The Top 25 Films of All Time

For years different films will come up in conversation and I may say, “That’s a great one. It’s probably in my top 10, maybe even top 5.” The next question is frequently, “What IS your top 10?” My reply: “Yeah, I need to really sit down and figure that out.” Well I finally did it. After years of empty threats I now present my list of the 25 greatest films of all time.

  1. THE GODFATHER / THE GODFATHER PART II*
  2. CITIZEN KANE
  3. PULP FICTION
  4. CASABLANCA
  5. THE USUAL SUSPECTS
  6. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
  7. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
  8. SUNSET BLVD.
  9. THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
  10. THE MALTESE FALCON
  11. ALL ABOUT EVE
  12. THE GRAPES OF WRATH
  13. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY
  14. THE BIG SLEEP
  15. SPARTACUS
  16. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
  17. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT
  18. THE THIRD MAN
  19. THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE
  20. JAWS
  21. FARGO
  22. STAR WARS
  23. GIANT
  24. VERTIGO
  25. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK

Here’s the deal. I went round and round working through this list. I labored over where each film would land on this list. There were others that just missed the cut. But I am certain if I did this again from scratch in 2 weeks this list could look very different. Maybe not closer to the top, but overall. This list will never be complete. And that’s not just because new movies come out every year that could potentially wind up in my top 25. But because film is so subjective that even the degree to which I love and admire a movie can change from day to day. So let me rephrase my introduction… I now present my list of the 25 greatest films of the moment.

Keep in mind I haven’t seen every movie ever made. I can only put something on my list if I have seen it. In fact, The Grapes of Wrath wouldn’t have even been on this list (let alone at #12) last month. I saw it for the first time just a couple of weeks ago.

That being said I would love your feedback. What does your top 25 look like? Or 10? What has appalled you that I included or left out? C’mon… let me have it! Reply below, post to my Facebook page or you can hit me up with the Twitters (@cmselby).

(*I can’t separate these. To me they are just 1 enormous film.)
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15 thoughts on “The Top 25 Films of All Time

      1. It’s way up there for me. That and Raising Arizona consistently stay near the top of my list.

  1. And now you’re going to have to write a blog for each one of those 25 movies to expound on what “IT” was that contributed to the greatness of the movie. How about starting with Raiders of the Lost Ark since I’m “appalled” to see it made your list (your word, not mine)!

  2. Love how you didn’t include Godfather 3 as part of the ‘one big movie’! A little surprised at ‘Usual Suspects’ coming in at 5. I love it but just surprised. No Phantom Menace? Or did you include it when you wrote ‘Star Wars’. And what about ‘The Jerk’? I’ll have to work on my list.

  3. Wow, I am so disappointed that you missed Pride and Prejudice. 🙂 I want to point out that this is the top 25 that most men would pick, I think. Not because we females are irrational creatures, capable of romantic sympathies alone but I think I only really liked 4 of the movies you listed. Godfather…hated it; Citizen Kane…REALLY hated it. Pulp Fiction – I actually watched that movie BECAUSE many moons ago you told me it was your favorite movie. I watched it and felt like I lost my salvation. 🙂 Yeah, that’s a guy list.

    1. Chinelle, I think to a certain degree men and women do respond to stories differently. I certainly won’t disagree with you there. But I would suggest that this top 25 might not be what most men would pick. It might be what a lot of male film buffs would pick. But your average guy would probably pick more mainstream action films. The top 20 movies on IMDB.com (http://www.imdb.com/chart/top) include films like The Matrix, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Goodfellas, Lord of the Rings and Fight Club. I like all these movies to different degrees but none of them made my top 25, probably not even top 50. I am surprised though that you “hated” The Godfather and Citizen Kane. Didn’t care for? OK. Thought was overrated? Sure. But hate? Very surprising.

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