List of films considered the best

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








The main advertisement image for "The Godfather"




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

High school





Science fiction

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



See Gone with the Wind, Casablanca and Schindler's List in the Films acclaimed in audience polls section above.





See also Cinema of Bangladesh



Czech Republic


See also: Cinema of Chile


See also: Cinema of China






Hong Kong




See also: Cinema of Iran




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.








South Korea

See also: Cinema of Korea

Sri Lanka





United Kingdom

United States

See also

Wikipedia lists:

Lists by others:


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