501 MUST-SEE MOVIESby AmaryllisBelladonna | created - 10 Dec 2012 | updated - 10 Dec 2012 | Public
Compiled from the 2011 edition of the book "501 Must-see Movies" published by Bounty Books. Listed here mostly for self-reference and inspiration.
Films are sorted by year within each genre.
- Instant Watch Options
- Movies or TV
- IMDb Rating
- In Theaters
- On TV
- Release Year
3. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
PG | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Romance
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.
Votes: 43,978 | Gross: $3.98M
4. Gone with the Wind (1939)
Passed | 238 min | Drama, History, Romance
A manipulative woman and a roguish man conduct a turbulent romance during the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods.
Votes: 264,464 | Gross: $198.68M
5. The Sea Hawk (1940)
Approved | 127 min | Action, Adventure, History
Geoffrey Thorpe, a buccaneer, is hired by Queen Elizabeth I to nag the Spanish Armada. The Armada is waiting for the attack on England and Thorpe surprises them with attacks on their galleons where he shows his skills on the sword.
6. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Passed | 126 min | Adventure, Drama, Western
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.
Votes: 103,599 | Gross: $5.01M
7. The Wages of Fear (1953)
Not Rated | 131 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller
In a decrepit South American village, four men are hired to transport an urgent nitroglycerine shipment without the equipment that would make it safe.
9. The Ten Commandments (1956)
G | 220 min | Adventure, Drama
The Egyptian Prince, Moses, learns of his true heritage as a Hebrew and his divine mission as the deliverer of his people.
Votes: 57,658 | Gross: $93.74M
10. War and Peace (1956)
PG | 208 min | Drama, Romance, War
Napoleon's (Herbert Lom's) tumultuous relations with Russia including his disastrous 1812 invasion serve as the backdrop for the tangled personal lives of two aristocratic families.
Votes: 8,185 | Gross: $12.50M
12. North by Northwest (1959)
Not Rated | 136 min | Adventure, Mystery, Thriller
A New York City advertising executive goes on the run after being mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies.
Votes: 272,940 | Gross: $13.28M
13. Ben-Hur (1959)
G | 212 min | Adventure, Drama, History
When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge.
Votes: 201,782 | Gross: $74.70M
15. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Approved | 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: 243,397 | Gross: $44.82M
17. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
PG-13 | 197 min | Drama, Romance, War
The life of a Russian physician and poet who, although married to another, falls in love with a political activist's wife and experiences hardship during World War I and then the October Revolution.
Votes: 64,540 | Gross: $111.72M
18. The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968)
PG-13 | 139 min | Drama, History, War
In 1854, during the Crimean War, poor planning leads to a British Light Brigade openly charging a Russian artillery position with tragic consequences.
19. The Lion in Winter (1968)
PG | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History
1183 A.D.: King Henry II's three sons all want to inherit the throne, but he won't commit to a choice. They and his wife variously plot to force him.
Votes: 26,972 | Gross: $22.28M
20. Waterloo (I) (1970)
G | 123 min | Action, Biography, Drama
Facing the decline of everything he has worked to obtain, conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte and his army confront the British at the Battle of Waterloo.
Votes: 7,483 | Gross: $3.05M
24. Papillon (1973)
R | 151 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
A man befriends a fellow criminal as the two of them begin serving their sentence on a dreadful prison island, which inspires the man to plot his escape.
Votes: 112,948 | Gross: $53.27M
25. The Towering Inferno (1974)
PG | 165 min | Action, Drama, Thriller
At the opening party of a colossal, but poorly constructed, office building, a massive fire breaks out that threatens to destroy the tower and everyone in it.
Votes: 35,805 | Gross: $116.00M
26. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure
In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before Adolf Hitler's Nazis can obtain its awesome powers.
Votes: 814,063 | Gross: $248.16M
28. Gandhi (1982)
PG | 191 min | Biography, Drama, History
Gandhi's character is fully explained as a man of nonviolence. Through his patience, he is able to drive the British out of the subcontinent. And the stubborn nature of Jinnah and his commitment towards Pakistan is portrayed.
Votes: 207,547 | Gross: $52.77M
30. A Passage to India (1984)
PG | 164 min | Adventure, Drama, History
Cultural mistrust and false accusations doom a friendship in British colonial India between an Indian doctor, an Englishwoman engaged to marry a city magistrate, and an English educator.
Votes: 15,648 | Gross: $27.19M
31. 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: 99,668 | Gross: $3.52M
32. The Mission (1986)
PG | 125 min | Adventure, Drama, History
Eighteenth century Spanish Jesuits try to protect a remote South American tribe in danger of falling under the rule of pro-slavery Portugal.
Votes: 51,669 | Gross: $17.22M
33. Top Gun (1986)
PG | 110 min | Action, Drama
As students at the United States Navy's elite fighter weapons school compete to be best in the class, one daring young pilot learns a few things from a civilian instructor that are not taught in the classroom.
Votes: 261,692 | Gross: $179.80M
35. Die Hard (1988)
R | 132 min | Action, Thriller
An NYPD officer tries to save his wife and several others taken hostage by German terrorists during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.
Votes: 721,761 | Gross: $83.01M
37. True Lies (1994)
R | 141 min | Action, Comedy, Thriller
A fearless, globe-trotting, terrorist-battling secret agent has his life turned upside down when he discovers his wife might be having an affair with a used car salesman while terrorists smuggle nuclear war heads into the United States.
Votes: 220,067 | Gross: $146.28M
38. Braveheart (1995)
R | 178 min | Biography, Drama, History
When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.
Votes: 892,876 | Gross: $75.60M
39. The Mummy (1999)
PG-13 | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
At an archaeological dig in the ancient city of Hamunaptra, an American serving in the French Foreign Legion accidentally awakens a mummy who begins to wreck havoc as he searches for the reincarnation of his long-lost love.
Votes: 367,478 | Gross: $155.25M
40. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
PG-13 | 120 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
A young Chinese warrior steals a sword from a famed swordsman and then escapes into a world of romantic adventure with a mysterious man in the frontier of the nation.
Votes: 240,199 | Gross: $128.08M
41. Gladiator (2000)
R | 155 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
A former Roman General sets out to exact vengeance against the corrupt emperor who murdered his family and sent him into slavery.
Votes: 1,214,817 | Gross: $187.71M
PG-13 | 178 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
A meek Hobbit from the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to destroy the powerful One Ring and save Middle-earth from the Dark Lord Sauron.
Votes: 1,513,351 | Gross: $315.54M
PG-13 | 138 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
During the Napoleonic Wars, a brash British captain pushes his ship and crew to their limits in pursuit of a formidable French war vessel around South America.
Votes: 189,543 | Gross: $93.93M
PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Blacksmith Will Turner teams up with eccentric pirate "Captain" Jack Sparrow to save his love, the governor's daughter, from Jack's former pirate allies, who are now undead.
Votes: 965,323 | Gross: $305.41M
45. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
R | 111 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
After awakening from a four-year coma, a former assassin wreaks vengeance on the team of assassins who betrayed her.
Votes: 907,129 | Gross: $70.10M
Vol. 1 & Vol. 2