The greatest movies of all time


Graphic designed by Nimrah Khan via Canva

RCHS students share their opinions on which films are the greatest movies of all time.

Movies are the epitome of human culture and entertainment. Spanning across the globe, movies convey messages, morals, emotions, and feelings understood universally. Audiences laugh, cry, scream, and cheer. They nod in solidarity or celebrate the end of a heroic journey, while others hide behind their hands, anticipating the next jumpscare. 

Any movie addict would understand the sheer power of moving images, though not every movie that graces the silver screen is worthy of as much recognition. 

So, we have searched the depths of IMDb, the crevices of Rotten Tomatoes, and the minds of more than 100 RCHS students to bring you this definitive list of the greatest movies of all time across multiple genres. 

Grab your popcorn, it’s showtime!

The survey results represent students’ opinions on each genre’s top three best movies. (Graphic designed by Nimrah Khan via Canva)


With a whopping Rotten Tomatoes critic score of 96%, “Halloween” (1978) slashes its way to the top of our list. Out of 169 RCHS students, 21% selected “Halloween” as the best horror movie. 

“It’s a classic horror movie that will never die from being one of the greatest horror movies,” senior Mariez Hana said. 

John Carpenter’s “Halloween,” tells the story of Michael Myers returning home 15 years after he murdered his sister, wreaking havoc on Laurie Strode and the residents of Haddonfield, Illinois. 

Photo by: Bailee Small

With a budget of just $300,000, according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), the film delivers an unforgettable experience to horror junkies and scaredy cats alike, striking fear in its most primitive form through the mastery of suspense. 

Take Michael Meyer’s enigmatic characterization, for example. For the entirety of the movie, Michael’s face appears bleak, unremorseful. There is never a glimpse of humanity in his eyes, nor does he ever speak. 

What the audience does hear, however, is his breath, the muffled panting behind his iconic white mask. Though, this ounce of what could be considered life is short-lived, for it instills a sense of paranoia rather than security. 

Without humanity, Michael Myers becomes the legendary, faceless evil spirit, from the way he moves to the way he kills. A mysterious, uncontrollable demon, the literal personification of evil.  

As Michael’s psychologist, Dr. Sam Loomis, says in the film, “There was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding, and even the lost rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong…what I realized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes is purely and simply evil. “

Not to mention, he never dies. So, there’s that.  

Another iconic aspect of the film that captivates audiences is the music, a theme that has transcended generations. Everyone knows the “Halloween” song. 

“The music is terrifying,” sophomore Clare Donaldson said. “Whenever I hear it, I’m like oh, that’s eerie.” 

The light panging of the piano, paired with the deep growl of strings, creates this undeniable feeling of vulnerability, that this relentless character could be watching from everywhere. Creepy. 

“Halloween” effectively enraptures the audience, relying on more complex techniques and underlying horror rather than obnoxious and cheap jump scares to master suspense and, thus, fear. 

This slasher achieves the essence of a classic horror movie. 


“Crazy Rich Asians” earns Best Romantic Comedy, winning the laughs of 20.4% of RCHS students who participated in the survey. Rotten Tomatoes critics rate the film 91%. 

“It was the first movie to introduce Asian culture to Western audiences, so I think that was really special,” senior Amy Yoon said. 

Based on the novel by Kevin Kwan, Jon M. Chu’s “Crazy Rich Asians” follows middle-class girl Rachel Chu as she learns of her boyfriend’s wealthy family. Along the journey, she struggles with her relationship, her identity, and her lover’s contentious family.

Photo by: Bailee Small

The film stars a plethora of well-known actors and actresses, including Constance Wu, Awkwafina, and even comedian Ronny Chieng, to name a few. Not only that, but “Crazy Rich Asians” features an entirely Asian cast, a first in Hollywood history since 1993 in “The Joy Luck Club.” 

“Instead of using the same tired old stereotypes and the same four actors that are typically used as Asian representation, this movie actually included a full asian cast which was phenomenal,” Yoon said.

“Crazy Rich Asians” wittily explores and critiques social class, gender expectations, family dynamics, and Asian culture, all while satisfying the audience with the structure of a romantic comedy. 

As viewers follow Rachel Chu and Nick Young’s rollercoaster of a relationship, the film hits every stereotypical rom-com element, from the “rags-to-riches” to the “evil mother-in-law,” yet elevates them with a touch of elegance, meaning, and well, craziness. 

The film also fully fleshes out strong female leads, who emerge victorious and fulfilled after completing their heroic journeys.  

In the end, lead characters Rachel Chu and Astrid Leong-Teo (played by Gemma Chan) are not heartbroken and desperate girls seeking love. They are mature and confident women who discover their voices and acknowledge their power when faced with prejudice. 


The Star Wars franchise won Best Sci-Fi film, garnering the votes of 38.9% of RCHS students who participated in our survey.  

The Star Wars saga had a substantial positive turnout, with its most successful movie (Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope) earning a 93% Rotten Tomatoes critic score. 

George Lucas’ Star Wars Original Trilogy observes the character Luke Skywalker and his quest to become a Jedi. His plans are soon ruined when imperial agent Darth Vader strives to bring down Luke and the Jedi armies. Over the years, Star Wars has become one of movie history’s largest, most successful franchises. 

“Because they’re action-packed, there is a whole series, they are suspenseful and intense, and entertaining with the franchise is good,” senior Kori Cunningham said. “It’s not just a good vs evil movie. It has all emotions involved in it so it can connect with people on every level.” 

It’s not just a good vs evil movie. It has all emotions involved in it so it can connect with people on every level.

— Kori Cunningham

Star Wars is not just a series of space battles, but a complex journey through powerful emotions. It tackles mature concepts, such as the notion that no one side is entirely good or bad and that balance requires an understanding of both the light and dark. It emphasizes the importance of recognizing and empathizing with all emotions, whether happy or downright painful. 

Combined with its immersive world-building, impeccable character development, and superb storytelling, Star Wars completely captures the audience in a universe of powerful science fiction. 


Speaking of long-shots, 51% of RCHS students who participated in our survey agree that Todd Phililips’ “Joker” is the best drama film.

According to IMDb, Joaquin Pheonix’s outstanding performance as the deranged Joker won him many prestigious awards, including a BAFTA for Best Actor in a Leading Role and several Gold Globes. 

This award-winning film follows Arthur, a failed comedian, and how his descent into madness turned him into the D.C. supervillain, Joker. 

“I think the movie is great as Joker is the most complicated D.C. villain ever, if not the most complicated villain ever,” senior Jason Ragheb said. “It shows why he decided to do the things he did in a relatable way that makes everyone who watches it understand where he’s coming from.” 

Photo by: Bailee Small

“Joker” explores societal issues such as class stratification and the cruelty and misunderstanding toward people with mental health conditions. 

And the best part is that everything in this movie is purely and simply human. 

Unlike villains from other superhero films from both D.C. and Marvel, the Joker has no special abilities; hence his insanity feels real. That transparency gives the audience access to the character, to sympathize with the crazed serial killer sociopath. 

“The movie shows one person of the vast majority dealing with a terrible issue,” Ragheb said. “Then it shows the two halves of that society, the rich oppressors and the poor oppressed. The poor oppressed see that Joker is doing something about [their oppression] and they all unite under him following that path to change since they’re collectively in pain.” 

This man is abused by society, exploited, and left to rot for the rest of his life until he becomes the symbol of chaos, raising the bigger question about society overall: Who truly is the villain? 


According to our survey, 40% of students chose “Titanic” as the best romance movie, and Rotten Tomatoes rates the film 87% fresh.  

James Cameron’s” Titanic,” set in 1912 on the historic R.M.S. Titanic, tells the story of young love upon the “Ship of Dreams.” 

Based on the true catastrophe of the Titanic, the film opens as a dive crew recovers treasure from the sunken ship, stumbling across a sapphire necklace that once belonged to Rose. 

Rose tells the entire story as she recollects the ship’s voyage and its tragic end when it grazed an iceberg and sank into the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Photo by: Bailee Small

This “Romeo and Juliet” retelling captures audiences as it unravels the passionate love story of Jack and Rose, despite the impending doom. 

The film stars Kate Winslet (as Rose) and Leonardo Dicaprio (as Jack), who both deliver phenomenal performances. 

“Titanic is like hearing your first love story,” senior Carolina González said. “It doesn’t feel real. It feels so unique as if you were there.” 

Ever since she watched it, González was especially impressed by how the film weaves actual events within Jack and Rose’s development to create a deeply profound and heartbreaking story of life, death, and unconditional love. 

“Titanic is one of the best romance movies in existence because it ties fantasy with a situation of reality,” González said. “We never got to meet the characters from the Titanic, neither did the actors, but somewhere in that reality, it feels like they were meant to be there since the beginning of time.” 

Paired with the iconic theme of “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion, “Titanic” is a film that effectively portrays the forbidden lovers archetype against the backdrop of the Titanic disaster, displaying more than just the essence of true love. 

It marries the concept of dazzling, young love with large-scale tragedy to create a film that fulfills the ultimate human desire of being loved unconditionally. 

“It’s one of those movies not even society can forget,” González said. 


Tangled wins Best Disney Movie, with about 20% of RCHS students who answered our survey making up this majority. 

“Tangled,” directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, is the story of Rapunzel, the princess taken away and raised by Mother Gothel when she was a baby. On her 18th birthday, Rapunzel sets her sights on leaving the tower, preparing to see the lights surrounding the castle. 

Starring Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi, this coming-of-age tale resonates with everyone, expanding the idea of seeking independence and freedom through Rapunzel’s adventure. 

Photo by: Bailee Small

“I feel like I can relate to her a lot because she’s a very sheltered and innocent person who goes into this big world and that happens with me a lot,” sophomore Clare Donaldson said. “It’s also so sweet and pretty.” 

Younger audiences will enjoy the karaoke-worthy songs and beautiful animation, but the film also dives deep into the journey of becoming an adult and how terrifying it can be. 

As Rapunzel throws herself into the world, she is faced with danger at every turn. However, with the help of Eugene, she slowly begins to understand life outside her tower. 

By the end, Rapunzel develops and matures to the point that she defies her mother, someone she has idolized her entire life. She confidently confronts her controlling mother, using her own strength and knowledge to fend for herself and grow as a human being. 

This lesson reaches viewers of all ages universally, for Rapunzel’s journey is the emotional transition into adulthood that every person faces. 


The art of filmmaking is subjective, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Nevertheless, some aspects of a film indeed prove vital to ensure that its title and themes stay etched within the mind. 

So, what does make a movie good, according to RCHS students? 

Acting and good screenwriting make or break the movie as they convey messages. Sometimes, even actions are enough to leave an impression. 

Good movies also require captivating music that emphasizes each climax, envelopes suspense, and captures every aspect of each character, storyline, and plot. 

Techniques of cinematography, such as certain camera angles and movements, also aid in conveying a message. 

Though most notably, it is the humanity of a movie that makes it inherently good. Why do people watch movies? Because they’re fun, they’re beautiful. They make us laugh, scream, and cry. They leave an impression and inspire. 

RCHS digital film, video production, and web design teacher Mr. Matt Cataldo said, “A movie is really good when it takes you to another world. It leaves you wondering, it leaves you excited, it lets you experience something you had never experienced before. ”

A movie is really good when it takes you to another world. It leaves you wondering, it leaves you excited, it lets you experience something you had never experienced before.

— Matt Cataldo

Every single good movie has one thing in common. They make us feel.