Last updated on June 3rd, 2023 at 02:07 pm
Explore the list of the 101 films you need to see of 100 years. The world of film has seen many changes over the past 100 years, from the earliest days of silent cinema to the modern era of CGI (computer-generated imagery) and streaming. With so many great films to choose from, it can be difficult to narrow down a list of the top films of the past century. However, based on a combination of critical acclaim and cultural impact and educationally imperative, I have compiled a list of the top 101 films of the past 100 years.
This list includes a wide range of films from different genres, eras, and countries, showcasing the diversity and richness of the film medium. From the silent comedies of Charlie Chaplin to the epic dramas of Martin Scorsese, this list has something for everyone. Whether you’re a film buff or a casual moviegoer, these films are sure to entertain and inspire.
In this blog post, we will take a closer look at these top films and explore their significance in the world of film. From the groundbreaking special effects of “Within Our Gate 1920” to the revolutionary storytelling of “Nomadland 2020,” these films have left an indelible mark on the medium and continue to be celebrated and revered today. So, let’s dive into the world of cinema and explore the top 101 films of the past 100 years. But most of the suggestions came from the British Board of Film Certification, the American Film Institute, Wikipedia and IMDB.
It’s important to note that this list is not intended to be a definitive ranking of the best films ever made, but rather a collection of some of the most influential and impactful films of the past century I have found. These films have stood the test of time and continue to be relevant and meaningful and educative for us today as well. The list includes films from a variety of different countries and cultures, representing the global reach and impact of cinema. From the French New Wave to Indian Bollywood, these films showcase the diversity and richness of the film medium.
I hope that this list will inspire you to explore some of these films, whether you’re a film buff or a casual moviegoer. These films have the power to entertain, educate, and inspire, and we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience them. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride as we take a look at the top 101 films of the past 100 years.
The 101 films you need to See
1. Within Our Gates (1920)
The 1920 film Within Our Gates is a silent film directed by the African American filmmaker, Oscar Micheaux. The film tells the story of a young African American woman, Alma, who is falsely accused of having a child out of wedlock. The film explores themes of race, class, and gender, and is considered to be an important work of early African American cinema. Read the article.
2. All Quiet on The Western Front (1930)
All Quiet on The Western Front is a 1930 anti-war film based on the 1929 novel of German-American novelist Erich Maria Remarque which depicts the German-French war from 1914 to 1918 on the Western Front. The story is an account of casualties by one of the high school graduates, Paul Bäumer who outlived the other nineteen soldiers and eventually died minutes before the ceasefire. Read the article
3. M (1931)
M is a 1931 German crime film directed by Fritz Lang. The film stars Peter Lorre as the child murderer Hans Beckert and also features Gustaf Gründgens, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut, and Otto Wernicke. The film follows Beckert as he eludes the police and is eventually hunted down by a group of criminals who take justice into their own hands. Read the article
4. It Happened One Night (1934)
It Happened One Night is a 1934 American romantic comedy film about the story of a spoiled heiress and a hard-bitten newspaper reporter who fall in love while on a cross-country bus trip. It is considered one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time, and is known for its clever dialogue, its memorable performances, won five Academy including Best Picture which is commonly regarded as a classic of American cinema. Read the review.
5. The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film directed by Victor Fleming and starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, and Frank Morgan. The film is based on L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and follows a young girl named Dorothy who has been swept away from her home in Kansas to a magical land called Oz. Read the article
6. The Rules of the Game (1939)
The Rules of the Game is considered a masterpiece of French cinema and one of the greatest films ever made. The film is set in a French chateau and focuses on the relationships between a group of wealthy upper-class characters, examining themes of class, love, and morality. The film was initially met with controversy and was a commercial failure upon its release, but has since been re-evaluated and is now widely acclaimed. Read the article
7. Gone With the Wind (1939)
Gone With the Wind 1939 is a historical romance film based on American novelist Margaret Mitchell’s novel of the same name. Set in American Civil War, unlike the novel, the film portrays only the romantic affair between a headstrong Georgian girl, Scarlett and her childhood sweetheart Ashley Wilkes who customarily married his cousin Melanie. Scarlett’s unrequited love for Ashley and love for her homeland dominated the theme of the film. Read the article
8. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
The Grapes of Wrath is a 1940 American drama film based on the classic novel of the same name by John Steinbeck and tells the story of a poor Oklahoma family forced to migrate to California during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Starred stars Henry Fonda as Tom Joad, the leader of the family, the film is about resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity.
9. Rebecca (1940)
Based on the novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Rebecca 1940 is an American psychological thriller about a young woman who becomes the second wife of a wealthy widower, only to find that the memory of his late wife, Rebecca, still haunts their life together. It is known for its moody atmosphere, and gothic sensibility, as well as its memorable performances and it won two Academy Awards.
10. Citizen Kane (1941)
Citizen Kane is a 1941 film which is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made, known for its innovative cinematography, unique narrative structure, and Welles’ performance as the lead actor and co-writer. The film follows the life of newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane, exploring themes of power, wealth, and the meaning of existence. Read the article.
11. Casablanca (1942)
Directed by Michael Curtiz, the 1942 American romantic drama film Casablanca is about the story of a triangular love between an American expatriate in the German-controlled Moroccan city of Casablanca and a resistance leader’s wife that took place during World War II. The film is broadly viewed as one of the greatest films in American cinema and is known for its memorable dialogue, characters, and songs, and won three Academy Awards. Read the article
12. Bicycle Thieves (1942)
Bicycle Thieves (also known as The Bicycle Thief) is considered a masterpiece of the neorealist movement, which depicted post-World War II Italy through a realistic and unadorned lens. The film follows a poor man in Rome who needs his bicycle to work, that explores themes of poverty, desperation, and the struggle to survive in post-war Italy. Read the article
13. Going My Way (1944)
Going My Way is a 1944 American musical comedy-drama film to depict the adventures of a young and energetic Catholic priest as he tries to bring new life to a struggling parish. Though faced criticism, the film was a commercial success and won seven Academy Awards and was famous for some memorable songs. Going My Way was followed by a sequel, The Bells of St. Mary’s, released in 1945.
14. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
The Best Years of Our Lives is an American drama film that follows the lives of three World War II veterans as they return home and struggle to adjust to civilian life. Starring Fredric March, Dana Andrews, and Harold Russell, the film is renowned for its realistic depiction of the difficulties faced by veterans upon their return from the war. The film won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
15. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
It’s a Wonderful Life is an American Christmas fantasy drama film about the story of a man who is shown what life would have been like if he had never been born. The film is known for its heart-warming message about the importance of family, friends, and community and its celebration of the human spirit. Despite mixed reviews on its initial release, the is broadly regarded as one of the greatest films.
16. All the King’s Men (1949)
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Robert Penn Warren, All the King’s Men is a 1949 American political drama film about the rise and fall of a southern political boss, Willie Stark, who becomes governor of Louisiana. It touches on themes of corruption, ambition, and the influence of political power, and is noted for its strong performances and cinematography. The film is widely considered a classic of America. Read the article
17. All About Eve (1950)
The 1950 American drama film All About Eve tells the story of ageing Broadway star Margo Channing and her affair with an ambitious young fan, Eve Harrington who becomes her personal assistant. It is known for its witty dialogue, sharp remarks about the theatre world, and its exploration of themes such as ambition, jealousy, and the cost of success. The film is widely considered the greatest film of the 1950s. Read the article
18. An American in Paris (1951)
An American in Paris is a 1951 American musical film that tells of an American expatriate Jerry Mulligan as he falls in love with a young French ballerina, Lise Bouvier while following his dream of becoming a successful artist. The film features a score by George Gershwin and includes such classic songs and is widely considered a classic of musical cinema and a defining film of the genre.
19. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Singin’ in the Rain is a 1952 American musical romantic comedy film. It features the iconic song and dance number “Singin’ in the Rain” performed by Kelly. The film is widely considered one of the greatest musicals ever made and is often cited as one of the best films of all time. It was added to the National Film Registry in 1989. Read the article
20. Tokyo Story (1953)
Tokyo Story is a 1953 Japanese film which is considered one of the greatest films ever made and is considered a masterpiece of Japanese cinema. The film follows an ageing couple who travel to Tokyo to visit their grown children, but find that their children are too busy to spend much time with them. Read the article
21. From Here to Eternity (1953)
From Here to Eternity is a 1953 American war drama film that follows a group of soldiers stationed in Hawaii in the days leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbour. The film explores themes of love, loyalty, and the human cost of war, and is known for its iconic beach kissing scene between Kerr and Lancaster. It won eight Academy Awards is widely considered a classic of Hollywood cinema.
22. Seven Samurai (1954)
Seven Samurai is a 1954 Japanese epic samurai drama film that tells the story of a poor village that hires seven ronin (masterless samurai) to protect them from a band of marauders. It is regarded as one of the greatest films ever. Read the article
23. On the Waterfront (1954)
On the Waterfront is a 1954 American crime drama film that stars Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy, a former boxer who becomes embroiled in the corruption of the New York City docks. The film is a powerful examination of social and political corruption, the abuse of power, and the redemptive power of speaking out against wrongdoing. Read the article.
24. The Night of the Hunter (1955)
The Night of the Hunter is a 1955 American film directed by Charles Laughton and starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, and Lillian Gish. The film is based on the 1953 novel of the same name by Davis Grubb and tells the story of a rogue preacher, Harry Powell (Mitchum), who marries a widow in order to steal the money her late husband had hidden from a bank robbery. Read the article.
25. Pather Panchali (1955)
Pather Panchali is a 1955 Indian Bengali-language film directed by Satyajit Ray. It is the first film in the Apu Trilogy, which follows the life of Apu, a young boy growing up in a poverty-stricken rural family in Bengal. The film explores themes of childhood, poverty, and the struggle for survival in rural India, and is widely regarded as a classic of Indian cinema.
26. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 American drama film. It is a film that explores themes of teenage rebellion, youth culture, and middle-class family life in America. James Dean’s iconic portrayal of the restless, troubled teenager Jim Stark has made the film a cultural touchstone and established Dean as a symbol of teenage disillusionment. Read the article
27. The Searchers (1956)
The Searchers is based on the novel “The Searchers” by Alan Le May and follows Edwards as he embarks on a five-year journey to find his niece, who was abducted by Comanche Indians. Along the way, he encounters various challenges and conflicts as he becomes more preoccupied with his search. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest Westerns ever made and is noted for its innovative cinematography and nuanced characters.
28. The Seventh Seal (1957)
The Seventh Seal is a 1957 film that takes place during the Black Death and follows a knight who returns from the Crusades and encounters Death personified. Through a series of existential discussions, the knight tries to postpone his inevitable death. The film explores themes of death, faith, and the search for meaning. Read the article.
29. Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Experience the intense drama and action of the 1957 classic film Bridge on the River Kwai as Allied prisoners of war are forced to build a bridge for their Japanese captors during World War II. Starring Alec Guinness and William Holden, this film is a must-see for any war or history buff. Read the article
30. 12 Angry Men (1957)
12 Angry Men is a 1957 American drama film directed by Sidney Lumet. The film is set in a jury room and follows the deliberation of a jury of twelve men as they try to reach a verdict in a capital murder case. The film is a tense and powerful examination of the American legal system and the biases and prejudices that can shape a verdict. Read the article
31. Vertigo (1958)
Vertigo 1958 is widely regarded as a classic of the thriller genre and one of the greatest films ever made. The film stars James Stewart and Kim Novak and follows a retired police detective who becomes obsessed with a woman he is hired to tail. The film is known for its groundbreaking use of special effects and is a masterclass in suspense and psychological drama. Read the article
32. Gigi (1958)
Gigi is a 1958 American musical film. The film is based on the 1944 novella of the same name by Colette and stars Leslie Caron as the title character, Gigi, a young Parisian girl being groomed as a courtesan in turn-of-the-century France. Winning nine Academy Awards, Gigi was a critical and commercial success and is widely considered a classic of musical cinema and is remembered for its extravagant sets, costumes, and musical numbers.
33. Some Like it Hot (1959)
Some Like It Hot 1959 stars Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon, and is considered one of the greatest comedies ever made. The film follows two musicians who witness a mob hit and go on the run dressed as women to escape the gangsters. They join an all-female band and the film becomes a comedy of mistaken identities, sexual intrigue, and slapstick humour. Read the article
34. Imitation of Life (1959)
Being a remake of the 1934 film of the same name based on Fannie Hurt’s novel, Imitation of Life is a 1959 American drama film that depicts the story of two single mothers, one white and one black, who struggle to raise their daughters while pursuing their dreams. The film addresses the facts of race, class, and gender, and was noted for its frank depiction of racial tension and social issues.
35. Ben-Hur (1959)
Based on Lew Wallace’s novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, Ben-Hur is a 1959 American epic historical drama film that follows the story of a Jewish prince from Jerusalem, who is enslaved by the Romans and later becomes a chariot racer. The film was a critical and commercial success, winning 11 Academy Awards and considered a classic of cinema and remains one of the greatest epic films of all time.
36. The Apartment (1960)
The 1960 romantic comedy-drama The Apartment portrays the story of Bud Baxter, a low-level insurance clerk who allows his bosses to use his apartment for their extramarital affairs. However, Bud was forced to do the complex and conflicting demands of his job, his love life and his conscience when he eventually fell in love with one of the boss’s lovers. It remains a beloved classic of comedy-drama cinema.
37. Psycho (1960)
Psycho 1960 is widely regarded as a classic of the horror genre and one of the greatest films ever made. The film follows Marion Crane, who steals money from her employer and goes on the run, only to check into the Bates Motel, run by the mysterious Norman Bates. It is a suspenseful, tense film that explores themes of mental illness, guilt, and obsession. Read the article
38. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
To Kill a Mockingbird is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Harper Lee. The film is set in the 1930s and follows a young girl, Scout Finch, as she grows up in the South and witnesses the injustice and prejudice of racism. The film’s central character is Atticus Finch, Scout’s father and a lawyer, who defends a black man falsely accused of rape. Read the article
39. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
The Manchurian Candidate is a political thriller film of 1962 that stars Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, and Angela Lansbury. The film is the story of a former prisoner of war, who returns home as a pawn in a communist conspiracy to manipulate American politics. The Manchurian Candidate was applauded by critics and audiences alike, and it has since become a classic of political thriller cinema, inspiring several remakes and adaptations.
40. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
The 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia is a historical epic starring Peter O’Toole as T.E. Lawrence, a British army officer who played a vital role in the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The film depicts Lawrence’s experiences in the desert, his relationships with Arab leaders, and his personal struggles as he navigates the complex political and cultural landscape of the Arab world during his visit. Read the article
41. Cleopatra (1963)
Cleopatra is a 1963 American epic historical drama film that depicts the life of Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt, and her relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. The film was one of the most expensive films ever made at the time of its release. Despite its critical and commercial success, the film is also famous for its troubled production history. Read the article
42. My Fair Lady (1964)
Released in 1964, My Fair Lady is a musical film based on George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion of the same name which is a story of Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower seller who is transformed into a lady through the tutelage of a phonetician, Professor Henry Higgins. The film is one of the beloved musical cinemas, known for its iconic songs and performances, and its timeless story of transformation and self-discovery.
43. The Sound of Music (1965)
Directed by Robert Wise The Sound of Music is a 1965 American musical film based on the Broadway musical of Richard and Oscar Hammerstein II that presents a love story of a young nun, Maria, and an Austrian widowed naval officer, Von Trapp, and his eldest daughter, Liesl and a member of Nazi SS Germany during German annexation of Austria in 1938. Read the article
44. A Man for All Seasons (1966)
A Man for All Seasons 1966 is a British historical drama film based on the play of the same name by Robert Bolt and tells the story of Sir Thomas More, the 16th-century English Chancellor who refuses to sign the Act of Supremacy recognizing King Henry VIII as head of the Church of England. The film explores themes of conscience, morality, and the power of the state. Read the article
45. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a 1966 Italian spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone. It was a critical and commercial success and is widely considered one of the greatest Westerns ever made. The film’s influence on the Western genre and its depiction of the American West has been immense, and it remains a classic of world cinema. Read the article
46. The Graduate (1967)
The Graduate is a 1967 American comedy-drama film based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Charles Webb. The film stars Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, and Katherine Ross and follows the story of Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate who is seduced by an older woman and then falls in love with her daughter Elaine.
47. Oliver (1968)
Adapted from Charles Dickens’s classic novel Oliver Twist Oliver, Oliver! is a musical film released in 1968 stars Mark Lester as Oliver, Ron Moody as Fagin, and Jack Wild as the Artful Dodger. The musical numbers and performances, as well as the cinematography, have been widely acclaimed, and the film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, bagging five. It remains a much cherished and enduring classic of musical cinema.
48. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Midnight Cowboy is a 1969 American drama film that stars Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman and is based on the novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy. The film follows the story of a naive Texan who travels to New York City to become a male prostitute and forms an unlikely friendship with a failing con artist. The film is a character study of two outcasts struggling to survive in the gritty, urban environment of New York.
49. Patton (1970)
Patton is a 1970 biographical war film based on the life of one of the most successful American commanders during World War II, General George S. Patton. The film focuses on his military career, including his debated personality and his key role in the Allied victory in North Africa, the Sicilian campaign, and the Normandy landings. It remains one of the most widely seen and well-regarded portrayals of a military figure in American film history.
50. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is based on the novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl and stars Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, the eccentric owner of a chocolate factory who invites five children on a tour of his factory. The film is a whimsical and fantastical tale that explores the world of imagination and the dangers of greed. Read the article
51. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Based on once banned book of the same name, A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 science fiction film set in a dystopian future England and stars Malcolm McDowell as Alex, the leader of a gang of violent thugs who are involved in a life of crime, ultraviolence and joyriding. After being caught by the authorities, Alex is subjected to an experimental behavioural modification program aimed at rehabilitating him and reducing his violent tendencies.
52. The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather is a 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It is based on the novel of the same name by Mario Puzo and is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. The film follows the Corleone family, a powerful Mafia clan in New York City, as they navigate the challenges of running a criminal empire and balancing their personal and business lives. Read the article
53. Chinatown (1974)
Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir mystery film that stars Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes, a private investigator who becomes embroiled in a complex web of corruption and deceit while investigating a water rights case in 1930s Los Angeles. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of the 1970s and one of the greatest noir films ever made. Read the article
54. All the President’s Men (1976)
The 1976 political thriller film All the President’s Men is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, two Washington Post reporters who investigate the Watergate scandal, which ultimately leads to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest films and is considered one of the best films about journalism. Read the article
55. Annie Hall (1977)
Directed by Woody Allen, Annie Hall is a 1977 American romantic comedy film that follows the ups and downs of a love affair between a neurotic comedian and the in-name-only character, an aspiring singer. The film is widely considered one of Allen’s best films and is regarded as one of the greatest films of all time and the best film of the 1970s. Commercially successful, it won four Academy Awards.
56. Apocalypse Now (1979)
Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American epic war film loosely based on the novel “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad. The film is set during the Vietnam War and follows a U.S. Army captain who is sent upriver to find and kill a rogue American colonel who has gone insane. The film is a surreal and intense meditation on the nature of war and the toll it takes on those who fight it. Read the article
57. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Kramer vs. Kramer is a 1979 American drama film about a couple who go through a bitter custody battle for their young son after the wife leaves the husband to pursue her career. The film explores the fact of parenthood, relationships, and gender roles. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest American films of the 1970s and is still considered a classic of modern American cinema.
58. Ordinary People (1980)
Based on the novel of the same name by Judith Guest, Ordinary People is a 1980 American drama film that showcases the story of a wealthy family from an outlying area dealing with the outcome of a tragic accident that claims the life of one of their sons. It focuses on the family’s struggles to come to terms with their grief, and also their attempts to rebuild their relationships and find meaning in their lives.
59. The Verdict is a (1982)
The Verdict is a 1982 American legal drama film that tells the story of a down-on-his-luck lawyer named Frank Galvin who takes on a medical malpractice case and must navigate through a complicated and corrupt legal system to get justice for his client whose sister in on com due to medical negligence. The film received critical acclaim, and Newman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance. Read the article
60. Gandhi (1982)
Gandhi is a 1982 biographical drama film is a portrait of the life and legacy of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Indian independence leader who played an important role in India’s struggle for freedom from British rule through his philosophy of nonviolent resistance. Gandhi won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and remains an important and influential portrayal of Gandhi and his impact on India and the world. Read the article
61. Amadeus (1984)
Amadeus is an American drama film based on a fictional retelling of the life of Mozart, one of the most celebrated composers of classical music. The film was well-received critically and commercially and won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Abraham. It remains one of the most distinguished films about classical music and the life of a musical genius.
62. Platoon (1986)
Platoon is a 1986 American war film that stars Charlie Sheen as Chris Taylor, a young U.S. infantryman serving in the Vietnam War, and Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger as two of his superiors whose differing ideologies come into conflict. Platoon has been considered a classic of the war genre film and is known for its realistic and brutal depiction of the Vietnam War, and the effects of war on soldiers.
63. The Last Emperor (1987)
The Last Emperor is a 1987 British-Italian epic historical drama film that covers the life of Puyi, the last emperor of China, who ruled from 1908 to 1912 as the child emperor and later as a puppet emperor under Japanese occupation. The film covers Puyi’s life from his childhood to his exile and eventual imprisonment after the fall of the Qing dynasty. Read the article
64. Rain Man (1988)
The American comedy-drama Rain Man stars Tom Cruise as Charlie Babbitt, a self-centred young man who discovers that he has an autistic older brother whom he takes on a road trip to Los Angeles. The film was very successful commercially and won four Academy Awards, and is widely regarded as a classic of American cinema and is known for its portrayal of autism and the power of human connection.
65. Dead Poets Society (1989)
Dead Poets Society 1989 stars Robin Williams as John Keating, a passionate and unorthodox English teacher at a conservative preparatory school in the late 1950s. Keating inspires his students to think for themselves and to seize the day, leading them to a new appreciation for poetry and life itself. It is a powerful and moving tribute to the power of creativity and the importance of individuality and self-expression. Read the article
66. Dances With Wolves (1990)
Dances with Wolves is a 1990 American epic Western film that tells the story of John Dunbar, a Civil War-era Union Army lieutenant who befriends the Sioux tribe and gradually adopts their way of life. The film is considered a classic of the Western genre and is known for its portrayal of Native American culture, friendship, and cultural differences.
67. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American psychological horror-thriller film based on the 1988 novel of the same name by Thomas Harris. The film tells the story of Clarice Starling, an FBI trainee who was assigned to track down a serial killer while receiving guidance from a notorious cannibalistic serial killer. The film received five Academy Awards and is widely considered a classic of the horror and thriller genres.
68. Schindler’s List (1993)
Schindler’s List is an American historical drama film based on Australian novelist Thomas Keneally’s book Schindler’s Ark that depicts how a Czechoslovakian German Catholic SS member, Oskar Schindler, saved 1,100 Polish Jews during the Nazi Holocaust during WWII. Being a Nazi party profiteer businessman, who produced pots and pans and later started a munition factory by employing Jewish workers. Read the article
69. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Shawshank Redemption 1994 follows the story of a banker who wrongly is convicted of murder and sent to Shawshank Prison. Over the course of 20 years, he forms an unlikely friendship with fellow inmate Red and adapts to life in prison, all the while working to clear his name and regain his freedom. The Shawshank Redemption is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of the 1990s. Read the article
70. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Pulp Fiction is a 1994 American crime film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. The film is widely considered one of the greatest films of the 1990s and is known for its complex, non-sequential storytelling, discourse, soundtrack, and ensemble cast. The film won the Palme d’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival and was a commercial success. It remains one of the most influential films in modern cinema.
71. Forrest Gump (1994)
Forrest Gump is a 1994 American comedy-drama film to star Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, and Gary Sinise, and tells the story of a slow-witted but athletically gifted man, Forrest Gump, from Alabama. The film was a commercial success, winning six Academy Awards. It is widely regarded as a classic of American cinema and is known for its blend of humour, heart and notable quotes.
72. The Before Trilogy (1995-2013)
The “Before” trilogy is a series of three films directed by Richard Linklater: Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004), and Before Midnight (2013). The films follow the relationship between Jesse (played by Ethan Hawke) and Celine (played by Julie Delpy) as they meet, fall in love, and navigate the ups and downs of their relationship over a period of 20 years. Read the article
73. Braveheart (1995)
Directed and co-produced by Mel Gibson, Braveheart is a 1995 American epic war film that shows the struggle of the 13th-century Scottish warrior, William Wallace against England and which eventually led to the independence of Scotland during the reign of King Edward I. It was a commercial success to bag five Academy Awards. It is known for its rousing speeches, battle scenes, and depiction of Wallace as a legendary hero.
74. Se7n-Seven (1995)
Seven is a 1995 American neo-noir psychological crime thriller film stars Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kevin Spacey. It is a story of two detectives who track down a serial killer who selects his victims based on the seven deadly sins. The film was well-received by critics and audiences and is considered a classic of the thriller genre.
75. Fargo (1996)
Fargo is a 1996 crime film that shows how Marge Gunderson, a pregnant police chief in Brainerd, Minnesota, investigates a series of homicides that includes kidnapping for ransom gone wrong. It is known for its dark humour, quirky characters, and its depiction of the Midwestern United States. It was critically acclaimed upon its release and has since become a cult classic. It won two Academy Awards.
76. The English Patient (1996)
The English Patient is a 1996 romantic war drama film stars Ralph Fiennes as Almásy, a Hungarian-British geographer and cartographer who was badly burned in a plane crash and was being cared for by a nurse in an Italian monastery near the end of World War II. It features a series of flashbacks that explore Almásy’s past relationships and his involvement in the desert campaign of the North African War. Read the article
77. Children of Heaven (1997)
Children Of Heaven is an Iranian film based on the story of a nine years old boy, Ali, and his sister, Zahra, who had to share the same pair of shoes to go to their school. It amazingly portrays the struggle of a poverty-stricken family in the heart of Tehran where stood the first high-rise building, Hotel Burj-e-Sefid. Just how important a pair of shoes can be, has been defined in the film. Read the article
78. Titanic (1997)
Titanic is a 1997 epic romantic disaster film directed, written, co-produced and co-edited by James Cameron starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as Jack and Rose, two travellers on the ill-fated Royal Mail Ship Titanic, who fell in love on its maiden voyage. It was a massive commercial success, grossing over $2 billion globally to become the highest-grossing film of all time until Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar. Read the article
79. Shakespeare In Love (1998)
Shakespeare in Love is a 1998 romantic period comedy-drama starring Joseph Fiennes as William Shakespeare, who falls in love with Viola de Lesseps, a wealthy merchant’s daughter who disguises herself as a man to audition for one of his plays. It displays the themes of love, creativity, and the art of theatre and features an ensemble cast, witty dialogue, and a lush production design.
80. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American war film that features Tom Hanks as Captain John Miller, who leads a group of soldiers during World War II on a mission to find and save Private James Francis Ryan, a paratrooper whose three brothers have been killed in action. The film received widespread critical acclaim and was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Spielberg.
81. American Beauty (1999)
The 1999 dark comedy-drama film American Beauty stars Kevin Spacey as Lester Burnham, a disillusioned suburban father who begins to revive his own desires and youth after developing an infatuation with his daughter’s best friend. It explores the topics of a midlife crisis, societal pressures, and suburban malaise and features a critically acclaimed performance. It was a commercial and critical success, winning five Academy Awards in 2000. Read the article
82. In the Mood for Love (2000)
In the Mood for Love is a 2000 Hong Kong romantic drama film that stars Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung as neighbours in 1960s Hong Kong who form a close friendship as their respective spouses are frequently absent. As they grow closer, they must navigate the social and cultural mores of the time while resisting their growing attraction to each other. Read the article
83. Gladiator (2000)
Gladiator is an epic historical drama film to depict the life of Maximus Decimus Meridius, a powerful general in the Roman army who is betrayed and forced into slavery. He rises through the ranks of gladiators to seek revenge against the emperor who killed his family and seeks justice. The film was a critical and commercial success, winning five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and grossing over $450 million worldwide.
84. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The Lord of the Rings is a film trilogy directed based on the epic fantasy novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. The story tracks hobbit Frodo Baggins and his friends as they embark on a quest to destroy the One Ring, a powerful artefact created by the dark lord Sauron, and save Middle-earth from his oppression. The films were commercially successful and won 17 out of 30 Academy Awards they were nominated for.
85. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
A Beautiful Mind 2001 film is based on the life of Nobel Prize-winning economist and mathematician John Nash who begins to suffer from symptoms of schizophrenia as he rises to prominence in the mathematics community. The film follows Nash’s journey as he struggles with his mental illness while trying to maintain his relationships and academic career.
86. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Catch Me If You Can 2002 is based on the life of Frank Abagnale Jr., a con artist who posed as a doctor, lawyer, and pilot, among other professions, to defraud people. The film is a thrilling and entertaining one that explores the life of a skilled and audacious con artist and the law enforcement officer who pursued him. The film received positive reviews for its witty script, sharp direction, and strong performances.
87. The Room (2003)
The Room 2003 follows the story of Johnny, a successful banker who seems to have it all until his fiancé Lisa cheats on him with his best friend Mark. The film has become a cult classic, attracting a dedicated fanbase who regularly attend screenings and quote its most memorable lines. The film’s legacy has grown over the years, with many considering it one of the best and worst movies ever made.
88. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Million Dollar Baby is a 2004 American sports drama film directed by Clint Eastwood to tell the story of an ageing boxing trainer who takes on a young female boxer as his protégé, only to face a moral dilemma when she is critically injured in the ring. The film was a critical and commercial success, earning four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Eastwood.
89. The Notebook (2004)
The Notebook is based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. The film follows the love story of Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton, two young people from different worlds who fall in love one summer and are separated by circumstances beyond their control. The film jumps back and forth between their present-day relationship, as an elderly man reads to a woman with dementia from a notebook that recounts their earlier story.
90. The Departed (2006)
The Departed 2006 follows the story of Billy Costigan, a young cop who goes undercover to infiltrate the inner circle of a powerful crime boss named Frank Costello. It was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $290 million worldwide, and won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Scorsese. The film is widely regarded and considered a modern classic of the crime-thriller genre.
91. The King’s Speech (2010)
The King’s Speech is a 2010 British historical drama film that focuses on King George VI’s struggles with a stammer, and his relationship with his speech therapist. Set in the 1930s, the film covers the period leading up to King George VI’s ascension to the throne and his efforts to overcome his speech impediment with the therapist’s help. It was a critical and commercial success with four Academy Awards.
92. The Tree of Life (2011)
The Tree of Life is a 2011 American investigational epic drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick and featuring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain. The film explores the meaning of life, spirituality, and nature through the lens of a family in the 1950s and features incredible visuals, impressionistic images, and a fragmented account. The film was severely criticised upon its release and was nominated for three Academy Awards.
93. Life of Pi (2012)
Life of Pi is a 2012 American survival drama film based on the novel of the same name by Yann Martel that tells the story of Pi Patel, a young Indian boy who survives 227 days adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named. The film features breath-taking special effects and is known for its beautiful cinematography.
94. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
12 Years a Slave is a 2013 historical period drama film based on the 1853 memoir of the same name by Solomon Northup. The film portrays the life of a free-born black man who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the antebellum South where he struggled and experienced as a slave for 12 years before being rescued. The film won three Academy Awards in 2014, including Best Picture. Read the article
95. Birdman (2014)
Birdman is a 2014 American black comedy-drama film that follows the story of a washed-up actor, Riggan Thomson, who once played the superhero Birdman, as he tries to mount a comeback on Broadway. The film was shot in a stylized manner, appearing as one continuous take and blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. “Birdman” was a critical and commercial success, winning four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
96. Boyhood (2014)
Boyhood 2014 was shot over a period of 12 years and follows the life of Mason Evans Jr. from age 6 to 18, as he grows up in Texas and experiences the joys and challenges of childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. The film is a unique and powerful examination of the passage of time, the meaning of family, and the experiences that shape who we are. Read the article
97. Spotlight (2015)
Spotlight 2015 is based on the true story of the Boston Globe’s reporters who uncovered a widespread child sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church. The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, and Brian d’Arcy James as the members of the team, who delve deeper into the issue and uncover a cover-up that reaches the highest levels of the Church.
98. Moonlight (2016)
The 2016 film Moonlight is a coming-of-age film which tells the story of a young African American man named Chiron and his journey from childhood to adulthood as he wrestles with his sexuality and drug-addicted mother. Each focusing on a different stage, the film is divided into three parts. It is a representation of the black LGBTQ+ experience which won three Academy Awards in 2017, including Best Picture.
99. Green Book (2018)
Green Book 2018 is an American biographical comedy-drama film that shows the story of an Italian-American bouncer, Tony Lip Vallelonga, who is hired to drive and provide security for Dr. Don Shirley, an African-American classical pianist, on a concert tour in the Deep South. The film is named after The Negro Motorist Green Book, a real-life guidebook for African-American travellers during the era of segregation. Read the article
100. Parasite (2019)
Parasite is a 2019 South Korean black comedy thriller film that follows the story of the Kim family, who are struggling to make ends meet and become employed by the wealthy Park family. As they begin to infiltrate the household, tensions and secrets rise to the surface, leading to a series of twists and turns. The film received widespread critical acclaim for its social commentary on class struggles.
101. Nomadland (2020)
Nomadland tells the story of a woman who embarks on a van-dwelling lifestyle after the economic collapse of her small town. The film is based on the non-fiction book “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century” by Jessica Bruder. Nomadland has received critical acclaim and won several awards, including the Golden Lion at the 77th Venice International Film Festival.
As we come to the end of our journey through the top 101 films of the past 100 years, it’s clear that the medium of film has had a profound impact on the world. From the earliest days of silent cinema to the modern era of CGI and streaming, these films have entertained, educated, and inspired audiences for decades.
It’s important to note that this list is not intended to be a definitive ranking of the best films ever made, but rather a collection of some of the most influential and impactful films of the past century. These films have stood the test of time and continue to be relevant and meaningful today.
We hope that this list has inspired you to explore some of these films, whether you’re a film buff or a casual moviegoer. These films have the power to entertain, educate, and inspire, and we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience them.
As you watch these films, we encourage you to share your thoughts on which ones you think should be included in a top film list. We would love to hear your thoughts on what films you think are the best of the best and why.
So, grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy the cinematic journey that the top 101 films have to offer.