Empire's 500 Greatest Movies of All-Time List Unveiled

October 5, 2008
Source: Empire

Empire's 500 Greatest Movies of All-Time List Unveiled

In what seems like nothing more than a publicity stunt, Empire Magazine has published their own list of The 500 Greatest Movies of All-Time. I really like Empire, but here's my problem with this. At a number that high (how many of you even own 500 movies?), a list like this is so vague, that any movie you can probably think of that deserves to be on there probably is. Second, they claim that over 10,000 readers, 150 of Hollywood's finest, and 50 key film critics contributed to this, but that still doesn't make it any different from IMDb's Top 250 or AFI's Top 100. It's yet another list of great movies to pick apart for years to come - hence one hell of a publicity stunt that will draw attention to their fine magazine.

For the sake of discussion, let's take a look at their top 25 films. The list on their actual website is organized very neatly, so if you've got a few hours to spare (to read through every page) then check it out.

1. The Godfather (1972)
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
3. Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes Back (1980)
4. Shawsank Redemption (1994)
5. Jaws (1975)
6. GoodFellas (1990)
7. Apocalypse Now (1979)
8. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
9. Pulp Fiction (1994)
10. Fight Club (1999)
11. Raging Bull (1980)
12. The Apartment (1960)
13. Chinatown (1974)
14. Once Upon A Time In The West (1968)
15. The Dark Knight (2008)
16. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
17. Taxi Driver (1976)
18. Casablanca (1942)
19. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
20. Blade Runner (1982)
21. The Third Man (1949)
22. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
23. Back to the Future (1985)
24. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
25. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1967)

To be completely honest, this list covers quite a few of the big heavy-hitters that I was worried that they might be forgetting about. Even The Dark Knight has a spot on there, right above Kubrick's 2001. And of course, The Godfather still takes the top prize, as it has done for years on all sorts of "greatest movies of all-time" lists. I don't have a problem with that, because it is such a phenomenal movie, but I guess I'd just like to see some shakedowns eventually where something else takes the top spot. And as for big ones that are missing, Matrix is #39, Citizen Kane is #28, Alien is #33, Return of the King is #34, The Usual Suspects is #61, and even Ocean's 11 makes it on there as #500, right below Saw.

Empire has even printed 100 separate covers each featuring one movie. You can head over to their website and buy whichever one you might want. On top of all that, they have a review for nearly all 500 of these films - which is an impressive feat on its own. As much as I'm calling this a publicity stunt, it's a damned good one, there's no question about that. I commend Empire for putting so much effort into making this one of the most interest lists to sift through. Whenever I see lists like this, the one thing I always do right away is boost my Netflix queue by about 20 new entries. After reading through 500 of the great movies of all-time, I realized I've got to watch about 200 or more of them. Time to get to work!

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I actually own about 750 movies on DVD right now and it grows every day...even with that many movies I dont have about 300 of these titles so that will have to change 🙂

Maxx on Oct 5, 2008


I agree with most of the movies on that list but im not into old old movies so I would not be able to judge properly. But Jaws? seriously? Citizen Kane I just didn't get. But good list.

Unseen on Oct 5, 2008


HELL YEAH!!! Chris Nolan's Batman is the ONLY comic book movie in the 100 all time greatest movie list!!! The Dark Knight is on 15th place and Batman Begins is on 81st place... All Hail Chris Nolan, WB and DC!!! so where the hell is iron-man and spiderman??? i told ya marvel production is not good enough... now just wait for Watchmen shall gonna be HUGE!!!

safichan on Oct 6, 2008


Does this mean that only americans can make movies? Not a single non-american movie among the top 25 seems kind of odd, but who am I to judge? I love most of the movies on the list, the only one I never got is the Godfather trilogy, but that's my little cross to carry. 🙂

Anton on Oct 6, 2008


Alex, if u keep questioning why TDK is on the 15th place in the list... why not you keep complaining it on the IMDb's top 250 all time list too?? TDK is on the 3rd place just right behind the Shawsank Redemption and The Godfather... i think both of the lists are fair enough considering it was voted by many important figure in the industry...not by one its not bias after all....

safichan on Oct 6, 2008


A lot of awful movies on that list. Also a lot of the most boring flicks ever made on it as well.

MonkeyMan on Oct 6, 2008



Sebastian on Oct 6, 2008


Im not surprised. Empire Magazine is notoriuous for posting lists they pull out of somebodys ass. A big laugh goes to the fact that they included TDK among the top 20.

shige on Oct 6, 2008


I already question this list because jaws and raiders are both within the top 10. Is George or Stephen one of the authors? Let's put crystal skull at number 11, so we can all officially agree the list nuked the fridge

crabby on Oct 6, 2008


What's wrong with Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark? They're both amazing movies - nothing wrong with having them in top 10??

Alex Billington on Oct 6, 2008


can i say one thing... i bought Fight Club because everyone said how good it was. i watched it once and was left in the dark. it was a very weird movie to me and i dont know what i was suppose to look for. this is just one movie on that list, but i would like to know what on earth makes that movie so amazing??

big r on Oct 6, 2008


I have 500+ DVD's. I participated in this survey and know a bunch of people who did as well. The list was posted a couple weeks ago, some movies I've never even heard of. Doesn't mean they might not be excellent. I disagree with some of the list but for the most part it's good. What it all boils down to is it's personal preference. What I like someone else may not and vice versa. I'm probably gonna get shit for this but I recently watched Godfather II and WOW was I ever disappointed. I thought the acting was weak, story was slow and overall I wasn't that entertained. Don't get what all the hype is about. Ah well, to each their own I guess.

K on Oct 6, 2008


Hey K Don't worry I think the first two Godfather movies are vastly over rated. Very slowly paced. TDK should be number 1. HAHA Can someone explain why Godfather is so acclaimed? It was good for the time and as far as mafia movies go probably good, but in the grand scope of cinema it seems overrated to me anyways.

WB EXEC on Oct 6, 2008


I stoped reading the list when I saw "Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull" @ 453 ! What's with that ? WTF! I don't trust such a top and I don't plan to waste even 5 minutes to look further. If the top is made by user votes then Empire's readers suck and don't know very much about good and bad movies.

Marius on Oct 6, 2008


I was sad to see that there were no PIXAR films on the top 25......

insanartist on Oct 6, 2008


No La Regle Du Jeu? No Bicycle Thieves? In fact, no foreign films altogether? This list seems to be based too much on popularity, and not so much on enduring merit. I enjoy films as much as the next guy, but artistic merit or even, dare me, critical analysis should count for something. Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws, Pulp Fiction, Return of the King etc... Are all enjoyable, entertaining films, but many of them quite shallow. Also, as highly as I personally think of The Dark Knight, the greatness that can be ascribed to it can only justifiably be bestowed until after it has shown itself to be an enduring work. I'm not saying it won't endure, nor am I saying it shouldn't be on any recent list, rather, I'm just saying that its apparent place as a cultural phenomenon is, I think, unwarranted. Let Time be the ultimate judge. Finally, I believe that many of these films don't justifably deserve the popularity they have.

Matthias Galvin on Oct 6, 2008


At least they had the good the bad and the ugly on it. AFI didn't have it in it's top ten western flicks

Ajax on Oct 6, 2008


hahaha yess!!! fight club in the top 10 now that's what im talkin about!!! but i have to agree that this list is completely idiotic. afi's list is the greatest movies of all time, this is just greatest movies according to cult popularity and nothing more. i also hate how everybody thinks godfather part 2 is better than part 1 yet they always rank it lower. complete bullshit.

LeeMan on Oct 6, 2008


Are the Star Wars movies at #3 and #22 the (superior) original versions or the George Lucas Wet Dream Editions? Raiders would be my #1 movie.

avoidz on Oct 6, 2008


Seems more like the top 500 American films of all time. Where are all the terrific foreign films at? I'm sick of the same lists over and over again and I mean come on as if Men in Black or Oceans 11 deserve to be in the list.

Zehgut on Oct 7, 2008


Its amazing how I totally disagree with this list. Good publicity stunt. on Oct 7, 2008


Wow! Amazing lsit.

Ryan on Oct 7, 2008


While I do have my disagreements with the list (Jaws, Superbad stuck at #487) it is good to see the list show some love to some very good movies although sometimes not enough: Snatch at #466 should definetly be higher. HOW THE HELL IS CRYSTAL SKULL AHEAD OF CRASH??!!!????

jim on Oct 7, 2008


I love lists like this, it's like a shopping list.

MBD on Oct 7, 2008


the best thing about these kinds of lists are how angry it makes people. There was no way a list like this could be made without pissing off a bunch of people. movies, like every other media, is subjective.

iz on Oct 9, 2008


matrix shouldnt even be in the top 50. sorry kids.

lando on Oct 10, 2008


even if you didn't really like the matrix you have to admit that at least it's an interesting concept for a film. I'm glad that old boy was in there at 64 it has to be one of my favorite films ever, now that is an interesting story! I'm glad La Haine was in there as well, also a very good film. there were far to little foreign films in the top 500, not impressed As if juno made it in, that film is just about how many alternative references they can make in an hour and a half!

Howard on Oct 13, 2008


As if Transformers is really a 'greater' than Top Gun. Personally, not a great fan of the latter, but the contribution it has made to cinema has to be more significant than 'more CGI'. This list provided two hours of greath frothing in the pub after work. But to take it any more seriously than that would be energy wasted. This list says more about the majority of the Empire audience (of which I count myself) than it does about the film cogniscenti. 'Ocean's 11' at 500? No 'Man Bites Dog'? Go figure, Empirites...

Gary Matthews on Oct 13, 2008


good list particularly with the inclusion of fight club which i think is one of the best movie ever made

buck b on Oct 14, 2008


good bad ugly isn't on AFI's list cause it was made by sergio leone, an italian and not shot in America. Hence the term, spaghetti western. AFI's 100 is for american films only.

Bryce on Oct 15, 2008


Quit sniping on Jaws. It IS one of the finest movies ever made and most certainly has a superior script and acting performances than, say, Star Wars or Raiders......two films that really don't deserve to be top 5. Robert Shaw's USS Indianapolis monologue in Jaws is THE greatest scene in cinema history.

John Cornell on Oct 17, 2008


DAMN!!! TDK should be on the big 10 and Batman Begins deserve at least in the top 50!!! this list is still bias and SUCKED!!!!

mbembet on Oct 21, 2008


DARK KNIGHT???? DEFINITELY ONE OF THE MOST OVERRATED MOVIES. It shouldn't be 500 out of 500. Let alone making the list

DGK-ALL-DAY on Nov 8, 2008


You can't add a movie that's made THIS year right next to all time block-busters and call it "...One of te best". Sorry, but it's true.

Alexander on Nov 16, 2008


i agree with dgk-all-day. dark night was a gay movie dafinitly not worth all this attantion. christion bail is bad actor and so is heat ledger who play jokar. beter movie is most dafinitly sivaji the boss starring rajnikanth. jai maharashtra. jai rajnikanth. peace.

pottyman on Nov 21, 2008


They should have the return of the king on that list. Its better then the fellowship

Irod on Nov 22, 2008


pottyman what in the name of heaven and earth is wrong with you heath ledger was one of the most versitile character actors of the modern era, he could take any role and make it that much better, not to say the tdk deserves the spot at nukmber fifteen but it is wrong of you to call Heath Ledger arguably one of the top 10 actors of the modern era and top 50 of all time a bad actor! shame on you! all because of your intense bias for an indie film that was full of contraversy and barely won any awards a mere 3 total awards worldwide sad to say it my friend but TDK won 10 worldwide thus far the only reason sivaji is look at what other blockbusters the indie film industry released in 2007 hardly any. and then you add in the fact that there are 77 milion people who speak tamil and would all love to see a movie in their own langauge you get a huge fan base, that doesn't make it a better movie than TDK, in my opinion if sivaji where on my top 500 list it would be number 501 it just is not a good movie the cinematography is some of the weakest of even the indie films, it felt to me like a cheesy james bond porno knockoff at best. you my friend are mistaken to say that the acting was the problem with the dark knight just because you would need some one to speak in broken english in order for you to understand them, if anything the acting is what makes this movie good, more than the story line, more than the cinematography, more than the music, and more than the directing, the acting is what made this movie! you are ignorant sivaji the boss did not have better acting than TDK so for you to bash the TDK because of poor acting is a "gay" action in and of it's self.

weeping willow on Dec 7, 2008


sometimes i get the feeling that most of the people posting comments here didn't even watch some of the movies that they are talking about. I haven't seen all of the movies on the list but i have seen Jaws, the fellowship of the ring, the dark knight, and 2001, and i have to say that even though they are all good, there is no way that any of those movies should end up in the top 25 of all time. Honestly, jaws is very overrated. It has some good quotes, and it's a great effort for such a low budget, but there are a lot of obvious problems with it. the script isn't all that interesting; there isn't any character development, the plot was basic, and 2001 has better graphics even though it was made in the 60's. It's basically a popcorn flick: entertaining and fun, but it doesn't blow you away the fellowship of the ring was also really good, but i don't understand how it was the only lord of the rings film to get into the top 25 when both the two towers and the return of the king were a lot better. Everybody's gonna hate me for this, but the dark knight was NOT a top 25 movie. NOT a top 50 movie. MAYBE a top 100. sure it was good, it was actually amazing, but it just can't compare to some of the other movies that got left out of this list. And then there's 2001: A Space Odyssey. The one compliment that i will give to this film is that the special effects were WAY before their time. The picture quality really looked outstanding and if i were alive when this movie was made, i would be blown away. However, when you think about it, that was the only bright spot in the movie. The acting was uninspired. The dialogue was done in monotone. The music was basically the same two songs repeated over and over. The story moved slower than a slug going through molasses. And the plot is so complex that you will probably get a headache and wish you spent your money on a brainless horror flick. Even with it's amazing special effects, Does that sound like a movie that should make the top 25 of all time? That being said, i have a few humble suggestions for replacements of these movies: Titanic - in my opinion, best movie ever made Saving Private Ryan - really, this needs no explanation. The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King - if you have to choose one of the LOTR series, this is definitely the best one Dr. Strangelove - i know there are some better ones, but this is a personal favorite.

JE on Dec 15, 2008


Yay for shaun of the dead #231 and hot fuzz #374 btw pottyman is an idiot bollywood haha what a cheap rip off from hollywood british movies are the second best in the world chinese,indians,asians all suck mud almost all of them are cheap rip offs from american movies

JazzC on Dec 29, 2008


the good the bad and the ugly is my favorite movie of all time, once upon a time in america definitely should have made the top 25 and so should titanic, matrix, clerks,

bob on Mar 28, 2009


oh and i cant forget oldboy, it has one of the best directed fight scenes and one of the best torture scenes i have ever seen. it is one hell of a revenge film

bob on Mar 28, 2009


Jaws was a very ka movie for you non believers! The list also needs more John Wayne

Edmondo on Apr 14, 2009


Woop Transformers is higher than Spiderman, Also titanic should be on the list

Sully on Jun 7, 2009


Oh yeh thank you to the person that said "the fellow ship of the ring" and "the dark knight" should be top 25, i thought it was only me

Sully on Jun 7, 2009


V for Vendeta ROTFLMAO

Sully on Jun 7, 2009


Forrest Gump should have definitely been in the top 25. Who did make this list!?

smiley on Jul 2, 2009


Might as well consult the AFI's list. These are blockbuster hits that take no chances, say next to nothing and come straight from the cookie cutter. Yawn.

Curtis Stotlar on Jul 5, 2009


Kinda mad they included Transformers and Pirates 2, and not even Chicago (which was the first musical to win best picture in decades) But at least they put Moulin Rouge up there (my favorite film)

Peyton on Aug 12, 2009


What the hell are Transformers and POTC 2 doing in there? Proof that Empire are a bunch of hacks.

snickers on Aug 12, 2009


I'm sorry, but how can anyone say that there has only been 14 films better than The Dark Knight in cinematic history? It relies on one performance (with a ton of sympathy) and CGI/action. It's on that list purely due to hype: in three to five years, it'll be way down. And Jaws? Come on, 5th greatest of all time? Give me a f**cking break.

Pete on Oct 3, 2009


Forrest gump being over 200th is ridiculous, I would be mad if it didn't make top 50. But seriously American History X being lower than transformers is nonsensical, it's like this list was made by a 9 year old I mean seriously Transformers ahead of one of the best films in the past 15 years I mean wtf!

Steve on Apr 30, 2010


Has no one noticed that they wrote "Shawsank" instead of "ShawsHank"?

krazzzy12221 on Jun 20, 2010


as with any list, it's pointless to argue about specfic positions because people have different tastes. and besides, it's quite difficult to compare a 1970 film to a modern 21st century movie. not only the technology available differ, preferences too differ. it's like comparing today's music charts to a historical ones. popular genres change. it's evitable. also, a person enchanted by a movie when he was in his early twenties is never going to be mesmerized the same way today when he's 50. his expectations has changed, more likely increasing. i think it's more useful, when looking at a list like that, is just to divide the list into e.g. 5 bands, and see it in a more general way. for e.g. the no.1 movie should be considered like a no. 50 movie since they are in the same band etc.

sc on Nov 29, 2010


I love the dark night!!!!!! one of the best movies, and soon next year or the end of this year a sequel to the dark night will come out in theatres!!!!!!! sooooooooooo excited!! ":)

jmszas1979 on Apr 23, 2011

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