It's hard to believe that the first movie with sound debuted less than 100 years ago. Since then, we've been flocking to the cinema to escape the boredom of everyday life and get immersed in exciting new worlds.
But with thousands of movies to choose from, which are the ones you absolutely must see? The list of the greatest films of all time is always expanding and covers a range of genres. If you haven't seen them all, it's time to get started!
Die Hard (1988) sparked a revolution in the genre that added wisecracking humor and real heart to Hollywood shoot-em-ups. Bruce Willis is at his peak here, and Alan Rickman is one of the all-time great movie villains.
There's a reason action movies are described as "Die Hard, but in a [boat]." The original is still the best.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) has plenty of action, but the globetrotting hero, Indiana Jones, is less interested in killing baddies than retrieving lost treasure. He's a true adventurer who uses his wits more than his strength.
The supporting cast of characters adds depth and humor to this Spielberg-directed classic.
Encanto (2021) is the Disney film of the century, with songs that slap and a cast of characters that show how hard it is to be yourself and part of a big, messy family at the same time. The themes are ancient but updated for diversity and inclusion in surprising ways.
Blazing Saddles (1974) is a masterpiece that satirizes movie westerns and racism and makes a lot of—sometimes dirty, sometimes tasteless, but always funny—jokes along the way.
The impeccable chemistry and timing of its two leads, Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little, make this one for the ages.
Casablanca (1942) is widely considered to be the best movie ever, in any genre. The story of star-crossed lovers caught up in World War II, this film features excellent performances from Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as their characters struggle to do what's right in circumstances far larger than themselves.
Jaws (1975) is one of the scariest movies ever made, which shows that Nature can be just as frightening as anything else. The power lies in only showing the title character when absolutely necessary and letting the iconic theme music do the heavy lifting.
This movie has made generations of swimmers think twice about going in the water.
Singin' in the Rain (1952) stars Gene Kelly at his peak: a powerful dancer with charm for days. Set in a Hollywood struggling to adapt to the power of "talkies," this musical is pure joy.
Because it was always conceptualized as a movie, not first for the stage, everything about it is cinematic magic.
Knives Out (2019) is the rare mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat with twists and turns. Though it nods to the classic Agatha Christie set-up of a wealthy family in a large mansion, the plot is modern and benefits from mile-a-minute pacing and intelligent dialogue. It's an instant classic.
When Harry Met Sally (1989) turns the classic boy-meets-girl story on its head with the question: Can men and women just be friends?
Smart writing from Nora Ephron and two iconic lead performances make this movie the romantic comedy of our time. Bonus points for the classic soundtrack that launched Harry Connick, Jr.'s career.
Back to the Future (1985) is a time travel story so carefully crafted that it bears re-watching again and again. When Marty McFly ends up 30 years in the past, he has to save his parents' relationship and his friend Doc Brown—all without changing the future too much.
The clever script, fun soundtrack, and star-making performance of Michael J. Fox transcend mere popcorn fare and make this movie an all-time great.