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: 103.287%
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.
Synopsis: The Bridge on the River Kwai opens in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in Burma in 1943, where a battle of... [More]
Directed By: David Lean


Paths of Glory (1957)

Adjusted Score: 103.445%
Critics Consensus: Paths of Glory is a transcendentally humane war movie from Stanley Kubrick, with impressive, protracted battle sequences and a knock-out ending.
Synopsis: When soldiers in World War I refuse to continue with an impossible attack, their superior officers decide to make an... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

Adjusted Score: 100.556%
Critics Consensus: Rebel Without a Cause is a searing melodrama featuring keen insight into '50s juvenile attitude and James Dean's cool, iconic performance.
Synopsis: This landmark juvenile-delinquent drama scrupulously follows the classic theatrical disciplines, telling all within a 24-hour period. Teenager Jimmy Stark (James... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Ray

Adjusted Score: 102.72%
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.
Synopsis: By the time Sergio Leone made this film, Italians had already produced about 20 films ironically labelled "spaghetti westerns." Leone... [More]
Directed By: Sergio Leone


The Birds (1963)

Adjusted Score: 101.495%
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.
Synopsis: The story begins as an innocuous romantic triangle involving wealthy, spoiled Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren), handsome Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor),... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

Adjusted Score: 103.29%
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.
Synopsis: Considered by many to be the finest silent film ever made by a Hollywood studio, F.W. Murnau's Sunrise represents the... [More]
Directed By: F.W. Murnau


The Hustler (1961)

Adjusted Score: 102.428%
Critics Consensus: Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason give iconic performances in this dark, morally complex tale of redemption.
Synopsis: As The Hustler's "Fast" Eddie Felson, Paul Newman created a classic antihero, charismatic but fundamentally flawed, and nobody's role model.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rossen


Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Adjusted Score: 102.717%
Critics Consensus: With Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant at their effervescent best, Bringing Up Baby is a seamlessly assembled comedy with enduring appeal.
Synopsis: Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant star in this inspired comedy about a madcap heiress with a pet leopard who meets... [More]
Directed By: Howard Hawks


Some Like It Hot (1959)

Adjusted Score: 102.529%
Critics Consensus: Some Like It Hot: A spry, quick-witted farce that never drags.
Synopsis: Two Struggling musicians witness the St. Valentine's Day Massacre and are now on the run from the Mob. Jerry and... [More]
Directed By: John Huston, Billy Wilder


Fantasia (1940)

Adjusted Score: 102.644%
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.
Synopsis: Regarded by many as Walt Disney's masterpiece, Fantasia predicted the modern music video by offering nine animated segments that were... [More]

Adjusted Score: 103.783%
Critics Consensus: Socially minded yet entertaining, The Day the Earth Stood Still imparts its moral of peace and understanding without didacticism.
Synopsis: All of Washington, D.C., is thrown into a panic when an extraterrestrial spacecraft lands near the White House. Out steps... [More]
Directed By: Robert Wise


Duck Soup (1933)

Adjusted Score: 101.668%
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.
Synopsis: Arguably the Marx Brothers' funniest film, this comedy masterpiece contains several famous scenes, including the hilarious mirror sequence. A wealthy... [More]
Directed By: Leo McCarey


101 Dalmatians (1961)

Adjusted Score: 103.292%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of pooches and a memorable villain (Cruella De Vil), this is one of Disney's most enduring, entertaining animated films.
Synopsis: This Disney animated classic is based on the children's story by Dodie Smith. The story involves the canine pets of... [More]

Adjusted Score: 105.283%
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.
Synopsis: A memorable film about the aftermath of World War II in the United States., this film opens with the homecoming... [More]
Directed By: William Wyler


Forbidden Planet (1956)

Adjusted Score: 102.006%
Critics Consensus: Shakespeare gets the deluxe space treatment in Forbidden Planet, an adaptation of The Tempest with impressive sets and seamless special effects.
Synopsis: In the 23rd century, Cmdr. J. J. Adams guides a rescue mission to faraway planet Altair-4. Twenty years earlier, Earth... [More]


Spartacus (1960)

Adjusted Score: 100.704%
Critics Consensus: Featuring terrific performances and epic action, Kubrick's restored swords-and-sandals epic is a true classic.
Synopsis: Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) is a rebellious slave purchased by Lentulus Batiatus (Peter Ustinov), owner of a school for gladiators. For... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

Adjusted Score: 105.515%
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.
Synopsis: Jacques Demy's 1964 masterpiece is a pop-art opera, or, to borrow the director's own description, a film in song. This... [More]
Directed By: Jacques Demy

Adjusted Score: 103.568%
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.
Synopsis: A brilliant but crazed surgeon resorts to horrifying measures to restore the beauty of his daughter's disfigured face.... [More]
Directed By: Georges Franju


8 1/2 (1963)

Adjusted Score: 103.692%
Critics Consensus: Inventive, thought-provoking, and funny, 8 1/2 represents the arguable peak of Federico Fellini's many towering feats of cinema.
Synopsis: Exhausted from the success of his latest blockbuster film, already feeling pressured to come up with another smash hit, and... [More]
Directed By: Federico Fellini


Pather Panchali (1955)

Adjusted Score: 103.951%
Critics Consensus: A film that requires and rewards patience in equal measure, Pather Panchali finds director Satyajit Ray delivering a classic with his debut.
Synopsis: Pather Panchali (Father Panchali), Indian director Satyajit Ray's first feature film, relates the story of an impoverished Bengalese family. When... [More]
Directed By: Satyajit Ray

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