Re-Ranking Letterboxd’s Top 15 Most Beloved Films

7 mins read

Letterboxd, a popular social cataloging platform for rating and reviewing movies, keeps official lists of the highest-ranked movies from their website, including the top 250 films with the most fans. On Letterboxd, users can display their favorite four films on their profile (which makes them fans), create watchlists, and rate and review movies.

With users known for often being pretentious and pedant, I was curious: what makes the movies at the top of this list so beloved? Do they truly live up to the glory of their coveted ranks? The top fifteen movies with the most fans on Letterboxd’s official list are as follows: 

  1. La La Land (2016)
  2. Interstellar (2014)
  3. Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022)
  4. Fight Club (1999)
  5. Whiplash (2014)
  6. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)
  7. Little Women (2019)
  8. Parasite (2019)
  9. Dead Poets Society (1989)
  10. The Dark Knight (2008)
  11. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)
  12.  Spirited Away (2001)
  13.  Pulp Fiction (1994)
  14.  Pride and Prejudice (2005)
  15.  Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

I watched these movies (including those I had already seen for the sake of fairness), and ranked them on my own accord, one through fifteen. After hours of watching, here is my re-ranking of the most loved films on Letterboxd (without spoilers).

15. Pulp Fiction

Frankly, fifteenth is too high of a ranking. With how utterly uninspiring and boring Pulp Fiction is, I don’t understand why this movie is so popular and well-liked. It relies far too heavily on shock content to carry its engagement which is unimpressive and underwhelming. Nothing about it stood out as exceptional, and dare I say, it was bad. As one Letterboxd user perfectly stated, this movie is “like watching a smug child eat his dessert before his dinner, and every time you try to stop him, he says the N-word.” 

14. Everything Everywhere All At Once

I was shocked at how little I enjoyed Everything Everywhere All At Once. This was my first time watching, and I was pretty disappointed. In my eyes, the biggest fault was the humor. I can only cite one instance of humor landing, and all other attempts at comedy fell short, which, as a comedy-action film, made it a bit grueling. Credit where credit is due, the concept of the film is fascinating, and I can’t deny just how creative it was. It just wasn’t for me.

13. Pride and Prejudice

I’m sorry to my English teachers—I thought the book was boring and the movie was, too. The romance between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy isn’t engaging. Their tension felt forced and they lacked chemistry. The stunning visuals somewhat make up for the slow-moving plot, but it can’t be the only thing pulling its weight. While I didn’t particularly dislike the movie, I’m not fond of it.

12. The Dead Poets Society

The Dead Poets Society is definitely a heartwarming watch. It’s a film that every student can resonate with, and it holds a special place in my heart as a lover of the arts and humanities. With that being said, the film  lacks artistry: the storytelling is blatant and too literal for my taste, the visuals are lackluster, the conflict at times feels unnatural, and the biggest offense is the climax’s tragedy, which felt completely out of nowhere. Mr. Keating may be a character that will always hold importance to me, but as a whole, the movie falls short. 

11. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

The premise of Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind is fascinating, and I’m a sucker for movies that explore non-linear timelines. It brings up interesting philosophical questions, and it’s always fun to have to think your way through a story. However, Clementine’s character is insufferable, and by extension, Joel is as well. Oh, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, how irritating writers long for them—and Clementine fits into this trope to a tee. Her flaws make her more complex than the run-of-the-mill Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but she still fails to escape a trope-y existence. And we have to watch Joel pine and long after her, which makes him just as guilty. Overall a great concept, but largely burdened by its irksome main characters. 

10. The Dark Knight

Was I unaware of the fact that this was a sequel until halfway through? Admittedly, yes, and I read the Wikipedia summary of Batman Begins, and suddenly this movie started making a whole lot more sense. Even with that hiccup in mind, The Dark Knight was quite entertaining. The plot moves with twists and turns, which makes it engaging and builds up tension effectively. Heath Ledger gave an extraordinary performance as the Joker, and the sound design was top quality, as per all of Christopher Nolan’s films. Though because there are flaws, like the lack of blood to secure the PG-13 rating being an absolutely horrible decision, and aside from being flashy and entertaining, there’s not much else this movie offers that keeps me thinking about it after watching. 

9. Fight Club

Humor is a huge hit-or-miss in film, but Fight Club was a big hit. I found the dialogue to be genuinely funny, and overall, its adrenaline-packed story was an engaging watch. It’s strange, absurd, and filled with far more philosophical commentary than I was expecting (which was none), but that’s what really made this film. If it weren’t for the philosophical discussions, Fight Club wouldn’t nearly be as good as it is. I had fun watching it, it’s a very solid film, but nothing that blew me out of the water. 

8. Whiplash

While Whiplash is not the first nor the last to take on the crazed artist archetype, the performance of madness given by Miles Teller as aspiring jazz drumist Andrew was so believable, that it made this one truly memorable and particularly immersive. I greatly enjoyed this movie, it’s exactly the type of movie I gravitate towards. I think a lot of creatives and artists can see a part of themselves reflected in this story. How much I love this film is a bit different than how I would rank it though. It’s definitely one of my personal favorites but isn’t groundbreaking like some of the other movies on the list. 

7. La La Land

I think everyone can enjoy watching La La Land, so its first-place spot on the official ranking makes some sense. It’s so feel-good (until it’s not), the music is fantastic, it’s visually striking, the acting and chemistry between the main leads are exceptional, and its commentary on romance and dreams speaks to anyone and everyone. It’s a phenomenal work of art with well-rounded storytelling. The only real complaint I have is how cheesy it gets in some parts–the planetarium scene is a severe offender. 

6. Interstellar 

It felt like the entire world came crashing down during the last thirty minutes of Interstellar. The plot was not the most riveting, but the movie as a whole is a great feat of creativity. Its exploration of physics, dimensions, and space travel gave a lot of food for thought, and I was fascinated by the ideas the film discussed. The use of the bookcase was brilliant, and I was a lot more engaged in the interpersonal struggles of the children than I thought I would be. This edition adds complex layers to the film that I was not expecting, and it left me devastated by the end. Sci-fi is usually not my cup of tea, but Interstellar is an exception. 

5. Howl’s Moving Castle

Truth be told, I didn’t like Howl’s Moving Castle for a very long time because I never understood what the movie was about. Recently, I stumbled upon the interpretation that the story revolves around how insecure love can prevail, and rewatching with this in mind, everything finally clicked. Like all Miyazaki films, the artistry is unlike anything else–beauty is found in every single frame, and I would put this soundtrack as the best on the list. The story of how love can heal the pain we inflict on ourselves has the hopeless romantic inside me in an absolute chokehold. It’s heartfelt, it’s human, and a message a lot of people can benefit from hearing. 

4. Little Women

The 2019 adaptation of this classic novel left me in absolute tatters. The distinct structure of switching between the past and the present communicated through color felt artistic and kept the movie flowing smoothly despite the entire story being told through back and forths. Little Women captures the melancholy that comes with nostalgia which propelled this movie into the top-tier ranks. Nostalgia is often portrayed with a sense of warmth since they are tied to happy memories, this film explores its capability to inflict pain and longing. Complex and delightfully depressing storytelling. Every aspect is perfectly polished; cinematography, sets, costumes, music, acting, writing, character arcs, Little Women seems to have it all covered and tied in a beautiful bow. 

3. Spiderman: Into The Spider-Verse

Spiderman: Into The Spider-Verse is simply ground-breaking. The content of the movie itself holds its ground in this competitive list, but what truly makes it a top three material is its incredible animation that served as a significant cultural marker for American animation. In the sea of sterile and flavorless major animated pictures, Sony came down to bless us with this masterpiece. The film establishes a sort of modern Americana–the distinct comic book style gives it a unique identity which is further emphasized by its delightful soundtrack filled with genres born in the U.S. and a diverse cast where the representation feels genuine, rather than boxes that were checked off by a PR team.  

2. Spirited Away

Spirited Away has been my all-time favorite movie for a long time, and I wasn’t expecting that to change, yet here we are. I still believe this to be one of the most remarkable displays of creativity and artistry, and it is near and dear to me. It’s a unique coming-of-age story in the peculiar setting of a fantastical world filled with witches and spirits, and despite how fictitious it is, its messaging is near universal. I’ve rewatched this movie countless times yet it never fails to bring me a sense of peace, comfort, and clarity each time. The movie commentates on topics like environmentalism and capitalism, which despite its large deviation from the main message of finding and maintaining identity, fits in seamlessly into the narrative, exemplary of the incredible storytelling and worldbuilding. It is flawless and truly incredible. But with all that said, just one movie manages to top it.

1. Parasite

I don’t even know where to start with this one. What can I say to sing the praises of this masterpiece that hasn’t been said already? Its acclaim is self-explanatory, and I honestly can’t believe it isn’t higher in Letterboxd’s official list. Parasite sweeps the competition in every department, and with some of the finest directors’ best works in this list, that is not said lightly. No specifics are needed––everything you can think of, Parasite excels in it. Its main motif of physical movement up and down as a metaphor for class is insane, and specifically, the usage of the outdoors was brilliant. It may be because I am a South Korea native and the hilly streets are so familiar to me, but seeing something so mundane and present everywhere being used as a tool to represent the characters’ despair and suffering left me speechless. Bong Joon-ho needs to donate his brain to science because his genius must be studied. 

Leehan is a senior and this is her first year in journalism. She finds interest in fashion, the arts, and M-A’s diverse student life.

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