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The 8 Greatest Movies of All Time, According to Critics

by Nathan Zachary
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With thousands of films out there, it can be hard to decide which ones to watch and which ones to skip over. Critics have watched hundreds of films over the years, and they’ve narrowed it down to the top 50 greatest movies of all time. These films include some of the most critically acclaimed movies ever made, as well as some of the best-selling and highest-grossing films that are still relevant today. Now you can find out which movies will be timeless classics from now on! With this list, you’ll know where to start when looking for your next great film.

20) Groundhog Day

This goofy movie starring Bill Murray can be seen as a commentary on the daily routine and the mental and physical toll it takes on us. Every day we wake up to do the same things over and over again without any change. Groundhog Day follows Phil Connors as he wakes up to find himself in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania six years into a personal time loop where he relives February 2 again and again until he becomes content with his life. Eventually he is able to break out of this cycle by becoming a better person for himself first rather than focusing on changing others around him.

21) Shawshank Redemption

Shawshank Redemption is more than just a great movie. It’s a timeless story about two men’s transcendent friendship and how it changed their lives. Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, and Ellis Boyd Red Redding (Morgan Freeman), are both in prison for killing Andy’s wife and her lover, respectively. The two men find comfort in one another after being sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole in Shawshank prison. Red introduces the intelligent but naive Andy to another world outside the cold bars of Shawshank through smuggling goods like coffee or playing contraband music on an old record player found within the warden’s house.

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22) The Lives of Others

This 2006 German film is a compelling take on life in East Berlin during the Cold War. Ostensibly a spy thriller but also a character study of the lead Stasi agent and his target, we’re drawn into their respective points-of-view as they’re enveloped by paranoia. Its ending makes for one of the most unexpected twists in movie history, an analogy for what it was like to live in fear under Communism.

If you liked The Lives of Others you’ll love Schindler’s List. Steven Spielberg filmed this documentary drama (list!) about real events surrounding businessman Oskar Schindler’s efforts to save 1200 Jews from being murdered during World War II.

23) 12 Angry Men

The 1963 courtroom drama film 12 Angry Men has been praised by many as the most intelligent trial movie ever made. One critic wrote that the movie was so realistic that he was convinced that I had sat through an actual murder trial. The movie is about a group of 12 jurors deciding on the fate of a young man accused of murder. Filmed in B&W and without any soundtrack, this classic film manages to raise complex questions about law and morality through dialogue alone.

This gripping story takes us into the jury room with our young protagonist, who’s bombarded with both facts and racial prejudices in his efforts to deliver justice under desperate circumstances.

24) Psycho

Psycho is a haunting tale that pulls out all the stops and sets the benchmark for what will later be known as psychological horror. The 1959 masterpiece was originally intended as a television pilot with actress Janet Leigh (whose character’s death at the hands of Norman Bates became one of the most shocking moments in cinematic history). Alfred Hitchcock had no intention for it to be more than a 60-minute TV episode. But because he couldn’t find an ending that pleased him, he turned it into a feature film instead.

25) Monty Python and the Holy Grail

The film is considered to be one of the best comedies ever made, and without a doubt one of the funniest movies. Many scenes from the movie are widely quoted by movie-watchers. Two examples are But nobody expects…the Spanish Inquisition! and She’s a witch! Burn her! The movie also offers great visuals. For example, when King Arthur knights Sir Galahad we get a scene with knights in full armor looking at each other in awe before turning back to gaze at Galahad with wonderment as he passes by them. Monty Python and the Holy Grail isn’t afraid to poke fun at anything it feels like; this includes (of course) religion but also politics and society’s attitudes towards certain things that it deems ridiculous.

26) A Separation

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and recipient of rave reviews on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes alike, this movie revolves around a Tehrani family who decide to divorce in Iran. Nader and Simin’s decisions have life-changing consequences for their children.

Watching the couple’s post-divorce interactions with each other is not easy; however, A Separation puts an entirely human face on the consequences that divorce can have when both parties are divorcing from ingrained notions about their marriage.

A Separation is a well-written film with a lot going on – which might make it less popular with younger audiences looking for instant gratification – but don’t let this deter you from seeing what has been hailed as one of the best films ever made.

27) Singin’ in the Rain

Singin’ in the Rain is an American film that centers around a movie director who sings and dances with a young up-and-coming actress. At first things go well but then they’re met with a number of challenges as they try to keep their production going. The film was directed by the world-renowned Gene Kelly and stars Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Jean Hagen. It’s considered one of the best musicals ever made and even won an Academy Award for Best Sound Recording.

Singin’ in the Rain is now just as popular today as it was when it first came out in 1952.

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