Best Film Every Year Since 1960

I wouldn’t call myself a movie fanatic, but I’ve certainly seen enough of them in my time to know the power of a good film. It’s entertainment in the grandest form, something that everyone can rally behind and enjoy as a community.

I’m going to pick my favourite film of each year since 1960 (as I’m not familiar with most films before that), also taking into account public opinion. Think of this as halfway between biased and impartial!

Before we begin, you can check out some of my related blog posts below:

1960 – Psycho

Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous film, “Psycho” displays his mastery of both chilling horror and thrilling suspense.

Norman Bates is such an excellent character with intriguing motivations, and the various scenes around the motel – such as the shower stabbing – have ingrained their way into pop culture.

1961 – West Side Story

Classic Hollywood was no stranger to blockbuster musicals, but I may even go as far as saying “West Side Story” is the best of the bunch.

It’s a brilliant re-telling of Romeo and Juliet’s plot, with a phenomenal soundtrack by Leonard Bernstein.

1962 – To Kill a Mockingbird

The film adaption of the Harper Lee classic novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird” isn’t afraid to confront themes of discrimination and racism head on.

Gregory Peck puts in an performance and a half as Atticus Finch, and he no doubt inspired an entire generation of actors with his talent.

1963 – From Russia With Love

The first James Bond film to make this list, and it won’t be the last.

People always point to “Goldfinger” as being the best early Bond effort (more on that in a bit …), but “From Russia With Love” stands on its own two feet as a classic spy thriller. If “Dr No” laid the foundations the year before, this one cemented Bond as a blockbuster titan.

1964 – Goldfinger

For as good as “From Russia With Love” is, it will never quite reach “Goldfinger” in the levels of all-time greatness.

It effectively laid the groundwork for the Bond formula moving forwards, with great villains, henchmen, bond girls and gadgets all being some of the very best in their respective categories. There’s a good argument that the Bond franchise peaked here.

1965 – The Sound of Music

Another classic Hollywood musical, and while “The Sound of Music” may lack the intensity and off-beat musicality of “West Side Story”, it more than makes up for it with charm.

All of the songs are so darn fun, and every actor puts in a memorable performance. I’ve always found the ending to be a bit too open-ended, but that’s a small gripe in an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable film.

1966 – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Westerns had been around in Hollywood for decades prior to “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly”, but that was the film that perfected the format.

It has an amazing soundtrack and visual style, and Clint Eastwood puts in one of the coolest leading-man performances you’ll ever see.

1967 – The Graduate

Probably more known for the Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack nowadays, “The Graduate” still holds up today.

Dustin Hoffman puts in a fantastic, career-launching performance, and the story isn’t afraid to go to some dark places.

1968 – 2001: A Space Odyssey

A film that dared to be different.

“2001: A Space Odyssey” is a fever dream of ideas and visuals, with some of the best Sci-Fi storytelling and concepts you’re ever likely to see.

1969 – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

A whole generation of actors (and men in general) wanted to be like Robert Redford and Paul Newman, and that was down to this film.

“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is a really cool, sleek adventure with some great moments of action and comedy.

1970 – Patton

In all honesty, 1970 was a weak year for films, many of which I haven’t seen. Without a clear stand-out, I decided to default to the Academy Award winner for that year – “Patton”.

That opening scene is admittedly iconic, and I’m sure there are some other great scenes full of military brevado.

1971 – A Clockwork Orange

One of the most bizarre and disturbing films you will ever see, “A Clockwork Orange” came at the start of a huge shift in Hollywood.

It presents dark themes and performances across the board, with some brilliant direction from Stanley Kubrick.

1972 – The Godfather

It can be a little slow at points, but there’s no denying the monumental effect The Godfather had – and still has – on cinema.

Al Pacino and Marlon Brandon put in some staggering performances, and the story of familial love and betrayal is one that still captivates new listeners to this day.

1973 – The Exorcist

There had been some successful horror films before it, but “The Exorcist” was the one that made horror what it is today.

It’s still just as frightening fifty years later, with a great set of performances by the cast and a relentlessly terrifying atmosphere.

1974 – The Godfather: Part Two

For what it’s worth, I think “The Godfather: Part Two” bests the original in nearly every way.

I loved seeing Michael Corleone in his prime, and Al Pacino should have won an Oscar for his work. The person that did win a deserved Oscar, however, was Robert de Niro – his segments focussing on a young Vito Corleone keep the pace of the film going, and draw some neat parallels to Michael’s storyline.

1975 – Monty Python and the Holy Grail

1975 was a tough year for films, and many of the year’s best could have taken this spot, but I decided to give it to “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”.

The Pythons always knew how to make people laugh, and the humour throughout this film is timeless. There are too many iconic scenes and lines to mention.

1976 – Rocky

I was torn between “Taxi Driver” and “Rocky” for 1976’s best film, but I decided to give it to the latter for its jubilant take on the sports genre.

Sylvester Stallone put himself on the map with this Best Picture winner, and it remains a story that many athletes still reference and aspire to imitate.

1977 – The Spy Who Loved Me

It’s the return of Bond, James Bond!

I’m not the biggest fan of the Roger Moore era, but “The Spy Who Loved Me” is undoubtedly one of 007’s best outings. It has action, charm, and some amazing scenes that are still referenced decades later.

1978 – Grease

“Grease” could have been just another cheesy Hollywood musical, but something about it ended up being lightning in a bottle.

Travolta and Newton-John are electric in the lead roles, and the soundtrack is one of the most consistent in any movie musical I’ve seen.

1979 – Alien

The greatest space horror film ever, Ridley Scott’s “Alien” set a new standard for intense Hollywood thrillers.

The Xenomorphs are fantastically realised, and they’re incredibly creepy in every appearance. The sequels went for the thrills, but it’s the scares of the original that make it stand out.

1980 – The Empire Strikes Back

The best Star Wars film, and one of the greatest Sci-Fi / action blockbusters in cinema history. Despite 1980 being a tough year, no other film could really come close.

“The Empire Strikes Back” is a brilliant continuation of the story and worldbuilding set up in the original, with some even greater set-pieces and production design than before.

1981 – Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones has become one of the most well-known action icons of all time, and that all started with his first outing “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.

Harrison Ford is great as the lead, Spielberg’s direction is suitably grand, and it’s packed with all of the action, comedy and world-hopping adventure you could ask for.

1982 – The Thing

I’m not really a horror movie enthusiast, so I had my reservations going in John Carpenter’s “The Thing”.

What I love most about it is that Carpenter and co. don’t over-rely on jump-scares to sell the horror, instead focussing on unsettling and nightmare-inducing intensity. My favourite horror film of all time.

1983 – Scarface

Al Pacino had already made a name for himself as the cool leading man of Hollywood, so “Scarface” was just the icing on the cake.

Tony Montana is easily one of his most captivating characters, and the plot isn’t afraid to go in some truly ludicrous directions.

1984 – Ghostbusters

1984 was a tough year, and many of its cinema releases have gone down as classics, but I have to give this spot to the incredibly funny and iconic “Ghostbusters”.

The titular team of ghost hunters steal the show in every scene, and the visual effects and scares are typically cheesy for the time period.

1985 – Back to the Future

One of my favourite films growing up, Marty McFly’s mission to correct his past and return to the future is one that still wows audiences today.

Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd steal the show as Marty and Doc, and their hijinks have gone down in cinema legend.

1986 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

John Hughes’ movies really defined the mid-point of the 80’s, demonstrating the culture and perceptions of youths at the time, and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” remains his most popular film.

It’s a thrill-ride from start to finish, and it never lets its foot off the gas whilst providing memorable and hilarious scenes.

1987 – Predator

What starts off as a fairly simple Schwarzenegger guns-blazing flick soon morphs into one of the defining action films of the 80’s.

“Predator” has some amazing action and catchy dialogue, and the titular Predator’s creature design is outstanding.

1988 – Die Hard

Some of the greatest action films of all time came to the forefront in the late 80’s, and “Die Hard” is one of my favourites.

Bruce Willis is electric in the lead role, and Alan Rickman provides a delightfully hateable performance as the antagonist. And if it means anything to you, this is not a Christmas movie!

1989 – Batman

Some people swear that the 1989 version of “Batman” is the definitive outing for the dark knight, and it’s not hard to see why.

Michael Keaton is great in the lead role, Jack Nicholson is a delightfully zany Joker, and Tim Burton’s direction was exactly what the superhero genre needed at the time.

1990 – Goodfellas

Martin Scorsese’s films are a little hit or miss in my eyes, but my favourite of the bunch has to be his 1990 epic “Goodfellas”.

Seeing Henry Hill’s life peak hard and fall harder makes for fantastic cinema, and that soundtrack is awesome!

1991 – The Silence of the Lambs (or Terminator 2: Judgement Day)

In the first of the joint winners, I genuinely couldn’t pick between two films as being the best of 1991. They’re both great in wildly different ways, and they both deserve the accolade.

First of all, “The Silence of the Lambs” is one of the greatest thrillers ever. Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins carry the film with their performances, and Demme’s direction makes every scene an unnerving one.

Even though “The Silence of the Lambs” might be the artistic choice, you just can’t look past the crowd-pleaser that is “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”. It has all the action you’d ever want, and it’s a great continuation of the first film’s worldbuilding.

1992 – Reservoir Dogs

Quentin Tarantino announced himself on the scene with “Reservoir Dogs”, and his debut effort still holds up today.

It’s quite a low-key / simple story that takes place in effectively one place, but the characters, acting and intensity really drive up the stakes.

1993 – Jurassic Park

Steven Spielberg absolutely killed it in 1993 – “Schindler’s List” could have very easily taken this spot, but I will always have a soft spot for his dino romp.

“Jurassic Park” has been one of my favourite films since I was a kid, and that’s purely down to the action, effects, characters and masterful direction. A masterpiece through and through.

1994 – Pulp Fiction (or Shawshank Redemption)

1994 is famously one of – if not the – toughest year in cinema history. I could have chosen about five different films in this slot, like “Forrest Gump” or “The Lion King”, but I went with two others that stand head and shoulders above the rest.

“The Shawshank Redemption” is a lot of people’s favourite, and it’s always in the conversation for greatest film of all time. It’s a brilliant character study, and the final escape scene is one of the most euphoric things I’ve ever seen.

Whilst that may be the public’s favourite, my personal favourite film of all time is “Pulp Fiction”. Quentin Tarantino once again knocked it out of the park, and the all-star cast make every scene a delight.

1995 – GoldenEye

After many years of sub-par or under-appreciated efforts, Bond came back with a bang with 1995’s “GoldenEye”.

Pierce Brosnan is perfect in the role, and I may even say it’s the strongest debut performance by a Bond actor. The rest of the cast of allies and villains are awesome too, and the action scenes never fail to get my blood pumping.

1996 – Trainspotting

1996 was the year of schlocky action films – “Independence Day”, “Mission Impossible” and “The Rock” all filled cinema seats, but it was “Trainspotting” that made people think.

Danny Boyle’s magnum opus is full of sardonic wit and crushing tragedy, with monologues and dialogue that still adorn wallposters the world over.

1997 – Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

I’m sure I could have chosen one of the many serious dramas to take 1997’s slot, but I can’t look past “Austin Powers” and it’s goofy charm.

Mike Myers plays the role he was born for, and the jokes are all so outlandish and over-the-top that you can’t help but laugh hysterically.

1998 – Saving Private Ryan

“Saving Private Ryan” famously lost Best Picture to “Shakespeare In Love”, and that snub still hurts to this day.

It’s yet another Spielberg masterpiece, with some of the nastiest, gut-wrenching war scenes I’ve ever sat through.

1999 – The Matrix

There were some great movies in 1999, mostly about the common man rising up against society, but the best of these has to be “The Matrix”.

Not only is it one of the greatest Sci-Fi action films of all time, but it has a philosophical core that really accentuates the worldbuilding and characters.

2000 – Gladiator (or Memento)

Another double-bill, and once again we have two wildly different films contending for the top spot.

“Gladiator” has always been a personal favourite, mainly because I love how the ancient Roman aesthetic translated to screen.

“Memento”, on the other hand, was the film that put Christopher Nolan on the map. It has some of the most ingenious storytelling you’ll ever see, with a great central performance by Guy Pearce.

2001 – The Fellowship of the Ring

“Spirited Away” had a decent shout of taking 2001’s spot, but it was never going to topple an entry from the mighty Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The first film, “The Fellowship of the Ring”, is as perfect an introduction to a cinematic fantasy world as we’re ever likely to get. Peter Jackson knocked every aspect of Middle Earth out of the park, and told a story that both works on its own and sets up two more films’ worth of plot.

2002 – Minority Report

I could have easily given this spot to “The Two Towers”, but I decided to take a break from the Lord of the Rings trilogy to mix things up a bit.

Everything Spielberg touches turns to gold, and “Minority Report” is no exception. It provides a side of Tom Cruise that we had never seen before, and its Sci-Fi mystery was utterly captivating.

2003 – Return of the King

Aaaaand we go right back to the greatest film trilogy of all time.

“Return of the King” provides everything I could have possibly wanted from the concluding Lord of the Rings film, and some of its set-pieces and scenes are mind-boggling. Most epic film of all time?

2004 – Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

I’m impartial to an “Austin Powers” or a “Holy Grail”, but my favourite comedy film of all time has to be “Anchorman”.

Will Ferrell and the rest of cast leave me in stitches with every line of dialogue uttered, and it has just the right mix of absurdist humour and engaging plot.

2005 – Revenge of the Sith

I didn’t particularly want to put “Revenge of the Sith” in this slot, but 2005 left me with little choice – unless I’ve forgotten an obvious candidate, this was a really weak year for cinema.

Credit where credit is due, this is easily the best of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, with some fantastic action and visuals.

2006 – Casino Royale

“Casino Royale” is the fifth James Bond film to earn a spot on this list, and I consider it to be the best 007 outing of all.

Daniel Craig’s first film is electric from start to finish, with both some incredible action and some really tender character moments.

2007 – Hot Fuzz

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright are all geniuses in my eyes, and “Hot Fuzz” is their magnum opus.

The amount of great gags and clever foreshadowing they pack into each scene is unbelievable, and the all-star cast give fantastic performances.

2008 – The Dark Knight

For some, “The Dark Knight” is the greatest superhero film of all time, and it’s not hard at all to see why.

Bruce Wayne gets put through his paces both as himself and as Batman, and the cast of villains are all phenomenal – Heath Ledger’s Joker especially is a once-in-a-lifetime portrayal of the famous foe.

2009 – Inglorious Basterds

Only Quentin Tarantino would be bold enough to re-tell the events of the second world war in an even more gruesome, crowd-pleasing way.

His alternative history has so many great scenes and moments, and Christoph Waltz is a true stand-out.

2010 – Inception

“Inception” is one of the only films I’ve ever seen where the fifth viewing is just as rewarding as the first.

To me, this is Christopher Nolan’s crowning achievement. The plot is great, the visuals are stunning, and the central themes all come together by the end of the story.

2011 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two

Eight films worth of magical storytelling culminated in the cinematic event of 2011.

“Deathly Hallows: Part Two” is probably my favourite Harry Potter film for its action and high intensity, and the stakes had never been higher. This is what blockbusters are meant to be.

2012 – The Avengers

Speaking of blockbusters, “The Avengers” was an event unlike any I had experienced in my lifetime up to that point.

This was the era when the MCU was firing on all cylinders, and Joss Whedon managed to create a fantastic crowd-pleaser that everyone could cheer along to.

2013 – 12 Years a Slave

2013 was a bit of a weak year on the whole. I could have maybe given this slot to “The Wolf of Wall Street”, but I think “12 Years a Slave” is more deserving of the accolade.

It’s a film that isn’t afraid to uncover the nasty side of human history, and the performances by everyone involved were heart-wrenching.

2014 – X-Men: Days of Future Past (or Interstellar)

I was of two minds when it came to 2014’s pick – on the one hand we got one of my favourite superhero films ever, and on the other an epic Sci-Fi film that really tested audiences.

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” is largely forgotten nowadays after the flurry of MCU crowd-pleasers, but it was such an exciting film in its time that handled both new and old characters with care and class.

“Interstellar” is objectively the better movie, with an incredible story and some of the best visuals you’ll ever seen, but the ending is a little too confusing for my liking. On the whole, these two films are tied in my mind.

2015 – Mad Max: Fury Road

I really wanted to give this slot to “Rogue Nation” just so that the Mission Impossible franchise could get some love in this list, but “Mad Max: Fury Road” is a cut above the rest.

The vehicular action scenes are some of the craziest things I have ever watched in any entertainment medium, and the direction is perfect across the board.

2016 – La La Land

“Moonlight” is probably the objective pick for 2016’s slot, but I’ve always found “La La Land” to be such a magical film that resonated with me immediately.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have infectious chemistry right from the get-go, and the soundtrack never misses. The whole thing feels like an exclusive, gaudy party for my eyes only.

2017 – John Wick: Chapter 2 (or Blade Runner 2049)

Two great action films released in 2017, and yet again I couldn’t pick a favourite.

Let’s start with “Blade Runner 2049” – Ryan Gosling once again proves he’s a leading man for the ages, and the Sci-Fi worldbuilding and visuals are some of the best I’ve ever seen.

If I had to pick a favourite out of the two, I’d go with “John Wick: Chapter 2” – it’s my favourite in the franchise, and the fight choreography and cinematography are jaw-dropping.

2018 – Avengers: Infinity War

“Infinity War” made the original “Avengers” in 2012 look like the warm-up act.

There was mass hysteria in the lead-up to this film’s release, and it genuinely felt like an entire saga of films was building to this very moment in human history. My favourite film from the MCU.

2019 – Joker (or Parasite)

If we’re being honest, “Parasite” is the true winner of 2019. It has one of the best stories and twists in modern cinema, and it’s great that foreign films are starting to get more mainstream attention.

But there’s just something about “Joker” that keeps me coming back. Joaquin Phoenix is captivating in the lead role, and the uneasy direction makes every scene an uncomfortable joyride.

2020 – Demon Slayer: Mugen Train

It’s a testament to the power of “Demon Slayer” that it managed to become the highest grossing film of 2020, above every other Hollywood blockbuster.

“Mugen Train” is exactly what I wanted from a mini Demon Slayer arc – it has great new characters and a fun sense of humour, whilst still providing some of the greatest action spectacle in all of anime.

2021 – Inside

The definitive lockdown art piece, Bo Burnham’s “Inside” is a riot from start to finish.

What begins as a fun satirical take on isolation ends with some really introspective / dark material, but the soundtrack slaps throughout.

2022 – Moonage Daydream

Of all the films I saw in 2022, “Moonage Daydream” was the one that connected with me most.

Brett Morgen did a fantastic job of conveying Bowie’s genius and creativity, and he did it in a format unlike any documentary I’ve ever seen. As a die-hard Bowie fan, I couldn’t have asked for much more.

Aaaand that’s my colossal list! You can check out some of my latest blog posts below:

Friends – Season 9 Episodes Ranked

Oh boy … We’ve finally reached what is widely considered to be the worst season of Friends. But is it actually an underrated season of this brilliant show? No, it isn’t. In fact, it may even be worse than I remember. Let’s get to some ranking! Before we begin with this sorry state of affairs,…

James Bond Films – Overrated / Underrated

One of the first film franchises I fell in love with was Bond, James Bond – he just seemed like the coolest guy in the world, and all of his movies provided at the very least some form of entertainment. I’ll be looking at each official film (so not “Casino Royale [1967]” or “Never Say…

Friends – Season 8 Episodes Ranked

Season 8 of Friends is a bit of a strange one – I remember it being the last great season of the show, but in actual fact it’s a little sub-par compared to the other fantastic seasons. I still had a fun time with it nonetheless – how would I rank every episode? You can…


3 thoughts on “Best Film Every Year Since 1960

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: