In their biggest ever poll, UK magazine Empire looked to the opinions of hundreds of thousands of fans to determine the 301 greatest movies of all time. Among the Oscar winners, timeless classics and even a few independent films, there were a plethora of superhero, sci-fi and fantasy blockbusters. Since there are 301 films on the list, this recap will be kept at CBM-related entries. Taking the top spot was Star Wars: Episode V - Empire Strikes Back (1980, with Episode IV coming in at #6), praised for the added comedy, romance and complexity. "Where Star Wars had been an unabashedly exciting space adventure, Empire Strikes Back introduced complexity and uncertainty to the galaxy far, far away. The stakes are raised, the characters relationships tested and evolved in surprising ways, and a dash of pure black is mixed into those primary paint colours."
Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight (2008) ranked third on the list, comparing it to Michael Mann's Heat, "'but with the occasional psychotic clown running through it!' Batman Begins had taken Bruce Wayne's world seriously, but it still had a touch of the fantastical, especially during its final act. Here Nolan finally and firmly grounded the comic-book genre in something that felt truly real and thrillingly visceral." Fan favourites Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003) and Jurassic Park (1993) were #12 and #18 respectively, and sci-fi films Aliens (1986), The Matrix (1999) and Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) hit the top 20. Some of the most recent additions to the top 50 included last year's award magnet Gravity at #35, Sam Mendes' Skyfall (2012) at #45 and Marvel's box office-smashing The Avengers (2012) at #16.
Two of the Harry Potter movies hit the list (Philosopher's Stone: #223, Deathly Hallows - Part 2: #152), as well as Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie (1979) at #121 and Ghostbusters at #63. A few other notworthy CBM-related entries: the remaining two of Nolan's Bat-films, Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) ranked at #138 and #72 respectively, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) at #183, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) at #9, J.J. Abrams' Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) at #188 and at #245 respectively, and Marvel's Avengers opener Iron Man coming in at #239. The full list is available to check out and dissect here, with an in-depth look at some of the films in the new issue of Empire. What are your thoughts on this list, and what is your all-time favourite film (or films)?