This page shows you the list charts. By default, the movies are ordered by how many times they have been marked as a favorite. However, you can also sort by other information, such as the total number of times it has been marked as a dislike.
A list for the die-hard western fan! This long and diverse list of great western movies is largely derived from a list found on Cinemacom.com entitled "500 & More - A Western Lover's List". However, Cinemacom's list is heavily slanted toward the traditional western and admittedly excludes all western comedies and many good spaghetti westerns. I wanted to create a more balanced list and so I cross referenced Cinemacom's list against IMDB user ratings in the western genre and made some thoughtful modifications which add some diversity. If you love westerns I hope this list will help you explore the genre.
In October 2013, the British Film Institute unveiled an exhibition chronicling the history of dark and macabre films. In an ambitious project, the BFI unveiled a collection of a large number of films spanning four categories, bringing these films to British cinemas over a four month period.
Films are arranged chronologically by theme.
The Four Parts:
- Monstrous (1-26)
- The Dark Arts (27-48)
- Haunted (49-71)
- Love is a Devil (72-99)
Although this exhibition includes a large number of plays, professional talks, documentaries, television series' and shorts, this list contains only the feature films presented in the exhibition.
So this year BBC Culture decided to get serious about comedy. We asked 253 film critics – 118 women and 135 men – from 52 countries and six continents a simple: “What do you think are the 10 best comedies of all time?” Films from any country made since cinema was invented were eligible, and BBC Culture did nothing to define in advance what a comedy is; we left that to each of the critics to decide. As always, we urged the experts to go with their heart and pick personal favourites, films that are part of their lives, not just the ones that meet some ideal of greatness.
List added August 2017
From the book by Leger Grindon (2011). The filmography is arranged by a chronological progression of themes:
Transition to Sound (1930-1933)
World war II and the Homefront (1942-1946)
Post-War: Melancholy and Reconciliation (1947-1953)
The Comedies of Seduction: The Playboy, the Gold Digger, and the Virgin (1953-1966)
The transition through the counter-culture (1967-1976)
Nervous Romance (1977-1987)
Reaffirmation of Romance (1986-1996)
Grotesque and Ambivalent (1997-present)
Hyperlink cinema is a term coined by author Alissa Quart, who used the term in her review of the film Happy Endings (2005) for the film journal Film Comment in 2005. Film critic Roger Ebert popularized the term when reviewing the film Syriana in 2005.
These films are not hypermedia and do not have actual hyperlinks, but are multilinear in a more metaphorical sense. Playing with time and characters personal history, plot twists, interwoven storylines between multiple characters, jumping between the beginning and end (flashback and flashforward) are also elements.
This list has been a long time coming for Paste. We are fortunate—some would say “cool enough”—to have quite a lot of genre expertise to call upon when it comes to horror in particular. Several Paste staff writers and editors are lifelong horror geeks, and there’s also a strong sentiment toward the macabre among several of our more prolific contributing writers. Case in point: We have so many writers focused on horror that we’ve produced huge lists of the 70 best horror films on Netflix, or the 100 best horror films on Shudder, both within the last year. We’ve kept you up to date with the 10 best horror movies of 2017 so far. We’ve even given you the likes of the 50 best zombie movies of all time, and the 100 best vampire movies of all time, if you can believe that.
And yet, somehow, despite all that expertise, we’ve never put together a definitive ranking of the best horror films of all time. That ends now, with the list below: a practical, must-see guide through the history of the horror genre.
There are classic films on this list, of course. There are also likely a handful of independent features that will be unknown to all but the most dedicated horror hounds. There are foreign films from around the globe, entries that range from 1922 to 2017. In some cases, you will likely be shocked by films that are missing. In others, you’ll find yourself surprised to see us going to bat for films that don’t deserve the derision they’ve received.
One thing is for certain: With all the films that were nominated, we could easily have made this list 200 entries long. Horror cinema speaks toward the dark side in all of us, allowing us to confront the most frightening, primal forces we struggle with every day—death, and human malevolence—in a way that is actually constructive in strengthening the psyche. In the oddest of ways, horror movies help us overcome our own fears.
List published in June 2016
Is the Western the most American of movie genres? You can make an argument for the Western film’s internationality on the names of the directors who have contributed to its iconography: You have your John Fords and your Anthony Manns, your Sam Peckinpahs and your Samuel Fullers, but over in Europe you also have filmmakers like Sergio Leone, Enzo G. Castellari and Sergio Corbucci, among many, many others, as authors of Western offshoots that influence filmmakers even today. (And of course there are those great entries in the Western canon that were lifted wholesale from Akira Kurosawa’s filmography.) Hell, let’s flash from the Western’s glory days to the last decade, where Kim Jee-woon and Takashi Miike have put their individual stamps on its tropes and motifs. For these reasons, there’s certainly an argument to made that the Western is truly “universal.”
But no matter where Western movies are made, no matter what subgenre classifications they are individually accorded, and no matter who makes them, the films always engage with symbols, eras and images that are quintessentially “American.” The Western is the domain of the cowboy, the solitary hero. It’s a place where law and chaos are ever in conflict with one another and where the difference between survival and death usually comes down to who is faster on the draw. It’s a testament to the rich, awesome power of the Western as a narrative mode that filmmakers from around the planet have found stories worth telling within its purview, but even the Italian maestros simply added their own unique (and significant) flourishes to a cinematic tradition that is American in its DNA.
Maybe it’s more accurate to say that they made the Western their own. Spaghetti Westerns are, after all, a cousin to American Westerns in terms of style, content, themes and morality. The Italian Westerns are literally gritty where American Westerns are polished and clean; they deal in ambiguity instead of black and white. The average Spaghetti Western hero looks like a total bastard next to the clean-cut heroes of American Westerns, who uphold all of the best and most commonly accepted standards of heroism as we know them. Who would you rather save the day for you? Will Kane, or the man with no name? There’s a divide separating the Westerns made by Europeans and those shot by Americans, but if you can sort these movies out by their varying approaches, you can’t keep them all from standing under one umbrella. (A better point of debate: Did the Spaghetti Western become a thing in 1958 or 1964?)
Like the wide and sprawling landscapes that are so much a part of the Western’s character as a genre, the Western itself is a big, open canvas for storytelling of all stripes. With that in mind, we here at Paste set about collecting Westerns from all over the map and across the ages to assemble our picks for the 100 best Western films of all time. —Andy Crump
War. What is it good for? Well, if nothing else, then a tidy template for cinema: conflict, clear protagonists and antagonists, heightened emotions, and a generally unpredictable, lawless atmosphere which—as per the western—has since the dawn of cinema offered an elastic dramatic environment in which filmmakers can explore men at both their best and worst. And make no mistake, the war movie is almost always about men.
It’s the most masculine of genres, the fact that armies have throughout history often been almost exclusively male seeing to it that men almost always dominate these things. It’s a genre that emphasizes action and existential angst. It’s also a malleable genre, and one that could broadly include all manner of films that we ultimately ruled out of the running in this list.
With this top 100, we’ve made the decision to include only movies whose wars are based on historical conflicts, so none of the likes of Edge of Tomorrow or Starship Troopers. We’ve picked films that deal with soldiers, soldiering and warfare directly, meaning wartime movies set primarily away from conflict, often told largely or exclusively from the civilian perspective—a category which includes such classics as The Cranes Are Flying and Hope & Glory, Grave of the Fireflies and Forbidden Games—didn’t make the cut. Post-war dramas, like Ashes and Diamonds and Germany, Year Zero, as well as films that go to war for only a fraction of the running time, such as From Here to Eternity and Born on the Fourth of July, were also excluded.
Some tough choices were made on what actually constituted a “war movie.” Resistance dramas feature in this list, but Casablanca doesn’t appear. Likewise Robert Bresson’s A Man Escaped and Sidney Lumet’s The Hill. It was decided ultimately that the war was too much a peripheral element in these films. On the other hand, while both western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and biopic The Imitation Game feature war prominently, they, like Casablanca (a romance with noir and thriller elements) plus A Man Escaped and The Hill (both prison movies), belong more obviously to other genres. We’ve also decided not to include movies which focus on the Holocaust here; those are set to appear in another feature entirely.
Regarding the films that do feature here: our 100 hail from all over the world. These films were released as recently as last year and as far back as 1930. They range from comical to harrowing, action-packed to quietly introspective, proudly gung-ho to deeply anti-war. They are a diverse set of movies; they are also worthy of being called the 100 greatest war movies ever made.
Published May 2017
Published in January 2017
Two things quickly become evident when putting together a list of the 100 Best Superhero Movies of All Time. First, this is the Golden Age for such films, a decade where technology, long-unrequited fandom and surging popular awareness have all combined to thrill moviegoers and make Hollywood billions of dollars. Second, it’s still fair to say that most superhero films are not that good. There’s no real contradiction at play here. The niche just lacks the pedigree of its fellow movie genres. Though superhero comic books may have started to make a dint in popular culture 75 years ago (give or take), technology only crossed over from hindrance to enabling force in the last 20 years or so. As a result, while curating a 100 Best Westerns of All Time or 100 Best Documentaries of All Time list requires the exclusion of arguably good films to select the best 100—for superhero movies? The pickings get slim after 40. In fact, the real challenge for this list was choosing amongst the dreck (some of it beloved dreck!) that would fill out the bottom half. It turns out it’s much easier to argue for or against a top 10 film’s exact placement (and frankly, compelling arguments could be made for almost any of our top 5 as deserving the #1 position), than weighing the relative “merits” of Masters of the Universe, Swamp Thing and Elektra.
This also means the bottom half of this list will change swiftly compared to, say, The Best B-Movies of All Time. In fact, it’s a safe assumption if there are 15 superhero movies in the next three years, at least 14 of them will knock numbers 86-99 off this list. (Our #100 is a bit of a wild card.)
Finally, some criteria. To be considered for this list, a film must possess at least two of the following three qualities: 1) It must involve costumed shenanigans, 2) It must involve a superpowered protagonist and/or 3) the protagonist must exist in a world where the supernatural/extraordinary is demonstrably present. These criteria are why meta-commentary films like Kick-Ass and Super are not on this list. And it’s also why some films with pulpy characters like Zorro, Tarzan and Conan are not, while others like The Phantom are. (Zane’s costume combined with the Skulls of Touganda do the trick.) Admittedly, the lines gets blurry. Also absent from this list is any consideration of foreign superhero films. That’s not because some are not worthy—especially given the movie quality issue mentioned at the top—it’s just an area we’d rather get better versed in before pouring into this list. Next year, perhaps.
The three Matrix films were counted as a single entry in the source list.
What is it about the samurai that captivates Westerners? The armor and swords, the reverent attitude and the reputation for supreme competence in warfare are all pretty impressive, but they don’t get to the heart of it. I believe it might be that at the core of every samurai is the code of bushido, the feudal Japanese equivalent of chivalry, with its one edict above all else: If the time should call for it, protect your lord with your life.
That self-abnegation in service of something greater than oneself is the question at the heart of the works of generation after generation of directors as they revisit the samurai film. And it’s why we’re so excited to present Paste’s list of the 50 Best Samurai Films of All Time.
This is a broad genre, just from a the standpoint of how much history falls within it. The American Western falls more or less within the bounds of the 19th Century, yet samurai films offer centuries of warfare, palace intrigue and a drawn-out end of an era for the history and film buff to chew on. Samurai flicks really have something for everyone. Fans of period pieces will love the intricate set design, costuming and portrayals of towering historical figures in the midst of epic conflict. If operatic drama is more your speed, you can sit back and watch committed actors dine upon lavish scenery. Action junkies get to watch riveting combat with cool-looking swords. And fans of film history in general will delight in tracing the lineage of some of the West’s cinematic touchstones to their forebears in the East, as well as some stellar Eastern adaptations of Western canon.
It is with solemn bushido reverence that I invite you to join us as we dive into 50 films that exemplify this mightiest of genres. We’ve formed this list with a careful eye toward the classic jidaigeki (Age of Civil War period piece) and chambara (swordfighting) films that typify the genre in Japan, but also to some of the weird and subversive outliers that challenge audience expectations or the mythic idea of the samurai code. And because this genre is so deeply steeped in the history of its homeland, we’ve also arranged this list in a loose sort of historical chronological order and added some context that might help clarify the settings of some of the movies.
In the interest of keeping things tight, we’ve excluded anime entries, but for a definitive list that includes some animated samurai action, check out Paste’s 100 Best Anime Films.
Published August 2017
Call it an offer you can't refuse, a Sicilian message or a pair of cement shoes: The gangster film has an iron-clad lock on the hearts of movie lovers. Some of Hollywood's finest exports are crime sagas, and the indie and foreign-film worlds have followed suit with classics of their own. Gritty or romantic, coolly silent or loaded with tough talk, these movies are five-course feasts, heavy on the red sauce—and make plenty of room for the most notorious mobsters from Chicago, like Al Capone, who appears on our list more than once. If we've forgotten a movie in our countdown, let us know (but we have the corner table, so we'll see you coming).
List published March 2015
Date night doesn’t need to mean a formulaic chick-flick that’s going to have one-half of the couple squirming and checking baseball updates on his phone. Every year, the Romantic Comedy genre continues to produce some hilarious and original odes to love for all tastes.
Our list ranges in date from 1934’s It Happened One Night to 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook, covering every decade in between. We only included films where the romance was central to the plot and that we felt were truly funny—whether the dark comedy of Harold and Maude or the slapstick of The Princess Bride. That means that some classic romances like An Affair To Remember and some gut-busting comedies like Bridesmaids got left off (but you should watch them both anyway).
Whether you’re watching with that special someone or just watching while dreaming about him or her, these are the 50 Best Romantic Comedies of All Time.
List published April 2013
Poliziotteschi films constitute a subgenre of crime and action film that emerged in Italy in the late 1960s and reached the height of their popularity in the 1970s. Poliziotteschi films are also known as poliziottesco, Italo-crime, Euro-crime, poliziesco or simply Italian crime films.