Trying to decide which movies are the best movies ever made is difficult. Because, let’s face it, film is one of the most glorious entertainment and art mediums ever happen to the human race. And, there’s just so much awesome to choose from. In the realm of movies, no one is excluded. Whether it’s a child who’s imagination is limitless, the hopeless romantic, epic tales from history, or documentaries about the real world around us, there’s something for literally everyone.
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 part on screen.
The movies on this list may not be your favorite, but they all have had an impact on culture and filmmaking—from the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, the first film to give an Oscar to an African American, become a “must see” classic, or moving the industry forward in terms of special effects and storytelling. With input from critics, history, and a love of the medium, here are our 25 Best Movies Ever Made.
Silence of the Lambs
Based on the 1988 novel of the same name, this 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 7 Oscars in total, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay.
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” 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.
No, “Birds” is not the iconic Hitchcock film, “Rear Window” is (though one could also make an argument for “Rope”). It’s hard to tell which is the bigger draw here – Hitchcock’s unique storytelling style on a single set, or Jimmy Stewart’s performance. Grace Kelly wearing costumes from Edith Head alone also make it a movie worth watching, even if mystery suspense isn’t your thing. The basic storyline is that a newspaper photographer is stuck at home mending from a broken leg with nothing to occupy his time save his neighbors in the apartment complex. The photographer witnesses what he believes to be a murder, which he decides to solve from his window.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
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 it’s well thought out close-ups, his use of silence and dramatic scores. This is a great example of the genre at its zenith.
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.