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List of films considered the best

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A mustachioed man in a suit leans on a lectern and points to his left. Behind him to the left is a large picture of himself wearing a hat.
Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane (1941)

While there is no general agreement upon which is the greatest film of all time, many publications and organizations have tried to determine the films considered the best. Each film listed here has topped a notable survey—whether a popular poll or a poll among film reviewers—or is the highest ranked exponent of its genre or country in such a survey. Many of these sources focus on American films or were polls of English-speaking film-goers, but those considered the greatest within their respective countries are also included here. Many films are widely considered among the best ever made, whether they appear at #1 on each list or not. For example, many believe that Orson Welles' Citizen Kane is the best film ever made, and it appears as #1 on AFI's Best Movies list, but it was displaced from the #1 position by Vertigo in the 2012 Sight & Sound decennial critics' poll.

None of the surveys that produced these citations should be viewed as a scientific measurement of the opinions of film viewers. Each may suffer the effects of vote stacking or skewed demographics. Internet-based surveys have a self-selected audience of unknown participants. The methodology of some surveys may be questionable. Sometimes (as in the case of the American Film Institute) voters were asked to select films from a limited list of entries.

Critics and filmmakers

Sight & Sound poll

Every decade, the British film magazine Sight & Sound asks an international group of film professionals to vote for the greatest film of all time. The Sight & Sound accolade has come to be regarded as one of the most important of the "greatest ever film" lists. The American film critic Roger Ebert described it as "by far the most respected of the countless polls of great movies—the only one most serious movie people take seriously."[1]

Brussels World's Fair's international poll

Main article: Expo 58

The Brussels World's Fair, organized in 1958, offered the occasion for the organization by thousands of critics and filmmakers from all over the world, of the first universal film poll in history. Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 film, Battleship Potemkin, was ranked in the top position.[3]

Rotten Tomatoes

In the Rotten Tomatoes aggregate score rankings, The Wizard of Oz (1939) is in 1st place as of 28 November 2016. The Third Man—ranked in 2nd place overall—is the highest ranked film with a 100 percent rating.[4]


Main article: Metacritic

Metacritic lists over 9,000 films ranked by aggregate score, which sees The Godfather ranked in the top position as of 27 November 2016. The Godfather is one of only three films on the Metacritic list to attain a perfect 100 score, along with Boyhood and Three Colors: Red.[5]


In a survey of the Hollywood region undertaken by The Hollywood Reporter in 2014, in which every studio, agency, publicity firm and production house was ballotted, over 2000 industry workers voted The Godfather (1972) the greatest film.[6]

Audience polls

Particular genres or media







  • 12 Angry Men (1957) is the highest-rated courtroom drama on Rotten Tomatoes's Top 100 Movies of All Times at #39 with 100% based on 48 reviews as of 28 November 2016.[4]





See The Wizard of Oz in the Rotten Tomatoes section above.





Science fiction

See Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back in the Films acclaimed in audience polls section above.



See Gone with the Wind in the Films acclaimed in audience polls section above.

  • Paths of Glory (1957) is #1 on the Movie Review Query Engine's list of the best military movies as of 1 December 2016.[46]





See also Cinema of Bangladesh


Czech Republic

  • Marketa Lazarova (1967) was voted the all-time best Czech-Slovak movie in a 1998 poll of 54 Czech and Slovak film critics and publicists.[53] The film was once again voted the all-time best Czech movie in a 2011 poll by the critics.[54][need quotation to verify]
  • Cosy Dens (1999) is the best Czech film according to readers' poll by Reflex magazine in 2011.[55]


See also: Cinema of Chile


See also: Cinema of China


  • Tko pjeva zlo ne misli (One Who Sings Means No Harm, 1970) was voted the best Croatian movie of all time by Croatian film critics in 1999.[59]


  • Kevade (Spring, 1969) received the first place in the Estonian feature films Top Ten Poll in 2002 held by Estonian film critics and journalists.[60]




Hong Kong




See also: Cinema of Iran
  • Bashu, the Little Stranger (1986) was voted "Best Iranian Film of all time" in November 1999 by a Persian movie magazine Picture World poll of 150 Iranian critics and professionals.[66]




See also: Cinema of Italy


See also: Cinema of Japan


New Zealand

See Lord of the Rings in the Films acclaimed in audience polls section above.


  • Ni Liv (Nine Lives – 1957 – Arne Skouen): The critics' choice for "Best Norwegian Film of All Time" during the 2005 Bergen International Film Festival.[73]
  • Flåklypa Grand Prix (Pinchcliffe Grand Prix – 1975 – Ivo Caprino): The people's choice for "Best Norwegian Film of All Time" during the 2005 Bergen International Film Festival.[73]


  • Baji (1963), directed by S. Suleman, topped the British Film Institute's critics' poll of "Top 10 Pakistani Films" of all time in 2002.[74]
  • Aina (1977), directed by Nazr-ul-Islam, topped the British Film Institute's user poll of "Top 10 Pakistani Films" of all time in 2002.[75]


  • Himala (Miracle) (1982) by Ishmael Bernal won the 2008 CNN Asia Pacific Screen Awards Viewers Choice as "Best Asia-Pacific Film of All Time" (voted for by thousands of film fans around the world).[76]


  • Teddy Bear (1980) was voted by the public of 2013 Filmfest PL as the best movie of all time.[77]




  • Pictures of the Old World (1972) was voted the best Slovak film of all time by Slovak critics in 2000 .[79]
  • The Shop on Main Street (1965) was named the second best film in the 100 years of Czech-Slovak cinema in a poll of 54 filmmakers, critics, and theorists. It was the best placed Slovak film in this poll.[53] It should be noted that there is a controversy whether the Film is Slovak or Czech.[80]

Sri Lanka


  • Persona (1966) by Ingmar Bergman reached the highest position (#5 in 1972) of any Swedish film on any of Sight & Sound's lists of greatest films of all time.[2]
  • The Phantom Carriage (Körkarlen, 1921) by Victor Sjöström was voted the best Swedish film of all time by 50 film critics and academics in a poll conducted by film magazine FLM in 2012.[83]



  • Yol (1982) by Şerif Gören was selected as the best Turkish film in a 2003 poll undertaken by Ankara Sinema Derneği (Ankara Association for Cinema Culture) of people interested in cinema professionally.[84]


United Kingdom

  • The Third Man (1949): Voted best British film ever by 1000 industry professionals, academics, and critics in a British Film Institute poll conducted in 1999.[85] Highest ranked British entry and #2 overall on the Rotten Tomatoes list of the best films of all time with a 100% rating based on 76 reviews as of 4 December 2016.[4]
  • Lawrence of Arabia (1962): voted "best British film of all time" in August 2004 by over 200 respondents in a Sunday Telegraph poll of Britain's leading filmmakers.[86]
  • Get Carter (1971): Named best British film in a poll of 25 film critics by Total Film magazine in 2004.[87]
  • Don't Look Now (1973): Named best British film in a poll of 150 film industry experts conducted by Time Out London in 2011.[88]
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) was voted the best British picture of all time by 7000 film fans in a 2004 poll by the UK arm of Amazon and Internet Movie Database.[89]

United States

See also

Wikipedia lists:

Lists by others:


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External links