Popular films are the films most enjoyed by the regular moviegoer. Most popular lists come from large-sample polls. Although most of the respondents to these polls have popular tastes, people with mainstream and highbrow tastes undoubtedly participate as well. This probably weakens the differences found between the popular taste and the other two tastes. For example, the high ranking of Citizen Kane (1941) on the popular list is partly due to mainstream and highbrow voters rather than to regular moviegoers.
Some people say that most film fans believe that film started in 1977 with Star Wars. There is a bit of truth to this. Over 2/3 of the top-100 popular films were made after 1977, and there is only one film among the top-100 popular films made before 1939—Metropolis (1927). Five of the top-100 mainstream films and 17 of the top-100 highbrow films were made before then. However, people with popular tastes make up for this by being more open to recent films than people with other tastes are. There are only four films from the 1990s and the 2000s among the top-100 highbrow films and only 24 from the 1990s and the 2000s among the top-100 mainstream films, with the latest made over ten years ago. However, there are 47 films from the 1990s and 2000s among the top-100 popular films.
People with popular tastes tend to ignore films in languages other than English, but they are better than people with mainstream tastes. There are only eight films in the top-100 popular films in other languages, and this includes spaghetti westerns that are dubbed into English. However, people with popular tastes tend to be more open to different genres of films than other people are. The top-100 popular films include more science-fiction films than the top-100 lists for the other two tastes combined and as many family films as the other two lists combined. The top popular films also include more action, adventure, fantasy, and thriller films than the top-100 lists for either of the other two tastes as well as more coming-of-age, cult, and independent films than either of the other two lists.
People with a popular taste may not consider originality to be particularly important. The top-100 popular films contain as many sequels and remakes as the other two lists combined.