For the past 10 years or so it has been discussed and argued about which movies are truly the best movies. Below, I will go through some of the most popular movie list sources and dissect the validity.
The AFI Top Movies of all time: Since 1998 and as recent as this year, many great movies have been posted to this list. It always begins with Citizen Kane as the top movie of all time and then ending with which ever movie deserved to be on the movie list the last time. Some have been kicked off since 1998 and some new ones have been added. One of the oddest additions has to be "The Sixth Sense." While recognized as a shocker and one that has possibly changed how endings are made, it is now mostly known as a good overall movie, but has not aged well. The AFI Top Movie List is compiled by critics, writers, journalists, creators, producers, etc. The validity of the list is definitely not mainstream as 70% of the American Population has not heard of half of the movies that appear on the list. None the less, most of the movies on the list are incredible movies if watched with an open mind. They are more than just movies.
Roger Ebert's great movie list.: How can one man say he knows what movies are the greatest of all time - and why would people believe him? Simple, he is a creative writer, fairly mainstream in nature, and rarely negative. He likes all kinds of movies. He does not rank each of his movies, but does some times say roughly where he would put his movies on a list. He believes strongly in what he thinks. He rarely changes his mind. His problem is that he has way too many films on his list. He also includes his favorites that don't really apply to most people's tastes. It's ok, because it is his list and not a computation.
Time Magazine: This may be the least familiar list. There are 1000 movies on it and all are noteworthy. But, there are a lot of sleepers. "The Fly" is one that comes to mind. It is a solid sci-fi, but does not fall on any major list (or many minor lists). Most of the movies many people have not heard of. It is a good list to go by for advanced movie watchers (once they have watched the entire AFI).
The final list that will be reviewed is IMDB (internet movie database). It is one of the few internet only movie lists. It is compiled by 100s of 1000s of votes. This is a list compiled by normal users, critics, and anyone who has internet access. IMDB is a great list to go by for novices and experts. Its top movies do change regularly, which is a good thing as it gives new movies a chance to make the list.
None of the lists are perfect, and none of them are bad. A good rule of thumb is to use all lists - watch all movies on the lists, and then tell others about it. Enjoy the greatest movies of all time!