Aragorn, Red, Leia, the Joker, Jules, and Vincent standing together

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Discussions about the greatest movies of all time are a topic of conversation among people of all ages. After all, films play a huge role in our lives and regularly dominate pop culture and water cooler chat. Of course, determining exactly what films make up the very best of the best is no easy task, as everyone’s own opinion is subjective and personal to them.

Attempting to bring cold hard facts into the equation can provide some insight. For example, you can look at the highest-grossing films of all time or those with the best critic or audience scores. Another useful metric is to compare which films have amassed the largest number of awards. Still, these kinds of stats don’t provide the whole story or take into account every cultural and societal factor.

What if we could take away some of those biases and hand off the decision to something based on logic, not to mention a seemingly comprehensive knowledge of the decades-long discussion as it has been shared on the internet? Recent headline-grabbing advances in artificial intelligence have made this a possibility, so we asked ChatGPT to make a list of the 10 greatest films of all time. Here is what the chatbot came up with — and why we think it made the choices that it did.

10. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Aragorn leading Gondor's forces against Mordor

While there is debate as to which film from Peter Jackson’s "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy is the best, "The Return of the King" certainly ended the series with a bang. It won numerous awards and was a huge success at the 76th Academy Awards, winning in all 11 categories that it was nominated for. This puts it on a par with both "Titanic" and "Ben-Hur" as the most celebrated films at the Oscars, having won everything from best picture and best director to best visual effects and best original score. At the box office, the movie grossed $1.1 billion and was the highest-earning film in the franchise.

This adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy series focuses on the continued efforts of the surviving members of the Fellowship of the Ring in their battle against Sauron and his armies. Frodo and Sam work with Gollum to try and find a way into Mordor while Gandalf and Aragorn lead the defense of Gondor’s capital, Minas Tirith. While omitting the final chapters of the original book, the film memorably depicts the destruction of the One Ring, the final defeat of Sauron, and the departure of several important figures from Middle-earth.

Perhaps the most visually impressive and audacious film of the trilogy, "The Return of the King" received nearly universal critical acclaim and concludes what many consider to be the best movie trilogy in history — making it an easy choice for ChatGPT’s last spot on its AI-generated top 10.

9. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

Tarkin, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader talking

20th Century Fox

Having AI rank all of the "Star Wars" movies undoubtedly would see the films in the original trilogy score very high. While there has been plenty of discourse as to which of the initial three films in the franchise would come out on top, considering that both "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" are landmark films in their own ways, the first entry still makes a strong case. After all, "A New Hope" was not only a groundbreaking experience in terms of special effects and science fiction storytelling — it set up an entire expanded universe of novels, comics, games, and TV shows.

Despite the futuristic setting, "A New Hope" is very much a classic good versus evil story, as Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Obi-Wan Kenobi battle against the Galactic Empire led by the fearsome Darth Vader and the sinister Grand Moff Tarkin. Luke joins the Rebel Alliance and helps to destroy the Empire’s Death Star — a super weapon capable of destroying entire planets — while beginning his journey to become a Jedi Master using the mystical power known as the Force.

Besides the fact that it started one of the most valuable media franchises of all time, "A New Hope" has been recognized many times for its importance in cinema. It has been added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, and the soundtrack is considered one of the most important in movie history.

Forrest Gump sitting on a bench
Samuel L. Jackson eating a burger