102 must-see movies?

:: rogerebert.com :: Editor’s Notes :: 101 102 Movies You Must See Before…

This isn’t like Roger Ebert’s “Great Movies” series. It’s not my idea of The Best Movies Ever Made (that would be a different list, though there’s some overlap here), or that they were my favorites or the most important or influential films, but that they were the movies you just kind of figure everybody ought to have seen in order to have any sort of informed discussion about movies. They’re the common cultural currency of our time, the basic cinematic texts that everyone should know, at minimum, to be somewhat “movie-literate.”

Of course, I just love movie-list memes, so here’s the list with the ones I’ve seen marked. 34 out of 102; more catching up to do :-). I know Rob & CL have some of the movies I haven’t seen; I’ll have to borrow them sometime.

I was a little surprised by the smattering of movies I have and haven’t seen, both before and after the early 1980s (when I started going to movies regularly). Although, many of the “classics” are actually Andy Beaton’s fault, via the old rep theatres in Toronto :-).

2001: A Space Odyssey“ (1968) Stanley Kubrick
“The 400 Blows” (1959) Francois Truffaut
“8 1/2” (1963) Federico Fellini
“Aguirre, the Wrath of God” (1972) Werner Herzog
Alien“ (1979) Ridley Scott
“All About Eve” (1950) Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Annie Hall“ (1977) Woody Allen
Apocalypse Now“ (1979) Francis Ford Coppola*
Bambi“ (1942) Disney
“The Battleship Potemkin” (1925) Sergei Eisenstein
“The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946) William Wyler
“The Big Red One” (1980) Samuel Fuller
“The Bicycle Thief” (1949) Vittorio De Sica
“The Big Sleep” (1946) Howard Hawks
Blade Runner“ (1982) Ridley Scott
“Blowup” (1966) Michelangelo Antonioni
Blue Velvet“ (1986) David Lynch
“Bonnie and Clyde” (1967) Arthur Penn
“Breathless” (1959) Jean-Luc Godard
“Bringing Up Baby” (1938) Howard Hawks
“Carrie” (1975) Brian DePalma
Casablanca“ (1942) Michael Curtiz
“Un Chien Andalou” (1928) Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali
“Children of Paradise” / “Les Enfants du Paradis” (1945) Marcel Carne
“Chinatown” (1974) Roman Polanski
“Citizen Kane” (1941) Orson Welles
“A Clockwork Orange” (1971) Stanley Kubrick
“The Crying Game” (1992) Neil Jordan
The Day the Earth Stood Still“ (1951) Robert Wise
“Days of Heaven” (1978) Terence Malick
“Dirty Harry” (1971) Don Siegel
“The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” (1972) Luis Bunuel
“Do the Right Thing” (1989 Spike Lee
“La Dolce Vita” (1960) Federico Fellini
“Double Indemnity” (1944) Billy Wilder
Dr. Strangelove“ (1964) Stanley Kubrick
Duck Soup“ (1933) Leo McCarey
E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial“ (1982) Steven Spielberg
“Easy Rider” (1969) Dennis Hopper
The Empire Strikes Back“ (1980) Irvin Kershner
“The Exorcist” (1973) William Friedkin
Fargo“ (1995) Joel & Ethan Coen
Fight Club“ (1999) David Fincher
“Frankenstein” (1931) James Whale
“The General” (1927) Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman
“The Godfather,” “The Godfather, Part II” (1972, 1974) Francis Ford Coppola
Gone With the Wind“ (1939) Victor Fleming
“GoodFellas” (1990) Martin Scorsese
The Graduate“ (1967) Mike Nichols
“Halloween” (1978) John Carpenter
“A Hard Day’s Night” (1964) Richard Lester
“Intolerance” (1916) D.W. Griffith
“It’s a Gift” (1934) Norman Z. McLeod
It’s a Wonderful Life“ (1946) Frank Capra
Jaws“ (1975) Steven Spielberg
“The Lady Eve” (1941) Preston Sturges
Lawrence of Arabia“ (1962) David Lean
“M” (1931) Fritz Lang
Mad Max 2” / “The Road Warrior“ (1981) George Miller
The Maltese Falcon“ (1941) John Huston
“The Manchurian Candidate” (1962) John Frankenheimer
“Metropolis” (1926) Fritz Lang
Modern Times“ (1936) Charles Chaplin
Monty Python and the Holy Grail“ (1975) Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam
“Nashville” (1975) Robert Altman
“The Night of the Hunter” (1955) Charles Laughton
“Night of the Living Dead” (1968) George Romero
“North by Northwest” (1959) Alfred Hitchcock
“Nosferatu” (1922) F.W. Murnau
“On the Waterfront” (1954) Elia Kazan
“Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968) Sergio Leone
“Out of the Past” (1947) Jacques Tournier
“Persona” (1966) Ingmar Bergman
“Pink Flamingos” (1972) John Waters
“Psycho” (1960) Alfred Hitchcock
Pulp Fiction“ (1994) Quentin Tarantino
“Rashomon” (1950) Akira Kurosawa
“Rear Window” (1954) Alfred Hitchcock
Rebel Without a Cause“ (1955) Nicholas Ray
“Red River” (1948) Howard Hawks
“Repulsion” (1965) Roman Polanski
“The Rules of the Game” (1939) Jean Renoir
“Scarface” (1932) Howard Hawks
“The Scarlet Empress” (1934) Josef von Sternberg
Schindler’s List“ (1993) Steven Spielberg
“The Searchers” (1956) John Ford
The Seven Samurai“ (1954) Akira Kurosawa
Singin’ in the Rain“ (1952) Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly
Some Like It Hot“ (1959) Billy Wilder
“A Star Is Born” (1954) George Cukor
“A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951) Elia Kazan
“Sunset Boulevard” (1950) Billy Wilder
“Taxi Driver” (1976) Martin Scorsese
“The Third Man” (1949) Carol Reed
“Tokyo Story” (1953) Yasujiro Ozu
“Touch of Evil” (1958) Orson Welles
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre“ (1948) John Huston
“Trouble in Paradise” (1932) Ernst Lubitsch
“Vertigo” (1958) Alfred Hitchcock
West Side Story“ (1961) Jerome Robbins/Robert Wise
The Wild Bunch“ (1969) Sam Peckinpah
The Wizard of Oz“ (1939) Victor Fleming

posted at 8:39 am on Thursday, April 27, 2006 in Movies, Personal | Comments (8)


  1. Jeff K says:

    That list has a Saturday afternoon “I’m bored”/headache feel to it, especially without “The Matrix” and some other notables and anime. Also what’s with Jaws, Halloween & Hard Day’s night…? gag.

  2. Reid says:

    I stole your meme and put in the URL for this posting but no track-back happened. Ah well, I guess thisd is a manual track-back!

    My score seems to be 63, and I have a few of the ones you haven’t seen:

    The Big Sleep
    Bonnie and Clyde
    Citizen Kane
    Maltese Falcon
    Once Upon a Time in the West
    Rear Window (which Luisa and I watched just last night, me for the 1st time!)
    The Third Man

    So let me know if you want to borrow them!

  3. Harald Koch says:

    Yes, I’ve turned off trackbacks completely, because I was getting nothing but spam, spam, all day long.

  4. Keith Demko says:

    Man, do I love lists like this .. If I may be so bold as to make a recommendation from the ones you haven’t seen yet, check out Godard’s Breathless .. pure movie magic

  5. Harald Koch says:

    Cool; thanks, Keith!

  6. aiabx says:

    72. Could have been better, but there’s a few there that I didn’t finish watching because I didn’t like them. But Jeff, you disappoint me greatly. A Hard Days Night is not only delightful, but enormously influential. It’s worth 20 Matrices. Halloween and Jaws, well, they’re more there for historical purposes, being the roots of the Horror-Slasher-Franchise film and the Hollywood-FX-Blockbuster.

  7. Jeff K says:

    Erum, “A Hard Days Night” was conceived prior to it having a script or a soundtrack and I wasn’t much of a Beatles fan. However, I just rented “Hard Days Night” for the prurposes of this discussion, and must say it’s an okay music video. I hate almost all Beatles songs except for “Revolution” and “Hard Days Night”, both of which are fantastic and tend to be on my mp3 player a lot. Anyway, aside from slighting a great movie like “The Matrix”, why didn’t you take a moment to comment on “Breathless” by Godard. The reviewers of “Hard Day’s Night” said it pioneered “jump cuts” in 1964, however “Breathless” 4 years earlier is regarded by reviews as the pioneer of “jump cuts”. Anyway, I am hopeless behind in my movie watching and have not seen “Breathless” yet, just that in my research of why “Hard Day’s Night” was influencial, I keep coming across stuff like that.

  8. […] 102 must-see movies Filed under: friends, entertainment — rae @ 9:02 am Stealing a meme from Harald, here is my version of the list: […]

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