A collection of cinema’s finest films, as decided by IMDB voters.
Before the rise of Letterboxd, IMDb was the place to go to voice your opinion on films. The popular website was the definitive site for film discussion, from giving a star rating to posting on the now-defunct message boards, and even leaving your own review on a film's page.
One of IMDb's most debated features is its listing of the top 250 movies ranked on the website. The list is a collection of classics from the early years of film, masterpieces from the last fifty years, and acclaimed recent releases. Below is a listing of the best films of each decade since the 1920s, as voted by IMDb users.
A silent science-fiction film from Germany, Metropolis is set in a futuristic city where the privileged lives in a utopia above the working class. When a young boy discovers the truth about the city, he teams up with a good-hearted teacher to save those trapped underneath them.
Released in 1927, the film was subject to many cuts over the years, ranging from efforts to reduce its length (the original print ran roughly two and a half hours) and the order to remove communist undertones. Efforts to restore the original film have occurred over recent decades, with the latest being released in 2010.
Another silent film, this time hailing from America, Modern Times is a comedy written, directed by, and starring silent film legend Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin plays a factory worker who suffers a nervous breakdown. The ensuing events cause him to have several run-ins with the law while beginning a friendship with a homeless girl.
Created as commentary on the Great Depression, and the hardships many workers faced, its representation of poor financial and working conditions is still relevant today. Modern Times is also a hilarious comedy despite its political undertones, as Chaplin finds himself in one awkward situation after another.
When businessman George Bailey (James Stewart) becomes frustrated with his life on Christmas Eve, suicidal thoughts begin to plague him. Soon enough, an angel from Heaven is sent down to comfort George, and the angel shows him what life would have been like if he had not existed.
The film is loosely based on the classic A Christmas Carol. Like that famous story, It's a Wonderful Life has been adapted into many forms throughout the years. These include stage plays, made for TV remakes, and even a Muppets adaptation, which is clearly the highest honor a film can achieve.
12 Angry Men follows the all-male jury of a murder trial as they debate the verdict. With the death sentence on the table, the life of the defendant is literally in their hands. Initially all but one of the jurors votes guilty, leaving the lone advocate for not guilty to convince the others to spare the 18-year-old defendant due to reasonable doubt.
Set almost entirely in one room, the film speaks on topics of race and class via the personalities of the 12 men, all of whom come from different backgrounds and upbringings.
The greatest spaghetti western of all time, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was the film that underscored Clint Eastwood as the face of the genre. Directed by Sergio Leone, the film follows three gunslingers all searching for the same treasure.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is an iconic piece of cinema, and its influence stretches far beyond the western genre. The "Mexican standoff" that occurs near the end of the film is a terrific scene, using close-up camera angles to great effect, with the scene being replicated in films and other media ever since.
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather makes audiences an offer they can't refuse. Detailing the lives of the Corleone crime family, the film chronicles Don Vito (Marlon Brando) as he decides to hand over his empire to his son, Michael (Al Pacino), and the repercussions that ensue.
Like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the impact of The Godfather on its genre was profound. Mafia movies released since 1972 are all inspired by The Godfather in some way, as it laid the groundwork for what audiences expect out of a crime family story.
The middle film of George Lucas' original trilogy, and the best Star Wars film of them all. Empire Strikes Back is set three years after A New Hope, and follows Luke, Leia, and Han as they continue their fight against Darth Vader and his villainous Empire.
The film features the classic moment of Vader revealing he is Luke's father, and also introduces Yoda for the first time. Empire also popularized the idea of film trilogies, with the middle film not always offering a satisfying conclusion, but instead setting up the events of the third and final film.
Based on a story by Stephen King, The Shawshank Redemption tells the story of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a banker accused of murdering his wife and subsequently sentenced to life in prison. Befriending another prisoner, Red (Morgan Freeman), the two men find solace and eventually redemption throughout the two decades depicted in the film.
The Shawshank Redemption is the highest-rated film on IMDb, a position it's held since overtaking The Godfather in 2008. The film often tops lists of the greatest films of all time, and is considered the best adaptation of a King novel.
Following the Empire Strikes Back approach of the second film being the strongest in a trilogy, The Dark Knight follows the exploits of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) after the events of Batman Begins. Faced with a dangerous new criminal, The Joker (an unforgettable Heath Ledger), Wayne's world will be changed forever.
Released two months after Iron Man, but before the MCUwas established, The Dark Knight proved blockbuster superhero movies can also tell mature stories with complicated characters. The movie made director Christopher Nolan a household name and is still largely considered his best film.
Nolan's followup to The Dark Knight, Inception finds the director swapping superheroes for science-fiction. Professional thief Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) possesses the unique talent to enter the dreams of others and uses this ability to steal and sell information for his clients.
Offered a job that will result in the erasure of his criminal record, Cobb is joined by a crew including the likes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elliot Page, and Tom Hardy. The film is a clever take on the classic heist film, using the concept of dream manipulation to throw new problems at the characters.
Though we are only a few years into the current decade, Everything Everywhere All At Once is already the film to beat for the title of the best movie of the 2020s. Telling the bizarre tale of Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh), a laundromat owner who discovers she exists within a multiverse, Everything Everywhere is a visual spectacle that juggles action, comedy, and a story filled with heart.
The film has been embraced by both critics and the public, with particular praise being given to the cast. Yeoh in particular delivers a lead performance that stands atop her long and acclaimed filmography.
NEXT: The 10 Lowest-Rated Best Picture Oscar Winners on IMDb
Ty is an Australian writer who enjoys horror movies, listening to the same bands he did fifteen years ago, and all the dogs. Yes, he would like a bite of your food, thank you.