25 Movies you really should see

Here's 25 films that may have slipped through your film viewing net. Not blockbusters, and in some cases, unfairly overlooked at Awards Season.
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1.
The Straight Story (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An old man makes a long journey by lawn-mover tractor to mend his relationship with an ill brother. (112 mins.)
Director: David Lynch
“ This is a superb piece of film-making in every sense. Incredible story-telling with a magnificent lead performance. One of the most under-rated films ever, in a year where, ironically, one of the most over-rated (the pretentious and slightly tedious American Beauty) won the big awards. This film takes it's time and is all the richer for it. If you only see one more movie before you die, this is a good one to choose! ” - ed2031
 
2.
The Killing Fields (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A journalist is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot's bloody "Year Zero" cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million "undesirable" civilians. (141 mins.)
Director: Roland Joffé
“ A film that actually did pretty well Awards wise (although it was unlucky to lose the top Oscar to "Amadeus") and at the Box Office. I include it just because it is a movie that should be seen by everyone, especially Americans whose knowledge of the SE Asian region is confined to the Vietnam War.
A superb story, maginificently filmed and acted, and with one of the very best endings in film history. ” - ed2031
 
3.
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A distant poor relative of the Duke of D'Ascoyne plots to inherit the title by murdering the eight other heirs who stand ahead of him in the line of succession. (106 mins.)
Director: Robert Hamer
“ Alec Guinness is one of the (if not THE) very best film actors of all time.
In this film he plays eight roles, all of them with great aplomb. 60 years on this is still a funny film - and even though much of British comedy is lost on Americans - they should enjoy this!
A forgotten classic. ” - ed2031
 
4.
Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A gay man and a political prisoner are together in a prison. The gay man narrates the stories of two fake movies and his own life. (120 mins.)
Director: Hector Babenco
“ One of the all-time great performances from William Hurt and he won a skew of awards for it although Raul Julia is just about as good). Missed the top Oscar in a tough year.
Intense and emotional, this is not an "easy" watch but rewarding. ” - ed2031
 
5.
In America (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A family of Irish immigrants adjust to life on the mean streets of Hell's Kitchen while also grieving the death of a child. (105 mins.)
Director: Jim Sheridan
“ This was an interesting year for film and "In America" is the forgotten great movie of this time. While the Oscars were dominated by the sublime "Return of the King", the dreadful "Lost in Translation" was also nominated.
Jim Sheridan is a master story-teller and, when he sticks to his pet subject of Ireland or the Irish, he has no equals. This film is highly moving and extraordinarily well acted - one of the best ensemble acting performances I have seen. The scene at the fairground surely rates as one of best in film history. ” - ed2031
 
6.
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Paul Rusesabagina was a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda. (121 mins.)
Director: Terry George
“ As with many films on this list, and many of the great films of all time, Hotel Rwanda is based on the life on an extraordinary figure which history has perhaps overlooked, and in this case about a horrific event that, to it's shame, the rest of the world ignored. A film that will move you and educate you. Socially responsible cinema at it's finest. ” - ed2031
 
7.
Amazing Grace (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The idealist William Wilberforce maneuvers his way through Parliament, endeavoring to end the British transatlantic slave trade. (118 mins.)
Director: Michael Apted
“ Another great biopic about an extraordinary historical figure that, I suspect, 90% of us, are unaware of. Nothing is more annoying to me in film-making than an average film about a great person (eg Invictus). Amazing Grace is not one of those films. Completely ignored by, in my opinion, an increasingly irrelevant Academy who reward special effects and pretentiousness,and ignore genuine quality. Thankfully The Hurt Locker and The King's Speech have got them back on track (for now at least) ” - ed2031
 
8.
Twin Sisters (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Twin Sisters is an epic love story based on the Dutch bestseller by Tessa de Loo that has been read by more than 3.5 million readers in Holland and Germany. (137 mins.)
Director: Ben Sombogaart
“ An extraordinary story of two sisters and the effect of WW2 on them. Superbly written and acted. Extremely moving. A must-see. ” - ed2031
 
9.
Dead Man Walking (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A nun, while comforting a convicted killer on death row, empathizes with both the killer and his victim's families. (122 mins.)
Director: Tim Robbins
“ Magnificent and powerful from start to finish and one of the all time great leading performances from Sean Penn who, bizarrely, lost to an average Nicolas Cage in a bad movie. (But in a year in which this wasn't nominated for Best Picture but the tedious Braveheart won can't be considered of the Academy's best efforts). ” - ed2031
 
10.
Europa Europa (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A boy in Nazi Germany, trying to conceal that he is Jewish, joins the Hitler Youth. (112 mins.)
“ When I make a list of what I consider the best films of all time, World War 2 (and other wars) seems to figure prominently in them. Amazing how the best films draw their material from the worst of times. Similar to "Twin Sisters" in it's subject matter, this a story of the war from a very personal point of view and reminds us that behind each of thise horrific statistics, is a story of a real person. ” - ed2031
 
11.
Do the Right Thing (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence. (120 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
“ A landmark film that demands to be seen. Spike Lee has paved the way for so many young film makers (of all colours) with this piece. Fantastically put together, superbly acted (especially Ossie Davis). An extremely important markin the development of modern American film. ” - ed2031
 
12.
Cinderella Man (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The story of James Braddock, a supposedly washed-up boxer who came back to become a champion and an inspiration in the 1930s. (144 mins.)
Director: Ron Howard
“ I was in two minds about watching this film for the first time. I think Russell Crowe is the film best actor of his generation but Renee Zellwegger is possibly the worst. And do we really need another Boxing movie? The deciding factor for me was Ron Howard.
End result - a movie certainly similar to Rocky but far superior in terms of story, script, and acting. The mid 2000s was a bad time for the Academy (see review of Amazing Grace). For this film (and Crowe) to be shunned is a disgrace. It is magnificent. Even if you do not like boxing you should see it. The scene when Crowe's character goes to ask for financial help from his one time "backers" is up there with the best in motion picture history. ” - ed2031
 
13.
Touching the Void (2003 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The true story of two climbers and their perilous journey up the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985. (106 mins.)
Director: Kevin Macdonald
“ Well received by the critics and those who saw it. The problem is, not that many people have seen it. If you are one of the masses that haven't, then do it! An incredible true story of survival. Awesome cinematohraphy. Will make you wince, maybe look away at times, and cheer. A real ride! ” - ed2031
 
14.
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue. (116 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ There have been many films about the Vietnam War. Some of them magnificent (The Deer Hunter), some unintelligible (Apocalypse Now), and many of them just not very good (including Platoon). Both parts of this film are equally powerful and it is hard not to get emotionally involved with the characters. If you liked The Hurt Locker, you should appreciate this also.
I'm also going to go out on a limb and say THIS is Kubrick's best film. ” - ed2031
 
15.
Awakenings (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The victims of an encephalitis epidemic many years ago have been catatonic ever since, but now a new drug offers the prospect of reviving them. (121 mins.)
Director: Penny Marshall
“ Unlucky at Oscar time in that this was the year of Dances With Wolves and Jeremy Irons's superb performance in Reversal of Fortune. A really quite extraordinary story with two terrific lead performances. ” - ed2031
 
16.
Once Were Warriors (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A family descended from Maori warriors is bedeviled by a violent father and the societal problems of being treated as outcasts. (102 mins.)
Director: Lee Tamahori
“ For those of you who don't know, New Zealand is a little country at the bottom of the world, about 1500 miles east of Australia. Before the Europeans arrived it was settled by Polynesian peoples, known as Maori. Like any native population that was colonised, they have had more than their fair share of problems. Once Were Warriors is a powerful, at times highly disturbing, look at one part of Maoridom and how colonisation has had a negative effect. But please note, this is NOT how the vast majority of Maori live. The danger with a film like this is that it can shed a negative light on a group of people. Extremely relevant for New Zealanders, this film got some positive attention in the US too and I suspect many of the themes will resonate with American viewers. Try and find it and check it out. ” - ed2031
 
17.
Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In 1931, three aboriginal girls escape after being plucked from their homes to be trained as domestic staff and set off on a journey across the Outback. (94 mins.)
Director: Phillip Noyce
“ A disgraceful practice by the Australian government is given a very personal telling in this highly moving film. Emotional and powerful. ” - ed2031
 
18.
Runaway Train (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Two escaped convicts and a female railway worker find themselves trapped on a train with no brakes and nobody driving. (111 mins.)
“ Exciting and suspenseful this is an action film that has it all. Unbelievably good cinematography and Jon Voight in top form. Plus one of the very very best endings in motion picture history. ” - ed2031
 
19.
Night on Earth (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
An anthology of 5 different cab drivers in 5 American and European cities and their remarkable fares on the same eventful night. (129 mins.)
Director: Jim Jarmusch
“ Here is a little gem that I suspect 99% of you haven't even heard of, let alone seen. 5 great stories told by a great story teller and acted by a stellar international cast. Intelligent and funny - a rare combination these days. Get hold of it if you can - a very worthwhile way to spend a night on Earth! ” - ed2031
 
20.
The Castle (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A working-class family from Melbourne, Australia fights city hall after being told they must vacate their beloved family home to allow for infrastructural expansion. (85 mins.)
Director: Rob Sitch
“ The best film to come out of Australia. Admittedly if you are not an Aussie or Kiwi (from New Zealand) the film may not resonate with you as much. Not, perhaps, the most original of storylines, but told in a very Antipodean way, with Michael Caton's character (and perfomance embedding) itself as one of the all time greats. ” - ed2031
 
21.
The Milagro Beanfield War (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
In Milagro, a small town in the American Southwest, Ladd Devine plans to build a major new resort development... (117 mins.)
Director: Robert Redford
“ A film I very much enjoyed, but probably not to everyone's liking. It isn't a fast-paced action comedy so if you have a short attention span this may not be for you. Like others on this list, no instant gratification, but a film to savour and appreciate. ” - ed2031
 
22.
Moscow on the Hudson (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
When a Russian musician defects in Bloomingdale's department store in New York, he finds adjusting to American life more difficult than he imagined. (115 mins.)
Director: Paul Mazursky
“ I think this film is one of those "hidden treasures". While the story is a familiar "fish out of water" scenario it is moving and funny and notable as being Robin Williams' second major film role. ” - ed2031
 
23.
Cool Runnings (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
When a Jamaican sprinter is disqualified from the Olympic Games, he enlists the help of a dishonored coach to start the first Jamaican Bobsled Team. (98 mins.)
Director: Jon Turteltaub
“ I love this film! Hilarious, inspirational, and uplifting. Well acted by a talented cast. One of the few movies I have seen that I can watch multiple times and still get equal enjoyment out of it each time. ” - ed2031
 
24.
The Closet (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A man spreads the rumor of his fake homosexuality with the aid of his neighbor, to prevent his imminent firing at his work. (84 mins.)
Director: Francis Veber
“ Now, French farcical comedy is not to everyone's taste. Movies about homosexuality are also not to everyone's liking. But if you are willing to try the former, and don't mind the latter, then this is the film for you. Daniel Auteuil is a fine comic actor and is well supported here. A bit obvious at times, but a movie I laughed at long and loud. ” - ed2031
 
25.
Labyrinth (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A 16-year-old girl is given 13 hours to solve a labyrinth and rescue her baby brother when her wish for him to be taken away is granted by the Goblin King. (101 mins.)
Director: Jim Henson
“ Jim Henson is one of the great figures in 20th century entertainment and this is a highly entertaining film for children and adults alike. Very cool characters and dialogue. Even in this age of overblown special effects and advanced animation, this movie still holds up well. I recently showed it to a class of 8-9 year olds and they were enthralled. ” - ed2031