The 100 Best Films of All Time, According to Critics

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The list features a large number of movies from the past ten years. Newsweek

Which film is the best of all time is hotly debated. In 2016, the BBC conducted a poll of 177 film critics from 36 countries which concluded that David Lynch’s 2001 masterpiece Mulholland Drive is the greatest movie of all time.

British film magazine Sight & Sound had also named it the best film earlier that year. But the decision to crown Lynch’s woozy, self-referential thriller is far from unanimous.

Italian classic Bicycle Thieves (1948) topped the magazine’s first poll in 1952, which was later replaced by Citizen Kane (1941) when critics voted again in 1962. Time Out recently asked actors to name their top films ever, and 1982 movie Tootsie emerged as a surprise winner. The best movie changes according to who, when and where you ask.

The best idea might be to ask a group of critics—but, again, it depends on which critics you ask. The best films of all time according to review aggregation site metacritic.com are Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Rear Window, Casablanca and Boyhood

One of the largest database of critics’ reviews can be found over at Rotten Tomatoes. They’ve listed the films which received more “fresh” ratings—or positive reviews—than negative "rotten" reviews. From this list, we can see which movies were most liked by their group of critics.

There are a few flaws in this ranking—controversial films which take divisive artistic risks, such as Mulholland Drive, suffer in the rankings compared to fine-but-bland movies which would get a more uniform “fresh” rating.

Nevertheless, it is interesting to see which movies have received solid critical acclaim. The list features a large number of movies from the past ten years, including Moonlight (2016) and Inside Out (2015), which perhaps indicates a stronger critical consensus than existed before the internet age—or perhaps critics are just getting nicer.

Some critics might be surprised that Mulholland Drive and Citizen Kane don’t appear anywhere on the list, although other widely-acclaimed classics do, such as Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958).

Here are the top 100 films that are most-loved by the critics consulted by Rotten Tomatoes.

01 Before Sunrise
100. Before Sunrise (1995). 100%. Number of reviews: 42. Directed by: Richard Linklater. Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Andrea Eckert. (Castle Rock Entertainment). Castle Rock Entertainment
02 Duck Soup
99. Duck Soup (1933). 94%. Number of reviews: 47. Directed by: Leo McCarey. Starring: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx. (Paramount Pictures). Paramount Pictures
03 The Witch
98. The Witch (2016). 91%. Number of reviews: 292. Directed by: Robert Eggers. Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie. (Rooks Nest Entertainment). Rooks Nest Entertainment
04 Wadjda
97. Wadjda (2013). 99%. Number of reviews: 110. Directed by: Haifaa Al-Mansour. Starring: Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah, Abdullrahman Al Gohani. (Razor Film Produktion GmbH). Razor Film Produktion GmbH
05 Weiner
96. Weiner (2016). 97%. Number of reviews: 154. Directed by: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg. Starring: Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin, Jordan Zain Weiner. (IFC Films). IFC Films
06 Captain Phillips
95. Captain Phillips (2013). 93%. Number of reviews: 257. Directed by: Paul Greengrass. Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman. (Scott Rudin Productions). Scott Rudin Productions
07 True Grit
94. True Grit (2010). 95%. Number of reviews: 266. Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen. Starring: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld. (Paramount Pictures). Paramount Pictures
08 The Tale of the Princess
93. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2014). 100%. Number of reviews: 85. Directed by: Isao Takahata. Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen. (Studio Ghibli). Studio Ghibli
09 inside llewyn davis
92. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013). 93%. Number of reviews: 259. Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen. Starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman. (CBS Films). CBS Films
10 starred up
91. Starred Up (2014). 99%. Number of reviews: 109. Directed by: David Mackenzie. Starring: Jack O'Connell, Ben Mendelsohn, Rupert Friend. (Film 4). Film 4
11 Timbuktu
90. Timbuktu (2015). 99%. Number of reviews: 115. Directed by: Abderrahmane Sissako. Starring: Ibrahim Ahmed, Abel Jafri, Toulou Kiki. (Les Films du Worso). Les Films du Worso