Top ESSENTIAL movies must see.

by lmg-10 | created - 06 Oct 2010 | updated - 14 Sep 2014 | Public

Trilogies are implied. Order not relevant.

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1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

R | 142 min | Crime, Drama

9.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  
80 Metascore

Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Director: Frank Darabont | Stars: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler

Votes: 1,901,047 | Gross: $28.34M

2. Schindler's List (1993)

R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

8.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
93 Metascore

In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall

Votes: 978,129 | Gross: $96.07M

3. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

R | 169 min | Drama, War

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
90 Metascore

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns

Votes: 1,000,849 | Gross: $216.54M

4. Braveheart (1995)

R | 178 min | Biography, Drama, History

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
68 Metascore

When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, Sir William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen

Votes: 823,003 | Gross: $75.60M

5. The Matrix (1999)

R | 136 min | Action, Sci-Fi

8.7
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
73 Metascore

A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving

Votes: 1,367,092 | Gross: $171.48M

6. Forrest Gump (1994)

PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, Romance

8.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
82 Metascore

The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, Vietnam, Watergate, and other history unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field

Votes: 1,436,385 | Gross: $330.25M

7. Titanic (1997)

PG-13 | 194 min | Drama, Romance

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
75 Metascore

A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates

Votes: 877,193 | Gross: $0.69M

8. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

PG | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

8.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
90 Metascore

Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.

Director: George Lucas | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness

Votes: 1,027,978 | Gross: $322.74M

9. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

PG-13 | 178 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

8.8
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92 Metascore

A meek Hobbit from the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to destroy the powerful One Ring and save Middle-earth from the Dark Lord Sauron.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean

Votes: 1,378,303 | Gross: $315.54M

10. The Godfather (1972)

R | 175 min | Crime, Drama

9.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.2/10 X  
100 Metascore

The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton

Votes: 1,298,648 | Gross: $134.97M

11. Heat (1995)

R | 170 min | Action, Crime, Drama

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
76 Metascore

A group of professional bank robbers start to feel the heat from police when they unknowingly leave a clue at their latest heist, while both sides attempt to find balance between their personal and their professional lives.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight

Votes: 479,173 | Gross: $67.44M

12. Finding Nemo (2003)

G | 100 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
90 Metascore

After his son is captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney, a timid clownfish sets out on a journey to bring him home.

Directors: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich | Stars: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe

Votes: 787,949 | Gross: $380.84M

13. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
85 Metascore

A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons

Votes: 1,013,072 | Gross: $130.74M

14. Se7en (1995)

R | 127 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
65 Metascore

Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Andrew Kevin Walker

Votes: 1,159,386 | Gross: $100.13M

15. Toy Story (1995)

G | 81 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
95 Metascore

A cowboy doll is profoundly threatened and jealous when a new spaceman figure supplants him as top toy in a boy's room.

Director: John Lasseter | Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney

Votes: 709,955 | Gross: $191.80M

16. WALL·E (2008)

G | 98 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
95 Metascore

In the distant future, a small waste-collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.

Director: Andrew Stanton | Stars: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard

Votes: 817,721 | Gross: $223.81M

17. The Lion King (1994)

G | 88 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
83 Metascore

Lion cub and future king Simba searches for his identity. His eagerness to please others and penchant for testing his boundaries sometimes gets him into trouble.

Directors: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff | Stars: Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Whoopi Goldberg

Votes: 741,185 | Gross: $312.90M

18. Dances with Wolves (1990)

PG-13 | 181 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
72 Metascore

Lieutenant John Dunbar, assigned to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military.

Director: Kevin Costner | Stars: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Rodney A. Grant

Votes: 204,583 | Gross: $184.21M

19. The Terminator (1984)

R | 107 min | Action, Sci-Fi

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
83 Metascore

A seemingly indestructible humanoid cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Paul Winfield

Votes: 669,584 | Gross: $38.40M

20. Alien (1979)

R | 117 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
83 Metascore

After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as a distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform, and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright

Votes: 647,617 | Gross: $78.90M

21. The Abyss (1989)

PG-13 | 145 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
62 Metascore

A civilian diving team is enlisted to search for a lost nuclear submarine and face danger while encountering an alien aquatic species.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn, Leo Burmester

Votes: 142,584 | Gross: $54.46M

22. Jaws (1975)

PG | 124 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
87 Metascore

A local sheriff, a marine biologist and an old seafarer team up to hunt down a great white shark wrecking havoc in a beach resort.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary

Votes: 464,648 | Gross: $260.00M

23. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

PG | 115 min | Family, Sci-Fi

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
91 Metascore

A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home world.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote, Dee Wallace

Votes: 311,731 | Gross: $435.11M

24. The Sixth Sense (1999)

PG-13 | 107 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
64 Metascore

A boy who communicates with spirits seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan | Stars: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams

Votes: 780,142 | Gross: $293.51M

25. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

PG-13 | 132 min | Drama, Sport

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
86 Metascore

A determined woman works with a hardened boxing trainer to become a professional.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel

Votes: 539,059 | Gross: $100.49M

26. The Exorcist (1973)

R | 122 min | Horror

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
82 Metascore

When a girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb

Votes: 309,098 | Gross: $232.91M

27. Monsters, Inc. (2001)

G | 92 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
78 Metascore

In order to power the city, monsters have to scare children so that they scream. However, the children are toxic to the monsters, and after a child gets through, 2 monsters realize things may not be what they think.

Directors: Pete Docter, David Silverman, Lee Unkrich | Stars: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Mary Gibbs, Steve Buscemi

Votes: 666,302 | Gross: $289.92M

28. Rain Man (1988)

R | 133 min | Drama

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
65 Metascore

Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt's father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country.

Director: Barry Levinson | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino, Gerald R. Molen

Votes: 414,420 | Gross: $172.83M

29. The Ten Commandments (1956)

G | 220 min | Adventure, Drama

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The Egyptian Prince, Moses, learns of his true heritage as a Hebrew and his divine mission as the deliverer of his people.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille | Stars: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson

Votes: 52,765 | Gross: $93.74M

30. Back to the Future (1985)

PG | 116 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
86 Metascore

Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover

Votes: 836,053 | Gross: $210.61M

31. Inception (2010)

PG-13 | 148 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

8.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
74 Metascore

A thief, who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology, is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe

Votes: 1,663,967 | Gross: $292.58M

32. The Dark Knight (2008)

PG-13 | 152 min | Action, Crime, Drama

9.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9/10 X  
82 Metascore

When the menace known as the Joker emerges from his mysterious past, he wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, the Dark Knight must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine

Votes: 1,875,474 | Gross: $534.86M

33. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

PG-13 | 113 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
71 Metascore

A soldier fighting aliens gets to relive the same day over and over again, the day restarting every time he dies.

Director: Doug Liman | Stars: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson

Votes: 497,866 | Gross: $100.21M