Sam Clark's 100 Essential Filmsby samclk688 | created - 09 Oct 2012 | updated - 07 Mar 2016 | Public
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2. Fight Club (1999)
R | 139 min | Drama
An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a devil-may-care soapmaker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.
Votes: 1,524,690 | Gross: $37.03M
A relentlessly philosophical exploration of masculinity, human nature, psychology, and cultism; Fight Club serves as a religious allegory for the failed attempts of forseeken enlightenment, and is designed as a metaphor for social culture and corrupt organization.
3. Dazed and Confused (1993)
R | 102 min | Comedy
The adventures of high school and junior high students on the last day of school in May 1976.
Votes: 136,060 | Gross: $7.99M
With an iconic soundtrack, key cultural insights and an accurate and timeless depiction of subcultured adolescence. Dazed and Confused is a glorious and suitably nostalgic exploration of an the ending of a memorable era.
4. Pulp Fiction (1994)
R | 154 min | Crime, Drama
The lives of two mob hitmen, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.
Votes: 1,487,917 | Gross: $107.93M
A controversial and vibrant pop culture phenomenon that changed cinema, created a beloved sub-genre and defined a generation. Pulp Fiction abandons the typical linear narrative and unapologetically blends pervasive violence, humor, and witty dialogue to craft an originally stylized and empowering masterpiece.
5. The Shining (1980)
R | 146 min | Drama, Horror
A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.
Votes: 697,398 | Gross: $44.02M
Quite possibly the most essential film in not only the messiah of filmmaking Stanley Kubrick's collection of masterpieces, but quite possibly the most ambitious and timeless contribution to cinematic history. The Shinings genius is sparked from its shocking departure from its respected source material, and its conversation evoking ambiguity and symbolism
6. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
R | 136 min | Crime, Drama, Sci-Fi
In the future, a sadistic gang leader is imprisoned and volunteers for a conduct-aversion experiment, but it doesn't go as planned.
7. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi
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.
Votes: 485,603 | Gross: $56.95M
8. Goodfellas (1990)
R | 146 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
The story of Henry Hill and his life in the mob, covering his relationship with his wife Karen Hill and his mob partners Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito in the Italian-American crime syndicate.
Votes: 819,627 | Gross: $46.84M
10. 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: 500,951 | Gross: $83.47M
11. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
R | 142 min | Crime, Drama
Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.
Votes: 1,902,844 | Gross: $28.34M
12. 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: 897,179 | Gross: $57.30M
13. There Will Be Blood (2007)
R | 158 min | Drama
A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.
Votes: 421,897 | Gross: $40.22M
14. Donnie Darko (2001)
R | 113 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident.
Votes: 648,040 | Gross: $0.19M
15. Schindler's List (1993)
R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History
In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans.
Votes: 979,110 | Gross: $96.07M
16. Raging Bull (1980)
R | 129 min | Biography, Drama, Sport
Emotionally self-destructive boxer, Jake La Motta's journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside it.
Votes: 261,792 | Gross: $23.38M
17. Taxi Driver (1976)
R | 114 min | Crime, Drama
A mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action, while attempting to liberate a twelve-year-old prostitute.
Votes: 575,631 | Gross: $28.26M
18. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure
Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.
Votes: 738,449 | Gross: $248.16M
19. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
R | 153 min | Adventure, Drama, War
In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner's vengeful plans for the same.
Votes: 1,012,592 | Gross: $120.54M
20. The Dark Knight (2008)
PG-13 | 152 min | Action, Crime, Drama
When the menace known as the Joker emerges from his mysterious past, he wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, the Dark Knight must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.
Votes: 1,877,036 | Gross: $534.86M
21. No Country for Old Men (2007)
R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande.
Votes: 694,942 | Gross: $74.28M
22. The Departed (2006)
R | 151 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston.
Votes: 981,985 | Gross: $132.38M
23. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
R | 180 min | Biography, Comedy, Crime
Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stock-broker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.
Votes: 920,445 | Gross: $116.90M
24. The Matrix (1999)
R | 136 min | Action, Sci-Fi
A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.
Votes: 1,368,250 | Gross: $171.48M
27. Good Will Hunting (1997)
R | 126 min | Drama
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.
Votes: 693,149 | Gross: $138.43M
29. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
PG | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.
Votes: 1,028,937 | Gross: $322.74M
30. The Big Lebowski (1998)
R | 117 min | Comedy, Crime
"The Dude" Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.
Votes: 605,135 | Gross: $17.45M
31. Alpha Dog (2006)
R | 122 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
Johnny and a couple pals kidnap Jake's 15-year-old brother, Zach, then assigns his buddy Frankie to be Zach's minder. They develop a brotherly friendship. Zach parties with his captors as things begin to spin out of control.
Votes: 92,122 | Gross: $15.23M
33. Inception (2010)
PG-13 | 148 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
A thief, who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology, is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO.
Votes: 1,665,452 | Gross: $292.58M
34. Drive (I) (2011)
R | 100 min | Crime, Drama
A mysterious Hollywood stuntman and mechanic moonlights as a getaway driver and finds himself in trouble when he helps out his neighbor.
Votes: 483,381 | Gross: $35.06M
Nicolas Winding Refn's hyper-stylized, ultra violent, and practically silent modern neo noir thriller is a hallucinatory art house experience like no other. For patient viewers, the sheer indulgence in techno infused 80's neon pop culture mixed with shocking violence will prove massively rewarding and unforgettable.
35. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
R | 111 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
The Bride wakens from a four-year coma. The child she carried in her womb is gone. Now she must wreak vengeance on the team of assassins who betrayed her - a team she was once part of.
Votes: 824,638 | Gross: $70.10M
36. The Prestige (2006)
PG-13 | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
After a tragic accident two stage magicians engage in a battle to create the ultimate illusion whilst sacrificing everything they have to outwit the other.
Votes: 966,487 | Gross: $53.09M
37. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.
Votes: 1,014,135 | Gross: $130.74M
39. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
R | 133 min | Drama
A criminal pleads insanity after getting into trouble again and once in the mental institution rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients.
Votes: 758,943 | Gross: $112.00M
40. Psycho (1960)
R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.
Votes: 480,306 | Gross: $32.00M
41. Into the Wild (2007)
R | 148 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life.
Votes: 482,319 | Gross: $18.35M
42. Forrest Gump (1994)
PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, Romance
The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, Vietnam, Watergate, and other history unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75.
Votes: 1,437,899 | Gross: $330.25M
43. Blade Runner (1982)
R | 117 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller
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.
Votes: 559,677 | Gross: $27.00M
44. Traffic (2000)
R | 147 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A conservative judge is appointed by the President to spearhead America's escalating war against drugs, only to discover that his teenage daughter is a crack addict. Two DEA agents protect an informant. A jailed drug baron's wife attempts to carry on the family business.
Votes: 179,208 | Gross: $124.12M
47. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
R | 159 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
A New York City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him.
Votes: 251,256 | Gross: $55.69M
48. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
R | 116 min | Drama, War
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.
Votes: 550,127 | Gross: $46.36M
R | 119 min | Comedy, Drama
A washed-up actor, who once played an iconic superhero, attempts to revive his career by writing and starring in his very own Broadway play.
Votes: 467,652 | Gross: $42.34M
50. The Social Network (2010)
PG-13 | 120 min | Biography, Drama
Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.
Votes: 531,355 | Gross: $96.96M
51. The Master (2012)
R | 138 min | Drama
A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future - until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.
Votes: 118,637 | Gross: $16.38M
52. Django Unchained (2012)
R | 165 min | Drama, Western
With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.
Votes: 1,096,225 | Gross: $162.81M
56. Gone Girl (2014)
R | 149 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
With his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it's suspected that he may not be innocent.
Votes: 679,852 | Gross: $167.77M
57. American Hustle (2013)
R | 138 min | Crime, Drama
A con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive partner Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild F.B.I. Agent, Richie DiMaso, who pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and the Mafia.
Votes: 392,369 | Gross: $150.12M
58. Take Shelter (2011)
R | 120 min | Drama, Thriller
Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself.
Votes: 77,491 | Gross: $1.73M
59. Braveheart (1995)
R | 178 min | Biography, Drama, History
When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, Sir William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.
Votes: 823,663 | Gross: $75.60M
60. The Rules of Attraction (2002)
R | 110 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
The incredibly spoiled and overprivileged students of Camden College are a backdrop for an unusual love triangle between a drug dealer, a virgin and a bisexual classmate.
Votes: 46,244 | Gross: $6.53M
62. Sling Blade (1996)
R | 135 min | Drama
Karl Childers, a simple man hospitalized since his childhood murder of his mother and her lover, is released to start a new life in a small town.
Votes: 77,637 | Gross: $24.48M
63. Killer Joe (2011)
R | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
When a debt puts a young man's life in danger, he turns to putting a hit out on his evil mother in order to collect the insurance.
Votes: 64,130 | Gross: $1.99M
64. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
R | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.
Votes: 121,405 | Gross: $17.84M
65. American Psycho (2000)
R | 102 min | Crime, Drama
A wealthy New York investment banking executive, Patrick Bateman, hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he delves deeper into his violent, hedonistic fantasies.
Votes: 398,107 | Gross: $15.07M
66. Warrior (2011)
PG-13 | 140 min | Drama, Sport
The youngest son of an alcoholic former boxer returns home, where he's trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament - a path that puts the fighter on a collision course with his estranged, older brother.
Votes: 372,119 | Gross: $13.66M
67. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
PG-13 | 141 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
The story of Frank Abagnale Jr., before his 19th birthday, successfully forged millions of dollars' worth of checks while posing as a Pan Am pilot, a doctor, and legal prosecutor as a seasoned and dedicated FBI agent pursues him.
Votes: 631,434 | Gross: $164.62M
68. Jurassic Park (1993)
PG-13 | 127 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.
Votes: 701,791 | Gross: $402.45M
71. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
R | 169 min | Drama, War
Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.
Votes: 1,001,805 | Gross: $216.54M
73. The Town (2010)
R | 125 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
As he plans his next job, a longtime thief tries to balance his feelings for a bank manager connected to one of his earlier heists, as well as the F.B.I. Agent looking to bring him and his crew down.
Votes: 303,727 | Gross: $92.19M
74. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
R | 118 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama
An oddball journalist and his psychopathic lawyer travel to Las Vegas for a series of psychedelic escapades.
Votes: 229,514 | Gross: $10.68M
75. Jaws (1975)
PG | 124 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller
A local sheriff, a marine biologist and an old seafarer team up to hunt down a great white shark wrecking havoc in a beach resort.
Votes: 465,075 | Gross: $260.00M
76. Moneyball (2011)
PG-13 | 133 min | Biography, Drama, Sport
Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane's successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.
Votes: 306,546 | Gross: $75.61M
78. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
R | 120 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
A woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in postapocalyptic Australia in search for her home-land with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshipper, and a drifter named Max.
Votes: 685,056 | Gross: $153.64M
79. We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
R | 112 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Kevin's mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly dangerous things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined.
Votes: 111,304 | Gross: $1.74M
80. Foxcatcher (2014)
R | 134 min | Biography, Drama, Sport
U.S. Olympic wrestling champions and brothers Mark Schultz and Dave Schultz join "Team Foxcatcher", led by eccentric multi-millionaire John du Pont, as they train for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, but John's self-destructive behavior threatens to consume them all.
Votes: 118,850 | Gross: $12.10M
81. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
After a simple jewelry heist goes terribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant.
Votes: 751,199 | Gross: $2.83M
82. Casino Royale (2006)
PG-13 | 144 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller
Armed with a license to kill, Secret Agent James Bond sets out on his first mission as 007, and must defeat a private banker to terrorists in a high stakes game of poker at Casino Royale, Montenegro, but things are not what they seem.
Votes: 510,581 | Gross: $167.45M
83. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
PG | 118 min | Action, Adventure
After arriving in India, Indiana Jones is asked by a desperate village to find a mystical stone. He agrees, and stumbles upon a secret cult plotting a terrible plan in the catacombs of an ancient palace.
Votes: 369,787 | Gross: $179.87M
85. Jarhead (2005)
R | 125 min | Biography, Drama, War
A psychological study of operations desert shield and desert storm during the gulf war; through the eyes of a U.S marine sniper who struggles to cope with the possibility his girlfriend may be cheating on him back home.
Votes: 154,322 | Gross: $62.66M
86. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
R | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History
In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.
Votes: 518,085 | Gross: $56.67M
PG | 95 min | Comedy, War
An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop.
Votes: 381,481 | Gross: $0.28M
89. Natural Born Killers (1994)
R | 118 min | Crime, Drama
Two victims of traumatized childhoods become lovers and psychopathic serial murderers irresponsibly glorified by the mass media.
Votes: 188,476 | Gross: $50.28M
92. Zodiac (2007)
R | 157 min | Crime, Drama, History
In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree.
Votes: 353,006 | Gross: $33.08M
93. Trainspotting (1996)
R | 94 min | Drama
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.
Votes: 542,161 | Gross: $16.50M
94. The Tree of Life (2011)
PG-13 | 139 min | Drama, Fantasy
The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents' conflicting teachings.
Votes: 148,345 | Gross: $13.30M
96. Gladiator (2000)
R | 155 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
When a Roman General is betrayed, and his family murdered by an emperor's corrupt son, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.
Votes: 1,103,532 | Gross: $187.71M
97. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
R | 95 min | Fantasy, Horror
5 friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for, discovering the truth behind the cabin in the woods.
Votes: 310,290 | Gross: $42.07M
100. Oldeuboi (2003)
R | 120 min | Mystery, Thriller
After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days.
Votes: 410,886 | Gross: $0.71M