Ranking the best movies ever made is a pretty impossible task. First of all, no one in the world has seen every movie ever made. Even if someone had pulled off that feat, movies are very subjective and what one person thinks is a great film might not be so well-regarded by someone else. The closest we can come to have 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 which have been rated by millions of viewers. While the list is always changing, the top 10 films have remained quite unchanged for a number of years now. Check out the top movies of all time, according to IMDB.
10 Fight Club
David Fincher remains one of the most talented film-makers 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 film and one of the most exciting films of the 1990s.
The film stars Edward Norton as a mundane working man whose life is changed when he meets the mysterious Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) and the two start a club for grown men to beat each other up. The dark humor, brutal violence and warped philosophies make it a thrilling watch and the twist ending makes you want to rewatch the movie again and again.
9 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Westerns have been a Hollywood staple since the very beginning, but when the genre went over to Italy, it changed the Western forever. The so-called Spaghetti Westerns told more complex stories with unique styles of film-making that were unlike anything audiences had seen before. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is the definitive entry in that subgenre.
The film follows three deadly men on a quest to retrieve buried treasure in the midst of the Civil War. The movie helped popularize the Mexican Standoff trend which is still used in action movies today, made a star of Clint Eastwood and gave us one of the most iconic films scores of all time.
8 Pulp Fiction
Quentin Tarantino is one of the most popular film-makers of all time. His unique voice, extensive film knowledge and penchant for mixing hilarious comedy with brutal violence helped to inspire a generation of film-makers. Pulp Fiction is regarded by many as his masterpiece, and it's hard to argue with that.
The film intercuts between various stories set in the Los Angeles underworld. Tarantino takes familiar crime stories and gives them his own special twist. The film is unpredictable and fast-paced, with endlessly quotable dialogue all backed up by an amazing soundtrack. Often imitated but never duplicated.
7 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Few people thought adapting J.R.R. Tolkien's epic Lord of the Rings series for the big screen would be possible, but Peter Jackson proved them all wrong. With The Return of the King, Jackson managed to conclude one of the greatest film trilogies of all time in a truly satisfying way.
The film brings the quest to destroy the One Ring to a big end. While the film gets ridiculed for dragging out its finale, Jackson and his team did a beautiful job bringing it all to a close in this emotional spectacle that features some truly amazing battle sequences.
6 Schindler's List
It's no surprise to see Steven Spielberg's name appear on the list of the top rated films of all time. Given his penchant for creating beloved films, there were a number that could conceivably be in the top 10. However, it is his most difficult movie to watch which ranks the highest, which is appropriate as it is one of his finest jobs as a director.
Schindler's List is a harrowing story of the real-life tale of Oskar Schindler and his attempts to save Jewish citizens during the Nazi rule in Germany. While Schindler may be an inspiring hero, the film is most effective as a horrific depiction of the Holocaust. Shot in haunting black and white, Spielberg created a film that will last in the minds of viewers for years to come.
5 12 Angry Men
While most of the films on this list are giant epics, 12 Angry Men is, by comparison, much smaller. However, that does nothing to lessen its impact. The film is set almost entirely inside a jurors room as the twelve men debate a murder case they have just overseen. With one voice insisting the accused is innocent, the film details the life-or-death debate which ensues.
While the setting might seem dull, it only helps to give the movie a sense of intensity. The film-making brilliantly makes the room seem more and more confined as the debate rages on. The claustrophobic feel adds to the atmosphere of it all. It's stunning proof that small scale films can pack a big punch.
4 The Dark Knight
Just ahead of 12 Angry Men, which is the oldest movie on this list, The Dark Knight comes in as the newest. The superhero genre might not get a lot of respect from most cinephiles, but Christopher Nolan's second Batman film proved they can deliver smart, epic and thrilling movies.
The film details Batman's desperate attempt to stop Joker from destroying Gotham as he searches for someone to take up the role of the city's protector. The film feels like a crime epic, with some amazing set pieces and unpredictable twists. However, the film is most remembered for the late Heath Leger's mesmerizing performance as the anarchist Joker.
3 The Godfather: Part II
The Dark Knight is one of those rare examples of how a sequel can actually be a worthwhile film on its own. Of course, the most famous example of this is The Godfather: Part II. It probably seemed like a preposterous idea at the time for Francis Ford Coppola to make a follow-up to his widely acclaimed crime saga, but he proved it was a very good idea.
Without Marlon Brando returning for his iconic role, the film tells the story of young Vito Corleone, played by Robert De Niro who makes the role his own. Along with those amazing flashback scenes, the sequel follows Michael's further decent into the world of crime and his complicated relationship with his brother Fredo. A brilliant continuation and a masterpiece in its own right.
2 The Godfather
The Godfather: Part II is one of the most acclaimed films of all time and still it's not the highest ranked film in that trilogy. That honor goes to the original. There's a lot of debate among film fans about which is the better movie, but it's safe to say they are both massive achievements in cinema.
This is the story of the Corleone family, an Italian-American mafia family who struggle with maintaining power after their patriarch is nearly assassinated. The film is violent, funny, intense, emotional and so much more. There are countless quotable lines and unforgettable sequences. It's no wonder it is regarded as such an inspiring film to so many of today's best film-makers.
1 The Shawshank Redemption
It's no surprise that the highest ranked film of all time is also one of the most crowd-pleasing films of all time. You would think that a story set inside a maximum security prison would not have many pleasing moments, but The Shawshank Redemption manages to be a surprisingly uplifting tale.
Based on a Stephen King story, the film is told over several years at the titular prison and centers on a friendship between two inmates. The relationship between the two men is one of the most heart-warming friendships ever shown on screen and it helps give the film those beautiful moments which lead up to one of the greatest endings in film history.