The Most Popular Movie the Year You Were Born

These films were the biggest box-office hits of the year, according to filmsite.org. Did your favorites make the cut?

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1930: Tom Sawyer

Tom-Sawyervia imdb.comMark Twain’s timeless novel about the adventures of a young boy gets film fame too. Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Joe Harper trick the town into thinking they’re dead, witness a murder, and more.

1931: Frankenstein

Frankensteinvia imdb.comA scientist is obsessed with trying to make a dead corpse come to life, but has to live with the consequences when he succeeds in this film adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic novel. Don't miss the movies that were actually better than the book.

1932: Shanghai Express

Shanghai-Expressvia imdb.comIn this romantic adventure film, a woman and her former lover reconnect on a train to Shanghai. It won the Academy Award for best cinematography. Don't miss these Oscar-winning movies you forgot actually won.

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1933: King Kong

King-Kong-Expressvia imdb.comPeople have been obsessing over this giant ape since he first traveled from Skull Island to New York City in the original 1933 movie King Kong.

1934: It Happened One Night

It-Happened-One-Nightvia imdb.comWhen a spoiled socialite runs away from her father to join her husband, a story-hungry reporter blackmails her into letting him tag along.

1935: Mutiny on the Bounty

Mutinyvia imdb.comAs HMS Bounty sets sail from England to Tahiti, Captain Bligh turns into a ruthless tyrant. Before they make their way home, first mate Fletcher Christian leads a mutiny so the crew can go back to paradise in Tahiti—until the captain comes back for revenge.

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1936: Modern Times

Modern-Timesvia imdb.comIn Charlie Chaplin’s last appearance as Little Tramp, the character tries making his way in an industrialized society. With Chaplin’s success in silent films, Modern Times is the first and only movie that the character gets a voice.

1937: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow-Whitevia imdb.comWalt Disney made waves with the first feature-length, English-language animated film to be in color. In it, Snow White must hide with dwarves when a jealous queen tries to kill her.

1938: The Adventures of Robin Hood

The-Adventures-of-Robin-Hoodvia imdb.comSir Robin of Locksley leads his outlaw band of Merry Men on an adventure to take from the rich and give to the poor.

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1939: Gone With The Wind

Gone-With-The-Windvia imdb.comBased on the book by Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind follows the romantic pursuits of a Georgia plantation owner’s daughter, Scarlett O’Hara, during and after the Civil War. Check out more romantic movies even unromantics love.

1940: Pinocchio

Pinocchiovia imdb.comA fairy grant’s a puppeteer’s wish for his marionette to come to life. With the help of Jiminy Cricket, the wooden Pinocchio tries to prove his honesty and bravery make him worthy of being a real boy.

1941: Sergeant York

Sergeant-Yorkvia imdb.comBased on the true story of Sergeant Alvin York, this film follows the American’s journey from drafted pacifist to decorated war hero during World War I.

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1942: Bambi

Bambivia imdb.comA curious young deer makes friends with his fellow forest creatures, including a peppy rabbit named Thumper, as he learns about courage and love. When hunters threaten his friends, Bambi must step up to lead the animals to safety. Check out these other family-friendly movies you'll like as much as your kids do.

1943: This Is the Army

This-Is-the-Armyvia imdb.comIn this wartime musical comedy, Jerry Jones’ dancing career is ruined when his leg is wounded on the battlefield during World War I. By the time World War II begins, he’s switched to producing, and his son Johnny reluctantly follows his father’s footsteps with an all-soldier show.

1944: Going My Way

Going-My-Wayvia imdb.comBing Crosby plays a laid-back young priest trying to mentor a gang of kids and take over the Manhattan parish’s finances for the aging Father Fitzgibbon, despite the older pastor’s disapproval. The film won seven Oscars, including Best Picture.

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1945: Mom and Dad

Mom-and-Dadvia imdb.comWhen her parents refuse to discuss sex education with her, a high school girl gets pregnant by a pilot, who dies in a plane crash. Even though some communities banned it for obscenity, the movie was one of top five box office successes of the decade.

1946: Song of the South

Song-of-the-Southvia imdb.comJames Baskett plays live-action Uncle Remus, who tells stories of Br’er Rabbit, an animated bunny who tricks his enemies, Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear. The song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” won an Academy Award, and Baskett’s honorary win made him the first black male actor to get an Oscar.

1947: Forever Amber

Forever-Ambervia imdb.comA poor 17th-century English girl decides to raise herself to nobility, but must choose between status and true love.

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1948: The Snake Pit

The-Snake-Pitvia imdb.comA woman wakes up in an insane asylum without memory of how she got there in this film adaptation of Mary Jane Ward’s semi-autobiographical book. The movie jumps back in time to flashbacks from before her hospital admittance, and follows her journey through recovery.

1949: Samson and Delilah

Samson-and-Delilahvia imdb.comThis romantic epic is based on the biblical story of lust and betrayal. Delilah seduces Samson, the strongest man in his enslaved Israeli tribe, to discover the secret behind his strength.

1950: Cinderella

Cinderellavia imdb.comThe prince is throwing a ball to find a wife, but Cinderella’s wicked stepmother and stepsisters ruin her chance to go. Cinderella’s chance at finding love seems hopeless until her fairy godmother comes to the rescue.

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1951: Quo Vadis

Quo-Vadisvia imdb.comWhen a Roman commander falls in love with a Christian hostage, he begins to question the nature of his Emperor's regime.

1952: The Greatest Show on EarthThe-Greatest-Showvia imdb.comTake a peek behind the circus curtain with Cecil B. DeMille's high-flying classic. Apparently, a lot of drama goes into getting the greatest show on Earth as profitable as possible.

1953: Peter PanPeter-Panvia imdb.comWhat better way to revisit your childhood on movie night than with a movie about the boy who never grows up? Take a trip to Neverland with Wendy, Peter and the Lost Boys with this Disney classic.

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1954: Rear WindowRear-Windowvia imdb.comThis Alfred Hitchcock classic follows a wheelchair-bound photojournalist and his girlfriend as they use binoculars to spy on the neighbors. A high-profile cast—Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter, and Wendell Corey lead the show—made this mystery-thriller an instant box-office hit.

1955: Lady and the TrampLady-and-the-Trampvia imdb.comAn animated film in which two dogs fall in love? Amazing. Plus, these pups’ spaghetti-and-meatballs kiss is nothing short of iconic.

1956: The Ten CommandmentsThe-Ten-Commandmentsvia imdb.comA biblical epic based on the life of Moses and his receiving of the Ten Commandments.

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1957: The Bridge on the River Kwai

The-Bridge-on-the-River-Kwaivia imdb.comThis epic war film based on the novel Le Pont de la Rivière Kwai by Pierre Boulle follows the construction of the Burma Railway by British prisoners during World War II.

1958: South PacificSouth-Pacific-via imdb.comSail away into date night with this World War II musical romance featuring a young Navy nurse and a French planter. With a Rogers and Hammerstein score, you can't go wrong.

1959: Ben-HurBen Hurvia imdb.comThis film, which follows the story of a Judah Ben-Hur, a well-to-do prince and merchant in Jerusalem in AD 26, had a budget of $15.175 million, the largest of its time. Thankfully, it generated $74.7 million in North American box office sales.

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1960: Swiss Family RobinsonSwiss-Family-Robinsonvia imdb.comNot sure how well your family would fare in a shipwreck on a deserted island? Live vicariously through the Robinson family with this adventure film put out by Disney.

1961: 101 Dalmatiansvia imdb.comWhen the evil Cruella de Vil kidnaps a litter of puppies to make a dalmatian skin coat, Pongo and Perdita, the pups’ parents, must find a way to rescue them in time.

1962: The Longest Day

The-Longest-Dayvia imdb.com History buffs, this is the movie for you! Based on the 1959 book, Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day, this movie takes you back in time to June 6, 1944 when the Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, France to defeat Nazi Germany. You get to see this iconic day in military history unfold from both the Allied and German perspectives.

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1963: Cleopatra

Cleopatravia imdb.com Elizabeth Taylor is a stunning Queen of the Nile in this historical flick about the triumphs and tragedies of Cleopatra.  

1964: Mary Poppins

Mary-Poppinsvia imdb.com You'll be singing along to this nostalgic Disney classic starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. If only we could all have a magical nanny like Mary Poppins who could take us on wild adventures with goofball chimney sweeps like Bert!

1965: The Sound of Music

The-Sound-of-Musicvia imdb.com Yes, the hills are alive with yet another popular classic starring Julie Andrews who plays a governess for the seven children of a wealthy Austrian widower, Captain Von Trapp whose heart has grown cold. Andrews will win over your heart in this fun, family film just like she did with the Von Trapp clan. Don't miss these behind-the-scenes facts about The Sound of Music

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1966: The Bible: In the Beginning and Hawaii (virtual tie)

The-Biblevia imdb.com You'll learn all about the Biblical book of Genesis which features the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, and Abraham and Isaac in The Bible: In the Beginning. The movie Hawaii tells the tale of an American missionary and his wife who travel to Hawaii in hopes of converting the natives to a more civilized, modern life. But instead of understanding, culture clashes ensue and tragedy strikes.

1967: The Jungle Book

The-Jungle-Bookvia imdb.com Welcome to the jungle! In this Disney classic, young man-cub Mowgli learns with the help of his animal friends Bagheera and Baloo that the jungle is no place for a boy.

1968: Funny Girl

Funny-Girlvia imdb.com Barbra Streisand nails it as early 1900s Broadway actress and comedian, Fanny Brice, in this critically acclaimed musical hit about a young Jewish woman from New York City who dreams of becoming a star. With the help of a suave gambler, who she falls in love with and marries, Fanny Brice, becomes an overnight comical sensation for the Ziegfeld Follies, a Broadway production. 

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1969: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butchvia imdb.com Paul Newman and Robert Redford play a dynamic duo in this four-time Oscar-winning film about two bank robbers who flee from the law and head for Bolivia.

1970: Love Story

Love-Storyvia imdb.com A poor baker's daughter and rich boy become star-crossed lovers in this modern day Romeo and Juliet. Despite his family's disapproval, the two get married and struggle to make ends meet. When circumstances finally start to look up for the pair, one of them is diagnosed with a terminal illness and their short-lived love story comes to an end.   

1971: Billy Jack

Billy-Jackvia imdb.com Billy Jack is a half-Indian Vietnam veteran who returns from the war and lives on a reservation outside of a conservative town in Arizona. He soon becomes the protector of the progressive Freedom School, a peaceful art school where children of all ages and races are welcome. Unfortunately, the peace gets corrupted when the town's local bigots start to initiate a campaign to destroy the school and humiliate its students. Billy Jack must do everything in his power to end this unjust evil, even if it means murder.

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1972: The Godfather

The-Godfathervia imdb.com Marlon Brando won the Oscar for Best Actor in 1973 for his brilliant performance as mob boss, Don Vito Corleone. The Don tries to pass down his empire to his youngest son Michael, played by Al Pacino, but the young man is reluctant to take control of the powerful organized crime dynasty his father has created.   

1973: The Exorcist

The-Exorcistvia imdb.com If you were born in '73 and are also a horror fan, that's fitting because it's also the year the frighteningly successful psychological thriller about a young girl possessed by the devil hit theaters, infamously creepy 360-degree head spin and all. It racked up 10 Academy Award nominations, winning two. Relive your birth year with Fox's 2016 reboot, full episodes now available online.

1974: Blazing Saddles

Blazingvia imdb.com Western fans saddled up for the Mel Brooks' directed Blazing Saddles this year, a western comedy starring Gene Wilder that satirized racism by casting the hero as a black sheriff in an all-white town (bucking Hollywood's usual depiction of the American West).

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1975: Jaws

Jawsvia imdb.com Beaches across America were probably a little emptier after the man-eating shark in this blockbuster hit from Steven Spielberg terrorized the big screen. It was deemed so iconic that the Library of Congress added it to the National Registry of Films in 2001, a list reserved only for those that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically" significant.

1976: Rocky

Rockyvia imdb.com Sylvester Stallone donned his boxing gloves (and removed his shirt) and took to the ring in this rags-to-riches story about an Italian-American amateur boxer who went from working the slums of Philadelphia to competing in the world heavyweight championship. The film spawned six sequels, with the third including a song now synonymous with the hardworking Rocky, "Eye of the Tiger" by the band Survivor.

1977: Star Wars

Star-Warsvia imdb.com A long time ago, in [what now seems like] a galaxy far, far away, George Lucas's epic space adventure began and fans were first introduced to characters now rooted in America's cultural history--Luke Skywalker, Hans Solo, Princess Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi, R2-D2, C-3PO, and of course, Darth Vader. Now 11 films into the franchise (with two more planned through 2020), the force is still going strong.

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1978: Grease

Greasevia imdb.com While a young John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John fell in love on-screen as a pair of 1950s high school sweethearts in Grease, moviegoers were busy falling in love with this musical rom-com's best-selling soundtrack.

1979: Kramer vs. Kramer

Kramer-vs.-Kramervia imdb.com This novel-turned-big screen drama starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep was such a heartrending depiction of divorce that it snagged five Academy Awards in 1980: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

1980: Star Wars: Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back

Star-Wars--Episode-Vvia imdb.com George Lucas wasted no time debuting the second installment of his space saga, set three years after the original.

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1981: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders-of-the-Lost-Arkvia imdb.com Harrison Ford got hearts racing as a ruggedly handsome archaeologist-turned-adventurer in the first of Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones action serial.

1982: E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

via imdb.com Steven Spielberg continued his blockbuster run with this science fiction fantasy film about the unlikely friendship between a boy and his extraterrestrial friend, E.T., who was just trying to phone home.

1983: Star Wars: Episode VI—Return of the Jedi

Star-Wars Episode-VIvia imdb.com The final piece of the original Star Wars trilogy was nominated for four Academy Awards but failed to pick up any little gold statues.

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1984: Ghostbusters

Ghostbustersvia imdb.com Who you gonna call? Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Rick Moranis, for starters. A dream team of screen comedians take on barfing green ghouls in one of the most-beloved comedies of all time.

1985: Back to the Future

Back-to-the-Futurevia imdb.com Marty McFly and Doc Brown have a time-traveling DeLorean (Radical!). They use it to go to high school with Marty’s parents in the ‘50s (Laaaame). This pioneering sci-fi comedy has attained cult classic status for good reason. Here are 21 mind-blowing facts about the film that put flux capacitors on the map.

1986: Top Gun

Top-Gunvia imdb.com “Maverick,” “Goose,” and “Iceman” are fighter pilot trainees alternately making the skies safer and more dangerous in this military romance that made all filmgoers suddenly want their own codenames.

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1987: Three Men and a Baby

Three-Men-and-a-Babyvia imdb.com Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson take turns screwing up fatherhood as three New York bachelors mysteriously bequeathed with a baby that may belong to one of them. Based on a French comedy called Three Men and a Cradle, the film went on to be remade four times in India.

1988: Rain Man

Rain-Manvia imdb.com Sleazy Tom Cruise and autistic savant Dustin Hoffman take a  road trip to escape a mental institution, cheat a Vegas casino, watch Judge Wapner, and other brotherly activities. Funny and heartfelt, Rain Man won four Oscars, including a Best Actor statue for Hoffman.

1989: Batman

Batmanvia imdb.com Michael Keaton takes his turn as the caped crusader to battle Jack Nicholson’s bleached-skinned Joker in a film that director Tim Burton called a “duel of the freaks.” This dark and stormy predecessor to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight reboots also gave the world nine new Prince songs, including his fourth number-one single, "Batdance."

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1990: Home Alone

Home-Alonevia imdb.com Kevin becomes lord of his manor after his family forgets to bring him on vacation—and a lord must occasionally protect his castle from invaders. Macaulay Culkin beats up Joe Pesci in the family film that made violence fun for many a millennial.

1991: Beauty and the BeastBeauty-and-the-Beastvia imdb.com Boy meets girl; boy repulses girl because he’s actually a frightful hybrid of like five different animals; boy transforms from beast into hunk and all is well in France. A monument to the Disney Renaissance of the ‘90s when animated movies became just as fun for parents as their kids, Beauty and the Beast is a tale as old as time for a very good reason. These are the life lessons anyone can learn from Beauty and the Beast.

1992: AladdinAladinvia imdb.com A meet cute in the slums of Agrabah sends a handsome thief chasing after a strong-willed princess with swords, sorcery, and, eventually, the truth. One of Disney’s finest films, Aladdin deserves a place in the pantheon for nothing less than Robin Williams’s signature role as a fast-talking genie with whom everyone—still— wishes they could be friends.

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1993: Jurassic ParkJurassic-Park-via imdb.com Dino DNA turns an ill-conceived theme park into a gauntlet of hungry velociraptors, stomping tyrannosaurs, and unhinged Jeff Goldblum laughter. Four films later (Jurassic World 2 is slated for 2018), who would’ve thought that a little mosquito would spawn one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time?

1994: The Lion KingThe-Lion-Kingvia imdb.com The Dane grows a mane in Disney’s all-singing, all-dancing, all-animal rendition of Hamlet. Beloved for its big and playful soundtrack, The Lion King earned Oscars for Elton John, Tim Rice and Hans Zimmer, spawned a perpetually popular Broadway musical, and—for better or worse—got  “Hakuna Matata” stuck in millions of kid and parent craniums alike. No worries.

1995: Toy StoryToy-Storyvia imdb.com This Disney movie was the first theatrical film produced by Pixar. Bringing a young boy’s toys to life, this film recounts the relationship of a cowboy, Woody, and an astronaut, Buzz Lightyear as they work to be reunited with their owner, Andy.

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1996: Independence Day

Independence-Dayvia imdb.comThis movie is a science fiction action film that focuses on a group of people in the aftermath of an attack by an existential race. It was directed and co-written by Roland Emmerich, who came up with the idea for the film after questioning his own belief in aliens.

1997: Titanic Titanic-via imdb.comTitanic shares the fictional love story of Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater, while outlining the true story of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. The budget for the film was a record-breaking $200 million, but the 11 Oscars that it won and over $2 billion it brought in worldwide made up for it.

1998: Saving Private RyanSaving-Private-Ryan-via imdb.comThis epic war drama took place during the Invasion of Normandy during World War II. This film made such an impact because of its graphic portrayal of war. The film made over $480 million in theaters.

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1999: Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom MenaceStar-Wars--Episode-Ivia imdb.comThis film is the first installment in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, set 32 years before the original film. The premier of the film was highly attended by the following that the Star Wars saga had created.

2000: How the Grinch Stole ChristmasHow-the-Grinch-Stole-Christmasvia imdb.comThis Christmas tale is based off of the well-known children’s book by Dr. Seuss. Staring Jim Carrey, this film was the first Dr. Seuss book to be adapted into a full-length film.

2001: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneHarry-Pottervia imdb.comBased off of the first book in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, this film follows a young wizard, Harry Potter, through his adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

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2002: Spider-Manvia imdb.comThis superhero film based off of the Marvel Comics character stars Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker. It tells the exhilarating story of how Peter, a high school student living in New York City fights crime with his newly discovered spider-like superpowers.

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingThe-Lord-of-the-Ringsvia imdb.comThis movie was based off of J.R.R. Tolkien’s book and was produced, written, and directed by Peter Jackson. This acclaimed film won 11 Academy Awards and brought in over $1 billion worldwide.

2004: Shrek 2Shrek-2via imdb.comTypically, sequels are never as good as the first movie, but Shrek 2 is definitely not ogrerated. In this animated comedy, Shrek and Fiona continue their love story by going to meet Fiona’s parents in the Kingdom of Far Far Away.

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2005: Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the SithStar-Wars--Episode-IIIvia imdb.comIn the third movie in the Star Wars prequel, the Jedi Knights lead a massive war against the Separatists. The film aired on May 19 and received more positive reviews than the first two movies in the series.

2006: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's ChestPirates-of-the-Caribbean-via imdb.com Captain Jack Sparrow returns in the sequel to the first Pirates film, The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), as he and his swashbuckling friends search for the heart of Davy Jones—with the fate of their souls at stake. Talk about a lot to lose. Do you think Captain Jack ever used pirate jokes to ease the tension?

2007: Spider-Man 3Spider-Man-3via imdb.com This famous comic book superhero makes a comeback on the big screen. Toby Maguire’s Spider-Man has defeated the Green Goblin and Doc Ock, but now he has to face his worst enemy: himself.

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2008: The Dark KnightThe-Dark-Knightvia imdb.com Consistently named one of the best superhero movies ever made, The Dark Knight takes viewers into the chaos of Gotham as Batman attempts to save his city from the Joker. Heath Ledger posthumously won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as the Joker. He is the only actor to ever receive this award after death.

2009: AvatarAvatarvia imdb.com James Cameron’s sci-fi fantasy takes place on the moon Pandora, where one man tries to stop his fellow humans from colonizing the planet and drive out the natives he has come to love. The film’s use of stereoscopy, essentially making 3D images look more real by adding depth, is considered a technological breakthrough for the industry.

2010: Toy Story 3Toy-Story-3-via imdb.com Adventurous for young viewers, nostalgic for young-at-heart viewers, and tear-jerking for everyone. In the third film in this classic series, our small but mighty heroes once again must find their way home before their owner Andy leaves for college. It just goes to show that some toys were made to be more than toys.

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2011: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2Harry-Potter-and-the-Deathly-Hallowsvia imdb.com The final installment of the Harry Potter series was a bittersweet moment for fans. Yes, the adventures of Harry, Ron, and Hermione reached an inevitable end, but at least it was a satisfying one, equal parts thrilling, visually stimulating, and touching. The only question that remains (and will never be unanimously answered) is whether the movies were better than the books.

2012: The AvengersAvengersvia imdb.com Marvel’s greatest heroes unite to defeat Loki and his evil alien army before they take over Earth and everyone on it. And when you put Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye in a battle of epic proportions, you better believe it’s going to be as witty as it is action-packed.

2013: The Hunger Games: Catching FireThe-Hunger-Gamesvia imdb.com In the second film of the Hunger Games series, Katniss and Peeta are thrown back into the arena, but this time, they’re not just fighting for their lives. They’re fighting for the rebellion that hopes to overthrow the Capitol.

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2014: American SniperAmerican-Snipervia imdb.com This war drama is based on a memoir of the same name by Chris Kyle, the deadliest marksman in U.S. military history, and follows Kyle’s tormented life on and off the battlefield. The film drew controversy over its portrayal of the Iraq War, but critics agreed on Bradley Cooper’s moving performance as the lead character, which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

2015: Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force AwakensStar-Wars--Episode-VII Nearly 40 years after the original film, we return to a galaxy far, far away as newcomers Rey, Finn, and Poe join veteran rebels (yes, Han Solo and Chewbacca make a comeback) in the fight against Kylo Ren and his First Order. Clearly, the world was ready for more intergalactic action; currently, it’s the third-highest-grossing film of all time, raking in over $2 billion worldwide. But would it have done as well if someone other than J.J. Abrams had directed it?

2016: Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryRogue-Onevia imdb.com Once again, Star Wars rules the year, at least at the box office. This space epic takes place between Episodes III (Revenge of the Sith) and IV (A New Hope), when a group of rebel fighters attempt to overtake the Death Star, but not if the Empire has anything to say about it. In honor of seven movies from the franchise making our list, we leave you with these Star Wars quotes to live by. May the Force be with you.

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