The greatest film ever made began with the meeting of two brilliant minds: Stanley Kubrick and sci-fi seer Arthur C Clarke. ‘I understand he’s a nut who lives in a tree in India somewhere,’ noted Kubrick when Clarke’s name came up – along with those of Isaac Asimov, Robert A Heinlein and Ray Bradbury – as a possible writer for his planned sci-fi epic. Clarke was actually living in Ceylon (not in India, or a tree), but the pair met, hit it off, and forged a story of technological progress and disaster (hello, HAL) that’s steeped in humanity, in all its brilliance, weakness, courage and mad ambition. An audience of stoners, wowed by its eye-candy Star Gate sequence and pioneering visuals, adopted it as a pet movie. Were it not for them, 2001 might have faded into obscurity, but it’s hard to imagine it would have stayed there. Kubrick’s frighteningly clinical vision of the future – AI and all – still feels prophetic, more than 50 years on.—Phil de Semlyen
In case you couldn’t tell, we love movies. Heck, who doesn’t? Trouble is, not everyone loves the same movies. That’s probably fairly obvious. But it’s what makes putting together a list of the greatest movies of all-time a particularly fraught assignment. Tastes in cinema vary wildly, of course, and one person’s Citizen Kane is another’s Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. Or vice versa. So then, why bother even attempting to rank the best movies ever made at all?
Well, perhaps it’s best not to think of this – or any list, for that matter – as any attempt at solidifying any sort of canon. Really, think of it more as a jumping off point. If you’re enough of a cineaste to claim to have seen every movie here already, maybe think of it as a way to rethink your own personal rankings and challenge your own preconceived notions about what makes any movie one of the GOATS. And if you’re filling in the gaps of your movie knowledge – or heck, just starting to build it – this is a tremendous place to start. Because this is a list that covers a lot of ground: over 100 years, multiple countries, and just about every genre you can imagine, from monolithic blockbusters to treasured cult classics, ridiculous comedies to freaky horror, sweaty-palmed thrillers to eye-popping action flicks.
No matter where you are on the movie appreciation spectrum, we’re sure you’ll find something to love here. Or get mad about. We’re cool either way.
Written by Abbey Bender, Dave Calhoun, Phil de Semlyen, Bilge Ebiri, Ian Freer, Stephen Garrett, Tomris Laffly, Joshua Rothkopf, Anna Smith and Matthew Singer
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