Professional film critics hear the same couple of questions over and over. “What should I watch?” is an enduringly popular one. “What did you think of [insert name of recent #1 hit on the box-office chart] Can you explain why it was such a big hit?” never gets old either.

And then there are endless variations on this one: “Why are the movies so bad lately?”

Sure, there are bad movies these days, and perhaps in terms of sheer quantity, more than ever before. There are bad movies in theaters, bad direct-to-video movies, bad streaming movies, bad TV movies, you name it. But if there are more bad movies than ever before, that is partly a function of the fact that there are more movies period than ever before. Dozens more pop up everywhere you look, every single month of the year.

And yes, there are plenty of stinkers sprinkled in there. But I saw more exciting movies in 2023 than in 2022, and more in 2022 than in 2021. And every year there are new masterpieces to see — more than any one person could ever watch.

So here is a reminder that great movies are eternal and perpetual. It is a list of the single best movie from every year since 1980 (at least according to me, these things are totally subjective). That’s 40+ years of classics, with more coming all the time. There are reasons to fret about the state of movies and movie theaters. But there are also reasons for hope — and always plenty of things to watch.

The Best Movie Every Year Since 1980

Here are several generations worth of classic, must-see movies.

READ MORE: Beloved ’80s Movies You Could Never Make Today

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The Worst Movie Every Year Since 1980

Here are several generations’ worth of crummy movies — the single worst movie released each year from 1980 to today.

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