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The GOAT Series Staff

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What is the greatest fictional animal companion of all time?

1

Gizmo

Mar 20, 2015
Gizmo

Although some may assert that gremlins are not animals, there’s something decidedly pet-like about the pint-sized and huggable Gizmo. Known for his resonant singing abilities, his piano-playing skill, and his odd purring noises, he became the most desirable fictional pet for any children of the 1980s. Despite being a member of the gremlin species, he was also crucial in defeating the mastermind of the “evil” gremlins, since he was clever enough to engineer a pulley system and operate kitchen devices. Gizmo’s charm is perhaps the most memorable thing about the character, transcending his animatronic design to deliver a believable and lovable performance. And if ticket sales aren’t enough to prove the popularity of this mogwai, then one must only look at the sheer volume of plush toys and dolls made in Gizmo’s likeness.

Origin: Gremlins | First Appearance: June 8, 1984 | Physical Description: A small, fur-covered creature with pronounced ears and mammalian features. | Why They Mattered: Saved Billy (and by extension, the nearby town) from the wrath of rogue gremlins. | Human Companion: Billy Peltzer | Fun Fact: Howie Mandel, most recently known for his hosting role on Deal or No Deal, was the voice of Gizmo.

2

Pikachu

Mar 20, 2015
Pikachu

Whether you played the Gameboy titles, traded the cards, or watched the animated series, there’s little doubt that you haven’t encountered this yellow ball of static at least once in your life. Pikachu was one of the most adored and sought-after Pokemon in the entire series, likely due to his famous bond with the trainer Ash. Children of the 1990s will have no trouble remembering the squeaks and pips of Pikachu, and as most can tell you, the character’s appeal only grew as Pikachu expanded into other media forms. Video games featured the yellow brawler as their cover, films turned Pikachu into a hero in their own right, and waves of holographic cards cemented the character’s legacy as an adorable but powerful asset in any player’s deck. To this day, no reboots of the Pokemon television series have been bold enough to cut out this fan favorite.

Origin: Pokemon Red and Blue | First Appearance: February 27, 1996 | Physical Description: A vaguely rodent-like creature with yellow skin, rosy cheeks, and a xigzag tail, often wreathed in electrical power. | Why They Mattered: Accompanied the Pokemon trainer Ash throughout his entire career as a duelist, and often served as the trainer's frontline warrior. | Human Companion: Ash Ketchum | Fun Fact: Pikchu's name combines two onomatopoeic Japanese words: "pika," which describes electrical fizzing, and "chu," resembling a mouse's squeaking.

3

Kazooie

Mar 20, 2015
Kazooie

It’s easy to see how Kazooie could have been a forgettable tool for Rare Limited’s game developers. Many platform-based N64 titles relied on pets as little more than transportation methods, and a few featured them as even less-involved plot elements without any dialogue or emotion. Banjo Kazooie was one of the first titles to combine the rider and mount into a single entity, expecting the birdlike Kazooie to work in tandem with the bearlike Banjo in every one of its levels. Kazooie was more than an attack and movement partner, however. She was a source of comedic relief, a counter to Banjo’s innocent personality, and a contortionist capable of squeezing into the world’s smallest backpack. Although Kazooie never spoke – not in a human language, anyway – she was one of the most expressive characters in the N64 lineup.

Origin: Banjo Kazooie | First Appearance: June 29, 1998 | Physical Description: A red and yellow bird with long, thin legs, a head crest, and plumage resembling a mythical phoenix. | Why They Mattered: Assisted Banjo in his rescue efforts and enabled him to overcome impossible barriers, often by increasing his companion's speed and jumping abilities. | Human Companion: Banjo | Fun Fact: Despite being named after the kazoo, a real-world instrument, Kazooie is only shown playing an instrument which resembles a bugle.

4

Brian

Mar 20, 2015
Brian

In most media depictions, a dog is a loyalty and steadfast companion, eager to provide love and comfort in any situation. In Seth Macfarlane’s animated hit Family Guy, however, the dog is an atheist cynic with relationship and drinking problems. Brian lent the show a sense of realness and witty commentary, even if the rest of the Griffin family was designed to be a panel of oddities and over-the-top humor. His mishaps with Stewie formed some of the show’s most legendary plot arcs, and also created one of the strangest (but most effective) dog-and-human relationships in modern entertainment. Whether it’s his sarcastic delivery, his love of Frank Sinatra, or his closeness to Seth Macfarlane’s true personality, Brian is one of the most beloved and adoption-worthy characters in animated comedy.

Origin: Family Guy | First Appearance: January 31, 1999 | Physical Description: A white-haired, bipedal dog with a red collar and flopping ears. | Why They Mattered: Provided a voice of reason and logic to an otherwise nonsensical family, typically by offering financial or moral advice. | Human Companion: Stewie Griffin | Fun Fact: Brian was the first Family Guy character to make an appearance in Seth Macfarlane's other animated project, American Dad.

5

Blood

Mar 20, 2015
Blood

Harlan Ellison’s vision of a post-apocalyptic world is curious and bleak, but most of all, it’s bizarre beyond measure. Blood, a telepathic Australian sheepdog with a constant need for food, was the perfect match for his woman-craving owner, Vic. In A Boy and his Dog, the pair roamed across a devastated world, trading human faculties for canine senses in a bid to survive the wasteland and mutually profit. Blood was a level-headed, rational creature with a critical eye for his master’s habits, and proved instrumental in finding and seeking out an underground utopia. While Blood and Vic’s bond may have seemed like a superficial relationship to outsiders, the depth of connection was later revealed in one of cinema’s most absurdly comedic scenes of cannibalism. Blood’s role as a scavenger and survivor was lauded by both readers of the original stories and viewers of the film, and the fascination can be explained with Vic’s final words in the novella: “A boy loves his dog.”

Origin: A Boy and His Dog | First Appearance: April, 1969 | Physical Description: A long-haired, white Australian sheepdog with barely-visible eyes | Why They Mattered: Possessed the extraordinary gift of telepathy, enabling him to join his human companion in post-apocalyptic scavenging and philosophical debates | Human Companion: Vic | Fun Fact: The dog actor who played Blood entered the film world on The Brady Bunch, where he played the family's dog (Tiger).

6

Sam

Mar 20, 2015
Sam

Simply mentioning an animal companion in a film is enough to make a grown man cry, provided they’ve seen I am Legend. Many post-apocalyptic films and novels feature a dog as the protagonist’s sidekick, but few were able to create the bond shared by Will Smith’s character and his canine confidant. For the first half of the film, the audience grew attached to Sam by watching their daily routine, including treadmill exercise alongside Dr. Neville and tinned tomato products. Even without speaking, Sam became an integral part of the story, and Neville’s last connection to a lost family and civilization. Years after the film’s release, most people have probably forgotten the details of the plot – but no dog lover will ever Will Smith singing a final song to Sam.

Origin: I Am Legend | First Appearance: December 14, 2007 | Physical Description: A dark-haired German shepherd with cropped ears and a muscular frame. | Why They Mattered: Served as Dr. Neville's only confidant and fellow living creature after the outbreak of a crippling disease. | Human Companion: Robert Neville | Fun Fact: While Sam is a significant part of I Am Legend's film adaptation, the dog found in Richard Matheson's original novel appears, becomes infected, and dies within the span of a few chapters.

7

Cheshire Cat

Mar 20, 2015
Cheshire Cat

In most modern tales, anything with piercing eyes, massive fangs, and a penchant for tree-slinking is likely to be a murderous creature. But for Lewis Carroll, the Cheshire Cat was a fond and riddle-loving introduction to the world of Wonderland, greeting Alice and accompanying her through her strange journey as a sort of ever-present guide. The Cheshire Cat’s trademark stripes and haunting grin have been immortalized in various film interpretations, as well as American McGee’s Alice, a series of video games which take Wonderland in a sinister new direction. As one might imagine, the Cheshire Cat and its devilish smile require little tweaking to exist in such a story. Whether viewed as a light-hearted trickster or a nightmare-inducing predator, the Cheshire Cat is one of the most famous animal characters to ever emerge from British literature.

Origin: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland | First Appearance: November 26, 1865 | Physical Description: A long, striped cat with a wide, toothy grin, commonly paired with expressive (and crazed) eyes. | Why They Mattered: Guided Alice through her various tribulations and riddles in Wonderland, often taunting or seeking to aid the girl. | Human Companion: Alice | Fun Fact: Although Lewis Carroll popularized the Cheshire Cat, there are a large number of cultural references and art pieces predating Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

8

Argos

Mar 20, 2015
Argos

Everlasting dedication is one of the traits most commonly desired in a dog, and Argos was the originator of this ideal in literature. His owner, Odysseus, left for a 20 year adventure around the world, which left the dog to a life of neglect and starvation. After Odysseus’ home was filled with suitors for his mother, Argos was further shut away from everyday life, but refused to abandon hope of his master’s return. When Odysseus finally appeared at the palace incognito, he shared a final and heartbreaking moment of recognition with Argos, which allowed the dog to finally die after decades of faithful waiting. An updated homage to Argos marked a rare moment of seriousness on the animated show Futurama, where a dog waited decades – without success – for the return of its master. While these dogs may be fictional, their determination and commitment live on in society’s image of the “ideal companion.”

Origin: The Odyssey | First Appearance: 7th Century BC | Physical Description: Never recorded, aside from basic canine features. | Why They Mattered: Demonstrated exceptional loyalty to his master, remaining alive and vigilant for decades after Odysseus' disappearance. | Human Companion: Odysseus | Fun Fact: While the dog's exact age was never revealed, the length of Odysseus' disappearance makes Argos well over 20 years old.

9

Garfield

Mar 20, 2015
Garfield

One does not need to be a cat lover to enjoy the Garfield section in the Sunday paper. In fact, those who despise cats are an equally valid audience for these comic strips. Garfield is one of the most cynical and blunt animal characters in comedy, and his passionless humor – which often stuck out in sharp contrast to his dog companion, Odie – was ultimately what drove his success. Despite the outward appearance of apathy from the lasagna-addicted cat, there were many layers to Garfield’s personality and disposition, and it often came out through a deep love of food. Garfield has another reason to be the centerfold of every cat fan’s calendar: he was one of the progenitors of “intelligent” cats in animation and media. In fact, according to creator Jim Davis, he was conceived to offer competition to a slew of canine counterparts.

Origin: Garfield | First Appearance: June 19, 1978 | Physical Description: An orange-haired tabby cat with a round figure and oversized paws. | Why They Mattered: Brought a sense of cynical and deadpan humor to comic strips and animated TV. | Human Companion: Jon Arbuckle | Fun Fact: Garfield's sardonic personality was modeled after creator Jim Davis' grandfather, James Garfield.

10

Lassie

Mar 20, 2015
Lassie

This collie is, without a doubt, one of the most well-known and idolized dogs in fiction. With a legacy spanning books, radio plays, films, and television programs, Lassie was the quintessential rescue dog, and performed so many heroic duties that she practically became a trope. While a great number of children were saved from the bottoms of wells due to this dog’s heroism, several films explored Lassie’s more “eclectic” side, including battlefield forays and experiences with the legal system. Lassie also represented one of the first superstars to emerge from the world of animal companions, proving that readers and viewers were willing to watch an animal-centered show as long as its characters and plots were compelling enough. Lassie’s fame endures in the world of dog naming, where millions of collie owners reach for the name out of tradition alone.

Origin: The Half-brothers (short story) | First Appearance: 1859 | Physical Description: A rough collie with a white mane and similarly-colored paws. | Why They Mattered: Rescued countless children from the bottoms of wells, the freezing cold, and even Nazi-occupied territory. | Human Companion: Varying, most famously Joe Carraclough | Fun Fact: After the death of Lassie's original actor, Pal, new actors were found among the collie's children and grandchildren.

11

Epona

Mar 20, 2015
Epona

Although Epona falls into the video game category of “animal companion as transportation,” the Legend of Zelda was clever in how it presented Link’s treasured horse. In her earliest forms, Epona was a simple and often nameless horse. The N64’s Ocarina of Time, however, was quick to change that dynamic. Rather than having the player purchase Epona as a nameless and forgettable method of swift travel, the game forced the player to compete in a series of trials to simply win the horse, creating an automatic bond through the shared gauntlet. Epona came equipped with a rich and detailed backstory, which could be assembled and understood by Zelda fans which had played multiple titles in the series. Epona was also one of the earliest examples of a persistent animal companion in the 3D world of gaming, making her feel more alive and realistic than creatures like Yoshi.

Origin: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time | First Appearance: November 21, 1998 | Physical Description: A chestnut-colored horse with a set of grayish hooves and a white mane, usually depicted with an affixed saddle. | Why They Mattered: Assumed the role of Link's closest friend, and also acted as his trustworthy steed in battle and peacetime. | Human Companion: Link | Fun Fact: Epona, a goddess within the Gaulish pantheon (and found in Roman circles), represented horses, mules, donkeys, and fertility.


GOAT Staff Score - Animal Companion

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Loyalty (25%)Uniqueness (20%)Interactions with Companion (20%)Charisma (20%)Desirability as Real-World Pet (15%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
Gizmo511971143830
Pikachu 810410941815
Kazooie 67391035680
Brian 36811331620
Blood4866731605
Sam10173829590
Cheshire Cat19108129580
Argos11351525530
Garfield24115224480
Lassie9224623475
Epona7512419395

GOAT Verdict:

Gizmo is the greatest fictional animal companion of all time
You can’t feed him after midnight. You can’t offer him water. You can’t expose him to bright light. There were a host of rules accompanying the possession of a mogwai – in this case, Gizmo – but it’s a simple price to pay for owning one of these creatures. Viewers around the world were heartbroken to discover the fictional nature of the mogwai, and despite improvements with the latest science and technology, we’re no closer to creating one of these fur-covered friends than we were in 1984. Gizmo represented the height of filmmaking magic, and was popular enough to spawn a sequel to the original film, turning Gizmo from a potentially gimmicky character into a whimsical and essential ingredient for the series. Some of Gizmo’s greatest attributes were his resourcefulness, his cute factor, and his model’s physical design, which also allowed him to participate in the film’s more chaotic scenes as more than a puppet cowering behind cover. Regardless of all of the rules and impracticalities of ownership, Gizmo is the greatest animal companion of all time.

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What is the greatest mythological creature of all time?

1

Cerberus

Feb 26, 2015
Cerberus

With a name that appears in Mass Effect, the Hercules television series, and Dante’s Inferno, it’s no wonder that Cerberus is still alive and well in contemporary pop culture. Much of the three-headed creature’s fame was derived from its obvious connections to a domesticated guard dog, an image which has endured through eons of human development, and from its symbol as an otherworldly protector. Interestingly enough, the number of heads on Cerberus was never truly agreed upon by ancient historians, although the majority sided with three. Some notable outliers were Horace, who claimed 100 heads, and Hesiod, who claimed 50. While in the service of Hades, Cerberus guarded the gates of the Underworld and prevented the living from entering, but also ensured that the dead remained in their resting grounds.

Culture of Origin: Ancient Greek | Appearance: A three-hounded hound with non-canine feaures, including a mane formed from snakes, a serpentine tail, and the claws of a lion. | Region of Habitation: The Underworld

Traits: Assigned as the primary guard for the Gates of the Underworld, consuming only live and raw meat for its diet. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, 2001 (under a different name)

2

Basilisk

Feb 26, 2015
Basilisk

Much like the world’s collective sense of disappointment when told that dinosaurs had avian origins (and thus had feathers), there were likely large numbers of medieval scholars who found themselves dismayed at the basilisk’s cockerel connection. Modern depictions of the basilisk have either been crocodilian or serpentine, but few have shown the feathered side of the creature, which is due to its origins as the spawn of a snake and bird. The basilisk’s weaponry – venom, fire, and sharp claws – were impressive enough, but they may have been overshadowed by its prominent feathers and rooster-like wings, which many artists were keen to include. While the basilisk’s contemporary image may have been altered for a more intimidating effect, there’s plenty to be said about the uniqueness of its original (and bizarre) design.

Culture of Origin: Roman, Early Medieval European | Appearance: A small but ferocious reptilian creature, sometimes marked by distinctly avian features such as a beak and wings. | Region of Habitation: Cyrene, Cantabria

Traits: Capable of breathing fire, excreting potent venom, and killing witnesses upon eye contact. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 2002

3

Jinn

Feb 26, 2015
Jinn

Disney’s take on Aladdin may have given the world a distinct and memorable impression of a genie (or jinn, djinn, or jann, depending on your source), but the reality behind these creatures is almost as fascinating as Robin Williams’ performance. The jinn, according to Arabic and Islamic mythology, were near-identical to humans in regards to behavior, cultural dynamics, and everyday life, but they differed in their powers and appearance. Jinn were seen as beings made from living fire, and were known to change into various living and inanimate forms, usually to conceal themselves or to play tricks on humans. In addition, they were able to cross extreme distances with speed, paying no mind to things such as oceans or mountain ranges. Ibn Taymiyyah, a 13th century Sunni scholar, characterized the jinn as manipulative and crude creatures, known to toy with the human perceptions of miracles and magic for amusement.

*Culture of Origin: Arabian | Appearance: Animal or humanoid figures formed entirely from smokeless fire. | Region of Habitation: The alternate plane of Djinnestan

Traits: Similar to humans, jinn may act with malice or kindness, but are often known as tricksters when interacting with humans. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Aladdin, 1992*

4

Dragon (East Asian)

Feb 26, 2015
Dragon (East Asian)

Dragons are one of the most popular mythological creatures in the known world, spanning nearly every continent and appearing in a dozen variations. The European archetype of the dragon generally involved an element of evil or greed, but the eastern view of dragons was more eclectic, encompassing both aggressive and peaceful creatures. In Japan, specifically, the dragon was a revered symbol of nature and spirituality, and various shrines were constructed throughout the country to pay homage to the creatures. Many Japanese dragons also possessed numerous heads, tails, and arms, and were distinguished by their extremely long bodies, which were far more serpentine than their European counterparts. In Japan, the dragons were even able to work their way into astrological charts and cosmological observations, reinforcing their position as celestial and powerful beings.

Culture of Origin: Japanese | Appearance: Long, generally wingless creatures with colorful scales and prominent claws, often with features from various animals. | Region of Habitation: Miyajima, widespread throughout Japan

Traits: Often able to transform into humans or other animals, presided over lakes, rivers, and seas. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Dragonball Z, 1989

5

Naga

Feb 26, 2015
Naga

Sadly enough, the world has not received a proper media adaptation of naga just yet. While World of Warcraft featured serpent-humanoid hybrid creatures with the same name, the true scale and force of the naga, as told in Sanskrit mythological tales, has never come to light. The naga appeared throughout Asian schools of thought and religious circles, including Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, and were initially depicted as massive cobras with a habit of aggression (and, in some rare cases, peacefulness). The naga were known to patrol rivers, lakes, and oceans, both for a sense of freedom and to satisfy their innate curiosity. While some philosophies and later texts reformed the personality of the naga into a generally more benevolent creature, their physiology – that of a forceful serpent – has never been altered significantly.

Culture of Origin: Sanskrit | Appearance: Enormous serpentine creatures, typically water-dwelling and modeled after the cobra. | Region of Habitation: The Mekong River, Pahang, Vrindavan, widespread throughout the Philippines and Java.

Traits: Known in Buddhism to be protectors of a sacred mountain, and occasionally seekers of enlightenment. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: World of Warcraft, 2004

6

Mermaid

Feb 26, 2015
Mermaid

Humanity has always been fascinated by the sea, either out of fear or a need to explore, and the mermaid is perhaps the most fitting symbol of this relationship. It was one of the few mythological creatures to appear globally and maintain a relatively consistent appearance, regardless of era or geographic positioning. The mermaid’s body, which combined humanoid and aquatic features, had a striking resemblance to the general shape of a seal, which may have explained some of the sightings by fishermen or sailors. It was the basis for hundreds of stories throughout the ages, especially in the tales of Hans Christian Andersen, which had a decidedly darker ending than the Disney adaptation. Many years later, mermaids have maintained their spotlight in the media and pop culture, and they show no sign of disappearing under the waves any time soon.

Culture of Origin: Assyrian, later globalized | Appearance: Women with humanoid upper bodies and aquatic - in most cases, scaled and fin-adorned - lower bodies. | Region of Habitation: The Aegean Sea, the Isle of Man, widespread throughout China, the Caribbean, Cambodia, and Eastern Europe.

Traits: Proficient at swimming underwater and breathing with hidden gills, sometimes luring sailors to their deaths from rock perches. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: The Little Mermaid, 1989

7

Chimera

Feb 26, 2015
Chimera

The word Chimera, in modern contexts, is commonly associated with rogue genetic experimentation. In its original form, however, the Chimera was a hideous monster far beyond any scientific byproduct, capable of breathing fire and wreaking havoc wherever it went. In most stories, the Chimera was formed from three animals, and had family ties to the infamous Lernaean Hydra and Cerberus. The Chimera was, unlike many of its mythological brethren, geographically tied to Lycia. Numerous depictions of similar monsters have been uncovered in civilizations around the world, including one in Egypt, which represents of the earliest examples of a hybrid creature. While the Chimera itself may not wander the hills of Turkey any longer, genetic engineering may have given redoubled hope to fans of this cross-bred creation.

Culture of Origin: Ancient Greek | Appearance: A creature formed from multiple animal features, including a lion's body, the head of a goat, and a serpentine tail. | Region of Habitation: Lycia

Traits: Possessing extreme speed and power, able to breathe streams of fire. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Wrath of the Titans, 2012

8

Baba Yaga

Feb 26, 2015
Baba Yaga

Baba, the first word of this creature’s name, has a strong relation to the word “grandmother” in various Slavic languages (especially Russian and Polish). This may be due to the fact that despite Baba Yaga’s hideous appearance, reliance on strange magic (including a chicken-legged hut and a flying mortar), and reputation for revenge, she was also depicted as a motherly figure in the woodlands, reflecting the natural connection that many other mythological creatures possessed. Baba Yaga’s forest isolation was not atypical for Slavic mythology, but her deformed and sickly body painted her as a horrifying figure, and the image was worsened by her ability to fly and chase down travelers. Although Baba Yaga was able to provide help to those she deemed worthy, there were few ways to escape from her clutches if she felt slighted.

Culture of Origin: Slavic | Appearance: A hideous, overgrown woman with a chicken-legged hut and a flying mortar, commonly depicted with a pestle or mop in hand. | Region of Habitation: Eastern Europe

Traits: Able to float through forests in an oversized mortar, typically providing supernatural aid or dangers to wanderers. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Bartok the Magnificent, 1999

9

Minotaur

Feb 26, 2015
Minotaur

If there anything’s more terrifying than being trapped inside of an impossibly large labyrinth, it’s being trapped inside with the man-bull creature the labyrinth was designed to contain. The labyrinth of Daedalus was one of the most famous engineering projects in mythology, and within its walls was the Minotaur, a creature spawned from a human mother and bull father. Although its mother cared deeply for the beast, it was too savage to be left unchecked, and was eventually contained within Daedalus’ labyrinth. Years later, the hero Theseus made his name by decapitating the creature and putting an end to its roaming within the dark halls. Although the Minotaur is depicted as a monster in most contemporary media, a great deal of mythological writing emphasizes the bond between the Minotaur and its human mother, Pasiphae.

Culture of Origin: Ancient Cretan | Appearance: A towering humanoid creature with a distinctly bull-like head. | Region of Habitation: Crete

Traits: Formed from a human mother and a bull father, the minotaur was imprisoned in a Cretan labyrinth to contain its strength and rage. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, 2010

10

Centaur

Feb 26, 2015
Centaur

Anybody involved in distance running has probably, at one point or another, wished that they could gain the centaur’s defining trait: an equine lower body. With a full set of powerful legs, hooves, and a swishing tail, the centaur was a symbol of foreignness to the Greeks, and often represented primal behavior and belligerence in legends. In one memorable instance, a brawl instigated by drunken centaurs at a wedding celebration devolved into slaughter. Disney’s Hercules, surprisingly, presented one of the creature’s most accurate portrayals, considering the aggressive and stubborn nature of its lead centaur. Chiron, the ferryman for the Underworld, was perhaps the most well-known centaur in Greek mythology. He stood in stark contrast to the undisciplined masses of his species due to his temperament, medicinal knowledge, and general kindness.

Culture of Origin: Ancient Greek | Appearance: A hybrid creature with the upper body of a human, and the lower body of a horse, including hooves and a tail. | Region of Habitation: Thessaly, Magnesia, Laconia, Elis

Traits: Known for their intimidating physiology and penchant for violence, often known to fight humans with little provocation. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, 2005

11

Jötunn

Feb 26, 2015
Jötunn

The Norse were renowned for their elite class of raiders, known as Vikings (a term which would later become a misnomer for the entirety of the Norse). Modern media has preserved the ferocity, strength, and brutality of these warriors, and as a result, one might imagine how powerful a creature had to be in order to frighten the Vikings. The jötunn were a race of giants living in one of the neighboring Nine Worlds, and were known to run the aesthetic gamut, from appearing as malformed or flawless as their human counterparts. Numerous sagas pitted the jötunn against the major and minor gods, and there were often instances of interspecies procreation or marriage throughout the tales. Despite their nature, there was also a great deal of power assigned to the giants. Many of the jötunn held dominion over aspects of nature or cosmology, and despite their exile from the realms of the gods, they were fated to murder a great number of their superiors during the apocalyptic battles of Ragnarök.

Culture of Origin: Norse | Appearance: Varies tremendously based on individuals, typically described as monstrous (with claws and fangs), or as beautiful and humanoid. | Region of Habitation: The world of Jötunheimr

Traits: Immense size and strength, enabling the giants to rival the gods of Asgard and Vanaheimr. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Trollhunter, 2010

12

Satyr

Feb 26, 2015
Satyr

Much like the centaur, satyrs often have a misunderstood and whitewashed presence in mythology. While the satyr (and its Roman counterpart, the faun) was known for its love of parties and music, these same interests often gave the creatures an air of vice, since they were fond of excessive drinking and lavishness. Many satyrs shared a bond with nature and were eager to play their pipes, but were also known to the Greeks as lustful and bawdy creatures. In fact, an entire genre of plays – known as satyr plays – characterized the satyr as a base ingredient for burlesque performances, throwing in as much comedy and drunken reverie as possible. Today, the satyr lives on in vases and murals, and it is typically (and fitfully) depicted with drinking cups and festival surroundings.

Culture of Origin: Ancient Greek, Roman | Appearance: Bipedal, bearded humanoids with equine features, including tails and pointed ears. | Region of Habitation: African coastal zones, Libya, widespread throughout Greece.

Traits: Infamous for their hedonistic pursuits, regularly indulging in parties, feasts, and bouts of pipe-playing. | Most Famous Media Portrayal: Hercules, 1997


GOAT Staff Score - Mythological Creature

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Otherworldly Characteristics (30%)Uniqueness (20%)Power (20%)Historical Prevalance (20%)Representation in Media (10%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
Cerberus 119108543920
Basilisk 67911841800
Jinn121233232740
Dragon (East Asian)551261139720
Naga9667331680
Mermaid821121235660
Chimera71172431650
Baba Yaga101051127630
Minotaur4884630580
Centaur3449929520
Jotunn13115727480
Satyr212101025420

GOAT Verdict:

The Cerberus is the Greatest Mythological Creature of All Time
Any creatures tasked with guarding the entrance to the Underworld are bound to be impressive, but Cerberus is in a class of his own. Numerous films, novels, and video games have been quick to capitalize on the imagery and namesake of the creature, and there is a wealth of ancient texts discussing the role of Cerberus within the world of Greek mythology (including the labors of Hercules). The concept of a giant, three-headed canine is interesting on its own, but it is reinforced by similar mythological dogs around the world, including the blood-covered hounds of Norse mythology. Cerberus is more than just an individual creature; it’s a symbol of discipline, an enduring image within Greek mythology, and the progenitor of the “hellhound” trope, which persists to this day. This creature is also, perhaps, the best link between dog lovers and the concept of canine loyalty, furthering his legacy as a viable pet as well as Underworld guardsman. And, since each of Cerberus’ heads operates independently, they’ll have to negotiate and decide which of them receives the honor of the greatest mythological creature of all time.

0

What is the greatest extinct animal of all time?

1

Tyrannosaurus

Feb 17, 2015
Tyrannosaurus
The tyrannosaurus, known by many names – including tyrannosaurus rex and T-Rex – was one of the largest and most powerful predators in the prehistoric world. This beast has been immortalized in a variety of films and novels, most notably Jurassic Park, and is perhaps the most well-known carnivorous dinosaur. The tyrannosaurus was an apex predator on the food chain, consuming almost anything it could catch and kill. This dinosaur moved using its impressive hind legs, but also possessed strong forearms, despite their limited reach. It was also able to bring enormous force to bear using its jaws, which were able to crunch through bone and other hard organic material to allow for unrestricted feeding. Considering the speed, size, and deadliness of these hunters, it’s a wonder that any other land-dwelling dinosaurs were able to survive.

Scientific Name: Tyrannosaurus rex | Physical Description: A massive and bipedal dinosaur with a prominent skull, thick hind legs and a tail for balance, and undersized forearms. | Went Extinct: 65,000,000 years ago

Observed Habitats of Fossil Sites: North America, Mongolia | Closest Living Relative: Chickens | Fun Fact: With just one bite of its prey, the tyrannosaurus could consume an estimated 500 pounds of meat.
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Woolly Mammoth

Feb 17, 2015
Woolly Mammoth
For many people, the woolly mammoth is the everlasting symbol of extinction in the animal kingdom. Its frequent appearance in natural history exhibits, typically paired with a band of spear-wielding hunters, is indicative of the impact that these giants had on the development of the human species. The meat from one of these creatures could likely sustain an entire group of ancient humans for several days or weeks, considering their six-ton weight. The woolly mammoth was a common presence throughout many of the world’s colder regions, and over the years, researchers have been able to locate, identify, and analyze a massive amount of remains, leading to a complete and detailed picture of the mammoth. Regardless of what other creatures rise and fall over the eons, the mammoth and its intimidating tusks will always have a place in pop culture history (and wax museums).

Scientific Name: Mammuthus primigenius | Physical Description: Towering elephant-like creatures with tusks, a sizeable subcutaneous fat layer, and a thick coating of long, brown hair. | Went Extinct: 3,600 years ago

Observed Habitats of Fossil Sites: Global, excluding South America and Australia | Closest Living Relative: Asian Elephants | Fun Fact: Much like the process used to discern the age of a tree, it is possible to count the rings in a woolly mammoth's tusks to estimate the specimen's age.
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Megalodon

Feb 17, 2015
Megalodon
Long before the age of Jaws, a much larger and more terrifying shark roamed the waters. Inhabiting a large portion of the world’s saltwater bodies and built like a swimming tank, megalodon followed the prehistoric trend of being a monstrous version of its extant relative, the great white shark. This ancient size increase, however, was reflected across all tiers of the food chain. At nearly 50 tons and 70 feet long, the amount of meat required to sustain one of these beasts had to be enormous. Researchers have speculated that megalodons consumed whales, dolphins, squids, and even their own kind, if the food became scarce enough. While it may have been fascinating to see one of these creatures in person, the majority of the world should be thankful that megalodon no longer lurks beneath the waves.

Scientific Name: Carcharodon megalodon | Physical Description: An enormous ancestor of the shark, growing well over 60 feet and possessing serrated rows of teeth. | Went Extinct: 2,600,000 years ago

Observed Habitats of Fossil Sites: Unknown, likely able to survive in any ocean due to warmer temperatures | Closest Living Relative: Great White Sharks | Fun Fact: Scientists estimate that megalodon's jaws could generate as much biting force as three lions combined.
4

Smilodon

Feb 17, 2015
Smilodon
Smilodon, which is more popularly (and erroneously) known as the saber-tooth tiger, has become a favorite among extinct species due to its ferocious appearance and media-popularized connection with early humans. While scientists were not always sure about the coexistence of the two species, recent remains from Germany – dating over 300,000 years old – present a smilodon skeleton on the same excavated layer as wooden spears, which suggests convergence and also a hunting-based relationship. The smilodons were expert and agile hunters, and their enormous pairs of canines helped to carve out their place as predators – literally. The smilodon was, in actuality, an apex predator, and capable of hunting anything from horses to mammoths. While today’s domesticated cats may have little in common with the smilodon, anybody who dangles a strand of yarn can still see a trace of the killer instinct.

Scientific Name: Smilodon gracilis | Physical Description: A low-lying, short-haired feline with pronounced teeth and powerful forelimbs. | Went Extinct: 500,000 years ago

Observed Habitats of Fossil Sites: North and South America | Closest Living Relative: Leopards | Fun Fact: According to the most recent fossil examinations, smilodons were likely susceptible to excessive amounts of drooling.
5

Sarcosuchus

Feb 17, 2015
Sarcosuchus
The world’s marshes and delta areas have always been a breeding ground for predators, but sarcosuchus – the flesh crocodile – turned these wetlands into a personal feeding trough. Sarcosuchus is the 40-foot relative of the modern crocodile, equipped with thick outer scales, razor-sharp teeth, and an enormous set of jaws. Analysis of the creature’s skull led researchers to the conclusion that sarcosuchus was unable to perform the infamous death roll maneuver, but a simple examination of the creature’s size is enough to demonstrate that it was an exceptional hunter. In fact, sarcosuchus was probably one of the top predators in habitat, capable of hunting big game using stealth and swift ambushes. Much of the creature’s traits were passed down to its far smaller relative, the Nile crocodile, but its full length and weight will never be matched by a modern day reptile.

Scientific Name: Sarcosuchus imperator | Physical Description: An aquatic reptile with thick, armored scales, webbed feet, and a protruding set of jaws, typically growing up to 40 feet long. | Went Extinct: 112,000,000 years ago

Observed Habitats of Fossil Sites: The Sahara, Brazil | Closest Living Relative: Nile Crocodiles | Fun Fact: Some experts have concluded that this giant crocodile continued to enlarge throughout its lifespan, and required 50 to 60 years to be considered fully grown.
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Aurochs

Feb 17, 2015
Aurochs
For humans living just a few thousand years ago, the aurochs was a critical source of food and leather. For humans today, it’s a virtually unknown species, despite its obvious similarities with common cattle. The aurochs stood at almost six feet, and could weigh well over a ton. Because of this, earlier humans often sought to domesticate the aurochs. Research is still being performed on the success of these initiatives, but DNA has pointed to a divergence of species, with one of the animal’s extant relatives being the bull. Most of these massive cattle died off in their wild form by the 13th or 14th century, with the last herds existing throughout Eastern Europe. By the time of severe endangerment, the aurochs were restricted to private grounds maintained by nobility, and they would eventually become extinct in the 17th century.

Scientific Name: Bos primigenius | Physical Description: A breed of large and horned cattle, usually covered in a coat of black or brownish hair. | Went Extinct: 388 years

Observed Habitats of Fossil Sites: Various locations throughout Europe, North Africa, and Asia | Closest Living Relative: Cattle | Fun Fact: Aurochs are some of the most prominent symbols in European Paleolithic artwork, including the famous Lascaux Cave paintings.
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Titanoboa

Feb 17, 2015
Titanoboa
The modern day boa constrictor is able to use its powerful muscles, long body, and crushing weight to break the bones of its victims. Titanoboa, its prehistoric counterpart, used the same process – but with more than three times the length, and 20 times the weight. The remains of titanoboa, which have been identified as nearly 58 million years old, have only been found in Colombia. Its love of a warm climate and ample hunting camouflage likely prevented the spread of the snake into surrounding countries and regions, but it was certainly powerful enough to have made a mark on its local habitat. Some biomechanics experts, in fact, have theorized that the snake’s own metabolic processes were powerful enough to heat it by four to six degrees Fahrenheit.

Scientific Name: Titanoboa cerrejonensis | Physical Description: A serpent weighing over a ton and measuring close to 40 feet, but otherwise remarkably similar to extant snake species. | Went Extinct: 60,000,000 years

Observed Habitats of Fossil Sites: Colombia | Closest Living Relative: Boa Constrictors | Fun Fact: The thickest segment of a titanoboa's body is estimated to have measured three feet.
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Quagga

Feb 17, 2015
Quagga
Upon first inspection, the quagga looks more like a sideshow circus gimmick than an actual animal. The animal’s head and neck had the characteristic stripes of a zebra, while its body was decidedly more equine or donkey-like in nature. In truth, the quagga is actually a type of plains zebra, but marked by a decidedly unique aesthetic. Some illustrations of the quagga feature a tall and powerful-looking specimen, almost resembling a mare, but the majority of pictures – which feature living quaggas from the 19th century – display a shorter and stockier animal. The quagga existed throughout South Africa until its extinction in 1883, when the animal had become a popular attraction in zoos and wildlife conservatories. In contemporary circles, the quagga is remembered as a quirky but endearing cultural gem.

Scientific Name: Equus quagga quagga | Physical Description: A patchwork quadruped with a unique hybrid appearance, seemingly formed from a zebra's head and the body of a donkey or horse. | Went Extinct: 132 years ago

Observed Habitats of Fossil Sites: South Africa | Closest Living Relative: Plains Zebras | Fun Fact: The quagga had its genetic material studied in a groundbreaking 1984 procedure, making it the first extinct animal to receive DNA analysis.
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Gigantopithecus

Feb 17, 2015
Gigantopithecus
These days, the internet and tabloid media and obsessed with the concept of bigfoot. One possible explanation for the phenomenon, if traced back to its prehistoric roots, may be gigantopithecus, the largest ape in history. These creatures stood nearly 10 feet tall and roamed the forests of Asia, but surprisingly little is known about them. Their date of extinction is not precisely known, and much of the mystery surrounding them can be traced to the use of their remains by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners. A variety of Chinese markets and cities have been found in the possession of gigantopithecus remains, which has led researchers to believe that China was also the primary home for these giant apes. While mainstream science asserts that gigantopithecus has vanished from existence, armies of bigfoot hunters are presumably keen on proving otherwise.

Scientific Name: Gigantopithecus giganteus | Physical Description: A primate reaching almost nine feet tall, defined by its sturdy jaws and plant-grinding teeth. | Went Extinct: 100,000 years ago

Observed Habitats of Fossil Sites: China | Closest Living Relative: Orangutans | Fun Fact: Numerous gigantopithecus fossils have been found in Chinese markets, often sold as traditional medicine in complete pieces or in powdered form.
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Great Auk

Feb 17, 2015
Great Auk
While many extinct species were known for their impressive size and power, the great auk – perhaps due to its relatively recent extinction – is an example of a creature that seemed destined to die out. Slow on land, flightless, and most often a source of food for neighboring species, it was a miracle that the great auk managed to survive into the 19th century. The great auk’s status as a memorable extinct species is not derived from its abilities or its similarities to modern penguins, however. The great auk provided Neanderthals and Native Americans with significant amounts food, feathers, and bone material, making it one of the most useful species for the development of certain human populations. Today, the great auk lives on in their smaller counterpart, auks, which have developed a clumsy method of flight and are also a healthy and sustainable species.

Scientific Name: Pinguinus impennis | Physical Description: A three-foot-tall flightless bird resembling a modern penguin, typically displaying black plumage on its back and white on its stomach. | Went Extinct: 163 years

Observed Habitats of Fossil Sites: North America, throughout Northwestern Europe | Closest Living Relative: Auks | Fun Fact: While the great auk's extant descendant has developed wings for flight, their short length necessitates rapid flapping to remain airborne.
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Atlas Bear

Feb 17, 2015
Atlas Bear
When most people think of bears, they imagine the wilderness of North America or Siberia, where a thick forest covering and cool mountain streams provide the perfect ursine habitat. The Atlas bear, however, is unique because it flourished far from those comforts. It existed as Africa’s only native bear species, and despite contemporary species migration, no other bear has taken its place. Atlas bears, which had a similar appearance to modern brown bears but lacked a white mark on their nose, were often transported into the Roman Empire for use in entertainment and combat sports. While the actions of the Romans did not directly cause the extinction of the species, it did nothing to help its dwindling population. Today, the Atlas bear is remembered as a relic of Africa’s diverse and often fragile ecosystem.

Scientific Name: Ursus arctos crowtheri | Physical Description: A short, bulky version of the modern bear, distinguished by its dark fur coat and reddish underside. | Went Extinct: 130 years

Observed Habitats of Fossil Sites: Morocco, Libya | Closest Living Relative: Black Bears | Fun Fact: One of the reasons for the Atlas bear's extinction can be found in Roman gladiatorial games, where the bears were used for entertainment and blood sports.

GOAT Staff Score - Extinct Animal

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Survival Capabilities (30%)Unlike Species Today (20%)Total Area Inhabited (20%)Knowledge Advancement (15%)Legacy (15%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
Tyrannosaurus 911791147930
Woolly Mammoth4101181043810
Megalodon 11692735765
Smilodon 7855934680
Sarcosuchus 10464428620
Aurochs131011833575
Titanoboa8533625535
Quagga29110527485
Gigantopithecus6741220445
Great Auk3187120390
Atlas Bear5226318365

GOAT Verdict:

The Tyrannosaurus is the Greatest Extinct Animal of All Time
This dinosaur’s name alone should prove its dominance. Tyrannosaurus, which already translates to tyrant lizard in Latin, is supplemented by Rex, meaning king. With the perfect storm of prefixes and titles, it’s no wonder that the tyrannosaurus has become the most popular and memorialized extinct animal in history. Every feature of the animal appears to be a refinement of evolutionary predators, from a powerful set of jaws to massive, piston-like hind legs. With small forearms and a balancing tail, the dinosaur was able to maintain a solid posture for standing, running, or eating, and asserted its power through climbing the prehistoric world’s food chain ranks. Whether mechanized in a Spielberg film or on display as a collection of towering skeletal remains in a museum, the tyrannosaurus is a captivating and intimidating icon of a world long gone, where the fight for survival created some of the largest and most ruthless predators in existence. Although it has disappeared from Earth, the tyrannosaurus will always endure in its cultural legacy and media presence. For this reason alone, the tyrannosaurus is the greatest extinct animal of all time.

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What is the greatest recovered artifact of all time?

1

The Death Mask of Tutankhamun

Feb 10, 2015
The Death Mask of Tutankhamun
In 1922, one of archaeology’s most cherished finds occurred in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. When Howard Carter uncovered the entrance to the tomb of King Tutankhamun, known colloquially as King Tut, he had no idea what he would find on the other side. Massive gilded statues, including a piece in the likeness of Anubis, were among the various treasures discovered with the mummified pharaoh. The most startling find of all, however, was on Tutankhamun’s body: an ornate and gilded death mask, formed with a royal beard, an alert stare, and elaborate headdress. Upon its recovery, the mask became an international sensation, spurring the public’s fascination with Egypt and its lavish past. To this day, much of the travel to Egypt’s tombs and pyramids is derived from the findings within the pharaoh’s tombs, including the death mask that has forever immortalized the 19-year-old ruler.

Date of Discovery: 1922 | Approximate Date of Creation: Unknown, likely 14th century BC | Location of Discovery: Valley of the Kings, Egypt | Culture of Origin: Ancient Egyptian

Description: An ornate funerary mask formed with gold, semiprecious stones, and a variety of glass paneling, intended to be used as the mask covering the mummified body.

Historical Significance: Rekindled international interest in Egypt and the Ancient Egyptian rulers, illustrated the death rituals of the culture.
2

The Dead Sea Scrolls

Feb 10, 2015
The Dead Sea Scrolls
Much like the Rosetta Stone, these famous scrolls are among archaeology’s greatest legends. Discovered in a series of caves over a decade, they provide some of the first tangible vindication for the Hebrew Bible’s verses, since they contain handwritten text which fits the Hebrew canon and scripture. Some of the scrolls did not provide a direct link to the Hebrew Bible, but instead focused on secular issues, providing anthropologists and archaeologists with more insight into the lifestyle and tactical planning efforts of the Hebrew people. Due to the sensitive location of the discovery and the religious connotations, multiple nations have claimed ownership of the scrolls, including Palestine and Jordan. Currently, the scrolls are housed throughout the world in various museums and exhibits, and continue to exist as living legends for their historical and religious value.

Date of Discovery: Between 1946 and 1956 | Approximate Date of Creation: 4th Century BC | Location of Discovery: Khirbet Qumran, Israel | Culture of Origin: Ancient Hebrew

Description: Over 980 original versions of Hebrew Bible entries, largely written in Hebrew and Aramaic.

Historical Significance: Cemented the validity of contemporary passages, as well as possessing significant religious value.
3

The Terracotta Soldiers

Feb 10, 2015
The Terracotta Soldiers
Statues have often been known to guard the mausoleums of many famous rulers, and in some cases, groups of statues stand watch over sacred sites. The Terracotta soldiers discovered in China, however, take the concept to a breathtaking extreme. This model army was found in a collection of pits, and after careful excavation, the scope and craftsmanship of the display finally came to light. Filled with thousands of soldiers, chariots, and horses, the army is believed to be a product of the long-standing Qin Dynasty, constructed to protect the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Interestingly enough, the army’s designers were also careful enough to include some essential non-combat personnel in the ranks, including entertainers and ruling officials. Even more fascinating is the condition of the sharpened weapons found throughout the pits, which are often discovered rust-free due to a coating of chromium dioxide.

Date of Discovery: 1975 | Approximate Date of Creation: 3rd Century BC | Location of Discovery: Shaanxi, China | Culture of Origin: Chinese Qin Dynasty

Description: A massive collection of terracotta warrior statues (including chariots and cavalry) gathered in pits, with sizes varying according to military rank.

Historical Significance: Offered insight into the Qin burial rituals, as well as the technology and craftsmanship of the dynasty.
4

The Rosetta Stone

Feb 10, 2015
The Rosetta Stone
Anybody who has attempted to learn a language has probably heard of Rosetta Stone, though the linguistics company’s link to the real stone is only symbolic. The Rosetta Stone, a piece commissioned by King Ptolemy V and recovered in Egypt after a landmark discovery, paved the way to understanding and translating the previously unintelligible Egyptian hieroglyphs. Because the stone contained three juxtaposed languages – hieroglyphs, Demotic script, and Ancient Greek – it offered experts the first real opportunity to begin assembling a translation protocol. Much like puzzle pieces, the languages on the slab fit together to create one of the world’s first decryption keys. Today, the Rosetta Stone is housed at the famous British Museum, and seems destined to stay there in spite of Egypt’s requests to claim the artifact.

Date of Discovery: 1799 | Approximate Date of Creation: 196 BC | Location of Discovery: Rashid, Egypt | Culture of Origin: Ancient Egyptian

Description: A granodiorite slab covered in three distinct languages, reportedly commissioned by King Ptolemy V.

Historical Significance: Supplied the first functional method of translating and comprehending Egyptian hieroglyphs.
5

The Sutton Hoo Helmet

Feb 10, 2015
The Sutton Hoo Helmet
In pop culture, the Anglo-Saxons are often remembered as the distant cousins of the Scandinavian Vikings. While there were significant differences between the two groups, the emphasis on warfare and post-mortem honoring was a shared fabric between societies. The Sutton Hoo burial ship, named after its location along the River Deben, is an Anglo-Saxon grave site which housed an eclectic mixture of funerary items: spearheads, purses, and expensive textiles, among other things. One of the most memorable and substantial finds, however, was a decorative helmet which resembled Swedish designs. In addition to forging a possible link between the two cultures, the Sutton Hoo helmet also represents a stunning find, since helmets are rarely discovered at Anglo-Saxon burial sites. Today, the helmet has become the de facto “face” of the Anglo-Saxons, and embodies the warrior spirit of Britain’s conquerors.

Date of Discovery: 1939 | Approximate Date of Creation: 7th century AD | Location of Discovery: Suffolk, England | Culture of Origin: Anglo-Saxon

Description: An elaborate and decorative helmet worked in tinned bronze, complete with stylized brows, a set of cheek and neck guards, and flanking panels over the ears.

Historical Significance: Provided a better understanding of Anglo-Saxon warrior culture and burial traditions, made links to similar Swedish customs from the same era.
6

The Antikythera Mechanism

Feb 10, 2015
The Antikythera Mechanism
While some artifacts provide a greater sense of clarity regarding ancient cultures, others only create more questions. Such is the case with the infamous Antikythera mechanism, which was recovered by divers off the coast of Greece in 1900. Aside from this puzzling piece of machinery, a variety of statues, coins, and other artifacts were discovered among the wreckage. The Antikythera mechanism, according to the most recent interpretations, was the Ancient Greek model of an analog computer. Its construction suggests a high degree of mathematical and astronomical knowledge on the part of its designers, and its mere existence confirms many scholars’ beliefs in an advanced and well-educated caste of Ancient Greek society. Because of extensive decay and damage, the exact function of the mechanism may never be fully understood by archaeologists. Nevertheless, the world’s most ancient computer commands a certain degree of respect.

Date of Discovery: 1900 or 1901 | Approximate Date of Creation: 205 BC | Location of Discovery: Near Antikythera, Greece | Culture of Origin: Ancient Greek

Description: A clockwork mechanism composed of interlocking bronze cogs, apparently intended to predict astronomical events.

Historical Significance: Demonstrated a profound and advanced understandings of mathematics and astronomy in the Ancient Greek world.
7

The Nebra Sky Disk

Feb 10, 2015
The Nebra Sky Disk
While modern perceptions of ancient civilizations may involve some element of barbarism or limited intelligence, recent archaeological finds have suggested that most cultures preserved advanced knowledge in one form or another. The Nebra Sky Disk, originally uncovered in Germany and sold in a black market deal, represents an enormous amount of astronomical knowledge and eclipse observance from its source culture, the Unetice people. Dating procedures were able to conclude that the disk was gradually shaped over time, with additional holes and celestial symbols being added as the Unetice followed the night sky’s patterns. Because of its significance as one of the world’s earliest recorded models of the cosmos, UNESCO eventually added it to the prestigious Memory of the World Register and helped to ensure its exhibition in Halle, Germany.

Date of Discovery: 1999 | Approximate Date of Creation: 1600 BC | Location of Discovery: Nebra, Germany | Culture of Origin: Unetice

Description: A bronze disk measuring nearly a foot in diameter, decorated with inlaid gold and astronomical symbols such as a sun and moon.

Historical Significance: Hinted toward a Bronze Age understanding of astronomy, as well as a connection between eclipses, astronomical monitoring, and religion.
8

The Mask of Agamemnon

Feb 10, 2015
The Mask of Agamemnon
Despite the sense of wonder attached to this Mycenaean death mask’s owner, its name is actually a misnomer, since it has been debunked as belonging to the legendary Mycenaean king. Despite this, the gold-forged funerary mask is one of the most intact and significant finds to emerge from Mycenae’s past, since many other traces of the civilization have been destroyed or lost. Through this mask, which was discovered in a burial pit, researchers were able to form a more complete picture of Mycenae’s death rituals. How a culture deals with its deceased members, of course, is one of the most important details in historical anthropology. In spite of its misleading title, the mask is among the most valuable artifacts from Agamemnon’s people.

Date of Discovery: 1876 | Approximate Date of Creation: Between 1550 and 1500 BC | Location of Discovery: Mycenae, Greece | Culture of Origin: Unknown, likely Mycenean

Description: A gold funeral mask existing as one piece of a five-part set, rumored to have crafted for the legendary Greek hero Agamemnon.

Historical Significance: Although the mask predates Agamemnon or his mention in Greek stories, the mask offers a fascinating look at the customs and artwork of Mycenae.
9

The Phaistos Disc

Feb 10, 2015
The Phaistos Disc
When an object comes attached with a long-standing debate about its authenticity, there’s something worth investigating. The Phaistos Disc, discovered in a Minoan palace after thousands of years of neglect, is one of archaeology’s more troublesome mysteries. Its clay surface is adorned with dozens of symbols, none of which have ever been truly decoded by experts and researchers, and its purpose is equally unclear. Several of its designs have been translated into other hieroglyphs from surrounding civilizations, but none of the symbols have ever been combined in a comprehensive manner, and more interpretations of the disc continue to emerge as time goes on. Regardless of what the Phaistos Disc is or was intended to be, its meaning may very well have been buried with the ruins of the Minoans themselves.

Date of Discovery: 1908 | Approximate Date of Creation: 2nd millennium BC | Location of Discovery: Phaistos, Crete | Culture of Origin: Ancient Minoan

Description: A disk formed from fired claying and stamped with a variety of symbols and insignias, but lacking clarity regarding its intended use.

Historical Significance: Sparked a large debate and speculation regarding the disc's use or symbolism, which still continues to this day.
10

The Folkton Drums

Feb 10, 2015
The Folkton Drums
Despite their name, the Folkton Drums are not drums in the practical or literal sense. Instead, they’re chalk recreations of the instrument, carved during the Neolithic period and intended to be used as toys or models for a child. Many artifacts are known for their luxurious nature or demonstration of wealth, but others are more subtle, and convey deep meaning about the nature and lifestyle of a people. These chalk carvings are covered in images of faces and various designs, and were found in the graves of a presumably noble child, since there have been no other finds of a similar type or value in northern England. While these tiny drums may not be gilded blades or the armor of a warlord, they are an expression of innocence and creativity in a long-lost era.

Date of Discovery: 1889 | Approximate Date of Creation: Between 2600 and 2100 BC | Location of Discovery: Folkton, England | Culture of Origin: Neolithic Britons

Description: A set of intricately-carved model drums created using chalk, found within a child's grave.

Historical Significance: Helped to create a more rounded perception of settlers from this era, demonstrated the importance of music or leisure in everyday life.
11

The Hagby Runestones

Feb 10, 2015
The Hagby Runestones
The Vikings are typically associated with beards, heavy drinking, and longships, but an important aspect of their society was ritual mourning. Throughout Europe, one can visit carved runestones, which were erected to honor the memory of fallen kin or comrades. In fact, runestones were so vital to their society that a profession solely devoted to carving the slabs existed. In Uppland, Sweden, four runestones – termed the Hagby Runestones – honor the memory of fallen Norsemen, including several warriors of the foreign mercenaries known as the Varangian Guard. In addition to demonstrating more of the Viking death rituals, the runestones also represent a significant source of information about the Varangian guardsmen, who are often described in literature stemming from their “working place” in Constantinople. While the bodies of the Norsemen may no longer be intact, these stones are sure to remain through the ages.

Date of Discovery: 1930 | Approximate Date of Creation: 11th century AD | Location of Discovery: Uppland, Sweden | Culture of Origin: Norse

Description: Four runestones carved in memory of lost warriors or family members, with three of the stones honoring Varangian warriors.

Historical Significance: Aided researchers in understanding the nature of runestones and the spread of Norse settlers, shed light on Varangian warriors.

GOAT Staff Score - Recovered Artifact

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Historical Signif. (30%)Uniqueness (20%)Anthro. Impact (20%)Craftsmanship (20%)Popularity (10%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
The Death Mask of Tut…1057111144870
The Dead Sea Scrolls117941041830
The Terracotta Soldiers611610841800
The Rosetta Stone9956938760
The Sutton Hoo Helmet83118737750
The Antikythera Mech…51019530600
The Nebra Sky Disk48102428560
The Mask of Agamemnon 7431621430
The Phaistos Disc2627320390
The Hagby Runestones3183217350
The Folkton Drums1245113260

GOAT Verdict:

King Tut's Mask is the Greatest Recovered Artifact of All Time
It’s impossible to have a discussion about archaeology without bringing up the legacy of King Tut’s tomb. While the discovery produced a wealth of new information about Egypt’s ancient past and provided a staggering amount of treasures for museum displays, the most memorable and iconic image to emerge from Carter’s expedition was the Death Mask of Tutankhamun. The mask succeeded in carrying on the ostentatious appearance of the pyramids, while also commanding respect with its powerful gaze and royal decorations. This death mask is the epitome of tomb findings, and has inspired tourists, historians, and archaeologists for decades, calling the masses to the sands of Egypt and beyond to find the next great artifact. Although King Tutankhamun died before his 20th birthday, his legacy endures in the form of ever-curious researchers and his worldly possessions, including this spectacular funerary mask. The mask was able to evoke a sense of royalty and power at the time of its creation as well as exhibition, and because of this, it’s undoubtedly the greatest recovered artifact of all time.

What is the greatest engineering feat of all time?

1

The International Space Station

Feb 02, 2015
The International Space Station
For ages, man dreamed of venturing into the stars and exploring the night sky. In the 20th century, this dream was realized with both the lunar landings and the establishment of an indefinite space station, launched with the assistance of multiple countries around the world. The International Space Station, first deployed in 1998, was fraught with financial concerns and uncertainties over its operation and cyclical crew design, but critics quickly realized the inherent value of the project. It was the culmination of decades of aeronautics engineering and space studies, and gave the world a renewed dose of confidence in researchers’ abilities to both innovate and expand the current space program. Countless experiments and observations have been sent back from the scientists aboard the ISS, and due to the public’s growing interest in space-related exploration and studies, the station is sure to become even more valuable in the years to come.

Location: In low orbit | Date of Completion: November 20, 1998 | Primary Challenge: Maintaining a livable space for astronauts in an ongoing research setting, including psychological and medical support.

Defining Innovation: Placing a long-term and habitable station into the Earth's orbit, enabling research to be carried out indefinitely. | Function: Offer a habitat for international astronauts to make observations and monitor real-time space data. | Materials: nickel hydride, plastics, aluminium, titanium, steel, carbon fiber | Fun Fact: In connecting its electrical systems alone, the ISS utilizes eight miles of wiring.
2

The Large Hadron Collidor

Feb 02, 2015
The Large Hadron Collidor
If you’ve never heard of the Small Hadron Collider, there’s probably a reason for it. Yes, one reason is because it doesn’t exist, but another is because it’s dwarfed by its far more impressive counterpart. The Large Hadron Collider was a project funded by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Currently based in a facility near Geneva, this particle collider has been responsible for some of the greatest breakthroughs in modern science, including the search for the Higgs-Boson Particle. CERN devoted a lot of its time to ensuring the safety of the facility, as well as designing it to be the perfect “race-track” for particles, which would lead to more observable reactions upon impact. With so much energy contained in one facility, the potential for a loss in coolant or catastrophic failure was high, and the facility sustained some damage during its early operation. Despite these setbacks, however, the collider has been able to stay running and perform experiments ever since.

Location: Near Geneva, Switzerland | Date of Completion: September 10, 2008 | Primary Challenge: Designing an efficient manner of conserving energy while powering the facility's superconducting magnets and beam technology.

Defining Innovation: Expanding on particle collider design to make the world's largest facility in its class. | Function: Running practical tests involving particle physics and collision. | Materials: steel, concrete, magnets, aluminum, plastics, titanium, lead | Fun Fact: Particles accelerators, much like those found in the Large Hadron Collider, are used to set the paint on soda cans.
3

The Colosseum

Feb 02, 2015
The Colosseum
Anybody who grew up with sword-and-sandal films knows about the thrills of The Colosseum, including its famous gladiatorial sparring. But for the Ancient Romans, the Colosseum was an invitation to some of the best live entertainment around, and it included far more than fights between armed men. The Colosseum’s design, which incorporated complex acoustics and a seating arrangement that hosted enormous numbers of onlookers, was only possible because of revolutionary techniques using materials such as Roman concrete. The Colosseum played host to a number of games, including hunting events, but its most time-honored activity is certainly the gladiatorial games, which could be accompanied by any number of surprises due to the amphitheater’s slew of trapdoors and hidden entrances. In short, the Colosseum was more than a design – it was a shining example of the Roman spirit and its dedication to mechanical excellence.

Location: Rome, Italy | Date of Completion: 80 A.D. | Primary Challenge: Utilizing the relatively new processes of concrete laying and vaulted arch placement to ensure structural stability.

Defining Innovation: Enabling almost 50,000 spectators to watch the gladiatorial games, which meets the capacity of many modern sports stadiums. | Function: Host all manners of combat, historical re-enactments, play performances, and other public spectacles for Roman citizens. | Materials: stone, tiles, bricks, limestone, mortar, lime, cement | Fun Fact: According to ancient sources, the Colosseum was capable of being flooded and used in mock sea-battles.
4

Palm Jumeirah

Feb 02, 2015
Palm Jumeirah
Up until a few years ago, taking an island vacation usually meant heading somewhere in the Pacific. The latest and greatest trend in island vacationing nowadays, however, is found in the United Arab Emirates, where the artificial archipelago of Palm Jumeirah makes its home. Although Jumeirah was the first of two intended Palm archipelagos, construction on its sister islands has not yet been completed. Jumeirah’s numerous design challenges included creating a base that would not wither under constant water flow, giving the islands enough sand to remain in place and support construction work, and crafting an enormous shield made of rocks to prevent wave surges. When all was said and done (and after countless tons of sand deliveries), Jumeirah was considered stable enough to be accented with a slew of hotels and resort facilities, and quickly established a name as a prime resort destination.

Location: Dubai, UAE | Date of Completion: April 30, 2009 | Primary Challenge: Creating an enveloping ring of breakwater stone to prevent waves from destroying a delicate rubble-and-sand foundation.

Defining Innovation: Forming one of the world's first large-scale and functional artificial archipelagos. | Function: Provide a luxury resort and vacation complex intended for the extremely wealthy, designed to hold a multitude of buildings and activities. | Materials: rock and sand | Fun Fact: Over 12,000 palm trees have been placed or grown on the island in its nursery habitats.
5

The Great Wall of China

Feb 02, 2015
The Great Wall of China
Throughout history, almost every ancient faction has turned to the wall as a defensive strategy against outsiders. Rome’s attempt, Hadrian’s Wall, succeeded in covering a wide cut of land, but failed to provide enough height to dissuade attackers. The Chinese did not make the same mistake. The Great Wall began during the Qin Dynasty, which was also the first dynasty to truly unite China as a centralized entity. Using taxation and the concentrated efforts of thousands of laborers, the Qin leaders succeeded in making significant progress on the wall. It was later continued during the Han and Ming dynasties, though its construction was halted during the relatively modern Qing Dynasty. Despite the cessation of construction, The Great Wall of China held historical value as a protection against the Mongols and other groups, and to this day, it remains a powerful icon around the world.

Location: Throughout China | Date of Completion: N.D. (Construction discontinued by the Qing dynasty in the 17th century) | Primary Challenge: Safeguarding laborers against extreme temperatures and weather conditions.

Defining Innovation: Constructing a massive fortification spanning over 5,000 miles and mobilizing China's scattered labor force. | Function: Protection against invasion from raiders and armies on the Steppes, possibly taxation on Silk Road goods or border protection. | Materials: bricks, stones, rammed earth, lime, wood | Fun Fact: Contrary to popular belief, the Great Wall cannot be observed from space (or even, in most cases, from low orbit!).
6

Burj Khalifa

Feb 02, 2015
Burj Khalifa
The United Arab Emirates’ Burj Khalifa is currently the world’s tallest building, and it made sure to claim the honor with a dose of flair. Constructed in a terraced style and boasting everything from nightclubs to entire shopping malls, the Burj Khalifa is the apex of engineering and development in an architectural sense. Its glass façade is flawless and designed to evoke a mirror-like surface, and its rooms are focused around a theme of opulence and impeccable taste. Like its predecessor, Burj Al Arab, the Burj Khalifa needed to withstand a constant barrage of wind and inclement weather, and needed even more protection due to its added height (which comes out to a staggering 830 meters). With some of the world’s top architects, designers, and engineers in tow, the Burj Khalifa’s construction team set out to create one of the most lavish buildings in existence – and succeeded.

Location: Dubai, UAE | Date of Completion: January 4, 2010 | Primary Challenge: Developing high-pressure pumps capable of transporting and laying concrete at dizzying heights

Defining Innovation: Challenging vertical limits with the addition of sky lobbies and terraced architecture | Function: Serve as a high-end hotel with an attached mall, condominium complex, night clubs, restaurants, and park grounds | Materials: aluminum, stainless steel, concrete, glass, silicone | Fun Fact: The structure was popularized in the action film Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which featured a death-defying rappel down its glass windows.
7

Aqua Appia

Feb 02, 2015
Aqua Appia
Access to clean drinking water has often been a source of celebration and conflict in human history. For the Ancient Romans, procuring clean water was more than just a luxury – it was an essential ingredient to survival. As the population of Rome grew during the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C., the need for more food and water became extremely pressing, and threatened to slow down or halt the city’s development if not met. Roman civil engineers were quick to devise a solution, which involved carrying water from distant natural sources directly into the city. These systems, which would later be known as aqueducts, began with the Aqua Appia, the “prototype” of the project. The Aqua Appia carried water underground for much of its journey, but flowed above-ground for some of the later portions of its journey in stone tunnels. Despite constant leakage and the need for clockwork repairs, the Aqua Appia proved itself to be the defining step forward in Roman civil planning.

Location: Rome, Italy | Date of Completion: 312 B.C. | Primary Challenge: Properly fitting the stones of the conduit, which carried water from the source to its above-ground destination.

Defining Innovation: Using engineering principles to ferry water from one location to another without using buckets or other manual transfer methods. | Function: To deliver fresh water to Roman citizens with a centralized aqueduct system. | Materials: stone, lead, earth, wood, terra cotta | Fun Fact: The imprecise nature of this aqueduct's construction often necessitated frequent repairs and rebuilding, largely due to leakage.
8

The Duomo

Feb 02, 2015
The Duomo
Like many cathedrals from the Renaissance, the Florence Cathedral was able to achieve significant amounts of construction progress in its early years, but took hundreds of years to reach full completion. One of the men responsible for hastening the Florence Cathedral’s construction was an architect named Filippo Brunelleschi. Brunelleschi designed the duomo, or dome, to the cathedral, using a design of his own invention. He relied on lightweight bricks, stacked in a fish-bone pattern, as well as an octagonal design for his inner support structure. The end result to the project was a sleek and elegant look for the dome’s exterior, and a dome capable of supporting its own weight. Brunelleschi was rewarded handsomely for his efforts, and to this day, the average tourist in Florence can still marvel at the architect’s design.

Location: Florence, Italy | Date of Completion: 1469 | Primary Challenge: Overcoming the tremendous strain placed on a dome of that size and weight.

Defining Innovation: Pioneering an inventive system of octagonal ring support for a large and ambitious dome shape. | Function: Crowning the famous Florence Cathedral and solving previous architectural woes associated with dome collapses. | Materials: bricks, stone, mortar | Fun Fact: Although the dome was completed in 1469, the cathedral's façade was not officially finished until 1887.
9

The Golden Gate Bridge

Feb 02, 2015
The Golden Gate Bridge
In the modern world, it’s easy to something like a bridge for granted. After all, in its simplest form, a bridge is simply a span that allows us to cross over water or chasms. The logistics behind designing a lasting and secure, bridge, however, are extremely complex, and often camouflaged in aesthetic design. This is especially true for San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, which has soaring suspension cable systems and delicate arches that hide the enormous amount of strain and mechanical tension placed on the bridge every day. This groundbreaking structure, which had its construction begin in the early 20th century as a solution to the San Francisco Bay’s impassable nature, soon grew into a symbol of American ingenuity and engineering prowess. A rash of on-site accidents claimed the lives of several workers, but diligent work protocol – including safety nets and attentive civil engineering – helped to prevent further injuries to the workmen as well as future drivers.

Location: San Francisco, California, USA | Date of Completion: April 19, 1937 | Primary Challenge: Designing a bridge capable of withstanding extreme wind speeds.

Defining Innovation: Capitalizing on a unique design based around suspension cable rigging and new metallurgy techniques. | Function: Allow traffic to pass directly over the mile-wide San Francisco Bay | Materials: galvanized steel, concrete, epoxy asphalt | Fun Fact: Out of concern for passing ships in the Bay, the Navy requested that the bridge be painted with eye-catching stripes.
10

The Pyramid of Khufu

Feb 02, 2015
The Pyramid of Khufu
While all of the pyramids at Giza may command respect and attention, one of them stands out among the rest. The Pyramid of Khufu, also known as the Great Pyramid of Giza, is the largest and most prestigious structure in the grouping. Khufu was a pharaoh during the fourth dynasty in Egypt, and his pyramid’s design was intended to reflect his status as a demigod. Using a special method of elevating bricks on slopes, the Egyptians constructed the pyramid using limestone blocks, and in its original form, the structure had straight, sloping sides. Due to the outer surface wearing away, the pyramids now seem to have a ziggurat-like appearance, but they still appear as grand and majestic as in their prime. Within the pyramid, the builders were able to incorporate chambers for the queen and various items, and tunnels both ascend and descend throughout the structure, offering access to a collection of sacred rooms. While Khufu may not have lived forever, his pyramid certainly may.

Location: El Giza, Egypt | Date of Completion: Between 2560 and 2540 B.C. | Primary Challenge: Lifting the large limestone blocks to the desired height using limited technology.

Defining Innovation: Organizing manpower and resource delivery systems to ensure a constant and productive work pace on the megastructure. | Function: Housing the entombed body of Pharoah Khufu. | Materials: limestone, pink granite, basalt, alabaster | Fun Fact: The Pyramid of Khufu is the only pyramid at Giza to have passages continuing upward and downward into the structure.
11

The Channel Tunnel

Feb 02, 2015
The Channel Tunnel
During World War II, one of the largest operations of the war took place in June of 1944, termed D-Day. Tasked with crossing the English Channel, planners spent months trying to resolve the weather, the course of approach, and the logistics of travel. Decades later, teams of engineers and architects had a similar situation on their hands, but approached it radically differently. Drilling under the English Channel itself, the builders formed a tunnel that would allow passengers and trams to move between England and France without ever turning to boats or planes. The Channel Tunnel, also known affectionately as the Chunnel, is one of very few large-scale tunneling projects to succeed without encountering significant issues, not including the ever-present anxiety about funding. Today, millions of travelers use the Channel Tunnel as convenient and decidedly unique way to travel abroad.

Location: Spanning from Kent, England to Pas-de-Calais, France | Date of Completion: May 6, 1994 | Primary Challenge: Working around the exorbitant costs associated with high-pressure drilling beneath the channel.

Defining Innovation: Developing a system of reliable and passenger-accessible transport beneath a major body of water. | Function: Permitting traffic and travel beneath the English Channel. | Materials: steel, concrete | Fun Fact: 85% of the passengers using the Channel Tunnel are British
12

The National Stadium

Feb 02, 2015
The National Stadium
The modern Chinese architectural world is an astounding thing, and has proved its efficiency multiple times in the past few years through quickly-built skyscrapers and widespread public works projects. Beijing’s crowning steel jewel, The National Stadium, reflects the meticulous work of China’s engineers and planners in every inch of its steel latticework appearance. Using a complex system of support and beam-weaving for an eye-catching aesthetic design, The National Stadium proved to be one of Beijing’s most memorable features during the 2008 Olympics, and even earned the name Bird’s Nest due to its exterior composition. During the building’s construction, its designers and builders faced a large amount of challenges from dwindling budget figures. In the end, however, the team was able to succeed in creating its vision of a unique and lasting monument to Chinese engineering.

Location: Beijing, China | Date of Completion: September, 2007 | Primary Challenge: Balancing a unique steel aesthetic with the stadium's intended functionality.

Defining Innovation: Employing massive amounts of steel to create the world's largest enclosed space. | Function: Hosting sports such as soccer or track running. | Materials: steel, concrete, aluminum | Fun Fact: Midway through the stadium's construction, its budget was cut from $500 million to $300 million.

GOAT Staff Score - Engineering Feat

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Obstacles Overcome (35%)Influence on the Future (25%)Uniqueness (20%)Practicality (10%)Contemporary Reception (10%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
The International Space Station1111121010541100
The Large Hadron Collidor107118440865
The Colosseum 9886940825
Palm Jumeirah89105234775
The Great Wall of China121671137745
Burj Khalifa712141236725
Aqua Appia31079332615
The Duomo6542825515
The Golden Gate Bridge46211730510
The Pyramid of Khufu5391624500
The Channel Tunnel14512527405
The National Stadium2233111220

GOAT Verdict:

The ISS is the Greatest Engineering Feat of All Time
Space has always been the final frontier, according to one well-known captain in the Federation. But conquering the unknown has also been one of the most pressing and difficult tasks of the modern age, and like deep-sea exploration, the road to exploring space and overcoming logistical concerns will always be intertwined. The International Space Station is a step toward a future with better access to space-age technology and goals, and provides a sort of community bonding for the world to cooperate and collectively succeed in making progress. Simply launching the ISS was a monumental task, but expanding on its successes is a larger and arguably more risky venture. Still, the promising results of its mission have provided more reasons than ever to funnel money into space research, and the technologies pioneered in its construction will only improve in time. The ISS represents a crucial step toward a world with more interstellar knowledge and curiosity, not just another impressive structure bound by Earth’s gravity or physics. Because of this, the International Space Station is the greatest engineering feat of all time.

0

What is the greatest war memorial of all time?

1

USS Arizona Memorial

Jan 29, 2015
USS Arizona Memorial
Most memorials are either located away from their original battlegrounds, or have been cleaned of any trace of a battle occurring. Hawaii’s USS Arizona Memorial, however, has made its name from the powerful and striking decision to leave the titular battleship’s remains just beneath the water’s surface. Visitors to the above-ground compound, which serves as a place of remembrance for those lost in the 1941 Pearl Harbor attacks, are able to look down into Hawaii’s crystal-clear waters and witness a piece of living history. The memorial does not make physical contact with the Arizona’s wreckage, but the sunken battleship serves as the focus point for the building and its observation areas. Although Pearl Harbor has fully recovered from the strike and holds the same beauty as other Hawaiian destinations, the USS Arizona Memorial is a poignant reminder of losses in war.

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA | Faction(s) Memorialized: USS Arizona sailors | Conflict(s) Memorialized: Attack on Pearl Harbor | Date of Unveiling: May 30, 1962

Description: An expansive white structure sitting over the remains of the USS Arizona, fixed over the vessel but not in direct contact | Designer(s): Alfred Preis | Date of Conflict(s): December 7, 1941 | Total Height/Area: 42,492 meters sq.
2

Löwendenkmal

Jan 29, 2015
Löwendenkmal
Known more commonly as The Lion Monument, this Swiss carving is one of the most ingenious and tragic memorials ever created. Dedicated to the Swiss Guards killed in the assault on the Tuileries Palace during the French Revolution, the piece was designed to evoke heartbreak and a sense of pain. Its titular lion lies sprawled out in its alcove, fatally wounded by a spear and preparing to die. Above the lion is an inscription dedicated to the loyalty, bravery, and memory of the guardsmen killed during the assault. A stagnant pool of water sits beneath the lion, contrasting sharply with the wounded animal and promoting an atmosphere of serenity and reflection. Mark Twain, in fact, once visited the Swiss memorial and found himself moved by its mournful presentation, later writing extensively about the site and its tranquility.

Location: Lucerne, Switzerland | Faction(s) Memorialized: Swiss guardsmen | Conflict(s) Memorialized: The French Revolution | Date of Unveiling: 1821

Description: A wounded lion, carved from a rock face and designed to evoke sorrow, sitting in an alcove and flanked by an inscription as well as a calm pool of water | Designer(s): Bertel Thorvaldsen | Date of Conflict(s): 1789–1799 | Total Height/Area: 60 meters sq.
3

Arc de Triomphe

Jan 29, 2015
Arc de Triomphe
Those who visit Paris are often quick to seek out The Louvre, the various palaces, and the Arc de Trimophe, but many people are unaware of the symbolism behind the latter. Built to commemorate the French losses in the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars, the arch is richly detailed with images, quotes, and the flawless masonry of France’s best builders. Its grandiose nature does not fully reflect the same sense of sorrow that other monuments hold, but this is one of the arch’s defining traits. Rather than only mourning France’s losses, the Arc de Triomphe serves as an embodiment of victory, national pride, and cultural merit. Indeed, those who visit Paris are often overwhelmed by the arch’s size and stonework, which only serves to accomplish one of the arch’s many aims.

Location: Paris, France | Faction(s) Memorialized: French soldiers | Conflict(s) Memorialized: The French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars | Date of Unveiling: July 29, 1836

Description: An enormous stone arch inscribed with images of French adolescents, Germanic warriors, and multiple scenes correlating with historic events in France | Designer(s): Jean Chalgrin | Date of Conflict(s): April 20, 1792 – March 25, 1802 and May 18, 1803 – November 20, 1815 | Total Height/Area: 50 meters
4

The Motherland Calls

Jan 29, 2015
The Motherland Calls
After the enormous casualties suffered by both German and Russian troops during the Battle of Stalingrad, the question of a memorial loomed over the Soviet Union and its leaders. Constructing something of adequate size, prominence, and symbolism would prove to be difficult, but not impossible. Years after the horrific fighting, the Soviets unveiled a striking statue depicting the metaphorical leader of the Motherland, her sword outstretched and ready to lead the people into the trials of the coming years. The statue is a towering example of Soviet architecture and knowledge of structural integrity, and despite the best efforts of the Soviet builders and designers, the structure has started to suffer from a pronounced lean in recent times. This Volograd monument is frequented by Russians as well as travelers of all nationalities, and succeeds in capturing the essence of a determined nation.

Location: Mamayev Kurgan, Volograd, Russia | Faction(s) Memorialized: Soviet soldiers | Conflict(s) Memorialized: The Battle of Stalingrad | Date of Unveiling: October 15, 1967

Description: A massive concrete facsimile of a woman holding a sword, embodying the spirit and endurance of The Motherland | Designer(s): Yevgeny Vuchetich, Nikolai Nikitin | Date of Conflict(s): August 23, 1942 – February 2, 1943 | Total Height/Area: 87 meters
5

Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme

Jan 29, 2015
Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme
When approaching the Thiepval Memorial, it’s difficult to avoid being struck by a sense of awe and somber reflection. The structure itself is a collection of arches, eventually supporting one towering arch at its center, but its most memorable feature is the collection of unmarked tombstones extending out beyond its front steps. The memorial is dedicated to those who fought in World War I’s Battle of the Somme, and specifically honors those who were never located. Considering the bloody and mud-drenched nature of the battle, such a monument was almost mandatory to recognize the massive amount of unidentified and lost soldiers. In modern times, visitors are almost always silent with reverence for the site, and pay their respects to those who – in other circumstances – would not have received any commemoration.

Location: Thiepval, France | Faction(s) Memorialized: British and South African soldiers | Conflict(s) Memorialized: Somme Offensive | Date of Unveiling: August 1, 1932

Description: A series of interlocking arches joined by a larger, dominant arch over the entirety of the structure, surrounded by unadorned tombstones | Designer(s): Edwin Lutyens | Date of Conflict(s): July 1 - November 18, 1916 | Total Height/Area: 43 meters
6

Marine Corps War Memorial

Jan 29, 2015
Marine Corps War Memorial
Unlike many similar memorials, the monument constructed for the United States Marine Corps does not commemorate a specific battle or war. Instead, the memorial seeks to honor all those who have served in the Marine Corps since its founding in 1775, and its breathtaking composition succeeds in showing the Corps’ unfailing spirit. The memorial itself is modeled after the famous picture taken at Iwo Jima, which portrays a group of Marines raising an American flag over the island. The memorial was lovingly recreated using large statues and a solid base, and because of its powerful and symbolic image, it has become one of the most celebrated and visited monuments in America. Its late construction may come as a surprise, considering the long legacy of the Marine Corps, but the memorial’s use of an everlasting reference image will always perfectly represent the Corps.

Location: Arlington, VA, USA | Faction(s) Memorialized: United States Marines | Conflict(s) Memorialized: Multiple, includes any conflict utilizing Marine Corps deployment | Date of Unveiling: November 10, 1954

Description: Six bronze statues raising an enormous flag, designed to evoke the famous photograph taken after the Marine landing at Iwo Jima | Designer(s): Horace W. Pealee, Felix de Weldon | Date of Conflict(s): N/A | Total Height/Area: 23.7 meters
7

Saint Julien Memorial

Jan 29, 2015
Saint Julien Memorial
Despite the memorial’s dedication to the troops of Canada’s First Division during the Second Battle of Ypres (in World War I), this monument is located far from the birthplace of the First Division personnel. Tucked away in a quiet Belgian village, the memorial is renowned for its expressive and crestfallen soldier, peering down from atop the stone block like a silent guardian. Its placement, in truth, is derived from the committee elected to grant the Canadian government a specific number of international memorial sites, including in Canada, France, and Belgium. This monument was one of many dedicated to the carnage and loss of the war, joining sites such as Passchendaele. The Second Battle of Ypres also marked the first widespread use of poison gas in the war, which lends an even more sobering feel to the memorial. Even today, a century after the war’s outbreak, the Saint Julien Memorial remains an oft-visited and poignant site.

Location: Saint-Julien, Langemark/Sint-Juliaan, Belgium | Faction(s) Memorialized: Canadian First Division soldiers | Conflict(s) Memorialized: Second Battle of Ypres | Date of Unveiling: July 8, 1923

Description: A towering rock slab with the upper half of a Canadian soldier ("The Brooding Soldier") emerging from the piece's upper tier | Designer(s): Frederick Chapman Clemesha | Date of Conflict(s): April 21 – May 25, 1915 | Total Height/Area: 11 meters
8

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Jan 29, 2015
Korean War Veterans Memorial
The Korean War was defined by its occurrence in a still-fragile post-war world and its role as a catalyst for future hostilities, but very few textbooks or political treatises can adequately summarize the war for those who experienced it. Horrendous fighting conditions and an uneasy, uncertain battlefield were only a few of the many terrors plaguing in the conflict. In a bid to depict the solemn and freezing atmosphere of Korea’s battlegrounds, the designers of Washington D.C.’s Korean War Veterans Memorial created statues of soldiers wearing parkas and carrying rifles, each representing a particular branch of the military. The surrounding walls to the memorial are high and reflective, and a decorative walkway weaves between the soldiers to allow visitors a complete view of the statues. The Korean War may have been obscured in contemporary history between World War II and Vietnam, but those who visit this memorial will be inspired to read more about the haggard men on its pathways.

Location: Washington D.C., USA | Faction(s) Memorialized: American soldiers | Conflict(s) Memorialized: The Korean War | Date of Unveiling: July 27, 1995

Description: Tall, black walls form a triangular perimeter to the memorial, while large steel statues in the form of U.S. soldiers decorate the memorial's interior grounds | Designer(s): Cooper-Lecky Architects, Frank Gaylord | Date of Conflict(s): June 25, 1950 - July 27, 1953 | Total Height/Area: 8903 meters sq.
9

Royal Artillery Memorial

Jan 29, 2015
Royal Artillery Memorial
Throughout London, there are a number of well-known and acclaimed sites dedicated to a rich national history. One of these sites, however, remains as awe-inducing as its first unveiling, and makes a dramatic statement with both its aesthetic presentation and backstory. The Royal Artillery Memorial, adorned with multiple statues of artillerymen and a Howitzer gun atop its tiered structure, was commissioned to honor the Royal Artillery Regiment during World War I. A slight patina of vines and overgrowth has started to creep over the memorial, but it only adds to the timeless nature of the structure, and draws more attention from passersby. The memorial’s focal point – its cannon recreation – was specifically chosen to evoke a sense of power and finality in combat. Although the structure commemorates those lost in the war, it also honors the soldiers for their efficient and brave performances as artillerymen in the nation’s service.

Location: London, England | Faction(s) Memorialized: Royal Regiment of Artillery | Conflict(s) Memorialized: World War I | Date of Unveiling: 1925

Description: A multi-tiered structure decorated with statues of English artillerymen, rock inscriptions, and a crowning carving of a Howitzer artillery piece | Designer(s): Charles Sargeant Jagger, Lionel Pearson | Date of Conflict(s): July 28, 1914 – November 11, 1918 | Total Height/Area: 9 meters
10

Tannenberg Memorial

Jan 29, 2015
Tannenberg Memorial
This memorial, despite its ambitious design and cultural relevance during World War II, is only an overgrown shadow of its former self. In some ways, however, the memorial speaks to a changing cultural and political climate more than shifting borders. The original compound was a sprawling, castle-like design with soaring towers, dedicated to the German soldiers at the Second Battle of Tannenberg during World War I, and Nazi officials were known to have visited the site on multiple occasions. After the war, however, it was looted of minor treasures and dismantled in several rounds, led by the Polish government after its separation from Nazi Germany. Stones from the original monument were subsequently used to construct new monuments, buildings, and memorials throughout Poland. Although modern-day visitors may not see Tannenberg in its former glory, its symbolic rise and decline are a striking sight for history lover.

Location: Olsztynek, Poland | Faction(s) Memorialized: German soldiers | Conflict(s) Memorialized: Second Battle of Tannenberg | Date of Unveiling: 1924-1927

Description: A now-overgrown and demolished memorial consisting of eight towers and a central courtyard, designed to evoke Teutonic Knight architecture | Designer(s): Johannes Krüger, Walter Krüger | Date of Conflict(s): August 26-30, 1914 | Total Height/Area: 20 meters (tower height)
11

Tugu Negara

Jan 29, 2015
Tugu Negara
During World War II, a large amount of atrocities were committed by Hirohito’s Imperial Japanese troops, including extensive campaigns of eugenics research and forced labor throughout Southeast Asia and China. Many countries were too devastated to organize resistance operations, and the few who did – including Malaysia, the site of the Tugu Negara (National Monument) – were met with extreme resistance. This Malaysian memorial commemorates the native soldiers who fought in both the Japanese occupation and the country’s post-war conflict, termed the Malaysian Emergency. It is modeled heavily after the United States Marine Corps Memorial, and enlisted the same designer to produce a stunning finished project. Tugu Negara boasts an impressive set of bronze statues, cast with fearsome poses and expressions, and draws tourists from all corners of the globe. After surviving a bomb blast and subsequently undergoing renovations in the 1960s, it also proved itself to be one of the world’s most enduring memorials.

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Faction(s) Memorialized: Malaysian soldiers | Conflict(s) Memorialized: World War II, the Malaysian Emergency | Date of Unveiling: February 8, 1966

Description: Intentionally modeled after the United States Marine Corps War Memorial, composed of a group of Malaysian soldier statues (formed from bronze) and the Malaysian coat of arms | Designer(s): Felix de Weldon | Date of Conflict(s): September 1, 1939 – September 2, 1945, and June 16, 1948 – July 12, 1960 | Total Height/Area: 15 meters

GOAT Staff Score - War Memorial

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Emotional Resonance (30%)Architectural Achievement (20%)Aesthetics (20%)Uniqueness (15%)Popularity (15%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
USS Arizona Memorial1091010948965
Loewendenkmal1110911243905
Arc de Triomphe3111151141770
The Motherland Calls68781039750
Thiepval Memorial …9659332670
Marine Corps War Memorial7386832640
Saint Julien Memorial8563527580
Korean War … Memorial5237724460
Royal Artillery Memorial4442620400
Tannenberg Memorial1714114265
Tugu Negara2121410195

GOAT Verdict:

The USS Arizona Memorial is the Greatest War Memorial of All Time
Standing over the sunken remains of the USS Arizona is enough to jar the thoughts of any visitor. The sheer scope and stark presentation of the ship lends itself to a visceral experience, and reminds tourists and locals alike that even the most beautiful locales can be touched by war. Those who walk along the interior of the memorial’s white surface structure, which can only be reached by boat, will be quick to notice the enormity and destruction of the sight below them. Rather than asking visitors to remember a conflict that has been erased from view, it presents warfare in a raw and heartbreaking state, and leaves it unadorned for viewers to draw their own conclusions and reflect in their own way. Visitors can pay their respects by dropping flowers down into the water, and can read the memorial’s marble wall, which lists the names of those who perished during the attack. The USS Arizona Memorial seeks to teach future generations about the cost of war with direct exposure and reflection, and because of this, it’s also the greatest war memorial of all time.

0

What is the greatest movie trilogy of all time?

1

The Lord of the Rings

Jan 26, 2015
The Lord of the Rings
Where The Hobbit series is considered overlong in comparison to its source material, Peter Jackson’s initial visit to Middle Earth is the perfect visual accompaniment. The tale of a young hobbit tasked with a monumental amount of responsibility is placed inside a fully-realised universe of Jackson’s making. Standing in for the mythical land is the filmmaker’s home country, New Zealand, a topographical fantasy backdrop for the fellowship’s journey to Mordor. Its expansive cast, intricate plotting and commitment to detail saw it stamped with fan approval, who turned out in droves to soak in Frodo’s adventures finally brought to life on the big screen. Thematically it touches on all the important bases; love, friendship and sacrifice, all of which are amped up by some of the most deft uses of CGI since Jurassic Park. An exciting escape into another world, the Lord Of The Rings series is a true pioneering trilogy.

Films (Release Date): Fellowship Of The Ring (Dec, 18th, 2001), The Two Towers (Dec, 19th, 2002), Return Of The King (Dec, 17th, 2003) | Director(s): Peter Jackson | Writer(s): Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair | Genre: Fantasy

IMDB Scores: 8.8 / 8.8 / 8.9 | Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91% / 96% / 95% | Total Budget: $281 million | Combined Box Office (Worldwide): $2.9 billion
2

The Godfather

Jan 26, 2015
The Godfather
The first film in Francis Ford Coppola’s gangster trilogy re-defined the genre, with its senseless, unrelenting violence anchored to the story of a mafia family’s domination of New York. Where the second film explored the rise to power of his successor and the third suffered critical blows, taken as a whole the trilogy is a compelling glimpse into a harrowing world. Brought to the screen in a glorious fashion by brilliant cinematography and effective score, the trials and tribulations of the Corleone clan are treated with respect and awe. Thanks in large part to its strong core of central actors; Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, the themes of loyalty, family and sacrifice are wrung of every bit of dramatic tension. There’s simply no other trio of films like it in the movie canon.

Films (Release Date): The Godfather (March, 15th, 1972), The Godfather Part II (December, 20th, 1974), The Godfather Part III (December, 25th, 1990) | Director(s): Francis Ford Coppola | Writer(s): Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Towne | Genre: Drama

IMDB Scores: 9.2 / 9.1 / 7.6 | Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100% / 99% / 67% | Total Budget: $73 million | Combined Box Office (Worldwide): $439 million
3

The Dark Knight

Jan 26, 2015
The Dark Knight
The descriptor in its title is a mere hint at the darkness in store for Christopher Nolan’s titular hero. Shrugging off the hyperreal excess of the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher Batman flicks, The Dark Knight series reinvents the caped crusader’s cinematic backstory into a hard-edged gritty trilogy. For many, the first entry Batman Begins stumbled due to the burden of re-telling Bruce Wayne’s origin tale. For The Dark Knight, consensus on its magnificence is nigh-on universal. A superb turn from the late Heath Ledger as The Joker, channels a dread previously unseen in comic book movies. There’s been plenty of attempts to faithfully bring this well-loved property to the big screen, but never has it been accomplished with such ingenuity.

Films (Release Date): Batman Begins (June, 15th, 2005), The Dark Knight (July, 18th, 2008), The Dark Knight Rises (July 20th, 2012) | Director(s): Christopher Nolan | Writer(s): Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, David S. Goyer | Genre: Action

IMDB Scores: 8.3 / 9 / 8.6 | Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 85% / 94% / 88% | Total Budget: $585 million | Combined Box Office (Worldwide): $2.4 billion
4

The Dollars Trilogy

Jan 26, 2015
The Dollars Trilogy
How do you reinvent a long-standing genre like the western? In the case of Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone, he took a great many risks in bringing his ‘Dollars’ trilogy to life. Based on a Japanese samurai movie, his American remake transformed the original into a force that equally rivalled its source material. The epic sprawl of the three flicks - in particular, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - have been celebrated for their unique approach by creating a fresh take on the genre. With his trio of flicks headed up by a gun-totin’, cigar-chewin’ antihero, the spaghetti western was born. Most praise emanates from the story structure, cinematography and of course, its central performance. Casting Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Name was a masterstroke in invigorating that format, transforming him into a major star when he barely utters any dialogue whatsoever.

Films (Release Date): A Fistful Of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly | Director(s): Sergio Leone | Writer(s): Sergio Leone, Victor Andres Catena, Jamie Comas Gil, Luciano Vincenzoni, Age & Scarpelli | Genre: Western

IMDB Scores: 8.1 / 8.3 / 8.9 | Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98% / 94% / 97% | Total Budget: $2 million | Combined Box Office (Worldwide): $281 million
5

The Three Colours Trilogy

Jan 26, 2015
The Three Colours Trilogy
Krzysztof Kieslowski’s trio of films delve into the small altercations we experience in our day-to-day lives via three separate stories that wowed audiences beyond the arthouse circuit. In each tale the humdrum natures of human existence is unwrapped through delicate storytelling that puts a magnifying glass to the connections between people. Gloriously shot and effortlessly acted by its leading triplet of actors; Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy and Irene Jacob, the stories survive singular scrutiny but are better appreciated when approached as one document. The simplicity of Kieslowski’s message - that we all can affect change - that is tenderly brought to the fore by Binoche, Delpy and Jacob in their respective entries. Uncovering the extraordinary in the everyday through warmth, wit and realism there’s no other trilogy quite like it.

Films (Release Date): Three Colours: Blue, Three Colours: White, Three Colours: Red | Director(s): Krzysztof Kieslowski | Writer(s): Krzysztof Kieślowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz | Genre: Drama

IMDB Scores: 8.0 / 7.7 / 8.1 | Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100% / 90% / 100% | Total Budget: Below $1 million | Combined Box Office (Worldwide): $6.8 million
6

Indiana Jones Original Trilogy

Jan 26, 2015
Indiana Jones Original Trilogy
The global scale of the Indiana Jones trilogy uses its array of exotic far-flung locales as the perfect canvas for the archaeologist’s adventures. During the day, Dr. Jones is your typical bespectacled professor, but in his off time he’s an intrepid explorer only too happy to risk life and limb in the pursuit of preserving a schema of valuable artefacts. It’s a cool riff on the superhero - albeit, Indy doesn’t wear a cape - that expands into a forgotten era of prestige over antiquity. In the wrong hands, the trilogy could have stagnated, but under Spielberg’s careful eye the movies burst with excitement, a boyish playfulness to Indy’s gallant missions as he encounters a slew of iconic baddies while wooing a string of damsels.

Films (Release Date): Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade | Director(s): Steven Spielberg | Writer(s): Lawrence Kasdan, William Huyck, Gloria Katz, Jeffrey Boam | Genre: Action

IMDB Scores: 8.6 / 7.6 / 8.3 | Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 95 % / 84% / 88% | Total Budget: $94 million | Combined Box Office (Worldwide): $1.1 billion
7

The Bourne Series

Jan 26, 2015
The Bourne Series
Kickstarted in 2002 with Doug Liman’s first entry, The Bourne Identity, the series has revolved around Matt Damon’s amnesiac spy and his ongoing mission to discover who exactly he is. Arriving at a point in cinema where action and espionage were only catered to by James Bond - that old customary gent - Bourne took the baton and carried into the next century. Both Liman and his successor Paul Greengrass threw the long-suffering agent into a series of brilliantly-staged set pieces across an ever-changing landscape of exotic international locations. From his humble beginnings, it’s Matt Damon’s assured, confident performance that gifted this trilogy with its biggest asset. At the time of casting his involvement had its fair share of doubters, who were proven wrong by his solid performances throughout all three.

Films (Release Date): The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum | Director(s): Doug Liman, Paul Greengrass | Writer(s): Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns, William Blake Herron, George Nolfi, Dan Gilroy | Genre: Action

IMDB Scores: 7.9 / 7.8 / 8.1 | Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 83% / 81% / 94% | Total Budget: $245 million | Combined Box Office (Worldwide): $945 million
8

Star Wars Original Trilogy

Jan 26, 2015
Star Wars Original Trilogy
The original Star Wars trilogy reimagined the good vs. evil trope as an intergalactic space opera told through a science fiction lens. Since the release of A New Hope in 1977, its impact on an entire generation has continued to ripple out into popular culture; a feat that no-one, not even George Lucas, could have forecast. At its core it’s a classic tale of the rise of the underdog. Luke Skywalker, a humble farmboy, comes to learn that his greatest adversary Darth Vader, is actually his father. And that’s just the backbone. The entire trio of films enraptured audiences by retelling an age-old fable in a brand new universe bursting with playful detail. Exotic locations, advanced technology, and a whole new vocabulary to describe that world, latched onto the public’s imagination. Some devotees believe The Empire Strikes Back to be superior to the original, and a small clutch count the final chapter, Return Of The Jedi, as the greatest. If you approach them as one body of work, the Star Wars trilogy is undoubtedly a landmark piece of cinema history.

Films (Release Date): A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi | Director(s): George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Richard Marquand | Writer(s): George Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan, Leigh Brackett | Genre: Sci-Fi

IMDB Scores: 8.7 / 8.8 / 8.4 | Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93% / 96% / 79% | Total Budget: $61.5 million | Combined Box Office (Worldwide): $1.8 billion
9

Toy Story

Jan 26, 2015
Toy Story
Back in 1995, the first Toy Story wowed with its use of cutting-edge technology to bring the tale of a group of sentient playthings to life. Computer animation has never been the same since, yet it’s not the only component to make the story of Buzz, Woody and co. so captivating. It’s in the title; this is a story. And, unlike a lot of trilogies, which narrowly miss out on better ratings due to a weak link, the Toy Story saga maintains a level of consistency throughout. The characters, that madcap bunch, are drawn so intimately that they’re as real as any live-action counterpart. Their joys and woes form the trilogy’s emotional core, told through three brilliant storylines. As fresh and original today as when they were released, the Toy Story movies offer solid proof that animation exists as a powerful storytelling tool.

Films (Release Date): Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3 | Director(s): John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich | Writer(s): Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow, Rita Hsiao, Doug Chamberlin, Chris Webb, John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich | Genre: Comedy

IMDB Scores: 8.3 / 7.9 / 8.4 | Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100% / 100% / 99% | Total Budget: $320 million | Combined Box Office (Worldwide): $1.9 billion
10

Back to the Future

Jan 26, 2015
Back to the Future
For an ‘80s child, the Back To The Future trilogy is a time-traveling document in itself. Robert Zemeckis’ trio of films charting teenager Marty McFly’s time-traveling adventures transports audiences back to that decade’s vision of what the next century would bring. Self-tying Nikes, hoverboards and flying cars are but some of the exotic technological advances Marty and his trusty comrade Doc Brown encounter as they traverse the space-time continuum to prevent catastrophe from occurring. The best part is the people who Marty bumps into, the real characters who behave exactly the same across a span of some 100 years. It’s packed with magic realism, an adventurous spirit and that wishful possibility of turning a beat-up Delorean into a badass time machine.

Films (Release Date): Back To The Future, Back To The Future Part II, Back To The Future Part III | Director(s): Robert Zemeckis | Writer(s): Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale | Genre: Sci-Fi

IMDB Scores: 8.5 / 7.8 / 7.4 | Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96% / 64% / 73% | Total Budget: $99 million | Combined Box Office (Worldwide): $965.5 million

GOAT Staff Score - Movie Trilogy

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Direction (20%)Acting (20%)Writing (20%)Cinematography (10%)Music (10%)Critical Reaction (10%)Legacy (10%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
The Lord Of The Rings97101076958840
The Godfather10108558854820
The Dark Knight799944648730
The Dollars Trilogy666767341590
Three Colours887219136590
Indiana Jones Original 4426103534440
The Bourne Trilogy555821228430
Star Wars Original 1334951035420
Toy Story2141310425320
Back To The Future321382726320

GOAT Verdict:

Lord of the Rings is the Greatest Movie Trilogy of All Time
Taking the top spot as The Greatest Trilogy Of All Time is the ground-breaking Lord Of The Rings saga. This rip-roaring adventure through the highs and lows of Middle Earth, was all captured by Peter Jackson and his award-winning crew of effects wizards. Without their united vision for adapting Tolkien’s seminal series, the intricate world-building of the three films would not have been equally as impressive. Its success isn’t solely a result of its CGI, far from it, for this is a series that utilises technology to enhance what is already there – a captivating story. If it weren’t for Frodo and his band of merry travellers, and the various friends and foes they meet along the way, it wouldn’t matter how fantastic the world was – there’d be no-one for us to root for. Those strange and wonderful people come to life thanks to a range of stellar performances from the leading cast, who maintain this age-old story of good vs. evil across the three flicks. In many ways, a fantastical re-telling of many a hero’s journey, this trek to Mordor beats any of its closest competitors for its pain-staking attention to detail, phenomenal acting and plenty of dazzling action.

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What is the greatest post-apocalyptic film of all time?

1

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

Jan 20, 2015 - youtube.com - 74
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
Long before Mel Gibson became involved with historical and biblical epics, he was known for his tattered leather jacket, double-barrel shotgun, and souped-up Interceptor. The first Mad Max film established its eponymous road enforcement agent as a man who had lost everything, and its sequel raised the stakes higher, placing Max in the center of a war for petrol. Feral children, barely-functioning helicopters, and a thick coating of dust helped to sell Australia’s ruins as a new world entirely. The design of the wandering barbarian horde was practical but intimidating, and the driving combat sequences were filmed so proficiently that they still hold up to modern scrutiny. By living so deeply in its own concept, Mad Max 2 expected the audience to embrace the universe and live within it, rather than simply analyzing it. And unlike its end-of-the-world setting, Mad Max 2 never runs out of fuel.
Year of Release: 1981 | Production Studio: Kennedy Miller Productions | Runtime: 95 minutes | Director: George Miller | Lead Actors: Mel Gibson, Michael Preston, Vernon Wells, Bruce Spence
Budget: $4.5 million (AUD) | Box Office Earnings: $23.6 million | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100% | IMDB Rating: 7.6
2

Children of Men

Jan 20, 2015 - youtube.com - 81
Children of Men
In a world where humans are no longer capable of procreation, a pregnant woman is an inherent miracle. But with the approaching birth comes a barrage of bullets, hunters, and destroyed landscapes, and the only protector for the mother-to-be is Clive Owen. Children of Men is widely recognized as one of Alfonso Cuarón’s masterpiece films, making heavy use of long tracking shots and practical effects to bring muddy warzones to life. Its vision of a destroyed world does not rely on nuclear fallout or a worldwide blackout, but rather an intrinsic failing in human reproduction and life cycles. Children of Men is a surprisingly human depiction of a world on the brink of annihilation, and manages to satisfy the genre’s expectations of gritty survival without ignoring the broader philosophy of its story.

Year of Release: 2006 | Production Studio: Strike Entertainment, Hit and Run Productions | Runtime: 109 minutes | Director: Alfonso Cuarón | Lead Actors: Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Charlie Hunnam

Budget: $76 million | Box Office Earnings: $69.9 million | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93% | IMDB Rating: 7.9
3

Snowpiercer

Jan 20, 2015 - youtube.com - 77
Snowpiercer
What do world-looping locomotives, axes coated in fish blood, and Ed Harris all have in common? The answer is Snowpiercer, a South Korean film released in 2013. The film received little attention in the United States, but it was one of the most inventive and immersive post-apocalyptic depictions in years. Set on an Earth which has frozen over due to climate alterations, Snowpiercer focuses on a generation-sustaining train which runs an eternal course around the globe, organizing itself to allow the privileged at the train’s front end, and the poorer masses at its tail. Snowpiercer features slick and brutal action scenes, filmed with all the flourish a cinema buff would expect from a South Korean veteran director, and a cast of memorable and determined characters. If you’ve ever wanted to see a revolt on a moving train, this is the film for you.

Year of Release: 2013 | Production Studio: Moho Films, Opus Pictures | Runtime: 126 minutes | Director: Bong Joon-ho | Lead Actors: Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, Ed Harris

Budget: $39.2 million | Box Office Earnings: $86.7 million | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95% | IMDB Rating: 7.0
4

Planet of the Apes

Jan 20, 2015 - youtube.com - 81
Planet of the Apes
Many films desiring a post-apocalyptic society are quick to embrace visions of rubble and gas masks. Some of the best and most iconic examples of a fallen world, however, are born from a subversion of how we perceive Earth. Warlike apes, humans being hunted like prey, and societies build among mud cliffs may have existed in pulp fiction of previous decades, but their placement on a ruined Earth was far less anticipated. When Planet of the Apes was initially released, the “big reveal” of the mystery planet’s identity was shocking and profound. The audience felt as disoriented as the astronaut, forced to reconcile their own vision of Earth with the foreign and primitive surroundings of the ape world. Planet of the Apes is a vision of a “post” post-apocalyptic society, demonstrating that rebuilding is always possible, but never quite the same.
Year of Release: 1968 | Production Studio: APJAC Productions | Runtime: 112 minutes | Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Lead Actors: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Maurice Evans, Kim Hunter, James Whitmore
Budget: $5.8 million | Box Office Earnings: $32.6 million | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89% | IMDB Rating: 8.0
5

12 Monkeys

Jan 20, 2015 - youtube.com - 72
12 Monkeys
The post-apocalyptic world doesn’t necessarily have to be full of grime and rust. In fact, it can be a breeding ground for time travel, as evidenced by the Terry Gilliam film 12 Monkeys. Bruce Willis plays a convicted prisoner sent back in time to trace the origins of a virus, which just so happens to have eradicated above-ground life on Earth. In many ways, the film exists on the border of time-altering fiction and mega-virus fiction like The Andromeda Strain, but it embraces its setting of a destroyed world and runs with the idea. The film’s opening aesthetic presentation places emphasis on the decay of the subterranean prison, and juxtaposes this collapsed society with steampunk-esque industrial science and reconstructed judicial councils. 12 Monkeys is a fascinating trek through ruins, warzones, and the inexorable flow of causality.
Year of Release: 1995 | Production Studio: Atlas Entertainment, Classico | Runtime: 127 minutes | Director: Terry Gilliam | Lead Actors: Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, Christopher Plummer
Budget: $29.5 million | Box Office Earnings: $168.8 million | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88% | IMDB Rating: 8.1
6

The Road

Jan 20, 2015 - youtube.com - 69
The Road
When The Road was released in its original form as a Cormac McCarthy novel, it featured lean prose and a sense of crushing weight that bore down on the reader as much as the father-son team making their way toward the ocean. Viggo Mortensen’s role as the father in this adaptation was perfectly cast, and all of the doom, gloom, and horror of McCarthy’s novel came to life through the use of muted color selection and minimalist storytelling. Much like the novel, there are few moments of joy to be found along the coast-seeking journey, but the glimmers of hope are bright and redeeming. Turning a child’s first taste of canned soda into a genuine and heartfelt moment, and epitomizes the film’s ability to make the viewer think (and feel) like another wanderer among the wastes.
Year of Release: 2009 | Production Studio: 2929 Productions | Runtime: 111 minutes | Director: John Hillcoat | Lead Actors: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce
Budget: $25 million | Box Office Earnings: $27.6 million | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75% | IMDB Rating: 7.3
7

I Am Legend

Jan 20, 2015 - youtube.com - 69
I Am Legend
A man, a dog, and a mannequin are standing in a department store. It may sound like the start of a campy joke, but this is actually one of the most poignant and striking scenes and films in Will Smith’s decorated film career. I Am Legend is an adaptation of the Richard Matheson novella, and despite altering the original work’s creatures from vampires to zombies, the film manages to faithfully preserve Matheson’s themes of detachment and desperation. Plenty of other films set in a fallen society have featured dogs as a sidekick, but few have come close to the companionship between Dr. Neville and Sam. Fewer, still, have captured the loneliness and heartbreak of surviving in a world without other humans. With harrowing action sequences, profound shifts between despair and triumph, and a lead role that essentially carried the entire film, I Am Legend brought emotion back to the apocalypse.

Year of Release: 2007 | Production Studio: Village Roadshow Pictures, Weed Road Pictures, Overbrook Entertainment, Heyday Films, Original Films | Runtime: 100 minutes | Director: Francis Lawrence | Lead Actors: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Dash Mihok

Budget: $150 million | Box Office Earnings: $585.3 million | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 70% | IMDB Rating: 7.2
8

A Boy and His Dog

Jan 20, 2015 - youtube.com - 89
A Boy and His Dog
If the lone dog and wanderer is a post-apocalyptic trope, then A Boy and His Dog is the most unexpected mutation possible. Centering around the titular “boy” and his dog, Blood, this adaptation of a Harlan Ellison creation revolves more around finding women and food than exploring the moral implications of life in a hellish Earth. Blood possesses an uncanny amount of intelligence and snarky comments, and often communicates with his owner through telepathic means. The world itself was consistent with the popular burnt wasteland setting, but the presence of gallows humor broke away from convention and turned A Boy and His Dog into a unique (and bizarre) take on the apocalypse. Even today, fresh interpretations of a black-humor apocalypse, such as the Fallout series, continue to honor and expand upon this film’s absurdity.

Year of Release: 1975 | Production Studio: LQ/JAF | Runtime: 91 minutes | Director: L.Q. Jones | Lead Actors: Don Johnson, Susanne Benton, Alvy Moore, Jason Robards

Budget: Unknown, but presumably very limited | Box Office Earnings: Unknown | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75% | IMDB Rating: 6.6
9

Zombieland

Jan 20, 2015 - youtube.com - 75
Zombieland
Zombies are a natural pairing for the apocalypse. Shambling, mindless hordes with an eye and stomach for every human in sight are often the filler content in a ravaged world, but some works take a fresh look at the conventional zombie, and make them into something far more intriguing. Zombieland injected a dose of humor into the genre’s zombie tropes, fixating on the “little things” that accompany survival: relationships, grocery shopping, and the hunt for Twinkies. The film had unexpectedly earnest content in places, such as dealing with the loss of loved ones, and made a genuine effort to portray the survivors’ everyday lives in the post-apocalyptic world. One of the most necessary components of long-term survival – and something which Zombieland wholeheartedly embraces – is some good laughter.

Year of Release: 2009 | Production Studio: Relativity Media | Runtime: 87 minutes | Director: Ruben Fleischer | Lead Actors: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin

Budget: $23.6 million | Box Office Earnings: $102.3 million | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90% | IMDB Rating: 7.7
10

Waterworld

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Waterworld
This may be a controversial contender, but Waterworld is not on this list for its (less than) exceptional filmmaking, (lack of a) coherent plot, or (underwhelming) acting. Waterworld’s universe was, however, truly worth experiencing and analyzing. The entirety of the film’s setting is, as the title implies, a place where water has claimed all available land. Floating cities dot the vast oceans, and the search for solid land is tantamount to the quest for the Holy Grail. The ragtag aesthetics of the raft-supported settlements, and the general design of the ships throughout the world, appear consistent and convincing for the role that they serve. Waterworld, as a finished product, may not be the masterpiece that it could have been, but it’s a memorable and unique spin on the genre’s idea of world building.

Year of Release: 1995 | Production Studio: Gordon Company, Davis Entertainment, Licht/Mueller Film Corporation | Runtime: 135 minutes | Director: Kevin Reynolds | Lead Actors: Kevin Costner, Dennis Hopper, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Tina Majorino, Michael Jeter

Budget: $172 million | Box Office Earnings: $264 million | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 42% | IMDB Rating: 6.0
11

Escape from New York

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Escape from New York
Kurt Russell may have strayed from his apocalyptic and dystopian roots, but one of his earliest films was a memorable entry in these genres. Escape from New York centered around Snake Plissken, who would later become an inspiration for Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid protagonist. With an eye patch, submachine gun, and a black tank top, Plissken tore his way through the city-turned-prison of Manhattan. The film’s bleak outlook and setting were, according to series lore, a result of an extreme natural disaster that only worsened a growing crime rate. The collapsed society of New York City provided a new but recognizable gauntlet, and the collection of outlandish thugs and paramilitary forces within the urban jungle only increased the thrills. Escape From New York can be called many things (campy among them), but boring is not one of them.

Year of Release: 1981 | Production Studio: Goldcrest Films | Runtime: 99 minutes | Director: John Carpenter | Lead Actors: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Isaac Hayes, Tom Atkins

Budget: $6 million | Box Office Earnings: $25.2 million | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83% | IMDB Rating: 7.2

GOAT Staff Score - Post-Apocalyptic Film

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Post-Apocalyptic Theme (30%)Genre Innovation (20%)Acting (20%)Reception (15%)Icon Status (15%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior1147111043865
Children of Men86119842835
Snowpiercer971010137775
Planet of the Apes310581137675
12 Monkeys71146432660
The Road10185630645
I Am Legend2294926475
A Boy and His Dog6523723470
Zombieland1867224445
Waterworld5911319410
Escape from New York4332517345

GOAT Verdict:

The Road Warrior is the Greatest Post-Apocalyptic Film of All Time
Mad Max 2 had the visual approach, feel, and character archetypes that ultimately influenced the post-apocalyptic genre, specifically regarding the subgenre of “wasteland wanderers.” Gibson’s role leading was well acted and provided a cool, quiet demeanor to the enforcer. The vehicles were designed to operate and excel in their environment, and it showed in the furiously paced (and filmed) chase sequences. Everything from spiked bandit hair to the sand-scraped leather of Max’s jacket fleshed out the world and its character designs, making both the villains and outpost survivors feel believable in their own way. This was also a film before computer animation, and the practical effects in this film – as well as their perfect coordination with the action – highlights the value and beauty of physical stunt production. In many ways, the film also demonstrates the originality of its time. Long before the arrival of commonplace zombies, nuclear fallout, and mutant creatures, there was only a man and his dog on his roadway. Mad Max 2 is gritty, stylish, and the greatest post-apocalyptic film of all time.

0

What is the greatest unsolved movie mystery of all time?

1

The Shining

Jan 14, 2015
The Shining
Moments before the credits roll, the camera lazily zooms down a hallway until resting on a framed photograph on a wall of The Overlook Hotel. A scene of celebrating partygoers fills the screen, while the camera continues to hone in on a familiar face. Above the caption “Overlook Hotel, July 4th Ball, 1921” we now see Jack Nicholson’s caretaker-writer. But... how could he be in a picture taken in the 1920s, if his first time to the Overlook was in the 1980s? The true nature of the hotel’s influence - while explored considerably in Stephen King’s novel - is left up in the air by Stanley Kubrick, whose desire to create a blend of impossible realities makes for quite a slew of headscratching events across the movie.
Release: May 23rd, 1980 | Director: Stanley Kubrick | Writer: Stanley Kubrick, Diane Johnson | Genre: Horror | Lead Actors: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall
IMDB Score: 8.5 | Oscars (Nominations): 0 (0) | Type of Mystery: Plot, character
2

Mulholland Drive

Jan 14, 2015
Mulholland Drive
A mobius strip of interconnected sub-plots, each tangled up in their own bizarre circumstances, Mulholland Drive is seemingly impossible to unravel. This is Lynch, so that matter is par for the course. Originally intended to serve as the pilot for a TV series, the filmmaker undertook reshoots to construct the film’s final reel - when everything cascades into a jumble. The biggest thinker emerges towards the end, when Betty and Rita return to their apartment after visiting Club Silencio. First a mysterious blue key appears in Rita’s purse that slots into the blue box initially discovered in her belongings. That’s mysterious enough in and of itself, until Rita slides it home and twists it in the lock. A thud is heard as the square drops to the floor, prompting Betty to return to the bedroom only to find Rita has disappeared. Where has she gone? What did the blue box signify?
Release: October 19th, 2001 | Director: David Lynch | Writer: David Lynch | Genre: Mystery | Lead Actors: Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring
IMDB Score: 8.0 | Oscars (Nominations): 0 (1) | Type of Mystery: Plot
3

Pulp Fiction

Jan 14, 2015
Pulp Fiction
The lynchpin for a whole series of interconnected stories in Quentin Tarantino’s sophomore feature is a simple, everyday object; Marsellus Wallace’s suitcase. As a plot device it figures into most of the segments, albeit in varying degrees of importance, with its value coming to light during the film’s final vignette. Open the case - with the 666 combination - and your face is bathed in an ethereal yellow light. What could be so important that Vincent and Jules are willing to face the two unhinged robbers to protect it? A lot of discussion on the topic has evoked a range of possibilities; some are convinced it’s Wallace’s soul, others opt for the likelihood that it’s just diamonds. Twenty years on, Tarantino and co-writer Roger Avary still haven’t offered a definitive explanation...
Release: September 23rd, 1994 | Director: Quentin Tarantino | Writer: Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avary | Genre: Drama-thriller | Lead Actors: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis
IMDB Score: 8.9 | Oscars (Nominations): 1 - Best Original Screenplay (7) | Type of Mystery: Prop
4

Inception

Jan 14, 2015
Inception
Christopher Nolan’s warped reality headscratcher left audiences plagued by one unsolved query as they exited the theater; what was going on with that spinning top? Throughout the movie, much attention is called to each character’s totem; a personal item that allows the bearer comfort knowing that they are either in the real world or a dream world. Much is made of Cobb’s journey to reconcile his wife’s death while learning to be a father to his children, which is what makes the last shot of the film so maddening. As his totem - the spinning top - endlessly circles on a table top, the shot cuts to black leaving viewers without a clear resolution. Does it topple over, thereby suggesting he’s back in reality? Or does it continue to spin forever, meaning he’s still stuck in limbo?
Release: July 13th, 2010 | Director: Christopher Nolan | Writer: Christopher Nolan | Genre: Thriller | Lead Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon Levitt
IMDB Score: 8.8 | Oscars (Nominations): 4 - Best Achievement In Cinematography, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing, Best Achievement in Visual Effects (8) | Type of Mystery: Character
5

American Psycho

Jan 14, 2015
American Psycho
Patrick Bateman, the charming, vapid, narcissistic antihero of American Psycho isn’t just a perfectly coiffed yuppy. He’s also a serial killer, whose baser instincts urge him to senselessly murder those around him he identifies as threats to his status; or he just feels like offing. Whatever his motives may be, the biggest sting in Mary Harron’s fantastic take down of 80s hedonism comes at the film’s end when he admits to the killings only to have his confession rebuffed by his peers. No one takes him seriously. His contemporaries politely steer conversation away from the topic, as if it’s of minor significance. As he himself states in the closing outro, “this confession has meant nothing” which suggests he’s either the world’s deadliest killer, or the owner of a wild imagination...
Release: April 14th, 2000 | Director: Mary Harron | Writer: Mary Harron, Guinevere Turner | Genre: Thriller | Lead Actors: Christian Bale
IMDB Score: 7.6 | Oscars (Nominations): 0 (0) | Type of Mystery: Plot
6

Gremlins

Jan 14, 2015
Gremlins
Gremlins’ hero, a teenager called Billy, receives a gift from his father that no other kid in class would ever be able to top; a mogwai called Gizmo. The cute furball sings, giggles and happily chirps away like a cross between a cat and a guinea pig. The strict instructions he’s given along with Gizmo insist that if he wants to take care of the pet he must adhere to them. The first states that he never get the animal wet, the second that he never expose him to bright light and the third - and most troublesome - is that he never, ever feed him after midnight. What’s never addressed, but made fun of in the sequel, are the specifics of the final rule. What if Gizmo is in a different time zone, does that affect when he can eat? But the biggest problem is that really, every moment from midnight to 11.59pm the next night is technically ‘after midnight.’
Release: June 8th, 1984 | Director: Joe Dante | Writer: Chris Columbus | Genre: Horror-comedy | Lead Actors: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates
IMDB Score: 7.2 | Oscars (Nominations): 0 (0) | Type of Mystery: Mythology
7

Jurassic Park

Jan 14, 2015
Jurassic Park
In answering one of man’s most intriguing questions - what were dinosaurs really like? - Jurassic Park makes great effort to provide its own scientific reasoning. The point being that it’s science fiction, meaning that the possibility of cloning dinosaurs from millions of years ago is an unlikely achievement. Those details aside, there’s still one mystery that has stumped viewers since the film debuted back in 1993. At a key moment, one of the park’s programmers, Denis Nedry, sneaks off to deliver an aerosol can stuffed with dino embryos. The relentless rain storm foils his plan and he skids off road only to be confronted by Dilophosaurus, that proceeds to blind him and kill him. The canister rolls into the mud, and flows into a stream, and we never find out what happened to the budding life within.
Release: June 11th, 1993 | Director: Steven Spielberg | Writer: Michael Crichton, David Koepp | Genre: Action | Lead Actors: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum
IMDB Score: 8.0 | Oscars (Nominations): 3 - Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Visual Effects (3) | Type of Mystery: Plot
8

Lost in Translation

Jan 14, 2015
Lost in Translation
Their star-crossed romance coming to an end, Bill Murray’s ageing actor Bob prepares to part from Scarlett Johansson’s Charlotte. Leaning in for their final embrace, he whispers something in her ear that’s since been discussed in great detail. Why? Because it’s so low in the mix it’s inaudible to viewers. In the script, Sofia Coppola didn’t specify any particular dialogue to accompany the moment and so Murray improvised the whispered line he breezily utters. As the film is now twelve years old, it’s beginning to accumulate a cult classic status - and a large portion of that is a result of this scene. Perfectly capturing a snapshot moment between two people, their final parting will no doubt be the subject of further scrutiny as the years wear on.
Release: September 12th, 2003 | Director: Sofia Coppola | Writer: Sofia Coppola | Genre: Drama | Lead Actors: Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray
IMDB Score: 7.8 | Oscars (Nominations): 1 - Best Original Screenplay (4) | Type of Mystery: Dialogue
9

Cast Away

Jan 14, 2015
Cast Away
The story of Tom Hanks’ stranded Fed Ex worker, who crash lands on a deserted island is filled with many mysteries. Most of which revolved around Chuck Nolan’s behaviour, for example why did he throw Wilson away when that deflated ball was his only friend? While that may be an intriguing quibble to debate, the biggest mystery of the entire film is a two-pronged riddle. After he washes up on the beach and begins to acclimatise, Chuck fishes a few lone FedEx packages from the water, including one bearing a pair of angel wings that we see a woman handling at the beginning of the movie. Even in this extraordinary circumstance, Chuck plans on keeping the FedEx promise by getting the package to its intended recipient. The ‘keeping hope’ factor is undoubtedly why he holds onto it, but why not open it? It could have had a satellite phone in it.
Release: December 22nd, 2000 | Director: Robert Zemeckis | Writer: William Broyles Jr. | Genre: Drama | Lead Actors: Tom Hanks
IMDB Score: 7.7 | Oscars (Nominations): 0 (2) | Type of Mystery: Prop
10

Cloverfield

Jan 14, 2015
Cloverfield
From its hideous gaping jaws to its countless arachnid legs, the Cloverfield monster appears like a entity constructed as an homage to the sci-fi genre. Apart from its terrifying aesthetic, towering above the scattered New York crowds, there’s many other factors to consider when trying to figure out one, humdrum question: where did it come from? Whereas most monster capers isolate the creature’s beginnings, Cloverfield focuses on the small-scale human experience to its attack. This is why the film is such a unique slab of genre filmmaking; however, it would be satisfying to know where exactly it came from. All we know as revealed by director Matt Reeves, is that it’s a baby of its species that emerged from the ocean’s murky depths. How did it get there, who are its parents, and more importantly, where did it go at the end of the movie are all mysteries that remain unanswered.
Release: January 18th, 2008 | Director: Matt Reeves | Writer: Drew Goddard | Genre: Horror | Lead Actors: Mike Vogel, Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas
IMDB Score: 7.1 | Oscars (Nominations): 0 (0) | Type of Mystery: Character

GOAT Staff Score - Unsolved Movie Mystery

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Intrigue (30%)Enjoyment Factor (20%)Storyline Contribution (20%)Critical Response (15%)Fan Reaction (15%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
The Shining108671041835
Mulholland Drive96710537755
Pulp Fiction8588736725
Inception7949635695
American Psycho67105331640
Gremlins4294827520
Jurassic Park21031925470
Lost In Translation5426219390
Cast Away3153113270
Cloverfield1312411200

GOAT Verdict:

The Shining is The Greatest Unsolved Movie Mystery of All Time
At the heart of The Shining lies a mystery tangled in the supernatural that director Stanley Kubrick never answers. Seasonal caretaker Jack Torrance and his family stay at The Overlook over the winter to tend the hotel and its grounds, until he becomes influenced by unseen evil forces and plots to murder his wife and child. In a spin on the haunted house trope, Jack becomes an agent of the hotel’s sinister presence as spectral figures from the establishment’s chequered past engage with him. At one point, his wife Wendy locks him in a larder only for the ghost of former caretaker Grady to come along and release him. But how can spooks possess the ability to have an effect on the real world? If that weren’t bizarre enough, the ending shot of a 1920s photograph featuring Jack proves the point Grady makes earlier; he was always the caretaker. It’s an impossible conundrum to try and decipher, and one that was never given a proper explanation by Kubrick.

0

What is the greatest adult cartoon of all time?

1

Futurama

Jan 09, 2015
Futurama

This show was engineered by Simpsons creator Matt Groening to allow for the creative control and free reign he was never able to have with his first series. The show centers around Frye, a young pizza delivery man who accidently gets cryogenically frozen on New Year’s Eve while out on delivery. He wakes up in 31st century New York, and this becomes the premise of the show. Frye works as an interstellar cargo deliveryman for a mad scientist who is actually his far-removed grandson, even though the frozen Frye is much younger than he is. He also makes best friends with Bender the evil robot, voiced by John DiMaggio, and falls in love with a one-eyed mutant woman. The show is canonical in that characters form relationships and things change, although most episodes follow the typical cartoon formula of a large conflict building to a resolution at the end of the episode. The show also tackles relevant political topics, parodying 21st century issues with 31ist century ones.

Creator: Matt Groening | Time on Air: March 28, 1999 – September 4, 2013 | Voice Stars: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, David Herman | Channels Aired: Fox (1999–2003), Comedy Central (2008–2013) | Run Time: 22 minutes

Premise: A goofy pizza delivery guy from the year 2000 is accidently frozen on New Years Even and wakes up in 31st century New York, where the story takes place. He works the same occupation in the future, running delivery of cargo to other planets. | Appeals To: sci-fi fans, general humor, political and social commentary

2

South Park

Jan 09, 2015
South Park

One of the longest running shows of all time, South Park has been on the air since 1997 and it is still going strong. The premise focuses on four young boys, Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny, who live in the fictional town of South Park, Colorado. They have to deal with the annoying nuances of everyday life, which always reflect the bigger picture with the world at large. The show is largely realistic, but often contains depictions of Satan, Jesus, and other mythical figures walking among the living, and has drawn some serious controversy for their treatment of U.S. politics and religious figures. The show is done in a collage-animation style, and most of the voicing is done by the creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The show started out completely non-canonical, with Kenny being killed each episode and then appearing in the show again the next week, but with the most recent season, they have actually started carrying on jokes and recurring themes.

Creator: Trey Parker, Matt Stone | Time on Air: August 13, 1997 – present | Voice Stars: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman (1997–1999), Isaac Hayes (1997–2005), Eliza Schneider (1999–2003), Mona Marshall (2000–present), April Stewart (2004–present) | Channels Aired: Comedy Central | Run Time: 22 minutes

Premise: Four young boys growing up in the fictional town of South Park Colorado encounter ridiculous scenarios that mirror issues in the larger world in their everyday lives. | Appeals To: fans of social commentary and political humor, those who love standard cartoons like The Simpsons

3

Family Guy

Jan 09, 2015
Family Guy

Probably the best known of the adult animation world, Family Guy took TV audiences by storm in 1999 when it first aired. Rhode Island native Seth MacFarlane hit a serious nerve when he introduced this goofy New England family to the viewing world. Each character on the show is distinct and dynamic, from Peter, the father, who is fat and idiotic and his similar son Chris, to Stewie, the evil and demonic baby and Brian, the family dog, who is a failed writer and womanizer. However, despite the overwhelming initial success, the show has received some criticism. Many of the jokes rely on cut scenes where the characters imagine something that happened in the past, in which cases the humor does not relate to the present storyline. The events also don’t match up and the characters never develop. Macfarlane has created one other very successful show, American Dad, about a family in the F.B.I., and also a flop, The Cleveland Show which was a spinoff of Family Guy

Creator: Seth MacFarlane | Time on Air: Original run: January 31, 1999 – November 9, 2003 Second run: May 1, 2005 – present | Voice Stars: Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Mila Kunis, Mike Henry, Patrick Warburton | Channels Aired: Fox, Adult Swim (episode 50), BBC Three (episode 147) | Run Time: 20–23 minutes

Premise: A family in a small Rhode Island town trying to get by and live a middle class lifestyle, but Peter, the dad, is especially dumb, Meg, the daughter is unpopular, Chris, the son, is not very bright either, and Stewie, the baby is diabolically evil. | Appeals To: parody and satire, dark humor, blue humor, plays to the same crowd as The Simpsons

4

The Venture Bros

Jan 09, 2015
The Venture Bros

This odd and extremely unique cartoon follows the life of Dr. Venture, a retired “boy adventurer” similar to Johnny Quest who is now a scientist living in a military bunker. He has two sons, Dean and Hank, who have actually died numerous times from horrible accidents, so they are really clones, and the family always has a bodyguard living with them. This show is extremely canonical and actually tells a pretty deep and layered story that has yet to be fully resolved, as the series is still ongoing. However, while this may be the case, it doesn’t skimp in the laughs department either. All of the characters are witty and goofy, and there are a ton of odd minor characters, like the cross-dressing Sargent version of Hunter S. Thompson, and Dr. Venture’s arch nemesis, a butterfly-themed supervillain called The Monarch and his partner, Dr. Girlfriend. This show does a great job telling a good story, getting more than a few laughs, and parodying old-school action/adventure shows while staying relevant with modern comedy.

Creator: Jackson Publick (Christopher McCulloch), Doc Hammer | Time on Air: Pilot: February 16, 2003, Official: August 7, 2004 – present | Voice Stars: James Urbaniak, Patrick Warburton, Michael Sinterniklaas, Christopher McCulloch, Doc Hammer, Steven Rattazzil, Dana Snyder | Channels Aired: Adult Swim | Run Time: 22-24 minutes

Premise: A retired boy adventured is now a major scientist living in a compound with his two sons and raising them as a single father, only they aren't his original sons, but clones, and they have to live with a bodyguard to keep them safe from international espionage and supervillains. | Appeals To: sci-fi fans, adventure and action fans, those who like a comedy that tells a good story

5

The Boondocks

Jan 09, 2015
The Boondocks

The Boondocks was adapted from a popular comic strip of the same name by creator Aaron McGruder, which explains the anime-inspired feel of the show. The plot focuses on an African-American grandfather, voiced by John Witherspoon, and his two grandsons, Riley and Huey. They are from the inner city in Washington, D.C. but finally got the money together to buy a place in the suburbs. Huey is very politically and socially conscious and all about black rights and solidarity, while Riley couldn’t care less and is focused on shallow, material gains and his gangster credibility. The results of this dynamic are as hilarious as they are politically charged, and the show has caught a lot of flack as well as a lot of respect. While it’s been censored and protested for having an episode where Martin Luther King says the n-word and for perpetuating stereotypes, it also received the NAACP image award. McGruder’s bottom line is to portray the struggles of African Americans with no sugar coating as to any problems he sees within his race, and the result is one of the few adult animations geared towards black people, as well as one of the funniest shows ever.

Creator: Aaron McGruder | Time on Air: November 6, 2005 – June 23, 2014 | Voice Stars: Regina King, John Witherspoon, Cedric Yarbrough, Gary Anthony Williams, Jill Talley, Gabby Soleil | Channels Aired: Adult Swim | Run Time: 22 minutes

Premise: An African American family living in the suburbs of Washington D.C. tries to come to terms with their opposing views. The grandfather has old-school values and questionable morals, young Huey Freeman is reasonable and an advocate for fair treatment and black rights, while Riley, his brother, tries to fit in with the gangster/thug stereotype, to the horror of Huey. | Appeals To: fans of political commentary, dark family humor, one of the few grown-up cartoons geared towards African Americans

6

Archer

Jan 09, 2015
Archer

This is one of the more recent animated shows to air; it didn’t officially go live until 2010. Archer is a young and attractive spy who loves to drink and womanize, even when it gets in the way of his high-profile secret agent job with ISIS where he works for his mother. The show focuses on character relationships and humor, but it also tells a bigger story about espionage and adventure, all the while parodying the ridiculousness of some aspects surrounding covert operations and homeland security. The humor is dry and a little mean, but H. John Benjamin, the beloved voice actor who also does Bob on Bob’s Burgers, drives every line home with his deadpan delivery.

Creator: Adam Reed | Time on Air: Pilot sneak peek: September 17, 2009, Official: January 14, 2010 – present | Voice Stars: H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Amber Nash, Chris Parnell, Aisha Tyler, Jessica Walter, George Coe, Adam Reed, Lucky Yates | Channels Aired: FX | Run Time: 19–21 minutes

Premise: A son and his mother are part of a spy organization that works behind the scenes to keep American safe, but Archer, the son, is an alcoholic and a womanizer, which gets in the way of his spy work | Appeals To: sci-fi fans, action and adventure fans

7

King of the Hill

Jan 09, 2015
King of the Hill

This beloved Mike Judge creation was so solid while it lasted, and many of us still can’t fully accept that it is gone. It sounds very similar to the other family-centered adult animations: patriarch Hank Hill struggles to sell propane and propane accessories and raise his son and support his wife in a small Texas town. But the very premise of the show is different in that Hill is not a bumbling idiot or a lush like Peter in Family Guy or Homer in The Simpsons – he’s a good old-fashioned American with values who is struggling to keep up with the changing times. You love and feel for the family as the show goes on, from Hank’s son Bobby’s love for the theater that the family struggles to accept, to Hill’s niece Luanne’s coming of age story. All the humor in the show is centered around love and understanding instead of the harsher black humor of more modern cartoons, and the action unfolds almost like an old Western or a soap opera.

Creator: Mike Judge, Greg Daniels | Time on Air: January 12, 1997 – May 6, 2010 | Voice Stars: Mike Judge, Kathy Najimy, Pamela Segall Adlon, Brittany Murphy, Johnny Hardwick, Stephen Root, Toby Huss | Channels Aired: Fox | Run Time: 21–23 minutes

Premise: A family in Texas learns to get along in a world with modern values that contrast with the simplicity of their patriarch, Hank Hill. He has to deal with his wife and niece being a bit more progressive and liberal and his son liking acting and food more than sports. He also has to try and appease his cranky old war general grandfather. | Appeals To: fans of the sitcom and darker family humor

8

The Simpsons

Jan 09, 2015
The Simpsons

A show that almost needs no introduction, The Simpsons is the longest running animated series of all time, including children’s cartoons, and it is also one of the most beloved. None of these other shows would exist without the Simpsons, it’s true. This was the first show to make the humor based on a dysfunctional family with issues, and so many of the jokes have become so timeless that they don’t even need the context of television anymore. However, the show is in a bit of an odd place because creator Matt Groening has somewhat abandoned it, claiming he no longer has the creative control he wants and he’s not very involved with the show anymore, and many feel it has been on the air for too long and Fox won’t let it die because they are too keen on the profits it brings. Still, despite all this, the show has good ratings and still does well each season.

Creator: Matt Groening | Time on Air: December 17, 1989 – present | Voice Stars: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer | Channels Aired: Fox | Run Time: 21–24 minutes

Premise: A nuclear family consisting of parents, a son and daughter, a baby, and a dog and cat live their day-to-day lives in a generic town called Springfield. The joke is that they are literally nuclear, since the father, Homer, works in a power plant. | Appeals To: cultural humor, political commentary, American humor

9

Metalocalypse

Jan 09, 2015
Metalocalypse

This Adult Swim exclusive is based on the idea that a death metal band – instead of being underground and obscure – have managed to become the most popular media powerhouse in the whole world, and are the seventh largest economy, including developed nations. The ridiculousness of this is to parody how absurd celebrity has become, and how odd this would look if someone besides a blond pop star had this much power and influence. The show is absolutely hilarious, especially if you follow pop culture or are a metal fan and can get some of the more obscure jokes and jabs. There is also a dark subplot where an evil group is trying to take control of the world, and the fictional band from the show, Deathklock, have actually morphed into a real musical project that tours and puts out albums. The show relies on incredibly dark and gory humor mixed with almost slapstick comedy, and is definitely an acquired taste, but for those who can relate to the cultural elements portrayed, it was a long time coming.

Creator: Brendon Small, Tommy Blacha | Time on Air: August 6, 2006 – present | Voice Stars: Brendon Small, Tommy Blacha, Mark Hamill, Victor Brandt, Malcolm McDowell | Channels Aired: Adult Swim | Run Time: 11 minutes (2006–2008; 2012–present), 21 minutes (2009–2010)

Premise: A death metal band, instead of being underground and not very well-known, is one of the largest economies in the world and more successful than any pop star. There is also a backstory about an illuminati-like plot to take over the world. | Appeals To: metal fan inside-jokes, pop culture humor, political satire

10

Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Jan 09, 2015
Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Aqua Teen is by far one of the strangest shows on TV, on any channel. A milkshake, an order of fries, and a wad of uncooked meat live in a house together in New Jersey, where they have a neighbor they ignore and get into fights over typical roommate issues. However, they are also superheroes who have powers and are sometimes called to fight evil aliens and other invaders. The show has gone by several names now, and the writing is very surreal; the show can take odd turns and veer off at strange moments, leaving the viewers asking what exactly happened. This show is pretty edgy and probably won’t appeal to everyone who likes Family Guy or South Park, but for those more open to odd humor, it can be a real treat.

Creator: Dave Willis, Matt Maiellaro | Time on Air: Episode 1 sneak peek: December 30, 2000, Official: September 9, 2001 – present | Voice Stars: Dana Snyder, Carey Means, Dave Willis, Matt Maiellaro, George Lowe, C. Martin Croker | Channels Aired: Adult Swim | Run Time: 11-12 minutes

Premise: A milkshake, an order of fries, and a wad of uncooked meat live together in a house in New Jersey. Beyond that, not much is clear and the plot changes often. It is never really certain if these characters are superheroes or if they just have delusions of grandeur, although they do interact with aliens and one of them has powers. | Appeals To: fans of the dark and surreal, those with an odd sense of humor


GOAT Staff Score - Adult Cartoon

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Overall Humor (20%)Story (20%)Social Commentary (20%)Animation Style (15%)Cast (15%)Cultural Appeal (10%)Raw ScoreGOAT Score
Futurama87877845750
South Park55995639650
Family Guy793831040645
The Venture Bros.2107101737615
The Boondocks1021052433585
Archer186210532530
King of the Hill46539330510
The Simpsons63466227460
Metalocalypse 91248125430
Aqua Teen Hunger Force34114922325

GOAT Verdict:

Greatest Adult Cartoon of All Time
The greatest adult cartoon show of all time, according to TheGOATSeries.com is Futurama. This cartoon has it all when it comes to story, laughs, and relatability to real life. The show is undoubtedly funny, pulling from Matt Groening’s seemingly endless storehouse of humorous situations, and striking a perfect balance between edgy/shocking and safe/fun. It’s also a really great science fiction story, pulling from some awesome tropes, containing some really deep episodes as well as goofy ones, and actually advancing the story as far as relationships between characters and overall achievements. On top of all that, it also provides relevant parody, managing to touch on several sci-fi and literature references each episode while also including political commentary. By far, this is the best and most effective animated series targeting an adult audience we’ve ever seen.

0

What is the greatest military blunder of all time?

1

Operation Barbarossa

Jan 08, 2015
Operation Barbarossa

Anybody who has taken an introductory course in history knows that conquerors would do well to avoid Russia. With unforgiving weather, punishing winters, and enormous amounts of manpower, Russia is the ultimate hurdle for invading forces. This fact, however, was ignored when Adolf Hitler broke his own pact and initiated Operation Barbarossa (which was opposed by his staff). A massive force of infantry, armored units, and aircraft descended on the Soviet Union’s territory, but as the operation slid into winter and beyond, it became clear that the Nazis were not prepared for a protracted invasion, and their troops were not ready for the extreme conditions of the front. Operation Barbarossa would later result in the organized retreat of German forces from Russia, and would live on in the immortal mistake of provoking the Soviet Union.

Date: 1941 | Location: Western Soviet territory | Overarching Conflict: World War Two | Factions Involved: Nazi Germany and its satellite countries against the Soviet Union | Troop Numbers: 3.8 million German soldiers, 5.5 million Russian soldiers

Critical Error: Lack of long-term strategy and troop sustainability efforts | Casualties: 800,000+ German losses, 4+ million Russian losses | Result: German seizure of significant portions of Russia, but overall failure to claim Leningrand and other tactical landmarks.

2

The Battle of the Somme

Jan 08, 2015
The Battle of the Somme

World War One is often cited as one of the bloodiest wars in human history, and The Battle of the Somme does not conflict with this image. In the early stages of the war, British and French troops attempted to push back against German forces at the Somme river, where both factions were able to set up entrenched positions and employ the mechanized tank in its earliest form. Many of the troops, particularly on the British side, had not received enough training to be in frontline combat, and were confused or disoriented when forced to restructure themselves in the middle of the fighting. Conditions were horrid, progress was minimal, and the casualty rates only increased as the months slipped past. The British command was far from prepared to take action, but urging from their French allies ultimately thrust them into the fighting, which resulted in disastrous disorganization and outdated military tactics.

Date: 1916 | Location: Somme River, Pas-de-Calais, France | Overarching Conflict: World War One | Factions Involved: British Empire (Britain, Australia, India, Canada, New Zealand) and France against the German Empire | Troop Numbers: (At battle's height) 51 British, 48 French divisions, 50 German divisions

Critical Error: Failure to train soldiers properly, especially regarding the breakdown of command | Casualties: 623,907 British and French losses, between  237,000 and 500,000 German losses | Result: 6 miles of territorial gains for British and French troops

3

Operation Market Garden

Jan 08, 2015
Operation Market Garden
Landing several thousand paratroopers behind enemy lines, setting up a narrow supply line that stretches an impossible distance, and expecting the aforementioned paratroopers to endure repeated attacks from an entrenched army is no longer part of military doctrine, fortunately. But for the planners of Operation Market Garden – 1944’s autumn push to end World War Two before Christmas – the plan was somewhat viable. Indeed, it seemed effective enough on paper, and it was plausible enough to recruit the local resistance fighters in the Netherlands. The true missteps of the plan arose when the paratroopers were unable to establish a true frontline, and the concept of maintaining and extending a straight-shot to German territory became increasingly unlikely. After heavy losses and operational breakdown, the Allied high command recognized Market Garden as a failure, and was forced to extract its paratroopers in late September.
Date: 1944 | Location: Germany and the Netherlands | Overarching Conflict: World War Two | Factions Involved: Britain, America, Canada, Poland, and Dutch resistance fighters against Nazi Germany | Troop Numbers: 41,628 Allied soldiers, unknown German troops
Critical Error: Relying on an insubstantial breach of Axis lines to form a frontline | Casualties: 15,000 to 17,000 Allied losses, 3,300 to 13,000 German losses | Result: Allied failure to secure the Rhine and forge a route to Germany
4

The Bay of Pigs Invasion

Jan 08, 2015
The Bay of Pigs Invasion

At the height of the Cold War, the relationship between Cuba and the United States was more frayed and uneasy than ever. The CIA proposed a military invasion to President Kennedy, and after being green-lit, the Intelligence Agency devised a plan relying on American aerial support and combat training for Cuban exiles. After an initial bombing run on Cuban airfields, the US-trained militants traveled from Guatemala to their landing site in Cuba, where they found initial success but were soon defeated. Most of the captured exiles were interrogated and then returned to the United States. The CIA blamed this failure on overextension of supplies, failure to ensure aid from Cuban resistance fighters, insufficient secondary planning, and a host of other problems. Prime Minister Fidel Castro struck back by forming stronger ties with the Soviet Union, which would later result in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Date: 1961 | Location: Bay of Pigs, Cuba | Overarching Conflict: Cold War | Factions Involved: Cuba against America | Troop Numbers: 1,500 CIA-backed forces against 234,000 Cuban soldiers, militia, and police

Critical Error: CIA failure to provide munitions, logistical aid, and tactical support to ground forces | Casualties: 4,176 Cuban forces killed, 118 CIA-backed forces killed (1,202 captured) | Result: Further disintegration of Cuban-American relations and increases in Cold War tension

5

The Winter War

Jan 08, 2015
The Winter War

Although Russia may seem like the toughest hurdle for invading forces, there are other places that even Russia cannot conquer. Finland, which was invaded by the Soviet Union in the early stages of World War Two, proved to be the ultimate gauntlet for both the attackers and defenders. The snowy fields, forests, and hills of Finland were often protected by marksmen wearing white smocks, including the famed Simo Häyhä, who carries the highest recorded number of marksman kills in modern war. The resistance fighters and soldiers of Finland knew their terrain well, and were able to inflict massive casualties on Russian forces in spite of Soviet bombing and artillery blanketing. The Winter War ended with a treaty ceding portions of Finland to Russia, but the unmitigated losses and extreme effort of the war plagued Soviet tacticians for years.

Date: 1939 to 1940 | Location: Finland | Overarching Conflict: Soviet-Finnish Conflict | Factions Involved: Finland and Swedish volunteers against the Soviet Union | Troop Numbers: 250,000 to 340,000 Finnish soldiers against 998,100 Russian soldiers

Critical Error: Inadequate understanding of Finnish terrain and weather conditions | Casualties: 25,904 Finnish soldiers killed, 126,875 Russian soldiers killed | Result: Ceding of some Finnish territory to the Soviet Union, reforms for Soviet military tactics

6

The Battle of Tours

Jan 08, 2015
The Battle of Tours

It had seemed nearly impossible for the Europeans to hold off the Islamic advance into Europe, but all it took was one decisive conflict to turn the tables of war. Charles Martel, a prominent Frankish commander, led his forces against the Umayyad Caliphate in the land between Tours and Poitiers, France, and was graced with some very peculiar advantages. The rumors throughout the Umayyad forces led to deep fears of Frankish raids, especially on the treasure hordes kept in the Umayyad camps. During the battle itself, multiple Umayyad divisions were either separated from the main host or broke away, leading to a domino effect of perceived surrender and retreats from the battlefield. Had the Umayyad commander analyzed the Frankish maneuvers, and moved his own forces accordingly, a blunder might have been avoided.

Date: 732 | Location: Tours and Poitiers, France | Overarching Conflict: Islamic Invasion of Gaul | Factions Involved: Merovingian Franks against the Umayyad Caliphate | Troop Numbers: 15,000 to 80,000 Frankish soldiers against 20,000 to 80,000 Umayyad soldiers

Critical Error: Umayyad failure to prevent withdrawal and retreat to the base camp | Casualties: 1,100 Frankish soldiers killed, 12,000 Umayyad soldiers killed | Result: Complete withdrawal of Umayyad forces from France

7

The Battle of Teutoburg Forest

Jan 08, 2015
The Battle of Teutoburg Forest

This battle should almost be labeled an ambush, if only to highlight the utter disarray and chaos of the engagement. With Roman troops operating in Germanic territory, a Roman-born man of Germanic origin named Arminius forged a secret alliance with the native populations and orchestrated an ambush within the forests of Teutoburg. Arminius advised Varus, the Roman commander, to take the legions XVII, XVIII/XIIX, and XIX/XVIIII through the forested hills of Lower Saxony. While marching, the Romans were ambushed by massive numbers of tribes – including the Cherusci and Chatti – who decimated their forces and forced them into a protracted retreat, where further ambushes waited within the woods. Varus committed suicide as a result of the overwhelming defeat, and the Emperor Augustus, upon hearing of the disappearance of the legionnaires, was noted to have struck his head against a palatial wall and cry for the return of his legions.

Date: 9 (AD) | Location: Lower Saxony, Germany | Overarching Conflict: Roman-Germanic Wars | Factions Involved: Germanic tribes against the Roman Empire | Troop Numbers: 12,000 to 32,000 Germanic soldiers against 20,000 to 36,000 Roman soldiers

Critical Error: Continuing to March into the ambushes constructed by Germanic troops and Arminius | Casualties: Unknown Germanic losses, 16,000 to 20,000 Roman losses | Result: Largest catastrophe in Roman military history, loss of three entire legions

8

The Battle of Flodden Field

Jan 08, 2015
The Battle of Flodden Field

Since holding the high ground is considered a prime advantage in combat, holding the marshy low ground is, naturally, a crippling disadvantage. When the English forces made their final maneuvers and ended up in the mires, it seemed like a natural victory for the Scots, who also had superior forces and the presence of their king. Against all reason, however, the Scots sallied forth from their position and engaged the English in the marshes, which led to a swift reversal of morale and combat effectiveness. While the battle was descending into chaos, the Scottish king James IV was killed, further worsening the situation for the Scots and triggering a quick end to the conflict. In the aftermath of the battle, it was discovered that dozens of Scottish earls and clergymen had perished in the fighting.

Date: 1513 | Location: Northumberland, England | Overarching Conflict: War of the League of Cambrai | Factions Involved: Kingdom of England against Kingdom of Scotland | Troop Numbers: 26,000 English soldiers against 30,000 to 34,000 Scottish soldiers

Critical Error: Scottish troop maneuvering into marshy ground | Casualties: 1,500 English soldiers killed, 5,000 to 17,000 Scottish soldiers killed | Result: Death of the King of Scotland

9

Pickett's Charge

Jan 08, 2015
Pickett's Charge

A single mistake in a battle can have dire repercussions, as evidenced by the three-division charge orchestrated by Robert E. Lee during the Battle of Gettysburg. Although the charge was named after George Pickett, two other Confederate generals were involved in leading the maneuver. After an initial round of cannon fire, which Lee hoped would be effective in dismantling the Union lines, the three divisions advanced and were torn apart by waiting (and relatively unaffected) troops, who were able to concentrate their musket and artillery fire on the oncoming Confederates. The loss of these troops had a significant and demoralizing impact on the Confederate forces, which were later defeated in the battle. In later years, George Pickett said hardly anything about the failure of the assault, but his after-action report was damning enough to be ordered for burned by Robert E. Lee.

Date: 1863 | Location: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania | Overarching Conflict: American Civil War | Factions Involved: The Confederacy against the Union | Troop Numbers: 12,500 Confederate soldiers against unknown numbers of Union soldiers

Critical Error: Marching directly into Union lanes of fire, ignoring cannon and musket lines | Casualties: Loss of half of the charge's Confederate soldiers | Result: Crippled Confederacy morale and significant setbacks at Gettysburg

10

The Great Siege of Gibraltar

Jan 08, 2015
The Great Siege of Gibraltar

In situations where there are massive amounts of troops, coordinating battle groups is often more difficult than planning the actual strategy. This was the case at the Great Siege of Gibraltar, where the overwhelming force of the Spanish and French troops was unable to break the British defenses near the coast. Sorties – small, swift raids – made by the British against the Spanish were able to cripple many of their offensive actions, and simply aligning the extraordinary number of naval vessels in the Spanish fleet was next to impossible. The more vessels that were brought to bear, the more targets the British had with their rows of cannons and artillery emplacements. After the Great Siege, the Spanish never attempted to retake Gibraltar with naval vessels or infantry, and were also unsuccessful in diplomatic reclaiming attempts.

Date: 1779-1783 | Location: Gibraltar | Overarching Conflict: American Revolutionary War | Factions Involved: Britain against Spain and France | Troop Numbers: (At battle's height) 7,500 British soldiers against 63,000 Spanish and French soldiers, sailors, and marines

Critical Error: Loss of Spanish vessels during the famed "Grand Assault" | Casualties: 333 British soldiers killed, 6,000 Spanish and French soldiers killed | Result: Cessation of Spanish efforts to retake Gibraltar through force

11

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Jan 08, 2015
The Charge of the Light Brigade

War poetry can be some of the most remembered material in literature, so it’s no surprise that the Charge of the Light Brigade has been well-remembered by the public and academics alike. Poet laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson’s masterpiece, which immortalized the light cavalry’s ill-fated charge against the Russian lines at the Battle of Balaclava, managed to capture the heroism and intensity of the riders, while also leveling severe criticism at the commanders who ordered the charge. In fact, the maneuver was a mistake from its inception, since the site of the assault was incorrectly relayed to the commander of the cavalry brigade. Because of an error in command, the light brigade assaulted a Russian line that easily destroyed their forces and wiped out significant numbers of the light brigade’s ranks.

Date: 1854 | Location: Balaclava, Crimea | Overarching Conflict: The Crimean War | Factions Involved: The United Kingdom and France against the Russian Empire | Troop Numbers: 670 British light cavalry against unknown numbers of Russian soldiers

Critical Error: Accidentally sending the brigade against a fully-manned and front-facing firing line | Casualties: 110 British cavalrymen killed, unknown Russian losses | Result: Extreme loss of light brigade personnel, lessened respect and trust in leadership

12

The Battle of Hattin

Jan 08, 2015
The Battle of Hattin

If there was ever any doubt that water is tantamount to gold in warfare, The Battle of Hattin should reaffirm the notion. In 1187, just before the Third Crusade for Jerusalem and the Holy Land, the Crusader forces were locked in combat with the Ayyubid Dynasty. These engagements came to a head when Saladin and his commanders managed to separate the Crusaders from their water source, leading to dehydration in such a scorching environment. Driven by extreme thirst and desperation, the Crusaders threw themselves at Saladin’s lines, only to be beaten back and pried apart during the course of the battle. After being captured, Saladin spared the top tier of commanders and executed the bulk of the fighting men, which effectively ended the crusading army’s existence. Saladin’s later acts of humiliation, such as sending an upside-down cross to Damascus, incensed the Christian forces enough to launch the Third Crusade.

Date: 1187 | Location: Modern-day Israel | Overarching Conflict: The Third Crusade | Factions Involved: Jerusalem, Antioch, the Knights Templar, the Knights Hospitalier, and the Order of Saint Lazarus against the Ayyubid Dynasty | Troop Numbers: 20,000 Crusader soldiers against 30,000 Ayyubid soldiers

Critical Error: Inability to secure a water source, which caused desperation and the collapse of order | Casualties: Unknown, but with far greater losses for Crusader forces | Result: Dissolution of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Saladin's rampant conquest of Crusader cities


GOAT Staff Score - Military Blunders

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Operation Scale (35%)Failure of Command (20%)Resulting Damage (20%)Historical Significance (15%)Public Remembrance (10%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
Operation Barbarossa 1210121211571150
The Battle of the Somme119310841855
Operation Market Garden9829937740
The Bay of Pigs Invasion3101171041730
The Winter War10548532700
The Battle of Tours54911635660
The Battle of Teutoburg Forest7782226595
The Battle of Flodden Field63105428585
Pickett’s Charge21174731560
The Great Siege of Gibraltar 8651121525
The Charge of the Light Brigade112131229460
The Battle of Hattin4166320400

GOAT Verdict:

Operation_Barbarossa_GOAT
Provoking a larger and better weaponized opponent defies the logic of war, but German command showed no regard for sensible action or the honoring of treaties when they launched Operation Barbarossa against Stalin’s Russia. Within months of the assault, Soviet forces were able to marshal and push back against the German lines, which had not gained enough ground to make the assault worthwhile. After losing their strongholds throughout Soviet territory, the Germans initiated a long and bloody campaign of scorched earth and withdrawal, losing untold numbers of troops to the extreme cold and fury of the Red Army. Years after beginning the operation, the last stronghold of Nazi Germany – the city of Berlin – fell to Allied troops, who were spearheaded by the westward-moving Red Army. With proper attention given to the weather, the fuel needs of mechanized divisions, and contingency plans for delayed action, the German army may have stood a chance on Soviet soil. But because these things were ignored, Operation Barbarossa lives in history as the greatest military blunder of all time.

0

Who is the greatest action movie hero of all time?

1

Model 101

Jan 07, 2015
Model 101

Nothing could be more perfect for an action film than a walking, talking, gun-toting machine. Model 101, better known as The Terminator, is one of the only non-human action heroes to become accepted into the folds of pop culture. In fact, he’s one of the only non-organic heroes, as well. Model 101 was initially sent back in time to kill John Connor, but in his best known role – as seen as The Terminator 2 – he serves as the reprogrammed protector of John and Sarah Connor, as well as one of the most stone-faced heroes to ever grace the genre. Model 101 survives numerous explosions, impalement by an advanced prototype, and being crushed multiple times, all while retaining his neutral expression and testosterone-fueled voice. In spite of his character being an emotionless machine, Model 101 is arguably the role that Arnold Schwarzenegger was born to play.

Most Recognizable Film Appearance: Terminator 2: Judgment Day | Played By: Arnold Schwarzenegger | Year of Release: 1991 | Director: James Cameron | Box Office Gross: $519.8 million

Defining Trait: Performing evasive maneuvers and shooting from a motorcycle without making facial expressions | Main Enemy: T-1000 Model | Most Memorable Action: Offering a final thumbs-up while descending into a pit of molten metal

2

Riddick

Jan 07, 2015
Riddick

Vin Diesel’s role in the action film genre has shifted numerous times throughout the years, with some of his most memorable roles found in The Fast and the Furious and xXx. Pitch Black, however, introduced Vin Diesel as an otherworldly warrior known as Riddick. Aside from being constantly hunted and possessing eyes that glowed in the dark, Riddick presented himself with a gravelly voice, a merciless combat style, and a fearless attitude that helped him to survive among convicts and subterranean creatures alike. In subsequent films, Riddick’s role was expanded and altered, but his core personality – defined by violence, speed, and survivability – changed remarkably little. Calling him a hero may be questionable, but in the eyes of the survivors that he helped to escape a doomed desert world, the title is well-earned.

Most Recognizable Film Appearance: Pitch Black | Played By: Vin Diesel | Year of Release: 2000 | Director: David Twohy | Box Office Gross: $53.1 million

Defining Trait: Luminous white eyes that grant nocturnal vision | Main Enemy: Winged, darkness-dwelling aliens | Most Memorable Action: Killing a fellow inmate using only a tea cup

3

John Rambo

Jan 07, 2015
John Rambo

Sylvester Stallone’s shirtless warrior, Rambo, is a perfect combination of 1980s action tropes. Characterized by his shirtless, muscular appearance and an omnipresent headband, Rambo is a compelling character because of his origins and the way in which he views combat. As the series’ first film title implies, Rambo’s motivation to fight back in First Blood comes from his wounding at the hands of a cruel police officer. His motives in the original film may not revolve around stopping a global threat or taking down a terrorist cell, but his methods rival that of any Navy SEAL operator, highlighting his skill with everything from a bow and arrow to a belt-fed machine gun. Rambo may be the ultimate example of a mindless, loud action film, but there’s a sense of beauty in its purity.

Most Recognizable Film Appearance: First Blood | Played By: Sylvester Stallone | Year of Release: 1982 | Director: Ted Kotcheff | Box Office Gross: $125.2 million

Defining Trait: Outshooting a marksman in a helicopter using his bow and arrow | Main Enemy: National Guard and State Police forces | Most Memorable Action: Cauterizing an open wound using gunpowder

4

Batman (Christian Bale version)

Jan 07, 2015
Batman (Christian Bale version)

Although Christian Bale’s Batman may be the target of jokes because of the character’s extreme voice, there’s no denying the intimidation factor and intensity in Christopher Nolan’s vision of the superhero. Marked by an impressively-designed suit of armor, a high-tech spin on Batman’s loadout and capabilities, and a brutal combat style that returned Batman to his nocturnal hunting origins, there are very few aspects of Christian Bale’s character that don’t belong in an action film. This incarnation of Batman is well-suited to a Gotham riddled by crime syndicates and violence, where an array of hand-to-hand combat techniques mesh with lightning-fast strikes from the darkness itself. Older generations of the Batman character may have played up his origins and commitment to justice, but Christian Bale’s Batman embodies the fearsome (and action-oriented) side of the caped crusader.

Most Recognizable Film Appearance: The Dark Knight | Played By: Christian Bale | Year of Release: 2008 | Director: Christopher Nolan | Box Office Gross: $1.05 billion

Defining Trait: Speaking in a raspy and hoarse voice | Main Enemy: The Joker | Most Memorable Action: Preventing Ra's al Ghul's runaway train from detonating within Gotham

5

John McClane

Jan 07, 2015
John McClane

When Die Hard was first released, it didn’t break many molds in regards to the action genre. Bruce Willis’s character, John McClane, was the standard detective with a martial problem and a cynical view of the world. But once the firing broke out in Nakatomi Plaza and McClane’s outer shirt came off, his true personality shined through. Full of wit, dry humor, and the shooting skills of a well-trained police officer, McClane represents the everyman with a dose of courage and world-weariness. In subsequent films, Willis played the role with an increasing dose of sardonic commentary, as well as a constant focus on McClane’s aging in relation to his back-breaking stunts. John McClane is not the action hero forged in the fires of special operations combat; he’s the action hero born from one extremely bad day in Nakatomi Plaza.

Most Recognizable Film Appearance: Die Hard | Played By: Bruce Willis | Year of Release: 1998 | Director: John McTiernan | Box Office Gross: $140.7 million

Defining Trait: Fighting through a terrorist-held building with a white tanktop and shoulder holster | Main Enemy: Hans Gruber's terrorist operatives | Most Memorable Action: Declaring he has new weapons by painting the message onto the corpse of a henchman

6

Jason Bourne

Jan 07, 2015
Jason Bourne

Finding a bank number tattooed on your neck is the start of a promising thriller, but this premise also sets off one of the most adrenaline-filled and clever action films in existence. The Bourne Identity was the beginning of Jason Bourne’s path to uncovering his origins and evading mysterious pursuers, but Bourne’s top-notch fighting abilities and masterful firearm usage immediately ramped up the thrills and cut out the monotony of the standard origin tale. Jason Bourne’s proficiency in self-defense, vehicular evasion, and international navigation are just a few of the things that propel him into the upper tier of action movie heroes. While most heroes rely on their muscles and a pair of sunglasses to define their character, Bourne profits from a life of avoiding attention, and using his low profile to seize his next opportunity.

Most Recognizable Film Appearance: The Bourne Identity | Played By: Matt Damon | Year of Release: 2002 | Director: Doug Liman | Box Office Gross: $214 million

Defining Trait: Able to turn anything from a pen to a leather-bound book into a melee weapon | Main Enemy: Operation Treadstone agents | Most Memorable Action: Disarming and incapacitating 2 members of the Zurich Police after being roused from sleep

7

Ellen Ripley

Jan 07, 2015
Ellen Ripley

With a cat on one shoulder and an alien-shredding pulse in her hands, Ellen Ripley became one of the most recognizable and unabashedly rugged women in the action genre. Her initial appearance in Ridley Scott’s Alien presented her as a capable and no-nonsense crew member onboard the Nostromo, and after a few pulse-pounding hours with the xenomorph specimen, she emerged as the lone survivor. Subsequent films added to the iconic value and survival prowess of Ripley, pitting her against everything from a human-alien hybrid to a queen alien (which she battled in a powered exo-suit, no less). Ripley’s hardened exterior and terse dialogue offers no apologies for her social skills, which carries a no-nonsense edge that could rival or surpass any contemporary action hero. She may not be the most intimidating action hero to grace the screen, but she’s certainly one of the toughest.

Most Recognizable Film Appearance: Alien | Played By: Sigourney Weaver | Year of Release: 1986 | Director: James Cameron | Box Office Gross: $180 million

Defining Trait: Ability to wield a pulse-rifle | Main Enemy: Xenomorphs | Most Memorable Action: Blasting a queen alien into outer space with the use of an airlock

8

James Bond (Sean Connery version)

Jan 07, 2015
James Bond (Sean Connery version)

The unrivaled master of suaveness and style under fire is Bond – James Bond. Starring in countless films and played by a staggering number of actors, this English spy has more than proven himself as a veteran of both espionage and action films. Sean Connery’s Bond, in particular, is the epitome of staying cool and collected while on duty. Whether in a skiing gun battle, the clutches of a mastermind’s laser contraption, or beside a “Bond girl” in a Shanghai pub, Bond serves as a paragon of the genre, and makes as much use of his martial arts prowess as his endless list of gadgets. Connery’s version of Bond is arguably the most charming and confident agent of the series, marked by the distinctive accent and smirk that spelled doom for any domination-seeking villain or his henchmen.

Most Recognizable Film Appearance: Dr. No | Played By: Sean Connery | Year of Release: 1962 | Director: Terence Young | Box Office Gross: $59.5 million

Defining Trait: Taking martinis shaken, not stirred | Main Enemy: Dr. Julius No, among other masterminds | Most Memorable Action: Escaping from a vertically-encroaching laser beam

9

Lee

Jan 07, 2015
Lee

Nobody who grew up in the age of Bruce Lee could ignore the tremendous talent and dedication of the martial arts legend. Responsible for bringing martial arts to the masses and capturing the fury of his craft on film, Bruce Lee’s skill set made him the ideal choice for a character based around martial arts perfection. Lee, the protagonist of Enter the Dragon, took on an illegal brothel operation with little more than his feet and his fists, and won. The result is a fast-moving, harder-hitting warrior with a body as sharp and toned as his combat maneuvers, as well as one of the best hand-to-hand action heroes of all time. In recent years, action films – particularly from Asia – have harkened back to Lee and his swift, unarmed method of fighting.

Most Recognizable Film Appearance: Enter the Dragon | Played By: Bruce Lee | Year of Release: 1973 | Director: Robert Clouse | Box Office Gross: $25 million

Defining Trait: Dispatching multiple opponents without any weapons (or a shirt) | Main Enemy: Mr. Han and his henchmen | Most Memorable Action: Defeating Mr. Han in a hall of dizzying mirrors

10

Katniss Everdeen

Jan 07, 2015
Katniss Everdeen

Young adult fiction is generally not cited as the birthplace of memorable action heroes, primarily because it has a tendency to gloss over some of the action genre’s hallmark violence. The Hunger Games is a rare exception in this regard, since it’s both comfortable and willing to portray the violence of its titular arena competition. Katniss Everdeen, the young underdog from an impoverished district of society, quickly rose to action hero fame with her skillful bow shots and resourcefulness on the battlefield. Despite competing with fellow competitors who could kill her without mercy, Katniss Everdeen’s policy in battle was one of magnanimity and, in some cases, mercy. Rather than succumbing to the kill-or-be-killed nature of the games, her focus remained on the true enemy: those who had orchestrated the competition. Considering Katniss’s unique blend of combat and compassion, it’s no wonder she’s a leader among action heroes.

Most Recognizable Film Appearance: The Hunger Games | Played By: Jennifer Lawrence | Year of Release: 2012 | Director: Gary Ross | Box Office Gross: $691.2 million

Defining Trait: Extreme marksmanship with a bow | Main Enemy: Fellow district-born competitors in the annual Hunger Games | Most Memorable Action: Using an arrow to detonate a ring of mines around an enemy encampment

11

Max Rockatansky

Jan 07, 2015
Max Rockatansky

Something about a supercharged police cruiser, a crop of loosely-shaven facial hair, and a fully loaded shotgun just feels right in an action movie. Max Rockatansky, better known as Mad Max, was the prevailing enforcer of law and order in a post-apocalyptic Australia. Mel Gibson’s character was a force to be reckoned with, policing the wasteland in a mix of death-defying car handling, visceral shootouts, and harsh but necessary judgment. In the original film’s sequel, The Road Warrior, Max took on a band of water-seeking barbarians, and managed to pack a shocking amount of explosions, one-liners, and stunt crashes into just 96 minutes. Mel Gibson’s legendary and gruff performance helped to solidify Mad Max as a wanderer, a warrior, and one of the genre’s greatest heroes.

Most Recognizable Film Appearance: Mad Max | Played By: Mel Gibson | Year of Release: 1979 | Director: George Miller | Box Office Gross: $99.7 million AUD

Defining Trait: Patrolling with a sawed-off shotgun and black leather uniform | Main Enemy: Nightrider's motorcycle gang | Most Memorable Action: Forcing an enemy gang leader's vehicle into an oncoming truck

12

Harry Callahan

Jan 07, 2015
Harry Callahan

Asking somebody if they feel lucky has never been – and will never be – as cool as Clint Eastwood’s rendition of the question. Harry Callahan, the leading character of the Dirty Harry series, is one of the most hard-boiled detectives ever put to film, and practically oozes with concentrated grit. The first film in the series, appropriately titled Dirty Harry, saw Callahan hunting the killer known as Scorpio. Nothing was off the proverbial table, including torture or a shoot-out chase through a crowded area, and Callahan’s drive to take down the killer couldn’t be dampened by bullet wounds or a leg full of shotgun pellets. Dirty Harry single-handedly popularized the revolver for a modern audience, and tossed “punk” back into the pop culture lexicon for decades to come.

Most Recognizable Film Appearance: Dirty Harry | Played By: Clint Eastwood | Year of Release: 1971 | Director: Don Siegel | Box Office Gross: $35.9 million

Defining Trait: Carrying a Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver | Main Enemy: The serial killer Scorpio | Most Memorable Action: Tempting a suspect to find out how many rounds were left in his revolver


GOAT Staff Score - Action Movie Hero

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Fighting Ability (30%)Charisma (20%)Weapon Handling (20%)Durability (15%)Pop Culture Legacy (15%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
Model 101125812946935
Riddick99115236775
John Rambo6112111141770
Batman106410737755
John McClane511104838750
Jason Bourne11397333720
Ellen Ripley8776634700
James Bond212531234625
Lee74181030580
Katniss Everdeen31069129560
Max Rockatansky4232516325
Harry Callahan1821416305

GOAT Verdict:

Model 101 is the Greatest Action Movie Hero of All Time
There’s little to be said about Model 101 that cannot be gleaned from simply looking at him. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chiseled face and shades-concealed eyes provided the perfect humanoid appearance to The Terminator, allowing the audience to connect with the machine despite the menacing skeleton beneath. Model 101’s immortal one-liners, whether in the original (where he played the villain) or the subsequent sequels, were just one of the things that resonated strongly throughout the film. Model 101 represents the ultimate form of strength, durability, and detached coolness in the action movie genre, and his atypical personality – a slow and fumbling attempt to connect with humans – makes for one of the most enjoyable action heroes in years. Of course, Model 101 also has the added benefit of being a manifestation of redemption, since his reprogrammed mission objectives and eventual friendship with John Connor lead him to garner as much humanity as sympathy. Model 101 has it all: an ultra-strong metal frame, a mind built for shooting and destroying, a deadpan comedic delivery, and the honor of being the greatest action movie hero of all time.

0

What is the greatest film location of all time?

1

Mt. Doom - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Jan 05, 2015
Mt. Doom - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The entire roster of phenomenal locations for the Lord Of The Rings saga could be included as its own entry. Peter Jackson’s sprawling trilogy saw the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand stand in for Tolkien’s Middle-Earth; their rich, lush lands and jaw-dropping vistas providing the ideal setting for Frodo and his fellowship. The highlight of their journey is without a doubt the gigantic Mount Doom, located in the huge Tongariro National Park. Referred to by tour guides and locals by its proper name - Mount Ngauruhoe - the towering conical mountain consists mainly of ash which makes the six-hour jaunt to its top a hike only the most dedicated fans can manage. The park itself, which is recognisable as the land of Mordor, still provides some of the most beautiful views in the entire country.

Film: Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King | Movie Location: Mordor | Real Location: Tongariro National Park, New Zealand | First Appearance: When the Fellowship reach their final destination.

Release: December 17th, 2003 | Director: Peter Jackson | Genre: Fantasy | IMDB: 8.9 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 95 % (86%)

2

The Field - Field Of Dreams

Jan 05, 2015
The Field - Field Of Dreams

Kevin Costner’s struggling Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella risks his livelihood when he opts to construct a baseball field in his backyard. Shrugging off the advice of his wife Annie, and her nagging brother-in-law, he turfs over his cornfield at the advice of a mysterious voice telling him “If you build it, he will come.” Before long, the ghosts of baseball past pay him a visit to relive their glory days on the field.

Created specifically by the filmmakers on the grounds of a family farm in Dyersville, IA, the site of Kinsella’s revelations about his father come to life in the confines of the baseball diamond. It’s the centrepiece of the entire movie, its story and characters all interwoven by its very existence that’s about more than just the nation’s favourite pastime but the possibility of reconciling with loved ones.

Film: Field Of Dreams | Movie Location: The Kinsellas farm | Real Location: A farm in Dyersville, Iowa | First Appearance: When Ray completes construction on the field.

Release: January 1st, 1989 | Director: Phil Alden Robinson | Genre: Fantasy Drama | IMDB: 7.6 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 87% (87%)

3

The Firehouse - Ghostbusters

Jan 05, 2015
The Firehouse - Ghostbusters

Establishing their spook huntin’ business, the trio of Ghostbusters set about finding the perfect headquarters for their operation that suits their limited budget. An abandoned fire station in New York City fits the bill, offering their wacky personas an equally-bonkers homestead. The towering building is showcased during a large part of their ‘rise to fame’ montage, as the team jump out of bed and wrestle with the fireman’s pole (“You gotta try this!” yells Ray at one point) before piling into their car ECTO-1. Located in Tribeca, New York the ‘Hook & Ladder 8’ station is still a fully-functional fire house complete with firefighters. Still a mecca for fans of the movie, who trek to its location every year to catch a glimpse of the infamous HQ - now complete with a Ghostbusters logo painted on the sidewalk.

Film: Ghostbusters | Movie Location: Ghostbusters HQ | Real Location: Hook And Ladder 8 Firehouse, New York City | First Appearance: The Ghostbusters finally find a new place for their base of operations.

Release: June 1st, 1984 | Director: Ivan Reitman | Genre: Comedy | IMDB: 7.8 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 97% (88%)

4

The Fountain - La Dolce Vita

Jan 05, 2015
The Fountain - La Dolce Vita

Nicola Salvi’s beautiful 18th-century piece made its way onto the big screen in Roman Holiday, and even influenced the title of Three Coins In The Fountain. It was however in 1960, when Federico Fellini asked his voluptuous leading lady Anita Ekberg to step into the exhibit and bathe herself, that Salvi’s landmark became instantly recognisable to millions of moviegoers. Situated in Rome’s Trevi District, The Trevi Fountain has long since been a place where people have trekked in the hopes of reliving Ekberg’s moment. Alas, it’s forbidden to enter the fountain itself now, so throwing a few pennies in for good luck is the next best thing for the countless fans who visit the Baroque masterpiece year after year.

Film: La Dolce Vita | Movie Location: The fountain | Real Location: The Trevi Fountain | First Appearance: When Sylvia and Marcello party throughout Rome one evening.

Release: April 19th, 1961 | Director: Federico Fellini | Genre: Drama | IMDB: 8.1 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 96% (91%)

5

The Church - The Graduate

Jan 05, 2015
The Church - The Graduate

In his quest for true romance, Benjamin Braddock behaves how most of us have been instructed to since we were young; he raises his voice in a church, and during a wedding no less! Heading to the United Methodist Church where his paramour, Elaine, is about to become legally bound to another, he storms upstairs as the love of his life is on the cusp of saying “I do.” His fists slam against the glass as he cries her name over and over until she reciprocates and the reunited pair flee. The actual church is located in La Verne, California some thirty miles east of Los Angeles and still stands today - often receiving many visitors keen to replicate the legendary ending of the movie.

Film: The Graduate | Movie Location: The church where Elaine is getting married | Real Location: United Methodist Church, La Verne, California | First Appearance: When Benjamin tries to stop the nuptials.

Release: December 22nd, 1967 | Director: Mike Nichols | Genre: Drama | IMDB: 8.1 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 88% (90%)

6

Katz’s Deli - When Harry Met Sally

Jan 05, 2015
Katz’s Deli - When Harry Met Sally

The diner is a chunk of perfect Americana that remains a well-loved aspect of nostalgia and therefore served as the ideal backdrop for Meg Ryan’s passionate outburst in When Harry Met Sally. You know the one we’re talking about. The movie’s most memorable moment - a louder-than-bombs fake orgasm - happens in a regular diner. Katz’s Deli on Houston Street to be precise.

A New York staple that still attracts countless tourists to this day, many flock to sample the pastrami on rye, while the majority of movie fans are keen to sit in Sally’s chair below a sign of the immortal line “I’ll have what she’s having.” Perhaps a worthy addition to the list because of its classic, timeless status, Rob Reiner’s 1989 rom-com legend made the everyday surroundings of a low-key eatery into the place where massive life revelations occur.

Film: When Harry Met Sally | Movie Location: A diner the couple visit for lunch | Real Location: Katz's Deli, New York City | First Appearance: When Harry and Sally meet for lunch.

Release: July 21st, 1989 | Director: Rob Reiner | Genre: Comedy | IMDB: 7.6 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 88% (89%)

7

Manhattan - Manhattan

Jan 05, 2015
Manhattan - Manhattan

Woody Allen’s love affair with the Big Apple has seen his whimsical characters explore life and love throughout its five boroughs across the decades. But it’s his loyalty to the island of Manhattan that led to one of his most iconic shots ever captured. The success of the scene’s composition meant the crisp take of Allen and Diane Keaton sat on a bench became the central artwork motif for the film’s poster campaign. The simple idea, of two friends talking before sunrise, is made all the more spectacular by the lights of the Queensborough Bridge behind them. A pair of shadows cast against the ebbing morning light, the bridge looming in the background, it’s a romantic ideal perfectly brought to life by one of Manhattan’s most charming vistas.

Film: Manhattan | Movie Location: The scene of an evening date | Real Location: Queensborough Bridge, New York City | First Appearance: When the pair sit for a chat during an evening stroll.

Release: April 25th, 1979 | Director: Woody Allen | Genre: Comedy Drama | IMDB: 8.0 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 98% (92%)

8

The Steps - The Exorcist

Jan 05, 2015
The Steps - The Exorcist

A sinister scene at the climax of The Exorcist pauses on the steep staircase situated outside the homestead of possessed pre-teen, Regan McNeil. While the major events of the film itself - head-spinning and pea soup-spitting - take place within the confines of the home, it’s the set of stone stairs outside the abode which lays claim to the film’s scariest moments. The steps, which were a crucial component of several characters’ deaths, are situated outside the house at 3600 Prospect Street in Washington, D.C. Much like the rest of the film they’re found in the Georgetown district of the city, where the exteriors of the McNeil home were shot. An eerie mecca for film fans the world over, the site is still visited to this day by hordes of Exorcist nerds eager for a photo opportunity.

Film: The Exorcist | Movie Location: The steps outside the McNeil home | Real Location: Georgetown, Washington D.C. | First Appearance: During an establishing shot of the house.

Release: December 26th, 1973 | Director: William Friedkin | Genre: Horror | IMDB: 8.0 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 87% (87%)

9

Tiffany And Co. - Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Jan 05, 2015
Tiffany And Co. - Breakfast at Tiffany’s

The opening sequence of Breakfast at Tiffany’s follows a yellow New York taxi as it pulls up to the corner of 57th Street and drops off Holly Golightly outside the famed jewellers. Gazing through the window in her over-sized sunglasses, nibbling on a pastry and sipping a coffee, so begins one of the only scenes throughout the movie where we learn something of the mystery surrounding Holly. When later describing her regular visits to the store as a relaxing measure, she says “Well, when I get it, the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it. Nothing very bad could happen to you there.” Considering the store name is in the title of the movie, you’d expect it to make an appearance, and so the owners of the hallmark jewellers opened for the first Sunday in DECADES to let filmmakers inside.

Film: Breakfast at Tiffany's | Movie Location: Tiffany and Co. | Real Location: The real Tiffany and Co., New York City| First Appearance: The film's opening scene.

Release: October 5th, 1961 | Director: Blake Edwards | Genre: Drama | IMDB: 7.8 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 87% (91%)

10

The Museum Steps - Rocky

Jan 05, 2015
The Museum Steps - Rocky

The epic training montage in Rocky features one of the best locations in cinematic history. As the tortured, and pushed-to-the-limit Balboa finishes up his regimen the sequence culminates in his charge up and down the steps of the Philadelphia Museum Of Art. The building itself stands in the background; it’s the slats of stone he races up and down that are the real draw. Serving to literally represent his rise to the top, the inclusion of the museum into the movie was a stroke of genius that bound together story, theme and character. It’s no wonder the local government created a Rocky statue at the base of the steps to commemorate such a pivotal moment in movie lore.

Film: Rocky | Movie Location: A part of Rocky's training regime | Real Location: The steps outside the Philadelphia Museum Of Art | First Appearance: During Rocky's exercise montage.

Release: November 21st, 1976 | Director: John Avildsen | Genre: Drama | IMDB: 8.1 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 92% (68%)


GOAT Staff Score - Film Location

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Aesthetics (30%)Role In Film (25%)Legacy (25%)Atmosphere (20%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
Lord Of The Rings10108937930
Field Of Dreams7951031760
Ghostbusters589729715
La Dolce Vita867526665
The Graduate373619460
When Harry Met Sally4210117440
Manhattan932216435
The Exorcist251816370
Breakfast At Tiffany's146415360
Rocky614314365

GOAT Verdict:

Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings is the Greatest Film Location of All Time
The task of bringing to life Tolkien’s magical world of Middle Earth could easily have been conjured up via a mix of CGI and green screen trickery. Being a Kiwi, there was no way director Peter Jackson would have given up the chance to showcase his majestic homeland on the big screen. The vast plains, scenic vistas and breathtaking mountainous landscapes breathed life into the intricate story of triumph, and the final showdown in the dark realm of Mordor could not have been possible without filming at Tongariro National Park. Itself a sprawling site, the location’s topography is instantly recognisable by its dominant peak of Mount Ngauruhoe. A towering monument, that translated to the big screen as Mount Doom – the location of Frodo’s final challenge – its majestic beauty provided the Lord Of The Rings saga with a truly memorable location.

0

What is the greatest movie one-liner of all time?

1

"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse."

Jan 02, 2015 - youtube.com - 84
"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse."

In a film series focused around an overtly violent lifestyle, it was refreshing and eloquent to see a veiled threat. Vito Corleone, the head of a massive and nearly omnipotent crime family, fulfilled his promise of getting his relative an acting role in the most sadistic and brutal way possible, and it all began with this delicately-phrased line. In spite of the many ethical codes that accompanied the Corleone family and its violence, the use of decapitations on horses was evidently not prohibited, and its appearance in the ensuing scenes retroactively empowered Vito’s line. The line was a beautiful and shocking way to demonstrate how much power came with the family title, and managed to make a point without crossing into blatant shock value. And although it may just be a coincidence, modern day Hollywood directors own far fewer racehorses.

Film: The Godfather | Release: 1972 | Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Box Office Gross: $245 to $286 million

Actor & Character: Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone | Context: Euphemistically describing Vito's plan to coerce a studio head into cooperation.

2

"I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."

Jan 02, 2015 - youtube.com - 76
"I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."

Thanks to the free advertising in Silence of the Lambs, fava beans have reentered dining rooms around the world, and Chianti is poured with a mandatory recreation of Anthony Hopkins’s infamous line. Delivered during Clarice Starling’s visit to the cell of Hannibal Lecter, this line put a chill into every member of the audience, and left an impression of Anthony Hopkins’s terrifying stare in the minds of all future viewers. Although Hopkins played a sociopathic cannibal with more skill than most actors could summon, his defining moment came with this line, where he completely sold his character and struck fear into the hearts of census takers everywhere. Something about Hannibal Lecter’s judicious reveals of courtesy and viciousness made him a figure of cinematic legend, and Anthony Hopkins’s line made him a cinematic nightmare.

Film: Silence of the Lambs | Release: 1991 | Director: Jonathan Demme | Box Office Gross: $272.7 million

Actor & Character: Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter | Context: Describing the fate of a census taker who probed too far into the cannibalistic Dr. Lecter's private life.

3

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

Jan 02, 2015 - youtube.com - 79
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

This line has nested comfortably in the top tier of film quotes since its inception, and its praise is far from undeserved. After the lengthy and absorbing experience of Gone with the Wind, in which Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler tempted the audience with a satisfying romance that never truly solidified, the need for an emotionally powerful and resolving scene was greater than ever. When Rhett finally gathers the courage to push away Scarlett, whose concerns immediately fall to her own wellbeing and how she will maintain her status, he proceeded to offer his own rebuttal to her protests. The line was callous and harsh, but it felt entirely earned, considering the toying nature of their relationship and the need for clarity. Rhett’s statement was more than just a shove back against Scarlett’s pleas; it was a much-needed moment of agency and character determination.

Film: Gone with the Wind | Release: 1939 | Director: Victor Fleming | Box Office Gross: $390 million

Actor & Character: Clark Gable as Rhett Butler | Context: Dismissing the concerns of Rhett's unrequited love, Scarlett O'Hara.

4

"What we've got here is failure to communicate."

Jan 02, 2015 - youtube.com - 95
"What we've got here is failure to communicate."

Communication may be the cornerstone of any good relationship, but this line – delivered by an oppressive chain-gang warden in Cool Hand Luke – challenges that notion. The eponymous Luke, an up-and-coming rebel within the prison system, found his perfect opponent in the order-worshipping Captain. After failing to obey orders while on a chain-gang march, Luke was subjected to a beating, and subsequently informed of the root of his disagreements with authority figures. The shaky, almost unassuming nature of the line’s delivery only heightened its absurdity, and succeeded in fostering both disdain and admiration for The Captain. As the film progressed and the contest for the prisoners’ respect grew between Luke and The Captain, one thing became abundantly clear: on a practical as well as ideological, the conflict was always about the failure to communicate.

Film: Cool Hand Luke | Release: 1967 | Director: Stuart Rosenberg | Box Office Gross: $16.2 million

Actor & Character: Strother Martin as The Captain | Context: Understating the conflict between Luke, a rebellious prisoner, and The Captain, a cruel warden in charge of a chain-gang.

5

"Go ahead, make my day."

Jan 02, 2015 - youtube.com - 76
"Go ahead, make my day."

There was never much dispute about Clint Eastwood’s tough-as-nails acting abilities, particularly in his desperado roles, but the character of Harry Callahan redefined what it meant to be “hardcore.” Sudden Impact was the fourth in a series of films featuring the detective, and one of the earliest scenes in the film – an attempted hold-up in a diner – highlighted Callahan’s ability to remain steady and lethal under pressure. After Callahan’s nigh-equally amusing reference to his three-man combat team (“Smith, Wesson, and I”), he dispatched a group of gunmen, leaving only one would-be thief alive. When the last gunman took a hostage, Callahan was quick to inform him of the punishment for harming an innocent bystander, and how much enjoyment he would receive from firing a revolver bullet in return. With no other options, and Callahan’s iron-hot stare burning into his eyes, the gunman released the hostage and allowed himself to be arrested by waiting officers. Clint Eastwood’s delivery was cold, calm, and even a bit sadistic – but it certainly achieved its goals.

Film: Sudden Impact | Release: 1983 | Director: Clint Eastwood | Box Office Gross: $67.6 million

Actor & Character: Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan | Context: Daring an armed gunman to harm a hostage, thereby justifying Callahan's retribution with his characteristic revolver.

6

“I love the smell of Napalm in the morning.”

Jan 02, 2015 - youtube.com - 91
“I love the smell of Napalm in the morning.”

Francis Ford Coppola’s renowned novel-to-film adaptations took him from American mafia dealings to the jungles of Vietnam, and he presented all of his settings and characters with amazing depth. This adherence to artistic vision and cinematic excellence was especially true in Apocalypse Now, where the bizarre nature of war was on full display, and was deeply explored in the minds of the film’s soldiers. When Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore reached the beachheads that he had recently bombed (to the tune of a Wagner operatic melody, no less), his first observation pertained to the aroma of warfare. The Lieutenant Colonel delivered the line while wandering among the smoldering, flame-spouting ruins of the beach and its nearby village, and the satisfaction on his face only served to further define Kilgore’s twisted character.

Film: Apocalypse Now | Release: 1979 | Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Box Office Gross: $150 million

Actor & Character: Robert Duvall as Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore | Context: Praising the "aroma" of a beachhead covered in burning napalm.

7

“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… And I’m all out of bubblegum.”

Jan 02, 2015 - youtube.com - 85
“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… And I’m all out of bubblegum.”

John Carpenter wasn’t exactly known for his prowess in directing drama films, but They Live was proof that memorable lines can come from any genre. Centered around an intangible takeover of the Earth by skeletal-looking aliens (which can only be spotted by the drifter Nada’s new pair of sunglasses), the plot is a satiric and over-the-top romp through 1980s America and its media fascination. When Nada, played by Roddy Piper, enters a bank with a shotgun in hand, the ridiculousness reaches a boiling point. Surrounded by stunned-looking customers and clerks alike, Nada delivers his infamous line, spots the disguised aliens in the crowd, and opens fire with a hail of shotgun pellets. The sheer insanity of the scene – including its comically evil alien makeup – undercuts the shooting’s violence, and perfectly encapsulates They Live’s fascination with the divide between reality and warped media depictions.

Film: They Live | Release: 1988 | Director: John Carpenter | Box Office Gross: $13 million

Actor & Character: Roddy Piper as Nada | Context: Entering a crowded bank to dispatch aliens, which have cleverly hidden among the human population.

8

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

Jan 02, 2015 - youtube.com - 72
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

Dorothy Gale’s first experience of Oz and its strange surroundings needed no dialogue, since the world’s presentation was strong enough to enchant the viewer and set the stage for the story with ease. One of the first lines spoken by Dorothy (played by Judy Garland), however, managed to capture the innocence and charm of her character with only a few words. It was uttered with Toto close at hand, and a stare full of the mysticism and foreignness of Oz. The line was memorable because it made no particular effort to stand out in the viewer’s mind. Despite its matter-of-fact nature, it was an endearing way to introduce the scene and establish a tone for the world of Oz, as well as scoring some extra points for the use of an adorable dog.

Film: The Wizard of Oz | Release: 1939 | Director: Victor Fleming | Box Office Gross: $3 million

Actor & Character: Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale | Context: Expressing Dorothy's confusion after her transportation to the land of Oz.

9

“This is Sparta!”

Jan 02, 2015 - youtube.com - 82
“This is Sparta!”

It was truly the kick heard ‘round the world. With one furious proclamation to a Persian messenger and his assistants, Gerard Butler became one of the most quoted men in movie history. Part of the line’s power came from the film’s pre-release trailers, which paired the messenger’s slow-motion descent into a bottomless pit with the thumping electronic music of Nine Inch Nails, but another aspect of its memorable presentation was the lead-up to Butler’s line. An exchange with increasing tension provided the perfect backdrop for Leonidas’s explosion of anger, and Zack Snyder’s hyper-stylized vision of Spartan combat made the scene feel dreamlike but engaging. Although Gerard Butler put in the necessary work to look like a Spartan warrior, it was his dedication to the passion (and rage) of King Leonidas that sold the scene as a whole.

Film: 300 | Release: 2007 | Director: Zack Snyder | Box Office Gross: $456 million

Actor & Character: Gerard Butler as King Leonidas | Context: Sending a message to the Persian emperor, Xerxes, in the form of an executed messenger.

10

“Say hello to my little friend!”

Jan 02, 2015 - youtube.com - 74
“Say hello to my little friend!”

In the years prior to Scarface, Al Pacino may not have been considered the top choice for playing a Cuban-American drug lord, but it’s hard to imagine anybody else in the role nowadays. His performance as Tony Montana was memorable and thoroughly enjoyable, and part of the brilliance relied upon Pacino’s ability to sink into Montana’s lifestyle of violence and decadence in a believable manner. With a smearing of cocaine on his face and a machine gun in hand, Pacino delivered one of the greatest opening lines to a fight scene in action movie history, and initiated the battle with his “friend” – a rifle-mounted grenade launcher. The line was overcharged with Pacino’s raw anger, and the chaos and high production values of the ensuing explosion were enough to elevate the line’s quoting potential for years to come.

Film: Scarface | Release: 1983 | Director: Brian de Palma | Box Office Gross: $65.9 million

Actor & Character: Al Pacino as Tony Montana | Context: Preparing to fire a rifle-mounted grenade into a group of enemy gunmen.

11

"You're gonna need a bigger boat."

Jan 02, 2015 - youtube.com - 88
"You're gonna need a bigger boat."

For viewers of Jaws in its first theatrical run, the terror of imagining an unstoppable shark in the ocean was enough to drive swimmers out of the water for years to come. Over the years, more “intense” films have made Jaws seem less terrifying in retrospect, but many of its scenes and moments of slow-burning tension still hold up under scrutiny. One of these moments is the delivery of Roy Scheider’s ad-libbed line, which replaced a far more generic recommendation of escape. The certainty and terror in Scheider’s voice was what ultimately made the line work, and in spite of the film’s age, something about the statement continues to resonate with modern audiences. People may have been forced out of the ocean because of Jaws’s underwater scenes, but a fair amount of fishermen were probably dissuaded by this moment in particular.

Film: Jaws | Release: 1975 | Director: Steven Spielberg | Box Office Gross: $470.6 million

Actor & Character: Roy Scheider as Martin Brody | Context: Advising the fishing crew to adopt a larger vessel, considering the size of the great white shark circling them.

12

“I know Kung-Fu.”

Jan 02, 2015 - youtube.com - 73
“I know Kung-Fu.”

A film series like The Matrix was praised and criticized for its exploration of deep – and often heavy – thematic content. Themes such as the nature of reality, the convergence of technology and everyday life, and the disintegration of identity were all present and alive in The Matrix, but they were also joined by grin-inducing one-liners. After Neo (as played by Keanu Reeves) was given access to files with martial arts training, he woke up with a very distinct thought, which would later be explored in a fight scene with Morpheus. The line was enough to offset some of the bleak and unsettling content of the surrounding scenes, and the unexpected nature of his new skill set helped to show off exactly what an active neural uplink (and Neo) could accomplish.

Film: The Matrix | Release: 1999 | Director: The Wachowski Brothers | Box Office Gross: $463.5 million

Actor & Character: Keanu Reeves as Neo | Context: Explaining Neo's newfound martial arts abilities, which were uploaded directly into his mind.


GOAT Staff Score - Movie One-Liner

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Acting Delivery (30%)Characterization Value (25%)Legacy (25%)Quotability (10%)Shock Value (10%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
"Make him an offer..."1291186461000
"I ate his liver..."1111871249995
"Frankly...I don't give a damn."931261040805
"…Failure to communicate."10793332760
“Smell of napalm...”86651136700
“Go ahead, make my day.”510410837680
“...chew bubblegum...kick ass…”11239934585
"...not in Kansas anymore."72104124560
“This is Sparta!”48211732550
“Say hello to my little friend!”35512530510
"…Gonna need a bigger boat."6472221495
"I know Kung-Fu."211149160

GOAT Verdict:

Greatest Movie One-Liner of All Time
Electing this quote as the champion was something that couldn’t be refused. Marlon Brando, a veteran of the acting world, pulled out all the stops in his performance as Vito Corleone. The Godfather is largely considered to be Brando’s magnum opus, as well as Francis Ford Coppola’s. The characters in these films were handled with style and class, and part of their intimidation came from their reluctance to openly discuss violence or bloodshed. Deeds were committed in shadows, and talks were punctuated by sips of wine or bites of spaghetti. Vito Corleone’s line was delivered with a velvety-smooth tone, but the intentions – and subsequent actions – behind his assurance are anything but smooth. By merely mentioning that the offer can’t be refused, the audience was already on edge, waiting to see what method of coercion would be used to shoehorn Johnny Fontane into his next role. Vito’s approach to business and brutality was glossy and shrouded in mystery, but it apparently always succeeded, since he holds the honor of delivering the greatest one-liner of all time.

0

What is the greatest mountain of all time?

1

Mount Everest

Dec 31, 2014
Mount Everest

If you live on planet Earth and know anything about geography, chances are you’re familiar with the towering specter that is Mount Everest, even if you’ve never seen it in person. This mountain is actually the tallest on Earth, towering at a massive 29,029 feet above sea level, and it is one of the highest points on Earth overall. It is located in the Himalayan Mountains, and it’s one of the most climbed, most sought-out, and most talked-about mountains ever. There have been a fair share of tragedies on this mountain, especially those that took place in 1996 when eight climbers died camping out on the side of the slope, and another fifteen were killed in an avalanche, and the location is not ideal for seeing a bunch of other sights, since it’s smack dab in the middle of the Himalayan range. However, it can be seen from most of Nepal and Tibet, and for those who do decide to make the climb, it is something memorable that will last a lifetime.

Location: Between Nepal and Tibet | Range: The Himalayas | Height: 29,029 ft. | Climate: Very cold and unpredictable

Nearby Attractions: The rest of the Himalayan mountains | Legend: Everything above 26,000 feet is called the death zone because of the extremely low temperatures and low amount of oxygen | Fun Fact: In 1996 eight climbers died, and then later 15 people were killed in an avalanche

2

Matterhorn

Dec 31, 2014
Matterhorn

This awesome mountain, located between Italy and Switzerland in the Pennine section of the Swiss Alps, towers above all the rest at a staggering 14,692 feet. For years people in both countries saw the peak and wanted to climb it, but feared it would be totally impossible because of the height and the distance from the beginning of the range on either side. Finally, in the mid1800s, the Swiss surmounted the peak for the first time, after one failed attempt, and when they were successful, the Italians did the same, just to prove they could. This mountain has become a staple of the Alps, and the tall and bent peak has come to symbolize the rich tradition of Swiss culture in general. The Matterhorn is right by two lovely countries, it is beautiful, and it is an excellent climb to make in the spring or summer. It is also one of the tallest and most impressive mountains out there.
Location: Border of Switzerland and Italy | Range: Pennine Alps | Height: 14,692 ft. | Climate: Rapid weather changes, lots of snow

Nearby Attractions: Other mountains in the alps to climb and the Swiss and Italian countryside | Legend: Until it was first climbed, it was feared for its shape and how intense it looked, and thought to be otherworldly. | Fun Fact: The Swiss were the first to climb, and not to be outdone, the Italians followed suite a few months later, so that the mountain was climbed by both bordering countries.

3

Kilimanjaro

Dec 31, 2014
Kilimanjaro

These huge mountain in African Tanzania is special because it is the tallest free-standing peak in the world, not just on the African continent. This mountain reaches 19,341 feet, and it is not a part of any particular mountain range, it is located on the plains of the desert. It is right near the idyllic small African town of Moshi, which is another great attraction to visit in the area in addition to the surrounding nature. Technically, this is a dormant volcanic mountain, as it is topped by three cones that are inactive as of today. The name means “mountain of greatness” or “mountain of caravans” in the native tongue of the Wakamba people, due to its towering size. The peak of Kilimanjaro is so high that it is one of the only places in Africa to receive regular snow, and there is usually unpredictable weather on the top. This mountain is a great climb and the best and highest attraction on the African continent.

Location: Tanzania | Range: Free-standing, no range | Height: 19,341 ft. | Climate: warm and sunny, arid, volcanic, icy cap on top
Nearby Attractions: Near the idyllic town of Moshi | Legend: Legend has it that ancient people called it "Njaro" meaning "shining" - which may be the true origin of the name | Fun Fact: These volcanoes are still active today

4

Mauna Loa

Dec 31, 2014
Mauna Loa

Technically, this is not a mountain, because it is an active volcano, which is why it rises to 30,085 feet, even higher than Mount Everest, but is not considered to be the tallest mountain in the world. This is one of the five volcanos that formed the island of Hawaii, and today, since it has been dormant since the 80s, it is an attraction for climbing and exploring, as well as one of the great sights to be seen in Hawaii. It is also right near the wonderful beaches and cities of this small but idyllic island. The name means “long mountain,” and although it is a climbing spot for many, it still poses some threat, as it may erupt again and it is hard to determine exactly when this will happen. However, this mountain makes the skyline in Hawaii absolutely beautiful and breathtaking, and sets the tone for whole state.

Location: One of the five volcanoes that make up the island of Hawaii | Range: NA | Height: 30,085 ft. | Climate: Tropical at the base, Periglacial at the summit
Nearby Attractions: Centrally located in beautiful Hawaii | Legend: There are some claims of eruptions in the 1700s by missionaries, but these have not been geographically confirmed | Fun Fact: The tallest point on Mars

5

Olympus Mons

Dec 31, 2014
Olympus Mons

If you haven’t heard of a mountain that towers 69,649 ft. above sea level, almost three times the size of Mount Everest, that’s because it doesn’t exist on Earth. Olympus Mons is on Mars, and it is the tallest mountain known to mankind so far, based on what we have explored. It was once an active volcano, and beyond that, not much is known about this mysterious mound, aside from the fact that it can be seen from space, along with the great red dot. While this may not be a mountain on Earth, or an attraction that any of us can get to or check out, it certainly is one of the most epic and amazing mountains of all time, and hopefully someday, when we walk on Mars, it can be visited in person.

Location: Mars | Range: One of the volcanoes on the surface of Mars | Height: 69,649 ft. | Climate: No oxygen, not suitable for humans

Nearby Attractions: Dude, it’s Mars | Legend: Originally people thought mars was once populated and covered with water, but we now know that isn't true | Fun Fact: The tallest point on Mars

6

K2

Dec 31, 2014
K2

This impressive mountain is the second tallest in the world, second only to the great Mount Everest. The peak is located in the Karakoram Range, between China and Pakistan. The name comes from the original survey of the region, when the whole area was analyzed and each Karakoram Mountain was numbered, but no other name ever stuck. This is probably fitting, since this mountain is so cold and inaccessible. It is surrounded by high peaks and melting glaciers, and is so difficult to climb that no one has ever attempted it during the winter, as such a try would surely be fatal. This mountain may not be on your bucket list unless you are really serious about the outdoors, but it certainly is worth viewing from afar, and it is an epic sight to see.

Location: Between Pakistan and China | Range: Karakoram Range | Height: 28,251 ft. | Climate: So cold and intense that it has never been climbed during Winter

Nearby Attractions: Bordered by mountains and melted glaciers, not easily accessible | Legend: The mountain was originally named as part of the geographical survey for its place in the range, but when the mountains were renamed, the name for K2 never stuck. This been said to be fitting for its cold, impersonal nature and isolation. | Fun Fact: The mountain is so high that oxygen is suggested for use at the top

7

Pike's Peak

Dec 31, 2014
Pike's Peak

This Colorado staple is found West of Colorado Springs, right in the middle of the state. While it is not the highest mountain on the Front Range or in Colorado, it has become a trademark of the area, since it was right in the heart of the Gold Rush during all the action. Although there was never a lot of gold found on the mountain itself, it still became a symbol of this time in history. The mountain was originally called “long mountain” by the Arapahoe, and stands at 14,115 feet, as one of Colorado’s fourteeners. It’s also easily accessible from Colorado Springs and all the other nearby areas, and a great place to visit as a tourist attraction.

Location: West of Colorado Springs in Colorado | Range: Front Range of the Rocky Mountains | Height: 14,115 ft. | Climate: snowy at the top but in an otherwise fairly arid and dry area

Nearby Attractions: Pike National Forest, Colorado Springs | Legend: Pike's Peak was known during the Gold Rush as a symbol of awaiting gold, but in reality there was never a lot of gold discovered on the mountain; it was just the tallest mountain in the area so it became a symbol | Fun Fact: The Arapahoe called it "long mountain"

8

Huayna Picchu

Dec 31, 2014
Huayna Picchu

This gorgeous mountain overshadows the Peruvian town of Machu Picchu, and rises to 8,920 feet above sea level. The mountain is special because it is inlaid with carved stairs and temple openings from ancient times, when the mountain was considered a holy place by local residents. Apparently, the priest of the area used to live on top of the mountain, and the temples around it were for his followers and religious ceremonies. Today, many visitors climb the easily surmountable peak and walk around on the ruins, and it is a great sight to behold from down below in Machu Picchu.

Location: Peru | Range: Machu Picchu Mountain Range | Height: 8,920 ft. | Climate: Warm and temperate, but can get snowy on top, foggy

Nearby Attractions: Machu Picchu | Legend: Used to be considered a holy, or blessed place | Fun Fact: It is surrounded by beautiful temples carved into the rock

9

Mount McKinley

Dec 31, 2014
Mount McKinley

This impressive mountain in Alaska is the tallest in the Alaskan Range, reaching 20,237 feet above sea level. It was beloved by the Koyukan Athabaskans who lived near the base, and the first American to discover it was George Vancouver. Today this mountain is rarely climbed because of how high and hard to reach it is, but it is gorgeous to behold from the ground, and a challenge for serious climbers. This may not be a climb for the faint of heart, but it is at least worth checking out.

Location: Alaska | Range: Alaskan Range | Height: 20,237 ft. | Climate: Extremely cold and frigid

Nearby Attractions: Very isolated, but near other mountains in the Alaskan range | Legend: The mountain was considered dangerous and treacherous, and not actually climbed until 1963 | Fun Fact: This is the third tallest mountain in North America

10

Mount Tamalpais

Dec 31, 2014
Mount Tamalpais

This mountain is by far the shortest on the list, reaching only 2,574 feet at its highest point. However, its location in the heart of the Bay Area and the astounding views of the mountains, ocean, and city from the top make this a spot you will certainly want to visit. It has also become a staple attraction for those visiting San Francisco. The name of the mountain is literally translated to “West Hill,” and it was once the home of a railroad and a weather station. When the mountain was first discovered, some believed the name was a reference to the “Sleeping Maiden” legend, but this turned out not to be the case. While this might not be the most epic or breathtaking mountain of all time, it certainly is one of the most culturally relevant.

Location: Marin Country, California | Range: Marin Hills - part of California Costal Ranges | Height: 2,574 ft. | Climate: Warm and temperate, foggy

Nearby Attractions: San Francisco, the Bay Area, the Mount Tamalpais State Park | Legend: Some think the name is actually a Native American reference to the "sleeping maiden" legend, but that is actually a Victorian-era legend, and the name just refers to the location | Fun Fact: David Carpenter, a serial killer, murdered a few people on the trail at this mountain, and he was known as the "trailside killer."


GOAT Staff Score - Mountain

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Height (20%)Legends/History (20%)Fame (20%)Nearby Attractions (15%)Cultural Importance (15%)Intensity (10%)Raw ScoreGOAT Score
Mount Everest81010510851865
Matterhorn48988744730
Kilimanjaro57765434585
Mauna Loa96274634565
Olympus Mons1046111032530
K279122930490
Pike's Peak32849329485
Huayna Picchu234106227440
Mount McKinley65333525420
Mount Tamalpais11597124390

GOAT Verdict:

Mount Everest is The Greatest Mountain of All Time
The GOAT pick for Greatest Mountain Of All Time is Mount Everest. While this may be a notoriously famous mountain and known for being the tallest peak in the world, it truly has earned all this praise. The top of the mountain is known as the “death zone” because of how low the oxygen level is, as well as how low the temperatures can drop, and many people have died trying to climb this peak. However, it isn’t all bad; it’s also great to behold from ground level, and there have been many successful climbs of Mount Everest. It’s also especially gorgeous, more so than other super-tall mountains that are completely inaccessible, and it is the best known mountain in the world. By all accounts, Mount Everest truly is the greatest mountain of all time.

0

What is the greatest natural disaster film of all time?

1

Sunshine

Dec 29, 2014
Sunshine

In recent years, science has taken as much interest in outer space as film production companies. This film featured a team of scientists sent to restart the sun using a stellar bomb, and while the physics behind the story are far from bulletproof, they were presented in a manner that seemed consistent enough to be enjoyable. The film was already ripe with tension due to Earth’s inevitable failure, but it was heightened by subplots about religious extremism, betrayal, and the nature of consciousness. Sunshine’s all-star cast also enabled the film to reach new heights due to its accomplished acting and fantastic inter-character chemistry, which helped to sell the concept of a multinational coalition of physicists, engineers, and researchers. Sunshine has as much pseudo-science jargon as any other natural disaster film, but its realism hides the cracks.

Release: 2007 | Director: Danny Boyle | Writer: Alex Garland | Production Company: Moving Picture Company, DNA Films, UK Film Council, Ingenious Film Partners

Leading Actors: Rose Byrne, Cliff Curtis, Chris Evans, Troy Garity, Cillian Murphy | Budget: $40 million | Box Office Gross: $32 million | RottenTomatoes Score: 75%

2

The Impossible

Dec 29, 2014
The Impossible

Compared to some of the more high-octane thrillers and apocalypse-courting films on the list, The Impossible is a shockingly human story which relies on the true definition of “disaster.” Revolving around the Bennett family and their experience with a tsunami in Thailand, the film focuses its attention on the desperate search for missing children rather than thousand-ton bombs or ground-fracturing lava fissures. The film was critically acclaimed due to its powerhouse performances from Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, and managed to place the viewer into one of the most chaotic and frightening episodes in recent history. Considering the story’s origins in the real-life experiences of a tsunami survivor, it’s hard not to feel connected to the characters’ struggles, and embrace the grittiness that director Juan Antonio Bayona instilled in every scene.

Release: 2012 | Director: Juan Antonio Bayona | Writer: Sergio G. Sánchez | Production Company: Apaches Entertainment, Telecinco Cinema

Leading Actors: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor | Budget: $45 million | Box Office Gross: $180.2 million | RottenTomatoes Score: 81%

3

2012

Dec 29, 2014
2012

Few films are as direct about their subject as Roland Emmerich’s 2009 blockbuster, which capitalized on the hysteria surrounding 2012 and its Mayan apocalypse. John Cusack was the leading presence behind the film, and his efforts to save his family and evade the planet’s destruction served as the driving (and personal) force behind a film of epic proportions. The film emphasized its offbeat and often tongue-in-cheek moments, but didn’t hold back in flaunting its budget. There were state-shattering volcanic eruptions, set pieces involving massive “Ark” boats, and more sequences involving the narrow escape of a city than any action film to date. 2012 didn’t take itself nearly as seriously as its namesake end-of-the-world prophecy, and succeeded in bringing a stunning array of visuals and tsunami-torn Los Angeles streets to the screen.

Release: 2009 | Director: Roland Emmerich | Writer: Harald Kloser, Roland Emmerich | Production Company: Columbia Pictures

Leading Actors: John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, Woody Harrelson | Budget: $200 million | Box Office Gross: $769.7 million | RottenTomatoes Score: 39%

4

The Perfect Storm

Dec 29, 2014
The Perfect Storm

The sea has long been considered an inhospitable and outright cruel environment by sailors, and The Perfect Storm expertly illustrated this concept with the plight of a doomed swordfish-catching vessel. Grounded in the real story of the Andrea Gail, the film called upon nonfiction accounts of the crew’s struggle for survival and the grief of the victims’ families. For the story’s film adaptation, a massive amount of well-rendered CGI transformed the experience into an immersive and terrifying experience. The film’s all-star cast, including George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg, lent familiar faces to the story, and provided solid performances to heighten the film’s rollercoaster of emotions. While the film was not as well-received as other films in the genre, it managed to immortalize the crew of the Andrea Gail, and told a touching and inspirational story in the process.

Release: 1997 | Director: Wolfgang Petersen | Writer: William D. Wittliff, Bo Goldman | Production Company: Warner Bros., Baltimore Spring Creek Productions, Radiant Productions

Leading Actors: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane, John C. Reilly, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, William Fichtner, Bob Gunton, Karen Allen | Budget: $120 million | Box Office Gross: $328.7 million | RottenTomatoes Score: 47%

5

Deep Impact

Dec 29, 2014
Deep Impact

When Hollywood makes a film about meteors striking the Earth, they’re always sure to pad the cast list with some of the best names in cinema. Deep Impact featured an ensemble cast and took a wide view of the planet’s impending doom, which was set to arrive in the form of a seven-mile-wide comet. The film marked one of Elijah Wood’s defining films in his transition to more “adult” Hollywood blockbusters, and managed to outsell Armageddon, which dealt with the same planet-destroying terror. The film also dealt with significantly darker themes than its Michael Bay counterpart, since it actually portrayed the repercussions of breaking a comet into several fragments and allowing them to strike the Earth. Despite the deaths of millions of people and untold carnage, the citizens of Deep Impact’s Earth were still ready to rebuild, carry on, and embrace the human element behind disaster films.

Release: 1998 | Director: Mimi Leder | Writer: Bruce Joel Rubin, Michael Tolkin | Production Company: DreamWorks Pictures, The Manhattan Project, Zanuck/Brown Productions

Leading Actors: Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni, Elijah Wood, Vanessa Redgrave, Maximilian Schell, Leelee Sobieski, Morgan Freeman | Budget: $80 million | Box Office Gross: $349.4 million | RottenTomatoes Score: 47%

6

Armageddon

Dec 29, 2014
Armageddon

Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck may have no business strapping in as astronauts and attempting to save the world, but Michael Bay was determined to prove the opposite with his 1998 disaster film. Pitted against the nigh-identical Deep Impact, Armageddon had a largely playful tone and relied on the relationships between its characters to keep the plot afloat. Although it may have been laughable to send a team of oil rig drillers into space for the purpose of dispatching an approaching asteroid, Michael Bay managed to frame the mission’s circumstances so that it seemed entertaining, if not bizarre. The star-studded cast ensured sizable box office results, and the Bay’s emphasis on (literally) explosive visuals gave the asteroid-killing crusade an impressive and polished presentation. Armageddon is a far cry from being flawless or cinematically stirring, but it’s a memorable entry in the hall of disaster film legends.

Release: 1998 | Director: Michael Bay | Writer: Jonathan Hensleigh, J. J. Abrams | Production Company: Touchstone Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Valhalla Motion Pictures

Leading Actors: Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Ben Affleck, Will Patton, Keith David, Michael Clarke Duncan, Steve Buscemi | Budget: $140 million | Box Office Gross: $553.7 million | RottenTomatoes Score: 39%

7

The Poseidon Adventure

Dec 29, 2014
The Poseidon Adventure

Long before its 2006 theatrical remake, The Poseidon Adventure was the definitive film involving disastrous ocean liner voyages. Gene Hackman was the leading force behind the film, portraying a reverend with questions of faith and existence, and also served as the head of a band of survivors onboard the ship. While other natural disaster films show a wide range of perspectives and continents to reveal the extent of global damage, The Poseidon Adventure confined its action and thrills to the inside of a single vessel, which heightened the tension significantly. It featured gravity-defying rolls as a result of the ocean’s waves, flooded corridors with amplified drowning risks, and explosions to further complicate the situation. This was the ultimate film about man against nature, and was content to let its drama carry the storyline without resorting to conspiracies or violence between competing survivors.

Release: 1972 | Director: Ronald Neame | Writer: Stirling Silliphant, Wendell Mayes | Production Company: Kent Productions, Ltd.

Leading Actors: Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, Shelley Winters, Roddy McDowall, Stella Stevens, Jack Albertson, Pamela Sue Martin, Arthur O'Connell, Eric Shea, Leslie Nielsen | Budget: $4.7 million | Box Office Gross: $93.3 million | RottenTomatoes Score: 79%

8

Twister

Dec 29, 2014
Twister

In the cinema world, a movie based purely on loud, dumb, and visually impressive stunts is not always considered to be a failure. The epitome of this concept is Twister, a 1996 film revolving around a team of storm chasers and an unnaturally large tornado. For much of the film, the characters attempt to chase down and disable this roaming beast, only to find that their programmed algorithms are helpless in the face of its extreme power. Many audience members probably groaned at the pseudo-science being performed onscreen, particularly regarding the idea of stopping a tornado using an improbable research device, but there were enough entertaining set pieces and CGI thrills to fill its 113-minute runtime. Twister’s acting and science may have left something to be desired, but its unabashed delight in tornado destruction is still admirable.

Release: 1996 | Director: Jan de Bont | Writer: Michael Crichton, Anne-Marie Martin, Joss Whedon | Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Universal Pictures, Amblin Entertainment

Leading Actors: Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Jami Gertz, Cary Elwes | Budget: $92 million | Box Office Gross: $494.4 million | RottenTomatoes Score: 58%

9

The Day After Tomorrow

Dec 29, 2014
The Day After Tomorrow

After hits like Independence Day, Roland Emmerich seemed to turn to a more serious (and socially aware) tone for his ensuing releases. This film, which starred Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal, took the idea of global warming and fluctuating climates to an extreme, and pitted man against one of the fiercest snowstorms in cinematic history. Emmerich marketed the film with jarring images of a frozen-over Statue of Liberty, and relied on the technically impressive CGI to propel its storyline along. Much like Deep Impact, a somewhat optimistic ending was tempered by the realization that the Earth had no miracle cure or deus ex machina scheme to repeal the planet’s massive covering of ice. Rather than allowing humanity to turn back the clocks, The Day After Tomorrow expected its world to live with its choices and carve out a new life amongst the devastation.

Release: 2004 | Director: Roland Emmerich | Writer: Roland Emmerich, Jeffrey Nachmanoff | Production Company: Centropolis Entertainment, Lionsgate, The Mark Gordon Company

Leading Actors: Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ian Holm, Emmy Rossum, Sela Ward | Budget: $125 million | Box Office Gross: $544.2 million | RottenTomatoes Score: 45%

10

The Towering Inferno

Dec 29, 2014
The Towering Inferno

Many disaster films portray a random event emerging from tremendous bad luck, but there is a subgenre of natural disaster which relies upon humans as the catalyst. The Towering Inferno’s main fixation, which is also referenced in its title, is a 138-story building which catches fire due to shoddy electrical work and human overreaching. The film had a high degree of technical merit as well as cinematographic value, and managed to realistically portray the burning of a skyscraper. Much like its natural disaster film kin, of course, the film relies on an unexpected and implausibly successful plan to reverse the damage. The film was fairly well received critically and managed to succeed at the box office as well, making it one of the more successful entries in the genre.

Release: 1974 | Director: John Guillermin | Writer: Stirling Silliphant | Production Company: 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. Pictures, Irwin Allen Productions, United Films

Leading Actors: Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain, Jennifer Jones, O. J. Simpson, Robert Vaughn, Robert Wagner | Budget: $14.2 million | Box Office Gross: $139.7 million | RottenTomatoes Score: 77%

11

Dante's Peak

Dec 29, 2014
Dante's Peak

While Pierce Brosnan may have had several close calls as a decorated secret agent, one of his most challenging foes came in the form of a Washington volcano. Dante’s Peak featured Brosnan as Dr. Dalton, a volcanologist, but placed the actor in a surprisingly passive role. Rather than trying to disarm the volcano through a Hollywood-style plot full of technobabble, Dr. Dalton and the town’s mayor, played by Linda Hamilton, were forced to escape from the impending lava using any means necessary. The film itself was far from a shoe-in for major awards, but it entered pop culture as one of the surprisingly few volcano films with a big budget. In addition, its lava effects and newspaper-shred ash were well done, and showcased the technical merit of the film’s design teams. Despite some contrivances in the plot and acting, Dante’s Peak is a staple of the natural disaster genre.

Release: 1997 | Director: Roger Donaldson | Writer: Leslie Bohem | Production Company: Pacific Western Productions

Leading Actors: Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton, Charles Hallahan, Elizabeth Hoffman, Jamie Renée Smith | Budget: $116 million | Box Office Gross: $178.1 million | RottenTomatoes Score: 27%


GOAT Staff Score - Natural Disaster Film

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Scale of Disaster (30%)Visual Effects (20%)Acting (20%)Intensity (15%)Fan Reception (15%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
Sunshine1181010847960
The Impossible6911111148910
201291129334710
The Perfect Storm11088633600
Deep Impact8462525545
Armageddon 10516224540
The Poseidon Adventure22971030535
Twister4771726520
The Day After Tomorrow7634424510
The Towering Inferno3145922400
Dante’s Peak 5353117370

GOAT Verdict:

Sunshine is the Greatest Natural Disaster Film of All Time
The approaching death of the Earth isn’t something to be dealt with passively, according to the crew in Sunshine. While other films have shown international efforts to save the planet, they almost always take place on the Earth itself, and rarely venture out toward the sun. For Sunshine’s ragtag band of scientists, the personal element was invaluable to the plot, and the tension between crew members was as dangerous as the solar flares and lack of oxygen. The film’s sheer scope was enough to make it a memorable experience, but it was heightened by unique situations and deadly situations which other disaster films never broached. Zealots onboard the craft challenged the mission’s very concept of salvation and importance in the universe, and these themes were more than simply a conflict between characters. They were a true attempt to delve into deep and introspective questions about creation, destruction, and religion, and it gave the plot an added layer of meaning and intrigue. Sunshine may not have been the blockbuster earning champion that its production studios expected, but it was the greatest natural disaster film of all time.

0

What is the greatest classic rock album of all time?

1

Cream –Disraeli Gears

Dec 28, 2014
Cream –Disraeli Gears

This second effort by well-known classic rockers Cream often gets a lot of attention for being heavy, catchy, and all around great, but perhaps it still doesn’t quite get the amount of attention that it should. This British group of bluesy rockers, featuring the famed Eric Clapton, were one of the first bands to play really heavy and distorted music that challenged the normal boundaries of what was then known as rock n’ roll – so much so that the famed rock critic Lester Bangs put down Black Sabbath’s first album in his infamous review, saying it was basically just a rip-off of what Cream was already doing. They are also known as one of the formative psych rock bands, and helped to pioneer what today is as varied as psychedelic rock, jam bands, heavy metal, and radio rock. On top of that, this wasn’t just some esoteric album that has to be listened to all at once to be appreciated - there are plenty of hits, like “Strange Brew” and “Sunshine of Your Love,” allowing them to perfect on the concept of the pop hit single while also making music that was subversive and heavy. To boot, the cover is an awesome example of early collaged psychedelia.

Release: 1967 | Label: Reaction, Acto, Polydor | Band’s Xth Album: 2nd

Stand-Out Songs: "Strange Brew," "Sunshine of your Love" | Key Sounds: heavy, bluesy, odd and spacey

2

The Beatles – Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Dec 28, 2014
The Beatles – Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Everyone loves The Beatles, and by the time they released their eighth studio album, Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, they were already an international success, taking the world by storm with a combination of their boyish good looks, devil-may-care attitude, and mixture of charm and debauchery. However, no one was ready for what the group unleashed on this album. The odd psychedelic sounds they borrowed from other groups meshed awesomely with their poppy harmonics, virtually inventing modern music, rock and pop alike. The album featured some sure-fire hits like “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “With a Little Help from my Friends,” as well as the sounds of George Harrison’s sitar experimentations on the ethereal “Within Without You.” The cover is also a classic collage of weirdness, and this still lives on as one of the most-played records today.

Release: 1967 | Label: Parlophone | Band’s Xth Album: 8th

Stand-Out Songs: "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," "With a Little Help from my Friends," 'Within Without You" | Key Sounds: Psychedelic rock, bizarre, circus-inspired, sitar

3

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

Dec 28, 2014
Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

OK, so this one has almost become something of a cliché – when you’re stoned, you throw on your black light and listen to Dark Side of the Moon. It’s also became something of a symbol for the esoteric concept album, and there are all kinds of crazy rumors about it, like that it was written as a soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz (something the group swears up and down is not true). Still, that doesn’t stop this seminal record from being one of the very best things the band ever created, and one of the most influential rock records of all time. Before this, selling an album had been all about the singles – basically, when a band had enough radio-ready material, they would write filler around it, or throw their favorite, more experimental tracks on as the B-sides to the hit single. With Darks Side of the Moon, that stifling notion was finally done away with for good. This record might not have been written as the soundtrack to a movie, but it might as well be its own epic story – all the songs fit together with precision, and all of the cover art and imagery goes with the record as well. The album doesn’t have too many stand-out hits, yet despite that, and the fact that this was the band’s eighth studio release, it is hailed as one of their masterpieces even today.

Release: 1973 | Label: Harvest | Band’s Xth Album: 8th

Stand-Out Songs: "Speak to Me," "Money" | Key Sounds: dark, ambient, concept, tracks that flow together

4

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?

Dec 28, 2014
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?

In 1967, people were starting to think that rock n’ roll really was dangerous – a subversive lifestyle that would lead to a complete overthrow of good old American values. The tides of racial harmony were also turning from a reluctant complacency on the part of African Americans without rights to full-on outrage. So, who better to write the soundtrack for this very special time in history than a debut rock group, featuring a black lead singer and guitarist who grew up poor, wasn’t afraid to dress like a freak and speak his mind, and wasn’t shy about referencing sex and drugs in his lyrics. Unfortunately, as we all know now, Jimi Hendrix was ahead of his time and saddled with some serious addiction problems, and died way too young. However, this debut album by his group, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, really captures the sound of what it was like to be alive in 1967 better than most records of the era, and has timeless classic hits like “Foxy Lady” “Hey Joe,” and “Purple Haze,” as well as lesser known but just as epic songs, like the title track. This is an album that not only stands the test of time, it defines the time, and America certainly would not be the same without it.

Release: 1967 | Label: Track | Band’s Xth Album: 1st

Stand-Out Songs: "Purple Haze," "Hey Joe," "Are You Experienced," "Foxy Lady" | Key Sounds: Heavy, distorted, psychedelic, seductive

5

The Rolling Stones – Beggar’s Banquet

Dec 28, 2014
The Rolling Stones – Beggar’s Banquet

In 1968, all the rock n’ roll hitting the shelves was experimental and psychedelic, each record even more so than the last. There were rock operas, concept albums, and music was getting more varied and textural all the time. Right in the midst of this, The Stones swerved off their previously psychedelic course to release an album that was back-to-basics in terms of classic rock n’ roll sound. While for some groups this may have backfired horribly, Beggar’s Banquet turned out to be one of the most loved and revered album by The Stones, and resulted in their biggest hit to date, “Sympathy for the Devil.” It also showed the world that rock could be about pushing the boundaries of experimentation some times, and just rocking out others, a balance that most rock musicians still strive to cultivate today.

Release: 1968 | Label: Decca, London | Band’s Xth Album: 7th British, 9th American

Stand-Out Songs: "Sympathy for the Devil," "Street Fighting Man" | Key Sounds: Classic, bluesy, back to basics

6

Black Sabbath – Paranoid

Dec 28, 2014
Black Sabbath – Paranoid

The pioneers of heavy metal and hard rock established themselves with a self-titled debut in 1969, and were surprised at all the instant success this heavy megalith of an album received. They got picked up by a major label, who wanted them to have another release out by 1970, the following year. The boys balked, as they didn’t have nearly that amount of material written, and rushed into the studio to come up with what they could in the limited time they were given. The tracks that were originally just meant to take up space, “Paranoid” and “Iron Man,” became such classic Sabbath hits that even the most un-metal of us can sing along to most of the lyrics. As a die-hard Sabbath fan, I don’t really think this is their best album, as it is evident that some of it was written on the fly and the concept was flung together last minute. However, as far as establishing themselves and defining a genre, this certainly takes the cake, and there are still some real gems of tracks hidden on this record, such as the infamous “War Pigs” or the trippy “Planet Caravan.”

Release: 1970 | Label: Vertigo | Band’s Xth Album: 8th

Stand-Out Songs: "Paranoid," "Iron Man," "War Pigs," "Planet Caravan" | Key Sounds: dark, brooding, evil, doomy

7

Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow

Dec 28, 2014
Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow

This 1967 rock album is super early, and also extremely influential to both rock and pop. Jefferson Airplane, headed up by the gorgeous Grace Slick, might be the very defining feature of the hippie generation, even if they aren’t as well-known as The Beatles or Jimi Hendrix. To understand this album, you really have to hear it. It is silly, psychedelic, more aggressive and alarming in some parts, and all around the sound of the 60s. Of course, we all know “Somebody to Love” – that’s from this record. So is the infamous drug song “White Rabbit,” and many other greats. No wonder Hunter Thompson made this group his constant soundtrack during his lifetime. While this album may be the absolute epitome of the times, their story is unique in light of those others who burned out too soon – Grace Slick is still alive today, making music and art, and the band actually stayed together through the 80s, eventually changing their name to Jefferson Starship.

Release: 1967 | Label: RCA Vector | Band’s Xth Album: 2nd

Stand-Out Songs: "White Rabbit," "Somebody to Love," "D.C.B.A." | Key Sounds: psychedelic, beautiful, melodic, female vocals

8

Steely Dan – Katy Lied

Dec 28, 2014
Steely Dan – Katy Lied

1975 was all about disco and arena rock – punk hadn’t hit yet, and it was somewhat of a bloated time for rock n’ roll. However, a lot of exciting stuff was actually going on behind the scenes, with the first stirrings of punk, psychedelic rock powerhouses like Hawkwind, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and finally, bands that crossed over and blurred the lines between rock and other genres. One of these awesome groups was Steely Dan, and in 1975 they were just gearing up with their fourth studio album, Katy Lied. The album is usually billed as “jazz rock” and is considered fusion by the jazz genre. However, this release goes much further than just combining two already-established things to make something new. It bridges the realm of the experimental and the bizarre to create a whole new sound, characterized by songs like the hit “Black Friday” and the slightly odder “Dr. Wu.”

Release: 1975 | Label: ABC | Band’s Xth Album: 4th

Stand-Out Songs: "Black Friday," "Bad Sneakers" | Key Sounds: swaggering jazz sound, sounds like the soundtrack to a movie

9

Neil Young – After the Gold Rush

Dec 28, 2014
Neil Young – After the Gold Rush

In a similar vein, Neil Young was new to the scene in 1970, and coined a blend of crossover that was anything but corny. By combining elements of heavy rock with classic and contemporary folk and country, he was able to come up with a sound that was bluesy, sad, heartfelt, and distinctly American. His third record, After the Gold Rush, was popular for songs like “Tell Me Why” and “Southern Man,” and is known today as the formative album in his career.

Release 1970: | Label: Reprise | Band’s Xth Album: 3rd

Stand-Out Songs: "Tell Me Why," "Southern Man" | Key Sounds: folk rock, bluesy rock, sad

10

T. Rex – Electric Warrior

Dec 28, 2014
T. Rex – Electric Warrior

This great record was the sixth by British rock group T. Rex, and the second where they didn’t go by the full moniker of “Tyrannosaurus Rex.” The band’s previous stuff was very odd and spacey sounding, with lilting vocals, very long song and album titles, and esoteric lyrics. While it never reached mainstream status, it was very powerful and unique, credited with influencing both early psych rock and punk, as some of their songs were very raw and heavy. With Electric Warrior, they added some glam elements into their rock act and finally caught the attention of the mainstream. The songs “Cosmic Dancer,” “Jeepster” and “Get it On (Bang a Gong),” pretty much the only hits these guys ever had, are all from this album. This record helped define glam, and also brought their previous strange blend of musical styles to the forefront.

Release: 1971 | Label: Fly, Reprise | Band’s Xth Album: 6th

Stand-Out Songs: "Cosmic Dancer," "Jeepster," "Get it On" | Key Sounds: folky, glamy, psychedelic, hard rock


GOAT Staff Score - Classic Rock Album

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Pioneering Sound (20%)Lasting Influence (20%)Album Strength (20%)Hits (15%)Classic Rock Influence (15%)Cover Art (10%)Raw ScoreGOAT Score
Disraeli Gears1099461048780
Sargent Pepper's 931097947770
Dark Side of the Moon76769641685
Are You Experienced?37688739630
Beggar's Banquet1281010839600
Paranoid810175132570
Surrealistic Pillow48232524405
Katy Lied64413321370
After the Gold Rush55521220365
Electric Warrior21354419295

GOAT Verdict:

Cream Disraeli Gears is The Greatest Classic Rock Album of All Time
Most of the albums on this list are formidable in some way or another, and all have served to be very influential in sometimes more than one prospective genre. Cream’s Disraeli Gears is our pick for the absolute best out of all these classic albums, due to the very great scope of influence it had. Modern pop, rock, psych rock, jam, and metal all would not be the same without this work. The heaviness and experimentation on this album allowed for so much room for variation, there are some great hits, and the music and imagery stand the test of time to this day. Truly, Cream’s second studio albums stands as the greatest classic rock album of all time.

0

What is the greatest Christmas-Adjacent movie of all time?

1

Gremlins

Dec 24, 2014
Gremlins

This Christmas classic is all about the Holiday cheer and fear simultaneously. It’s also one of the only family horror movies in existence, allowing seasoned horror buffs to induct their children to the screams without bringing forth too many nightmares – or causing irreparable trauma and damage. This film is all about the Holidays in that Gizmo, the original mogwai monster bought from a Chinese antique shop who spawns the rest, is given from father to son as a Christmas present. All is cute and fuzzy until some of the basic rules of mogwai maintenance is broken, and Gizmo spawns a frenzied gaggle of evil gremlins who try and take over the town. The film starts off on Christmas, and the metaphor of sweet Gizmo turning into a bunch of evil parasites could be about the commercialism associated with Christmas - or I’m reading too much into it, and it’s actually just about cute monsters.

Release: 1984 | Running Time: 106 minutes | Director: Michael Finnell | Notable Actors: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Polly Holliday, Frances Lee McCain, Frank Welker, Howie Mandel | Genre: Horror Comedy

Themes: Be careful what you wish for, and take sage advice literally. | Seasonal Elements: The film starts on Christmas, as Gizmo, the initial gremlin, is given as a Christmas gift, and there are Holiday decorations throughout the movie.

2

Edward Scissorhands

Dec 24, 2014
Edward Scissorhands

This Tim Burton classic starts off as a Christmas story, told one snowy night to a little girl. The mythical fantasy focuses on a suburban family in Florida adopting a creepy-looking man, played by Johnny Depp, who was created in a lab with scissors for hands. As the family grows fond of Edward Scissorhands, the daughter, Kim, grows more than fond and starts to develop a crush. All is well until her jealous boyfriend starts messing with Edward and trying to frame him for crimes, and things go spiraling out of control, leading to Edward being chased back up into his castle and Kim faking his death. The story ends on Christmas, and then the frame story ends with an explanation of why it snows in Florida now – because Edward is chiseling away at his ice sculptures on the top of the hill in his castle. This feel-good family film is great for Christmas, as it’s appropriate and serves as a reminder of all that is good about love and acceptance, without beating you over the head with Holiday cheer.

Release: 1990 | Running Time: 105 minutes | Director: Tim Burton | Notable Actors: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Vincent Price, Alan Arkin | Genre: Romantic Dark Fantasy

Themes: love, acceptance, magic | Seasonal Elements: The whole story is framed as a child's bedtime story to explain while it snows, and the climax of the body story happens at Christmas time.

3

Brazil

Dec 24, 2014
Brazil

This bizarre, surrealist masterpiece by Terry Gilliam is probably one of the strangest Holiday films ever made. Sam, a bored government drone, decides to make life more interesting one day by learning more about a woman who mysteriously appears in his dreams, even though he is thwarted at every turn. The plot sounds normal enough, but the imagery, scenery and bizzaro-world big-brother style universe is extremely odd, and the style, typical of Gilliam, is off-the-wall and cartoonish. This counts as a Holiday film because the whole thing takes place between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The end of the movie is absolutely mind-boggling, but also visually stunning.For the most part, this works as a family film, but it might be better as pretty background imagery for larger gatherings, as the plot is a bit hard to follow.

Release: 1985 | Running Time: 143 minutes | Director: Terry Gilliam | Notable Actors: Jonathan Price, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin, Kim Greist | Genre: Surreal Science Fiction, Satire

Themes: Threats of conformity and uniformity | Seasonal Elements: The film takes place around Christmas time, on Christmas Eve and day.

4

Lethal Weapon

Dec 24, 2014
Lethal Weapon

Everybody knows Lethal Weapon, or at least a more recent parody version of the film’s plot – two cops with very different police styles and home lives are forced to be partners, and through that unlikely partnership, are able to catch a criminal. But what people forget is, this is actually a Christmas film. The movie takes place during The Season, with decorations and trappings all around despite the blood and gore, and climaxes on Christmas day, when the formerly suicidal Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) goes to the home of partner Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) to celebrate the Holidays. He has realized that life is worth living despite the tragedy that had befallen his wife, and has a renewed sense of goodness in the world. There are some rougher scenes in this film as far as violence and crime go, but it can be a fun watch for the older Christmas day crowd.

Release: 1987 | Running Time: 110 minutes | Director: Richard Donner | Notable Actors: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Mitchell Ryan, Tom Atkins, Traci Wolfe, Darlene Love | Genre: Action

Themes: Good prevailing over evil | Seasonal Elements: The film ends happily on Christmas day.

5

The Hunt

Dec 24, 2014
The Hunt

This interesting Danish film stars Mads Mikkelsen, now of Hannibal TV show fame, as Lucas, a quiet man who lives in a small Danish community and has recently divorced from his wife. Things are rough for Lucas as he tries to maintain a relationship with his teenage son despite his relationship change, but they start looking up when he begins to date a teacher from the local kindergarten where he volunteers. However, his relationship is soon tarnished beyond repair when he is wrongly accused of molesting one of the children in the class. This is an odd film, because it’s not an exploitation style movie where you watch all these bad things happen to a good person, nor is it a happy-go-lucky, feel-good movie. It is more about touching on the raw nerves and emotions of the viewer and highlighting the problems with small-town mindsets and mob mentality. The Christmasy part has to do with the season when then film takes place and the climactic events that happen on Christmas Eve.

Release: 2012 | Running Time: 115 minutes | Director: Thomas Vinterberg | Notable Actors: Mads Mikkelsen, Alexandra Rapaport, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp | Genre: Drama

Themes: anti-mob mentality, human nature | Seasonal Elements: The film takes place around Christmas time, and is shot on Christmas.

6

Die Hard

Dec 24, 2014
Die Hard

Everyone knows this as the greatest action Christmas movie ever. Bruce Willis does not disappoint as a policeman who finds himself in the right place at the right time, and is able to save his estranged wife’s office building from a terrorist attack singlehandedly. This movie starts off like any Christmas rom-com, with Willis’s character wanting to make amends with his sweetheart around the Holidays, and he does a lot better than saving Christmas or getting a great gift, as he is able to save her life and the lives of most of her coworkers. Of course it is sappy, unnecessary violent, and completely unbelievable, but that is what makes this story so much fun to watch, and it can be added to the repertoire as a yearly classic. Check this out as a good old cheesy action movie suitable for an older Holiday crowd.

Release: 1988 | Running Time: 132 minutes | Director: John McTiernan | Notable Actors: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Alexander Godunov, Bonnie Bedlia | Genre: Action

Themes: One man with enough passion can overcome an impossible situation, love conquers all, be prepared to be badass in any situation | Seasonal Elements: The movie takes place on Christmas Eve, and the corporation is attacked during a Christmas party.

7

Rambo: First Blood

Dec 24, 2014
Rambo: First Blood

This movie isn’t too Christmasy, but it all takes place around the Holidays in a small town in Washington State, and the decorations in the background, along with the beautiful scenery, really set the tone for the film. The story isn’t really a story – it’s just the main character, Rambo, going totally nuts on a whole town of small-minded cops and trying to kill them all, only to be arrested by the military police at the end. This spawned the entire successful Ranbo franchise, which has been known to have Holiday connotations. It’s a classic action movie with some added Christmas cheer.

Release: 1982 | Running Time: 93 minutes | Director: Ted Kotcheff | Notable Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Brian Dennehy | Genre: Action, Psychological Thriller

Themes: Don't push an unstable person, be kind to those who served out country, don't be judgmental, as you might be judging a homicidal war vet | Seasonal Elements: The movie is filmed in the winter and there are Christmas decorations everywhere in the background during the film, as well as a lovely winter landscape.

8

Batman Returns

Dec 24, 2014
Batman Returns

This Tim Burton Batman film is one of the more successful from the franchise, and focuses on Batman fighting arch-villains Catwoman and The Penguin. The fact that the film takes place during the Holidays is appropriate, since The Penguin lives in an icy lair under the city. Throughout the whole movie, there are epic shots of Batman standing proudly and grimly, with festive Holiday decorations flashing and glittering in the background. This film is a ton of fun and although the Holidays are only alluded to throughout and not the central focus, it’s still a great movie for that time of year.

Release: 1992 | Running Time: 126 minutes | Director: Tim Burton | Notable Actors: Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle, Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken | Genre: Superhero Film

Themes: Good prevailing over evil | Seasonal Elements: Takes place at Christmas time.

9

American Psycho

Dec 24, 2014
American Psycho

This movie, adapted from the Bret Easton Ellis novel, follows Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) as he goes from successful business tycoon to out-of-control serial killer. The whole thing takes places at Christmas times, and one of the scenes of Bateman’s classic freak-outs is at a Christmas party. Some of the memorable kills also take place against a snowy landscape. While there’s not a ton of Christmas magic dripping off the screen, there is enough connotation in there to justify watching this every year. This odd film is sad, funny, and outrageous, and will bring on plenty of Holiday screams to become your new family tradition.

Release: 2000 | Running Time: 102 minutes | Director: Mary Harron | Notable Actors: Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Josh Lucas, Chloe Sevigny, Samantha Mathis, Matt Ross, Bill Sage, Cara Seymour, Justin Theroux, Guinevere Turner Reese Witherspoon | Genre: Psychological Thriller

Themes: True evil hides, corruption of the business world | Seasonal Elements: Set around Christmas time; one of the major events is a Christmas party

10

12 Monkeys

Dec 24, 2014
12 Monkeys

This sci-fi classic, also by Terry Gilliam, is about a dystopian future where a virus has been released that freezes the earth and kills most of the human race. James Cole (Bruce Willis) is a man living underground in one of the surviving colonies, and he is sent back in time to try and stop the virus from spreading in the first place. His search takes him after a group called the 12 Monkeys, a terrorist organization who is rumored to have caused the attack, only to learn that there is actually something much more sinister going on. This science fiction story happens around Christmas time, featuring parties, festivities, and decorations, and carries the message of faith in humanity at all costs, despite our flaws.

Release: 1995 | Running Time: 127 minutes | Director: Terry Gilliam | Notable Actors: Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, Christopher Plummer | Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian Fiction

Themes: Human empathy, animal rights, the human condition | Seasonal Elements: Set around Christmas time, released in theaters right after Christmas.


GOAT Staff Score - Christmas-Adjacent Movie

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Holiday Cheer (20%)Christmas Themes (20%)Strength as a Film (20%)Story (15%)Holiday Imagery (15%)Family Appropriateness (10%)Raw ScoreGOAT Score
Gremlins10869101053865
Edward Scissorhands851089949805
Brazil67778843705
Lethal Weapon 569104741680
The Hunt910326535610
Die Hard79217329510
Rambo: First Blood33845225435
Batman Returns44133621330
American Psycho21562117290
12 Monkeys12451417270

GOAT Verdict:

Gremlins is the Greatest Christmas-Adjacent Movie of All Time
Our pick for the absolute best Non-Holiday Holiday movie is Gremlins. As far as a film that is great for the family, packs a wallop story-wise, and doesn’t wear you out with sappy Holiday cheer, while still keeping the Eggnog flag flying, this one takes the cake. The creepy yet adorable little pests are good for a scare and a thrill as well as a laugh, and the setting will make your Holidays feel more festive. The story of the Gremlins is a great tale of caution for keeping the Christmas giving modest and under control, lest you end up with a gremlin infestation. The film is also classic, and has been extremely influential in multiple genres, both realistic and fantastical.While many of the movies on this list are great stories with subtle Holiday undertones, Gremlins is undoubtedly the Greatest Of All Time.

2

What is the greatest car chase scene of all time?

1

Bullitt

Dec 20, 2014 - youtube.com - 117
Bullitt

If the words ‘film car chase’ don’t conjure up the name Bullitt, then you’re missing out on one of cinema’s arguably coolest high-speed pursuits. Often referred to now as a yardstick against which all other car chases are measured, David Yates transforms Detective Frank Bullitt’s race around San Francisco into a realistic romp. Throwing Steve McQueen into the hot seat as he gears up his Mustang GT 390, the seven minutes whizz by like a drive-by tour of the iconic California city. Unlike modern cinematic chases there’s a gritty reality aided by spinning hubcaps, the shrieks of burning tyres, and plenty of collateral damage that’s in plain view. In some part, this genuine sense of the thrill is down to the flawless driving of noted stunt driver, Carey Loftlin, who stands in for McQueen during the riskier sections. What’s the finest part of the entire affair is the self-assured nature of Bullitt. Throughout the whole chase he still oozes charm and sophisticated cool, that makes audiences firmly believe it really is him hurtling down those lofty San Franciscan hills.

Release Date: October 17th, 1968 | Director: Peter Yates | Domestic Box Office: $42 million

Sequence Length: 7:00 | Location: San Francisco

Featured Cars: Mustang GT 390, 1968 Dodge Charger | Noted Actors: Steve McQueen | Youtube Views: 207, 317

2

Vanishing Point

Dec 20, 2014 - youtube.com - 100
Vanishing Point

Dressed up as a ‘70s ode to counter-culture living, Richard C. Sarafian’s driving flick was remade in 1997 but make no mistake, it’s the original that dishes up the coolest driving sequences. In fact, this entire movie is one giant car chase prompted by former motorcycle driver Kowalski’s bruised ego. After a wager at a truck stop, he embarks on a 24-hour cross-country jaunt that would be impossible for a regular joe. Kowalski isn’t your typical petrolhead, however, and that’s all down to a brilliant decision by director Sarafian. Since considered to be some of the finest stunt driving ever captured on film, the spectacular driving sequences were crafted and realised by legendary stunt driver Carey Loftin. Never has the vicarious thrill of watching a true artiste been so electrifying, as Loftin steers the Dodge Challenger brazenly through cityscapes, country roads, and into the path of the law. It’s the one scene in particular that lends Sarafian’s quest across the desert a huge edge - when the cops catch up to our antihero he’ll stop at nothing to outrun them.

Release Date: March 13th, 1971 | Director: Richard C. Sarafian | Domestic Box Office: $12 million

Sequence Length: 4:50| Location: American Southwest

Featured Cars: Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Jaguar E-Type | Noted Actors: Barry Newman | Youtube Views: 61, 036

3

The Matrix Reloaded

Dec 20, 2014 - youtube.com - 79
The Matrix Reloaded

The sequel to one of the most successful sci-fi sleeper hits of all time had to take things up a notch. It wouldn’t suffice for a highly-anticipated big budget blockbuster to scrimp on the action. And so, Warner Bros. upped the financing for the second trip to The Matrix. The scope of The Matrix Reloaded’s most bonkers scene as Trinity and Morpheus rescue The Keymaker and plot their escape, was so ambitious the shoot had to be carried out at a decommissioned naval airbase. On a freeway designed by The Wachowskis themselves. The siblings’ commitment to creating the exact environment to lens the utterly crazy car chase saw them carve out $40 million of the film’s budget solely for the 17-minute sequence. There’s so much action packed in, it’s hard to process the insanity of effects, slick car skills, and impressive CGI amidst all the chaos. From Agents pummelling the cars, to an impromptu sword fight on a truck, the busyness of this chase is unrivalled anywhere else on this list.

Release Date: May 15th, 2003 | Director: The Wachowskis | Domestic Box Office: $281 million

Sequence Length: 17:00 | Location: Naval Air Station, Alameda, California

Featured Cars: Cadillac CTS, Cadillac Escalade EXT | Noted Actors: Carrie Anne Moss, Lawrence Fishburne, Neil and Adrian Rayment | Youtube Views: 976, 980

4

Death Proof

Dec 20, 2014 - youtube.com - 86
Death Proof

For some, Death Proof is considered one of Tarantino’s less impressive efforts. One thing’s for certain, it doesn’t prescribe to his normal mode of filmmaking. A shift from his typical dialogue-driven storytelling, it peels back the preconceptions and stands as a truly thrilling car chase picture. It’s also the only entry on this list to include not one, but two groups of women behind the wheel. Leading the pack for the second half, where the film’s climactic final chase occurs is stuntwoman Zoe, who enjoys sprawling herself across the hood of speeding cars in a game called “Half Mast.” At first it’s a blast, until crazed psychopath Stuntman Mike leers into view, slamming the girls’ Dodge Challenger to shake Zoe loose from the hood over and over. A real-life stuntwoman, Zoe’s game-turned-nightmare is a dazzling display of dangerous bravura, that injects what could have been a run of the mill pursuit into a heart-pounding assault on the senses. When the girls finally get one up on the evil Mike, after all that, you can’t half blame them.

Release Date: April 6th, 2007 | Director: Quentin Tarantino | Domestic Box Office: $25 million

Sequence Length: 12:00 | Location: Texas

Featured Cars: 1970 Dodge Challenger, 1969 Dodge Charger | Noted Actors: Kurt Russell, Zoe Bell, Rosario Dawson, Tracie Thorns | Youtube Views: 193, 523

5

The Driver

Dec 20, 2014 - youtube.com - 93
The Driver

Walter Hill’s raw driving approach in The Driver, placed Ryan O’Neal behind the wheel for a stream of chases all captured by the director’s sharp kinetic style. One of the most influential driving movies to emerge from the ‘70s haul of car pics, it left its mark on cinema in Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2011 homage Drive, and was directly sampled in the video game series, Driver. O’ Neal’s smooth criminal operates as a professional car thief who moonlights as a getaway driver. So it comes as no surprise that his livelihood offers him the upper hand when veering away from the threat of capture. In one of the film’s standout scenes, The Driver whips out some of his street skills to track down a couple of plainclothes officers. The rush of the driving is heightened by the placement of cameras on the front and rear bumpers, offering audiences an immersive experience from such a vantage point. With the only audio accompaniment the sound of screeching tires and the tug of a gear change, it’s a cool entry into the pantheon of movie car chases.

Release Date: July 10th, 1978 | Director: Walter Hill | Domestic Box Office: $2.2 million

Sequence Length: 12:38 | Location: Los Angeles

Featured Cars: 1976 Pontiac Trans Am, 1977 Chevrolet Sidestep | Noted Actors: Ryan O'Neal | Youtube Views: 45, 333

6

The French Connection

Dec 20, 2014 - youtube.com - 92
The French Connection

Before he tackled the supernatural realm of The Exorcist, William Friedkin commandeered this tale of cops vs. robbers through the streets of 70s New York City. Ushering leading man Gene Hackman into the public sphere via his depiction of grizzled cop Detective Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle, the story traces his battle to bring down a ring of heroin smugglers. His phenomenal performance went on to secure him the Oscar for Best Actor, and it’s believed by many to be the result of the film’s stand-out car chase scene. Behind the wheel of a Pontiac Le Mans, Doyle relentlessly pursues a killer who just happens to be in an elevated train hurtling around New York. What’s easily become one of the most famous vehicular pursuits in cinema is perhaps so memorable because it in fact only includes one car. The downright dangerous lengths Doyle goes to in order to catch his man is testament to Friedkin’s storytelling power; hinting at the cop’s unyielding grit for justice.

Release Date: October 9th, 1971 | Director: William Friedkin | Domestic Box Office: $51 million

Sequence Length: 5:30 | Location: New York City

Featured Cars: Pontiac Le Mans | Noted Actors: Gene Hackman | Youtube Views: 76, 369

7

Ronin

Dec 20, 2014 - youtube.com - 78
Ronin

Legendary helmer John Frankenheimer’s brilliant trio of car chases in his 1998 flick Ronin outshines his own sterling work from 1966 racing actioner, Grand Prix. Utilising a series of Formula One drivers to serve as stunt drivers for the scenes, their confident skills showcase the director’s eye for an exciting pursuit. A handful of popular European muscle cars, such as the Audi S8, Mercedes Benz 6.9, and BMW M5 storm around the slim Parisian streets inflicting damage and strife wherever they turn. The fast-paced sequences journey up the French Riviera as the film’s mercenaries pursue one another across a flood of beautiful landscapes. With a main core of characters who are seemingly unvexed by their own scrapes with death, the high point emerges as they roar in the wrong direction down a busy motorway. It’s the sense of speed Frankenheimer imparts that’s phenomenal here; these aren’t the flashiest chases but they’re the most impressive.

Release Date: September 25th, 1998 | Director: John Frankenheimer | Domestic Box Office: $41 million

Sequence Length: 7:45 | Location: Paris

Featured Cars: Audi S8, Mercedes Benz 6.9, BMW M5 | Noted Actors: Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone | Youtube Views: 767,558

8

Gone in 60 Seconds

Dec 20, 2014 - youtube.com - 89
Gone in 60 Seconds

Cast away any thoughts of the sub-par Nicolas Cage remake and instead recall the brilliance of the 1974 original. An ambitious feature, director and star H B Halicki’s high-octane romp possesses one of the most daring sequences committed to celluloid. In a bold and now unheard-of approach, the story culminates in one of the longest ever car chases clocking in at 35 minutes. Sharing the screen with a yellow Ford Mustang, Halicki travels far and wide to avoid capture by the authorities on his tail. The pursuit snakes across multiple cities in one long uninterrupted scene of total vehicular carnage that’s as exciting to watch as it no doubt was to film. A total of 93 cars were decimated by the end of the shoot, one of which was the result of Halicki’s own boisterous driving causing him to crash into a telegraph pole. Filming may have been halted for a time, but the momentum doesn’t suffer, continually ploughing on into new urban areas with the occasional slow-down breather. It’s a staggering accomplishment, purely in terms of stamina, that will go down as one of the biggest car scenes ever pulled off successfully.

Release Date: July 28th, 1974 | Director: H.B. Halicki | Domestic Box Office: $40 million

Sequence Length: 35:00 | Location: Long Beach, California

Featured Cars: Ford Mustang | Noted Actors: H.B. Halicki | Youtube Views: 161, 082

9

The Bourne Identity

Dec 20, 2014 - youtube.com - 69
The Bourne Identity

Doug Liman’s first entry in the hugely-successful Bourne series warmed up audiences to amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne, whose mission is to uncover his true identity. Bouncing across Europe, desperate to evade capture, the close call comes in Paris when authorities have him cornered. While the two sequels boasted bigger budgets, Liman executed the series’ most concise and thrilling chase sequence in the crowded Parisian streets. Bourne utters the words “Buckle up” to his companion Marie; Paul Oakenfold’s Ready Steady Go amps up, and the classic red Mini Cooper charges through the narrow back alleys, public crossings and seemingly-impossible thoroughfares dotted across the historical capital. Indulging in the car’s micro size, Bourne navigates it to great effect - fooling his pursuers whose boxier police vehicles are no match for the tiny Mini. Straying onto sidewalks and cutting corners through effective gear-shifting, he might not know who he is - but he’s one helluva driver. Coming to an abrupt end when a police bicyclist is sent sprawling across the hood of a Peugeot 405, Bourne zooms off in his damaged Mini. Which was the only one of five used in the shoot to make it through.

Release Date: June 14th, 2002 | Director: Doug Liman | Domestic Box Office: $121 million

Sequence Length 3:30 | Location: Paris

Featured Cars: Mini Cooper, Peugeot 405 | Noted Actors: Matt Damon, Franke Potenke | Youtube Views: 277, 777

10

To Live and Die in L.A.

Dec 20, 2014 - youtube.com - 91
To Live and Die in L.A.

William Friedkin’s stab at another car chase, this time in 1985 cop thriller To Live And Die In L.A., might not top the sheer breathlessness of The French Connection - but it’s a close call. With car enthusiast William Petersen as a Secret Service Agent, the risky copper takes to the highway in a beat up Chevy Impala to track down his shifting target. With a director such as Friedkin, whose creative eye leant the chase a unique edge, there’s a number of simple tricks at play that amp up this incredibly tense sequence. Popping in and out of tight clinches, the Impala takes a real hammering right up until the pivotal moment. Petersen’s agent roars down a speeding highway in the wrong direction, darting in and out of traffic, for a heart-pounding viewing experience. This was achieved via a basic reversal technique in the editing suite, meaning that while none of the actors were in danger, the audience still watches through the prison bars of their fingers.

Release Date: November 1st, 1985 | Director: William Friedkin | Domestic Box Office: $17 million

Sequence Length: 5:00 | Location: Los Angeles

Featured Cars: Chevrolet Impala | Noted Actors: William Petersen | Youtube Views: 83, 039


GOAT Staff Score - Car Chase Scene

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Driving (30%)Visual Style (25%)Originality (20%)Cars (15%)Critical Reception (10%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
Bullitt9866938810
Vanishing Point106710134730
Matrix Reloaded41095230665
Death Proof1958528605
The Driver2749830590
The French Connection751031035580
Ronin6422620450
Gone In Sixty Seconds8187327420
The Bourne Identity5231718325
To Live And Die In L.A.3314415325

GOAT Verdict:

Bullitt features the Greatest Car Chase Scene of All Time
Sweeping up in the weightiest categories, it may come as no surprise that the Greatest Film Car Chase Of All Time is Steve McQueen’s dash around San Francisco in Bullitt. David Yates’ film as a whole is a captivating detective actioner, thronging with solid performances from all of the cast, but it’s McQueen as the titular hero Frank Bullitt who steals the pic. The heroics and gutsy cool he displays throughout are never more winning than when he’s behind the wheel. The moment in question is an awe-inspiring sequence, made all the more exhilarating by stunt driver Carey Loftlin’s slamming driving skills. With a daredevil coursing through the veins of the city, any risque car tricks you’ve ever dreamed of doing suddenly seem possible. One of which is simply putting the pedal to the metal, as the rumble around SF’s urban jungle picks up the pace and never lets go. Wheel trims fly, hubcaps pop off and the unmistakable sound of shredding rubber dominates the sensory landscape. Sure, there might be slicker, neater car chases nowadays, with far more ambition that’s easily satisfied with CGI. But if you want a gritty, realistic, and utterly breathtaking chase, accept no substitute.

0

What is the greatest cult classic of all time?

1

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Dec 18, 2014 - youtube.com - 41
Monty Python and the Holy Grail

A cult classic film doesn’t always end up ignored and discarded by the general population. Monty Python and the Holy Grail, produced by the legendary Monty Python comedy group (best known for their televised sketches), is a project that transcended its status as a niche comedy film and found mainstream success with in American and European markets. Driven by memorable moments such as the Holy Hand Grenade and the limbless knight duel, the film’s claim to fame is its highly quotable nature and adherence to offbeat but witty humor. Watching the film will not further your understanding of feudal politics, but it might teach you a thing or two about the velocity of unladen swallows, and will certainly compel you to make clapping coconut noises during your packhorse imitations.

Release: 1975 | Director: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones | Writer: Monty Python | Production Company: Python (Monty) Pictures | Lead Actors: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin

Budget: $400,000 | Box Office: $5.00 mm | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97% | IMDB Rating: 8.4

2

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Dec 18, 2014 - youtube.com - 36
The Rocky Horror Picture Show