Since the early 20th century, Hollywood has been the epicenter of the American film industry. Though the first film made entirely in Hollywood was a short film entitled “In Old California” in 1910, the first completed Hollywood film, 1908’s “The Count of Monte Cristo,” began production in Chicago. Sunset Boulevard’s first movie studio opened around 1911, and eventually many East Coast studios had relocated to Los Angeles by 1915. Since then, production studios have blossomed outside of the ones in LA, and though it remains the premier location for all things film, Paramount is the only movie studio still located in Hollywood itself.
Despite branching out beyond Hollywood into places such as New York and Atlanta, American film production still has a very firm hold on the consumption of cinema around the world. This includes countless contributions to film history’s canon, timeless staples that transcend age or accolades, and singular visions considered to be some of the greatest art ever made. And while American films should not be seen as the best or only films an eager cinephile should be consuming—there is an endless wealth of engaging, breathtaking, and thought-provoking cinema from countries spanning the globe—the lasting influence American films have brought to worldwide film culture cannot be overlooked.
Stacker compiled data on thousands of American movies to come up with a Stacker score—a weighted index split evenly between IMDb and Metacritic ratings—that allowed us to rank the 100 greatest American movies of all time. To qualify as American, the film had to be produced by American production studios, though this doesn’t mean the film is necessarily in English or takes place on American soil. The film also had to have at least 5,000 IMDb user votes. Ties were broken by Metascore, and further ties were broken by IMDb user rating.
Here are the best 100 American movies of all time, starting at #100 and counting down to #1.
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