Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The 10 Best Movies Of All Time, According To Artificial Intelligence

All of Looper's content is written and edited by real, live humans. We do not use AI chat tools to write our content.

Discussions about the greatest movies of all time are a topic of conversation among people of all ages. After all, films play a huge role in our lives and regularly dominate pop culture and water cooler chat. Of course, determining exactly what films make up the very best of the best is no easy task, as everyone's own opinion is subjective and personal to them.

Attempting to bring cold hard facts into the equation can provide some insight. For example, you can look at the highest-grossing films of all time or those with the best critic or audience scores. Another useful metric is to compare which films have amassed the largest number of awards. Still, these kinds of stats don't provide the whole story or take into account every cultural and societal factor.

What if we could take away some of those biases and hand off the decision to something based on logic, not to mention a seemingly comprehensive knowledge of the decades-long discussion as it has been shared on the internet? Recent headline-grabbing advances in artificial intelligence have made this a possibility, so we asked ChatGPT to make a list of the 10 greatest films of all time. Here is what the chatbot came up with — and why we think it made the choices that it did.

10. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

While there is debate as to which film from Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy is the best, "The Return of the King" certainly ended the series with a bang. It won numerous awards and was a huge success at the 76th Academy Awards, winning in all 11 categories that it was nominated for. This puts it on a par with both "Titanic" and "Ben-Hur" as the most celebrated films at the Oscars, having won everything from best picture and best director to best visual effects and best original score. At the box office, the movie grossed $1.1 billion and was the highest-earning film in the franchise.

This adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy series focuses on the continued efforts of the surviving members of the Fellowship of the Ring in their battle against Sauron and his armies. Frodo and Sam work with Gollum to try and find a way into Mordor while Gandalf and Aragorn lead the defense of Gondor's capital, Minas Tirith. While omitting the final chapters of the original book, the film memorably depicts the destruction of the One Ring, the final defeat of Sauron, and the departure of several important figures from Middle-earth.

Perhaps the most visually impressive and audacious film of the trilogy, "The Return of the King" received nearly universal critical acclaim and concludes what many consider to be the best movie trilogy in history — making it an easy choice for ChatGPT's last spot on its AI-generated top 10.

9. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

Having AI rank all of the "Star Wars" movies undoubtedly would see the films in the original trilogy score very high. While there has been plenty of discourse as to which of the initial three films in the franchise would come out on top, considering that both "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" are landmark films in their own ways, the first entry still makes a strong case. After all, "A New Hope" was not only a groundbreaking experience in terms of special effects and science fiction storytelling — it set up an entire expanded universe of novels, comics, games, and TV shows.

Despite the futuristic setting, "A New Hope" is very much a classic good versus evil story, as Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Obi-Wan Kenobi battle against the Galactic Empire led by the fearsome Darth Vader and the sinister Grand Moff Tarkin. Luke joins the Rebel Alliance and helps to destroy the Empire's Death Star — a super weapon capable of destroying entire planets — while beginning his journey to become a Jedi Master using the mystical power known as the Force.

Besides the fact that it started one of the most valuable media franchises of all time, "A New Hope" has been recognized many times for its importance in cinema. It has been added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, and the soundtrack is considered one of the most important in movie history.

8. Forrest Gump

Actor Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis both have stellar careers marked by many impressive films. Hanks appeared in renowned films like "Saving Private Ryan" while Zemeckis famously helmed the "Back to the Future" trilogy. However, a highlight for both is "Forrest Gump," the 1994 movie based on Winston Groom's novel of the same name which follows the life of an  Alabama man who tells his life story to a variety of strangers from a park bench.

The film has an inauspicious start, but the audience soon learns that Forest Gump is a war hero, a world-class table tennis player, and a renowned runner who inadvertently influences events across modern American history. He has a life-long crush on his childhood friend Jenny, makes friends with memorable characters like Bulford "Bubba" Blue and Lieutenant Dan, all before opening a shrimp business that makes him a millionaire.

While the story is memorable, the film's inclusion on ChatGPT's top 10 is interesting because "Forrest Gump" has its fair share of detractors, with many criticizing the film's dumbing down of American history. Still, it has earned a place in cinema history, as it was an instant success as soon as it was released, earning $678 million against a budget of just $55 million. It was also a hit on the awards circuit, earning six Academy Awards, including best picture, best director, and best actor. 

The reach of "Forrest Gump" has even extended into everyday vocabulary with phrases such as "Life is like a box of chocolates" becoming known worldwide — a cultural legacy that ChatGPT seems to have identified.

7. 12 Angry Men

"12 Angry Men" is one of the oldest films picked by ChatGPT, as the vast majority of the entries came in the last few decades. This courtroom drama, directed by Sidney Lumet in his feature film debut, hit movie theaters in 1957 and was based on Reginald Rose's teleplay. Starring Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, and Ed Begley, the action focuses on a jury deliberating whether to find a teenager guilty of murder. As the group finds little to agree upon and fails to reach a unanimous decision, each begins to question the evidence more carefully while being forced to examine their personal morals and preconceived ideas.

Immediately upon release, "12 Angry Men" was acclaimed by critics and today holds a perfect 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Yet, the film did surprisingly poorly at the box office, something that has been attributed to the fact that it was a black-and-white movie released at a time when widescreen color pictures were becoming more widespread. The film also found little award success despite several nominations.

None of that has stopped "12 Angry Men" from being widely considered among the very best movies ever released. Preserved in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, it has been lauded for its perfect drama, the striking use of camera angles to involve the viewer in the deliberations, and a tight script that never feels like it outlasts its welcome.

6. Schindler's List

It is little surprise that ChatGPT chose "Schindler's List" among the 10 best films of all time. It is widely seen as a masterpiece of modern cinema and one of director Steven Spielberg's most important movies — high praise indeed, considering his filmography includes "Jaws," "Saving Private Ryan," and "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial." The 1993 release is a historical drama that tells the story of a German industrialist who manages to save countless Jewish refugees from the clutches of the Nazis during the Holocaust perpetrated at the height of World War 2.

Liam Neeson stars as the titular Oskar Schindler, who works to save the lives of those being persecuted by employing them at his factory. He is just one of a star-studded cast that includes Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, and Caroline Goodall, all of whom received critical acclaim for their performances. Bringing in a worldwide gross of $322 million and winning seven Academy Awards, "Schindler's List" quickly established itself as a classic, with the American Film Institute putting it at number eight on its all-time list.

Much of the critical acclaim for the film was focused on how it portrayed the horrors of the Holocaust in a way that displayed the humanity of the victims and those who fought against it. Others noted the authentic realism of the film along with the visually stunning cinematography that remains unmatched among other historical dramas.

5. The Dark Knight

Of all the movies that ChatGPT selected for inclusion on its list, "The Dark Knight" stands out as the outlier. Of course, there's no denying that "The Dark Knight" is a brilliant film that earned more than $1 billion worldwide and received almost universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike. Still, it would be an unlikely pick on most people's lists if they were to recount the greatest films ever to grace a movie theater — even if it is a classic of the superhero genre.

A sequel to the 2005's "Batman Begins," this 2008 film once again sees Christopher Nolan direct Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader. The ensemble cast includes Gary Oldman as James Gordon, Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, and Aaron Eckhart as Two-Face. However, the most notable casting choice was Heath Ledger, who provided one of the definitive portrayals of the Joker ever seen on screen. The story follows Batman as he fights back against the chaos the Joker inflicts on Gotham City.

Noted for its gritty and ultra-realistic take on Batman compared to the more vibrant and colorful superhero movies of the time, "The Dark Knight" set a new standard for all other comic book adaptations going forward. Meanwhile, Ledger's performance was praised for transforming the character into a truly terrifying figure that still incorporated the villain's signature grotesque violence and sardonic humor.

4. Pulp Fiction

Few would argue that "Pulp Fiction" doesn't deserve its place among the greatest films of all time, so it makes sense that ChatGPT placed the film high on its top 10. The film, Quentin Tarantino's second major release, follows an ensemble cast of characters in various interconnected stories. Featuring many of the elements fans became familiar with in Tarantino movies, including non-linear storytelling and graphic violence, "Pulp Fiction" was praised for its storytelling, strong performances, iconic characters, and dense dialogue that led to some unforgettable monologues.

The winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival and the recipient of numerous Oscars at the 67th Academy Awards, "Pulp Fiction" was a commercial and critical success. Entertainment Weekly named it the best film of the last 30 years in 2008, and it has influenced countless other movies and television series since its initial release. An undoubted international phenomenon, "Pulp Fiction" popularized mainstream actors returning to low-budget independent films and has had a lasting impact on popular culture.

"Pulp Fiction" was also incredibly important for many of its stars. It helped launch the careers of the likes of Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman while giving Bruce Willis a push away from the action-hero stereotype he had developed in "Die Hard." Most notably, though, it revitalized the career of John Travolta, who was floundering before he was cast as Vincent Vega.

3. Citizen Kane

Anyone who has read a list of the greatest movies ever is familiar with "Citizen Kane," and ChatGPT seems aware enough of the conversation to place it high on its list. However, while consistently hailed as the best movie of all time, "Citizen Kane" is a film that few people from modern audiences have even seen. That's because this Orson Welles classic is not only black and white but also arrived in cinemas more than 80 years ago. It stars Welles as media baron Charles Foster Kane and follows a newspaper reporter who attempts to discover the meaning of a word uttered on Kane's deathbed — "Rosebud" — by looking back at his life and interviewing his friends, family, and colleagues.

What helps "Citizen Kane" stand out among the many other great films of its era is how it innovated in so many ways. The movie utilizes a storytelling technique that was unusual for the time, with the action taking place out of sequence rather than linearly. It also employs an unreliable narrator, making it impossible to completely understand the flawed anti-hero at the story's center. Welles also used montages to great effect and popularized camera techniques such as deep focus and crane shots. 

These inventive approaches to filming set new precedents for what directors could do in their own projects and were endlessly copied in Hollywood and the rest of the world, leaving a lasting impression on cinema.

2. The Shawshank Redemption

"The Shawshank Redemption" is among the best screen adaptations of Stephen King's vast catalog of stories. The 1994 film was directed by Frank Darabont and starred Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman as the main characters, Andy and Red. Both are inmates at Shawshank State Penitentiary, although Andy maintains his innocence and secretly plots to escape and seek refuge in Mexico.

Charting the struggles of Andy in prison as he befriends Red and attempts to survive among the violent criminals and corrupt prison staff, "The Shawshank Redemption" was something of a box office failure when it launched in 1994, despite a positive reception and success on the awards circuit. Of course, that might have something to do with the fact that it was released in the same year as blockbusters such as "Pulp Fiction," "Forrest Gump," and "Speed." However, reruns on television and strong video rental numbers soon made it a popular film throughout the US, ensuring it is now looked back on far more fondly. The film has also consistently ranked as IMDb's highest-rated film of all time — a list that holds some interesting similarities with the one created by ChatGPT.

Regardless, "The Shawshank Redemption" excels on almost every front. Robbins and Freeman's performances are brilliant, while the cinematography gives an authentic portrayal of the prison, making the viewer feel as trapped and frustrated as the prisoners. The film also boasts a subtle soundtrack that perfectly accompanies the on-screen action and an uplifting story that doesn't shy away from depicting the horrors of life in jail.

1. The Godfather

Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 crime film "The Godfather" is often cited among the best examples of cinema. Adapted from Mario Puzo's 1969 novel, the film features an accomplished cast composed of Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, and Diane Keaton. The film follows Michael Corleone's rise to become the ruthless mafia boss of the Corleone family after being convinced to join the family business. The first installment in "The Godfather" trilogy, the film has firmly cemented a place for itself among the very best.

Why "The Godfather" is so beloved isn't difficult to understand. Brando and Al Pacino put in exceptional performances, while Coppola's production pioneered new camera techniques to create beautiful and striking shots. Characters throughout the film also each have their own memorable soliloquies and monologues as part of an almost perfectly written script. Add the somber musical score alongside intense action sequences, and it becomes easy to see how "The Godfather" has become so highly thought of by audiences and critics.

The film was a landmark entry in the gangster genre, launched Al Pacino to stardom, and resuscitated Brando's diminishing career. The importance of the film, which has been preserved in the National Film Registry and is ranked second to only "Citizen Kane" by the American Film Institute, is hard to overstate. ChatGPT seems to appreciate the gravitas that "The Godfather" has earned over the decades, handing the film the top spot on its list of the best movies of all time.