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The 25 Most Rewatchable Movies Of All Time

First of all, the obviously correct answer is “Star Trek” (2009). I spent the summer of 2009 in Colonial Williamsburg rewatching “Star Trek” (2009) like 15 times — it briefly replaced alcohol as my great college romance. It has an expertly crafted narrative. It’s hilarious. And the cast commits. I can think of absolutely no more rewatchable movie, given that all other films woefully compare to the Chris Pine- and Zachary Quinto-helmed epic space adventure.

But apparently some people disagree. Because we’re a news site concerned with data, and because my editor refused to let me end the conversation at “ ‘Star Trek’ is great and all other movies are terrible,” I ran a SurveyMonkey Audience poll and asked people to list the five films they consider the most rewatchable.

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I got 4,362 entries from 1,169 respondents to my fill-in-the-blank question. Some entries covered several films — “The Godfather movies,” for instance — and I combined these into a single entry referring to the series as a whole, rather than give these respondents a disproportionate number of votes. Some responses were a little unclear: For example, if someone simply entered “Star Wars” — as about 9 percent of respondents did — I’m not sure if that meant 1977’s Episode IV or the whole series, but I counted it separately from the people who did specify the whole series. I’m not a mindreader, so that’ll just have to do.

Here are the top 25 most rewatchable films or series according to our survey, along with the number of times each was submitted:

1 Star Wars 98
2 The Wizard of Oz 76
3 The Sound of Music 58
4 The Lord of the Rings (series) 56
5 Gone With the Wind 52
6 The Godfather 45
6 The Princess Bride 45
8 The Shawshank Redemption 42
9 Harry Potter (series) 36
10 It’s A Wonderful Life 35
11 Forrest Gump 33
11 Grease 33
13 Dirty Dancing 32
14 Pulp Fiction 29
14 Titanic 29
16 The Lion King 28
16 Pretty Woman 28
18 Casablanca 27
19 The Matrix 25
19 The Notebook 25
21 Star Trek 24
21 Finding Nemo 24
23 Goodfellas 22
24 Pride & Prejudice 19
25 Caddyshack 18
25 The Avengers 18

People like to rewatch epics: Space operas, fantasy series and iconic films of historical significance make up the vast majority of the top 25. Also, “Grease.” Who knew so many people were into “Grease”? Who knew more people liked “Grease” than “Star Trek” (2009)?

Here are the top 25 movies by the respondent’s gender:

1 Star Wars 66 1 The Wizard of Oz 51
2 The Godfather 29 2 The Sound of Music 42
3 The Lord of the Rings (series) 26 3 Gone With the Wind 37
4 The Wizard of Oz 25 4 Star Wars 32
5 Pulp Fiction 21 5 The Lord of the Rings (series) 30
6 The Princess Bride 19 6 Dirty Dancing 29
6 The Shawshank Redemption 19 7 The Princess Bride 26
6 The Matrix 19 7 Harry Potter (series) 26
6 Star Trek 19 7 Pretty Woman 26
7 The Sound of Music 16 8 Grease 24
7 Goodfellas 16 9 The Shawshank Redemption 23
8 It’s A Wonderful Life 15 9 Titanic 23
8 Forrest Gump 15 10 The Notebook 22
8 Casablanca 15 11 The Lion King 21
8 Die Hard 15 12 It’s A Wonderful Life 19
9 Gone with the Wind 14 13 Forrest Gump 18
9 Gladiator 14 14 The Godfather 16
10 Caddyshack 13 15 Finding Nemo 15
11 The Avengers 12 16 Love Actually 14
11 Star Wars (series) 12 17 Pride & Prejudice 13
17 You’ve Got Mail 13

If you’re looking to do a heteronormative couple’s night and need to agree on a movie, it appears the best choice might be to pop in one of the “Lord of the Rings” movies or “The Wizard of Oz.” Apparently, both men and women are drawn to stories where an out-of-towner and a loyal lapdog team up to pass through a region of abnormally short residents on the advice of a magical entity and join a mission to solve a convoluted geopolitical struggle alongside an eclectic coterie of traveling companions — a stalwart guardian, an axe-toting hothead and an enigmatic denizen of the woods — in order to once again return to their bucolic existences.1

That, or “The Princess Bride” might be a good call. Great film.

Still, there are differences in taste: Films in the men’s top 20 but not the women’s include “Pulp Fiction,” “The Matrix,” “Star Trek” and “Goodfellas.” Films disproportionately favored by women include “Dirty Dancing,” the “Harry Potter” series, “Pretty Woman,” “Grease” and “Titanic.”

People of each gender also had a few films in their top 20 that didn’t make the overall top 25 and failed to appear on the other gender’s list. Guys disproportionately enjoyed “Die Hard” and “Gladiator,” while women preferred “Love Actually” and “You’ve Got Mail.”

So gender plays a role in what films people find rewatchable. Age also generates some interesting differences.

Films such as “The Lion King,” and “Finding Nemo” performed disproportionately well among younger people. While “The Lord of the Rings” movies were generally popular across all ages, the younger the respondent, the more likely he or she was to put it down. Thirty-somethings and middle-aged people disproportionately listed “Pulp Fiction,” “Goodfellas,” “The Goonies” and “Grease,” all of which are popular and iconic films from when they were younger. And older folks were all about older (or at least not recent) movies, too: “Casablanca,” “Dirty Dancing,” and “Sleepless in Seattle” were more popular the older people got.

Films that appealed to most but not all age brackets included the “Lord of the Rings” series, “The Godfather” and “The Shawshank Redemption.” But there was one constant regardless of age: “Star Wars” was always in the top 10.

But, uh, screw that. Their sad devotion to that ancient Jedi religion did not help them avoid those prequels. Live long and prosper: “Star Trek” (2009) is the only good movie ever.

We got drunk on margaritas for science


  1. That scene with the poppies serves the exact same narrative purpose as Shelob’s lair, right? This is getting very real very quickly. Someone get Joseph Campbell on the line.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.