100 Essential Movies

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1.
Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history. (163 mins.)
Director: D.W. Griffith
 
2.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders. (76 mins.)
Director: Robert Wiene
 
3.
Battleship Potemkin (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel's officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre. (75 mins.)
Director: S.M. Eisenstein
 
4.
Sunrise (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An allegorical tale about a man fighting the good and evil within him. Both sides are made flesh - one a sophisticated woman he is attracted to and the other his wife. (94 mins.)
Director: F.W. Murnau
 
5.
Metropolis (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences. (153 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
 
6.
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A chronicle of the trial of Jeanne d'Arc on charges of heresy, and the efforts of her ecclesiastical jurists to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions. (110 mins.)
Director: Carl Th. Dreyer
 
7.
Modern Times (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman. (87 mins.)
Director: Charlie Chaplin
 
8.
Stagecoach (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process. (96 mins.)
Director: John Ford
 
9.
Citizen Kane (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance. (119 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
 
10.
Double Indemnity (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator's suspicions. (107 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
 
11.
Tokyo Story (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them. (136 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
12.
Sansho the Bailiff (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
In medieval Japan, a compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him, but are separated, and the children grow up amid suffering and oppression. (124 mins.)
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
 
13.
Mother India (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In this melodrama, a poverty-stricken woman raises her sons through many trials and tribulations. But no matter the struggles, always sticks to her own moral code. (172 mins.)
Director: Mehboob
 
14.
The 400 Blows (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Moving story of a young boy who, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime. (99 mins.)
 
15.
Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In a strange and isolated chateau, a man becomes acquainted with a woman and insists that they have met before. (94 mins.)
Director: Alain Resnais
 
16.
L'Eclisse (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A young woman meets a vital young man, but their love affair is doomed because of the man's materialistic nature. (126 mins.)
 
17.
Black God, White Devil (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Fictionalized account of the adventures of hired gunman Antonio das Mortes, set against the real life last days of rural banditism... (120 mins.)
Director: Glauber Rocha
 
18.
The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The life of Jesus Christ according to the Gospel of Matthew. Pasolini shows Christ as a marxist avant-la-lettre and therefore uses half of the text of Matthew. (137 mins.)
 
19.
Pierrot le Fou (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Pierrot escapes his boring society and travels from Paris to the Mediterranean Sea with Marianne, a girl chased by hit-men from Algeria. They lead an unorthodox life, always on the run. (110 mins.)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
 
20.
Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In a Carpathian village, Ivan falls in love with Marichka, the daughter of his father's killer. When tragedy befalls her... (97 mins.)
 
21.
Persona (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A nurse is put in charge of a mute actress and finds that their personas are melding together. (85 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
 
22.
Playtime (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Monsieur Hulot curiously wanders around a high-tech Paris, paralleling a trip with a group of American tourists. Meanwhile, a nightclub/restaurant prepares its opening night, but it's still under construction. (115 mins.)
Director: Jacques Tati
 
23.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest. (149 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
 
24.
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A mysterious stranger with a harmonica joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad. (164 mins.)
Director: Sergio Leone
 
25.
Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
In the 16th century, the ruthless and insane Don Lope de Aguirre leads a Spanish expedition in search of El Dorado. (95 mins.)
Director: Werner Herzog
 
26.
The Mirror (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A dying man in his forties remembers his past. His childhood, his mother, the war, personal moments and things that tell of the recent history of all the Russian nation. (107 mins.)
 
27.
Annie Hall (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditzy Annie Hall. (93 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
 
28.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall. (127 mins.)
 
29.
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The wife of an abusive criminal finds solace in the arms of a kind regular guest in her husband's restaurant. (124 mins.)
Director: Peter Greenaway
 
30.
Blade Runner (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator. (117 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
 
31.
L'argent (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A forged 500-franc note is cynically passed from person to person and shop to shop, until it falls into... (85 mins.)
Director: Robert Bresson
 
32.
Videodrome (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a very unusual fashion when he acquires a new kind of programming for his station. (87 mins.)
 
33.
Yellow Earth (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
'Yellow Earth' focuses on the story of a communist soldier who is sent to the countryside to collect folk songs for the Communist Revolution... (86 mins.)
Director: Kaige Chen
 
34.
Ran (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him. (162 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
35.
Blue Velvet (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The discovery of a severed human ear found in a field leads a young man on an investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of psychopathic criminals who have kidnapped her child. (120 mins.)
Director: David Lynch
 
36.
Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A businessman accidentally kills The Metal Fetishist, who gets his revenge by slowly turning the man into a grotesque hybrid of flesh and rusty metal. (67 mins.)
 
37.
The Big Lebowski (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
"The Dude" Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it. (117 mins.)
Director: Joel Coen
 
38.
Code Unknown (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young man harasses a homeless woman, another man protests, the police arrest both and the woman has to leave the country. What were their various story-lines leading up to this event? (118 mins.)
Director: Michael Haneke
 
39.
In the Mood for Love (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Two neighbors, a woman and a man, form a strong bond after both suspect extramarital activities of their spouses. However, they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs. (98 mins.)
Director: Kar Wai Wong
 
40.
Werckmeister Harmonies (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An innocent young man witnesses violence breaks out after an isolated village is inflamed by the arrival of a circus and its peculiar attractions, a giant whale and a mysterious man named "The Prince". (145 mins.)
 
41.
The Tree of Life (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents' conflicting teachings. (139 mins.)
Director: Terrence Malick