Movies & Documentaries to See Before You Die

Have you ever seen a movie that afterwards you said to yourself, "Damn - that was awesome. I can die happy now." Well - this is the list of those kind of movies (in no particular order). Some you probably heard of or have seen (good for you!) ... others you may have never heard of or are thinking "Are you kidding me??" (no, I am not!)

Take a gander and when you are completely happy that these were recommended to you, you can thank me by giving me a shout-out in your obit. :)
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1.
The Fall (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story of five mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality blurs as the tale advances. (117 mins.)
Director: Tarsem
“ GORGEOUS cinematography. ADORABLE little girl. HANDSOME Lee Pace. FANTASIFULL costumes. ” - divaofpez
 
2.
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son. (95 mins.)
Director: Kurt Kuenne
“ No matter how many times I watch this, I bawl my eyes out everytime. I really wish I could've known Andrew. ” - divaofpez
 
3.
Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An urban mystery unfurls as one man pieces together the surreal meaning of hundreds of cryptic tiled messages that have been appearing in city streets across the U.S. and South America. (86 mins.)
Director: Jon Foy
“ Mesmorizing! Enthralling! Goosebumping! Kick ass! ” - divaofpez
 
4.
The Fifth Element (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
In the colorful future, a cab driver unwittingly becomes the central figure in the search for a legendary cosmic weapon to keep Evil and Mr Zorg at bay. (126 mins.)
Director: Luc Besson
“ Sci Fi meets humor meets action meets awesome soundtrack meets trickery meets love. ” - divaofpez
 
5.
The Red Violin (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A perfect red-colored violin inspires passion, making its way through three centuries over several owners and countries, eventually ending up at an auction where it may find a new owner. (130 mins.)
“ Beautiful story of a cherished violin ... makes you ponder the previous life your possessions had before they came to you. ” - divaofpez
 
6.
My Life (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A terminally ill man prepares for his death. (117 mins.)
“ Need a good cry w/an endearing storyline? Watch this. ” - divaofpez
 
7.
Young@Heart (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A documentary on a chorus of senior citizens from Massachusetts who cover songs by Jimi Hendrix, Coldplay, Sonic Youth, and other unexpected musicians. (107 mins.)
“ Makes me hope I am half as spunky and full of life as these senior citizens are, when I reach their age. ” - divaofpez
 
8.
Winnebago Man (2009 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Jack Rebney is the most famous man you've never heard of - after cursing his way through a Winnebago sales video... (85 mins.)
Director: Ben Steinbauer
“ Putting the "real" in the "reality". Loved it! ” - divaofpez
 
9.
Billy Elliot (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A talented young boy becomes torn between his unexpected love of dance and the disintegration of his family. (110 mins.)
Director: Stephen Daldry
“ Lorda mercy ... this one gets me everytime! Totally inspiring to NEVER give up on your dreams. :) ” - divaofpez
 
10.
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
“ Hands down, this is Mel Brooks BEST MOVIE EVER. Because, he was my .... BOYFRIEND! ” - divaofpez
 
11.
Auntie Mame (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An orphan goes to live with his free-spirited aunt. Conflict ensues when the executor of his father's estate objects to the aunt's lifestyle. (143 mins.)
Director: Morton DaCosta
“ My role model. ” - divaofpez
 
12.
The King's Speech (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The story of King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it. (118 mins.)
Director: Tom Hooper
“ You put your mind to it, you can accomplish ANYTHING (and maybe baggin' Colin as a hubby). :) ” - divaofpez
 
13.
Steel Magnolias (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young beautician, newly arrived in a small Louisiana town, finds work at the local salon, where a small group of women share a close bond of friendship and welcome her into the fold. (117 mins.)
Director: Herbert Ross
“ You are evil, and must be destroyed. Pure bliss wrapped up in one movie. ” - divaofpez
 
14.
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 quintuplets, their lives become more complicated than they anticipated. (94 mins.)
Director: Joel Coen
 
15.
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
 
16.
Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
In the falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world. (118 mins.)
 
17.
In the Realms of the Unreal (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A documentary on Henry Darger, visionary artist, janitor, and novelist. (81 mins.)
Director: Jessica Yu
“ Makes you wonder if your neighbors are hidden artists and/or geniuses ... don't guess! Go introduce yourself and get to know them! ” - divaofpez
 
18.
The Family Man (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A fast-lane investment broker, offered the opportunity to see how the other half lives, wakes up to find that his sports car and girlfriend have become a mini-van and wife. (125 mins.)
Director: Brett Ratner
 
19.
Millions (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Ethics, being human and the soul come to the fore when a 7-year old finds a bag of Pounds just days before the currency is switched to Euros and learns what we are really made of. (98 mins.)
Director: Danny Boyle
 
20.
Marwencol (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
After a vicious attacks leaves him brain-damaged and broke, Mark Hogancamp seeks recovery in "Marwencol", a 1/6th scale World War II-era town he creates in his backyard. (83 mins.)
Director: Jeff Malmberg
 
21.
Big Fish (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A frustrated son tries to determine the fact from fiction in his dying father's life. (125 mins.)
Director: Tim Burton
 
22.
The Way (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the "El camino de Santiago," and decides to take the pilgrimage himself. (123 mins.)
Director: Emilio Estevez
 
23.
The Conscientious Objector (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The story of Desmond Doss, a US Army medic who was the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor. (101 mins.)
Director: Terry Benedict
“ You will never look at war the same way again after watching the conviction of this man. ” - divaofpez
 
24.
Gotta Dance (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Chronicles the first-ever, senior citizen hip-hop dance team for the New Jersey Nets Basketball team, 12 women and man - all dance team newbies, from auditions through to center court stardom. (93 mins.)
Director: Dori Berinstein
 
25.
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A Mumbai teen reflects on his upbringing in the slums when he is accused of cheating on the Indian Version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" (120 mins.)
 
26.
Mr. Holland's Opus (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A frustrated composer finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher. (143 mins.)
Director: Stephen Herek
 
27.
Amélie (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love. (122 mins.)
“ A living sprite (with a kick butt haircut). ” - divaofpez
 
28.
Pay It Forward (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young boy attempts to make the world a better place after his teacher gives him that chance. (123 mins.)
Director: Mimi Leder
 
29.
Memento (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A man juggles searching for his wife's murderer and keeping his short-term memory loss from being an obstacle. (113 mins.)
“ You are going to have to watch this at least 3 times before you get all the clues. ” - divaofpez
 
30.
Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock? (2006 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
In this documentary, veteran filmmaker Harry Moses exposes the controversy in the world of high priced artwork. He paints a vivid picture of how art is bought and sold in America. (74 mins.)
Director: Harry Moses
“ high-lar-e-ous. ” - divaofpez
 
31.
The Outsiders (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
The rivalry between two gangs, the poor greasers and the rich Socs, only heats up when one gang member kills a member of the other. (91 mins.)
Director: Francis Coppola
 
32.
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
 
33.
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The Muppet Elmo is one of the most beloved characters among children across the globe. Meet the unlikely man behind the puppet - the heart and soul of Elmo - Kevin Clash. (80 mins.)
Director: Constance Marks
 
34.
Whale Rider (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A contemporary story of love, rejection and triumph as a young Maori girl fights to fulfill a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize. (101 mins.)
Director: Niki Caro
 
35.
Romantics Anonymous (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
What happens when a man and a woman share a common passion? They fall in love. And this is what happens to Jean-René... (80 mins.)
 
36.
Big (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
After wishing to be made big, a teenage boy wakes the next morning to find himself mysteriously in the body of an adult. (104 mins.)
Director: Penny Marshall
 
37.
Juno (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child. (96 mins.)
Director: Jason Reitman
 
38.
A Single Man (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An English professor, one year after the sudden death of his boyfriend, is unable to cope with his typical days in 1960s Los Angeles. (99 mins.)
Director: Tom Ford
 
39.
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
 
40.
The World's Fastest Indian (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The story of New Zealander Burt Munro, who spent years rebuilding a 1920 Indian motorcycle, which helped him set the land speed world record at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats in 1967. (127 mins.)
Director: Roger Donaldson
 
41.
Sliding Doors (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A London woman's love life and career both hinge, unknown to her, on whether or not she catches a train. We see it both ways, in parallel. (99 mins.)
Director: Peter Howitt
 
42.
Say Anything... (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A noble underachiever and a beautiful valedictorian fall in love the summer before she goes off to college. (100 mins.)
Director: Cameron Crowe
 
43.
Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A woman searching for the perfect man instead discovers the perfect woman. (97 mins.)
 
44.
Where the Heart Is (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A pregnant 17-year-old rebuilds her life after being abandoned by her boyfriend at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma. (120 mins.)
Director: Matt Williams
 
45.
Chocolat (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A woman and her daughter open a chocolate shop in a small French village that shakes up the rigid morality of the community. (121 mins.)
 
46.
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A struggling salesman takes custody of his son as he's poised to begin a life-changing professional endeavor. (117 mins.)
 
47.
Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (2009 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Biography of Ben Carson who grew up to be Dr. Ben Carson, a world famous neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins. (86 mins.)
Director: Thomas Carter
 
48.
The Blind Side (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All American football player and first round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family. (129 mins.)
 
49.
WALL·E (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
In the distant future, a small waste-collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind. (98 mins.)
Director: Andrew Stanton
 
50.
A Christmas Story (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
In the 1940s, a young boy named Ralphie attempts to convince his parents, his teacher, and Santa that a Red Ryder B.B. gun really is the perfect Christmas gift. (94 mins.)
Director: Bob Clark
 
51.
Mad Hot Ballroom (2005 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The students of several New York City elementary schools learn ballroom dancing and compete in a city wide dance competition. (105 mins.)
Director: Marilyn Agrelo
 
52.
Winter's Bone (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact. (100 mins.)
Director: Debra Granik
 
53.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A sole survivor tells of the twisty events leading up to a horrific gun battle on a boat, which begin when five criminals meet at a seemingly random police lineup. (106 mins.)
Director: Bryan Singer
 
54.
Strangers on a Train (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A psychotic socialite confronts a pro tennis star with a theory on how two complete strangers can get away with murder - a theory that he plans to implement. (101 mins.)
 
55.
Muriel's Wedding (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Muriel finds life in Porpoise Spit, Australia dull and spends her days alone in her room listening to Abba music and dreaming of her wedding day... (106 mins.)
Director: P.J. Hogan
 
56.
Xanadu (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  
The story of a girl who makes dreams come true. (96 mins.)
“ This is my all time favorite movie. Is it cheesy? Yes. Is it silly? Yes. Is it about mythology, ONJ, roller skates and fighting the man? Yes. Does it make you feel good after seeing it? YES! Chalk this up as your guilty pleasure movie. :) ” - divaofpez
 
57.
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Die-hard gamers compete to break world records on classic arcade games. (79 mins.)
Director: Seth Gordon
 
58.
Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo (2009 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
'Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo' goes behind prison walls to follow convict cowgirls on their journey to the 2007 Oklahoma State Penitentiary Rodeo... (90 mins.)
Director: Bradley Beesley
 
59.
Best Worst Movie (2009 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A look at the making of the film Troll 2 and its journey from being crowned the "worst film of all time" to a cherished cult classic. (93 mins.)
 
60.
Secondhand Lions (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A coming-of-age story about a shy, young boy sent by his irresponsible mother to spend the summer with his wealthy, eccentric uncles in Texas. (111 mins.)
Director: Tim McCanlies
 
61.
Up (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Seventy-eight year old Carl Fredricksen travels to Paradise Falls in his home equipped with balloons, inadvertently taking a young stowaway. (96 mins.)
 
62.
The Green Mile (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
The lives of guards on Death Row are affected by one of their charges: a black man accused of child murder and rape, yet who has a mysterious gift. (189 mins.)
Director: Frank Darabont
 
63.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. But it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with. (108 mins.)
Director: Michel Gondry
 
64.
The Princess Bride (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
While home sick in bed, a young boy's grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride. (98 mins.)
Director: Rob Reiner
 
65.
I Like Killing Flies (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A documentary on the oddball Greenwich Village eatery, Shopsin's. (80 mins.)
Director: Matt Mahurin
 
66.
Senna (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A documentary on Brazilian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna, who won the F1 world championship three times before his death at age 34. (106 mins.)
Director: Asif Kapadia
“ I have never watched a F1 race and never had the desire to watch one. But this documentary is about SO much more than racing. It focuses on the determination of one man to win for his country, one man who strives to fulfill a childhood dream, one mans faith in God, one man standing up against the corruption of the racing world, and the love of a country for one man. Whew ... this one was awesome and tough to watch at the same time. MUST SEE. ” - divaofpez
 
67.
Wretches & Jabberers (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In 'Wretches & Jabberers and Stories from the Road', two men with autism embark on a global quest to... (90 mins.)
“ This is now in my top 5 of all-time favorite docs. A look into what being autistic is really like ... the level of comprehension, understanding and sense of humor these 2 remarkable men possess will blow you away. ” - divaofpez
 
68.
Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The story of how an eccentric French shop-keeper and amateur film-maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy... (87 mins.)
Director: Banksy
“ Banksy good. MWS bad. ” - divaofpez
 
69.
Mugabe and the White African (2009 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
An intimate and moving account of one family's extraordinary courage in the face of overwhelming injustice and brutality. (90 mins.)
“ To describe this doc as powerful doesn't even begin to do it justice. This is one of the best examples that redistribution of wealth does NOT work. ” - divaofpez
 
70.
Catfish (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Young filmmakers document their colleague's budding online friendship with a young woman and her family which leads to an unexpected series of discoveries. (87 mins.)
“ Are you on facebook? Do you have friends on there that you never met but are communicating with ... sometimes daily? You best watch this doc cause you will never look at those friends the same way again. WOW. ” - divaofpez
 
71.
Shuffle (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Shuffle is the tale of a man who begins experiencing his life out of order; every day he wakes up at a different age, on a different day of his life, never knowing where or when he's going to be once he falls asleep. (82 mins.)
Director: Kurt Kuenne
“ Movie took some time to build up - but was worth the wait in the end! Had no clue that it was directed by Kurt Kuenne, who did my all time favorite doc Dear Zachary. This movie is definitely worth your time. ” - divaofpez
 
72.
Bernie (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
In small-town Texas, an affable mortician strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow, though when she starts to become controlling, he goes to great lengths to separate himself from her grasp. (99 mins.)
“ True story of an assistant funeral director - that everyone in the town loved - murdered the old lady that no one loved. Hilarious! ” - divaofpez