250 Best Movies of All Time

According to a human RottenTomatoes.com from Philly.

Ryan Godfrey works as a product manager for a local software company, surrounded by the kind of numbers and data that most of us will never be able to comprehend. Since the late-90s, however, he’s been working on a little side project that — while just as baffling in the backend — is about to make our lives a little easier, at least where it concerns our Netflix queues.

Think of him as a one-man RottenTomatoes.com. He’s come up with a list of the 250 all-time best films by crunching data from film sites where critics and regular viewers alike have been plugging in ratings for years. The list he consulted most was IMDb’s Top 250. “I’ve never thought of [that] as a canonical list of great films, but I liked the idea that a bunch of movie lovers from all over the world were aggregating a list of what they thought was really good.”

But many of the films on that list “are just solid or okay,” he says, “and there’s always been a tendency for new stuff to crowd out classics that I felt were more deserving.”

250-all-time-best-movies 1

The beginning of Godfrey’s list of 250 best films.

So, using IMDb’s database of downloadable text files he was able to rework the same vote base “to get at something approaching a real populist, crowd-sourced canon that better honored the whole 120-year span of cinema.” He measured films based on the number of votes from other films of their era to essentially improve upon IMDb’s list. And it makes so much more sense.

His Top 250 has 132 in common with IMDb’s. The staples, like Citizen Kane, Vertigo and 12 Angry Men are all still there, but there are only three from this century that managed to make the cut: The Dark Knight and the first and third Lord of the Rings.

“What wins out instead are lots of cool, important older films that are standouts from their era — The Great Train Robbery, Sherlock Jr., Man with a Movie Camera — that also happen to be really watchable and interesting to modern audiences.”

You’ll have to go to his list to see all 250, here. Here’s the Top 25:

  1. A Trip to the Moon (1902)
  2. Casablanca (1942)
  3. Metropolis (1927)
  4. The Godfather (1972)
  5. The Kid (1921)
  6. Nosferatu (1922)
  7. Citizen Kane (1941)
  8. Wizard of Oz (1939)
  9. 12 Angry Men (1957)
  10. Gone With the Wind (1939)
  11. The Gold Rush (1925)
  12. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  13. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
  14. City Lights (1931)
  15. The Godfather, Part II (1974)
  16. Rear Window (1954)
  17. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
  18. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
  19. The General (1926)
  20. (1931)
  21. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
  22. Modern Times (1936)
  23. Seven Samurai (1954)
  24. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  25. Psycho (1960)

So now you can start filling up your Netflix queue with, say, the best Charlie Chaplin films (there are four of them in the Top 25), or give some silent movies a go without risking an evening of no-sound boredom (hint: those are films, roughly, made before 1929). What about Philly films, you ask? Not surprisingly, the highest-ranked locally set film is the original Rocky, which weighs in at No. 57 alongside The Graduate and To Kill a Mockingbird. Want more? Godfrey has been kind enough to do more data-crunching to rank films that are set in Philadelphia. There are 64 in all. Here are the top 25:

  1. Rocky (1976)
  2. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
  3. The Sixth Sense (1999)
  4. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
  5. Rocky II (1979)
  6. 12 Monkeys (1995)
  7. 42nd Street (1933)
  8. Philadelphia (1993)
  9. Trading Places  (1983)
  10. Marnie (1964)
  11. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
  12. Rocky III (1982)
  13. Rocky IV (1985)
  14. Witness (1985)
  15. A.I. (2001)
  16. Unbreakable (2000)
  17. Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
  18. Shooter (2007)
  19. A History of Violence (2005)
  20. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
  21. Blow Out (1981)
  22. Rocky Balboa (2006)
  23. National Treasure (2004)
  24. Birdy (1984)
  25. Kitty Foyle (1940)

For the Philly films, Godfrey says he grabbed movies that Wikipedia says are set in Philadelphia and ordered them using his aforementioned method. “Rocky at the top is no surprise,” he says. “And even though it’s new, I expect Creed will be a lot higher on this list in a few weeks or months.” Check out the full list of Philly films here.

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