The 30 highest-grossing movies of all time, adjusted for inflation

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The highest-grossing movies of all time may not necessarily be the best films, they are undeniably ones that have had a major impact on pop culture. From Avatar to Avengers, they made bank at the box office and left a mark on a generation of moviegoers

We've brought together the 30 highest-grossing movies of all time, adjusted for inflation – Avatar is the highest grossing movie not adjusted to inflation but instead comes second here when you take into account the changing value of the American dollar. Spider-Man: No Way Home is the most recent entries to break into our list, proving that there's still plenty of life left in cinema. Expect Avatar: The Way of Water to crack the top 30 in the coming weeks too as it inches towards the $2 billion mark.

1. Gone with the Wind

(Image credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

Director(s): Victor Fleming, George Cukor (uncredited), Sam Wood(uncredited)

Stars: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Thomas Mitchell, Barbara O'Neil

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $3.9 billion

Widely regarded as one of the greatest movies ever made, Gone With The Wind is the quintessential love story. Set during the American Civil War, it follows a plantation owner’s daughter’s quest for love, with iconic performances from Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. Its depictions of race are problematic, though Gone with the Wind remains a part of cinematic history.

2. Avatar

Avatar 2

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Director(s): James Cameron

Stars: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $3.5 billion

Cameron’s technological masterpiece spearheaded the rise of 3D films, creating a cinematic experience like no other upon its release in 2009. Set in the mid 22nd Century, humans are colonising the moon of Pandora to mine unobtainium, but the impact on the local Na’vi tribe leads to conflict and courtship. A 2022 re-release helped boster its box office takings further, cementing it as the highest grossing movie of all time when not adjusting for inflation

3. Titanic (1997)

(Image credit: Fox)

Director(s): James Cameron

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $3.2 billion

Cameron recreated the final voyage of the fateful Titanic in this breathtaking blockbuster. It was the love story between Jack and Rose that captured the public’s imagination and resulted in 11 Oscars, an unforgettable lead song, and the first film to ever make over $1 billion at the box office.

4. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)

(Image credit: LucasFilm)

Director(s): George Lucas

Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $3 billion

The movie that launched a franchise like no other, A New Hope sees Luke Skywalker take on the Galactic Empire in an attempt to rescue Princess Leia. The film won seven Oscars, created a cult following, spawned multiple sequels and prequels, and made Lucas, Hamill, Ford, and Fischer all household names.

5. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Tony Stark

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Director(s): Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $2.9 billion

The 22nd movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe climaxed in the eponymous superheroes’ battle with Thanos. Endgame became the highest grossing box office movie of all time (not adjusted to inflation) upon its release, and took only five days to pass the $1 billion mark. 

6. The Sound of Music (1965)

(Image credit: Fox)

Director(s): Robert Wise 

Stars: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker, Richard Haydn

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $2.6 billion

The story of Maria and the von Trapp family struck a chord with audiences worldwide, becoming the highest grossing movie of all time upon its release, and bagging it five Academy Awards in the process. The soundtrack – written by Rodgers and Hammerstein – would go on to become one of the best-selling movie soundtracks in history.

7. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

(Image credit: Universal)

Director(s): Steven Spielberg 

Stars: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote, Dee Wallace

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $2.6 billion

Based loosely on the imaginary friend Speilberg created when his parents divorced, E.T. is a tale of friendship and courage. The story follows Elliot and his attempts to help E.T. return home, and as well as winning four Oscars it is widely considered one of the best sci-fi movies ever made.

8. The Ten Commandments (1956)

(Image credit: Paramount)

Director(s): Cecil B. DeMille 

Stars: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $2.4 billion

Starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner, The Ten Commandments follows Moses and his exodus to Mount Sinai. It was the most expensive movie ever made at the time, and was director Cecil B. DeMille’s final movie. It was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress in 1999.

9. Doctor Zhivago (1965)

(Image credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

Director(s): David Lean

Stars: Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin, Rod Steiger

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $2.3 billion

Based on Boris Pasternak’s 1957 novel, Doctor Zhivago is an epic love story set around the years of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. It follows the story of Yuri, a man torn between his love for two women, and picked up five Oscars, despite losing out to The Sound of Music for Best Picture. 

10. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)

(Image credit: LucasFilm)

Director(s): J.J. Abrams

Stars: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $2.3 billion

Ten years after the prequel trilogy concluded, the first instalment of the sequel trilogy hit the big screen to great fanfare. Thirty years since the Galactic Civil War, the New Republic – with the Resistance loyally by its side – finds itself threatened by the First Order.

11. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

(Image credit: Disney)

Director(s): William Cottrell, David Hand, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, Ben Sharpsteen

Stars: Adriana Caselotti, Harry Stockwell, Lucille La Verne, Roy Atwell

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $2.15 billion

Regarded as one of the best animated films of all time, Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is a family-friendly take on the Brothers Grimm tale. Forced to flee from her home by her wicked stepmother, Snow White stumbles across the home of seven dwarves. Their attempts to protect her from danger, however, aren’t enough to save her from her stepmother’s evil fury. 

12. Jurassic Park (1993)

(Image credit: Universal)

Director(s): Steven Spielberg

Stars: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $2.1 billion

This pioneering dinosaur romp changed filmmaking forever when it stomped into cinemas across the globe in the early '90s. In their wisdom a team of scientists backed by a wealthy entrepreneur have bred dinosaurs and placed them in a theme park on a remote island. When a tropical storm hits a T-rex escapes its enclosure, unleashing a wave of chaos that threatens to consume an unfortunate group of visitors. 

13. Jaws (1975)

(Image credit: Universal)

Director(s): Steven Spielberg

Stars: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $2.1 billion

Set in the quaint seaside town of Amity Island, this classic horror pits a local police chief against a great white with a taste for unwitting swimmers. Hailed as one of the greatest films ever made, Jaws won three Oscars, including Best Original Dramatic Score for an iconic theme that still terrifies viewers today. 

14. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

(Image credit: Marvel)

Director(s): Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $2.05 billion

With the world once again threatened by an intergalactic maniac, Avengers: Infinity War forces the Avengers to confront their most dangerous foe to date: Thanos, a superstrong, superfast mutant who will stop at nothing to collect the Infinity Stones that will enable him to rule the galaxy. 

15. The Exorcist (1973)

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Director(s): William Friedkin

Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $2 billion

Widely regarded as one of the best horror movies of all time, The Exorcist won two Oscars and was added to the National Film Registry for its terrifying depiction of the exorcism of a 12-year-old girl possessed by the devil. At the time of its release, it provoked outrage and the film wasn’t available on video in the UK until 1991. 

16. 101 Dalmatians (1961)

(Image credit: Disney)

Director(s): Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wolfgang Reitherman

Stars: Rod Taylor, Betty Lou Gerson, J. Pat O'Malley, Martha Wentworth

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $1.95 billion

When Pongo and Perdita’s 15 puppies are stolen by the wealthy Cruella De Vil, the two Dalmatians set out to rescue their babies, but end up with more than they bargained for – 84 extra puppies, to be precise. Upon its first release it was celebrated as the best Disney film since Snow White, and was re-released several times over the decades.

17. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

Spider-Man and MJ in No Way Home

(Image credit: Marvel/Sony)

Director(s): Jon Watts

Stars: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $1.91 billion

The MCU's multiversal mash-up saw Tom Holland's Spider-Man team up with previous iterations of the character to face off against some of his biggest cinematic villains. That concept instantly struck a chord with fans, clocking up nearly $2 billion at the box office during one of the toughest eras for cinema and without a release in China.

18. The Lion King (1994)

(Image credit: Disney)

Director(s): Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff

Stars: Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Whoopi Goldberg

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $1.9 billion

Without a doubt one of Disney’s most enduringly popular films, The Lion King follows cub Simba as he exiles himself from his pride, convinced that he caused his father’s death, where he meets new friends who help him see the truth. As well as being a box office success, the film won two Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Original Song. Inevitable, really, with Hans Zimmer and Elton John involved. 

19. Jurassic World (2015)

(Image credit: Universal)

Director(s): Colin Trevorrow 

Stars: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Judy Greer

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $1.85 billion

Despite the catastrophic events of Jurassic Park some two decades prior, a dinosaur theme park has somehow been open and running for the past ten years on Isla Nublar. However, experimental tests have created a genetically modified dinosaur that somehow manages to escape its enclosure and wreak havoc on the park. 

20. The Jungle Book (1967)

(Image credit: Disney)

Director(s): Wolfgang Reitherman, James Algar, Jack Kinney

Stars: Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, Louis Prima, Bruce Reitherman

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $1.8 billion

The classic story of the boy raised by wolves was a huge hit at the box office upon its release. Following Mowgali’s reluctant journey to the man village, the catchy songs, and lovable characters have struck a chord with audiences for decades. It was also the last film produced by Walt Disney, who sadly passed away during the film’s production.

21. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Director(s): George Lucas

Stars: Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $1.8 billion

While the Star Wars prequels have received a bad rap over the years, there can be no arguing with their box office popularity. Arriving in cinemas almost 16 years after the release of the Return of the Jedi, fans of the franchise were understandably excited to discover the origins of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker’s stories. 

22. Ben-Hur (1959)

(Image credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

Director(s): William Wyler

Stars: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd, Haya Harareet

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $1.8 billion

Famous for its chariot race sequence, this epic historical drama won an incredible 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, while Charlton Heston picked up the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince forced into slavery, who seeks freedom and vengeance against the childhood friend who betrayed him.

23. Avengers Assemble (2012)

(Image credit: Disney)

Director(s): Joss Whedon

Stars: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $1.75 billion

Avengers Assemble pits a stellar cast of superheroes led by Samuel L Jackson against Thor’s brother, Loki, who wields a cube that is less rubix, more planet-threatening. Divided by their enemy, can the team unite and save the world from destruction? 

24. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

(Image credit: New Line)

Director(s): Peter Jackson

Stars: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellan, Orlando Bloom

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $1.7-1.75 billion

The last instalment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy succeeded where the other two failed: it won that year’s Oscar for Best Picture. The story concludes Frodo’s perilous journey into Mordor while Sauron’s evil forces wage war against Gondor. 

25. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Director(s): Irvin Kershner

Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $1.7-1.75 billion

Worth watching for the plot twist alone, The Empire Strikes Back achieved the rare feat of being arguably better than its predecessor. Centred around Darth Vader’s efforts to put an end to the Rebel Alliance’s ringleaders and Luke’s struggles to master the Force, the second instalment in the original trilogy received two Oscars, including a Special Achievement Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. 

26. Independence Day (1996)

(Image credit: Universal)

Director(s): Roland Emmerich

Stars: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $1.7-1.75 billion

When a colossal UFO mothership enters Earth’s orbit and despatches a horde of spacecraft primed to destroy the world’s major cities, it seems humanity has met its match. Thankfully, fighter pilot Steven Hiller has a plan to infiltrate the mother ship on 4 July and destroy it from the inside. 

27. The Lion King (2019)

(Image credit: Disney)

Director(s): Jon Favreau

Stars: Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $1.725 billion

This live action remake of Disney’s 1994 animated classic combines a stellar cast with the much-loved songs of the original. It tells the story of young lion prince Simba as he flees his home following the murder of his father, Mufasa, before returning years later to reclaim his kingdom.

28. Fast & Furious 7 (2015)

(Image credit: Universal)

Director(s): James Wan

Stars: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $1.65 billion

A rogue assassin seeks vengeance on the team for taking down his younger brother, Owen Shaw. Tragically Paul Walker died in a car accident halfway through filming, with the remainder of his scenes filmed using his brothers as stand-ins and digitally re-creating his face. The film won several awards for its song "See You Again", an emotional tribute to the film’s late star.  

29. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Director(s): Chris Columbus

Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Richard Harris

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $1.6 billion

When the Harry Potter books became a global phenomenon, it wasn’t long until Hollywood came knocking. The first instalment in the series follows young Harry Potter on his first foray into the wizarding world as a pupil at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, dangers from his mysterious past aren’t far behind, and the truth about his existence threatens to ruin his new magical life. 

30. Cinderella (1950)

(Image credit: Disney)

Director(s): Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske

Stars: Ilene Woods, James MacDonald, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton

How much it made (adjusted for inflation): $1.575 billion

Based on Charles Perrault’s famous fairytale of the same name, Cinderella was Disney’s 12th animated feature film. A quintessential love story, it follows the rags-to-riches tale of Cinderella as she is rescued from her unhappy existence by her Prince Charming and the two go on to live happily ever after.

So, how many of those have you seen? All of them?! Crickey. Then why not check out our lists of the best Netflix movies and best movies on Disney Plus.

Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.

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