People with highbrow tastes are often academics, professional critics, or filmmakers. In any case, they are people who are educated in film and the history of film. Sometimes, people with this taste come across as snobbish. Many believe that they alone have the right to determine which films are great. In fact, this taste might even be called the snobbish taste if there were not at least as many snobs with popular tastes who believe that only regular moviegoers have the right to determine which films are great.
In both what it includes and what it excludes, the highbrow taste is the opposite of the popular taste. The top-100 highbrow films include 12 silent films, whereas the top-100 popular films had just discovered their first, Metropolis (1927). On the other hand, the top-100 highbrow films include very few recent films. The only film from the last 20 years is In the Mood for Love (2000).
Perhaps the most striking feature of the highbrow taste is that nearly half of the top films are in languages other than English. The top-100 films for the other two tastes include only a handful of films in languages other than English. There are three times as many French-produced films and Italian-produced films in the top-100 highbrow films as there are in the top-100 films of the other two tastes combined. The top-100 highbrow films also include as many or more films from Germany, Japan, or Sweden than the other top-100 lists combined have from any nation other than the United States or the United Kingdom.
There is little diversity in the genres of highbrow films. Of the top-100 highbrow films, over 3/4 are dramas, yet there are only eight action films, twelve adventure films, two family films, and five science-fiction films. There are well over twice as many films in each of these genres among the top 100 popular films. The top-100 highbrow films also have fewer coming-of-age films and independent films than the top-100 popular films. Some people might be happy to learn that there are only five sequels and remakes among the top-100 highbrow films. There are three times as many among the top-100 popular films.