Actors Speak: The Top 10 Movies of All Time

There are about as many favorite movies as there are people, so it’s a safe bet that it’s going to be a bit difficult to pick only ten titles to be named the greatest movies of all time.

This list, however, is compiled by a few dozen actors and actresses who picked out their top ten favorites. Among the celebrities who participated in the poll are Stephen Merchant (The Office UK), Zoe Kazan (The Pretty One, What If), Joe Dempsie and Hannah Murray (Skins, Game of Thrones), Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham), and Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later, The Dark Knight) to name a few.

Here are the top ten greatest movies based on the celebrity picks:

10. Taxi Driver (1976)

Let’s start off the list with a Martin Scorsese film. This project that defined Robert De Niro’s career as an actor won the Palme D’or at the Cannes, and until now, it’s still considered one of the best movies to watch. Its elements of noir, vigilante narrative, and psychological thriller make it a good bet for movie night.

9. The Red Shoes (1948)

Inspired by a fairy tale from Hans Christian Anderson, The Red Shoes is about a yet-unknown ballerina who is torn between the demands of her career and the man she loves. Avant garde and classical, this creative film straddles the line between cinema and theater—beautiful, passionate, and mesmerizing.

8. Boogie Nights (1997)

Set in Los Angeles in the 1970s, this drama chronicles a young nightclub dishwasher’s rise in the porn industry, then his fall in the 1980s. The film shows Mark Wahlberg’s acting chops in compassionate and empathetic portraits of the struggles of wounded individuals fighting their own demons.

7. Annie Hall (1977)

This film by Woody Allen is considered as one of his best works, and for good reason. It’s nearly four decades since the film’s release, but it still holds up as a beautiful encapsulation of romantic comedies. Dealing with themes like love, sexuality, and identity, this film is still regarded as one of the best from a master in storytelling.

6. The Godfather Part 2 (1974)

The follow-up to The Godfather is one of the rare sequels that turned out better than the original film. The second part of the franchise continues the story of the Corleone family and serves as both a prequel and sequel. With six Oscars, it’s one impressive and monumental film boasting of talented cast and crew.

5. To Kill a Mockingbird (1963)

The adaptation to Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel is as celebrated as its source. Revolving around the story of a black man falsely accused of a crime in the Depression-era South, the story is a defining work of art both in cinema and literature. To Kill a Mockingbird defined Gregory Peck’s career and is partly to thank for everyone knowing the characters of Atticus Finch and Boo Radley.

4. Cinema Paradiso (1988) 

The Italian drama is the only foreign film to crack the top ten, but it’s definitely lived up to its name. The story of a filmmaker looking back on his younger days, Giuseppe Tornatore’s film is a love letter to cinema as well as an exploration of the mysteries of memory. Beautiful and moving, this 1989 Oscar winner put the Italian movie industry to the map.

3. A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

The poignant story about a dysfunctional family, the John Cassavetes film is a complex and compelling work that painted a believable portrait of mental illness. Deep and moving, it didn’t shy away from dissecting social norms, traditional family dynamics, and even gender roles. With issues regarding equality, it may even be more important today than it is back then.

2. The Godfather (1972)

Sure, the second part could be better than the original, as previously discussed, but the original film shows the transformation of Michael Corleone as a family favorite on the outside, to a reluctant mob leader, to a vicious boss. The Godfather impacted the movie industry in such a way that mob movies have never been the same since.

1. Tootsie (1982)


Perhaps the most surprising film on the list, Tootsie is about an actor down on his luck, dressing as a woman to land a job on a soap opera. Considering that this list was compiled by actors, there could be a reason for this reaching the top spot—it could resonate deeply with people in the film industry. Maybe.

Which of these films do you think did not deserve the title as one of the greatest of all time?