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.
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.
The Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFFF) is an annual genre film festival. Each year, one film is awarded their grand prize; the Golden Raven. The festival is accredited by the FIAPF as a competitive specialised film festival.
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
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
Much like its close genre cousin (nephew/niece?) the superhero film, the potential of cinematic science fiction exploded in the latter part of the 20th century thanks to technological advances that transformed special effects. Unlike superhero films, which were so stunted for so long that almost every new one makes it onto our updated 100 Best Superhero Films of All Time list, science fiction proved fertile ground for filmmakers before the likes of Industrial Light & Magic supercharged a director’s ability to exceed our imagination. Thus, this list, while filled with films from the ’80s onward, has its fair share of older films. Before we dive into it, though, let’s discuss a few things this list will not have (or at least, not have many of).
Superhero films are for the most part absent. Though so many superhero stories involve the stuff of science fiction—aliens, high-tech and strange worlds—there are plenty of great sci-fi movies to include on this list without bumping 20 of them off for DC and the MCU. (We’ve made an exception for one entry because the space opera underpinnings were too strong to ignore.) We’ve also left off, for the most part, the traditional giant monster/kaiju movie for the same reason. If you want a nice roundup of Godzilla’s greatest hits, check out our own Jim Vorel’s ranking of Godzilla’s cinematic oeuvre. (For the real kaiju rank-o-phile, Jim has also taken the measure of every Godzilla monster.) Finally, joining superheroes and kaiju on the sidelines, are the post-apocalyptic (and a few mid-apocalyptic) films. Though, again, there are a few exceptions, for the most part you will not find Mad Max here, or Eli, or even that guy who is Legend. (I see you frowning—“But will there be dystopias,” you ask? Hell yeah, we got dystopias.)
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.
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
Alfred Hitchcock perfected the thriller movie with a string of classics that remain unmatched. But from today’s perspective, there’s more to them than ice blondes and wrong-men scenarios. Every decade gets the thrillers it deserves, from post-World War II film noir and Nixon-era conspiracies to even the tawdry (but loveable) ’80s erotic thrillers. We had a hard time choosing our favourites, but after much interrogation under a naked light bulb, we did it.
List created in June 2018
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