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The A.V. Club's 50 greatest special effects movies of all time

The A.V. Club has picked the highlights from a whole history of cinematic illusion, from the Méliès “trick films” of the early 20th century to the superhero phenomena of today.

Note that this is not a list of the most advanced effects work, because as anyone who’s sat through an X-Men movie can attest, even the most state-of-the-art spectacles can look shockingly lousy. Furthermore, not all once-remarkable effects achievements have retained their luster, which is why some of the biggest box office hits of all time are absent from our rundown.

Get our full breakdown here

This list was originally published to The A.V. Club on July 26, 2018

  • The Man with the Rubber Head
  • A Trip to the Moon
  • The House of Ghosts
  • Faust
  • Metropolis
  • King Kong
  • Things to Come
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Citizen Kane
  • Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon
  • Godzilla
  • The Ten Commandments
  • Jason and the Argonauts
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell
  • Eraserhead
  • Star Wars
  • Alien
  • The Beyond
  • An American Werewolf in London
  • The Thing
  • The Dark Crystal
  • Day of the Dead
  • Brazil
  • The Fly
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  • Dead Ringers
  • Society
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  • Batman Returns
  • Dracula
  • Jurassic Park
  • Forrest Gump
  • Independence Day
  • The Matrix
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Pan's Labyrinth
  • Children of Men
  • Speed Racer
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Enter the Void
  • Inception
  • The Tree of Life
  • Gravity
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Walk
  • Doctor Strange