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The 30 Best Movies Of All Time (According To IMDb)

What are the best movies of all time? Ranking the best movies ever made is a pretty impossible task. However, the closest thing to a definitive ranking is a list based on audience ratings. In that sense, IMDb’s list of the top-rated films of all time might be among the best of its kind.

IMDb remains one of the most popular movie information sites on the internet. Their top-rated movies list is compiled of films that have been rated by millions of viewers. While the list is always changing, the top films have remained quite unchanged for a number of years now.

Updated on August 16th, 2022 by Colin McCormick: While it is fun to stay current with all the new movies being released, sometimes it is just easier to return to those ever-popular classic movies everyone seems to love. While all movie-goers have different opinions on what makes up the top 10 movies of all time, there is something for everyone among IMDb’s top-rated movies, from the best Hollywood movies to international hits and from movies of the 21st century to movies decades old.

Whether fans are revisiting an old favorite or catching up on a famous movie they have overlooked, this collection is a good place to look for the best movies of all time.


30 Back To The Future (1985) – 8.5

  • Available to rent on Apple TV

There have been a number of time travel movies over the years, but few have used the concept as brilliantly as Back to the Future. Michael J. Fox stars as Marty McFly, a young man living in the 1980s who is transported back into the 1950s with the help of his scientist friend Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd).

The movie is a wild mix of comedy and science-fiction that makes for a wonderful and timeless adventure. Fox and Lloyd make for a charming duo, and while the trilogy as a whole is very beloved, there is no beating the first movie.

29 Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) – 8.6

  • Available on HBO, HBO Max

Following up the sci-fi thriller The Terminator would be no easy task, but James Cameron found a clever new approach for Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The movie follows young John Conner now being targeted by a terminator from the future only for a T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to be sent back as his protector.

Switching Schwarzenegger from the villain to the hero was a genius move and turned it into a much more fun ride than the original. With groundbreaking special effects and some unbelievable action sequences, it is one of the greatest sequels ever made.

28 Star Wars (1977) – 8.6

Though not often seen as the best in the series, Star Wars remains the movie that kicked off what is likely the most popular movie franchise of all time. Introducing fans to a galaxy far, far away, the movie established its iconic character and started the grand adventure.

Even all these years later, it is easy to see how Star Wars blew audiences away at the time. It is an endlessly enjoyable space adventure that is as enthralling as it is entertaining.

27 Interstellar (2014) – 8.6

  • Available on Paramount+, FX Now and DIRECTV

Few directors have as passionate a following as Christopher Nolan. Though Interstellar was not as critically acclaimed or financially successful as some of his other movies, many Nolan fans still regard it as one of the best movies of all time.

Matthew McConaughey stars as a man who reluctantly leaves his family behind to join a space mission to find a suitable planet for humanity to live on. With stunning visuals, a complex story, and great performances, Interstellar is seen by many as a sci-fi movie that demands to be rewatched.

26 The Green Mile (1999) – 8.6

Though not one of Stephen King’s most famous stories, The Green Mile still made for a compelling movie. Set in a death row prison in the 1930s, Tom Hanks plays a prison guard who forms an unexpected connection with a seemingly gentle new prisoner (Michael Clarke Duncan).

The drama is a surprising, moving, and heartbreaking story of the lives of these prison guards being changed by one man. It also features several outstanding performances, especially from Hanks and Duncan.

25 Life Is Beautiful (1997) – 8.6

It is a very difficult thing for a movie to combine humor and an uplifting tone inside a story that is also filled with tragedy and heartbreak. But that is something that Life is Beautiful accomplished in the minds of many fans which explains its popular reputation.

C-written by, directed by, and starring Roberto Benigni, the Italian movie tells the story of a positive-minded Jewish man and his son who become victims of the Holocaust in World War II and the father goes to great lengths to convince his son that they are in the midst of one big game.

24 Saving Private Ryan (1998) – 8.6

Steven Spielberg has told a number of war movies over the course of his career, but Saving Private Ryan has been hailed as one of the best movies of all time to realistically capture the horror and chaos of war. The movie stars Tom Hanks as the leader of a memorable war movie squad who set out on a rescue mission to find a soldier who is being sent back home.

The depictions of the WWII battles have been called some of the greatest ever seen on film. Spielberg’s grand vision and exciting storytelling elevate this movie from a typical team-on-a-mission adventure to a deeply impactful experience.

23 City Of God (2002) – 8.6

  • Available on HBO Max, HBO and Max Go

It takes a very special international movie to strike a chord with audiences all over the world but City of God was a story that transcended language. The movie takes place in the slums of Rio and tells the story of two young children on different paths, with one seeking to become a photographer and the other seeking to become a criminal kingpin.

The movie makes for a harrowing coming-of-age story. It is also a stylish adventure that does not shy away from the uglier aspects of the story but is also laced with an engrossing energy.

22 The Silence Of The Lambs (1991) – 8.6

  • Available on Prime Video, Showtime and Fubo TV

Sometimes audiences want to experience a story that puts them on the edge of their seats for their entire movie. The Silence of the Lambs delivers just such an experience as it stars Jodie Foster as an FBI agent who seeks the help of serial killer Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in order to catch a new killer.

Lecter has become one of the most iconic movie villains of all time, but he is not the only reason the movie earns such a high ranking. It is an expert thriller that fills the audience with dread yet keeps their eyes glued to the screen with a brilliant showcase of acting, writing, and directing.

21 It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) – 8.6

  • Available on Prime Video, Hoopla and Plex

As perhaps the most beloved Christmas classic of all time, It’s a Wonderful Life is a movie many fans continue to enjoy year after year. But while it is the perfect holiday viewing experience, it is a story that can touch the hearts of audiences at any time of the year.

Jimmy Stewart gives a winning performance as a man who finds himself in a desperate place on Christmas eve and is given the gift of seeing just what his life means to the people around him. It is a funny, charming, and emotional story that stands the test of time.

20 Seven Samurai (1954) – 8.6

  • Available on HBO Max and Criterion Channel

It cannot be understated just how widely Akira Kurosawa has influenced some of the best Hollywood movie directors and his film Seven Samurai is likely the most influential of all. The movie has not only been remade into Western movies like The Magnificent Seven, but the filmmaking style also has seen plenty of homages.

The adventure story follows a group of masterless samurai who are hired by poor farmers to help protect their village from bandits. It is truly one of the best action movies of all time and remains a wild ride decades later.

19 Se7en (1995) – 8.6

David Fincher cemented himself as one of the best Hollywood movie directors of the 90s with the gripping serial killer movie Se7en. It is a film that has a premise terrifying enough to creep audiences out. However, viewers were not ready for the intensity and shocking story that was in store for them.

Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman star as two homicide detectives on the trail of a killer who murders his victims based on the Seven Deadly Sins. It is an atmospheric and haunting crime procedural with one of the most shocking endings in Hollywood history.

18 One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest (1975) – 8.7

Jack Nicholson delivered one of his best performances in the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. He plays a criminal who fakes a mental illness in order to go to a psychiatric hospital rather than prison. There, he becomes the leader of the eccentric group of patients and challenges the sadistic head nurse.

The movie is a terrific blend of comedy and drama with Nicholson doing his best devilishly charming performance. The result is a complex and unforgettable story.

17 Goodfellas (1990) – 8.7

  • Available on HBO Max and Netflix

Martin Scorsese has made a number of gangster movies throughout his career, but many see Goodfellas as his masterpiece. It tells the true story of Henry Hill (played by the late Ray Liotta) who became a major player inside a lucrative and dangerous mob family.

Scorsese’s brilliance in telling this story is in how he draws the audience in with the intoxicating nature of this exciting and lavish world before shocking them with the violence and ugliness. It also features one of the most unsettling movie villains of all time – Tommy DeVito, played by Joe Pesci.

16 The Matrix (1999) – 8.7

While last year’s The Matrix: Resurrections didn’t work for everyone, the first movie remains one of the most groundbreaking movies of the 1990s. From the inventive action to the thought-provoking story, The Matrix is a mind-bending genre masterpiece.

Keanu Reeves stars as Neo, a bored office worker who is exposed to a shocking reality about the world he lives in and begins his quest to become the savior of humanity. Even more than two decades later, it has aged extremely well for an action movie.

15 Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – 8.7

It’s perhaps shocking to some fans that no Star Wars film broke into the top ten. What is less surprising is that The Empire Strikes Back is the highest-rated film in the franchise. The story set in a galaxy far, far away told a much darker and more complex story this time around.

The story finds the heroes separated with Darth Vader closing in on them. With interesting growth for the returning characters and some iconic new ones turning up, this film truly showcased how much sequels can further a story.

14 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) – 8.8

  • Available on HBO Max and Prime Video

Seeing as The Two Towers comfortably ranks as one of the best movies of all time on IMDb despite being the lowest-rated movie in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, it’s quite apparent this series is beloved. The second film saw the fellowship divided as they attempted to defeat Sauron’s forces of evil.

The film is another grand fantasy epic with two standout elements, the first being the proper introduction of the character Gollum and the second being in the massive and thrilling battle sequence in the third act.

13 Inception (2010) – 8.8

Christopher Nolan proved himself to be one of the most ambitious filmmakers around with his mind-bending crime film, Inception. The film follows a team of thieves with the ability to enter people’s dreams and steal their ideas. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the team’s leader, looking to pull off one last score.

The inventive idea of the film is backed by Nolan’s stunning visuals. It makes for some unforgettable action sequences. It is much more than just another heist film and contains one of the most debated endings of all time.

12 Fight Club (1999) – 8.8

  • Available to rent on Apple TV

David Fincher remains one of the most talented filmmakers working today. His projects are often dark, but always compelling thanks to his own perfectionist approach and unique visual style. Fight Club stands as his most popular project and one of the most exciting films of the 1990s.

Brad Pitt creates an iconic character with Tyler Durden, a mysterious philosopher who leads Edward Norton’s mild-mannered protagonist to create an underground fighting community. The dark humor, brutal violence, and warped philosophies make it a thrilling watch and the twist ending makes fans want to rewatch the movie again and again.

11 Forrest Gump (1994) – 8.8

  • Available to rent on Apple TV

Tom Hanks created perhaps his most iconic film character of all time with the titular character in Forrest Gump. The film follows the many misadventures of a simple yet kind man as he inadvertently inserts himself into many of the biggest moments in American history.

Hanks gives a wonderful performance, infusing this character with enough charm and heart to save him from seeming cartoonish. It is a funny, touching, and entertaining film that remains a crowd-pleasing adventure all these years later.

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