50 Films to See Before You Die

50 Films to See Before You Die was a television programme first shown on Channel 4 on Saturday 22 July 2006, to celebrate the relaunch of Film4 as a free-to-air TV channel available to digital terrestrial homes in the United Kingdom. It consisted of a list of 50 films compiled by film critics, experts and personalities. Each film was "chosen as a paragon of a particular genre or style". Apocalypse Now was chosen as the #1 film.
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1.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
During the Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe. (153 mins.)
Director: Francis Coppola
 
2.
The Apartment (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A man tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue. (125 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
 
3.
City of God (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Two boys growing up in a violent neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer. (130 mins.)
 
4.
Chinatown (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption and murder. (130 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
 
5.
Sexy Beast (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Brutal gangster Don Logan recruits "retired" safecracker Gal for one last job, but it goes badly for both of them. (89 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Glazer
 
6.
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
 
7.
North by Northwest (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive. (136 mins.)
 
8.
Breathless (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy. (90 mins.)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
 
9.
Donnie Darko (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident. (113 mins.)
Director: Richard Kelly
 
10.
Back to the Future (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A young man is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his friend, Dr. Emmett Brown, and must make sure his high-school-age parents unite in order to save his own existence. (116 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
 
11.
Alien (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as distress call, their landing on the source planet finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform. Continuing their journey back to Earth with the attacked crew having recovered and the critter deceased, they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun. (117 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
 
12.
Lost in Translation (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo. (101 mins.)
Director: Sofia Coppola
 
13.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  
Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency. (142 mins.)
Director: Frank Darabont
 
14.
Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
The people of a small village in Victorian India stake their future on a game of cricket against their ruthless British rulers. (224 mins.)
 
15.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption. (154 mins.)
 
16.
Touch of Evil (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town. (95 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
 
17.
Walkabout (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Two young siblings are stranded in the Australian Outback and are forced to cope on their own. They meet an Australian boy on "walkabout": a ritual separation from his tribe. (100 mins.)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
 
18.
Black Narcissus (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings. (100 mins.)
 
19.
Boyz n the Hood (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Follows the lives of three young males living in the Crenshaw ghetto of Los Angeles, dissecting questions of race, relationships, violence and future prospects. (112 mins.)
Director: John Singleton
 
20.
The Player (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A Hollywood studio executive is being sent death threats by a writer whose script he rejected - but which one? (124 mins.)
Director: Robert Altman
 
21.
Come and See (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
After finding an old rifle, a young boy joins the Soviet resistance movement against ruthless German forces and experiences the horrors of World War II. (136 mins.)
Director: E. Klimov
 
22.
Heavenly Creatures (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Two girls have an intense fantasy life; their parents, concerned the fantasy is too intense, separate them, and the girls take revenge. (99 mins.)
Director: Peter Jackson
 
23.
A Night at the Opera (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A sly business manager and two wacky friends of two opera singers help them achieve success while humiliating their stuffy and snobbish enemies. (96 mins.)
Director: Sam Wood
 
24.
Erin Brockovich (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city's water supply. (131 mins.)
 
25.
Trainspotting (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends. (94 mins.)
Director: Danny Boyle
 
26.
Hero (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A defense officer, Nameless, was summoned by the King of Qin regarding his success of terminating three warriors. (99 mins.)
Director: Yimou Zhang
 
27.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Five high school students, all different stereotypes, meet in detention, where they pour their hearts out to each other, and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought. (97 mins.)
Director: John Hughes
 
28.
Fanny and Alexander (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Two young Swedish children experience the many comedies and tragedies of their family, the Ekdahls. (188 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
 
29.
Pink Flamingos (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Notorious Baltimore criminal and underground figure Divine goes up against a sleazy married couple who make a passionate attempt to humiliate her and seize her tabloid-given title as "The Filthiest Person Alive". (93 mins.)
Director: John Waters
 
30.
All About Eve (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An ingenue insinuates herself into the company of an established but aging stage actress and her circle of theater friends. (138 mins.)
 
31.
Scarface (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In Miami in 1980, a determined Cuban immigrant takes over a drug cartel and succumbs to greed. (170 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
 
32.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her young son, John Connor, from a more advanced cyborg, made out of liquid metal. (137 mins.)
Director: James Cameron
 
33.
Three Colors: Blue (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A woman struggles to find a way to live her life after the death of her husband and child. (98 mins.)
 
34.
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when their father announces he is terminally ill. (110 mins.)
Director: Wes Anderson
 
35.
The Ladykillers (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Five diverse oddball criminal types planning a bank robbery rent rooms on a cul-de-sac from an octogenarian widow under the pretext that they are classical musicians. (91 mins.)
 
36.
Fight Club (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a alter-ego devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more... (139 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
 
37.
The Searchers (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from an Indian tribe. (119 mins.)
Director: John Ford
 
38.
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality. (147 mins.)
Director: David Lynch
 
39.
The Ipcress File (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In London, a counter espionage agent deals with his own bureaucracy while investigating the kidnapping and brainwashing of British scientists. (109 mins.)
Director: Sidney J. Furie
 
40.
The King of Comedy (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Aspiring comic Rupert Pupkin attempts to achieve success in show business by stalking his idol, a late night talk-show host who craves his own privacy. (109 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
 
41.
Manhunter (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Former FBI profiler Will Graham returns to service to pursue a deranged serial murderer named "the Tooth Fairy" by the media. (119 mins.)
Director: Michael Mann
 
42.
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.)
 
43.
Princess Mononoke (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime. (134 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
44.
Raising Arizona (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
When a childless couple of an ex-con and an ex-cop decide to help themselves to one of another family's quintupelets, their lives get more complicated than they anticipated. (94 mins.)
Director: Joel Coen
 
45.
Cabaret (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A female girlie club entertainer in Weimar Republic era Berlin romances two men while the Nazi Party rises to power around them. (124 mins.)
Director: Bob Fosse
 
46.
This Sporting Life (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Despite success on the field, a rising rugby star senses the emerging emptiness of his life as his inner angst begins to materialize through aggression and brutality, so he attempts to woo his landlady in hopes of finding reason to live. (134 mins.)
 
47.
Brazil (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A bureaucrat in a retro-future world tries to correct an administrative error and himself becomes an enemy of the state. (132 mins.)
Director: Terry Gilliam
 
48.
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. (93 mins.)
Director: Werner Herzog
 
49.
Secrets & Lies (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A successful black woman discovers that her birth mother is a lower-class white woman, but the woman denies it. As emotions run high, everyone's secrets are exposed. (136 mins.)
Director: Mike Leigh
 
50.
Badlands (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
An impressionable teen girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend go on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands. (94 mins.)
Director: Terrence Malick