A Comprehensive Viewingby aarondf2003 | created - 28 Feb 2012 | updated - 01 Aug 2012 | Public
This list is an ongoing work-in-progress. There are some stinkers in here, but they have their place - whether it's for nostalgic value or their contribution to a specific genre.
I believe films can be appreciated for their components as often as for the whole. Socially referential, emotionally relevant, politically poignant, individually ambiguous and culturally evocative... films express our identity, our values, our dreams and our doubts. Their cumulative art form succeeds in conveying what we find difficult to express.
Each entry is a film I've recommended to someone for one reason or another. Often, a single film for different reasons to different people. They're entered in no particular order, so sort alphabetically or chronologically for an easier time.
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2. 25th Hour (2002)
R | 135 min | Drama
Cornered by the DEA, convicted New York drug dealer Montgomery Brogan reevaluates his life in the 24 remaining hours before facing a seven-year jail term.
Votes: 157,394 | Gross: $13.06M
3. 50/50 (2011)
R | 100 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Inspired by a true story, a comedy centered on a 27-year-old guy who learns of his cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease.
Votes: 288,453 | Gross: $35.01M
4. 127 Hours (2010)
R | 94 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
An adventurous mountain climber becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive.
Votes: 304,238 | Gross: $18.34M
5. A Better Life (2011)
PG-13 | 98 min | Drama, Romance
A gardener in East L.A. struggles to keep his son away from gangs and immigration agents while trying to give his son the opportunities he never had.
Votes: 13,971 | Gross: $1.76M
6. A Dangerous Method (2011)
R | 99 min | Biography, Drama, Romance
A look at how the intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gives birth to psychoanalysis.
Votes: 88,141 | Gross: $5.70M
7. A History of Violence (2005)
R | 96 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A mild-mannered man becomes a local hero through an act of violence, which sets off repercussions that will shake his family to its very core.
Votes: 201,079 | Gross: $31.49M
8. A Separation (2011)
PG-13 | 123 min | Drama, Mystery
A married couple are faced with a difficult decision - to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease.
Votes: 174,117 | Gross: $7.10M
9. Albert Nobbs (2011)
R | 113 min | Drama, Romance
Albert Nobbs struggles to survive in late 19th-century Ireland, where women aren't encouraged to be independent. Posing as a man so she can work as a butler in Dublin's most elegant hotel, Albert meets a handsome painter and looks to escape the lie she has been living.
Votes: 21,108 | Gross: $3.01M
10. All the Pretty Horses (2000)
PG-13 | 116 min | Drama, Romance, Western
Two Texas cowboys head to Mexico in search of work, but soon find themselves in trouble with the law after one of them falls in love with a wealthy rancher's daughter.
Votes: 11,971 | Gross: $15.53M
11. Almost Famous (2000)
R | 122 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama
A high-school boy is given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone Magazine about an up-and-coming rock band as he accompanies them on their concert tour.
Votes: 222,844 | Gross: $32.53M
13. An Education (2009)
PG-13 | 100 min | Drama
A coming-of-age story about a teenage girl in 1960s suburban London, and how her life changes with the arrival of a playboy nearly twice her age.
Votes: 118,230 | Gross: $12.57M
15. Away We Go (2009)
R | 98 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A couple who is expecting their first child travel around the U.S. in order to find a perfect place to start their family. Along the way, they have misadventures and find fresh connections with an assortment of relatives and old friends who just might help them discover "home" on their own terms for the first time.
Votes: 47,958 | Gross: $9.45M
16. Babel (I) (2006)
R | 143 min | Drama
Tragedy strikes a married couple on vacation in the Moroccan desert, touching off an interlocking story involving four different families.
Votes: 260,527 | Gross: $34.30M
17. Beginners (2010)
R | 105 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A young man is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer, and that he has a young male lover.
Votes: 79,947 | Gross: $5.79M
18. Black Swan (2010)
R | 108 min | Drama, Thriller
A committed dancer wins the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" only to find herself struggling to maintain her sanity.
Votes: 603,773 | Gross: $106.95M
20. Blue Valentine (2010)
R | 112 min | Drama, Romance
The relationship of a contemporary married couple, charting their evolution over a span of years by cross-cutting between time periods.
Votes: 157,768 | Gross: $9.74M
22. Boys Don't Cry (1999)
R | 118 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
Female-born Teena Brandon adopts his male identity of Brandon Teena and attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska.
Votes: 82,870 | Gross: $11.53M
24. Cape Fear (1991)
R | 128 min | Crime, Thriller
A convicted rapist, released from prison after serving a fourteen-year sentence, stalks the family of the lawyer who originally defended him.
Votes: 140,670 | Gross: $79.10M
26. Tsumetai nettaigyo (2010)
Not Rated | 146 min | Crime, Drama, Horror
When Syamoto's teenage daughter is caught stealing, a generous middle-aged man helps resolve the situation. The man and his wife offer to have Syamoto's troublesome daughter work at their ... See full summary »
27. Contagion (2011)
PG-13 | 106 min | Drama, Thriller
Healthcare professionals, government officials and everyday people find themselves in the midst of a worldwide epidemic as the CDC works to find a cure.
Votes: 191,775 | Gross: $75.66M
29. Crazy Heart (2009)
R | 112 min | Drama, Music, Romance
A faded country music musician is forced to reassess his dysfunctional life during a doomed romance that also inspires him.
Votes: 74,308 | Gross: $39.46M
30. Dead Poets Society (1989)
PG | 128 min | Comedy, Drama
English teacher John Keating inspires his students to look at poetry with a different perspective of authentic knowledge and feelings.
Votes: 314,748 | Gross: $95.86M
33. Elizabeth (1998)
R | 124 min | Biography, Drama, History
A film of the early years of the reign of Elizabeth I of England and her difficult task of learning what is necessary to be a monarch.
Votes: 81,054 | Gross: $30.08M
34. Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
PG-13 | 114 min | Biography, Drama, History
A mature Queen Elizabeth endures multiple crises late in her reign including court intrigues, an assassination plot, the Spanish Armada, and romantic disappointments.
Votes: 58,791 | Gross: $16.29M
35. Elizabethtown (2005)
PG-13 | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
During a hometown memorial for his Kentucky-born father, a young man begins an unexpected romance with a too-good-to-be-true stewardess.
Votes: 61,668 | Gross: $26.84M
37. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)
PG-13 | 129 min | Adventure, Drama, Mystery
A nine-year-old amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Votes: 88,567 | Gross: $31.85M
38. Fargo (1996)
R | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of the quite pregnant Marge Gunderson.
Votes: 511,161 | Gross: $24.61M
40. Forrest Gump (1994)
PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, Romance
The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, Vietnam, Watergate, and other history unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75.
Votes: 1,436,182 | Gross: $330.25M
41. Frost/Nixon (2008)
R | 122 min | Biography, Drama
A dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon.
Votes: 93,167 | Gross: $18.59M
42. Gangs of New York (2002)
R | 167 min | Crime, Drama
In 1863, Amsterdam Vallon returns to the Five Points area of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father's killer.
Votes: 346,209 | Gross: $77.81M
44. Glory (1989)
R | 122 min | Biography, Drama, History
Robert Gould Shaw leads the U.S. Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices from both his own Union Army, and the Confederates.
Votes: 108,346 | Gross: $26.83M
45. Good Will Hunting (1997)
R | 126 min | Drama
Will Hunting, a janitor at M.I.T., has a gift for mathematics, but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life.
Votes: 692,335 | Gross: $138.43M
46. Gran Torino (2008)
R | 116 min | Drama
Disgruntled Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski sets out to reform his neighbor, a Hmong teenager who tried to steal Kowalski's prized possession: a 1972 Gran Torino.
Votes: 620,697 | Gross: $148.10M
47. Harry Brown (2009)
R | 103 min | Action, Crime, Drama
An elderly ex-serviceman and widower looks to avenge his best friend's murder by doling out his own form of justice.
Votes: 77,988 | Gross: $1.82M
48. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
PG-13 | 121 min | Biography, Drama, History
Paul Rusesabagina was a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda.
Votes: 291,074 | Gross: $23.47M
51. Incendiary (2010)
90 min | Mystery
Two female kidnappers find themselves dragged further and further into a complex mystery, fuelled by paranoia. Everything starts to spiral out of control, as one of them suspects there is something wrong in paradise.
Votes: 35 | Gross: $0.02M
52. Insomnia (2002)
R | 118 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Two Los Angeles homicide detectives are dispatched to a northern town where the sun doesn't set to investigate the methodical murder of a local teen.
Votes: 239,083 | Gross: $67.36M
53. Into the Wild (2007)
R | 148 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life.
Votes: 481,841 | Gross: $18.35M
55. Jerry Maguire (1996)
R | 139 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
When a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent agent with the only athlete who stays with him and his former secretary.
Votes: 207,299 | Gross: $153.95M
57. Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
R | 144 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people.
Votes: 236,144 | Gross: $47.40M
58. L.A. Confidential (1997)
R | 138 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
As corruption grows in 1950s LA, three policemen - one strait-laced, one brutal, and one sleazy - investigate a series of murders with their own brand of justice.
Votes: 456,161 | Gross: $64.62M
60. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
PG | 216 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks.
Votes: 217,088 | Gross: $44.82M
61. Lean on Me (1989)
PG-13 | 108 min | Drama
The dedicated but tyrannical Joe Clark is appointed the principal of a decaying inner-city school and he is determined to improve by any and all means.
Votes: 15,619 | Gross: $31.91M
62. Legends of the Fall (1994)
R | 133 min | Drama, Romance, War
In the early 1900s, three brothers and their father living in the remote wilderness of Montana are affected by betrayal, history, love, nature, and war.
Votes: 123,605 | Gross: $66.64M
65. Malèna (2000)
R | 109 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Amidst the war climate, a teenage boy discovering himself becomes love-stricken by Malèna, a sensual woman living in a small, narrow-minded Italian town.
Votes: 73,062 | Gross: $3.43M
67. Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)
R | 102 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.
Votes: 43,424 | Gross: $2.98M
68. Match Point (2005)
R | 124 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller
At a turning point in his life, a former tennis pro falls for an actress who happens to be dating his friend and soon-to-be brother-in-law.
Votes: 181,497 | Gross: $23.09M
70. Melancholia (2011)
R | 135 min | Drama
Two sisters find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet threatens to collide with Earth.
Votes: 142,506 | Gross: $3.03M
71. Michael Clayton (2007)
R | 119 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multibillion-dollar class action suit.
Votes: 142,757 | Gross: $49.03M
73. Moneyball (2011)
PG-13 | 133 min | Biography, Drama, Sport
Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane's successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.
Votes: 306,314 | Gross: $75.61M
74. Munich (2005)
R | 164 min | Drama, History, Thriller
Based on the true story of the Black September aftermath, about the five men chosen to eliminate the ones responsible for that fateful day.
Votes: 188,663 | Gross: $47.40M
75. My Week with Marilyn (2011)
R | 99 min | Biography, Drama
Votes: 76,170 | Gross: $14.60M
76. Mysterious Skin (2004)
Unrated | 105 min | Drama, Mystery
A teenage hustler and a young man obsessed with alien abductions cross paths, together discovering a horrible, liberating truth.
Votes: 60,293 | Gross: $0.70M
77. Never Let Me Go (2010)
R | 103 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
The lives of three friends, from their early school days into young adulthood, when the reality of the world they live in comes knocking.
Votes: 121,639 | Gross: $2.43M
78. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
PG-13 | 107 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime
In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.
Votes: 245,729 | Gross: $45.51M
79. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
R | 133 min | Drama
A criminal pleads insanity after getting into trouble again and once in the mental institution rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients.
Votes: 758,268 | Gross: $112.00M
80. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)
R | 147 min | Crime, Drama, Fantasy
Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born with a superior olfactory sense, creates the world's finest perfume. His work, however, takes a dark turn as he searches for the ultimate scent.
Votes: 206,115 | Gross: $2.22M
81. Shi (2010)
Unrated | 139 min | Drama
A sixty-something woman, faced with the discovery of a heinous family crime and in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, finds strength and purpose when she enrolls in a poetry class.
Votes: 7,549 | Gross: $0.36M
83. Puncture (2011)
R | 100 min | Biography, Drama
A David and Goliath law drama about a drug-addicted lawyer who takes on a health supply corporation while battling his own personal demons.
Votes: 20,491 | Gross: $0.07M
86. Rounders (1998)
R | 121 min | Crime, Drama
A young, reformed gambler must return to playing big stakes poker to help a friend pay off loan sharks, while balancing his relationship with his girlfriend and his commitments to law school.
Votes: 129,307 | Gross: $22.91M
87. Schindler's List (1993)
R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History
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.
Votes: 977,993 | Gross: $96.07M
89. Seven Pounds (2008)
PG-13 | 123 min | Drama, Romance
A man with a fateful secret embarks on an extraordinary journey of redemption by forever changing the lives of seven strangers.
Votes: 253,649 | Gross: $69.95M
90. Seven Years in Tibet (1997)
PG-13 | 136 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
True story of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountain climber who became friends with the Dalai Lama at the time of China's takeover of Tibet.
Votes: 105,420 | Gross: $37.96M
92. Shutter Island (2010)
R | 138 min | Mystery, Thriller
In 1954, a U.S. Marshal investigates the disappearance of a murderer, who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane.
Votes: 904,871 | Gross: $128.01M
93. Sideways (2004)
R | 126 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Two men reaching middle age with not much to show but disappointment embark on a week-long road trip through California's wine country, just as one is about to take a trip down the aisle.
Votes: 160,701 | Gross: $71.50M
94. Sleepers (1996)
R | 147 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
After a prank goes disastrously wrong, a group of boys are sent to a detention center where they are brutalized. Over ten years later, they get their chance for revenge.
Votes: 165,674 | Gross: $49.10M
95. Sleeping Beauty (2011)
Not Rated | 101 min | Drama, Romance
A haunting portrait of Lucy, a young university student drawn into a mysterious hidden world of unspoken desires.
Votes: 27,778 | Gross: $0.04M
96. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
R | 120 min | Drama, Romance
A Mumbai teen reflects on his upbringing in the slums when he is accused of cheating on the Indian Version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"
Votes: 700,280 | Gross: $141.32M
98. Straw Dogs (2011)
R | 110 min | Action, Drama, Thriller
L.A. screenwriter David Sumner relocates with his wife to her hometown in the deep South. There, while tensions build between them, a brewing conflict with locals becomes a threat to them both.
Votes: 29,022 | Gross: $10.32M
99. Take Shelter (2011)
R | 120 min | Drama, Thriller
Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself.
Votes: 77,416 | Gross: $1.73M
100. Taxi Driver (1976)
R | 114 min | Crime, Drama
A mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action, while attempting to liberate a twelve-year-old prostitute.
Votes: 575,009 | Gross: $28.26M