A stalwart of modern popular culture, action movies pay ongoing tribute to the power of cinematic spectacle. The genre’s origins are as old as the medium itself, though action films as we know them didn’t really take off until the 1970s. With the development of computer-generated imaging, or CGI, and other technologies, they’ve continued to prosper well into the 21st century. For proof, look no further than the superhero subgenre, arguably the most predominant cultural influence of the last decade.

Despite their reputation as fun-but-dumb popcorn flicks, a number of modern action films don’t sacrifice character development or plot in their pursuit of thrilling set pieces. It’s no wonder, then, that the best examples inspire such loyal followings and cosplay costumes. While they’re seldom the biggest champions during awards season, these movies nevertheless show that a solid story is fundamental to commercial success.

One might also look upon the action blockbuster as the last refuge of hope for the dying theater experience. Given the recent disruptions to traditional moviegoing, there may even come a time where theaters more or less exclusively exhibit action flicks, while less extravagant fare heads straight to streaming. Whether that’s good news or terrible news probably depends on who’s being asked. But if there’s one thing that everyone agrees on, it’s that action-packed epics like “Top Gun: Maverick” should be seen on as big a screen as possible.

From legendary swashbucklers to the cream of the comic book crop, Stacker compiled data on all action movies to come up with a Stacker score—a weighted index split evenly between IMDb and Metacritic scores. To qualify, the film had to have an “action” listing on IMDb, a Metascore, and at least 5,000 votes. Ties were broken by IMDb votes. All data is accurate as of July 2022.

Starting with the great, counting down to the greater, and ending with the greatest, here are the 100 best action movies of all time.

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Twentieth Century Fox

#100. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

– Director: Bryan Singer
– Stacker score: 83.7
– Metascore: 75
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 132 minutes

Wolverine must travel back in time to stop an army of invincible robots that will eventually destroy mankind and mutants alike. To get a firm grasp on the concepts of time travel, director Bryan Singer had an intensive two-hour conversation on the topic with James Cameron. Who better to ask than the man behind the “Terminator” franchise?

Twentieth Century Fox

#99. Die Hard (1988)

– Director: John McTiernan
– Stacker score: 83.7
– Metascore: 72
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 132 minutes

NYPD detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) just wants to celebrate Christmas with his estranged wife, only to find himself taking on international terrorists. The popular film would spawn multiple sequels and send Willis’ career into the stratosphere. Fun fact: In Hungary, the movie goes by the name “Give Your Life Expensive.”

Film 4

#98. 71 (2014)

– Director: Yann Demange
– Stacker score: 84.2
– Metascore: 83
– IMDb user rating: 7.2
– Runtime: 99 minutes

The feature debut from director Yann Demange takes place on the streets of Belfast during a 1971 riot. Separated from his unit, a British soldier (Jack O’Connell) must navigate his way to safety through hostile terrain. While crafted in the vein of a taut thriller, the story also draws from real-life historical events.

Solar Productions

#97. Bullitt (1968)

– Director: Peter Yates
– Stacker score: 84.2
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Runtime: 114 minutes

Steve McQueen plays a hard-boiled cop named Bullitt in this 1968 film of the same name. The story puts him on the trail of an underworld kingpin who murders a star witness. It features an iconic car chase sequence that took three weeks to shoot, with the cars actually going over 100 mph.

Media Asia Films

#96. Infernal Affairs (2002)

– Directors: Andrew Lau, Alan Mak
– Stacker score: 84.2
– Metascore: 75
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 101 minutes

This beloved Hong Kong thriller sends a cop and a criminal undercover on opposite sides of the law. Director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter William Monahan would draw inspiration from the story when crafting “The Departed,” which Scorsese insists is not a remake. The original version was followed by two sequels.

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Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia

#95. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

– Director: Stephen Chow
– Stacker score: 84.2
– Metascore: 78
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 99 minutes

Awash with delirious special effects, Stephen Chow’s masterpiece explores Chaplin-esque physical comedy within a martial arts framework. It takes place in 1940s China and chronicles the violent war between vicious gangsters and impoverished villagers. To say anything more is to ruin the sheer delight of witnessing this cinematic event for the first time.

Kôdansha

#94. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

– Director: Mamoru Oshii
– Stacker score: 84.2
– Metascore: 76
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 83 minutes

A benchmark in animation history, this cyberpunk saga is culled from a manga series of the same name. Set in 2029 Japan, it sends a cyborg cop and her partner on the trail of a mysterious hacker. It paved the way for multiple follow-ups, including a beloved TV series and a disappointing live-action film marked by controversy starring Scarlett Johansson.

Dovemead Films

#93. Superman (1978)

– Director: Richard Donner
– Stacker score: 84.2
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Runtime: 143 minutes

Decades before the superhero craze there came Richard Donner’s groundbreaking comic book adaptation. It stars Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel and goes from his birth on Krypton to his first battle against supervillain Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman). Multiple sequels and at least two separate reboots would follow.

Twentieth Century Fox

#92. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

– Director: Peter Weir
– Stacker score: 84.2
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Runtime: 138 minutes

Russell Crowe plays British Captain Jack Aubrey in this seafaring adventure tale. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, it pits Aubrey and his crew against a formidable French enemy. Despite a number of epic battle sequences, the film is often viewed as more of an intense character study.

Moho Film

#91. Snowpiercer (2013)

– Director: Bong Joon Ho
– Stacker score: 84.2
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 7.1
– Runtime: 126 minutes

“Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho adapted a post-apocalyptic French graphic novel for his first English-language film. It takes place aboard a globe-spanning train on which survivors have enacted a brutal caste system. As with many of Joon Ho’s films, this one layers prescient themes with gripping action and brilliant visuals.

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Touchstone Pictures

#90. Face/Off (1997)

– Director: John Woo
– Stacker score: 84.2
– Metascore: 82
– IMDb user rating: 7.3
– Runtime: 138 minutes

John Woo’s action flick is quite simply the stuff that outrageous Hollywood plots are made of. A cop (John Travola) and criminal (Nicolas Cage) undergo surgeries to take on each other’s faces, swapping careers in the process. The screenplay was originally written for Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who would have likely brought fewer acting chops to the table.

Chernin Entertainment

#89. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

– Director: Matt Reeves
– Stacker score: 84.2
– Metascore: 79
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Runtime: 130 minutes

Set 10 years after its predecessor, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” finds humanity on the brink of extinction. Against a post-apocalyptic backdrop, survivors must contend with a clan of genetically evolved apes (the title is pretty much a dead giveaway in terms of who ultimately wins).

Exclusive Media Group

#88. Rush

– Director: Ron Howard
– Stacker score: 84.2
– Metascore: 74
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 123 minutes

Based on a true story, “Rush” centers on the rivalry between two Formula One race car drivers during the 1970s. One of those drivers was Niki Lauda, who watched the movie and was impressed with its overall accuracy. The other driver was James Hunt, a notorious playboy portrayed by Chris Hemsworth.

Beijing Hairun Pictures Company

#87. Drug War (2012)

– Director: Johnnie To
– Stacker score: 84.8
– Metascore: 86
– IMDb user rating: 7.0
– Runtime: 107 minutes

Facing the death penalty, a captured drug lord agrees to expose a lucrative meth ring. As the drama unfolds, police wonder if their new informant is leading them down the wrong path. Variety critic Boyd van Hoeij called the film a “nail-biter that’s actually quite light on action but so well-scripted and shot, it’s nonetheless edge-of-your-seat material.”

Toho Film (Eiga) Co. Ltd

#86. Lady Snowblood (1973)

– Director: Toshiya Fujita
– Stacker score: 84.8
– Metascore: 80
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Runtime: 97 minutes

Fans of Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” films will want to check out this spiritual predecessor and its familiar premise. Raised as a deadly assassin, Yuki Kashima (Meiko Kaji) enacts revenge on the criminals who destroyed her family. It’s all based on a manga series of the same name by prolific writer Kazuo Koike.

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Zentropa Entertainments

#85. Riders of Justice (2020)

– Director: Anders Thomas Jensen
– Stacker score: 84.8
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 7.5
– Runtime: 116 minutes

Director Anders Thomas Jensen reteams with frequent collaborator Mads Mikkelsen for this Danish action drama. Convinced that his family’s death was no accident, a skilled soldier (Mikkelsen) embarks on a quest for revenge. “What separates the ensuing mayhem from a thousand generic thrillers out there is an impish streak and writing that smartly juggles big ideas, mad gun battles and guilty laughs,” wrote critic Philip de Semlyen for Time Out.

Roadside Attractions

#84. All Is Lost (2013)

– Director: J.C. Chandor
– Stacker score: 84.8
– Metascore: 87
– IMDb user rating: 6.9
– Runtime: 106 minutes

Robert Redford is lost at sea and facing certain death in this gripping survival story from director J.C. Chandor. Almost entirely absent of dialogue, the film relies on the expressive and physical talents of its lead star. “He has this great, beautiful voice, but if you tie that behind his back it allows the audience to forget that it’s Robert Redford,” said Chandor in a 2013 interview.

Chungeorahm Film

#83. The Host (2006)

– Director: Bong Joon Ho
– Stacker score: 84.8
– Metascore: 85
– IMDb user rating: 7.1
– Runtime: 120 minutes

When scientists dump 200 bottles of formaldehyde into South Korea’s Han River, it spawns a menacing sea creature. So goes this contemporary monster movie from Bong Joon Ho, who turns parable into spectacle as only he can. After wowing audiences at Cannes, it went on to break Korean box office records.

Twentieth Century Fox

#82. War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

– Director: Matt Reeves
– Stacker score: 84.8
– Metascore: 82
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Runtime: 140 minutes

First there came the rise, followed by the dawn, and in 2017 it was an all-out “War for the Planet of the Apes.” Lead ape Caesar struggles internally as he seeks revenge on the man (Woody Harrelson) who murdered his wife and child.

Walt Disney Pictures

#81. Incredibles 2 (2018)

– Director: Brad Bird
– Stacker score: 84.8
– Metascore: 80
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Runtime: 118 minutes

After a full decade, the world’s foremost family of superheroes returned for another computer-animated adventure. This time around, Elastigirl takes on a mind-controlling supervillain named Screenslaver. Released to rabid anticipation, it became the fastest animated film (for its time) to cross the $200 million mark at the domestic box office.

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FilmDistrict

#80. Drive (2011)

– Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
– Stacker score: 84.8
– Metascore: 78
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 100 minutes

A synth-heavy soundtrack and pulpy visual style help distinguish this cult classic from the standard crime thriller. It centers around a quiet getaway driver (Ryan Gosling), who ends up in the crosshairs of a dangerous mobster (Albert Brooks). Ironically, director Nicolas Winding Refn didn’t even have a driver’s license when making it.

New Regency Productions

#79. The Revenant (2015)

– Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
– Stacker score: 84.8
– Metascore: 76
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 156 minutes

Inspired by the (alleged) real-life story of Hugh Glass, this brutal survival film takes place in the early 19th-century American wilderness. Betrayed by his hunting team, Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) embarks on a quest for survival and revenge. The film won three Academy Awards, including Best Actor for DiCaprio and Best Director for Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

Marvel Studios

#78. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

– Director: James Gunn
– Stacker score: 84.8
– Metascore: 76
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 121 minutes

A group of intergalactic misfits works together to stop a villain from taking over the universe in this surprise Marvel smash. One of the movie’s characters is a talking tree monster named Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel. While Groot has just one line in the film—“I am Groot”—Diesel was asked to record the line approximately 1,000 times.

Eon Productions

#77. From Russia with Love (1963)

– Director: Terence Young
– Stacker score: 85.3
– Metascore: 83
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Runtime: 115 minutes

Another classic James Bond film, 1963’s “From Russia With Love” sends Agent 007 on the hunt for an advanced coding machine. The second installment in the long-running, ongoing franchise, it features a thrilling pre-credit sequence and interesting locales, among other things.

Toho Company

#76. Battle Royale (2000)

– Director: Kinji Fukasaku
– Stacker score: 85.3
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Runtime: 114 minutes

Before “The Hunger Games” series came this similar film out of Japan, which was likewise based on a novel. Set in a future dystopia, it pits a group of unlucky ninth-graders in a battle to the death. The twisted plot and graphic violence sparked controversy and even led to bans in certain countries.

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Twentieth Century Fox

#75. Minority Report (2002)

– Director: Steven Spielberg
– Stacker score: 85.3
– Metascore: 80
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 145 minutes

Based on a story by Philip K. Dick, this sci-fi thriller stars Tom Cruise as a futuristic cop with a serious advantage over would-be criminals. With help from clairvoyant beings known as precogs, he arrests people for crimes that haven’t yet occurred. But what happens when the precogs foresee Cruise himself committing a heinous act?

Columbia Pictures Corporation

#74. Spider-Man 2 (2004)

– Director: Sam Raimi
– Stacker score: 85.3
– Metascore: 83
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Runtime: 127 minutes

Warmly received by critics and audiences alike, “Spider-Man 2” follows the further adventures of its web-slinging superhero (Tobey Maguire). His newfound nemesis is Dr. Octopus (Alfred Molina), a scientist-turned-supervillain with mechanical tentacles and a crazed disposition. Speaking of crazy, Molina reportedly gave each tentacle an individual name behind the scenes.

Omega Project

#73. Love Exposure (2008)

– Director: Sion Sono
– Stacker score: 85.9
– Metascore: 78
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 237 minutes

Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono brought his subversive sensibilities to this sprawling melodrama. Clocking in at just under four hours, it depicts the bizarre love triangle between three damaged characters. Slant critic Simon Abrams described it as “Sono’s equivalent of the Great Russian novel.”

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#72. Creed (2015)

– Director: Ryan Coogler
– Stacker score: 85.9
– Metascore: 82
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Runtime: 133 minutes

The world’s most beloved sports franchise kicked off a new chapter with this mega-popular installment. It hands the story over to ambitious boxer Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), son of former champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). Jordan himself directed the upcoming “Creed 3,” the first “Rocky” film in which Sylvester Stallone won’t appear.

Black Label Media

#71. Sicario (2015)

– Director: Denis Villeneuve
– Stacker score: 85.9
– Metascore: 82
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Runtime: 121 minutes

This taut thriller tells the story of FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), who’s recruited to eliminate a drug cartel near the Mexican border. Benicio del Toro costars as a brooding mercenary and ends up playing just as large a role in the narrative. He insisted on cutting many of his original lines in order to exhibit more of an unspoken presence.

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Endgame Entertainment

#70. Looper (2012)

– Director: Rian Johnson
– Stacker score: 85.9
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Runtime: 119 minutes

Before stirring up all sorts of controversy with “The Last Jedi,” filmmaker Rian Johnson delivered this heady sci-fi thriller. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a “looper,” a hitman who kills people as soon as they arrive from the future. The story deals with the fallout of its protagonist choosing not to kill his next target (Bruce Willis), who happens to be himself. Confused yet?

Twentieth Century Fox

#69. Logan (2017)

– Director: James Mangold
– Stacker score: 85.9
– Metascore: 77
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 137 minutes

Before hanging up his claws for good (supposedly), Hugh Jackman played Wolverine one last time in this explosive action drama. Set in a futuristic wasteland, it finds the mutant superhero trying to outmaneuver an evil corporation. As with 2016’s “Deadpool,” the film’s R rating only bolstered its allure.

Lucasfilm

#68. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)

– Director: J.J. Abrams
– Stacker score: 85.9
– Metascore: 80
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 138 minutes

The “Star Wars” franchise was resurrected on a high note with this 2015 installment. To ensure audience satisfaction, director J.J. Abrams stuck closely to the tone and story of the original trilogy. Actor Mark Hamill reprises his role as Luke Skywalker, though his involvement had been drastically reduced by the time he showed up for the first table read.

Paramount Pictures

#67. Iron Man (2008)

– Director: Jon Favreau
– Stacker score: 85.9
– Metascore: 79
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 126 minutes

The Marvel Comics Universe launched in spectacular style with this gripping blockbuster in which Tony Stark builds a revolutionary suit of armor. Tom Cruise reportedly passed on the lead role, and Quentin Tarantino expressed interest in directing. It ended up in the hands of Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau, and the rest is history.

Sedic International

#66. 13 Assassins (2010)

– Director: Takashi Miike
– Stacker score: 86.4
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 7.5
– Runtime: 141 minutes

Prolific director Takashi Miike breathes new life into a 1963 samurai film with this vivid remake. The story takes place in mid-19th-century Japan and follows 13 assassins as they unite against an evil lord. Taut drama slowly builds to a climactic 45-minute battle sequence.

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Warner Bros.

#65. Enter the Dragon (1973)

– Director: Robert Clouse
– Stacker score: 86.4
– Metascore: 83
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Runtime: 102 minutes

Bruce Lee’s final completed film is one of the most iconic martial arts movies ever made. Seeking revenge for his sister’s death, Lee fights his way to the top of a deadly competition. The movie also features a young Jackie Chan, who plays a henchman during a climactic showdown.

StudioCanal

#64. Hot Fuzz (2007)

– Director: Edgar Wright
– Stacker score: 86.4
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 121 minutes

Filmmaker Edgar Wright pokes fun at action movies as much as he honors them in this wild comedy. It sends an overzealous London cop (Simon Pegg) to a small and seemingly boring town where a killer is on the loose. This is the second installment in Wright’s “Cornetto Trilogy,” which takes its name from a popular ice cream cone treat.

Warner Bros.

#63. Heat (1995)

– Director: Michael Mann
– Stacker score: 86.4
– Metascore: 76
– IMDb user rating: 8.3
– Runtime: 170 minutes

Director Michael Mann’s sprawling crime epic chronicles a dangerous bank heist from both sides of the law. It redefined the cops-and-robbers premise for the modern era and continues to influence its respective sub-genre. A number of major characters are revisited in the recent novel “Heat 2” by Mann and co-author Meg Gardiner.

Eon Productions

#62. Skyfall (2012)

– Director: Sam Mendes
– Stacker score: 86.4
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 143 minutes

James Bond is always synonymous with pulse-pounding action sequences, but 2012’s “Skyfall” goes extra-big on spectacle. It pits the iconic superspy against a diabolical madman (Javier Bardem) with impressive foresight and a taste for chaos.

Mid Day Multimedia Limited

#61. Black Friday (2004)

– Director: Anurag Kashyap
– Stacker score: 87
– Metascore: 76
– IMDb user rating: 8.4
– Runtime: 143 minutes

This Indian Hindi-language crime drama culls from a nonfiction book about the 1993 Bombay bombings. Examining the event from all conceivable angles, its sensitive subject matter resulted in a domestic two-year ban. Outlook critic Namrata Joshi called it an “audacious, daring and explosive piece of cinema” in her four-star review.

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Film Workshop

#60. The Killer (1989)

– Director: John Woo
– Stacker score: 87
– Metascore: 82
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 111 minutes

A jaded assassin (Chow Yun-fat) must murder his way to retirement in this groundbreaking action classic. Director John Woo filmed the movie using an outline in lieu of a script, later claiming that “the whole movie was in [his] head.” It would go on to influence an emerging slate of Hollywood directors, including Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.

Warner Bros.

#59. The Lego Movie (2014)

– Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
– Stacker score: 87
– Metascore: 83
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 100 minutes

Everything is awesome for the protagonist of this computer-animated blockbuster—until he’s tasked with saving the world from the whims of Lord Business. In addition to being a box-office success, the inventive movie caused sales of actual Lego sets to soar by 15%.

Dreamworks Pictures

#58. 1917 (2019)

– Director: Sam Mendes
– Stacker score: 87
– Metascore: 78
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 119 minutes

This taut WWI drama unfolds in the style of a single shot, cleverly concealing its 34 camera cuts. The story sends two British soldiers (Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay) across enemy lines with the task of delivering a vital message. It won three Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography for Roger Deakins.

Columbia Pictures

#57. Casino Royale (2006)

– Director: Martin Campbell
– Stacker score: 87
– Metascore: 80
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 144 minutes

Martin Campbell’s stylish thriller takes audiences back to where it all began, presenting James Bond’s first mission as Agent 007. This also marks Daniel Craig’s inaugural performance as the iconic spy. In the film, Bond must prevent a shady banker with terrorist ties from winning a game of high-stakes poker.

TriStar Pictures

#56. District 9 (2009)

– Director: Neill Blomkamp
– Stacker score: 87
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 112 minutes

Neill Blomkamp’s feature debut doubles as a thinly veiled allegory of South African apartheid. It conjures an alternate reality in which extraterrestrials came in peace, only to be squeezed into militarized ghettos. While carrying out eviction duties, government agent Wikus van de Merwe (Sharlto Copley) encounters life-changing alien technology.

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Warner Bros.

#55. The Matrix (1999)

– Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
– Stacker score: 87
– Metascore: 73
– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Runtime: 136 minutes

Streamlining various concepts, “The Matrix” tells the story of a man (Keanu Reeves) who discovers reality is not what it seems. The seminal flick debuted in 1999 and seemed to change the action genre overnight. Among the movie’s many famous scenes is a lobby shootout that took 10 days to film and didn’t rely on CGI.

Focus Features

#54. Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

– Director: Travis Knight
– Stacker score: 87.5
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 101 minutes

In this stop-motion animation feature, a boy named Kubo must find a magical coat of armor in order to defeat an evil spirit. Featuring what is believed to be the largest stop-motion puppet ever, the film is produced by Laika, the Oscar-nominated company behind movies such as “Coraline” and “The Boxtrolls.”

Alcon Entertainment

#53. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

– Director: Denis Villeneuve
– Stacker score: 87.5
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 164 minutes

When a young blade runner (Ryan Gosling) uncovers a long-buried secret, it could have society-shifting consequences. Like its distinguished predecessor, Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi sequel underperformed at the box office and slowly developed cult status.

Egg Films

#52. Oldboy (2003)

– Director: Park Chan-wook
– Stacker score: 87.5
– Metascore: 77
– IMDb user rating: 8.4
– Runtime: 120 minutes

Not to be confused with the disappointing Hollywood remake, Park Chan-wook’s revenge tale offers no shortage of brutal surprises. Inexplicably held captive for years, a man is set free to pursue his tormentor. This makes up part of Chan-wook’s famous “Vengeance” trilogy.

Paramount Pictures

#51. Star Trek (2009)

– Director: J.J. Abrams
– Stacker score: 87.5
– Metascore: 82
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 127 minutes

Before giving “Star Wars” its due (at first, at least), director J.J. Abrams resurrected another classic space saga with this 2009 adaptation. A prequel to the original TV series and films, it portrays James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) as a brash young captain. Actor Simon Pegg was so eager to co-star as a young Scotty that he later claimed he would’ve paid Abrams for the part.

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Marvel Studios

#50. Black Panther (2018)

– Director: Ryan Coogler
– Stacker score: 87.5
– Metascore: 88
– IMDb user rating: 7.3
– Runtime: 134 minutes

This Marvel smash takes place in the African nation of Wakanda, home to highly skilled warriors and a precious resource known as Vibranium. With the throne under attack, the heroic Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) must save the day. Tragically, Boseman died following his battle with cancer in 2020.

Carolco Pictures

#49. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

– Director: James Cameron
– Stacker score: 87.5
– Metascore: 75
– IMDb user rating: 8.6
– Runtime: 137 minutes

Masterful genre-blending and revolutionary special effects made this blockbuster sequel a veritable game-changer. Two cyborgs are sent back from the future, one to kill and the other to protect. Robert Patrick plays the shape-shifting T-1000, a role that was originally supposed to go to rock star Billy Idol.

Twentieth Century Fox

#48. Avatar (2009)

– Director: James Cameron
– Stacker score: 87.5
– Metascore: 83
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 162 minutes

Director James Cameron and his team employed new 3D technology to bring this record-breaking blockbuster to life. Travel to the distant planet of Pandora, where greedy earthlings try to exploit the native species.

CKK

#47. Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

– Director: John Carpenter
– Stacker score: 88
– Metascore: 89
– IMDb user rating: 7.3
– Runtime: 91 minutes

Two years before stunning audiences with “Halloween,” director John Carpenter delivered this indie action thriller. It follows a group of mismatched heroes as they defend a defunct police station from an invading gang. Working on a shoestring budget, Carpenter modeled the film after famous Westerns like “Rio Bravo.”

Chernin Entertainment

#46. Ford v Ferrari (2019)

– Director: James Mangold
– Stacker score: 88
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 152 minutes

Based on actual events, this high-octane drama chronicles the contentious rivalry between automakers Ford and Ferrari. With help from designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), Ford becomes a serious contender in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning for Best Sound Editing and Best Film Editing.

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TriStar Pictures

#45. Baby Driver (2017)

– Director: Edgar Wright
– Stacker score: 88
– Metascore: 86
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Runtime: 113 minutes

While propulsive music is fundamental to any given action flick, this fast-paced heist film actually builds key sequences around specific songs. It centers on a getaway driver (Ansel Elgort) with a penchant for classic tunes who gets forced into pulling off an impossible job. Director Edgar Wright envisioned some of the scenes as early as 1995 while listening to The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.

Marvel Studios

#44. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

– Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
– Stacker score: 88
– Metascore: 78
– IMDb user rating: 8.4
– Runtime: 181 minutes

Phase Three of the MCU culminated (but didn’t conclude) with this time-twisting epic. Set five years after “Infinity War,” it finds the remaining superheroes taking on Thanos once again. The film broke global box office records when it soared past the $1.2 billion mark in just five days, ultimately becoming the top-grossing movie of all time (before inflation) in 2019.

Warner Bros.

#43. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

– Director: Christopher Nolan
– Stacker score: 88
– Metascore: 78
– IMDb user rating: 8.4
– Runtime: 164 minutes

It’s Batman versus supervillain Bane (Tom Hardy) in the final act of Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy. Hardy drew inspiration from a famous bare-knuckle fighter named Bartley Gorman when coming up with his accent for the role. Anne Hathaway co-stars as Catwoman.

Warner Bros.

#42. Inception (2010)

– Director: Christopher Nolan
– Stacker score: 88
– Metascore: 74
– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Runtime: 148 minutes

Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending thriller follows a thief (Leonard DiCaprio) into people’s dreams, where he extracts data and influences events. Nolan came up with the idea in the early 2000s, envisioning it as a horror flick and then a low-budget drama before landing on this final version. It made over $800 million at the worldwide box office.

Walter Wanger Productions

#41. Foreign Correspondent (1940)

– Director: Alfred Hitchcock
– Stacker score: 88.6
– Metascore: 88
– IMDb user rating: 7.5
– Runtime: 120 minutes

One of Alfred Hitchcock’s lesser-known films, “Foreign Correspondent” tells the story of American reporter John Jones (Joel McCrea). While investigating a secret European treaty during War War II, Jones gets in over his head. Look for the obligatory cameo from Hitch himself at about the 13-minute mark.

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Warner Brothers/Seven Arts

#40. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

– Director: Arthur Penn
– Stacker score: 88.6
– Metascore: 86
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 111 minutes

Ushering in a new mode of on-screen violence, this landmark crime drama tracks two rebellious lovers through a Depression-era crime spree. The story was inspired by the real-life exploits of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, as well as infamous outlaws such as John Dillinger. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway play the lead roles.

Paramount Pictures

#39. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

– Director: Christopher McQuarrie
– Stacker score: 88.6
– Metascore: 86
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 147 minutes

A botched mission puts Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team on a desperate search for missing plutonium in this blockbuster actionfest. Cruise reportedly trained for over a year just to perform one of the film’s many outrageous stunts. The next installment is scheduled to arrive in 2023.

Universal Pictures

#38. Children of Men (2006)

– Director: Alfonso Cuarón
– Stacker score: 88.6
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 109 minutes

This dystopian thriller takes place in a future where mankind has lost the ability to reproduce. With the emergence of a pregnant woman comes a redemptive quest for former activist Theo Faron (Clive Owen). Director Alfonso Cuarón interweaves socially poignant drama with elaborate one-shot action sequences to render a singular viewing experience.

Miramax

#37. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)

– Director: Quentin Tarantino
– Stacker score: 88.6
– Metascore: 83
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 137 minutes

The second volume of this gritty saga picks up where the first one left off, following the Bride (Uma Thurman) on her quest for revenge. Fight sequences and flashbacks build toward a dramatic showdown between the betrayed assassin and her former boss (David Carradine).

Keystone-France // Getty Images

#36. Scarface (1932)

– Directors: Howard Hawks, Richard Rosson
– Stacker score: 89.1
– Metascore: 87
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 93 minutes

Long before Brian De Palma’s ultraviolent gangster movie came this 1932 Howard Hawks film of the same name. It chronicles the rise and fall of Tony Camonte (Paul Muni), an ambitious criminal with a thirst for power. Loosely based on the exploits of mobster Al Capone (nicknamed “Scarface”), the movie incorporated primary research—Hawks reportedly met with Capone before filming.

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DVV Entertainment

#35. RRR (2022)

– Director: S.S. Rajamouli
– Stacker score: 89.1
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 187 minutes

The latest Telugu-language epic from director S.S. Rajamouli delivers pure spectacle on the grandest of scales. Against the historical backdrop of India’s fight for independence, two seeming adversaries (Ram Charan and N.T. Rama Rao Jr.) form an action-packed friendship. Its over-the-top set pieces make Michael Bay look tame by comparison.

Beijing New Picture Film Co.

#34. House of Flying Daggers (2004)

– Director: Yimou Zhang
– Stacker score: 89.1
– Metascore: 89
– IMDb user rating: 7.5
– Runtime: 119 minutes

Director Zhang Yimou followed 2002’s “Hero” with yet another wuxia classic. Set during the waning years of the Tang Dynasty, it finds various rebel groups taking on the corrupt government. When romance sparks between two figures on opposite sides of the political spectrum, a deadly game of deception ensues.

A24

#33. Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

– Directors: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
– Stacker score: 89.1
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 8.3
– Runtime: 139 minutes

The Daniels filmmaking duo interprets the metaverse as only they can in this genre-bending thrill ride. Upon her visit to the IRS, a Chinese immigrant (Michelle Yeoh) discovers infinite alternate realities and a few important life lessons. More than an indie box-office smash, it’s one of the most talked-about films in recent memory.

Warner Bros.

#32. Dirty Harry (1971)

– Directors: Don Siegel, Clint Eastwood
– Stacker score: 89.1
– Metascore: 87
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 102 minutes

Clint Eastwood is a San Francisco cop with a big gun and a short temper in this seminal crime drama. The movie sends its no-nonsense protagonist on the trail of the Scorpio Killer, who’s terrorizing the city. Famous crooner Frank Sinatra was originally attached to play the lead role, dropping out after he injured his hand.

Beijing New Picture Film Co

#31. Hero (2002)

– Director: Yimou Zhang
– Stacker score: 89.1
– Metascore: 85
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 120 minutes

In the wake of Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” came this wuxia blockbuster from director Zhang Yimou. Adopting a “Rashomon”-style template, it recounts the murder of three would-be assassins. The most expensive Chinese production of its time, it was also the first Chinese-language film to debut at the top of the American box office.

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Eon Productions

#30. Goldfinger (1964)

– Director: Guy Hamilton
– Stacker score: 89.1
– Metascore: 87
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 110 minutes

While investigating a gold magnate for smuggling, British spy James Bond (Sean Connery) exposes a much bigger and graver plan. An instant success upon its debut, the film made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as being the fastest-grossing picture in movie history (at the time). This is director Steven Spielberg’s favorite Bond film.

Paramount Pictures

#29. Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

– Director: Joseph Kosinski
– Stacker score: 89.1
– Metascore: 78
– IMDb user rating: 8.6
– Runtime: 130 minutes

This cultural juggernaut welcomes viewers back to the TOPGUN flight school, where Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) trains a fresh batch of recruits. It rolled into theaters after nearly three years of delays and captured the zeitgeist overnight. Blending earnest storytelling with dazzling technical improvements and nostalgic undertones, it makes for the perfect crowd-pleaser.

Warner Bros.

#28. The Fugitive (1993)

– Director: Andrew Davis
– Stacker score: 89.7
– Metascore: 87
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 130 minutes

Falsely accused of murder, Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) escapes from imprisonment and sets out to prove his innocence. Tommy Lee Jones co-stars as the U.S. Marshal who’s going to bring Kimble down. Based on a 1960s TV show, the film delivers gripping action sequences and memorable dialogue.

Universal Pictures

#27. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

– Director: Paul Greengrass
– Stacker score: 89.7
– Metascore: 85
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 115 minutes

The third film of the Jason Bourne series pits its protagonist against corrupt entities within his own government. Director Paul Greengrass was unable to shut down Waterloo Station for an important scene, causing a dilemma when it came to potential onlookers. To create a distraction, he set up a mock camera crew at one end of the station and then filmed the actual scene at the other end.

The Ladd Company

#26. Blade Runner (1982)

– Director: Ridley Scott
– Stacker score: 89.7
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 117 minutes

Ridley Scott’s dystopian vision was an underperformer that became a cult sensation, one which continues to enrapture new audiences. Against a backdrop of emotive synth music and vivid imagery, a lone blade runner (Harrison Ford) tracks down four renegade replicants. Largely devoid of genre tropes, the film examines the human condition on multiple levels.

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Hemdale

#25. The Terminator (1984)

– Director: James Cameron
– Stacker score: 89.7
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 107 minutes

This sci-fi horror classic wasn’t James Cameron’s first film, but he’ll sometimes say it was. Inspired by one of the director’s own nightmares, it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a robot sent back in time to kill an important woman (Linda Hamilton). Multiple sequels would follow.

Warner Bros.

#24. The Iron Giant (1999)

– Director: Brad Bird
– Stacker score: 90.2
– Metascore: 85
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 86 minutes

Overlooked at the time of its 1999 release, this animated tale has since found a much wider audience. It follows a boy and his giant robot friend as they try to outwit a paranoid government agent. The story is based on a book by Ted Hughes, who died before Brad Bird’s adaptation appeared on the big screen.

Dreamworks Pictures

#23. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

– Director: Clint Eastwood
– Stacker score: 91.3
– Metascore: 89
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 141 minutes

A critically superior companion to “Flags of Our Fathers,” Clint Eastwood’s WWII drama depicts the Battle of Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective. At the heart of the story are a general and a young soldier who must contend with the oncoming American invasion. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Twentieth Century Fox

#22. Aliens (1986)

– Director: James Cameron
– Stacker score: 91.3
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 8.4
– Runtime: 137 minutes

If 1979’s “Alien” was an exercise in pure terror, this 1986 sequel was more of an action-packed affair. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is enlisted to fight not just one but numerous acid-spewing alien creatures on an abandoned space colony. To prepare for their roles as soldiers, some of the actors trained with real-life Marines.

Paramount Pictures

#21. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

– Director: Steven Spielberg
– Stacker score: 91.8
– Metascore: 85
– IMDb user rating: 8.4
– Runtime: 115 minutes

Adventure-prone archeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is on a quest to find the Ark of the Covenant, battling Nazis along the way. To open the film, Spielberg had the Paramount mountain logo dissolve into an actual mountain. It was something he conceived years ago as a young kid making movies with his friends.

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Lucasfilm FILLER

#20. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

– Director: Irvin Kershner
– Stacker score: 91.8
– Metascore: 82
– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Runtime: 124 minutes

Still considered the apex of the “Star Wars” franchise, this installment finds Luke Skywalker and the evil Empire honing their respective powers. It marks the first appearance of the Emperor, a ghastly male character with pale skin and blue eyes—in the modified version, that is. In the original version, the Emperor was played by a woman with the eyes of a chimpanzee.

Pixar Animation Studios

#19. The Incredibles (2004)

– Director: Brad Bird
– Stacker score: 92.4
– Metascore: 90
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 115 minutes

This iconic Pixar outing subjects two retired superheroes and their children to a boring life in the ’burbs. Called into action, the family squares off against a deeply disgruntled villain. Animator Lou Romano drew upon 1960s aesthetics when establishing the film’s unique color palette.

Shochiku

#18. Hara-Kiri (1962)

– Director: Masaki Kobayashi
– Stacker score: 92.9
– Metascore: 85
– IMDb user rating: 8.6
– Runtime: 133 minutes

This historical Japanese drama takes place during a time of relative peace, putting thousands of samurai out of work. Revealed through flashbacks is the taut story of a young samurai who’s forced into the act of hara-kiri (ritual suicide). As the tragedy unfolds, a tale of revenge begins to emerge.

Jar Pictures

#17. Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)

– Director: Anurag Kashyap
– Stacker score: 92.9
– Metascore: 89
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 321 minutes

Divided into two parts, this blood-soaked Indian crime epic depicts the long-running rivalry between warring gangs. It spans three generations and hundreds of characters, ultimately clocking in at over five hours. Critic Danny Bowes called it “one of the most ambitious gangster films ever made, and quite possibly one of the best.”

Philip D’Antoni Productions

#16. The French Connection (1971)

– Director: William Friedkin
– Stacker score: 92.9
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 104 minutes

Inspired by a real-life drug bust, “The French Connection” follows a disgruntled cop (Gene Hackman) as he takes down local heroin dealers. His investigation builds toward one of the most exciting car chase sequences in Hollywood history. The film won five Oscars, including Best Picture.

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Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE)

#15. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

– Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
– Stacker score: 92.9
– Metascore: 87
– IMDb user rating: 8.4
– Runtime: 117 minutes

Anyone can wear the mask in this dimension-spanning adventure, which features groundbreaking animation. What opens with the saga of Miles Morales becomes the story of multiple web-slingers who exist in separate realms of reality.

Warner Bros.

#14. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

– Director: George Miller
– Stacker score: 92.9
– Metascore: 90
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 120 minutes

Mad Max (Tom Hardy) teams up with the rebel Furiosa (Charlize Theron) as they flee from an evil overlord. Most of the filming went down in Africa’s Namib Desert, also known as “the land that God made in anger.” Whereas the original “Mad Max” was made on a shoestring budget of about $200,000, this fourth installment cost a reported $150 million to produce.

Syncopy

#13. Dunkirk (2017)

– Director: Christopher Nolan
– Stacker score: 93.5
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 106 minutes

Based on true events, Christopher Nolan’s WWII drama follows Allied soldiers as they evacuate a beach or die trying. The movie eschews traditional character development in favor of relentless action sequences and countless explosions. Some war veterans claim the film version was much louder than the real thing.

Asia Union Film & Entertainment Ltd.

#12. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

– Director: Ang Lee
– Stacker score: 94
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 120 minutes

Ang Lee’s update on the wuxia genre sends two seasoned warriors in the pursuit of a stolen sword. In addition to its iconic action sequences, the film delivers sweeping drama and a romantic subplot. A box-office smash, it won four Academy Awards out of 10 nominations.

Warner Bros.

#11. Gravity (2013)

– Director: Alfonso Cuarón
– Stacker score: 94
– Metascore: 96
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 91 minutes

Alfonso Cuarón’s space-based tale of survival combines threadbare storytelling with stunning visual effects. It was theatrically released in 3D when audiences were still reeling from films such as “Avatar.” Follow two astronauts (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) as they grapple with the sudden destruction of their shuttle in real time.

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Warner Bros.

#10. The Dark Knight (2008)

– Director: Christopher Nolan
– Stacker score: 94.6
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 9.0
– Runtime: 152 minutes

Much more than a comic book film, “The Dark Knight” is often hailed as one of the greatest movies of the modern era. That’s in no small part thanks to Heath Ledger’s turn as the Joker, who terrorizes Gotham City with a series of intricate and deadly stunts. Seeking inspiration for the character, Ledger kept a “Joker Diary,” which included clip art and script notes. Ledger died before the movie debuted, posthumously winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

#Kurosawa Production Co.

#9. Yojimbo (1961)

– Director: Akira Kurosawa
– Stacker score: 95.1
– Metascore: 93
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 110 minutes

This Japanese samurai drama takes place in 1860 and puts a wandering ronin (Toshirô Mifune) in the middle of a small-town gang war. Director Akira Kurosawa drew loose inspiration from Hollywood Westerns and then influenced them in turn. Not only was the plot rehashed in 1964’s “A Fistful of Dollars,” but the film was officially remade in 1996 as the Bruce Willis Western “Last Man Standing.”

New Line Cinema

#8. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

– Director: Peter Jackson
– Stacker score: 95.1
– Metascore: 87
– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Runtime: 179 minutes

Hobbits Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) continue their quest to destroy an all-powerful ring in this beloved sequel. Director Peter Jackson expands upon his vision of Middle-earth while introducing a shifty CGI creature named Gollum (Andy Serkis). The story culminates with an epic 40-minute battle sequence, which took a whopping 120 days to film.

Warner Bros.

#7. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

– Directors: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley
– Stacker score: 95.7
– Metascore: 97
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 102 minutes

This timeless adventure stars Errol Flynn as the titular hero, who famously steals from the rich to give to the poor. It was the most expensive Warner Bros. film at the time, a gamble that paid off not once but twice. A massive box-office success upon its initial debut, the film soared once again after being rereleased with new Technicolor prints.

Warner Brothers/Seven Arts

#6. The Wild Bunch (1969)

– Director: Sam Peckinpah
– Stacker score: 95.7
– Metascore: 97
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 135 minutes

From controversial director Sam Peckinpah comes this gritty Western about a group of aging outlaws in pursuit of one final score. Striving for authenticity, Peckinpah insisted that every gunshot in the film feature a distinct and authentic sound.

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Lucasfilm Ltd.

#5. Star Wars (1977)

– Director: George Lucas
– Stacker score: 95.7
– Metascore: 90
– IMDb user rating: 8.6
– Runtime: 121 minutes

Kicking off the franchise to which all other franchises aspire, George Lucas’ “Star Wars” debuted in 1977 to rapturous reception. Young Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) channels the Force as he wages battle against Darth Vader and the evil Empire. Savvy linguists potentially uncovered a major plot reveal as early as this first film, since Darth Vader loosely translates to “Dark Father.”

Greenwich Film Productions

#4. Ran (1985)

– Director: Akira Kurosawa
– Stacker score: 96.7
– Metascore: 96
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 162 minutes

No stranger to Shakespeare adaptations, director Akira Kurosawa reimagines “King Lear” in this sprawling historical epic. Set in medieval Japan, it chronicles the territorial dispute between three would-be heirs. Kurosawa was 75 years old when he made the film, making its scope and execution all the more impressive.

New Line Cinema

#3. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

– Director: Peter Jackson
– Stacker score: 97.8
– Metascore: 92
– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Runtime: 178 minutes

Peter Jackson welcomes viewers to Middle-earth in this lofty adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic. Tasked with destroying an all-powerful ring, a gentle Hobbit (Elijah Wood) must conquer internal fears and external forces. Lurking just beyond the magical veneer are a number of potential themes, prompting endless discussion among cinephiles, theologians, and academics alike.

Toho Company

#2. Seven Samurai (1954)

– Director: Akira Kurosawa
– Stacker score: 100
– Metascore: 98
– IMDb user rating: 8.6
– Runtime: 207 minutes

Under threat by ruthless bandits, a small village hires seven samurai for protection. That paves the way for an action-packed showdown during which the samurai square off against 40 attackers. Masterful in its structure, Kurosawa’s adventure story has inspired countless imitations.

New Line Cinema

#1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

– Director: Peter Jackson
– Stacker score: 100
– Metascore: 94
– IMDb user rating: 9.0
– Runtime: 201 minutes

A beloved trilogy comes to a close in spectacular fashion, depicting the final battle between good and evil. The film scored massive box-office success and swept the Academy Awards, winning 11 Oscars out of 11 nominations. Completists will want to check out the 2004 extended version, which contains recut scenes and 50 minutes of additional footage.

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This story was written by Stacker and has been re-published pursuant to a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

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Stacker

This story was written by Stacker and has been re-published pursuant to a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

Founded in 2017, Stacker combines data analysis with rich editorial context, drawing on authoritative sources and subject matter experts to drive storytelling.