Top 27 Movies Photo Fans Need to See

by rinaldorezende | created - 04 Jan 2013 | updated - 04 Jan 2013 | Public
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1. 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: 371,520 | Gross: $36.76M

You might remember a jolly Jimmy Stewart running through the streets yelling something about Christmas, but in Rear Window, he’s a total badass. Jimmy plays a photographer whose keen, observing ways get him wrapped up in a murder mystery. Dun dun DUN!

Fun Fact: Alfred Hitchcock was inspired by the romance between real life war photographer Robert Capa and actress Ingrid Bergman.

2. Amélie (2001)

R | 122 min | Comedy, Romance

69 Metascore

Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love.

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet | Stars: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Lorella Cravotta

Votes: 615,917 | Gross: $33.23M

This movie makes us want to spout off every silly French phrase we know. It also makes us want to take photos! Amelie is full of all kinds of photo fun. Photobooth scrapbook (that sometimes talks)? Check. Traveling Gnome Polaroids? Check. Memories of her first camera? Check. Flirtation via photo? Check!!

Fun Fact: The photobooth photo collection is based on a real collection of director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s friend. He even credited him at the end: D’après la collection originale de Michel Folco.

3. One Hour Photo (2002)

R | 96 min | Drama, Thriller

64 Metascore

A mentally unstable photo developer begins to attack a middle-class family after his obsession with them becomes more sick and disturbing than any of them could imagine.

Director: Mark Romanek | Stars: Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan, Dylan Smith

Votes: 104,553 | Gross: $31.60M

WARNING: This movie is scary. We picked this up thinking it was going to be the photo-themed equivalent of Patch Adams, but oh, how we were wrong. Robin Williams plays a creepy photo lab technician that’s a little too photo-obsessed. (even more than we are!) We can’t say much more without giving it away, but if you’re into thrillers, you’ll be pleased.

Fun Fact: Some of the characters’ names, including Robin Williams’, are real photographer’s names, like James Van DerZee, Nobuyoshi Araki, Bill Owens, Ellen von Unwerth, Aaron Siskind, and Paul Outerbridge.

4. Memento (2000)

R | 113 min | Mystery, Thriller

80 Metascore

A man juggles searching for his wife's murderer and keeping his short-term memory loss from being an obstacle.

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

Votes: 973,172 | Gross: $25.54M

If you haven’t seen Memento, photo movie night is the night! Guy Pearce plays Leonard, a guy who wakes up not knowing who he is or why he has a pocket full of photos. You’ll soon notice Leonard tends to forget things…constantly. Okay, so he basically has no long term memory. He spends the entire film looking at polaroids and notes to figure out what the heck is happening. (which turns out to be a lot of crazy stuff!)

Fun Fact: Leonard uses a Polaroid 690 to keep track of his memories. Extra fun fact: Memento only took 25 days to shoot!

5. Pecker (1998)

R | 87 min | Comedy, Drama

66 Metascore

A talented young photographer, who enjoys snapping photos of his satirical, perverted Baltimore neighborhood and his wacky family, gets dragged into a world of pretentious artists from New York City and finds newfound fame.

Director: John Waters | Stars: Edward Furlong, Christina Ricci, Bess Armstrong, Mark Joy

Votes: 12,316 | Gross: $2.28M

A young, unknown photographer finds fame after taking photos of his weirdo family and small-town folk. Don’t we all secretly wish this would happen to us? But, Pecker‘ll teach you that things aren’t so easy when you become a famous photographer. Turns out his subjects aren’t all too happy with the results. (wompwomp)

Fun Fact: Pecker’s camera is a Canonet, made mostly in the 60s and was the equivalent of a point-and-shoot. Today, it’d be worth about $20

6. Blow-Up (1966)

Not Rated | 111 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

A mod London photographer finds something very suspicious in the shots he has taken of a mysterious beauty in a desolate park.

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni | Stars: David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, John Castle

Votes: 47,652

Blow Up is another tale of murder, but this time it’s paired up with the usual 60s shenanigans (sex, fashion, and maybe drugs). Michaelangelo Antonioni whipped up this mod mystery film in which a fashion photographer might have accidentally photographed a murder. He blow ups his photos to figure it all out.

Fun Fact: Famed 60s swingin’ photog David Bailey was considered for the main character’s role.

7. City of God (2002)

R | 130 min | Crime, Drama

79 Metascore

Two boys growing up in a violent neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer.

Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund | Stars: Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Matheus Nachtergaele, Phellipe Haagensen

Votes: 607,421 | Gross: $7.56M

This amazingly shot, epic movie tells the story of two friends who grow up in Rio de Janiero. One becoming a news photographer, while the other gets involved with some shady business.

8. 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: 515,936 | Gross: $83.47M

Dennis Hopper plays a photojournalist who was inspired by famed Vietnam photographer Tim Page. Also an epic which stars Marlon Brando!

9. Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)

R | 104 min | Mystery, Thriller

A famous fashion photographer develops a disturbing ability to see through the eyes of a killer.

Director: Irvin Kershner | Stars: Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Dourif, Rene Auberjonois

Votes: 6,999 | Gross: $20.00M

A super scary flick about a commercial photographer who can see through the eyes of a murderer.

10. Peeping Tom (1960)

Not Rated | 101 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A young man murders women, using a movie camera to film their dying expressions of terror.

Director: Michael Powell | Stars: Karlheinz Böhm, Anna Massey, Moira Shearer, Maxine Audley

Votes: 25,066 | Gross: $0.08M

Thriller about a crazy serial killer who captures his victims terror with a moving camera.

11. Salvador (1986)

R | 122 min | Drama, History, Thriller

An American photojournalist gets caught in a political struggle at El Salvador in 1980.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: James Woods, Jim Belushi, Michael Murphy, John Savage

Votes: 16,871

A photojournalist travels to El Salvador to shoot the military dictatorship in place but gets into trouble with rebels!

12. The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)

PG | 115 min | Drama, Romance, War

65 Metascore

A young Australian reporter tries to navigate the political turmoil of Indonesia during the rule of President Sukarno with the help of a diminutive photographer.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hunt, Bembol Roco

Votes: 17,149 | Gross: $10.28M

A somewhat handsome (and less crazy) Mel Gibson plays a reporter on a hot story in the tumultuous Indonesia. His trusty sidekick is a local photographer!

13. The Midnight Meat Train (2008)

R | 100 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

58 Metascore

A photographer's obsessive pursuit of dark subject matter leads him into the path of a serial killer who stalks late night commuters, ultimately butchering them in the most gruesome ways imaginable.

Director: Ryûhei Kitamura | Stars: Vinnie Jones, Bradley Cooper, Leslie Bibb, Brooke Shields

Votes: 53,110 | Gross: $0.08M

Bradley Cooper plays a photographer who helps save a woman who’s attacked. When she ends up missing, he becomes obsessed with finding her killer. Based on a Clive Barker story!

14. Funny Face (1957)

Not Rated | 103 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

An impromptu fashion shoot at a book store brings about a new fashion model discovery in the shop clerk.

Director: Stanley Donen | Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Kay Thompson, Michel Auclair

Votes: 22,129

A fashion photographer falls for a bookish Audrey Hepburn. (who wouldn’t?!) Inspired by Richard Avedon. p.s. There’s lots of singing in this, too!

15. Proof (1991)

R | 86 min | Drama, Romance

The life of a blind photographer who is looked after by a housekeeper is disrupted by the arrival of an agreeable restaurant worker.

Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse | Stars: Hugo Weaving, Geneviève Picot, Russell Crowe, Heather Mitchell

Votes: 5,556 | Gross: $0.52M

A blind photographer feels he must take photos to prove that what people describe around him is the truth. Also stars a young Russell Crowe!

16. Delirious (2006)

107 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

68 Metascore

An offbeat drama focused on a homeless youth, a pop music siren and a member of the paparazzi.

Director: Tom DiCillo | Stars: Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Alison Lohman, Gina Gershon

Votes: 5,481 | Gross: $0.09M

Steve Buscemi plays a papparazzo!

17. Road to Perdition (2002)

R | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

72 Metascore

Bonds of loyalty are put to the test when a hitman's son witnesses what his father does for a living.

Director: Sam Mendes | Stars: Tom Hanks, Tyler Hoechlin, Rob Maxey, Liam Aiken

Votes: 219,783 | Gross: $104.45M

A thriller in which Jude Law plays a creepy Weegee-like character. You’ll see him frequently photographing murder scenes

18. Closer (I) (2004)

R | 104 min | Drama, Romance

65 Metascore

The relationships of two couples become complicated and deceitful when the man from one couple meets the woman of the other.

Director: Mike Nichols | Stars: Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Clive Owen, Julia Roberts

Votes: 182,888 | Gross: $33.99M

Julia Roberts is an art photographer who gets caught up in a dramatic love affair – with Jude Law, Clive Owen, and Natalie Portman! HAWT.

19. The Public Eye (1992)

R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

Story of a 1940s photographer who specializes in crime and is not getting involved until this time.

Director: Howard Franklin | Stars: Joe Pesci, Barbara Hershey, Richard Riehle, Bryan Travis Smith

Votes: 2,847 | Gross: $3.07M

Another noir-ish, Weegee-inspired movie. Joe Pesci is a crime-scene photographer who can’t help but get involved. His accent will totally flash you back to My Cousin Vinny.

20. Everlasting Moments (2008)

Not Rated | 131 min | Biography, Drama, History

80 Metascore

In a time of social change and unrest, war and poverty, a young working class woman, Maria, wins a camera in a lottery. The decision to keep it alters her whole life.

Director: Jan Troell | Stars: Maria Heiskanen, Mikael Persbrandt, Jesper Christensen, Callin Öhrvall

Votes: 4,749 | Gross: $0.61M

Watch this if you like period pieces…and photography! 1900s Sweden, Maria wins a camera in a lottery and finds empowerment through it.

21. Spider-Man (2002)

PG-13 | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

73 Metascore

When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe, James Franco

Votes: 606,723 | Gross: $403.71M

Spiderman is actually Peter Parker, a teenaged photographer who totally capitalizes on his double-identity by selling photos of Spiderman to newspapers.

22. Shutter (I) (2008)

PG-13 | 85 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

37 Metascore

A newly married couple discovers disturbing, ghostly images in photographs they develop after a tragic accident. Fearing the manifestations may be connected, they investigate and learn that some mysteries are better left unsolved.

Director: Masayuki Ochiai | Stars: Joshua Jackson, Rachael Taylor, James Kyson, Megumi Okina

Votes: 29,494 | Gross: $25.93M

Like The Ring but with photos! This is the remake based of an original Thai version.

23. Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids (2004)

R | 85 min | Documentary

78 Metascore

Two documentary filmmakers chronicle their time in Sonagchi, Calcutta and the relationships they developed with children of prostitutes who work the city's notorious red light district.

Directors: Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman | Stars: Kochi, Avijit Halder, Shanti Das, Manik

Votes: 13,916 | Gross: $3.41M

A moving documentary about children in Calcuttta who are given cameras.

24. Shooting the Past (1999 TV Movie)

182 min | Drama, History

A US property developer realises that he has a battle on his hands when he tries to renovate a London building containing a vast photographic collection and discovers that the library ... See full summary »

Director: Stephen Poliakoff | Stars: Lindsay Duncan, Timothy Spall, Liam Cunningham, Billie Whitelaw

Votes: 1,030

A story about a British photographic library that is on the verge of being shut down. Highly acclaimed, mixture of comedy and drama.

25. The Civil War (1990)

TV-14 | 680 min | Documentary, History, War

A comprehensive survey of the American Civil War.

Stars: David McCullough, Sam Waterston, Julie Harris, Jason Robards

Votes: 8,987

A Film By Ken Burns Ken Burns makes historical documentaries that are heavily depict the past in photographs (think PBS). He’s made several of these, which are easy to find.

26. La Jetée (1962)

Not Rated | 28 min | Short, Drama, Romance

The story of a man forced to explore his memories in the wake of World War III's devastation, told through still images.

Director: Chris Marker | Stars: Étienne Becker, Jean Négroni, Hélène Chatelain, Davos Hanich

Votes: 24,533

Short film made almost completely of still photographs. The characters in this attempt time-travel after a nuclear war

27. 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.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Ryan O'Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee, Hardy Krüger

Votes: 122,717

Stanley Kubrick had a F .07 lens specially made to shoot this film, as well as a 50mm lens specially made for NASA by the Carl Zeiss Company. He was able to shoot the whole film without any artificial lighting, including candle lit scenes….AMAZING!

28. The Bang Bang Club (2010)

R | 106 min | Biography, Drama, History

48 Metascore

A drama based on the true-life experiences of four combat photographers capturing the final days of apartheid in South Africa.

Director: Steven Silver | Stars: Ryan Phillippe, Malin Akerman, Taylor Kitsch, Neels van Jaarsveld

Votes: 9,161