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27 April 2006




Must. See. Movies.

Here is someone’s list of must-see movies (via Kottke). If you see them all you can apparently call yourself “movie literate”. I’ve seen some of them.

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

This is a pretty good list, as lists go. There are a lot on that list that I have been meaning to see but (apparently) haven’t. And there are quite a few that I don’t give a rat’s arse about. The author defends his choices here (and admits Apocalypse Now to the list, thank Dog).

Similarly, there’s a lot of movies that I think should be on the list but aren’t. That’s fun too. Hello, no Lord of the Rings? No Bond flicks? (From Russia With Love is my favourite) The Matrix? No David Lynch movies? (either Mulholland Drive or Lost Highway, take your pick) L.A. Confidential? The Shining? A Pixar movie? (either Toy Story 2 or The Incredibles) And how could you overlook Police Academy 6?

What do you reckon? Are you “movie-literate”?


Posted by
2006-04-27 11:40:39 -0500

No David Lynch other than Blue Velvet, you mean :) But yeah, I'd rate Lost Highway above that (not sure I'd recommend Mulholland Drive to the average punter or the discerning connoisseur), but I believe Erasurehead or The Elephant Man are the definitive Lynches (ignoring the whole Twin Peaks thing).

As far as literacy, I'd say I come out about even: I've seen a handful you haven't (The Wizard of Oz FTW!), but I haven't seen some of the tripe you have :P

What I really want to know is what happened to Godfather III? Wasn't it good enough for this list? And where's The Dark Crystal? And where's 1984/Brazil (they're very similar for the most part, much to Terry Gilliam's embarrassment, apparently)?

I'm also surprised Rashamon made the list but Yojimbo (the 'inspiration' for A Fistful of Dollars) didn't.

Oh, and stay the hell away from Aguirre, the Wrath of God. That's 3+ hours I'll never see again. (Think about it: a german film about Conquistadors sailing up the Amazon in search of El Dorado, most of them dying and the rest going mad. On what level does that make compelling viewing?!)

Posted by
2006-04-27 11:40:39 -0500

Of course that's Eraserhead, not Erasurehead. (a film about a bad UK band fan? It'll be a blockbuster!)

Posted by
2006-04-27 11:40:39 -0500

(Blue Velvet) Whoops! Oh well I think of Blue Velvet more of a Denis Hopper vehicle than anything else...

(Tripe) About the only thing that I've seen on that list that would say is really crap is E.T..

(Gilliam) Well they have Holy Grail which is fair enough, although I probably would have chosen Life of Brian.