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Top 50 Hollywood Movies of All Time


Hollywood as the Mecca of world's entertainment industry had produced movies that in volume, cinematographic specialties or in genres or in reshaping genres or in any other parameters could not be matched by any other film and entertainment industries in the world. In selecting great movies of outstanding merit from around the world one always stumbles upon a pack of movies majority of which belongs to Hollywood. The stupendous task of presenting here top 50 Hollywood movies of all time must come with the accompanying challenges and unavoidable risk of being criticized from all corners as no movie list can accommodate everyone's judgment and choices. We tried to follow several determinant factors in selecting these movies from more than 80 years of Hollywood history, like popularity, awards and recognitions, box office success, critical acclamation, cultural and historic significance as an artistic statement and cult following. In following these parameters we tried to situate myself in distance from personal choices or favorites. Here we go with our selection of top 50 Hollywood movies of all time.

  1. Godfather
  2. This 1972 American crime classic directed by Francis Ford Coppola had an influence on the world film, especially in the Gangster genre of film that no other film in the world cinema ever managed to produce. It won three Oscars respectively for best actor, best picture and best adapted screenplay and is widely regarded as one of the few all time greats in the world cinema.

  3. Citizen Kane
  4. This 1941 American drama classic by Orson Welles is considered by the American Film Institute as the greatest American film of all time. Though initially the film was a disastrous box office failure it generated huge critical acclamation all over the world as a rare masterpiece for generations. Technically this film is still regarded as one of the landmark film for all ardent lovers of movies. No wonder that it would be an invariable choice in our list of top 50 Hollywood movies of all time.

  5. Gone With the Wind
  6. By any measure box office success or critical acclamation or awards or durability of the prominence over time this film would always be there among the all time greats in the world cinema. This 1939 historical epic film by Victor Fleming managed a commercial success that took 25 years to be broken. The film apart from its tremendous popularity and box office success also bagged 10 Academy awards in almost all major categories which was also a record for a long time.

  7. The Shawshank Redemption
  8. This 1994 drama film by the lesser known director Frank Darabont featuring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in the two lead roles was really a great surprising event in the world film. More than its huge box office success it was critically acclaimed as an all time classic all over the world.

  9. The Great Dictator
  10. If you want to talk about one versatile genius in film who's contribution made the modern film language possible in many respects and who with his directional skills and prodigious acting became a cultural icon he is definitely Charlie Chaplin and this 1940 political satire against the all power full fascist Hitler and Nazi aggression is his best. Chaplin in the comic role as Hitler produced one of the greatest acting scores in his life. The Great Dictator is also his most commercially successful film.

  11. Psycho
  12. Alfred Hitchcock is one of the few most gifted directors of psycho thriller genre of movies whose enigmatic creations in a way established the genre in the world film. Psycho is his most rich, dark and enigmatic movie which is still considered to be one of the greatest cult suspense horror films of all time and consequently our irreplaceable entry in the top 50 Hollywood movies of all time.

  13. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
  14. If for generations western movies of Hollywood have produced so many cult followings all over the world for its typical rough, tough and bold characters, most enigmatically gypsy gang lord like lifestyle and dramatic action, then few western classics are responsible for this lineage and reputation and this Sergio Leone classic featuring Clint Eastwood in the lead role is the greatest among them.

  15. Godfather Part II
  16. After Godfather made its lasting impression on the world movie this sequel by Francis Ford Coppola in many ways especially in technical brilliance even surpassed its predecessor. The film won six Academy awards apart from being nominated for 5 others.

  17. Casablanca
  18. If you want to name one American romantic film in the history of the world movies that made most widespread recognition as an all time classic, then it is Casablanca and nothing else. This 1942 classic by Michel Curtiz remained a favorite all over the world for generations and consequently an inevitable choice in our list of top 50 Hollywood movies of all time.

  19. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  20. If ever a social concern is addressed through the film drama of exceptional brilliance then this 1975 Milos Forman classic has no alternative. The film is the second in winning all major 5 Oscar awards respectively for best picture, best director, best actor, best actress and best screenplay.

  21. Unforgiven
  22. Clint Eastwood would always be remembered as a rarely gifted director and actor not only in Hollywood but in World Cinema and this 1992 modern western film encompassed all his acting and directorial genius in one filmic expression. The film apart from wining four Oscars and several nominations became an all time cult western classic in the subsequent time.

  23. Vertigo
  24. If suspense thriller had all its discreet and most different kinds of expression found in the hands of master director Alfred Hitchcock then this movie is definitely the most beautiful and mysterious of them. As one of the defining works of both Hitchcock's career and the genre of thriller in Hollywood this film several times named as one of the best films of all time by several renowned evaluating agencies.

  25. Apocalypse Now
  26. If you want to experience the tragic horror of modern warfare in its most psychological and political expression then this 1979 war epic film by the celebrated director Francis Ford Coppola is the best of the lot. With enigmatic Marlon Brando in the crucial role of a war lord and most emphatic journalistic show of Vietnam War this film really deserves to be one of the top 50 Hollywood films of all time. The film won Palm d'Or in Cannes film festival and won Academy award for best picture.

  27. The Apartment
  28. Billy Wilder is always regarded as a great director of social drama and with this 1960 comedy drama he surpassed all his previous scores as a director. The film apart from being nominated for 10 Oscars won 5 including the best picture category.

  29. The Searchers
  30. American Film Institute named this 1956 western classic by John Ford as the greatest American western film of all time. In many ways this film shaped the genre of western classic and made it popular.

  31. Roman Holiday
  32. If romance is your favorite genre in film then this Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn starred all time classic is the movie for you. The film garnered a typical popularity among the romance film lovers all over the world that no film in this genre could ever manage.

  33. Mystic River
  34. Another masterpiece from the master director Clint Eastwood and with this rich enthralling drama he acquired a different eminence in the world cinema outside his popular western film genre. This 2003 American drama apart from being nominated for 6 Oscars won four Oscars in both the best actor and best supporting actor category.

  35. Rear Window
  36. Alfred Hitchcock is the master story teller of suspense genre on the celluloid and he always found the long shadow of himself facing him as the greatest suspense and mystery filmmaker of all time. This is in many ways his breakthrough in a new film language of suspense thriller and undoubtedly a worthy candidate in our list of top 50 Hollywood movies of all time.

  37. The Thing
  38. If you want to name one movie with greatest ever cult following in the science fiction horror genre then this 1982 film by John Carpenter is the most prolific in the lot. The huge success of the film gave birth for many successive films in the genre.

  39. Shindler's List
  40. No filmmaker in the world so authentically documented the torturous time of the holocaust like Steven Spielberg with his historical documentation in the 1993 film Schindler's list. Apart from the box office success and huge critical reception all over the globe the film won 7 Academy award including best picture and best director.

  41. Pulp Fiction
  42. What Quentin Tarantino did with this world renowned crime film, no American director of crime film could ever achieve in the film history. With non linear story telling technique, use of cinematic allusions and popular cultural references of contemporary and past time the film became instantly acclaimed all over the world and won Palm d'Or in Cannes Film Festival.

  43. Goodfellas
  44. This 1990 American crime film by one of the greatest Hollywood director Martin Scorsese is unique in many respects, in portraying most authentic ambience through photography, acting brilliance and most perfection driven editing. The huge critical reception of the film inspired Scorsese to direct other sequels of the film on the same subject of organized crime racket.

  45. The Silence of the Lambs
  46. If one film to mention in the last two decades after the phenomenal crime suspense thrillers of Hitchcock all of which had a psychological bent, this 1991 psycho thriller is the right one in every aspect of judgment. The film won Oscars in all top five categories including best picture, best director, best actor, best actress and best adapted screenplay and in considering the huge artistic and critical reception of the film all over the world it is a must choice in our list of top 50 Hollywood movies of all time.

  47. Ben Hur
  48. Few films in the long history of the Hollywood could ever manage to garner such phenomenal success like Ben Hur. This 1959 epic historical drama film had set a record of winning 11 Oscars including all major categories until it had been equaled by Titanic on 1997.

  49. Forest Gump
  50. Forest Gump is a magical character, at once innocent, sporting, comic and profoundly sad played by one of the greatest actors of our time Tom Hanks. This 1994 film by Robert Zemeckis is termed in the film history as epic comedy drama romance film that points to the film's multifarious offerings as a rare beyond genre movie. The film won 6 Academy awards including best picture, best director and best actor for Tom Hanks.

  51. North by Northwest
  52. Alfred Hitchcock is the crime suspense psycho mystery thriller specialist and the greatest exponent of this genre of movies, but with this movie he proved his brilliance with tinge of filmic actions as well. Without this Hitchcock masterpiece our list of top 50 Hollywood movies of all time cannot be complete in any way.

  53. The Birds
  54. He is the only director in the entire America who consistently moved from one cinematic style to other in the genre of suspense psycho mystery thriller movies and in doing so he always encompassed more new things in his films every time. This 1963 masterpiece is a typical suspense horror film where Hitchcock incorporated the ferocious malice of birds that can attack a whole town and drive its people away. A too uncommon horror topic and in Hitchcock styled drama and meticulous cinematography it really became a gem of a thrilling experience.

  55. Once Upon a Time in the West
  56. This is another epic spaghetti western movie from one of the greatest director of the genre Sergio Leone. This 1968 old Wild West tale came with wide screen cinematography of visual splendor that is so intrinsic to raw western lands and most enigmatic actors in the roles of the bandits and cowboys. This film had been a subject of huge cult following in many parts of the world where it inspired great many masterpieces of the same theme.

  57. The Pianist
  58. Roman Polanski as one of the most versatile and prodigious directors of our time had thrilled with his masterpieces of horror and thrillers, but this 2002 epic biographical war film is different in content and filmic aspects and simultaneously considering the grave political statement that he could make with this film along with the huge critical success that the film received, this is his best. The film won Palm d'Or in Cannes and won three Academy award for best director, best actor and best adapted screenplay and undoubtedly one of the rare cinematic gems of recent time that we cannot drop from our list of top 50 Hollywood movies of all time.

  59. Chinatown
  60. Chinatown is Polanski's second best and the uniqueness of this part mystery and part psychological thriller movie is that along with the neatly woven drama featuring great actor Jack Nicholson in the middle and pace of the story the movie deals with an environmental problem regarding an issue of irrigation water in the city of Los Angeles in America. The mystery, the thrill and the socio-political backdrop, Polanski just created a modern avatar of social crime thriller.

  61. Gladiator
  62. If epic historical drama regarding the rich past of mankind and various historical periods is a popular genre in film making then Gladiator is its greatest exponent. This Ridley Scott film on the last year of the millennium rightly portrays our cinematic expression of wonder to our ancient past. The film apart from wining great many awards all over the world won 5 Academy awards including best picture.

  63. A Clockwork Orange
  64. Hollywood has always great modern cinematic avatars that are both artistically enigmatic and at once a public heart throb with critical as well as critical appreciation, but this 1971 film by Stanley Kubrick is probably one of the few Hollywood film with such huge artistic bent, from music score to the filmic presentation of drama to superb acting performance and uses of imagery. You just can't drop such an artistic marvel from your list of top 50 Hollywood movies of all time.

  65. No Country for Old Men
  66. If you have always turned toward Europe for cinematic exploration of grave philosophical exploration of themes such as fate, conscience and circumstance, this 2007 American thriller by the writer directors Joel and Ethan Coen is the best reason to turn toward Hollywood. The movie won all major three Academy awards respectively for best picture, best director and best screenplay for the same film and is a rare film in the modern time to deserve to prominently feature in the top 50 Hollywood movies of all time.

  67. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  68. This 1948 adventurous drama film directed by John Huston is unique in various regards, its storyline that depicts the oil explorer in the Mexico and the challenge from the local bandits and intriguing drama, almost entire outdoor shooting in offshore locations of Mexico, prodigious acting and grave cinematography that studies the time and space in minute detail.

  69. The Great Escape
  70. If war film, especially the filmic exploration of Second World War is your favorite then this 1963 American film on the escape and escape attempts of Allied forces prisoners from a German military camp is the right audio visual choice to serve your palate with intriguing drama and meticulous war and war camp description.

  71. Sunset Boulevard
  72. This 1950 social drama by Billy wilder is considered one of the most crafty works of the time exploring social aspects of common Americans that drawn on the lyrical aspects of their love and living hood. The film apart from being nominated for 11 Oscars won three and hailed as one of the Hollywood masterpieces by critics all over the world.

  73. For a Few Dollar's More
  74. If you are a diehard fan of spaghetti western classics then Sergio Leone is the greatest director of the genre and this 1965 second sequel of the famous Dollars trilogy has all that you have aspired to experience in a Wild West movie. Besides Leone, it is another masterpiece of Clint Eastwood as well in the lead role.

  75. A Fistful of Dollars
  76. Films with Wild West theme, especially the rich grandeur of spaghetti western films are quintessentially a Hollywood treasure and Sergio Leone directed three films of Dollar's trilogy can be considered as epitomizing all the charms of the theme in cinematic expression. So this 1964 first film of the trilogy starring one and only Clint Eastwood in the lead role is just another inevitable choice like the other two in our list of top 50 Hollywood movies of all time.

  77. Lawrence of Arabia
  78. This 1962 epic biographical film by David Lean is considered as one of the most influential films in the world cinema because of its dramatic presentation and cinematic skills in portraying the varied events of an unusual biographical account. Most importantly Arabian Desert life and its tribes have never been explored with such audacious details in western film before. A must see movie for any ardent lovers of Hollywood movie.

  79. A Streetcar Named Desire
  80. Can you name a enigmatic film drama which is a work of some of the top names of Hollywood play scene and actors who went on to make a classic that made lasting impression on our cinematic experience? This 1951 film by enigmatic play director Elia Kazan featuring great actor Marlon Brando and romantic queen Vivien Leigh in the lead roles is a modern epic that still is referred to as the iconic example of great show of acting brilliance. The film won Oscars in three out of four categories in acting, respectively for best actress, best supporting actor and best supporting actress.

  81. Rosemary's Baby
  82. After Hitchcock Polanski is definitely the greatest creator of psycho horror drama on celluloid and this 1968 film is his finest in the genre. Polanski knows how to create the most magical thrill and chilling shiver down your spine and this one portrays all his directorial abilities at their best.

  83. Matrix
  84. In our most weird thinking and imagination we could not give such importance to science fiction film as capable to hold some philosophical secrets deep within it along with marvelous cinematic drama and action accompanied by a genuinely austere and elegance soundtrack. Yes, this 1999 science fiction action film by Wachowski Brothers had it all. The theme had been inspired by the modern philosopher Jean Baudrillard with his notion of contemporary electronic reality as simulacra and simulation. The musical score by the great band Enigma was an artistic exposure of the dark theme. With cinematic reference to contemporary popular culture and philosophical exploration to our cyberspace reality this film is the most brilliant film of our present time and certainly deserves a place among the top 50 Hollywood movies of all time.

  85. Terminator 2: The Judgment Day
  86. If you want to name a science fiction action film of most breathtaking action sequence and enticing thrill for old and young alike then this 1991 second sequel of the Terminator has no counterparts in the world cinema. This James Cameron masterpiece apart from huge box office success received four Academy awards in different technical disciplines like editing, visual effects etc. This film is also credited for one of the greatest performance of Arnold Schwarzenegger as an action hero of outstanding vitality and force.

  87. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  88. This film is the final sequel of The Lord of The Rings Trilogy and being one of the richest portrayals of the epic comic theme in its most meticulously woven dramatic plot, is an all time treasure for the movie lovers all around the world.

  89. The Dark Night
  90. If epic superhero film is a quintessential Hollywood genre that touches the most aspiring and cherished dreams of larger than life presence of their alter ego on the celluloid then this superbly rich, dark 2008 film is packed with all cinematic marvels to serve the palate of movie lovers. Apart from eight nominations this Christopher Nolan film won two Oscars.

  91. Avatar
  92. If you are to choose films of one director from Hollywood who holds the record of greatest commercially successful films of all time apart from having the feat of producing greatest range of most gigantic science fiction films that earned him the reputation of being the most successful filmmaker of the genre then he is James Cameron and this 2009 epic science fiction film unquestionably is his best. The film still holds the record of highest box office success ever in the film history and is a great critical success with most outstanding visual effects produced by cutting edge technology. Avatar was nominated for nine Oscars in total and won three respectively for best cinematography, best visual effects and best art direction. The phenomenal success and prodigious amalgamation of technological brilliance and artistic exploration of a fictional theme made it an obvious choice in the top 50 Hollywood movies of all time.

  93. Blade Runner
  94. This 1982 science fiction action film by one of the greatest exponent of the science fiction genre Ridley Scott is by many measures is a rare marvel of scientific imagination, cinematic brilliance, richly woven dramatic plot and enigmatic acting of the great Hollywood hero Harrison Ford. The film after dividing critical assessment in negative as well as appreciating aspects all over the world became a cult film that influenced many successive science fiction films all over the world.

  95. The Sixth Sense
  96. This hugely acclaimed 1999 psychological horror film by Manoj Night Shyamalan is a rare classic in the psycho horror and mystery genre with richly interwoven plot concerning troubled isolated child who is in constant suspense in his freaks of seeing and talking experience to the people from dead world and this child is accompanied frequently by a child psychologist who is equally troubled. The film hailed by the critics as a pseudo portrayal of our modern psychological challenges and deep penetrating horror. Shyamalan came into prominence with this film for his directorial skills and most notably his fascination for surprise endings.

  97. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  98. Ah, we just cannot miss this western gem for its more matured drama set face to face with the modern legal proceeding with the Wild West cowboy heroes and for the typical run of the heroes in search of a more successful criminal career that gives the film a large tinge of thrill with other rich eclectic aspects of western movie. This 1969 western classic by George Roy Hill starring great actor Paul Newman in the lead role, won huge critical reception all over the world as one of the finest movies in the genre.

  99. The Titanic

If one disaster film is to be named in the entire Hollywood to produce such sublime cinematic impact with a most beautifully narrated romantic story as its central theme then it is none other than this James Cameron 1997 epic romantic disaster classic. The film is the second most commercially successful film in the world and equaled Ben Hur in its record of winning 11 Oscars including all major categories. This huge commercial and critical success is definitely something we cannot overlook in considering it to be one of the top 50 Hollywood movies of all time.

So here we are with our list of top 50 Hollywood movies of all time and in formulating such a list we just cannot sigh in relief, because the approaching debate over our audacity of leaving so many great films is already looming large in the distance. We knew our priority of selection and so great many movies that are our favorite, had to be dropped.

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