But technical advancements aside, Hollywood and its wide pool of filmmakers are consistently updating storytelling methods and visual forms.
From Charlie Chaplin, and John Ford to Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Paul Thomas Anderson, the industry’s greatest creators and their priceless works have stood the test of time, and are appreciated by audiences worldwide, young and old. And if you’re a newly-minted movie buff who’s yet to explore Hollywood’s greatest works, we’ve picked the 100 most iconic/essential Hollywood/American movies of all time.
Best Hollywood Movies
1. The Kid (1921)
The Kid is Charles Chaplin’s first feature-length film. It opens with the line, “a picture with a smile — and perhaps, a tear,” signaling a blend of humor and pathos, the foremost strength of Chaplin’s silent comedies.
2. Safety Last! (1923)
Safety Last is a thrill comedy, featuring silent star comedian Harold Lloyd’s bespectacled, everyman hero. The iconic image of Lloyd dangling from a big clock in a New York high-rise building has come to be one of the most revered moments in American cinema.
3. The General (1926)
Buster Keaton is one of the Kings of Silent Cinema comedy. The OG stuntman, acrobatic poet with a stoic face. The General, which includes daring comedic set-pieces revolving around locomotives, will always remain his defining film.
4. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
F W Murnau’s silent classic deals with rediscovery of love between two estranged married couples. The editing techniques and expressionist cinematography turned it into a technical marvel of its time.
5. City Lights (1931)
In this comedy classic, Chaplin’s Tramp falls in love with a visually-impaired flower girl. His misadventures end with a moving final scene, as monumental as the kid-Tramp reunion scene in The Kid (1921).
6. Frankenstein (1931)
James Whale’s sci-fi horror is based on the iconic 1818 novel by Mary Shelley. Frankenstein defined the horror genre movies in Hollywood, and its influence can still be felt across the globe.
7. Scarface (1932)
Made during the Great Depression, Howard Hawks’ violent and controversial film defined the action-packed gangster sub-genre. Produced by Howard Hughes, the riveting drama features legendary actors Paul Muni and Boris Karloff.
8. Duck Soup (1933)
Duck Soup is, undoubtedly, Marx Brothers’ finest film. The quick-witted dialogues, absurdism, and visual gags in the film have been mimicked by filmmakers over the years. It’s also one of the greatest political satires of all time.
9. It Happened One Night (1934)
Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night was the first film to bag Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay. The film defined the tropes and narrative structure of the rom-com sub-genre.
10. Gone with the Wind (1939)
This romanticized portrait of slavery-era South is very controversial in modern times. At the same time, the iconic scenes and dialogues in this almost 4-hour long movie are endless.
11. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
This is probably one of the greatest musical adventure/fantasy in American cinema history. Judy Garland’s enchanting performance as young Dorothy, and the marvelous use of Technicolor still has the power to entertain us.
12. The Great Dictator (1940)
The fearless Charles Chaplin spoke truth to power in this black comedy. In a time when the world was on the brink of one of the most horrifying wars in history, Chaplin’s moving message calls for the world to unite for peace.
13. Citizen Kane (1941)
“Rosebud.” Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane chronicles the life and times of business tycoon Charles Foster Kane. The ingenious Welles employed a variety of groundbreaking technical methods which expanded and redefined the boundaries of cinema.
14. Casablanca (1942)
Casablanca is one of those evergreen classics that never gets old. It features one of the greatest screenplays of all time. The chiaroscuro lighting combined with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman’s illuminating performance make it immensely memorable.
15. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
This James Stewart-starrer is the ultimate Christmas movie. Frank Capra’s feel-good drama, made immediately after WWII, was a flop at the box office. But over the years, audiences across the world have sought out this sweet and sentimental classic.
16. All About Eve (1950)
Bette Davis vs Anne Baxter in one of the most iconic showdowns in cinema. Joseph Mankiewicz’s drama offers a realistic and moving portrayal of show business. The film’s take on themes such as fame, success, and trust still remains relevant.
17. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Billy Wilder’s Sunset Blvd. is one of the finest noirs and provides a disconcerting look at stardom. The film follows the solitary life of a faded silent-era movie star, whose relationship with a cunning screenwriter takes a dangerous turn.
18. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Elia Kazan’s masterpiece is based on Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. It features one of Marlon Brando’s greatest performances. Hollywood saw the rise of one of its greatest actors through this film.
19. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Who can forget this classic musical which also doubles as an ode to Hollywood? Directed by Stanley Donan and Gene Kelly, the film was selected by the United State Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.
20. High Noon (1952)
Fred Zinnemann’s High Noon is a Western that inspired a plethora of other Westerns. Made at the height of Senator McCarthy’s Communist ‘witch-hunting’ era, the film brilliantly touched on themes of integrity, courage, and determination.
21. Rear Window (1954)
A thriller done from the comforting view of an apartment and a telescope. Alfred Hitchcock has previously used a single location to generate maximum suspense in films like Rope (1948) and Lifeboat (1944). But in Rear Window his staging and blocking techniques are unparalleled.
22. On the Waterfront (1954)
Marlon Brando’s meteoric rise to the top of Hollywood only grew, as he pushed the barriers of acting to their limits, setting a precedent for future generations. And Elia Kazan’s gritty drama is a testament.
23. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
James Dean became a cultural icon with Rebel Without a Cause. It was one of the first Hollywood movies that tried to portray the life of a teenager and the inter-generational conflicts. Nicolas Ray’s astute direction turns this into one of the most timeless social dramas.
24. 12 Angry Men (1957)
This riveting drama mostly unfolds within a single room. No elaborate camera work or set pieces. Just 12 fantastic performers debate with each other as they fulfill their duties as jurors and have to decide upon a Hispanic teenager’s guilt.
25. Vertigo (1958)
No words can quite describe how remarkable this film is. And it’s no surprise that Vertigo turned out to be one of Hitchcock’s biggest flops. The man was light years ahead of his time. The film’s handling of themes like voyeurism, obsession, and objectification continues to inspire filmmakers.
26. Some Like It Hot (1959)
Billy Wilder’s riotous comedy features a memorable performance from Marilyn Monroe. It created controversy for portraying ‘taboo’ elements like homosexuality and cross-dressing. Today, however, it is regarded as one of the greatest films of the Golden Age.
27. Ben-Hur (1959)
WIilliam Wyler’ Ben-Hur had the largest budget of any movie at that time. Set in the ancient Roman empire, it tells the story of enmity between a Roman commander and young, noble Jew. The film won a record 11 Academy Awards! And we still can’t forget the epic chariot sequence.
28. Psycho (1960)
Alfred Hitchcock abandoned his refined and polished tone to make a grittier, creepier film, shot in black and white. I cover my ears every time the secretary is stabbed to death in *that* shower scene with that screeching score, which has been used way too many times since.
29. The Apartment (1960)
Billy Wilder’s romantic comedy is filled with a mesmerizing bittersweet quality. It is set in a Manhattan insurance firm as a minor clerk falls in love with an elevator operator. Though labeled as a rom-com, The Apartment deals with darker themes like suicide and misogyny.
30. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
Judgment at Nuremberg was a fine reconstruction of the 1948 Nazi trials that took place after the fall of Adolf Hitler. The 3-hour plus drama directed by Stanley Kramer, features phenomenal performances from Spencer Tracy, Maximilian Schell, and Burt Lancaster.
31. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia is one of the most epic adventure films ever made. The film tells the controversial as well as dazzling story of T.E. Lawrence, a British intelligence officer, who united and fought alongside various Arab guerilla forces during World War I.
32. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
Based on the classic Harper Lee book, Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch offers us crucial lessons about racial prejudices and the horrors that emanate from them. The film deals with themes of justice, open-mindedness, empathy, and dignity.
33. The Great Escape (1963)
John Sturges’ epic action flick The Great Escape immortalizes the real-life mass escape of Allied soldiers from a Nazi POW camp in March, 1944. It features a great ensemble including Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, and James Garner.
34. Dr Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Stanley Kubrick’s Cold War satire proves to be even more relevant in today’s political climate. Kubrick dramatizes the absurdity and inefficiency of the power structures. Peter Sellers, who plays three roles, is an absolute joy to watch.
35. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Arthur Penn’s violent and controversial drama turned two of the most notorious criminals in the 1930s into cultural icons. The film was regarded as one of the first films of the New Hollywood era. Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty delivered robust performances in the titular roles.
36. The Graduate (1967)
Dustin Hoffman is at his dynamic best in a milestone cinema. Mike Nichols’ The Graduate is a coming-of-age film that captures the cultural and lifestyle shifts of American suburban society. It was released at the peak of countercultural movement and anti-war movement.
37. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
In the Heat of the Night is a brilliant take on prejudice, morals and manners in a small town in Mississippi. Sidney Poitier plays African-American detective Virgil Tibbs, who investigates a murder while tackling the bigotry directed against him.The film won 5 Academy Awards, including Best Film and Best Actor.
38. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Kubrick has made some of the finest films in history, but only 2001 could take the honor of being called his magnum opus. It’s surprising when you think about the mixed reviews it got when it was released. But it only goes to show how far ahead of its time the movie was. A piece of visual and intellectual brilliance, it’s the defining achievement of one of the greatest directors of all time.
39. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Roman Polanski’s ground-breaking psychological horror film features themes like paranoia, patriarchy, sexism, domesticity, and so on. Mia Farrow’s chilling performance in the lead role still has the power to unsettle viewers.
40. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Spaghetti Westerns became popular in the 1960s mainly through Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy. This movie, starring Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson, after Clint Eastwood declined an offer to play the lead role, is probably Leone’s best work. Ennio Morricone’s fabulous score elevates the narrative’s epic quality.
41. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
The iconic duo of Paul Newman and Robert Redford are part of this Western bromance narrative. It’s loosely based on the life of real-life outlaws during the American Civil War era. The ending scene where they go all out, guns a-blazing, is one of the greatest climax images in American cinema.
42. The Wild Bunch (1969)
Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch was famous (and controversial) for its portrayal of graphic violence and the portrayal of crude men attempting to survive by any available means. It’s an epic Western set in the middle of the Mexican Revolution that happened in the early 20th century.
43. McCabe & Mrs Miller (1971)
With the masterful direction of Robert Altman, this story is one of the finest Westerns ever made. Set in an Old West mining town, the narrative revolves around a gambler and a prostitute, who become unlikely business partners.
44. The Godfather (1972)
“I’m gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse.” I mean, come on, does there really need to be an explanation for this one? Coppola’s film revitalized Hollywood as well as the gangster sub-genre narratives. The greatest film ever made. Period.
45. The Exorcist (1973)
The greatest and most disturbing horror film ever made. Or, at least, the most disturbing I’ve ever seen. Based on William Peter Blatty’s novel, this William Friedkin movie defined the demonic possession trope in the modern horror narratives.
46. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
Coppola’s sequel to the epic gangster film does the near impossible task of topping the original. The characters and their conflicts only get more profound here. The film captures the rise and moral corruption of Al Pacino’s character, Michael Corleone.
47. Chinatown (1974)
Roman Polanski’s Chinatown brings out the classic film noir look of the 1940s, and who better than Jack Nicholson to play the lead role in, arguably, one of the best films in the history of cinema. Apart from Casablanca, Chinatown has one of the greatest scripts ever written.
48. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Milos Forman’s anti-establishment feature is a touching demonstration of inhumanity in a mental hospital. It is based on the best-selling 1962 novel of the same name by Ken Kesey. Jack Nicholson absolutely knocks it out of the park with this one.
49. Jaws (1975)
Jaws was one of the first ‘summer blockbuster’ films and it showcased the emerging talents of Steven Spielberg. Though we rarely see the shark in the narrative, Spielberg masterfully creates terror and suspense through brilliant use of mise en scène.
50. All the President’s Men (1976)
Alan Pakula’s movie is based on the book that exposed one of the biggest political scandals in world history, The Watergate Scandal. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman play two investigative reporters who exposed the nefarious activities undertaken by the American President during the Vietnam War era.
51. Rocky (1976)
The film that saw the rise of Sylvester Stallone and gave birth to one of the greatest characters in cinematic history, Rocky Balboa. Though film narratives were conceived around the boxing before the release of Rocky, Stallone’s film established the perfect template for underdog sports movies.
52. Taxi Driver (1976)
This is Robert De Niro’s greatest performance in his storied career, as he defines the psychological angst of a disturbed individual, and lets it all out in a fit of rage. Director Martin Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader’s study of frustrated masculinity still delivers a powerful message about our modern society.
53. Annie Hall (1977)
Woody Allen’s best film by far, Annie Hall is a hilarious romantic comedy. Allen himself plays a divorced Jewish comedian, who thinks of his relationship with ex-lover Annie. Diane Keaton redefined 70s fashion with her outfit in the film.
54. Star Wars (1977)
“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…….”. Today, that opening text gives us chills. George Lucas’ Star Wars gave birth to one of the greatest franchises in cinematic history. It was one of the earliest space opera movies, and turned the sci-fi genre into one of the most sought out genres in Hollywood.
55. Alien (1979)
Ridley Scott’s Alien practically invented everything good with space horror films. While Star Wars showcased space as just another frontier in the human race’s progress, Alien threw light upon the darkest corners of space, which could threaten humanity as a whole.
56. Apocalypse Now (1979)
Coppola’s magnum opus is probably the greatest anti-war film of all time. The film was loosely based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Apocalypse Now follows an American captain tasked to kill a traitorous colonel, who is living as a demigod among the tribes in Cambodia.
57. The Shining (1980)
Iconic moments abound in this Stanley Kubrick horror. Each scene in The Shining seems to have its own iconic status, notably the sweeping helicopter shots, the elevator scene, the twins, the maze. And who can forget Room 237? *shudders*
58. Raging Bull (1980)
Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver has some competition to take the top spot as Robert De Niro’s greatest performance: Jake LaMotta from Raging Bull. At the outset it looks like a sports movie, but it’s not about boxing. It’s a story of Jake LaMotta‘s battles outside the ring, with his own fragile ego.
59. E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982)
Even today, with more complex sci-fi scripts and better visual effects, E.T. still has the power to make you bawl. A story of a unique friendship between a lonely boy and an intelligent alien creature, it hasn’t dated much.
60. Blade Runner (1982)
Ridley Scott’s cyberpunk cult classic during its initial release didn’t get the acclaim it has today. The film is loosely based on Philip K Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It had its best version when Ridley Scott released his Director’s Cut in 1999.
61. Scarface (1983)
“Say hello to my little friend!” Like the original, the remake was also critically acclaimed, and was given a Cuban twist. Al Pacino’s iconic over the top performance plus Brian de Palma’s dynamic direction truly established the ugly, violent tone of the narrative.
62. The Terminator (1984)
James Cameron is a master of the sci-fi and action genre. The Terminator is one of his finest additions. The film revolves around a cyborg assassin, sent back in time to kill a young woman who is destined to give birth to a daring leader who leads the resistance against the cyborgs in the future.
63. Amadeus (1984)
Milos Forman’s biographical period drama, Amadeus is the only movie to feature two nominations for the Best Actor Oscar. F. Murray Abraham won for his role as Antonio Salieri. The narrative fictionalizes the secret rivalry between genius musician Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the jealous old musician Salieri.
64. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Sergio Leone was known for his work in spaghetti westerns. Once Upon a Time in America was the director’s 4-hour long magnum opus, which follows the Prohibition-era gangland activities (between late 1910s and early 1930s). The narrative opens in 1968, and unfolds as one long flashback.
65. Back to the Future (1985)
Robert Zemickis’ Back to the Future laid the groundwork for the time-travel adventure narratives. Unlike other numerous time machine stories, misadventures of Marty and Doc Brown became a pop-culture milestone for its witty premise and complex scenarios.
66. Aliens (1986)
While Ridley Scott conceived Alien as a space horror, James Cameron approached it as an action blockbuster. The result is meticulously staged set-pieces, including Ripley’s climactic showdown with the Xenomorph Queen and one of the best sequels in Hollywood.
67. Die Hard (1988)
Die Hard saw the rise of one of Hollywood’s greatest action heroes. Bruce Willis plays L.A. detective John McClane, who is caught in the midst of a hostage situation. The film also gave us one of the genre’s greatest villains, Hans Gruber. Yippee-ki-yay.
68. Goodfellas (1990)
“As far as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” Martin Scorsese’s full-fledged gangster film after his 1973 film Mean Streets was revered as one of the most accurate portrayals of mafioso on-screen. It was based on New York crime reporter Nicholas Pileggi’s 1985 book Wiseguy.
69. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Anthony Hopkins plays Hannibal Lecter in one of the greatest psychological thrillers ever made. Jonathan Demme’s film was based on Thomas Harris’ best-selling novel of the same name. Michael Mann previously made a Hannibal Lecter movie. But Hopkins’ cannibal psychopath is deeply unsettling.
70. JFK (1991)
Oliver Stone’s highly controversial drama tries to solve one of the greatest mysteries in modern political history: who was actually behind the murder of John F. Kennedy? Kevin Costner as attorney Jim Garrison is absolutely spellbinding.
71. Terminator II: The Judgment Day (1991)
James Cameron’s sequel was even better than the first film. This movie raised the bar for both the sci-fi and the action genres. Arnold’s evil cyborg in the first part is the savior in this part. His silent, stoic performance still stands as one of the best in his career.
72. Unforgiven (1992)
Clint Eastwood’s revisionist Western film was one of his finest. He dedicated the film to his former collaborators and mentors Sergio Leone and Don Siegel. Unforgiven earned Eastwood a Best Director Academy Award as well as a Best Actor nomination.
73. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Reservoir Dogs is one of the greatest independent films ever made. It also introduced the world to one of the finest directors of his generation: Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino set his narrative in the aftermath of a heist gone wrong. The surviving criminals suspect that one among them is an undercover police officer.
74. Jurassic Park (1993)
Steven Spielberg redefined the scope of blockbuster cinema with his 1993 film Jurassic Park. This first part of the multi-billion dollar franchise was based on Michael Crichton’s best-selling novel of the same name.
75. Schindler’s List (1993)
In the year Spielberg gave us a blockbuster, he also made this masterpiece. The disturbing drama told the tale of a German industrialist Schindler’s efforts in saving Jewish lives during the Holocaust. Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes give fantastic performances.
76. The Lion King (1994)
Several exceptional animated films have been produced after The Lion King, but none of them could match its allure. The Disney animated feature follows the adventures of young Lion Simba after getting displaced from his clan.
77. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Ah, 1994 was a golden year for Hollywood films. Pulp Fiction was Tarantino’s next after Reservoir Dogs. Frequently identified as a postmodern cinema, this violent narrative follows an interlinked, jumbled storyline, where each characters’ fate is deeply intertwined.
78. Forrest Gump (1994)
In Robert Zemeckis’ heartrending drama, the eponymous character is beautifully played by Tom Hanks. It tells the life story of a young man with mental disability, who overcomes the many obstacles in his life and in the process, teaches us some valuable life lessons.
79. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Based on Stephen King’s novella of the same name, The Shawshank Redemption is a prison drama which deals with the theme of hope, resilience, friendship, and loneliness. It features top-class performances from Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.
80. Toy Story (1995)
Pixar’s dominance in animated cinema began with Toy Story, the first fully computer-animated movie. It also gave birth to some of the most cherished characters in animation, Buzz Lightyear and Woody. The film’s blockbuster status led to three more equally fascinating sequels.
81. Se7en (1995)
Two detectives investigate murder cases that are committed as per the Seven Deadly Sins of Christianity in David Fincher’s chilling thriller. The unexpected twists in the film’s third-act make it one of the best offerings in the thriller genre.
82. Heat (1995)
Apart from being a top-notch heist film, Heat is iconic for bringing together two of Hollywood’s greatest actors, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. The narrative revolves around an elaborate cat-and-mouse game between a stubborn detective and a ruthless criminal.
83. Fargo (1996)
Coen Brothers’ deliver one of the most original crime dramas of all time. The film revolves around a half-witted Minnesota car salesman, whose plans to extract money from his father-in-law go totally wrong. Fargo was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning two.
84. The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Big Lebowski was one of Coen Brothers’ best works, although it received a lukewarm reception, critically and commercially, at the time of its release. Nevertheless, it became a cult classic in the ensuing decades. The film follows the misadventures of a middle-aged slacker, simply known as The Dude.
85. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Steven Spielberg’s WWII drama offered us one of the grittiest and disturbing battle-field scenes ever made in cinema. The film narrates a fictional yet immensely tense mission of the US soldiers, who are ordered to rescue one young soldier.
86. Magnolia (1999)
Twenty-year old Paul Thomas Anderson shows maturity beyond his years with masterful writing and direction in this sublime and complex drama. Magnolia is a hyper-linked ensemble drama that follows the lives of a group of flawed and frustrated L.A. residents.
87. Fight Club (1999)
Fight Club is probably one of the most iconic movies of the internet era, and definitely the most popular in David Fincher’s filmography. It is based on Chuck Palahniuk’s novel of the same name, which chronicles the extraordinary life of a disturbed white-collar worker.
88. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Stanley Kubrick’s last film proved that he wasn’t cold or emotionally unattached in his portrayal of relationships or human drama. Tom Cruise plays Manhattan doctor William Hartford, whose night-long odyssey in search of a strange community threatens to destabilize his personal life.
89. The Matrix (1999)
Before John Wick, there was Neo. The first of Keanu Reeves’ iconic action films, The Matrix was unlike anything we had ever seen at the time. It still holds up two decades later. After Scott’s Blade Runner, Wachowskis’ Matrix was a game-changer in the sci-fi genre.
90. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
A beautiful trainwreck of a movie. And not in a bad way. The gut-punch is so real. The heartbreak was so well communicated. Darren Aronofsky’s distressing drama follows the empty lives of addiction-prone individuals, who don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.
91. Memento (2000)
Memento was modern master Christopher Nolan’s big break. It propelled him to the forefront of Hollywood mainstream with its unprecedented success. The complex plotting and sharp directorial effort cemented Nolan as one of the best upcoming directors of the time.
92. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001, ’02, ’03)
To this day, with the growing popularity of fantasy and sci-fi movies, there doesn’t seem to be a film quite like LoTR. In a world of meticulously planned cinematic universes, LoTR will have a special place in the annals of cinema. Peter Jackson perfectly visualized author Tolkien’s magnificent prose.
93. Mulholland Drive (2001)
David Lynch’s neo-noir mystery definitely doesn’t make sense. But the master filmmaker’s commentary on Hollywood’s machinations invites us to draw our own theories and conclusions. The film also features a brilliant performance from Naomi Watts and Laura Harring.
94. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Ang Lee’s beautiful and ultimately frustrating film chronicles the longing between two gay men and their desire to be together. Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger knock it out of the park. One of the greatest romantic movies of the 21st century, it was nominated for eight Oscars, and managed to take home three including Best Director.
95. There Will Be Blood (2007)
Paul Thomas Anderson’s magnum opus, featuring a towering performance from Daniel Day-Lewis, is loosely based on Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel Oil! The narrative revolves around a ruthless oil tycoon named Daniel Plainview, who comes across as an intriguing monster of the Capitalist society.
96. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
Andrew Dominik’s revisionist Western debunks the myths surrounding the life and death of the infamous Old West outlaw, Jesse James. It’s based on the 1983 historical novel by Ron Hansen. Brad Pitt offers a nuanced, career best performance.
97. No Country For Old Men (2007)
The Coen Brothers do it again with this modern-day Western — violent, gripping, blood-soaked. Javier Bardem’s spine-chilling performance as psychopathic bounty hunter Anton Chigurh makes this an unforgettable experience. No Country for Old Men is not a typical good-winning-over-evil tale.
98. The Dark Knight (2008)
I don’t need to tell you about Heath Ledger’s performance here, but hell, I’ll do it again. Ledger gave us the best portrayal of the character to date, as well as one of the greatest cinematic performances of all time. Apart from Ledger’s borderline psychotic performance, everything else about Nolan’s movie was just about perfect, from the action sequences to the superbly updated super-hero narrative.
99. Avatar (2009)
The highest-grossing film of all time, even today. The script, the acting and most notably, the visuals (which were extraordinary for a 2009 film) were all of the highest quality. Let’s see if it can hold on to that top spot, that perhaps only another James Cameron movie can claim.
100. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
The movie is called Mad Max: Fury Road, but it’s more Furiosa (Charlize Theron) than Max (Tom Hardy). There’s minimal dialogue in the film, and that’s perfectly alright with me. It’s visually spectacular and builds tension through flawlessly staged action set-pieces.
An ardent cinephile, who truly believes in the transformative power and shared-dream experience of cinema. He blogs at ‘Passion for Movies.’