Movies that fans consider to be the greatest of all time are often those that spark an overwhelming feel-good response. The combination of endearing characters, interesting storylines, and production that is epic in scope are qualities that these movies all have in common.
Pronouncing the “greatest movie of all time” is a heavy, and highly subjective task. The following are movies that exhibit ideal theatrical qualities, and have a permanent place in the halls of cinematic excellence.
The Ten Commandments, 1956
This four-hour epic depicts one of the most familiar stories in the Bible, and just so happens to be one of the best movies about Rome. It’s a tale of war, oppression, redemption, and the connection of humanity with a loving higher power. Along with a cornerstone soundtrack, this film has influenced every large scale film since it hit the screen.
The Wizard Of Oz, 1939
This iconic classic was instrumental in lifting humanity out of the horrors of the Great Depression. It’s central theme was the power of friendship and mutual struggle. The war-era special effects revolutionized the way directors considered scope in their productions.
El Cid, 1961
Charlton Heston and Sofia Loren brought glamour to the screen in this retelling of a Spanish king’s struggle to unite his people during the 11th century Moorish incursion into Europe. This movie featured several truly epic army-to-army battle scenes that surely influenced future projects.
2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968
Stanley Kubrick’s magnum opus foresaw the technological domination of humanity in this 1968 experimental film. The scope of the film was space itself, which embodied the unlimited possibilities of the human imagination. From opening to closing credits, this film tackled tough subjects like the birth of artificial intelligence, and the awakening of humanity in a strange modern world.
A John Williams soundtrack, a loveable alien, and a troupe of misfit suburban children summed-up the 80s in this sci-fi adventure classic. With this movie, society learned that compassion and fun can exist even in the strangest situations.
The ultimate telling of how good can emerge from overwhelming evil is attempted in this film. This is the true story of Henry Hill, an Italian American who was dedicated to using his influence in the mob to accomplish his greatest dream of being a true mob boss. This is one of the absolute best Robert de Niro movies, and stands the test of time as the best crime film ever made outside of The Godfather.
There is no epic movie theme that is ignored in this account of Scottish hero William Wallace’s medieval victories over the English army. It remains as one of the bloodiest war movies ever made, but somehow is immortalized by its concentration on love, brotherhood, personal sacrifice, and cultural authenticity. This also reminds me of one of my favorite Brad Pitt movies, Fury, which also encompasses the horror of war but the necessity of waging them sometimes.
Each of these movies provide moments of shock, horror, humor, happiness, and unmatched wonder. They can all be considered among the greatest of all time, and remain popular with modern audiences. They embody all that making movies should be about. This includes wonderful writing, magical storytelling, eternal human themes, and resolutions with extreme emotional weight.