A Primer For Movie Novices

by dyinglifelivingdeath | created - 09 Oct 2012 | updated - 21 Nov 2012 | Public

Looking for where to begin in your freshly-set-upon quest for decent-and-better films? I (hope that I) can help.

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1. The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960)

103 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

During the 1960s Germany, criminal mastermind Dr. Mabuse is using hypnotized victims and the surveillance equipment of a Nazi-era bugged hotel to steal nuclear technology from a visiting American industrialist.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Dawn Addams, Peter van Eyck, Gert Fröbe, Wolfgang Preiss

Votes: 2,350

2. 12 Angry Men (1957)

Approved | 96 min | Crime, Drama

96 Metascore

A jury holdout attempts to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler

Votes: 539,486

3. Jûsan-nin no shikaku (2010)

R | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

84 Metascore

A group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord.

Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Kôji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yûsuke Iseya, Ikki Sawamura

Votes: 55,871 | Gross: $0.80M

4. 2 Into 1 (1997)

10 min | Short

A mother and her twins talk about each other. The device of miming each others words, gives a disconcerting twist to the children's cruel honesty and their mother's unconditional adoration.

Director: Gillian Wearing | Stars: Alex Green, Hilary Greene, Lawrence Greene

Votes: 23

5. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

82 Metascore

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.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter

Votes: 499,086 | Gross: $56.95M

6. 2046 (2004)

R | 129 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi

78 Metascore

The women who enter a science fiction author's life, over the course of a few years, after the author loses the woman he considers his one true love.

Director: Kar-Wai Wong | Stars: Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Ziyi Zhang, Faye Wong, Li Gong

Votes: 45,081 | Gross: $0.26M

7. 21 Grams (2003)

R | 124 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

70 Metascore

A freak accident brings together a critically ill mathematician, a grieving mother, and a born-again ex-con.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu | Stars: Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro, Naomi Watts, Danny Huston

Votes: 204,769 | Gross: $16.25M

8. 23rd Psalm Branch: Part I (1967)

33 min | Short, War

An experimental film with various flashing lights, colors, and World War II footage. This is part of the Song series by Stan Brakhage.

Director: Stan Brakhage

Votes: 203

9. 23rd Psalm Branch: Part II (1978)

31 min | Short

An experimental film by Stan Brakhage combining light, color, and various footage.

Director: Stan Brakhage

Votes: 170

10. 24 Hour Party People (2002)

R | 117 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

85 Metascore

In 1976, Tony Wilson sets up Factory Records and brings Manchester's music to the world.

Director: Michael Winterbottom | Stars: Steve Coogan, Lennie James, John Thomson, Paul Popplewell

Votes: 29,179 | Gross: $1.13M

11. 25th Hour (2002)

R | 135 min | Drama

67 Metascore

Cornered by the DEA, convicted New York drug dealer Montgomery Brogan reevaluates his life in the 24 remaining hours before facing a seven-year jail term.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Edward Norton, Barry Pepper, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rosario Dawson

Votes: 158,542 | Gross: $13.06M

12. 2 ou 3 choses que je sais d'elle (1967)

Not Rated | 87 min | Comedy, Drama

A day in the life of a Parisian housewife/prostitute, interspersed with musings on the Vietnam War and other contemporary issues.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard | Stars: Marina Vlady, Anny Duperey, Roger Montsoret, Raoul Lévy

Votes: 5,369 | Gross: $0.10M

13. 3 Godfathers (1948)

Passed | 106 min | Drama, Western

When 3 outlaws on the run find a dying woman and her newborn baby in the desert they vow to save the child.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Pedro Armendáriz, Harry Carey Jr., Ward Bond

Votes: 6,952

14. 3-Iron (2004)

R | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

72 Metascore

A transient young man breaks into empty homes to partake of the vacationing residents' lives for a few days.

Director: Ki-duk Kim | Stars: Seung-Yun Lee, Hee Jae, Hyuk-ho Kwon, Jeong-ho Choi

Votes: 42,857 | Gross: $0.24M

15. The 3 Penny Opera (1931)

Not Rated | 112 min | Comedy, Drama, Musical

In London at the turn of the century, the bandit Mack the Knife marries Polly without the knowledge of her father, Peachum, the 'king of the beggars'.

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst | Stars: Rudolf Forster, Lotte Lenya, Carola Neher, Reinhold Schünzel

Votes: 1,675

16. 3 Women (1977)

PG | 124 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

71 Metascore

Two roommates and physical therapists, one a vain woman and the other a mysterious teenager, share a bizarre relationship.

Director: Robert Altman | Stars: Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Janice Rule, Robert Fortier

Votes: 11,156

17. 3:10 to Yuma (1957)

Not Rated | 92 min | Drama, Thriller, Western

Broke small-time rancher Dan Evans is hired by the stagecoach line to put big-time captured outlaw leader Ben Wade on the 3:10 train to Yuma but Wade's gang tries to free him.

Director: Delmer Daves | Stars: Glenn Ford, Van Heflin, Felicia Farr, Leora Dana

Votes: 15,762

18. 35 Shots of Rum (2008)

Unrated | 100 min | Drama

92 Metascore

The relationship between a father and daughter is complicated by the arrival of a handsome young man.

Director: Claire Denis | Stars: Alex Descas, Mati Diop, Nicole Dogué, Grégoire Colin

Votes: 3,466 | Gross: $0.18M

19. 37/78: Tree Again (1978)

3 min | Short

At the center are takes which do not change - a tree in a field in Vermont, U.S.A. Since the film was shot over a period of fifty days, the single frame shots create a storm of pictures.

Director: Kurt Kren

Votes: 134

20. The 39 Steps (1935)

Not Rated | 86 min | Mystery, Thriller

A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and also stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Lucie Mannheim, Godfrey Tearle

Votes: 44,147

21. 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: 85,234

22. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)

Not Rated | 113 min | Drama

97 Metascore

A woman assists her friend in arranging an illegal abortion in 1980s Romania.

Director: Cristian Mungiu | Stars: Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu, Vlad Ivanov, Alexandru Potocean

Votes: 49,711 | Gross: $1.19M

23. The 47 Ronin (1941)

241 min | Action, Drama, History

In 1701, Lord Takuminokami Asano has a feud with Lord Kira and he tries to kill Kira in the corridors of the Shogun's palace. The Shogun sentences Lord Asano to commit suppuku and deprives ... See full summary »

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Chôjûrô Kawarasaki, Yoshizaburo Arashi, Utaemon Ichikawa, Kan'emon Nakamura

Votes: 1,581

24. The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953)

G | 89 min | Family, Fantasy, Music

A young boy travels to an imaginary world where, assisted by his family's plumber, he must save other piano playing kids like himself from the dungeons of his dictatorial piano teacher who also mind-controls his mother.

Director: Roy Rowland | Stars: Peter Lind Hayes, Mary Healy, Hans Conried, Tommy Rettig

Votes: 3,227

25. 7th Heaven (1927)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Romance

A street cleaner saves a young woman's life, and the pair slowly fall in love until war intervenes.

Director: Frank Borzage | Stars: Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Ben Bard, Albert Gran

Votes: 2,469

26. 71 Fragmente einer Chronologie des Zufalls (1994)

Not Rated | 100 min | Drama

71 Metascore

71 scenes revolving around a recent immigrant, a couple that has just adopted a daughter, a college student and a lonely old man.

Director: Michael Haneke | Stars: Gabriel Cosmin Urdes, Lukas Miko, Otto Grünmandl, Anne Bennent

Votes: 5,365

27. (1963)

Not Rated | 138 min | Drama

A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies.

Director: Federico Fellini | Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimée, Claudia Cardinale, Sandra Milo

Votes: 93,523 | Gross: $0.05M

28. Aaja Nachle (2007)

Not Rated | 137 min | Drama, Family, Music

Dia's dance teacher is dying. She returns to the town where she learnt to live and dance and most importantly to save the endangered Ajanta theatre.

Director: Anil Mehta | Stars: Madhuri Dixit, Darshan Jariwala, Raghuvir Yadav, Divya Dutta

Votes: 2,455 | Gross: $0.47M

29. Vale Abraão (1993)

187 min | Drama

Ema is a very attractive but innocent girl, so pretty that cars crash in her presence. Young marries Dr. Carlo Paiva, who she is not attracted to, but is her father's friend. They move to ... See full summary »

Director: Manoel de Oliveira | Stars: Leonor Silveira, Cécile Sanz de Alba, Luís Miguel Cintra, Ruy de Carvalho

Votes: 1,054

30. Abschied (1930)

80 min | Comedy, Drama

Peter Winkler's new job offer is about to take him away from his lover Hella, but he has been keeping it a secret from her. Mutual lack of trust and vicious gossip threatens their relationship as they plan to make their farewells.

Director: Robert Siodmak | Stars: Brigitte Horney, Aribert Mog, Emilia Unda, Konstantin Mic

Votes: 76

31. Accattone (1961)

Not Rated | 117 min | Drama

A pimp with no other means to provide for himself finds his life spiraling out of control when his prostitute is sent to prison.

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini | Stars: Franco Citti, Franca Pasut, Silvana Corsini, Paola Guidi

Votes: 6,115

32. The Accidental Tourist (1988)

PG | 121 min | Drama, Romance

53 Metascore

An emotionally distant writer of travel guides must carry on with his life after his son is killed and his marriage crumbles.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan | Stars: William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Geena Davis, Amy Wright

Votes: 13,327 | Gross: $32.63M

33. Ace in the Hole (1951)

Not Rated | 111 min | Drama, Film-Noir

72 Metascore

A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur, Porter Hall

Votes: 22,417 | Gross: $3.97M

34. Acrobatic Sisters Dainef (1903)

Documentary, Short

The most remarkable female acrobatic act on earth. These wonderful performers do some of the most difficult and dangerous acrobatic feats that it is possible to imagine, and all of their tricks are entirely new.

Votes: 36

35. The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes (1971)

32 min | Documentary, Short, Horror

At a morgue, forensic pathologists conduct autopsies of the corpses assigned.

Director: Stan Brakhage

Votes: 1,221

37. Adam's Rib (1949)

Not Rated | 101 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Domestic and professional tensions mount when a husband and wife work as opposing lawyers in a case involving a woman who shot her husband.

Director: George Cukor | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Judy Holliday, Tom Ewell

Votes: 17,105

38. The Addiction (1995)

Not Rated | 82 min | Horror

A New York philosophy grad student turns into a vampire after getting bitten by one, and then tries to come to terms with her new lifestyle and frequent craving for human blood.

Director: Abel Ferrara | Stars: Lili Taylor, Christopher Walken, Annabella Sciorra, Edie Falco

Votes: 7,300 | Gross: $0.30M

39. Adebar (1957)

2 min | Short

An early experimental short film produced by Peter Kubelka.

Director: Peter Kubelka

Votes: 553

40. Adieu Philippine (1962)

106 min | Drama

Michel is a young technician in the fledgling TV industry and is due for military service in two months at the time of the Algerian War. Juliette and Liliane are inseparable best friends, ... See full summary »

Director: Jacques Rozier | Stars: Jean-Claude Aimini, Daniel Descamps, Stefania Sabatini, Yveline Céry

Votes: 520

41. The Adopted Son (1998)

81 min | Drama

In a Kyrgyz village, five older women adopt an infant foundling. Jump ahead about 12 years: the boy, Beshkempir, is entering puberty, the age, his granny says, when life goes berserk. He ... See full summary »

Director: Aktan Arym Kubat | Stars: Mirlan Abdykalykov, Adir Abilkassimov, Mirlan Cinkozoev, Bakit Dzhylkychiev

Votes: 489

42. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)

PG | 103 min | Adventure, Comedy, Romance

70 Metascore

Adventurer, brain surgeon, rock musician Buckaroo Banzai and his crime-fighting team, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, must stop evil alien invaders from the eighth dimension who are planning to conquer Earth.

Director: W.D. Richter | Stars: Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum

Votes: 19,884 | Gross: $6.25M

43. Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (1926)

Not Rated | 81 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy

A handsome prince rides a flying horse to far-away lands and embarks on magical adventures, which include befriending a witch, meeting Aladdin, battling demons and falling in love with a princess.

Directors: Lotte Reiniger, Carl Koch

Votes: 4,250

44. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

R | 104 min | Comedy, Music

68 Metascore

Two drag performers and a transgender woman travel across the desert to perform their unique style of cabaret.

Director: Stephan Elliott | Stars: Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, Terence Stamp, Rebel Penfold-Russell

Votes: 40,747 | Gross: $11.22M

45. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

PG | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

97 Metascore

When Prince John and the Norman Lords begin oppressing the Saxon masses in King Richard's absence, a Saxon lord fights back as the outlaw leader of a rebel guerrilla army.

Directors: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley | Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains

Votes: 41,958 | Gross: $3.98M

46. Pratidwandi (1970)

110 min | Drama

A young college graduate is struggling to find a job. He lives in a flat with his younger, employed sister, revolutionary brother and widowed mother. The strain of the situation ultimately causes him to hallucinate.

Director: Satyajit Ray | Stars: Dhritiman Chatterjee, Asgar Ali, Arabinda Banerjee, Soumitra Bannerjee

Votes: 1,111

47. Advise & Consent (1962)

Not Rated | 139 min | Drama, Thriller

Senate investigation into the President's newly nominated Secretary of State, gives light to a secret from the past, which may not only ruin the candidate, but the President's character as well.

Director: Otto Preminger | Stars: Franchot Tone, Lew Ayres, Henry Fonda, Walter Pidgeon

Votes: 5,374

48. Aerial (1974)

4 min | Short

Add a Plot

Director: Margaret Tait

Votes: 34

49. Afraid of the Dark (1991)

R | 91 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A little boy, obsessed with blindness and violence, slowly gets trapped in his own delusions.

Director: Mark Peploe | Stars: James Fox, Fanny Ardant, Paul McGann, Clare Holman

Votes: 962

50. After Dark, My Sweet (1990)

R | 114 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

78 Metascore

An ex-boxer is drifting around after escaping from the mental hospital. He meets a widow who convinces him to help fix up the neglected estate her ex-husband left. Her Uncle talks them both... See full summary »

Director: James Foley | Stars: Jason Patric, Rachel Ward, Bruce Dern, Rocky Giordani

Votes: 2,793 | Gross: $2.68M

51. The African Queen (1951)

PG | 105 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

7.9