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The Highest-Grossing Movies Of All Time From ‘Gone With The Wind’ To ‘Avengers: Endgame’

The biggest films ever broke box office records overnight and became pop culture phenomenons forever. The question is, how many of these history making movies did you see on the big screen?
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Some movies were made for the big screen. When it comes to the most successful movies in existence, they weren’t just destined to be spectacular in theaters, they were designed for it. In fact, the highest-grossing movies in history continue proving they’re worth every penny first collected at the box office.

No matter how different the cinematography, storylines, or fanbases, the most popular movies ever made have one very important thing in common: they made bank. So without further ado, here are the top ten highest-grossing movies of all time.

Gone With The Wind (1939)

Gone with the Wind
Wikimedia Commons

Released in 1939 and raking in $32 million, Gone With The Wind quickly became America’s biggest blockbuster. Today, it remains one of the most successful movies in cinema history. The Civil War love story can largely thank its unprecedented success to casting major Hollywood stars Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. 

While other record-breaking blockbusters would come along and took its crown, Gone With The Wind remains the highest-grossing film of all time when you take inflation into account. When the four-hour flick was first televised in 1976, it broke another record. Split over a two-night showing, 47 percent of American households tuned in for the cinematic spectacle of the era. It would be almost 25 years before any other film came close.

The Sound of Music (1965)

the sound of music
20th Century Studios

In 1966, The Sound of Music became the highest-grossing film of all time. After Gone With The Wind’s 25-year reign, the beloved musical drama starring Julie Andrews brought in $67.5 million in global rentals with $125 million in gross receipts. It held onto its title for seven years.

The Sound of Music went on to be nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won most of them, taking home best picture, best director, best actress, and best original score. Half a century later, the hills are still very much alive with The Sound of Music. It’s currently ranked the 75th best film of all time.

The Godfather (1972)

The Godfather, Marlon Brando
Paramount Pictures Studios

In 1972, there was no movie bigger than Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. Grossing $135 million, that would equal $711.1 million at the box office now. The Godfather won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. Marlon Brando made history, too, when he was awarded the Oscar for his portrayal of the Italian mafia kingpin, Vito Corleone. But he didn’t accept it.

To the shock of many, he became the second person in history to decline the high honor. But it had little to do with the movie. At the time, Brando didn’t agree with the treatment or depiction of Native Americans in the film industry, so he decided to take a stand and use the Oscars as his platform. While most of the audience booed his decision, it didn’t cast a shadow on The Godfather. Moviegoers praise (and quote) Brando for his iconic role to this day.

Jaws (1975)

Jaws
Universal Pictures

Jaws is often revered as the best summer blockbuster of all time. And it’s been making beachgoers afraid to go in the ocean since June of 1975. Swallowing the competition, the Steven Spielberg smash spent 14 straight weekends in the number one spot at the box office, grossing $193.7 million.

At first, many predicted that a flick about an oversized shark terrorizing a small town would fully bomb. Instead, Jaws proved it earned the record-breaking box office success fair and square. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Star Wars (1977)

Star Wars: A new hope
20th Century Studios

Since the beginning of the franchise, Star Wars has been globally dominating the box office and shattering record after record. An immediate and eternal hit, Star Wars: A New Hope kicked off the franchise’s epic run back in 1977. Making $1.6 million its opening weekend, the space saga quickly became one of the highest-grossing films of all time.

With a domestic total of $307.3 million, its inflation-adjusted total comes to $1.3 billion. That makes it the second highest-grossing film ever in America, trailing closely behind Gone With The Wind. To this day, no science-fiction film in the galaxy has secured a following as massive and devoted as Star Wars.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

ET
Universal Pictures

On June 11, 1982, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial surpassed A New Hope to become the highest-grossing film of all time. Bringing in $619 million, the Steven Spielberg hit broke box office records on a daily basis, and E.T. went on to touch global audiences forever.

Winning four Oscars, it wasn’t just moviegoers that loved everything about E.T. Critics said it was something special too. The Universal Pictures film was eventually declared “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” National Film Registry. It would take Spielberg 11 years to find a way to soar higher than his mega-hit about the most endearing alien ever to be stuck on earth.

Jurassic Park (1993)

Jurassic Park
Universal Pictures

Based on global box office revenue, Jurassic Park is currently the fifth most successful movie of all time. It made $912.7 million at the box office in 1993, stayed on top for four years, and continues breaking records to this day.  Thanks to a resurgence in theater showings, it topped the box office once again 27 years later.

Jurassic Park blends classic science fiction, high-impact 90s suspense, and the kind of timeless storytelling that makes it a forever favorite. And for a truly terrifying movie where dinosaurs roam the earth in present times, it’s surprisingly sentimental.

Titanic (1997)

Titanic
20th Century Studios

Titanic became the third highest-grossing film of all time in 1997. The James Cameron created sensation made an astounding $2.195 billion at the Box office and no film could compare for the next seven years. The epic romance, historical suspense hybrid would remain number one at the box office for 15 weeks and go on to win 11 Oscars.

Following in the record-breaking footsteps of Gone With The Wind, Titanic was the most expensive moving made at the time, with a budget of $200 million. Proving that the heart does indeed go on, audiences still can’t get enough this one. A pop culture mainstay, fans and critics alike frequently dub Titanic the most impactful Hollywood film of all time.

Avatar (2009)

Avatar
20th Century Fox

Since 2009, Avatar has been a major movie game-changer. James Cameron’s fantasy-adventure epic initially grossed $2.841 billion. It also became the fastest grossing film in history, surpassing the once-unstoppable success of Titanic in a little over one month.

After its rerelease in China, Avatar broke even more records. The James Cameron film took back the number one spot from Avengers: Endgame when it dropped, grossing $2.847 billion earlier this year. And it did so with zero promotion.

Black Panther (2018)

black panther
Disney Movies/Marvel Studios

After bringing in $218 million during its four-day debut, Black Panther soon secured $631 million at the box office. Swiftly pulling ahead of the pack, it surpassed the $1 billion mark in just 26 days. Starring Chadwick Boseman, the spectacular superhero-king flick went on to gross $1.23 billion worldwide.

Today, Black Panther has secured its spot as the fifth highest-grossing movie of all time. And rightfully so. It wasn’t just a record-breaking blockbuster, Black Panther proved to be a truly special and important film. Director Ryan Coogler said he aimed to explore “what it means to be African” and called the experience “life-changing.”

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Avengers: Endgame
Disney Movies/Marvel Studios

Disney’s Avengers: Endgame skyrocketed to the top of the box office in 2019, earning $2.79 billion worldwide. Seemingly overnight, it became the highest-grossing film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But as many fans know, Avengers: Endgame was a decade-in-the-making before it was released.

As Marvel’s first independently funded movie, it not only was its success world record breaking, it was incredibly profitable. Avengers: Endgame generated a profit of $900 million. In March of 2021, the fan-favorite reclaimed its title as the highest-grossing-film of all time.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated after publish to include a film missing from the original list.