My List of Films All Aspiring Filmmakers Must See

by nscivoletto | created - 11 months ago | updated - 11 months ago | Public

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1. Rashômon (1950)

Not Rated | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

The rape of a bride and the murder of her samurai husband are recalled from the perspectives of a bandit, the bride, the samurai's ghost and a woodcutter.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 127,432 | Gross: $0.10M

Toshiro Mifune Machiko Kyō Masayuki Mori Takashi Shimura Minoru Chiaki

2. Yojimbo (1961)

Not Rated | 110 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Eijirô Tôno, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yôko Tsukasa

Votes: 92,250

Toshiro Mifune Eijirō Tōno Kamatari Fujiwara

3. All the President's Men (1976)

PG | 138 min | Biography, Drama, History

80 Metascore

"The Washington Post" reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Richard Nixon's resignation.

Director: Alan J. Pakula | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam

Votes: 87,893 | Gross: $70.60M

Dustin Hoffman Robert Redford Jack Warden Hal Holbrook Jason Robards

4. Rear Window (1954)

PG | 112 min | Mystery, Thriller

100 Metascore

A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter

Votes: 380,975 | Gross: $36.76M

James Stewart Grace Kelly Wendell Corey Thelma Ritter Raymond Burr

5. Killing Them Softly (2012)

R | 97 min | Crime, Thriller

64 Metascore

Jackie Cogan is an enforcer hired to restore order after three dumb guys rob a Mob protected card game, causing the local criminal economy to collapse.

Director: Andrew Dominik | Stars: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins, Scoot McNairy

Votes: 121,900 | Gross: $15.03M

Brad Pitt Scoot McNairy Ben Mendelsohn Richard Jenkins Ray Liotta

6. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

R | 111 min | Action, Biography, Crime

81 Metascore

Bonnie Parker, a bored waitress falls in love with an ex-con named Clyde Barrow and together they start a violent crime spree through the country, stealing cars and robbing banks.

Director: Arthur Penn | Stars: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman

Votes: 90,757

Warren Beatty Faye Dunaway Michael J. Pollard Gene Hackman Estelle Parsons

7. Diner (1982)

R | 110 min | Comedy, Drama

82 Metascore

A group of college-age buddies struggle with their imminent passage into adulthood in 1959 Baltimore.

Director: Barry Levinson | Stars: Steve Guttenberg, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Daniel Stern

Votes: 16,887 | Gross: $14.10M

Steve Guttenberg Daniel Stern Mickey Rourke Kevin Bacon Tim Daly

8. The Conformist (1970)

R | 113 min | Drama

100 Metascore

A weak-willed Italian man becomes a fascist flunky who goes abroad to arrange the assassination of his old teacher, now a political dissident.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci | Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Gastone Moschin, Enzo Tarascio

Votes: 21,858

Jean Louis Trintignant Stefania Sandrelli Gastone Moschin Dominique Sanda Pierre Clémenti

9. Pelle the Conqueror (1987)

PG-13 | 157 min | Drama

The end of the 19th century. A boat filled with Swedish emigrants comes to the Danish island of Bornholm. Among them are Lasse and his son Pelle who move to Denmark to find work. They find ... See full summary »

Director: Bille August | Stars: Pelle Hvenegaard, Max von Sydow, Erik Paaske, Björn Granath

Votes: 8,907 | Gross: $2.05M

Max von Sydow Pelle Hvenegaard Erik Paaske Bjørn Granath Astrid Villaume

10. Sling Blade (1996)

R | 135 min | Drama

84 Metascore

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.

Director: Billy Bob Thornton | Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, J.T. Walsh, John Ritter

Votes: 79,808 | Gross: $24.48M

Billy Bob Thornton Dwight Yoakam J. T. Walsh John Ritter Lucas Black

11. Five Easy Pieces (1970)

R | 98 min | Drama

85 Metascore

A dropout from upper-class America picks up work along the way on oil rigs when his life isn't spent in a squalid succession of bars, motels, and other points of interest.

Director: Bob Rafelson | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Billy Green Bush, Fannie Flagg

Votes: 29,198

Jack Nicholson Karen Black Susan Anspach Lois Smith Ralph Waite

12. Black Robe (1991)

R | 101 min | Adventure, Drama, History

A young Jesuit priest seeks to convert the Indian tribes in Canada while also trying to survive the harsh winter.

Director: Bruce Beresford | Stars: Lothaire Bluteau, Aden Young, Sandrine Holt, August Schellenberg

Votes: 5,834 | Gross: $8.21M

Lothaire Bluteau Aden Young Sandrine Holt Tantoo Cardinal August Schellenberg

13. The Usual Suspects (1995)

R | 106 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

77 Metascore

A sole survivor tells of the twisty events leading up to a horrific gun battle on a boat, which began when five criminals met at a seemingly random police lineup.

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin

Votes: 870,741 | Gross: $23.34M

Gabriel Byrne Chazz Palminteri Pete Postlethwaite Kevin Spacey Benicio del Toro

14. Unforgiven (1992)

R | 130 min | Drama, Western

85 Metascore

Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris

Votes: 327,774 | Gross: $101.16M

Clint Eastwood Gene Hackman Morgan Freeman Richard Harris Saul Rubinek

15. Memento (2000)

R | 113 min | Mystery, Thriller

80 Metascore

A man with short-term memory loss attempts to track down his wife's murderer.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Junior

Votes: 994,492 | Gross: $25.54M

Guy Pearce Carrie-Anne Moss Joe Pantoliano Mark Boone Junior Stephen Tobolowsky

16. Blood Simple. (1984)

R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

81 Metascore

A rich but jealous man hires a private investigator to kill his cheating wife and her new man. But, when blood is involved, nothing is simple.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, M. Emmet Walsh

Votes: 76,928 | Gross: $2.15M

John Getz Frances McDormand Dan Hedaya Samm-Art Williams M. Emmet Walsh

17. Fargo (1996)

R | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of the quite pregnant Marge Gunderson.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare

Votes: 540,246 | Gross: $24.61M

Frances McDormand William H. Macy Steve Buscemi Peter Stormare Harve Presnell

18. Z (1969)

M/PG | 127 min | Crime, Drama, History

Following the murder of a prominent leftist, an investigator tries to uncover the truth while government officials attempt to cover up their roles.

Director: Costa-Gavras | Stars: Yves Montand, Irene Papas, Jean-Louis Trintignant, François Périer

Votes: 20,558 | Gross: $0.08M

Jean-Louis Trintignant Yves Montand Irene Papas Pierre Dux Jacques Perrin

19. L.A. Confidential (1997)

R | 138 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

90 Metascore

As corruption grows in 1950s LA, three policemen - one strait-laced, one brutal, and one sleazy - investigate a series of murders with their own brand of justice.

Director: Curtis Hanson | Stars: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger

Votes: 477,750 | Gross: $64.62M

Kevin Spacey Russell Crowe Guy Pearce James Cromwell Danny DeVito

20. A History of Violence (2005)

R | 96 min | Drama, Thriller

81 Metascore

A mild-mannered man becomes a local hero through an act of violence, which sets off repercussions that will shake his family to its very core.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt

Votes: 205,953 | Gross: $31.49M

Viggo Mortensen Mario Bello Ed Harris William Hurt

21. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

PG | 161 min | Adventure, Drama, War

87 Metascore

After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.

Director: David Lean | Stars: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa

Votes: 179,466 | Gross: $44.91M

William Holden Alec Guinness Jack Hawkins Sessue Hayakawa James Donald

22. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

PG | 216 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

100 Metascore

The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks.

Director: David Lean | Stars: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins

Votes: 231,995 | Gross: $44.82M

Peter O'Toole Alec Guinness Jack Hawkins Anthony Quinn Omar Sharif

23. Arrival (II) (2016)

PG-13 | 116 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

81 Metascore

A linguist is recruited by the military to communicate with alien lifeforms after twelve mysterious spacecrafts land around the world.

Director: Denis Villeneuve | Stars: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg

Votes: 473,701 | Gross: $100.55M

Amy Adams Jeremy Renner Forest Whitaker Michael Stuhlbarg

24. Easy Rider (1969)

R | 95 min | Adventure, Drama

86 Metascore

Through the open country and desert lands, two bikers head from L.A to New Orleans, and along the way, meet a man who bridges a counter-culture gap they are unaware of.

Director: Dennis Hopper | Stars: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Antonio Mendoza

Votes: 85,522 | Gross: $41.73M

Dennis Hopper Peter Fonda Jack Nicholson

25. On the Waterfront (1954)

Not Rated | 108 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

88 Metascore

An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger

Votes: 123,661 | Gross: $9.60M

Marlon Brando Karl Malden Lee J. Cobb Rod Steiger Eva Marie Saint

26. The Godfather (1972)

R | 175 min | Crime, Drama

100 Metascore

The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton

Votes: 1,374,046 | Gross: $134.97M

Marlon Brando Al Pacino James Caan Richard Castellano Robert Duvall

27. Apocalypse Now (1979)

R | 147 min | Drama, War

94 Metascore

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.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest

Votes: 526,301 | Gross: $83.47M

Marlon Brando Robert Duvall Martin Sheen Frederic Forrest Albert Hall

28. The 400 Blows (1959)

Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Drama

A young boy, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.

Director: François Truffaut | Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, Claire Maurier, Guy Decomble

Votes: 88,304

Jean-Pierre Léaud Albert Rémy Claire Maurier

29. Day for Night (1973)

PG | 115 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A committed film director struggles to complete his movie while coping with a myriad of crises, personal and professional, among the cast and crew.

Director: François Truffaut | Stars: Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Léaud, François Truffaut, Valentina Cortese

Votes: 17,098 | Gross: $0.02M

Jacqueline Bisset Valentina Cortese Jean-Pierre Aumont Jean-Pierre Leaud Francois Truffaut

30. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

R | 142 min | Drama

80 Metascore

Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Director: Frank Darabont | Stars: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler

Votes: 2,005,580 | Gross: $28.34M

Tim Robbins Morgan Freeman Bob Gunton William Sadler Clancy Brown

31. Patton (1970)

GP | 172 min | Biography, Drama, War

91 Metascore

The World War II phase of the career of the controversial American general, George S. Patton.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young, Michael Strong

Votes: 85,786 | Gross: $61.70M

George C. Scott Karl Malden Michael Bates Edward Binns Siegfried Rauch

32. A Man for All Seasons (1966)

G | 120 min | Biography, Drama, History

The story of Thomas More, who stood up to King Henry VIII when the King rejected the Roman Catholic Church to obtain a divorce and remarry.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Robert Shaw, Leo McKern

Votes: 27,055 | Gross: $28.35M

Paul Scofield Leo McKern Orson Welles Robert Shaw John Hurt

33. Pleasantville (1998)

PG-13 | 124 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

71 Metascore

Two 1990s teenage siblings find themselves in a 1950s sitcom, where their influence begins to profoundly change that complacent world.

Director: Gary Ross | Stars: Tobey Maguire, Jeff Daniels, Joan Allen, Reese Witherspoon

Votes: 112,159 | Gross: $40.57M

Tobey Maguire Jeff Daniels Joan Allen J. T. Walsh Reese Witherspoon

34. The Road Warrior (1981)

R | 94 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

77 Metascore

In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich, community escape a band of bandits.

Director: George Miller | Stars: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston, Max Phipps

Votes: 150,766 | Gross: $12.47M

Mel Gibson Bruce Spence Vernon Wells Emil Minty Michael Preston

35. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

R | 101 min | Crime, Drama

82 Metascore

A pharmacy-robbing dope fiend and his crew pop pills and evade the law.

Director: Gus Van Sant | Stars: Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch, James Le Gros, Heather Graham

Votes: 28,629 | Gross: $4.73M

Matt Dillon Kelly Lynch James Remar Heather Graham William S. Burroughs

36. Elephant (2003)

R | 81 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

70 Metascore

Several ordinary high school students go through their daily routine as two others prepare for something more malevolent.

Director: Gus Van Sant | Stars: Elias McConnell, Alex Frost, Eric Deulen, John Robinson

Votes: 78,436 | Gross: $1.23M

Alex Frost Eric Deulen John Robinson Timothy Bottoms Matt Malloy

37. Coming Home (1978)

R | 127 min | Drama, Romance, War

61 Metascore

A woman whose husband is fighting in Viet Nam falls in love with another man who suffered a paralyzing combat injury there.

Director: Hal Ashby | Stars: Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Bruce Dern, Penelope Milford

Votes: 10,808 | Gross: $32.65M

Jane Fonda Jon Voight Bruce Dern Penelope Milford Robert Carradine

38. Rio Bravo (1959)

Not Rated | 141 min | Action, Drama, Western

A small-town sheriff in the American West enlists the help of a cripple, a drunk, and a young gunfighter in his efforts to hold in jail the brother of the local bad guy.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson

Votes: 49,184 | Gross: $12.54M

John Wayne Dean Martin Ricky Nelson Angie Dickinson Walter Brennan

39. The Seventh Seal (1957)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Fantasy

A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bengt Ekerot, Nils Poppe

Votes: 136,838

Gunnar Björnstrand Bengt Ekerot Nils Poppe Max von Sydow Bibi Andersson

40. Le Cercle Rouge (1970)

Not Rated | 140 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

91 Metascore

After leaving prison, master thief Corey crosses paths with a notorious escapee and an alcoholic former policeman. The trio proceed to plot an elaborate heist.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville | Stars: Alain Delon, Bourvil, Gian Maria Volontè, Yves Montand

Votes: 18,411 | Gross: $0.37M

Alain Delon Bourvil Yves Montand Gian Maria Volontè

41. Hell in the Pacific (1968)

G | 103 min | Adventure, War

During World War II, an American pilot and a marooned Japanese navy captain are deserted on a small uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. There, they must cease their hostility and cooperate if they want to survive, but will they?

Director: John Boorman | Stars: Lee Marvin, Toshirô Mifune

Votes: 6,839

Lee Marvin Toshiro Mifune

42. Deliverance (1972)

R | 109 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

82 Metascore

Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it's turned into one huge lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a river-rafting trip they'll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.

Director: John Boorman | Stars: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox

Votes: 88,241

Jon Voight Burt Reynolds Ned Beatty Ronny Cox James Dickey

43. Faces (I) (1968)

R | 130 min | Drama

A middle-aged man leaves his wife for a younger woman. Shortly after, his ex-wife also begins a relationship with a younger partner. The film follows their struggles to find love amongst each other.

Director: John Cassavetes | Stars: John Marley, Gena Rowlands, Lynn Carlin, Seymour Cassel

Votes: 8,048

John Marley Gena Rowlands Lynn Carlin Seymour Cassel Fred Draper

44. The Searchers (1956)

Passed | 119 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

An American Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from the Comanches.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond

Votes: 70,848

John Wayne Jeffrey Hunter Vera Miles Ward Bond Natalie Wood

45. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Passed | 126 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

99 Metascore

Fred Dobbs and Bob Curtin, two Americans searching for work in Mexico, convince an old prospector to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt, Bruce Bennett

Votes: 97,482 | Gross: $5.01M

Humphrey Bogart Walter Huston Tim Holt Bruce Bennett

46. The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

PG | 129 min | Adventure

Two British former soldiers decide to set themselves up as kings in Kafiristan, a land where no white man has set foot since Alexander the Great.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer, Saeed Jaffrey

Votes: 39,651

Sean Connery Michael Caine Christopher Plummer Saeed Jaffrey

47. The Wind and the Lion (1975)

PG | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

In early 20th century Morocco, a Sharif kidnaps an American woman and her children, forcing President Theodore Roosevelt to send in forces to conduct a rescue mission.

Director: John Milius | Stars: Sean Connery, Candice Bergen, Brian Keith, John Huston

Votes: 7,310

Sean Connery Candice Bergen Brian Keith John Huston Geoffrey Lewis

48. Lone Star (1996)

R | 135 min | Drama, Mystery

78 Metascore

When the skeleton of his murdered predecessor is found, Sheriff Sam Deeds unearths many other long-buried secrets in his Texas border town.

Director: John Sayles | Stars: Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Peña, Stephen Mendillo, Stephen J. Lang

Votes: 25,502 | Gross: $13.27M

Ron Canada Clifton James Chris Cooper Joe Morton Elizabeth Pena

49. The Hurt Locker (2008)

R | 131 min | Drama, Thriller, War

94 Metascore

During the Iraq War, a Sergeant recently assigned to an army bomb squad is put at odds with his squad mates due to his maverick way of handling his work.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow | Stars: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce

Votes: 380,049 | Gross: $17.02M

Jeremy Renner Anthony Mackie Brian Geraghty Ralph Fiennes David Morse

50. Taxi Driver (1976)

R | 114 min | Crime, Drama