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‘The Empire Strikes Back’ Tops Empire’s Greatest Movies of All Time List

Star Wars Empire Strikes Back
Lucasfilm

All lists are subjective and exist to spur on conversation, not provide definitive answers or rankings. That’s why it’s important to look at “all-time greatest movies” lists as at chance to talk about what’s right and what’s wrong and not take them too personally. Getting angry or annoyed at a list on the internet is the silliest thing you could possibly do.

But ‘The Empire Strikes Back‘ being called the greatest movie of all time in Empire Magazine’s latest reader’s poll? That’s gonna’ test our ability to remain reasonable.

The list of the 301 greatest movies of all time was decided by 250,000 voters and the results are very different than most lists of this type. With the public-at-large deciding things, many all-time classics are shuffled to the side to make room for more modern and popular movies. The list reads as less of a thoughtful ranking and more of a “here are the movies that the vast majority of internet fanboys hate the least.” Sure, ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ is tremendous, but we have a hard time buying it as the greatest movie of all time. We have an even harder time imagining anyone outside of hardcore Batman fans thinking ‘The Dark Knight’ is the third best movie of all time. That’s just silly.

Here’s the top 10:

1. ‘The Empire Strikes Back’

2. ‘The Godfather’

3. ‘The Dark Knight’

4. ‘The Shawshank Redemption’

5. ‘Pulp Fiction’

6. ‘Star Wars’

7. ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’

8. ‘Jaws’

9. ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’

10. ‘Inception’

What’s silliest about this top 10 is that only four of the films were made before the ’90s and they’re all either ‘Star Wars‘ entries or directed by Steven Spielberg. Of the remaining six films, two of them are directed by Christopher Nolan. In other words, it’s not a list to be taken seriously — it’s simply a list representing current popular tastes. Interestingly, the same poll was conducted in 2008 and was far more diverse, with ‘Singin’ in the Rain,’ ‘Chinatown’ and ‘The Apartment’ in the Top 15 (none made the cut this time around).

If you dip into the rest of the list, you’ll start finding the usual “great film” suspects (Stanley Kubrick! Alfred Hitchcock!) as well as a few other truly inexplicable entries (‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’?). Peruse it at your own peril and bafflement.

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