Essential Movies

Here’s my current list of essential movies, with links to reviews where I have them. Bear in mind I’m still working on reviewing movies, so some of them don’t have links yet.

Title Runtime Director Year Category Rating
12 Angry Men 1:36 Sidney Lumet 1957 drama PG
2001: A Space Odyssey 2:41 Stanley Kubrick 1968 sci-fi G
A Christmas Story 1:34 Bob Clark 1983 Christmas PG
A Fish Called Wanda 1:49 Charles Crichton, John Cleese 1988 comedy R
A Hard Day’s Night 1:27 Richard Lester 1964 comedy G
A Streetcar Named Desire 2:07 Elia Kazan 1951 drama PG
A Trip to the Moon 0:13 Georges Méliès 1902 comedy NR
Airplane! 1:28 Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker 1980 comedy PG
Alien 1:57 Ridley Scott 1979 sci-fi, thriller R
Aliens 2:17 James Cameron 1986 sci-fi, thriller R
Almost Famous 2:42 Cameron Crowe 2000 adventure R
Amelie 2:09 Jean-Pierre Jeunet 2001 adventure, romance R
American Beauty 2:02 Sam Mendes 1999 drama R
American Graffiti 1:53 George Lucas 1973 comedy, teen PG
Annie Hall 1:33 Woody Allen 1977 comedy, romance PG
Apocalypse Now 2:33 Francis Ford Coppola 1979 war R
Back to the Future 2:00 Robert Zemeckis 1985 adventure, comedy, sci-fi PG
Ben-Hur 3:44 William Wyler 1959 epic G
Blade Runner 1:57 Ridley Scott 1982 film noir, sci-fi R
Bonnie and Clyde 1:52 Arthur Penn 1967 crime R
Bottle Rocket 1:45 Wes Anderson 1996 comedy, indie R
Breakfast at Tiffany’s 2:10 Blake Edwards 1961 comedy NR
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1:53 George Roy Hill 1969 western PG
Casablanca 1:42 Martin Curtiz 1942 romance PG
Charade 1:53 Stanley Donen 1963 comedy, mystery, romance G
Chinatown 2:11 Roman Polanski 1974 film noir, mystery R
Citizen Kane 1:59 Orson Welles 1941 drama PG
Close Encounters of the Third Kind 2:15 Steven Spielberg 1977 sci-fi PG
Dances with Wolves 3:56 Kevin Costner 1990 drama PG-13
Die Hard 2:12 John McTiernan 1988 action, Christmas R
Dog Day Afternoon 2:30 Sidney Lumet 1975 crime R
Donnie Darko 2:13 Richard Kelly 2001 indie, sci-fi, teen R
E.T. – The Extra Terrestrial 2:01 Steven Spielberg 1982 sci-fi PG
Enter the Dragon 1:50 Bruce Lee, Robert Clouse 1973 action R
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 1:48 Michel Gondry 2004 indie, romance R
Fantastic Mr. Fox 1:27 Wes Anderson 2009 animated, comedy PG
Fight Club 2:31 David Fincher 1999 action R
Following 1:10 Christopher Nolan 1999 crime, indie, mystery R
Frances Ha 1:26 Noah Baumbach 2012 comedy, drama, indie R
Gladiator 2:51 Ridley Scott 2000 epic R
Ghost World 1:52 Terry Zwigoff 2001 comedy, indie, teen R
Ghostbusters 1:47 Ivan Reitman 1984 comedy PG
Gone with the Wind 3:58 Victor Fleming 1939 romance G
Good Will Hunting 2:06 Gus Van Sant 1997 drama R
Goodfellas 2:28 Martin Scorsese 1990 crime R
Guardians of the Galaxy 2:02 James Gunn 2014 comedy, sci-fi, superhero PG-13
Harold and Maude 1:31 Hal Ashby 1971 romance PG
How the Grinch Stole Christmas 0:26 Chuck Jones, Ben Washam 1966 Christmas NR
Iron Man 2:06 Jon Favreau 2008 superhero PG-13
Jaws 2:10 Steven Spielberg 1975 thriller PG
Juno 1:36 Jason Reitman 2007 comedy, indie, teen PG-13
Jurassic Park 2:05 Steven Spielberg 1993 sci-fi, thriller PG-13
Laura 1:28 Otto Preminger 1944 film noir, mystery NR
Lawrence of Arabia 3:48 David Lean 1962 epic PG
Little Miss Sunshine 1:41 Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris 2006 comedy, drama, indie R
Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels 2:00 Guy Ritchie 1998 crime R
Logan 2:21 James Mangold 2017 drama, superhero R
Lost in Translation 1:44 Sofia Coppola 2003 drama, indie R
Metropolis 2:33 Fritz Lang 1927 sci-fi NR
Midnight Cowboy 1:53 John Schlesinger 1969 drama R
Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1:32 Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam 1975 comedy PG
Moonrise Kingdom 1:34 Wes Anderson 2012 comedy, teen PG-13
Moulin Rouge 2:10 Baz Luhrmann 2001 musical PG-13
Mulholland Drive 2:27 David Lynch 2001 drama, mystery, thriller R
Murder on the Orient Express 2:11 Sidney Lumet 1974 mystery PG
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 2:09 Frank Capra 1939 drama NR
My Fair Lady 2:52 George Cukor 1964 romance G
Network 2:01 Sidney Lumet 1976 drama R
North by Northwest 2:16 Alfred Hitchcock 1959 action, mystery NR
O Brother, Where Art Thou? 1:48 Coen Brothers 2000 adventure PG-13
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 2:14 Milos Forman 1975 drama R
Pan’s Labyrinth 1:59 Guillermo del Toro 2006 adventure, thriller R
Platoon 2:00 Oliver Stone 1986 war R
Primer 1:19 Shane Caruth 2004 indie, sci-fi PG-13
Psycho 1:49 Alfred Hitchcock 1960 horror R
Pulp Fiction 2:58 Quentin Tarantino 1994 crime, film noir, indie R
Raging Bull 2:09 Martin Scorsese 1980 drama R
Rain Man 2:13 Barry Levinson 1988 drama R
Rocky 2:02 John G. Avildsen 1976 drama PG
Roman Holiday 1:58 William Wyler 1953 comedy NR
Saving Private Ryan 2:50 Steven Spielberg 1998 war R
Say Anything 1:40 Cameron Crowe 1989 romance, teen PG-13
Schindler’s List 3:15 Steven Spielberg 1993 drama R
Seven Samurai 3:28 Akira Kurosawa 1954 epic NR
Shaun of the Dead 1:40 Edgar Wright 2004 comedy, horror, indie R
Sideways 2:07 Alexander Payne 2004 comedy, indie R
Silver Linings Playbook 2:02 David O. Russell 2012 comedy, romance R
Snatch 1:44 Guy Ritchie 2000 crime R
Some Like It Hot 2:02 Billy Wilder 1959 comedy G
Spirited Away 2:05 Hayao Miyazaki 2001 animated, adventure PG
Stand By Me 1:29 Rob Reiner 1986 adventure, teen R
Star Wars: A New Hope 2:05 George Lucas 1977 sci-fi PG
Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back 2:07 George Lucas 1979 sci-fi PG
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi 2:16 George Lucas 1981 sci-fi PG
Sunset Boulevard 1:55 Billy Wilder 1950 film noir G
Superbad 1:59 Greg Mottola 2007 adventure, comedy, teen R
Taxi Driver 1:54 Martin Scorsese 1976 crime, drama R
Terms of Endearment 2:12 James L. Brooks 1983 comedy PG
The African Queen 1:46 John Huston 1951 adventure, romance PG
The Big Lebowski 1:59 Coen Brothers 1998 comedy R
The Blues Brothers 2:28 John Landis 1980 adventure, comedy R
The Breakfast Club 1:37 John Hughes 1985 drama, teen R
The Darjeeling Limited 1:44 Wes Anderson 2007 drama R
The Dark Knight 2:32 Christopher Nolan 2008 crime, superhero PG-13
The Deer Hunter 3:03 Michael Cimino 1978 war R
The Departed 2:31 Martin Scorsese 2006 crime R
The French Connection 1:44 William Friedkin 1971 crime, thriller R
The Godfather 2:57 Francis Ford Coppola 1972 crime R
The Godfather: Part II 3:20 Francis Ford Coppola 1974 crime R
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 2:59 Sergio Leone 1966 western R
The Graduate 1:46 Mike Nichols 1967 comedy PG
The Grand Budapest Hotel 1:40 Wes Anderson 2014 comedy R
The Grapes of Wrath 2:09 John Ford 1940 drama G
The Great Dictator 2:06 Charlie Chaplin 1940 comedy G
The Green Mile 3:09 Frank Darabont 1999 drama R
The Jerk 1:44 Carl Reiner 1979 comedy R
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou 1:59 Wes Anderson 2004 comedy R
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 3:48 Peter Jackson 2001 epic PG-13
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 3:21 Peter Jackson 2003 epic PG-13
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 3:55 Peter Jackson 2002 epic PG-13
The Maltese Falcon 1:41 John Huston 1941 film noir, mystery PG
The Nightmare Before Christmas 1:16 Henry Selick 1993 animated, Christmas PG
The Princess Bride 1:38 Rob Reiner 1987 adventure, comedy PG
The Royal Tenenbaums 1:50 Wes Anderson 2001 comedy R
The Shawshank Redemption 2:22 Frank Darabont 1994 drama R
The Shining 2:26 Stanley Kubrick 1980 horror, thriller R
The Silence of the Lambs 2:18 Jonathan Demme 1991 horror, mystery, thriller R
The Squid and the Whale 1:28 Noah Baumbach 2005 drama, indie R
The Third Man 1:48 Carol Reed 1949 film noir, mystery NR
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 2:06 John Huston 1948 adventure NR
The Usual Suspects 1:48 Bryan Singer 1995 crime, indie, mystery R
The Wizard of Oz 1:52 Victor Fleming 1939 adventure G
This is Spinal Tap 1:25 Rob Reiner 1984 comedy R
To Kill a Mockingbird 2:10 Robert Mulligan 1962 drama NR
Tootsie 1:59 Sydney Pollack 1982 comedy PG
Unforgiven 2:11 Clint Eastwood 1992 western R
V for Vendetta 2:13 James McTeigue 2005 action, drama, thriller R
Walk the Line 2:33 James Mangold 2005 drama PG-13
West Side Story 2:33 Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise 1961 musical PG
Who Framed Roger Rabbit 1:44 Robert Zemeckis 1988 animated, comedy, film noir, mystery PG

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