“To make a film is easy; to make a good film is war. To make a very good film is a miracle.” – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Movies are magic, especially to the beholder. Whether it’s in a theater, at a friend’s house, or alone on your laptop, movies have the power to influence one’s emotions and even one’s way of thinking. Everyone is affected in a different way by cinema and everyone has their own unique taste of style and performance, much like somebody picking out their favorite flavor of ice cream but this ice cream can make you cry from its magnificence. Whatever your flavor is, it’s bound to be found at least once on this list today. As there are multitudes of exceptional films in the world today, it’s very challenging to choose which ones are actually the best but these ones are all wonderful for their own special reasons.
Counting down the list, there are a variety of genres and themes as well as directors and actors, all making their mark on history in their own special way. Without further delay, please enjoy our list of recommendations for films you should absolutely watch at least once.
The Dark Knight (2008)
In the second and most successful of the Christopher Nolan Batman series, The Dark Knight is renowned as a dark tale that makes you question what side you are on, or if there even are sides. Batman (Christian Bale), Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) have kept crime to an all-time low with their untainted service of justice, giving Bruce Wayne the idea that retirement and a happy life with Rachel might be attainable, until a new enemy bent on absolute chaos, The Joker (Heath Ledger), flips everything on its head. Oscar winner for best supporting actor, Heath Ledger’s incredible performance dove into what it means to be a hero, what it means to be a villain, and how the differences can so easily blur when faced with chaos, because as he says: “I’m an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It’s fair.”
Director: Christopher Nolan
Main Cast: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart
Runtime: 152 minutes
IMDb Rating: 9.0
Read more: Best Superhero Movies
The Social Network (2010)
From the visionary and normally morbid director David Fincher comes The Social Network, which exposed the drama behind the creation of Facebook. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin wrote the script for this film, technically based on Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires, but he has stated that he had written almost 80 pages before the book was even released. Released less than 10 years after Facebook’s big boom, this film — however profound and scandalous — was just the tip of the scandal iceberg, which merits murmurs of a sequel to portray the last 20 years of insanity.
Director: David Fincher
Main Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake
Runtime: 120 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.7
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Apocalypse Now (1979)
From unforgettable and historic director/writer Francis Ford Coppola comes an abstract and artistic war movie about the Vietnam War, told through descriptive scenes of allegorical allure and irresistible imagery. When a Vietnam officer is given an unlikely mission, he must locate and assassinate a rogue Special Forces Colonel who has convinced himself and some locals that he is a god. Starring then-rising star Martin Sheen and the legendary Marlon Brando, the creative and award-winning cinematography is the vessel that this film travels by, cementing it in history as one of the most visually imaginative pieces of film to date.
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Main Cast: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall
Runtime: 147 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.4
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The “first summer blockbuster,” and Spielberg’s initial claim to fame, Jaws is a classic horror film that launched Spielberg’s career to new heights. When a giant shark terrorizes a small beach town, the responsibility falls on a local sheriff, a marine biologist, and an old sailor to hunt and kill the vicious beast. Masterfully making use of cinematography, music, and limited technology, this film changed the landscape of filmmaking forever. This would go on to become one of the best Steven Spielberg movies ever, despite his difficulty in the production process, later saying, “Jaws should never have been made — it was an impossible effort.”
Director: Steven Spielberg
Main Cast: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss
Runtime: 124 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.0
Read more: Best Horror Movies on Amazon Prime
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
A Stanley Kubrick must-watch-classic movie is 2001: A Space Odyssey, seamlessly combining themes of the human condition and abstract themes of mystery and sci-fi. When mankind discovers a dark and mysterious object that has been intentionally buried on the surface of the moon more than 4 million years ago, a journey into space begins to discover where it came from with the help of an artificial intelligence computer. Considering this film came out in 1968, (before Star Wars and even before the moon landing) its special effects, sci-fi theories, and sound editing was way ahead of its time — about 10 to 15 years to be exact.
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Main Cast: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester
Runtime: 149 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.3
Hilarious and unconventional, Caddyshack is one of the best golf movies that envelops so many zany characters and storylines, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe) is a young and impressionable caddy at a high-class country club who is just trying to get a scholarship to afford an education, but what he receives is an education in the ways of life paralleled with golf. This film is unstoppably wacky and has some of the best comedic moments of the ’80s, making it an instant contender for one of the best comedies of all time. Besides the main and ultimately unimportant main plot, it’s the ‘side characters’ played by Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bill Murray’s legendary improvisation that give this movie life.
Director: Harold Ramis
Main Cast: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray
Runtime: 98 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.3
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Written by and starring Sylvester Stallone, Rocky is the rough and tough underdog boxer story that movie fans have endlessly appreciated since its conception — making it one of the best sports movies of all time. Rocky is a little-known boxer and local resident of Philadelphia, but when he is randomly chosen to fight the heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), he must overcome physical and emotional obstacles he never thought possible. Beautifully written, this film does more than tell a great sports story. It’s an inspiring story of personal triumph in defiance of all odds.
Director: John G. Avildsen
Main Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young
Runtime: 120 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.1
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
One of the best Kung Fu movies that employ a liberal usage of the “Wire-Fu” film aesthetic, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a timeless feature from Ang Lee that redefines the sub-genre. A young and aristocratic woman named Jen (Ziyi Zhang) works to overthrow the oppression of society by denying her arranged marriage, choosing a life of crime on the run in the throes of true love with another. Meanwhile, a highly skilled and trained swordmaster named Yu (Michelle Yeoh), devoted to justice and honor, realizes she has let her life pass her by without experiencing her own true love story. This was one of the most highly acclaimed foreign films of its time, winning four Oscars and captivating audiences worldwide.
Director: Ang Lee
Main Cast: Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang
Runtime: 120 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.8
The Truman Show (1998)
In what some claim to be Jim Carrey’s best film, The Truman Show is an absolute must. As his character, Truman Burbank, an insurance salesman, lives through his day-to-day life, he begins to notice that the world is watching him — quite literally. After following up on the paranoid suspicions he has built up throughout his life, Truman begins to challenge the status quo, which results in a confusing and life-altering series of events that turns him into the man that everyone wanted him to be.
Director: Peter Weir
Main Cast: Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney
Runtime: 103 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.1
The Untouchables (1987)
A film that is referenced in film classes for its meticulous set designs, costuming, cinematography, and editing, The Untouchables is a classic gangster movie that is based on the real events of special agent Eliot Ness and his investigations. After the city of Chicago is brought to its knees by the notorious crime lord and empirical bootlegger Al Capone (Robert De Niro), Secret Agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) builds a small, trustworthy task force to investigate and incriminate one of the most powerful crime lords in history. Revered as some of director Brian De Palma’s best work, this film is also highlighted by the incredible performances from its lead characters including Sean Connery in one of his best films. Kevin Costner’s portrayal of Agent Ness has a pure evolution to it, going from by-the-book rookie practices to vengeful, desperate methods that change you as a human and a character.
Director: Brian De Palma
Main Cast: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro
Runtime: 119 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.9
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