Films List, M.A. Cinema Studies | San Francisco State Universityby taliadevault | created - 20 Jan 2012 | updated - 21 Jan 2012 | Public
Incoming graduate students are expected to possess a reasonable degree of familiarity with films in each of the following categories that have proven central to the history of cinema.
African and Latin American Cinema Asian Cinema Classic American Cinema (1928-1975) Documentary Cinema European Cinema Experimental Cinema Documentary Cinema Independent American Cinema Modern American Cinema (1975-present) Silent Cinema
Familiar means having seen at least 6-10 films per category at least once and having read at least one substantial account that addresses significant aspects of those films (from books or articles). The titles listed are not exhaustive; other titles may be added, and partial knowledge is strongly preferred to significant gaps in knowledge.
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Not Rated | 201 min | Drama
A lonely widowed housewife does her daily chores, takes care of her apartment where she lives with her teenage son, and turns the occasional trick to make ends meet. However, something happens that changes her safe routine.
Votes: 4,510 | Gross: $0.02M
4. Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
Not Rated | 106 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery
A doomed female hitchhiker pulls Mike Hammer into a deadly whirlpool of intrigue, revolving around a mysterious "great whatsit."
5. Memories of Underdevelopment (1968)
97 min | Drama
Sergio (Sergio Corrieri), through his life following the departure of his wife, parents and friends in the wake of the Bay of Pigs incident. Alone in a brave new world, Sergio observes the ... See full summary »
6. The Last Supper (1976)
120 min | Drama
A pious plantation owner attempts to teach Christianity to 12 of his slaves by inviting them to participate in a reenactment of the Last Supper.
7. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
R | 120 min | Drama, Western
A gambler and a prostitute become business partners in a remote Old West mining town, and their enterprise thrives until a large corporation arrives on the scene.
8. Nashville (1975)
R | 160 min | Comedy, Drama, Music
Over the course of a few hectic days, numerous interrelated people prepare for a political convention as secrets and lies are surfaced and revealed.
Votes: 19,353 | Gross: $9.98M
9. This Sporting Life (1963)
Not Rated | 134 min | Drama, Sport
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.
11. Macunaima (1969)
Not Rated | 95 min | Fantasy, Comedy
Our story begins with Macunaima's miraculous birth to an old woman in a tiny jungle settlement. Born full grown, he discovers his life's purpose which leads him and his family/followers on ... See full summary »
13. In the Year of the Pig (1968)
Not Rated | 103 min | Documentary, War
Produced at the height of the Vietnam War, Emile de Antonio's Oscar-nominated 1968 documentary chronicles the war's historical roots. With palpable outrage, De Antonio (Point of Order, ... See full summary »
14. Point of Order! (1964)
Not Rated | 97 min | Documentary
Point of Order is compiled from TV footage of the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings, in which the Army accused Senator McCarthy of improperly pressuring the Army for special privileges for ... See full summary »
15. Painters Painting (1973)
Not Rated | 116 min | Documentary
The definitive documentary on the New York School Painters. Featuring footage of all the major figures of the New York Art Scene between 1940-1970, showing many of the artists before they became famous.
17. L'Avventura (1960)
Not Rated | 143 min | Drama, Mystery
A woman disappears during a Mediterranean boating trip. During the search, her lover and her best friend become attracted to each other.
18. Red Desert (1964)
Not Rated | 117 min | Drama
In an industrial area, Giuliana, an unstable woman, attempts to cope with life by starting an affair with a co-worker at the plant her husband manages.
19. Zabriskie Point (1970)
R | 113 min | Drama
At Zabriskie Point, United State's lowest point, two perfect strangers meet; an undergraduate dreamer and a young hippie student who start off an unrestrained romance, making love on the dusty terrain.
20. Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)
Approved | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Musical
Judy O'Brien is an aspiring ballerina in a dance troupe. Also in the company is Bubbles, a brash mantrap who leaves the struggling troupe for a career in burlesque. When the company ... See full summary »
24. Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
R | 120 min | Drama
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.
Votes: 11,935 | Gross: $17.04M
26. The Virgin Spring (1960)
Not Rated | 89 min | Drama
An innocent yet pampered young virgin and her family's pregnant and jealous servant set out to deliver candles to church, but only one returns from events that transpire in the woods along the way.
28. The Conformist (1970)
R | 113 min | Drama
A weak-willed Italian man becomes a fascist flunky who goes abroad to arrange the assassination of his old teacher, now a political dissident.
29. 1900 (1976)
Unrated | 317 min | Crime, Drama, History
The epic tale of a class struggle in twentieth century Italy, as seen through the eyes of two childhood friends on opposing sides.
30. Burden of Dreams (1982)
Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary
A documentary on the chaotic production of Werner Herzog's epic Fitzcarraldo (1982), showing how the film managed to get made despite problems that would have floored a less obsessively ... See full summary »
31. The Last Picture Show (1971)
R | 118 min | Drama
In 1951, a group of high schoolers come of age in a bleak, isolated, atrophied West Texas town that is slowly dying, both culturally and economically.
Votes: 34,521 | Gross: $29.13M
32. Born in Flames (1983)
Not Rated | 80 min | Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi
Set ten years after the most peaceful revolution in United States history, a revolution in which a socialist government gains power, this films presents a dystopia in which the issues of ... See full summary »
35. Desistfilm (1954)
7 min | Short, Romance
Four young men and a young woman sit in boredom. She smokes while one strums a lute, one looks at a magazine, and two fiddle with string. The door opens and in comes a young man, cigarette ... See full summary »
39. The Young and the Damned (1950)
Not Rated | 80 min | Crime, Drama
A group of juvenile delinquents live a violent and crime-filled life in the festering slums of Mexico City, and the morals of young Pedro are gradually corrupted and destroyed by the others...
40. Las Hurdes (1933)
30 min | Documentary, Short
A surrealistic documentary portrait of the region of Las Hurdes, a remote region of Spain where civilisation has barely developed, showing how the local peasants try to survive without even the most basic utilities and skills.
41. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
PG | 102 min | Comedy
A surreal, virtually plotless series of dreams centered around six middle-class people and their consistently interrupted attempts to have a meal together.
Votes: 30,292 | Gross: $0.20M
43. L'Age d'Or (1930)
63 min | Comedy, Drama
A surrealist tale of a man and a woman passionately in love with one another, but their attempts to consummate that passion are constantly thwarted by their families, the Church, and bourgeois society.
Votes: 10,408 | Gross: $0.03M
45. The Great Dictator (1940)
G | 125 min | Comedy, Drama, War
Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel's regime.
46. City Lights (1931)
G | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
With the aid of a wealthy erratic tippler, a dewy-eyed tramp who has fallen in love with a sightless flower girl accumulates money to be able to help her medically.
Votes: 125,507 | Gross: $0.02M
51. The Blood of a Poet (1932)
Unrated | 55 min
A young artist draws a face at a canvas on his easel. Suddenly the mouth on the drawing comes into life and starts talking. The artist tries to wipe it away with his hand, but when he looks... See full summary »
54. Marilyn Times Five (1973)
14 min | Short
A commentary on the destructive expectations of females in a male dominated society, Marilyn Times Five was made from an old stag film called "The Apple-Knockers, and the Coke"(1948) these ... See full summary »
56. The Conversation (1974)
PG | 113 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
A paranoid, secretive surveillance expert has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that a couple, on whom he is spying, will be murdered.
Votes: 81,210 | Gross: $4.42M
57. Apocalypse Now (1979)
R | 147 min | Drama, War
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.
Votes: 497,064 | Gross: $83.47M
59. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
R | 202 min | Crime, Drama
The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York City is portrayed, while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on the family crime syndicate.
Votes: 888,344 | Gross: $57.30M
60. Cabra Marcado Para Morrer (1984)
119 min | Documentary
Eduardo Coutinho was filming a movie with the same name in the Northeast of Brazil, in 1964, when there came the military coup. He had to interrupt the project, and came back to it in 1981,... See full summary »
61. Mildred Pierce (1945)
Not Rated | 111 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A hard-working mother inches towards disaster as she divorces her husband and starts a successful restaurant business to support her spoiled daughter.
62. Casablanca (1942)
PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War
In Casablanca in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate encounters a former lover, with unforeseen complications.
Votes: 429,483 | Gross: $1.02M
63. Daughters of the Dust (1991)
TV-PG | 112 min | Drama, History, Romance
Languid look at the Gullah culture of the sea islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia where African folk-ways were maintained well into the 20th Century and was one of the last ... See full summary »
Votes: 1,175 | Gross: $1.64M
64. Chocolat (2000)
PG-13 | 121 min | Drama, Romance
A woman and her daughter open a chocolate shop in a small French village that shakes up the rigid morality of the community.
Votes: 159,997 | Gross: $71.51M
65. Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
14 min | Short
A woman returning home falls asleep and has vivid dreams that may or may not be happening in reality. Through repetitive images and complete mismatching of the objective view of time and space, her dark inner desires play out on-screen.
66. At Land (1946)
15 min | Short
Silently, a woman wakes on a beach as the tides go in reverse. Her dreamscape unfolds as she tries to locate a chess piece traveling from the beach to a party to a country road and then back.
68. Quilombo (1984)
114 min | Drama
Palmares is a 17th-century quilombo, a settlement of escaped slaves in northeast Brazil. In 1650, plantation slaves revolt and head for the mountains where they find others led by the aged ... See full summary »
71. Fantasia (1940)
G | 125 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy
A collection of animated interpretations of great works of Western classical music.
Directors: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe Jr., Norman Ferguson, David Hand, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen | Stars: Leopold Stokowski, Deems Taylor, Corey Burton, Walt Disney
Votes: 76,986 | Gross: $76.41M
72. Bambi (1942)
Approved | 70 min | Animation, Drama, Family
The story of a young deer growing up in the forest.
Votes: 105,830 | Gross: $102.80M
73. Snow White (1987)
PG | 85 min | Family, Fantasy, Musical
Dame Diana Rigg (TV's "The Avengers"), Billy Barty ("Willow") and Sarah Patterson ("The Company of Wolves") as Snow White star in this feature-length, live-action, musical version of the classic fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm.
75. Two for the Road (1967)
Approved | 111 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A couple in the south of France non-sequentially spin down the highways of infidelity in their troubled ten-year marriage.
76. Arsenal (1929)
Not Rated | 70 min | Drama, War
Set in the bleak aftermath and devastation of the World War I, a recently demobbed soldier, Timosh, returns to his hometown Kiev, after having survived a train wreck. His arrival coincides ... See full summary »
77. Zemya (1930)
The rich and grasping peasant Enyo likes the beautiful Tzveta. He is engaged to her with the consent of his older brother Ivan and his wife Ana. Stanka is sickly hunchback girl but her ... See full summary »
78. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
Not Rated | 114 min | Biography, Drama, History
In 1431, Jeanne d'Arc is placed on trial on charges of heresy. The ecclesiastical jurists attempt to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions.
Votes: 31,230 | Gross: $0.02M
79. La souriante Madame Beudet (1923)
26 min | Drama
One of the first feminist movies, The Smiling Madame Beudet is the story of an intelligent woman trapped in a loveless marriage. Her husband is used to playing a stupid practical joke in ... See full summary »
80. Pépé le Moko (1937)
Not Rated | 94 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
A wanted gangster is both king and prisoner of the Casbah. He is protected from arrest by his friends, but is torn by his desire for freedom outside. A visiting Parisian beauty may just tempt his fate.
Votes: 5,114 | Gross: $0.15M
83. ¡Que viva Mexico! (1932)
Having revolutionized film editing through such masterworks of montage as Potemkin and Strike, Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein emigrated west in hopes of testing the capabilities of the American film industry.
84. Ivan the Terrible, Part I (1945)
Not Rated | 95 min | Biography, Drama, History
During the early part of his reign, Ivan the Terrible faces betrayal from the aristocracy and even his closest friends as he seeks to unite the Russian people.
85. Ivan the Terrible, Part II (1958)
Not Rated | 88 min | Biography, History
As Ivan the Terrible attempts to consolidate his power by establishing a personal army, his political rivals, the Russian boyars, plot to assassinate their Tsar.
86. Mother Küsters Goes to Heaven (1975)
108 min | Drama
Frau Kusters is preparing dinner late one seemingly ordinary afternoon in her seemingly ordinary kitchen in Frankfurt, Germany. Mrs. Kusters wants to add canned sausages to the stew, her ... See full summary »
87. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
Not Rated | 94 min | Drama, Romance
An almost accidental romance is kindled between a German woman in her mid-sixties and a Moroccan migrant worker around twenty-five years younger. They abruptly decide to marry, appalling everyone around them.
88. In a Year with 13 Moons (1978)
Not Rated | 124 min | Drama
This drama follows the last few days in the life of Elvira (formerly Erwin) Weisshaupt. Years before, Erwin told a co-worker, Anton, that he loved him. "Too bad, you aren't a woman," he ... See full summary »
92. The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter (1980)
65 min | Documentary, History, War
Documentary about women working in factories during WWII and resultant loss of jobs after the war. Five women tell their stories. Fascinating clips of racist, sexist propaganda of the era.
93. Louisiana Story (1948)
Approved | 78 min | Adventure, Drama
The idyllic life of a young Cajun boy and his pet raccoon is disrupted when the tranquility of the bayou is broken by an oil well drilling near his home.
94. Nanook of the North (1922)
Not Rated | 78 min | Documentary
In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuits living in the Arctic Circle.
97. Fort Apache (1948)
Approved | 128 min | Action, Adventure, Western
At Fort Apache, an honorable and veteran war captain finds conflict when his regime is placed under the command of a young, glory hungry lieutenant colonel with no respect for the local Indian tribe.
98. Stagecoach (1939)
Not Rated | 96 min | Adventure, Western
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.