200+ Great Films

Pages related to this topic:
Recent Best Films
200+ Great Films
Narrative Structures in Films: A Mindmap
Thomas Mann on film: Text from “The Magic Mountain”
Mistakes in Film Criticism
Aristotle’s Six Elements of Drama

This set of lists makes it pretty easy to find a good film: if it’s on one of these lists, chances are you will enjoy the film.
Please Note: Although most of these titles in the table below have been checked for availability, some may be currently out of stock or may have been withdrawn from circulation by the studio.


Movie Making/Hollywood:
Mulholland Drive    A
The Stunt Man    A
The Player     A
The French Lieutenant’s Woman   A

Melding Fact with Fiction:
A Beautiful Mind

Cartesianism, Memory, and
Alternate Realities:

Fight Club
Vanilla Sky
The Matrix

Film Noir:
Double Indemnity
Touch of Evil
Mildred Pierce
The Third Man
The Maltese Falcon

Underground Sci-Fi:
Mars Attacks
Buckaroo Banzai
Dark Star
Dark City (1998)
The Lathe of Heaven (1980)

Best Lina Wertmüller:
Seven Beauties (1976)
Swept Away (1974)

Best Woody Allen:
Crimes and Misdemeanors
Sweet and Low Down
Radio Days
Take the Money and Run
Deconstructing Harry (1997)
Annie Hall
Play it Again Sam
Bullets over Broadway
Hannah and Her Sisters

Liquid Sky
Dark Star
The River’s Edge
Looking for Richard
The Rapture
Wild at Heart
Red Rock West
Night on Earth
The Emerald Forest
Baghdad Cafe

Foreign Films:
Babbette’s Feast
Pele the Conqueror
Ju Dou
Jesus of Montreal
Dersu Uzala
Il Postino
The Shop on Main Street
Wings of Desire

Lesser-Known Classics from Hollywood’s Golden Era:
The Red House
The Sea Wolf
M Street
Manhattan Tales*
Now, Voyager
The Letter
The Razor’s Edge
The Trial
Bend of the River
Cimarron (1931)

The Producers
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
The Gold Rush
The Philadelphia Story
The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944, VHS)
The General
Silent Movie

Films and Communism:
Citizen X
One, Two, Three 
The Amazing Adventures of Mr. West
in the Land of the Bolsheviks 

Burnt By the Sun 
Stalin’s Projectionist 

* Limited Availability


1. Citizen Kane, 1941
2. Casablanca, 1942
3. The Godfather, 1972
4. Gone With the Wind, 1939
5. Lawrence of Arabia, 1962
6. The Wizard of Oz, 1939
7. The Graduate, 1967
8. On the Waterfront, 1954
9. Schindler’s List, 1993
10. Singin’ in the Rain, 1952
11. It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946
12. Sunset Boulevard, 1950
13. The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1957
14. Some Like it Hot, 1959
15. Star Wars, 1977
16. All About Eve, 1950
17. The African Queen, 1951
18. Psycho, 1960
19. Chinatown, 1974
20. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975
21. The Grapes of Wrath, 1940
22. 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968
23. The Maltese Falcon, 1941
24. Raging Bull, 1980
25. E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial, 1982
26. Dr. Strangelove, 1964
27. Bonnie and Clyde, 1967
28. Apocalypse Now, 1979
29. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, 1939
30. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 1948
31. Annie Hall, 1977
32. The Godfather Part II, 1974
33. High Noon, 1952
34. To Kill a Mockingbird, 1962
35. It Happened One Night, 1934
36. Midnight Cowboy, 1969
37. The Best Years of Our Lives, 1946
38. Double Indemnity, 1944
39. Doctor Zhivago, 1965
40. North by Northwest, 1959
41. West Side Story, 1961
42. Rear Window, 1954
43. King Kong, 1933
44. The Birth of a Nation, 1915
45. A Streetcar Named Desire, 1951
46. A Clockwork Orange, 1971
47. Taxi Driver, 1976
48. Jaws, 1975
49. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937
50. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969
51. The Philadelphia Story, 1940
52. From Here to Eternity, 1953
53. Amadeus, 1984
54. All Quiet on the Western Front, 1930
55. The Sound of Music, 1965
56. M*A*S*H, 1970
57. The Third Man, 1949
58. Fantasia, 1940
59. Rebel Without a Cause, 1955
60. Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981
61. Vertigo, 1958
62. Tootsie, 1982
63. Stagecoach, 1939
64. Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977
65. The Silence of the Lambs, 1991
66. Network, 1976
67. The Manchurian Candidate, 1962
68. An American in Paris, 1951
69. Shane, 1953
70. The French Connection, 1971
71. Forrest Gump, 1994
72. Ben-Hur, 1959
73. Wuthering Heights, 1939
74. The Gold Rush, 1925
75. Dances With Wolves, 1990
76. City Lights, 1931
77. American Graffiti, 1973
78. Rocky, 1976
79. The Deer Hunter, 1978
80. The Wild Bunch, 1969
81. Modern Times, 1936
82. Giant, 1956
83. Platoon, 1986
84. Fargo, 1996
85. Duck Soup, 1933
86. Mutiny on the Bounty, 1935
87. Frankenstein, 1931
88. Easy Rider, 1969
89. Patton, 1970
90. The Jazz Singer, 1927
91. My Fair Lady, 1964
92. A Place in the Sun, 1951
93. The Apartment, 1960
94. Goodfellas, 1990
95. Pulp Fiction, 1994
96. The Searchers, 1956
97. Bringing Up Baby, 1938
98. Unforgiven, 1992
99. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, 1967
100. Yankee Doodle Dandy, 1942


Rebecca, 1940
Spartacus, 1960
Do the Right Thing, 1989
Beauty and the Beast, 1947 (French)
Picnic at Hanging Rock, 1979 (Australian)
You Can Count on Me, 2000
Burnt by the Sun, 1994 (Russian)
The Man With a Movie Camera, 1929 (Russian)
Babette’s Feast
The Seventh Seal, 1956 (Swedish)
Traffic, 2000
The Game, 1997
Fight Club, 1999
Rain, 1932
Once Upon a Time in the West, 1968
Telling Lies in America, 1997
Ran, 1985 (Japanese)
Children of Paradise, 1946 (French)
Blade Runner, 1982
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, 1962
Eyes Wide Shut, 1999
The Bicycle Thief, 1949 (Italian)
The Letter, 1940
Taxi Driver, 1976
Greed, 1924
The Seven Samurai, 1954 (Japanese)
Sunset Blvd., 1950
Groundhog Day, 1993
Crumb, 1994
Berlin Alexanderplatz, 1980 (German)
East of Eden, 1955
The Lathe of Heaven, 1980
Momento, 2000
Sleeper, 1973
“M”, 1933
Open City, 1945
Blow Up, 1960
Aguirre: The Wrath of God, 1977
The Magnificent Ambersons, 1942
Nashville, 1975
White Heat, 1949
Akira, 1988
The General, 1927
Seven Beauties
Hoop Dreams
Sullivan’s Travels, 1941
Reservoir Dogs, 1992
The Cat People, 1942
Come Back, Little Sheba
Seventh Heaven, 1927
Das Boot
Wild at Heart
Pele the Conquer, Swedish, 1987
The Return of Marin Guerre, French, 1982
Of Mice and Men
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
Dirty Harry
Wise Blood
Wings of Desire
Mr. Skeffington
Black Narcissus, 1947
Pinocchio, 1940
Wings of Desire, 1987 (German)
Refifi, 1958 (French)

* ABOUT THE AFI LIST: In an amusing and light-hearted book about film ( Ten Sure Signs a Movie Character is Doomed…), critic Richard Roeper suggested that the AFI list has many films that simply do not belong among the “top 100.” He asks: is The Graduate really the 7th best film of all time? Although there may be no truly bad films on the AFI list, from the standpoint of movie fans looking to broaden their horizons and by mining the rich history of film, the AFI list has many flaws. First of all, since the list is just of American films, it eliminates many of the world’s great classics. Second, the whole idea of ranking films in order is dubious at best; there is a class of excellent films, but individual rankings within that class are near pointless since each film is excellent in its own way. Third, some films (such as The Graduate and The Silence of the Lambs) appear to have been included because of the momentary impact they made in popular consciousness rather than for their importance to film history or their continued relevance. To be sure, the AFI list includes great masterpieces, such as Vertigo and Citizen Kane. But it can be argued that both Hitchcock and Welles are underrepresented on the list; there are many Welles or Hitchcock films not presently on the list that would surely be better choices than The Graduate! With these thoughts in mind, I endeavored to create a somewhat whimsical list of films better than The Graduate. I tried to follow these rules: (1) the films could not already be on the AFI list (lest I merely reorder the AFI list — an even more dubious exercise than the present one!); (2) some of the same directors and genres from the AFI list had to be included; (3) foreign films should be included; and (4) from a movie fan’s point of view the list had to have an entertainment or viewability quotient similar to that of films that did make the AFI list. Viewability is always a concern. After all, from the consumer’s point of view, the ultimate question is: do I want to spend money on this? The column at the right of the table is the result of this experiment in list building. -ab


By Anthony Birch

Anthony Birch, Ph.D. has taught Business Ethics, Introduction to Ethics, Contemporary Ethics, and Introduction to Philosophy at a number of colleges and universities. He is the co-author of How to Ace Your Online Course, available at Amazon.

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