Welcome to Rotten Tomatoes’ 100 best-reviewed classic movies of all time ranked by Adjusted Tomatometer! We define ‘classic’ as everything released up until the late-1960s, a tumultuous era that signaled a passing of the guard with national cultural revolutions, destruction of the Motion Picture Production Code, and the impending arrival of New Hollywood filmmakers.
Adjusted Score: 104050%
Critics Consensus: This complex war epic asks hard questions, resists easy answers, and boasts career-defining work from star Alec Guinness and director David Lean.
A British POW colonel (Alec Guinness) orders his men to build their Japanese captor (Sessue Hayakawa) a railway bridge in... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104165%
Critics Consensus: Paths of Glory is a transcendentally humane war movie from Stanley Kubrick, with impressive, protracted battle sequences and a knock-out ending.
A World War I French colonel (Kirk Douglas) defends three soldiers picked to be shot for a general's blunder.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98626%
Critics Consensus: Rebel Without a Cause is a searing melodrama featuring keen insight into '50s juvenile attitude and James Dean's cool, iconic performance.
Tragedy follows when a new-to-town, troublemaking teen (James Dean) meets other anguished children (Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo) of feckless parents.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103004%
Critics Consensus: With Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo as his template, Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars helped define a new era for the Western and usher in its most iconic star, Clint Eastwood.
Sergio Leone's classic about a mysterious drifter's involvement with warring factions in a Mexican border town.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101398%
Critics Consensus: Proving once again that build-up is the key to suspense, Alfred Hitchcock successfully turned birds into some of the most terrifying villains in horror history.
A San Francisco playgirl (Tippi Hedren) follows a bachelor (Rod Taylor) to Bodega Bay where, for no apparent reason, flocks... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103636%
Critics Consensus: Boasting masterful cinematography to match its well-acted, wonderfully romantic storyline, Sunrise is perhaps the final -- and arguably definitive -- statement of the silent era.
A woman (Margaret Livingston) from the city tempts a farmer (George O'Brien) to kill his wife (Janet Gaynor).... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100109%
Critics Consensus: Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason give iconic performances in this dark, morally complex tale of redemption.
A gambler (George C. Scott) stakes pool shark "Fast Eddie" Felson (Paul Newman) in a smoke-filled marathon against Minnesota Fats... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104935%
Critics Consensus: With Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant at their effervescent best, Bringing Up Baby is a seamlessly assembled comedy with enduring appeal.
A paleontologist (Cary Grant) loses a dinosaur bone to a dog whose heiress owner (Katharine Hepburn) also has a pet... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101067%
Critics Consensus: Some Like It Hot: A spry, quick-witted farce that never drags.
To evade gangsters, two men (Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon) don skirts and makeup and join an all-girl band with a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101618%
Critics Consensus: A landmark in animation (and a huge influence on the medium of music video), Disney's Fantasia is a relentlessly inventive blend of the classics with phantasmagorical images.
Disney cartoon sequences set to classical music include Mickey Mouse as "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104633%
Critics Consensus: Socially minded yet entertaining, The Day the Earth Stood Still imparts its moral of peace and understanding without didacticism.
Klaatu (Michael Rennie) and his guardian robot, Gort, come from afar to warn Earth about nuclear war.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99659%
Critics Consensus: Fueled by inspired silliness and blessed with some of the Marx brothers' most brilliant work, Duck Soup is one of its -- or any -- era's finest comedies.
Spies (Harpo Marx, Chico Marx) intervene when Freedonia's prime minister (Groucho Marx) declares war on nearby Sylvania.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103933%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of pooches and a memorable villain (Cruella De Vil), this is one of Disney's most enduring, entertaining animated films.
Two British Dalmatians embark on a daring rescue when their puppies are dognapped by Cruella De Ville.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 109805%
Critics Consensus: An engrossing look at the triumphs and travails of war veterans, The Best Years of Our Lives is concerned specifically with the aftermath of World War II, but its messages speak to the overall American experience.
A disabled serviceman and two other veterans (Fredric March, Dana Andrews) have difficulty adjusting to civilian life after World War... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100578%
Critics Consensus: Shakespeare gets the deluxe space treatment in Forbidden Planet, an adaptation of The Tempest with impressive sets and seamless special effects.
An astronaut (Leslie Nielsen) and crew land on Altair-4 in 2200 and find a mad doctor (Walter Pidgeon), his daughter... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101429%
Critics Consensus: Featuring terrific performances and epic action, Kubrick's restored swords-and-sandals epic is a true classic.
A gladiator slave (Kirk Douglas) leads a revolt in decadent Rome and attempts to lead his followers to freedom.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104972%
Critics Consensus: Jacques Demy elevates the basic drama of everyday life into a soaring opera full of bittersweet passion and playful charm, featuring a timeless performance from Catherine Deneuve.
A pregnant French girl (Catherine Deneuve) must choose between her lover (Nino Castelnuovo), who is going into the service, and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104145%
Critics Consensus: A horrific tale of guilt and obsession, Eyes Without a Face is just as chilling and poetic today as it was in 1959.
A Paris surgeon (Pierre Brasseur) tries to fix his daughter's (Ãdith Scob) face with skin from kidnapped women.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 105060%
Critics Consensus: Inventive, thought-provoking, and funny, 8 1/2 represents the arguable peak of Federico Fellini's many towering feats of cinema.
An Italian film director (Marcello Mastroianni) seeking the meaning of life retreats from his wife (Anouk AimÃ©e), mistress and flatterers.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 106412%
Critics Consensus: A film that requires and rewards patience in equal measure, Pather Panchali finds director Satyajit Ray delivering a classic with his debut.
An aspiring writer (Kanu Bannerjee) seeks his fortune in the city, leaving his family (Karuna Bannerjee, Subir Bannerjee) behind in... [More]