Top 25 Best Hollywood Movies (All Time) Everyone Should See

Top 25 Best Hollywood Movies (All Time) Everyone Should See

You have the evening at your disposal, the popcorn is popped, and your sweatpants are on. The next task for you is to decide which of the many excellent films you have access to you will be your focus for the evening. Whatever genre you prefer—comedies, dramas, or romances—there are some films that, if you haven’t seen them yet, this is the ideal opportunity.

If the past few months spent cooped up in our houses have taught us anything, it’s that nothing transports us to a location that is incredibly different from where we are right now like a movie. These are the greatest films ever made, contemporary classics that will make millions of people envious if they ever get to see them for the first time. A few of them may be outside your comfort zone, and a few will introduce you to unfamiliar environments and cultures.

Here are the 25 Hollywood movies absolutely everyone should see (and if you’ve seen them, ones to watch again and again).

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Cast: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $626,025,500

Famous quote: “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” — Don Corleone

The Godfather entered this world as pulp fiction, embodied in Mario Puzo’s book. Coppola and his associates transformed the Mafia melodrama into popular art that satisfies on every conceivable level, serving as a family drama, a crime saga, a visual and musical ravishment, and an impeccable evocation of a historical period, in a creative alchemy perhaps never seen before or since.

Given that Godfather is 42 years old, anyone who saw it when it was released in 1972 is probably 60 years of age or older. This suggests that younger viewers still connect with its mythic values, exceptional performances, and potent storytelling just as much as they did when they were older. Additionally, the movie is set exactly halfway between the introduction of sound films and the present. It is both traditional in its storytelling and modern in its critical viewpoint, making it both classical and modern. It’s a movie that covers everything. — Todd McCarthy.The Godfather entered this world as pulp fiction, embodied in Mario Puzo’s book. Coppola and his associates transformed the Mafia melodrama into popular art that satisfies on every conceivable level, serving as a family drama, a crime saga, a visual and musical ravishment, and an impeccable evocation of a historical period, in a creative alchemy perhaps never seen before or since.

Given that Godfather is 42 years old, anyone who saw it when it was released in 1972 is probably 60 years of age or older. This suggests that younger viewers still connect with its mythic values, exceptional performances, and potent storytelling just as much as they did when they were older. Additionally, the movie is set exactly halfway between the introduction of sound films and the present. It is both traditional in its storytelling and modern in its critical viewpoint, making it both classical and modern. It’s a movie that covers everything. — Todd McCarthy.

Director: Victor Fleming

Cast: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $32,950,500

Famous quote: “Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh, my!” — Dorothy

Elizabeth Daley, dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, says she would take “The Wizard of Oz” with her if she were marooned on a desert island. “It gives me a constant sense of life. I could keep watching it.” And people have, successive generations at that. According to the Library of Congress, it has been regularly screened on broadcast television since the mid-1950s, making it the most-watched film of all time (and on cable since the ’90s). Not to mention the prequels and sequels that Hollywood cranks out like a bunch of flying monkeys every ten years. With James Franco playing a handsome young wizard, the most recent, Oz the Great and Powerful, brought in over $230 million at home box office. It’s obvious that that yellow brick road is made of gold.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Cast: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $202,374,900

Famous quote: “There are many things my father taught me here in this room. He taught me: keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” — Michael Corleone

As soon as the sequel was out, people started debating which Godfather—the first or the second—was better. Among the respondents to this poll, the first movie has the advantage, but Part II also has a devoted following. Producer Albert Berger describes it as “one of those films where every aspect of the film industry is operating at the pinnacle.” Additionally, it’s entertaining and makes a statement about our nation.”

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Dee Wallace

Domestic lifetime gross: (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $989,737,100

Famous quote: “Be good.” — E.T.

Though it’s the first movie on the list, it’s by no means the last (Spielberg has seven). And since E.T. is essentially The Wizard of Oz in reverse, it makes perfect sense that it would be his most well-liked work. Consider this: When a three-foot-tall munchkin lands on Earth, he makes friends with three locals and their small dog, who help him find his way to a place that isn’t quite like home. But where does E.T. go in his spaceship at the end of the story? Indeed, beyond the rainbow. When the theory was introduced to Spielberg a few years ago, he remarked, “I never thought of that before.” “Do you mind if I steal that?”

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Cast: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $344,621,600

Famous quote: “Well, I don’t think there is any question about it. It can only be attributable to human error. This sort of thing has cropped up before, and it has always been due to human error.” — Hal

It was the first space film to take space and special effects seriously; in fact, Kubrick destroyed the sets after filming to ensure they wouldn’t resurface in lesser sci-fi productions. Although 2001 lacks the star power of films like Star Wars and Close Encounters, it does feature one of the most well-known match-cuts in film history—the bone transforming into a spaceship. Additionally, despite the film’s smooth-talking computer’s 46-year-old operating system, people still want to own it: An estimated quarter of a million people have downloaded the HAL 9000 app from iTunes.

Director: George Lucas

Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation 2014): $1,136,162,800

Famous quote: “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” — Han Solo

Many things were raised by Star Wars, including the amount of aliens that could fit in a bar comfortably, the number of aliens that could fit in a mythological storytelling structure, box office receipts, and special effects. The Deal, however, is what really makes the film enduring: Lucas negotiated the rights to the merchandise and the sequels, which Fox thought were worthless in 1977 but are now valued at billions of dollars.

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation 2014): $614,823,400

Famous quote: “You want to talk to God? Let’s go see him together, I’ve got nothing better to do.” — Indiana Jones

During a Hawaiian vacation, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg had an idea for Raiders, which satisfied both of their cravings for a classic serial and a James Bond movie (though, astonishingly, the 007 producers had rejected Lucas’s offer to direct). Lucas turned to Han Solo after Jeff Bridges turned down the part of Indiana Jones (originally named Smith) and Tom Selleck was unable to break free from his Magnum P.I. contract.

Director: Victor Fleming

Cast: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $1,592,000,000

Famous quote: “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” — Scarlett

It’s still the longest film to win best picture (nearly four hours) and the first to have an African-American cast member win an Oscar (Hattie McDaniel). Ironically, its only surviving star is Olivia de Havilland, 97, whose character was the main one to die.

Director: Robert Mulligan

Cast: Gregory Peck, Robert Duvall, Mary Badham, Phillip Alford

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): No numbers available

Famous quote: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” — Atticus Finch

More than 50 years later, this is still a pitch-perfect portrait of race and rural America during the Great Depression. No wonder it’s Superman’s favorite movie (according to Clark Kent’s Wikipedia page, at any rate).

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Cast: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $249,848,900

Famous quote: “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” — Kilgore

Harvey Keitel got fired. Brando showed up overweight and unprepared. Sheen had a heart attack and nearly died. And storms destroyed many of the sets. Has a better film ever been made from worse circumstances?

Director: Frank Capra

Cast: James Stewart, Donna Reed

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): No numbers available

Famous quote: “Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.” — Zuzu Bailey

It was Capra’s favorite, and Stewart’s, too, but it bombed when it first was released. Like George Bailey, though, it got a second chance, becoming a holiday classic thanks to endless Christmas TV showings.

Director: Roman Polanski

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $124,295,200

Famous quote: ” ‘Course I’m respectable. I’m old. Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.” — Noah Cross

This is the first of three Nicholson films to make the 100. But he’s beaten by Robert Duvall and Robert De Niro (both with four) and by Marlon Brando and Harrison Ford (with five apiece).

Director: Jonathan Demme

Cast: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $247,200,400

Famous quote: “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.” — Hannibal Lecter

The only horror film ever to win best picture. It also won best director, adapted screenplay, actress and actor (for Hopkins’ 25-minute turn, the second-shortest performance to win that trophy behind Peter Finch‘s in Network).

Directors: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly

Cast: Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $1,741,800

Famous quote: “Lina. She can’t act, she can’t sing, she can’t dance. A triple threat.” — Cosmo Brown

Reynolds once said that making this film and giving birth were the two hardest things she’d ever done. Kelly reportedly was a tyrant on the set.

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $74,672,700

Famous quote: “Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave.” — Batty

Despite studio tinkering (adding a voiceover, slapping in aerial footage shot for Kubrick’s The Shining to give the ending a sunny feel), it remains the ultimate noir, sci-fi detective movie.

Director: Irvin Kershner

Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $627,743,400

Famous quote: “No. I am your father.” — Darth Vader

An almost Shakespearean tragedy. The hero loses a hand but gains a father. And his best friend is frozen solid. Try and imagine the second installment of another giant sci-fi franchise that ends on such a downer. Go ahead.

Director: Sam Mendes

Cast: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $198,483,000

Famous quote: “Remember those posters that said, ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life?’ Well, that’s true of every day but one — the day you die.” — Lester Burnham

Chevy Chase, Kevin Costner, and John Travolta all reportedly were considered for the part of Lester Burnham (which, incidentally, is an anagram for “Humbert learns,” one of the film’s many hat tips to Lolita).

Director: Rob Reiner

Cast: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $186,114,700

Famous quote: “I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” — Harry Burns

Talk about great acting. According to sources on the set, Crystal and Ryan hated each other’s guts. (Although Crystal denies it, saying he and Ryan had a great working relationship.)

Director: David Fincher

Cast: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $57,957,800

Famous quote: “Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club!” — Tyler Durden

Bonham Carter’s line after her sex scene with Pitt — “That was the best f– I’ve had since grade school” — was a replacement. The original, more offensive line: “I want to have your abortion.”

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Cast: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $339,626,800

Famous quote: “They’re probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I’m not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching… they’ll see. They’ll see and they’ll know, and they’ll say, ‘Why, she wouldn’t even harm a fly…’” — Norman Bates

Hitch’s serial killer thriller was a shocker — but not just because of the shower scene. It was the first film to show a toilet.

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, John Hurt

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $250,359,100

Famous quote: “You are my lucky star. You… Lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky.” — Ripley

When they shot the film’s most famous scene — the alien bursting through Hurt’s chest — the filmmakers didn’t tell the cast what would happen. The horror on their faces is real.

Director: John Lasseter

Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $349,191,900

Famous quote: “To infinity, and beyond!” — Buzz Lightyear

Each CGI frame took from four to 13 hours to render, nearly as long as the last iPhone update.

Director: James Cameron

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $1,021,633,200

Famous quote: “I’ll never let go, Jack. I’ll never let go.” — Rose

Both were the biggest of their day (882 feet for the vessel; $200 million for the film). But the boat sank, while the film went on to become the second-largest grosser in history (after Avatar).

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $686,198,500

Famous quote: “Hold on to your butts.” — Ray Arnold

There was a four-way bidding war for Michael Crichton‘s novel: Warner Bros. wanted it for Tim Burton, Fox liked it for Joe Dante, Columbia chased it for Richard Donner, but Universal won for Spielberg.

Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger

Domestic lifetime gross (adjusted for inflation, 2014): $591,181,400

Famous quote: “Some people just want to watch the world burn.” — Alfred Pennyworth

Ledger took the Joker very seriously, even applying his own face paint before each shot.

There are other movie lists, after all. Many, many others. You couldn’t even begin to list all the lists. However, this is the first time that the top films ever made have been asked to be selected by the entertainment industry itself. THR distributed an online vote to every studio, agency, public relations company, and production house on both sides of the 405 in May. Initially, not everyone was excited to take part, according to Hollywood Reporter.

Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, told THR, “I reject the idea.” “To me, it’s the equivalent of having a party-size bag of Nacho Doritos, then being told to eat only five.” Ultimately, though, he submitted his favorites—among them, 1961’s Yojimbo—along with 2,120 other industry professionals, such as Jim Gianopulos, the head of Fox, Alan Horn of Disney, Gary Ross, producer Frank Marshall, Sue Kroll of Warners, agent Robert Newman, lawyer John Burke, filmmaker John Singleton, and numerous others. These are the outcomes: Hollywood claims these are the best films ever made.

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