Top 50 most visually beautiful movies ever made.by SeaHorseMafia | created - 02 Apr 2013 | updated - 3 months ago | Public
Movies with the most beautiful cinematography, art-direction and over-all use of colors and camera composition. Personal preference, in some kind of order. Honorable mentions: Sunshine I Killed My Mother The Treasure of Sierra Madre Leaving Las Vegas The Maltese Falcon The 400 Blow Blue Velvet Collateral Red Shoes La Grande Illusion Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Fantasia (I'm not a huge Disney fan, but this is a beautiful film) 12 Years a Slave Her Naked Lunch Frances Ha Inside Llewyn Davis After Hours (the Scorsese film) Inherent Vice La Notte Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior Blade Runner Blade Runner 2049 Mommy (Xavier Dolan) It Follows Persepolis Manhattan The Revenant Double Life of Veronique Holy Motors The Witch The Killing of a Sacred Deer Dunkirk
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1. 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.
If you could describe this movie with one word, it would be: beautiful. Mind-blowing, astonishing and visual poetry would also be acceptable.
Malick shoots landscape better than John Ford, IMO of course. A lot of wide shots, but also some energetic, hand-held camera as well. The cinematography sets the mood for this film and I love how the cinematography represents the mood and atmosphere of the movie. I think the soundtrack helps some what to the imagery in this, it helps with the haunting atmosphere that Malick wanted. If you don't know what does the "magic hour" mean, watch this movie. Most of it was shot during the magic hour, so how can't you get a beautiful movie... I know it's cliche to put this as you number 1, but the people who say that this is the most beautiful movie ever made, are not wrong.
2. Le Plaisir (1952)
Not Rated | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Three separate stories about the same thing: pleasure.
The camera movements in this film are so gorgeous, especially the first brothel scene. You can see how influential this was.
3. Badlands (1973)
PG | 94 min | Crime, Drama
An impressionable teenage girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend embark on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands.
Would be number 1, but here and there you can see some of that low budget stuff. Still mind-blowingly beautiful, the desert hasn't looked so haunting since Lawrence of Arabia. There are so many great shots, first one comes to mind is a shot of Kit (Martin Sheen) in the desert with his shotgun and it's not night, but the sun is coming down and you can see the moon behind him. I heard that it was a "stolen shot", a stolen shot means when a director shoots something without a cinematographer. But still that was excellent. Malick showed that you can make a movie with excellent cinematography, with a low-budget.
4. Chinatown (1974)
R | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption, and murder.
Votes: 256,133 | Gross: $29.20M
Chinatown is how a noir should look. Well, how a neo-noir should look. It's like a classic film-noir look, burning in the California sun. Wonderful use of shadows and, IMO, the best period piece ever made. The set design, costumes and over-all look really do feel authentic. There isn't a bad shot in the film, simply as that, not mainly beautiful, but the look helps to capture the film-noir feel and the melancholy atmosphere.
5. Walkabout (1971)
GP | 100 min | Adventure, Drama
Two young siblings are stranded in the Australian Outback and are forced to cope on their own. They meet an Australian boy on "walkabout": a ritual separation from his tribe.
6. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
PG | 216 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
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.
Votes: 232,146 | Gross: $44.82M
The cinematography makes this movie so good as it is. One word to describe the whole film, simply is: beautiful. The desert has never looked as haunting and beautiful, the sun never looked so powerful, no film before this has looked so epic. Beautiful use of 70mm, and it wasn't converted into 70mm, it was shot with 70mm, not 35mm, so I don't know, maybe that's why it's so hypnotic and beautiful. I think Lean was, like T.E Lawrence, obsessed by the desert, the empty, huge and hot desert. And you can really see that in this film. One of the most beautiful shots in cinematic history is in this film, the sunrise. Maybe the most most famous scene in this film, is when the sunrises and the music slowly builds in that.
7. The Conformist (1970)
R | 113 min | Drama
A weak-willed Italian man becomes a fascist flunky who goes abroad to arrange the assassination of his old teacher, now a political dissident.
This is probably one of the greatest films ever made so do yourself a favor and check this out, if you haven't already.
8. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi
A space-opera spanning the dawn of man to humanity reaching the stars, 2001: A Space Odyssey tells the story of the Black Monolith, humanity's evolution and the rise of A.I.'s ultimate supercomputer HAL 9000.
Votes: 518,146 | Gross: $56.95M
9. The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery.
10. The Mirror (1975)
G | 107 min | Biography, Drama
A dying man in his forties remembers his past. His childhood, his mother, the war, personal moments and things that tell of the recent history of all the Russian nation.
11. Barry Lyndon (1975)
PG | 185 min | Adventure, Drama, History
An Irish rogue wins the heart of a rich widow and assumes her dead husband's aristocratic position in 18th-century England.
Barry Lyndon looks a like a 1700/1800 painting, every shot feels like a painting, it moves like a painting. Everybody knows that they used a lot of natural lighting and candle light, so they had to make a lens that would allow to shoot in such low lighting. And it shows in the movie, non of the shots look like they were set-up, it really feels authentic.
12. The Holy Mountain (1973)
R | 114 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
In a corrupt, greed-fueled world, a powerful alchemist leads a Christ-like character and seven materialistic figures to the Holy Mountain, where they hope to achieve enlightenment.
Votes: 29,689 | Gross: $0.06M
One word: mindfck. Beautifully shot, wonderful set-pieces and just great use of colors and sets.
13. In the Mood for Love (2000)
PG | 98 min | Drama, Romance
Two neighbors, a woman and a man, form a strong bond after both suspect extramarital activities of their spouses. However, they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs.
Votes: 99,998 | Gross: $2.73M
I know, I know, everybody always says that this film has some striking visual beauty, but they are not wrong, at all. This film really shows the emotions of the characters by visuals. The use of colors and over-all camera compositions create moods, create the atmosphere and the pace. Simply beautiful.
14. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)
R | 120 min | Biography, Drama
A fictionalized account in four chapters of the life of celebrated Japanese writer Yukio Mishima.
Votes: 6,713 | Gross: $0.44M
One of the most underrated film ever made, not many people have seen this, but trust me, it's well worth it. The use of color is so beautiful.
15. City Lights (1931)
G | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
With the aid of a wealthy erratic tippler, a dewy-eyed tramp who has fallen in love with a sightless flower girl accumulates money to be able to help her medically.
Votes: 138,562 | Gross: $0.02M
17. 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: 69,884 | Gross: $2.18M
18. 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: 125,621 | Gross: $16.38M
Shared with There Will Be Blood
The Master is just hypnotic in every sense, especially in cinematography. The camera composition, the surreal feel, period detailing and intense close ups create most of the mood for this. It captures the post-war world perfectly, some-what confused and cold. I love how Anderson shot the scene where Freddy Quell runs in the fields escaping some people.
19. The Third Man (1949)
Not Rated | 93 min | Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller
Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime.
Votes: 137,833 | Gross: $0.45M
20. Chungking Express (1994)
PG-13 | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
Two melancholy Hong Kong policemen fall in love: one with a mysterious female underworld figure, the other with a beautiful and ethereal server at a late-night restaurant he frequents.
Votes: 49,873 | Gross: $0.60M
Another visual masterpiece by Kar Wai Wong. The film blew me away on many levels, especially visually. The motion and the explosion of colors shows the emotion and mood of the films characters. Amazing.
22. 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.
23. Ran (1985)
R | 162 min | Action, Drama
In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.
Votes: 95,469 | Gross: $3.52M
24. 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: 152,763 | Gross: $13.30M
Kinda cheating putting 3 Malick movies in here, but when it comes to visual beauty, Malick is the king.
25. Videodrome (1983)
R | 87 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
When he acquires a different kind of show for his station, a sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a terrifying new reality.
Votes: 71,838 | Gross: $2.12M
27. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
PG-13 | 165 min | Western
A mysterious stranger with a harmonica joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad.
Votes: 260,056 | Gross: $5.32M
Or really any Sergio Leone film.
28. The Nights of Cabiria (1957)
Not Rated | 110 min | Drama
A waifish prostitute wanders the streets of Rome looking for true love but finds only heartbreak.
Votes: 36,979 | Gross: $0.75M
One of the most beautifully shot films about urban life. I love how Fellini shot Rome in the night, street lights have never looked so beautiful.
29. Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Film-Noir
Powerful but unethical Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker coerces unscrupulous press agent Sidney Falco into breaking up his sister's romance with a jazz musician.
31. Carmen (I) (1983)
R | 102 min | Drama, Music, Romance
A group of flamenco dancers are rehearsing a very spanish version of the Prosper Merimee's drama. Antonio (the coreographer) falls in love with Carmen (the main dancer). Their story then ... See full summary »
You really see the passion that Saura has for flamengo in this movie. Most of the movie is just dancing. The editing, camera composition and lightning in those scenes are perfect. Like flamengo, this film is just pure passion and emotion. Love the sweeping shots and wide shots.
32. 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: 526,622 | Gross: $83.47M
33. Waltz with Bashir (2008)
R | 90 min | Animation, Biography, Drama
An Israeli film director interviews fellow veterans of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to reconstruct his own memories of his term of service in that conflict.
Votes: 51,178 | Gross: $2.28M
Maybe you call it cheating putting an animated movie here. I kinda see where people are coming from, it's more easier to draw beautiful pictures than actually film them. True, but it can also be vice versa. It's only matter of talent. Anyways, how the movie gains the emotion from surreal images is quite brilliant. The dream-sequences are one of the finest animated images I have seen. Call it a weird style, but I like it.
34. Raging Bull (1980)
R | 129 min | Biography, Drama, Sport
The life of boxer Jake LaMotta, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside of it.
Votes: 277,189 | Gross: $23.38M
The scene where LaMotta takes the beating (I believe it was Sugar Ray Robinson, but I'm not sure) against the ropes is perfect in every sense.
35. Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
Not Rated | 94 min | Drama, Mystery
In a strange and isolated chateau, a man becomes acquainted with a woman and insists that they have met before.
Votes: 17,128 | Gross: $0.14M
36. Blow Out (1981)
R | 108 min | Mystery, Thriller
A movie sound recordist accidentally records the evidence that proves that a car accident was actually murder and consequently finds himself in danger.
Votes: 35,186 | Gross: $13.75M
Btw, the poster is sh*t. The use of color and the sleazy feel of it really makes the film so good. I especially love the scene where Travolta finds out all of his tapes are erased, that shot is perfection. Really captures the sleazy feel and the dark and sometimes ugly look of New York (or at least I think it was New York)...
37. Spirited Away (2001)
PG | 125 min | Animation, Adventure, Family
During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.
Votes: 527,479 | Gross: $10.06M
38. Only God Forgives (2013)
R | 90 min | Crime, Drama
Julian, a drug-smuggler thriving in Bangkok's criminal underworld, sees his life get even more complicated when his mother compels him to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother's recent death.
Votes: 97,498 | Gross: $0.78M
Say what you want about it, but it was amazing visually.
40. M (1931)
Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller
When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.
Votes: 121,667 | Gross: $0.03M
Though made in 1931, there is so much innovative use of camera in this movie. While Citizen Kane is noted as the that "created" camera tricks and modern cinematography, somehow I think Orson Welles saw this movie and took some inspiration. This and Rules of the Game, by Jean Renoir...
41. Oldeuboi (2003)
R | 120 min | Action, Drama, Mystery
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: 437,837 | Gross: $0.71M
42. Roma (1972)
R | 120 min | Comedy, Drama
A fluid, unconnected and sometimes chaotic procession of scenes detailing the various people and events of life in Italy's capital, most of it based on director Federico Fellini's life.
The fashion show sequence says it all.
43. 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: 236,405 | Gross: $10.68M
44. Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
Not Rated | 95 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
In the 16th century, the ruthless and insane Don Lope de Aguirre leads a Spanish expedition in search of El Dorado.
Also including Fitzcarraldo. Both were shot in the Amazons and both are Herzog's...
46. Leviathan (2014)
R | 140 min | Crime, Drama
In a Russian coastal town, Kolya is forced to fight the corrupt mayor when he is told that his house will be demolished. He recruits a lawyer friend to help, but the man's arrival brings further misfortune for Kolya and his family.
Votes: 41,184 | Gross: $1.09M
I especially loved every epic landscape shot here, the shadows of the mountains reminded me of Ansel Adams' work and the blue/grey color palette worked beautifully.
47. Days of Being Wild (1990)
Not Rated | 94 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
A man tries to find out who his real mother is after the woman who raised him tells him the truth.
Votes: 14,781 | Gross: $0.14M
Unlike Kar Wai Wong's In The Mood For Love (earlier on this list), this one has a lot more Hong Kong crime movie feel with it's fast moving tracking shots, however it uses that technique brilliantly and combining that with the original, impressionistic use of colors, together creating a unique atmosphere.
48. Caché (2005)
R | 117 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
A married couple is terrorized by a series of surveillance videotapes left on their front porch.
Votes: 64,242 | Gross: $3.63M
Haneke's work may not be beautiful (cinematography-wise), but they are great technically. His precise framing and editing may not make his films visually bold, but they are an absolute master-class.
49. Letter Never Sent (1960)
Not Rated | 80 min | Adventure, Drama
Four geologists search for diamonds in the wilderness of Siberia.
I wanted to add this to the list, not only do I think the high contrast black/white cinematography is gorgeous, but also because it's pretty obscure. Not like in a "haha, I know this, I bet you don't" way, but more like "hey, check this out" way. It's a 1960 Soviet film about scientist trying to find diamonds in the wilderness of Siberia and then *beep* happens. It's a wonderful piece of cinema with just amazing visual power, especially the silhouette scenes and the hand held shots.
50. Mne dvadtsat let (1965)
189 min | Drama