Entertainment The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made  

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Need some movie ideas? Check out this list of the best epic films of all time, which encompasses some of the best movies of all time. These are movies with incredible stories and characters, and whose mere existence have enriched the world of cinema in some way. From historical war films to the best superhero flicks, these are hands down some seriously epic flicks. Take James Cameron's Avatar whose imagined planet and humanity are now the stuff of Oscar legend and whose cast was catapulted to fame. Or Batman Begins which simultaneously reinvented the superhero movie and the Batman franchise. These are some of the biggest, most important movies ever.

What are the best epic movies of all time? What makes a great epic movie? By definition, epic movies have a larger than life storyline, take place over a span of time, and has a plot that carries out some kind of heroic deed. Every epic movie listed can be sorted by actor, director, and title and every epic film on this list is more epic than the last. What's the best epic movie? That's for you to decide! Enjoy this list of the greatest epic movies and use it as a starting point for your own epic movie list. Whichever you choose as your favorite, these epics are definitely worth adding to your must-watch list.

list ordered by
1
4,832 2,039
The Lord of the Rings: The Ret... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is a 2003 epic fantasy drama film directed by Peter Jackson based on the second and third volumes of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. It is ...more
2
4,069 1,937
The Lord of the Rings: The Fel... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a 2001 epic fantasy film directed by Peter Jackson based on the first volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. It is the first ...more
3
4,025 1,956
Gladiator is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Sheen
Gladiator is a 2000 American-British epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Ralf Möller, Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou, ...more
4
2,735 1,490
Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill
Star Wars is a 1977 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. The first release in the Star Wars franchise, it stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter ...more
5
3,906 1,775
The Lord of the Rings: The Two... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a 2002 epic fantasy film directed by Peter Jackson and based on the second volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings. It is the second ...more
6
3,396 1,446
Saving Private Ryan is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel
Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American epic drama war film set during the Invasion of Normandy in World War II. Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Robert Rodat, the film is notable for ...more
7
3,450 2,199
Braveheart is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson
Braveheart is a 1995 epic historical medieval war drama film directed by and starring Mel Gibson. Gibson portrays William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First ...more
8
2,454 1,401
Star Wars Episode V: The Empir... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill
The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner. Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan wrote the screenplay, with George Lucas writing the film's story ...more
9
3,034 1,355
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Sally Field
Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic romantic-comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks, Robin ...more
10
2,028 1,020
The Dark Knight is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger
The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, based on the DC Comics character, Batman. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), Police Lieutenant James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and ...more
11
2,317 973
The Shawshank Redemption is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth, Tim Robbins
The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. Adapted from the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and ...more
12
1,663 1,473
Avatar is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez
Avatar is a 2009 American epic science fiction film written and directed by James Cameron, and starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Joel David Moore, Giovanni ...more
13
1,936 1,279
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand, and the third and final film in the original Star Wars trilogy. After a daring ...more
14
2,492 1,262
The Godfather is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall
The Godfather is a 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by Albert S. Ruddy from a screenplay by Mario Puzo and Coppola. Starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino as ...more
15
1,467 660
Indiana Jones and the Raiders ... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Harrison Ford, Alfred Molina, Karen Allen
Raiders of the Lost Ark is a 1981 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. The screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan was from a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman. It was produced by ...more
16
1,714 1,421
Ben-Hur is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Hugh Griffith
Ben-Hur is a 1959 American epic historical drama film, directed by William Wyler, produced by Sam Zimbalist for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and starring Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Jack Hawkins, Hugh ...more
17
1,828 915
The Green Mile is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Sam Rockwell
The Green Mile is a 1999 American fantasy drama film directed by Frank Darabont and adapted from the 1996 Stephen King novel of the same name. The film is told in a flashback format and stars ...more
18
1,965 1,237
Schindler's List is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley
Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama, directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and scripted by Steven Zaillian. It is based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas ...more
19
1,342 1,065
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland
Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American epic historical romance film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel. It was produced by David O. Selznick of Selznick International ...more
20
1,717 1,395
300 is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Gerard Butler, Michael Fassbender, Lena Headey
300 is a 2006 American fantasy war film based on the 1998 comic series of the same name by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley. Both are fictionalized retellings of the Battle of Thermopylae which took ...more
21
1,512 863
The Matrix is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss
The Matrix is a 1999 American-Australian science fiction action film written and directed by The Wachowskis, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe ...more
22
1,080 330
The Lord of the Rings is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
John Hurt, Annette Crosbie, Peter Woodthorpe
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is a 1978 American animated fantasy film directed by Ralph Bakshi. It uses a hybrid of traditional cel animation and rotoscoped live action footage. It is ...more
23
1,375 1,172
The Ten Commandments is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Charlton Heston, Vincent Price, Yul Brynner
The Ten Commandments is a 1956 American religious epic film produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille, shot in VistaVision, and released by Paramount Pictures. It dramatizes the biblical story ...more
24
1,116 898
Terminator 2: Judgment Day is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton
Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a 1991 American science fiction action thriller film written, produced and directed by James Cameron. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert ...more
25
1,723 1,425
Titanic is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made
Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates
Titanic is a 1997 American epic romantic disaster drama film directed, written, co-produced, and co-edited by James Cameron. A fictionalized account of what happened to the RMS Titanic, it stars ...more