The best 50 US movies of substanceby JuguAbraham | created - 15 Apr 2013 | updated - 21 Jun 2020 | Public
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1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi
After uncovering a mysterious artifact buried beneath the Lunar surface, a spacecraft is sent to Jupiter to find its origins - a spacecraft manned by two men and the supercomputer H.A.L. 9000.
Votes: 659,778 | Gross: $56.95M
2. 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: 176,781 | Gross: $13.30M
An exquisite cinematic product grappling with metaphysics and theology. My review is at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.com/2011/11/121-us-director-terrence-malicks-tree.html
3. Citizen Kane (1941)
PG | 119 min | Drama, Mystery
Following the death of publishing tycoon Charles Foster Kane, reporters scramble to uncover the meaning of his final utterance: 'Rosebud.'
Votes: 438,415 | Gross: $1.59M
4. The Thin Red Line (1998)
R | 170 min | Drama, History, War
Adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War.
Votes: 186,967 | Gross: $36.40M
“What’s this war in the heart of nature?” My review is at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.com/2009/10/90-us-director-terrence-malicks-thin.html
6. Runaway Train (1985)
R | 111 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Two escaped convicts and a female railway worker find themselves trapped on a speeding train with no brakes and nobody driving.
Votes: 29,585 | Gross: $7.94M
An unusual Hollywood film that intensely deals with philosophy and the choices one makes in life. My review is at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.com/2015/09/183-russian-director-andrei-mikhalkov.html
7. The Conversation (1974)
PG | 113 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
A paranoid, secretive surveillance expert has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that the couple he is spying on will be murdered.
Votes: 111,287 | Gross: $4.42M
9. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
R | 229 min | Crime, Drama
A former Prohibition-era Jewish gangster returns to the Lower East Side of Manhattan 35 years later, where he must once again confront the ghosts and regrets of his old life.
Votes: 347,885 | Gross: $5.32M
A great swansong from the acclaimed director. My review is at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.com/2006/09/14-late-italian-director-sergio-leones.html
10. Days of Heaven (1978)
PG | 94 min | Drama, Romance
A hot-tempered farm laborer convinces the woman he loves to marry their rich but dying boss so that they can have a claim to his fortune.
Seeing heaven by twilight on earth. My review is at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.com/2007/04/36-us-director-terence-mallicks-days-of.html
11. Koyaanisqatsi (1982)
Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, Music
A collection of expertly photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity, and the relationship between them.
Votes: 38,428 | Gross: $1.72M
12. Shy People (1987)
R | 118 min | Drama
New York journalist visits her distant cousin for the first time to write an article about her hard life in the bayous of Louisiana. Journalist's wild drug addicted daughter just adds to tensions between two families' cultures.
Votes: 1,364 | Gross: $0.77M
An original story/screenplay by the film’s director with notable performances and cinematography, all worthy of greater recognition than bestowed. My review is at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.com/2018/05/222-russian-director-andrei.html
13. Limbo (I) (1999)
R | 126 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller
In an economically devastated Alaskan town, a fisherman with a troublesome past dates a woman whose young daughter does not approve of him. When he witnesses the murder of his shady brother, he, the woman and the kid run to the wilderness.
Votes: 6,075 | Gross: $2.00M
15. Castle Keep (1969)
R | 107 min | Action, Comedy, Drama
During the Battle of the Bulge, an anachronistic count shelters a ragtag squad of Americans in his remote 10th Century castle hoping a battle there against the advancing Germans will not lead to its destruction and all the heritage within.
16. F for Fake (1973)
PG | 89 min | Documentary
A documentary about fraud and fakery.
The most thought-provoking film on illusion and reality from an exceptionally gifted filmmaker and intellectual. My review is at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.com/2013/07/147-us-maestro-orson-welles-last-film-f.html
17. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Not Rated | 131 min | Drama
A bitter, aging couple, with the help of alcohol, use their young houseguests to fuel anguish and emotional pain towards each other over the course of a distressing night.
Nichols’ debut film is his finest work to date. My review is at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.com/2012/10/134-us-film-director-mike-nichols-debut.html
18. Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969)
PG | 98 min | Drama, Western
In 1909, when young Paiute Indian Willie Boy returns to his California reservation to be with Lola, whose father disapproves of him, a killing in self defense takes place, triggering a massive man hunt for Willie.
Votes: 3,026 | Gross: $6.00M
20. The Night of the Iguana (1964)
Approved | 125 min | Drama
An ostracized Episcopal clergyman leads a busload of middle-aged Baptist women on a tour of the Mexican coast and comes to terms with the failure haunting his life.
Votes: 11,797 | Gross: $9.43M
21. Night Moves (1975)
R | 100 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
Los Angeles private investigator Harry Moseby is hired by a client to find her runaway teenage daughter. Moseby tracks the daughter down, only to stumble upon something much more intriguing and sinister.
22. The Swimmer (1968)
M/PG | 95 min | Drama
A man spends a summer day swimming as many pools as he can all over a quiet suburban town.
Social satire on the typical WASP US male, an abstract morality tale, rewinding in time, presented with intelligence, rarely encountered in Hollywood cinema. My review is at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.com/2015/11/186-us-directors-frank-perrys-and.html
23. Freaks (1932)
Not Rated | 64 min | Drama, Horror
A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance.
25. Titus (1999)
R | 162 min | Drama, History, Thriller
Titus returns victorious from war, only to plant the seeds of future turmoil for himself and his family.
Votes: 20,699 | Gross: $1.92M
One of the most striking adaptations of Shakespeare on screen. My review is at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.com/2006/12/24-us-director-julie-taymors-titus-1999.html
26. 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: 1,249,656 | Gross: $57.30M
27. As Good as It Gets (1997)
PG-13 | 139 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A single mother and waitress, a misanthropic author, and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship after the artist is assaulted in a robbery.
Votes: 297,119 | Gross: $148.48M
30. An Unmarried Woman (1978)
R | 124 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A wealthy woman from Manhattan's Upper East Side struggles to deal with her new identity and her sexuality after her husband of 16 years leaves her for a younger woman.
Votes: 5,419 | Gross: $24.00M
32. Harry and Tonto (1974)
R | 115 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama
When his apartment building is torn down, a retired lifelong New Yorker goes on a cross-country odyssey with his beloved cat Tonto.
Votes: 5,743 | Gross: $1.26M
33. Paris, Texas (1984)
R | 145 min | Drama
Travis Henderson, an aimless drifter who has been missing for four years, wanders out of the desert and must reconnect with society, himself, his life, and his family.
Votes: 105,301 | Gross: $2.18M
34. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Approved | 129 min | Crime, Drama
Atticus Finch, a widowed lawyer in Depression-era Alabama, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice.
35. The Reivers (1969)
PG-13 | 107 min | Comedy, Drama
In turn-of-the-century Mississippi, an 11-year-old boy comes of age as two mischievous adult friends talk him into sneaking the family car out for a trip to Memphis and a series of adventures.
Votes: 3,058 | Gross: $18.70M
36. Michael Clayton (2007)
R | 119 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multibillion-dollar class action suit.
Votes: 165,800 | Gross: $49.03M
A screenplay, a writer would like to direct without compromises, My review is at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.com/2009/04/82-us-director-screenplay-writer-tony.html
37. The New World (2005)
PG-13 | 135 min | Biography, Drama, History
The story of the English exploration of Virginia, and of the changing world and loves of Pocahontas.
Votes: 86,486 | Gross: $12.71M
38. To the Wonder (2012)
R | 112 min | Drama, Romance
After falling in love in Paris, Marina and Neil come to Oklahoma, where problems arise. Their church's Spanish-born pastor struggles with his faith, while Neil encounters a woman from his childhood.
Votes: 28,944 | Gross: $0.59M
Love your spouse in the context of divine love, suggests Malick. My review is at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.com/2013/04/144-us-director-terrence-malicks-sixth.html
39. Paper Moon (1973)
PG | 102 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
During the Great Depression, a con man finds himself saddled with a young girl who may or may not be his daughter, and the two forge an unlikely partnership.
Votes: 47,558 | Gross: $30.93M
40. How the West Was Won (1962)
G | 164 min | Western
A family saga covering several decades of Westward expansion in the 19th century, including the Gold Rush, the Civil War, and the building of the railroads.
Votes: 20,943 | Gross: $46.50M
41. Point Blank (1967)
Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
After being double-crossed and left for dead, a mysterious man named Walker single-mindedly tries to retrieve the money that was stolen from him.
Alienation at its best surfaces in a Hollywood action film! My review is at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.com/2007/10/45-british-director-john-boormans-us.html
42. Cheyenne Autumn (1964)
PG | 154 min | Drama, History, Western
The Cheyenne, tired of broken U.S. government promises, head for their ancestral lands but a sympathetic cavalry officer is tasked to bring them back to their reservation.
44. Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (1993)
PG-13 | 123 min | Drama, Romance