Movie Lovers Choose Their 50 Favorite Movies of All Time
Everyone loves spending a lazy weekend cozying up on the couch, watching movies, and eating popcorn. But given the fact that movie houses release over 700 movies each year, deciding on which movie to watch is not an easy task.
To solve your dilemma in choosing an amazing movie, Bright Side has compiled a list of 50 movies for you that were voted for by movie lovers. Next time you decide to watch a movie you can pick one up from the list without worrying about it being uninteresting or boring.
1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins, this movie tells the story of Andy Dufresne, a banker who despite his claims of innocence gets sentenced to life in the Shawshank State Prison for the murder of his wife and her lover. During his time at the prison he befriends a fellow inmate, Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding, an inmate also serving a life sentence. Over time he finds ways to live life with relative ease in the prison, sending out a message that while the body can be locked away in a cell, the spirit shall always remain free.
2. The Dark Knight (2008)
When a vile criminal calling himself the Joker suddenly runs amok in Gotham and turns it into a chaotic town, Batman must tread a fine line between vigilantism and heroism to save it. Backed by mesmerizing performances from Heath Ledger and Christian Bale, this Christopher Nolan movie manages to pose some thought provoking questions like to what lengths should good people go in order to conquer the worst sort of evil? Must they become a little evil themselves along the way?
3. Inception (2010)
Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief with the rare ability to enter people’s dreams and steal secrets from their subconscious. Although his talent has made him a coveted operative in the world of corporate espionage, it has cost him everything he ever loved. For chance at redemption, he is offered the one last job that can give him his life back. Instead of a theft, Cobb has to pull off the reverse. His task this time is not to steal an idea but to plant one. Watch this movie for an intense, complex story coupled with amazing acting by the cast.
4. Fight Club (1999)
An insomniac office worker leading a pretty ordinary life meets a soap-maker with a devil-may-care attitude and they form an underground fight club that evolves into an out-of-control, nationwide movement.
5. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Jules Winnfield and Vincent Vega work as hitmen for crime boss Marcellus Wallace. Butch Coolidge, a boxer, owes Wallace money but instead of returning it, is planning to flee the city. Wallace asks Vincent to show his wife Mia a good time while he’s away. Some of these people redeem themselves and some don’t, and all meet an end appropriate for their choices. The lives of these 4 people get interwoven in a non-linear fashion. While some of them redeem themselves and some don’t succeed.
6. Forrest Gump (1994)
This is the story of a man with a low IQ but good intentions. Despite this, he has a talent: he can run very fast enabling him to join the army, win medals, create a famous shrimp fishing fleet, inspire people to jog, donate to people, and meet the president several times. But all of it is irrelevant to him because he can only think about his childhood sweetheart Jenny Curra, who he befriended on the first day of school.
7. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The first movie in Peter Jackson’s epic fantasy trilogy begins the journey of a meek Hobbit from the Shire and his 8 companions—who form the fellowship of the ring—to destroy the powerful One-ring and to save Middle-earth from the Dark Lord Sauron.
8. The Matrix (1999)
A computer hacker living a dual life learns from the enigmatic head of a rebel group about the true nature of the world’s reality and his role as the prophesized savior in the war against its controllers.
9. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
The last part of the trilogy showcases the final confrontation between the forces of good lead by Aragorn and Sauron’s evil army fighting for control of the future of Middle-earth. The movie also tracks the journey of Hobbits Frodo and Sam to reach Mordor in their quest to destroy the One-ring which if acquired by Sauron will give him unprecedented power.
10. The Godfather (1972)
This 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based on Mario Puzo’s eponymous best-selling novel, chronicles the story of Don Vito Corleone, the aging head of a famous crime family. It follows the series of events that happen when he decides to transfer his position, leading to the rightful successor finally being chosen.
11. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
8 years after the Joker tormented the city of Gotham, a new villain named Bane has arrived and aims to take over the city. To stop Bane from causing mayhem the caped crusader, despite having his reputation tarnished following the events of The Dark Knight, feels compelled to come out of exile and assist the city and its police force.
12. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
The second installment of The Lord of the Rings trilogy follows 3 storylines. Frodo and Sam continue their journey to Mordor to destroy the ring. Aragorn, Gimli the Dwarf, and the Elf archer Legolas reach the war-torn kingdom of Rohan whose king has fallen under the deadly spell of Saruman. Merry and Pippin escape capture from Uruk-hai, meet Treebeard-the leader of the Ents and plan an attack on Isengard.
13. Se7en (1995)
This 1995 American neo-noir crime thriller follows the story of 2 homicide detectives tracking down a deranged serial killer who chooses his victims according to the 7 deadly sins. Morgan Freeman stars as veteran Detective William Somerset who gets partnered with Detective David Mills, a hopeful but naive rookie played by Brad Pitt.
14. Interstellar (2014)
Set in a dystopian future where a global crop blight and dust storms are slowly rendering Earth uninhabitable. NASA’s last hope looks to NASA pilot Cooper and a team of researchers under the direction of Professor Brand to search for a new home and transport mankind there via a wormhole.
15. Gladiator (2000)
A power struggle ensues as Emperor Marcus Aurelius, before his death, chooses Maximus the powerful Roman general, who is also loved by the people, to be his heir over his own son, Commodus. Maximus’ family is murdered and he is captured and put into the Gladiator games until he dies. The only desire that now keeps him alive is to rise to the top so that he can look into the eyes of the man who destroyed his family and seek revenge.
16. Django Unchained (2012)
In 1858 a German bounty hunter, Dr. Schultz, buys the freedom of a man named Django Freeman from a slave trader duo in order to find and kill some men. Afterward, Django with the help of Dr. Schultz sets out to find and rescue his wife Broomhilda who, like him, was sold into slavery. Their journey takes them to a charming but brutal Mississippi plantation owner named Calvin Candie von Shaft. Dr. Schultz plots a scheme with Django to rescue Broomhilda.
17. Batman Begins (2005)
When his parents are killed, billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne relocates to Asia where he is mentored by the mysterious Ra’s Al Ghul in how to fight evil. He then returns to Gotham and becomes the new head of Wayne Enterprises. Together with the help of Lucius Fox, the head of Wayne Enterprises Applied Sciences division, he dons the new persona of Batman to fight criminals and organized crime.
18. Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1977)
The tyrannical Darth Vader holds Princess Leia hostage in order to stifle any rebellion against the Galactic Empire. A simple farm boy, Luke Skywalker, and the captain of the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo, work together with the droid duo C-3PO and R2-D2 to rescue the beautiful princess, help the Rebel Alliance, and restore freedom to the galaxy.
19. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Young FBI agent Clarice Starling is tasked to gain insight into the twisted mind of a killer by talking to Hannibal Lecter, a renowned psychiatrist who turned into an infamous psychopathic serial killer. Lecter agrees to help Starling only if she feeds his curiosity with details of her own complicated life. This twisted relationship forces Starling to confront her psychological demons and to question her own strength.
20. Inglorious Bastards (2009)
In German-occupied France a young Jewish refugee, Shosanna Dreyfus, narrowly escapes murder at the hands of Colonel Hans Landa but witnesses the slaughter of her family. Several years later she plots her revenge when German war hero Fredrick Zoller becomes interested in her. To set her plan in motion she arranges a movie premiere for every major Nazi officer at a theater she now runs. The event catches the attention of a group of Jewish-American guerilla soldiers who have become so good at killing the Nazis that the Germans refer to them as The Bastards.
21. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
During WWII, Chief of Staff General Marshall is informed that 3 sons of a woman have been killed and that she’s going to receive the notifications of their demise at the same time. He also learns that the woman has a fourth son who is still missing.
The General decides to send a unit to find him and bring him back despite being told that the area he was last seen is very dangerous and the chances of him being alive are minimal. This exciting war movie brings home the realities of war and the aftermath of broken families.
22. Schindler’s List (1993)
This is the true story of Oskar Schindler, an opportunistic and greedy German businessman who becomes an unlikely humanitarian during the barbaric Nazi reign. He turns his factories into a refuge for Jews and manages to save about 1100 Jews from being gassed at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
23. The Departed (2006)
2 just-graduated police officers follow opposite paths. Billy Costigan is assigned to work undercover with the Irish mobster Frank Costello to collect evidence against him to enable his arrest. His true identity is known only by 2 of his superiors. On the other hand, the other officer, Colin Sullivan is a protégé of Costello and works as an informer for him. But when it becomes clear to both the police and the mob that there is a mole in their midst, each police officer must give his best to disclose the identity of the other ’rat.’
24. The Prestige (2006)
Alfred Borden, Robert Angier, and, his wife Julia are friends and assistants of a magician. During a performance when Julia accidentally dies, Robert blames Alfred for it and they become rivals. Both go on to become famous magicians but out of rivalry keep sabotaging each other’s performances on stage. When Alfred performs a mysterious trick, Robert becomes obsessed with finding his secret.
25. Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
While fleeing, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the droid C-3PO get captured by Darth Vader on Bespin and he plans to use them as bait to lure Luke Skywalker to him. Meanwhile, Luke and the droid R2-D2 begin receiving Jedi training from Master Yoda on the swamp world of Dagobah.
26. Memento (2000)
Memento tells the story of Leonard, an ex-insurance investigator, from 2 opposite timelines. The storyline that moves forward shows his quest to find the murderer of his wife, which is the last thing he remembers, and his struggles with his memory since he can no longer build new memories. The second storyline moves backward and reveals pieces from his past, like a jigsaw puzzle.
27. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
This movie tells the story of Jordan Belfort, a cunning penny stockbroker who defrauded investors in a massive securities scam in the 1990s and had to serve 22 months in prison.
28. American Beauty (1999)
Lester Burnham is having a mid-life crisis that affects not only his life but also the lives of the other members of his family, like his wife Carolyn and daughter Jane. Carolyn is a real estate agent, who has an affair with her business rival Buddy Kane. Jane, on the other hand, seems to fall in love with Ricky Fitts, who is a drug dealer and lives with his strict father. Things change for Lester when he falls in love with his daughter Janie’s experienced classmate, Angela Hays.
29. Shutter Island (2010)
U.S. Marshall Edward “Teddy” Daniels and his new partner Chuck Aule travel to a mental facility located on a secluded island to investigate the disappearance of a patient named Rachel Solando who was incarcerated for drowning her 3 children. As Teddy and Chuck dig deeper into their investigation to solve the mystery of her disappearance, they reveal the dark secrets of the island.
30. The Green Mile (1999)
Paul Edgecomb, a death row guard at a penitentiary, faces a moral dilemma with his job when he discovers that one of his prisoners, the hulking brute-looking John Coffey convicted of child murder and rape, has a special gift.
31. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
The second movie in The Godfather trilogy shows the early life and rise of Vito Corleone in New York City in the 1920s and parallels it with the story of his son Michael as he expands and tightens his grip on the family’s crime syndicate.
32. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
After Elizabeth Swann, the governor’s daughter, gets mistakenly kidnapped by Barbossa to be used for a blood sacrifice, William Turner, a young blacksmith, teams up with the eccentric pirate “Captain” Jack Sparrow to save her life. Barbossa and his crew members are under an ancient curse to be doomed for eternity unless the blood sacrifice is made.
33. V for Vendetta (2005)
Set against the backdrop of Britain’s dystopian future, V For Vendetta tells the story of Evey Hammond who gets saved from a life-or-death situation by a shadowy freedom fighter wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, known only by the alias of “V.” As Evey learns the truth about V’s mysterious background she also gets introspective, finally emerging as his unlikely ally in the plot to bring freedom and justice back to a society fraught with cruelty and corruption.
34. American History X (1998)
Reformed and fresh out of prison after having served 3 years for brutally killing 2 black men, Derek, a former neo-Nazi skinhead severs contact with his gang and becomes determined to save his younger brother Danny from going down the same violent path as he did.
35. Back to the Future (1985)
Marty McFly has a huge task at hand. After accidentally traveling to the past in a time machine built by his scientist friend Dr. “Doc” Emmet Brown, he comes in at the time of his teenage parents’ meeting. Marty must now convince Doc that he is from the future, reunite his parents, and then return to the original timeline.
36. Léon: The Professional (1994)
After her family is murdered Mathilda is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, and becomes his protégée. Matilda plans to take her revenge on the corrupt DEA agent who ruined her life by killing her beloved brother.
37. The Usual Suspects (1995)
This movie tells the story of 5 men who get hauled into a New York police station because they are the usual suspects, but this time it’s for a crime they did not commit. Together they plan a revenge operation against the police. The operation goes as planned but the influence of a legendary, seemingly omnipotent criminal named “Keyser Söze” is felt. It also becomes clear that each one of them wronged Söze at some point in time and it’s payback time now. The payback job leaves 27 men dead in a boat explosion. And then the real question arises: who is Keyser Söze?
38. Terminator 2 (1991)
10 years after a cyborg named The Terminator failed to kill Sarah Connor and her unborn son John Connor, the prophesied future leader of a resistance fighting against the machines and a more advanced and deadlier terminator named T-1000 gets sent to kill John. However, Sarah and John do not have to face this threat alone. The resistance sends another Terminator, identical to the one that failed to kill Sarah, back through time to protect them.
39. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
A young woman awakens after spending 4 years in a coma to find her baby daughter gone. It turns out that the young woman was a member of The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad who, after getting pregnant, decided to quit her profession and get married but got gunned down by her boss and other gang members on her wedding day. She must now seek revenge against the perpetrators, including her boss Bill.
40. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
After stealing a mysterious silver orb, Earth’s Peter Quill becomes the main target of a manhunt led by the villainous Ronan the Accuser. To fight Ronan and save the galaxy, Quill puts together a team of intergalactic criminals known as the Guardians of the Galaxy.
41. Braveheart (1995)
When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, the legendary 13th century Scottish hero William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.
42. WALL·E (2008)
WALL-E is the last robot left to clean the abundance of thrash that forced mankind to abandon earth. He lives with a pet cockroach and the last living plant. One day, EVE, a sleek reconnaissance robot, is sent to Earth to find proof that life on Earth is once again sustainable. Smitten with love, WALL-E shows EVE the living plant he found amongst the rubble. When a spaceship comes to take EVE back WALL-E goes with her, embarking on a journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.
43. Goodfellas (1990)
Based on a true story, the plot revolves around Henry Hill and his 2 unstable friends Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito as they gradually climb the ladder from petty crime to violent murders.
44. Finding Nemo (2003)
A clown fish named Marlin lives in the Great Barrier Reef with his son Nemo. When one day, while swimming too close to the surface, Nemo gets caught by a diver and gets sent to a dentist’s office in Sydney. Marlin then sets off on a journey to rescue him.
45. Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi (1983)
When Han Solo gets captured, Luke Skywalker sends the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO to free him. Princess Leia also accompanies them. Meanwhile, Darth Vader and the Galactic Empire are constructing a new, indestructible Death Star. The final battle takes place on the Forest Moon of Endor, with the Ewoks, its natural inhabitants, helping the Rebels.
46. The Sixth Sense (1999)
Malcolm Crowe is a successful award-winning child psychiatrist who takes on the challenging task of helping a boy terrified by visions of ghosts. As his relationship with the boy deepens, he learns some very disturbing truths about the boy’s visions and a secret about himself.
47. Up (2009)
Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old balloon salesman, and his wife had always dreamed of exploring South America and finding the forbidden Paradise Falls. After her death, he embarks on this exciting journey by tying his house to thousands of flying balloons.
48. The Truman Show (1998)
Truman Burbank lives a happy life in a normal town. However, unbeknownst to him is the fact that his life is actually the focus of a reality TV show. The show has been aired since his birth and he’s the star. His hometown is a giant production set and his friends and the people around him are actors playing a role.
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
To escape labor camp Randall Patrick McMurphy pleads insanity and is sent to a ward for the mentally unstable. Once there, McMurphy witnesses the abuses and atrocities of the oppressive Nurse Ratched. McMurphy bands up with the other inmates and makes a rebellious stance against the oppressive nurse.
50. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
6 criminals, who are strangers to each other, are hired by a crime boss to carry out a diamond heist. But things go wrong during the robbery and the police arrive. 2 of the criminals get killed in the ensuing shootout. When the rest of the crew meet at the premeditated rendezvous point, they suspect that one of them is an undercover cop.
How many of these have you already watched? Which is your favorite? Do you know of any other movies that should be included in this list?
Preview photo credit Gaumont Buena Vista International