150 Movies You Should See Before You Die


Here's a list of my 150 favorite movies of all time, for those (few) who care. I did make one arbitrary rule here, which is only one film per director - otherwise it would have been a thousand and fifty movies, not a hundred and fifty. So just because you don't see THE GODFATHER here (or RUMBLE FISH, or ONE FROM THE HEART, etc., etc.), don't assume I don't love it - it's just that APOCALYPSE NOW got the Coppola slot. Most of the directors represented here have done multiple films that could just have easily made the cut.

So without further ado, here are the 150 movies that mean the most to me, in alphabetical order. A lot of 'em are on Netflix and other streaming services (check those aspect ratios though - Netflix likes to show flat versions of 'scope movies!), and I've also linked the titles to their Amazon pages in case you want to pick them up on DVD:

Advise and Consent (Otto Preminger, 1962)

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Werner Herzog, 1972)

Aliens (James Cameron, 1985)

All About Eve (Joseph Mankiewicz, 1950)

All That Jazz (Bob Fosse, 1979)

All the President's Men (Alan Pakula, 1976)

An American Werewolf in London (John Landis, 1981)

Apocalypse Now (Francis Coppola, 1979)

An Autumn Afternoon (Yasujiro Ozu, 1962)

L’Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960)

Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)

Bad Timing (Nicolas Roeg, 1980)

The Ballad of Little Jo (Maggie Greenwald, 1993)

Basic Instinct (Paul Verhoeven, 1992)

Before Sunset (Richard Linklater, 2004)

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Russ Meyer, 1970)

The Big Heat (Fritz Lang, 1953)

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (Dario Argento, 1970)

Big Wednesday (John Milius, 1978)

Bitter Moon (Roman Polanski, 1992)

Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982)

Blow Out (Brian DePalma, 1981)

Body Heat (Lawrence Kasdan, 1981)

Boogie Nights (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1997)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Blake Edwards, 1961)

Broadcast News (James L. Brooks, 1987)

Buck and the Preacher (Sidney Poitier, 1972)

Bull Durham (Ron Shelton, 1988)

Caddyshack (Harold Ramis, 1980)

Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)

Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010)

Che (Steven Soderbergh, 2008)

Christine (John Carpenter, 1983)

Dangerous Game (Abel Ferrara, 1993)

The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)

Dawn of the Dead (George Romero, 1979)

Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick, 1978)

Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch, 1995)

Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972)

The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005)

Detour (Edgar G. Ulmer, 1945)

Devil’s Advocate (Taylor Hackford, 1997)

Dirty Harry (Don Siegel, 1971)

Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino, 2012)

Downhill Racer (Michael Ritchie, 1969)

Duel in the Sun (King Vidor, 1946)

The Earrings of Madame de… (Max Ophuls, 1953)

Europa (Lars von Trier, 1991)

A Face in the Crowd (Elia Kazan, 1957)

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Amy Heckerling, 1982)

Fatal Attraction (Adrian Lyne, 1987)

Fat City (John Huston, 1972)

Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman, 1984)

The Girl Can't Help It (Frank Tashlin, 1956)

Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014)

Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939)

Grace of My Heart (Allison Anders, 1996)

Hannah and Her Sisters (Woody Allen, 1986)

Hardcore (Paul Schrader, 1979)

Harry and Tonto (Paul Mazursky, 1974)

Heat (Michael Mann, 1995)

Heaven’s Gate (Michael Cimino, 1981)

High Sierra (Raoul Walsh, 1941)

The Howling (Joe Dante, 1981)

Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk, 1959)

In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950)

Inside (Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, 2007)

Inside Man (Spike Lee, 2006)

In the Company of Men (Neil Labute, 1997)

I Spit on Your Grave (Meir Zarchi, 1977)

JFK (Oliver Stone, 1991)

Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, 1955)

The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges, 1941)

The Last Picture Show (Peter Bogdanovich, 1971)

Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)

Last Year at Marienbad (Alain Resnais, 1961)

The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963)

Libeled Lady (Jack Conway, 1936)

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Michael Powell, 1943)

Lone Star (John Sayles, 1996)

Lost Highway (David Lynch, 1997)

The Man From Laramie (Anthony Mann, 1955)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford, 1962)

The Man with Two Brains (Carl Reiner, 1983)

Maximum Overdrive (Stephen King, 1986)

McCabe and Mrs. Miller (Robert Altman, 1971)

Medium Cool (Haskell Wexler, 1969)

Melvin and Howard (Jonathan Demme, 1980)

Miller’s Crossing (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1990)

Mother (Albert Brooks, 1996)

My Night at Maud’s (Eric Rohmer, 1969)

The Naked Kiss (Sam Fuller, 1964)

Night Moves (Arthur Penn, 1975)

Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)

The Nutty Professor (Jerry Lewis, 1963)

Once Upon a Time in America (Sergio Leone, 1984)

The Opening of Misty Beethoven (Radley Metzger, 1976)

Ordinary People (Robert Redford, 1980)

Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur, 1947)

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (Sam Peckinpah, 1973)

The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (Larry Cohen, 1977)

The Professionals (Richard Brooks, 1966)

Psycho (Alfred Hitchock, 1960)

Purple Rain (Albert Magnoli, 1984)

Pushover (Richard Quine, 1954)

The Quick and the Dead (Sam Raimi, 1995)

Real Genius (Martha Coolidge, 1985)

Red River (Howard Hawks, 1948)

Reds (Warren Beatty, 1981)

Ride Lonesome (Budd Boetticher, 1959)

The Right Stuff (Philip Kaufman, 1983)

Rock and Roll High School (Allan Arkush, 1979)

Rules of the Game (Jean Renoir, 1939)

Scenes From a Marriage (Ingmar Bergman, 1973)

Scream (Wes Craven, 1996)

Seconds (John Frankenheimer, 1966)

Serpico (Sidney Lumet, 1973)

The Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954)

Shampoo (Hal Ashby, 1975)

The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985)

Shoot the Moon (Alan Parker, 1982)

Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly, 1952)

The Soft Skin (Francois Truffaut, 1964)

Some Came Running (Vincente Minnelli, 1958)

Sorcerer (William Friedkin, 1977)

The State of Things (Wim Wenders, 1982)

Strange Days (Kathryn Bigelow, 1995)

Streets of Fire (Walter Hill, 1984)

Sunday, Bloody Sunday (John Schlesinger, 1971)

Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950)

Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick, 1957)

The Ten Commandments (Cecil B. DeMille, 1956)

That Obscure Object of Desire (Luis Bunuel, 1977)

This Man Must Die (Claude Chabrol, 1969)

Tootsie (Sydney Pollack, 1982)

Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)

Trouble in Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch, 1932)

Trust (Hal Hartley, 1990)

Two or Three Things I Know About Her (Jean-Luc Godard, 1967)

Under Fire (Roger Spottiswoode, 1983)

Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood, 1992)

Videodrome (David Cronenberg, 1982)

Violent Saturday (Richard Fleischer, 1955)

Waking the Dead (Keith Gordon, 2000)

The Wild Angels (Roger Corman, 1966)

The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2013)

A Woman Under the Influence (John Cassavetes, 1974)

Yi Yi (Edward Yang, 2000)


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