Movies that blew me away

No matter how many times I have watched these movies, they still grab me. Compelling stories, great performances.
Old and new movies. Serious or hilarious.
Drama or comedy.
By release year.
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
J. Edgar (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
J. Edgar Hoover, powerful head of the F.B.I. for nearly 50 years, looks back on his professional and personal life. (137 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
 
2.
The Ides of March (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
An idealistic staffer for a new presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail. (101 mins.)
Director: George Clooney
 
3.
Machine Gun Preacher (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Sam Childers is a former drug-dealing biker tough guy who found God and became a crusader for hundreds of Sudanese children who've been forced to become soldiers. (129 mins.)
Director: Marc Forster
 
4.
Shutter Island (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In 1954, a U.S. marshal investigates the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane. (138 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
 
5.
Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A frustrated man decides to take justice into his own hands after a plea bargain sets one of his family's killers free. He targets not only the killer but also the district attorney and others involved in the deal. (109 mins.)
Director: F. Gary Gray
 
6.
Invictus (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup. (134 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
 
7.
The Ugly Truth (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A romantically challenged morning show producer is reluctantly embroiled in a series of outrageous tests... (96 mins.)
Director: Robert Luketic
 
8.
Changeling (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A grief-stricken mother takes on the LAPD to her own detriment when it stubbornly tries to pass off an obvious impostor as her missing child, while also refusing to give up hope that she will find him one day. (141 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
 
9.
Frost/Nixon (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon. (122 mins.)
Director: Ron Howard
 
10.
August Rush (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A drama with fairy tale elements, where an orphaned musical prodigy uses his gift as a clue to finding his birth parents. (114 mins.)
 
11.
The Bucket List (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die. (97 mins.)
Director: Rob Reiner
 
12.
Blood Diamond (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A fisherman, a smuggler, and a syndicate of businessmen match wits over the possession of a priceless diamond. (143 mins.)
Director: Edward Zwick
 
13.
The Departed (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston. (151 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
 
14.
Infamous (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
While researching his book In Cold Blood, writer Truman Capote develops a close relationship with convicted murderers Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. (110 mins.)
Director: Douglas McGrath
 
15.
The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A young soprano becomes the obsession of a disfigured musical genius who lives beneath the Paris Opéra House. (143 mins.)
Director: Joel Schumacher
 
16.
Dear Frankie (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After having responded to her son's numerous letters in the guise of his father, a woman hires a stranger to pose as his dad when meeting him. (105 mins.)
Director: Shona Auerbach
 
17.
Mystic River (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
With a childhood tragedy that overshadowed their lives, three men are reunited by circumstance when one has a family tragedy. (138 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
 
18.
Life as a House (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
When a man is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he takes custody of his misanthropic teenage son, for whom quality time means getting high, engaging in small-time prostitution, and avoiding his father. (125 mins.)
Director: Irwin Winkler
 
19.
Arlington Road (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A man begins to suspect his neighbors are not what they appear to be and their secrets could be deadly. (117 mins.)
Director: Mark Pellington
 
20.
Instinct (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
When a noted anthropologist who left society to live in the jungle is imprisoned for murder, it's up to a young psychiatrist to get through to him. (126 mins.)
Director: Jon Turteltaub
 
21.
American History X (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did. (119 mins.)
Director: Tony Kaye
 
22.
Patch Adams (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The true story of a heroic man, Hunter Patch Adams, determined to become a medical doctor because he enjoys helping people. He ventured where no doctor had ventured before, using humour and pathos. (115 mins.)
Director: Tom Shadyac
 
23.
Life Is Beautiful (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp. (116 mins.)
Director: Roberto Benigni
 
24.
Absolute Power (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A career thief witnesses a horrific crime involving the U.S. President. (121 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
 
25.
Good Will Hunting (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
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. (126 mins.)
Director: Gus Van Sant
 
26.
Nothing to Lose (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Nick Beam's life couldn't get any worse. He discovers he has been living a lie and is on the verge of a nervous breakdown... (98 mins.)
Director: Steve Oedekerk
 
27.
Primal Fear (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep. (129 mins.)
Director: Gregory Hoblit
 
28.
Se7en (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi. (127 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
 
29.
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
 
30.
Forrest Gump (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
Forrest Gump, while not intelligent, has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny Curran, eludes him. (142 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
 
31.
Philadelphia (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
When a man with AIDS is fired by his law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit. (125 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Demme
 
32.
Scent of a Woman (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A prep school student needing money agrees to "babysit" a blind man, but the job is not at all what he anticipated. (156 mins.)
Director: Martin Brest
 
33.
JFK (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A New Orleans DA discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story. (189 mins.)
Director: Oliver Stone
 
34.
Guilty by Suspicion (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
David Merrill (Robert De Niro), a fictitious 1950s Hollywood director, returns from filming abroad... (105 mins.)
Director: Irwin Winkler
 
35.
Dances with Wolves (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Lt. John Dunbar, exiled to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military. (181 mins.)
Director: Kevin Costner
 
36.
Cry Freedom (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
South African journalist Donald Woods is forced to flee the country after attempting to investigate the death in custody of his friend the black activist Steve Biko. (157 mins.)
 
37.
The Untouchables (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Federal Agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop Al Capone; because of rampant corruption, he assembles a small, hand-picked team. (119 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
 
38.
Children of a Lesser God (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
James is a new speech teacher at a school for the deaf. He falls for Sarah, a pupil who decided to stay... (119 mins.)
Director: Randa Haines
 
39.
Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Luis Molina and Valentin Arregui are cell mates in a South American prison. Luis, a trans individual... (120 mins.)
Director: Hector Babenco
 
40.
The Color Purple (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering years of abuse from her father and others over 40 years. (154 mins.)
 
41.
Silent Movie (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A film director and his strange friends struggle to produce the first major silent feature film in forty years. (87 mins.)
Director: Mel Brooks
 
42.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An American grandson of the infamous scientist, struggling to prove that he is not as insane as people believe, is invited to Transylvania, where he discovers the process that reanimates a dead body. (106 mins.)
Director: Mel Brooks