What films are on the List of 25 Best Movies Ever Made?
Finding the best movies isn’t an easy task – and finding the best movies ever made that also appeal to your tastes is even harder! This guide offers movie recommendations from every genre, so you can find something that you’ll love whether you like action, drama, or comedy. The following list of the 25 best movies ever made should be enough to keep you entertained for years!
Why We Love Movies
In the realm of movies, no one is excluded. Whether it’s a child whose imagination is limitless, the hopeless romantic, epic tales from history, or documentaries about the real world around us, there’s something for literally everyone. The best movies ever made had captivating tales that tugged at our heartstrings, satisfied our hunger for adventures, and left us wanting more.
Films have a way of uniting us, of giving us an outlet for emotions we didn’t even know we needed to express, and giving us a simple and enjoyable escape for a few hours. They broaden our horizons, deepen our imaginations, relieve stress, and at their best, give us a glimpse into our true selves, as we see them reflected in some character on the screen. Needless to say, many films also carry life-changing messages in them.
Every great movie had a story arc that left us on the edge of our seats, waiting for the next scene to unfold. Additionally, every great story has an overreaching theme that we could relate to on some level. The movies on this list may not be your favorite, but they all have had an impact on culture and filmmaking. With input from critics, history, and a love of the medium, here are our 25 Best Movies Ever Made. And even if you don’t agree with all the movies listed here, we’re sure you’ll agree with us on some of them!
Silence of the Lambs
Silence of the Lambs is based on the 1988 novel of the same name. This nail-biting film centers around FBI agent Clarice hunting down a serial killer and enlisting the help of Hannibal Lecter, a cannibalistic serial killer and former psychologist who is currently in jail for his crimes.
The movie gradually gained notoriety and success, making it a sleeper hit, and became the third film to win Academy Awards in all top five categories. It was nominated for seven Oscars in total, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay.
It even spawned a television show which isn’t quite as gripping as the movie itself, but what movie can claim it went on and became a television series?
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Oh, young Harrison Ford, how we love thee. Directed by Steven Spielberg with a story by George Lucas and a score from John Williams, how could this movie be anything other than magical? Released in 1981, the first in the Indiana Jones trilogy (nope, the Shia LaBeouf one doesn’t count), Raiders of the Lost Ark contains a sexy adventuring professor, the answer to why you should never bring a knife to a gunfight, and melting Nazis.
Fun Fact: According to a Reddit Ask Me Anything answer from Ford himself, originally the iconic sword and gun scene was supposed to be much longer, but Ford had dysentery at the time and had to take frequent (very frequent) filming breaks. Because of this, he and Spielberg decided that it would be better if he just shot the guy. We agree; it was better.
Christopher Nolan’s Inception is a 2010 science fiction action thriller film. The film follows Dom Cobb, a thief who enters the dreams of others in order to steal information from them while they are asleep. The dream worlds that Cobb explores are part of an experiment that he has been working on with his previous partner, who died during a dream job. While trying to get back home, Cobb becomes trapped in one of these dreams and must find a way out before he can reunite with his children.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Good, The Bad, and The Ugly was the epitome of the “spaghetti western.” For those who don’t know, the genre of Spaghetti Western is so named because they were mostly made by Italian directors in the ’60s and ’70s (spaghetti instead of espresso, really?). The director that defined the genre was Sergio Leone and Dollars Trilogy (A Fistfull Of Dollars, A Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly), which starred Clint Eastwood.
Leone hadn’t originally intended the movies to be a trilogy. So if you haven’t seen the first two, it won’t impact your enjoyment of The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. If you’re a fan of cinema in general, Leone’s work stands out for its well-thought-out close-ups, his use of silence, and dramatic scores. This is a great example of the genre at its zenith. That is one of the many reasons why it’s on our list of 25 best movies ever made!
Just the name of this movie brings up that bullet scene. While The Matrix wasn’t the first movie to use that specific effects technology, it was the first movie that made “bullet time” stick in people’s minds.
It also demanded more from its fight choreography than any other movies being made at the time, with actors and stunt doubles spending six months to train before shooting. When it went to DVD in 1999, VHS was still king. The Matrix helped facilitate the industry shift from VHS to DVD by being the first movie to sell over 1 million DVD copies.
A stunningly insightful exploration of the all-consuming quest for happiness and power in suburbia, American Beauty is a film that transcends its medium. With pitch-perfect performances from Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Chris Cooper, Mena Suvari, and Thora Birch.
This 1999 film was directed by Sam Mendes and adapted by Alan Ball from his own stage play of the same name. It is about a telesales operative, disillusioned with his life and seeking fresh excitement. A critical and commercial success, this film won four Academy Awards, including Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Actor.
Not only did Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Jurassic Park classic bring to life the dreams of millions of Dinosaur Kids, but it also changed the way movies were marketed and fundamentally changed special effects for the film industry.
A combination of never before used CGI from George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic, combined with models from the legendary Sam Winston, brought a level of realism to the film that had not been seen before.
This 1997 blockbuster is one of the most recognizable movies in history. With a running time of 3 hours and 14 minutes, it’s understandable why many people find this movie hard to get through, but the ending is worth it. The film follows Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater from the moment they meet on the ship until they’re separated by their deaths.
On a more light-hearted note, there are some other enjoyable aspects of the movie that make it worth watching. One aspect that sets this apart from other movies is its perfect blend of beautiful scenery and heart-wrenching drama. When not wondering if Jack will survive or if Rose will be reunited with her fiancé, viewers can enjoy taking in the gorgeous scenes set around Earth’s largest ocean liner.
Directed by Martin Scorsese, Goodfellas is often considered to be one of the greatest mob movies ever. Whether you like mob movies are not, at its core, Goodfellas is a movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat and gives you moments of adrenaline rushes at each of its story arcs. It was so good that it became the inspiration behind David Chase’s popular HBO series The Sopranos
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
Despite the glaring exclusion of Tom Bombadil, Fellowship of the Ring is considered by many to have stayed the closest to the book.
The filmmakers didn’t hesitate to go “all in” at a time when epic high fantasy on this scale wasn’t a sure box office hit. For this reason, it accomplished a rare feat, receiving praise from old fans as well as new, and being included in our 25 best movies ever made!
Seven Samurai chronicles the story of a village that hires seven rogue samurai to protect them from bandits (it would later be reborn in Western Culture as The Magnificent Seven). It is the highest-grossing Japanese movie ever and one of only a few Japanese films to ever make it into the western cinema to any significant extent.
Despite being in Japanese, the movie is filmed and acted in such a way that you could understand what’s going on even without the subtitles. Additionally, despite being three and a half hours long, Seven Samurai doesn’t suffer from pacing problems that many modern movies do. Also, yes, the sword fights are amazing.
Sherlock Holmes is a classic in the detective genre. The movie is based on the novels by Arthur Conan Doyle, which were written in 1887. This film was released in 2009 and directed by Guy Ritchie. The protagonist of this film is Sherlock Holmes (played by Robert Downey Jr.), who finds himself at odds with his former friend Dr. John Watson (played by Jude Law).
Sherlock has special senses and knowledge that can only be used to solve crimes in the story. What sets this film apart from others is the unusual plotline. The audience does not know until midway through the film if Sherlock or John are telling the truth about what happened during their time together. In addition, there are several twists and turns throughout the plotline that keep audiences on their toes wondering what will happen next.
As one of the most controversial and talked-about films of the 1990s, Fight Club had an incredible impact on popular culture.
And overnight, Tyler Durden’s line, “The first rule of Fight Club is – you do not talk about Fight Club,” became one of the most popular quotes of the decade.
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
One of the most well-known quotes comes from Star Wars: Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back. Can you guess what that quote was? “I am your Father.” Nowadays, that is a very common pop culture reference, and as soon as it’s quoted, we know where it came from.
It’s also interesting to note that before Empire was released in 1980, fans had no idea that Luke and Leia were twins. Additionally, no one knew Darth Vader was their father. This is Star Wars at its very best, paternity, heartbreak, cocky declarations of love, and loss of lives, and dreams – only to see it come full circle, and then some!
Life Is Beautiful
The film is a heartwarming and endearing story about an Italian Jew who chooses to live life for his son during the Holocaust. This unconventional coming-of-age story is told through the eyes of Guido, the father, as he tries in vain to shield his son from the horrors happening around them both. The film has many beautiful moments and is entertaining throughout, but it also has serious themes that are worth discussing with children.
It may be difficult for some viewers to see something so horrific as Hitler’s rise, but this movie teaches us that we can laugh and love even in the darkest times. This film proves that love and hope can triumph over any obstacle. It’s one of those rare films that gets better every time you watch it.
The Avengers saved the world. Again. The end of Infinity War left us on the edge of our seats, and it was an emotional rollercoaster watching our heroes team up in Endgame to undo Thanos’ snap and bring back everyone who was lost. It’s not a perfect movie – many things could have been done better, but it does deliver on the most important thing: giving fans what they want.
We may never get the ultimate showdown between Thor and Thanos that we deserve, but this is close enough. Even if this is the end for some of these characters, I feel satisfied knowing that these actors gave their all for these roles, and delivered a satisfying conclusion to one of Marvel’s best story arcs yet.
Even if you’re not interested in Japanese culture and Anime, there are lots to enjoy and appreciate about Hayao Miyazaki’s films. Spirited Away perfectly captures why his films are so enchanting. The second highest-grossing anime film of all time, Spirited Away is a beautiful dark fairy tale about a girl who happens upon what seems to be an abandoned amusement park.
She crosses into the realm of the gods and must not only keep herself alive but save her parents who have been turned into pigs. It won the 2003 Academy Award for a best-animated feature and remains an example of why fairy tales aren’t all necessarily intended for small children.
Based on the novel Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally, Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List not only won seven Academy Awards but also went down as one of the greatest films of the century.
In it, Spielberg chronicles the life of Oskar Schindler, a businessman living in World War II Germany who saved the lives of thousands of Jews by offering them employment.
12 Angry Men
Famous for being filmed almost entirely on one set, 12 Angry Men follows a jury as it attempts to reach a unanimous decision. When they first enter the deliberation room, 11 of the 12 men have already decided on a verdict, until Juror #8 starts bringing up things that could be considered reasonable doubt.
It’s a beautiful glimpse into human nature and the different motivations we all bring to the table. It wasn’t until the film came out on television long after its initially disappointing performance at the box office that 12 Angry Men achieved its legendary status.
A stunning film that was released in 2009, Avatar is the highest-grossing film of all time. This movie has everything a movie-lover could ask for – action, adventure, and romance. The story of the movie is about a war in which humans are fighting against intelligent species living in Pandora. The main protagonist, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is a paraplegic marine who has been recruited to fight in this conflict.
His assignment is to infiltrate the world of the Na’vi people inhabiting Pandora, who are resisting human encroachment into their territory. In his human form, he falls for a beautiful Na’vi woman Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and becomes torn between his duty as a soldier and his love for her. This is one of the most popular movies ever made, it’s rated PG-13 and will keep you captivated from start to finish. Plus, there are some incredible special effects.
No best movies list would be complete without a Tarantino film. Released in 1994, Pulp Fiction stars John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, and Uma Thurman. Stylistically, Pulp Fiction was a film that changed what people thought of Independent filmmaking, and what it could do.
Three different stories are woven out of chronological order and take you on a sexy, weird, eye-popping violent ride that was everything you didn’t know you wanted from a movie. It was nominated for four Academy Awards and won Best Original Screenplay.
A visually stunning experience, Interstellar takes us on a journey through space and time. Christopher Nolan deftly weaves together the past and future to tell the story of a group of astronauts whose mission is to save the human race.
With Earth in the throes of ecological disaster, the team must find out how best to save what remains – before it’s too late. The effects in the movie are overwhelming and immersive as we truly feel like we’re in these different eras across space and time, witnessing events unfold before our very eyes. It’s also an incredibly thought-provoking experience that questions just how far we would go for our children – will you sacrifice yourself for them?
The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont, based on the 1982 Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. The film stars Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne, a convicted murderer who spends two decades in Shawshank State Penitentiary. It tells the story of his time inside and eventual escape through a tunnel he had been digging for 20 years with fellow prisoner Ellis Boyd Red Redding (Morgan Freeman).
Released in 1972, the film is based on a book by Mario Puzo. The movie follows a man named Don Vito Corleone as he deals with the mafia in America. This movie is one of the best because it has everything a person could want – drama, violence, romance, and humor. Plus, it stars some of the most famous actors and actresses in Hollywood history such as Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.
Released in 1941, Citizen Kane is one movie that most top critics and film snobs agree to be the best film ever made. The pinnacle of the art form, Orson Welles wrote, directed, and starred in the film when he was only 25, which makes its critical acclaim all the more impressive.
Starting with his death at Xanadu, his estate in Florida, it tells the story of Charles Foster Kane’s life, jumping between the past and interviews in the present with those who knew him. Admit it, you’re a movie buff. It’s okay. We are too. If you liked this list, you need to check out 25 Best Netflix Original Movies.