Movies For Film Buffs

by nzswanny | created - 01 Sep 2018 | updated - 02 Feb 2019 | Public

The ultimate list of movies that either had a significant part in history, that drives on both art and entertainment and that are iconically memorable, this is a list you’ll want to return to again and again. Most of these are art movies, however I also added some good blockbusters with some artistic elements such as characterisation and surrealism and pioneer elements that make you think and feel. WARNING: These movies were meant to divide audiences. Some may break your rules.

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1. Hour of the Wolf (1968)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Horror

While vacationing on a remote Scandanavian island with his younger pregnant wife, an artist has an emotional breakdown while confronting his repressed desires.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Gertrud Fridh, Georg Rydeberg

Votes: 17,521

A brilliant movie for those who feel they are different from others; in this movie, it’s not the individual who is mad, it’s the community around him.

2. Forrest Gump (1994)

PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, Romance

82 Metascore

The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, the events of Vietnam, Watergate and other historical events unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75, whose only desire is to be reunited with his childhood sweetheart.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field

Votes: 1,730,951 | Gross: $330.25M

Emotional movie that depicts a serious mental illness with lots of depth and heart, giving an emotional and heart-felt point of view on the past through the eyes of a man with a low IQ’s life.

3. The Blue Bird (1918)

Not Rated | 75 min | Fantasy

Two peasant children, Mytyl and Tyltyl, are led by Berylune, a fairy, to search for the Blue Bird of Happiness. Berylune gives Tyltyl a cap with a diamond setting, and when Tyltyl turns the... See full summary »

Director: Maurice Tourneur | Stars: Tula Belle, Robin Macdougall, Edwin E. Reed, Emma Lowry

Votes: 765

Beautiful fantasy with magic realism for all the dreamers out there searching for true happiness.

4. Tih Minh (1918)

418 min | Adventure, Mystery

Jacques d'Athys, a French adventurer, returns to his home in Nice after an expedition to Indochina where he has picked up a Eurasian fiancée and a book that, unbeknownst to him, contains a ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Feuillade | Stars: Mary Harald, René Cresté, Georges Biscot, Édouard Mathé

Votes: 303

Slightly racist, but adventourous action movie about a detective who goes out to solve a case before the foreigners do.

5. The Lost Moment (1947)

Not Rated | 89 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Romance

An publisher insinuates himself into the mouldering mansion of the centenarian lover of a renowned but long-dead poet in order to find his lost love letters.

Director: Martin Gabel | Stars: Robert Cummings, Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorehead, Joan Lorring

Votes: 895

Set against the beautiful landscape of Italy, a brilliant but dark and brooding ‘mild’ horror that will win your heart over in seconds.

6. La Ciudad (The City) (1998)

88 min | Drama

76 Metascore

The stories of four Hispanic immigrants living in New York City.

Director: David Riker | Stars: Anthony Rivera, Joseph Rigano, Miguel Maldonado, Ricardo Cuevas

Votes: 350 | Gross: $0.24M

Very emotional, realistic and touching portrait of what immigration feels like in the hearts of men.

7. The Haunted Castle (1921)

Not Rated | 69 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

In the castle Vogeloed, a few aristocrats are awaiting baroness Safferstätt. But first count Oetsch invites himself.. Everyone thinks he murdered his brother, baroness Safferstat's first ... See full summary »

Director: F.W. Murnau | Stars: Arnold Korff, Lulu Kyser-Korff, Lothar Mehnert, Paul Hartmann

Votes: 1,354

A frightening horror-mystery set against the background of socialites in which a man decides to get his reputation cleared by discovering who had murdered a woman’s husband to prove he didn’t to others.

8. Let the Right One In (2008)

R | 114 min | Drama, Horror, Romance

82 Metascore

Oskar, an overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl.

Director: Tomas Alfredson | Stars: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl

Votes: 201,137 | Gross: $2.12M

A beautiful but deeply frightening romance between two opposites; a light human character and a dark vampire. Great movie for those who accept diversity and the macabre.

9. La Terra Trema (1948)

Not Rated | 160 min | Drama

In rural Sicily, the fishermen live at the mercy of the greedy wholesalers. One family risks everything to buy their own boat and operate independently.

Director: Luchino Visconti | Stars: Luchino Visconti, Antonio Pietrangeli, Antonio Arcidiacono, Giuseppe Arcidiacono

Votes: 4,161

Revolutionary movie set in Sicily about classism and the poor and the rich clashing, with this movie describing the effort the poor must make to gain back the rights that have been taken from them by the leading class.

10. The Violin Player (2016)

72 min | Drama, Music

The Violin Player is the story of one day in the life of a Bollywood session violinist who finds expression in an unlikely place. The day unfolds to reveal startling truths about music, art, life and survival.

Director: Bauddhayan Mukherji | Stars: Adil Hussain, Ritwick Chakraborty, Nayani Dixit, Sonam Stobgais

Votes: 293

Brilliant, tasteful and artistic Indian character study about a movie musician under severe stress and turmoil who crosses paths with a dark, brooding filmmaker, and how between eachother they discover the secrets within their lives.

11. $ (1971)

R | 121 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

A bank security expert plots with a call girl to rob three safety deposit boxes containing $1.5 million in cash belonging to three very different criminals from a high-tech security bank in Hamburg, Germany.

Director: Richard Brooks | Stars: Warren Beatty, Goldie Hawn, Gert Fröbe, Robert Webber

Votes: 2,204

Sadly neglected but incredibly fun movie with a half an hour long car chase scene and some of the best wit and humour put onto the screen in 1971.

12. '71 (2014)

R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Drama

83 Metascore

In 1971, a young and disorientated British soldier is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the deadly streets of Belfast.

Director: Yann Demange | Stars: Jack O'Connell, Sam Reid, Sean Harris, Paul Popplewell

Votes: 48,867 | Gross: $1.27M

Brutal, harsh and cold, this harrowing thriller based on true events shows the struggle of politics as a soldier is left behind in Belfast during a political division.

13. Jackie Brown (1997)

R | 154 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

64 Metascore

A middle-aged woman finds herself in the middle of a huge conflict that will either make her a profit or cost her life.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda

Votes: 305,108 | Gross: $39.67M

Stylish, fun but also extremely dark crime thriller about a woman who keeps her mouth shut, a man who watches the crime, a man who has a high reputation in the criminal underworld and a woman who’s a bit of a slut.

14. The Enchanted Cottage (1924)

70 min | Drama

A crippled World War I veteran retracts to a small cottage in the countryside to escape from his nosy family and to hide from the outside world. There he meets a plain but also a very kind ... See full summary »

Director: John S. Robertson | Stars: Richard Barthelmess, May McAvoy, Ida Waterman, Alfred Hickman

Votes: 608

Romantic fantasy melodrama with elements of magic realism about a pair who fall in love after spirits put a love spell over them.

15. 'G' Men (1935)

Approved | 85 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

It's the early days of the F.B.I. - federal agents working for the Department of Justice. Though they've got limited powers - they don't carry weapons and have to get local police approval ... See full summary »

Director: William Keighley | Stars: James Cagney, Margaret Lindsay, Ann Dvorak, Robert Armstrong

Votes: 3,432

One of James Cagney’s first conformist movies (which, to me, isn’t a good thing,) started a bit of a rebellion itself between Cagney’s film career. This movie demonstrates the greatness of the American government and the laws it establishes.

16. I Know Where I'm Going! (1945)

Not Rated | 91 min | Drama, Romance

A young Englishwoman goes to the Hebrides to marry her older, wealthier fiancé. When the weather keeps them separated on different islands, she begins to have second thoughts.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesey, George Carney, Walter Hudd

Votes: 7,604

An emotional movie that will make you fall in love with the beautiful landscape of Scotland again and again, this dreamy and spectacular movie with additional surrealism will possibly make you feel at home.

17. Fantail (2013)

Not Rated | 81 min | Comedy, Drama

Tania thinks she's Maori. She works the graveyard shift at Horizon to save money to take her brother Pi to Surfers. But one night a cheeky little bird ruins everything and Tania pays the ultimate price for being a hero.

Director: Curtis Vowell | Stars: Sophie Henderson, Stephen Lovatt, Jarod Rawiri, Jahalis Ngamotu

Votes: 129

Gripping character study that tackles racism, the everyday ordinary dirt under our normal lives and the mind we have to wake up to every morning and sleep with every night, an emotional, hard and gripping New Zealand movie that will instantly grab you by the arm and say, “Listen.”

18. 'Pimpernel' Smith (1941)

Passed | 120 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

Professor Horatio Smith, while seeming very unassuming, rescues victims of Nazi persecution during World War II.

Director: Leslie Howard | Stars: Leslie Howard, Francis L. Sullivan, Allan Jeayes, Peter Gawthorne

Votes: 1,320

A fun anti-Nazi romp with the good old-fashioned Leslie Howard!

19. Interstellar (2014)

PG-13 | 169 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

74 Metascore

A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity's survival.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy

Votes: 1,418,690 | Gross: $188.02M

A spectacular, visually stunning science fiction movie that revolves around both the depth of human emotions as well as it’s setting. This movie also shares both views on individualism and collectivism, which I think is a good thing when a movie shows both sides of an argument.

20. And Justice for All (1979)

R | 119 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

58 Metascore

A lawyer is forced to defend a guilty judge, while defending other innocent clients, and trying to find punishment for the guilty and provide justice for the innocent.

Director: Norman Jewison | Stars: Al Pacino, Jack Warden, John Forsythe, Lee Strasberg

Votes: 29,515

Brilliant, rebellious, and necessary. You must watch it, and even if you disagree at first, it will turn your table and stare you in the eye. After all, haven’t the movie have time to stare at you after you’ve been staring at it for so long?

21. Highlander (1986)

R | 116 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

24 Metascore

An immortal Scottish swordsman must confront the last of his immortal opponent, a murderously brutal barbarian who lusts for the fabled "Prize".

Director: Russell Mulcahy | Stars: Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Clancy Brown, Roxanne Hart

Votes: 117,899 | Gross: $5.90M

Fascinating, surreal and adventurous fable that spans across years and centuries, centering on the life of an immortal from Ancient times to the 1980s. A masterpiece, combined with a brilliant soundtrack and a memorable stroyline that you’ll still remember even through the ages. One of my favourite 1980’s movies.

22. Under the Skin (I) (2013)

R | 108 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

79 Metascore

A mysterious young woman seduces lonely men in the evening hours in Scotland. However, events lead her to begin a process of self-discovery.

Director: Jonathan Glazer | Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay, Dougie McConnell

Votes: 123,567 | Gross: $2.61M

I have no idea why this got panned by some people. For me, it was a descent into the macabre, a descent into the forbidden and unknown, and it was truly far more terrifying than any other movie I’ve seen. This is also one of my favourite movies of all time because of how strange and surreal it is, so I definetly highly reccomend this, even if I’m being incredibly self-centered in doing so.

23. 10 Rillington Place (1971)

GP | 111 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

Based on the real-life case of the British serial killer John Christie, and what happened to his neighbors Tim and Beryl Evans.

Director: Richard Fleischer | Stars: Richard Attenborough, Judy Geeson, John Hurt, Pat Heywood

Votes: 7,124

Realistic, brutal and harrowing movie based on a true story about the murders surrounding 10 Rillington Place, in which a seemingly ordinary man turns out to be a serial killer.

24. 10,000 BC (2008)

PG-13 | 109 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

34 Metascore

In the prehistoric past, D'Leh is a mammoth hunter who bonds with the beautiful Evolet. When warriors on horseback capture Evolet and the tribesmen, D'Leh must embark on an odyssey to save his true love.

Director: Roland Emmerich | Stars: Camilla Belle, Steven Strait, Marco Khan, Cliff Curtis

Votes: 123,439 | Gross: $94.78M

I know this got bad reviews, but this is the very definition of iconic epic. It may not be a masterpiece, but there’s something nostalgic about having an iconic movie like this where the poster sells more than the tickets. Highly recommended for people who love entertainment as well as BC history.

25. The Last House on the Left (1972)

R | 84 min | Horror, Thriller

68 Metascore

Two teenage girls heading to a rock concert for one's birthday try to score marijuana in the city, where they are kidnapped and brutalized by a gang of psychotic convicts.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Sandra Peabody, Lucy Grantham, David Hess, Fred J. Lincoln

Votes: 31,270 | Gross: $3.10M

A terrifyingly disturbing movie about a group of teenagers who decide to look for drugs but are taken in and brutalized by a group of sadists. This movie, a remake of The Virgin Spring, is a flawed masterpiece because of it’s cold, unflinching atmosphere, and will even make you question whether or not remakes can sometimes work.

26. New Jack City (1991)

R | 97 min | Action, Crime, Drama

61 Metascore

A crime lord ascends to power and becomes megalomaniacal while a maverick police detective vows to stop him.

Director: Mario Van Peebles | Stars: Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Allen Payne, Chris Rock

Votes: 30,344 | Gross: $47.62M

A great, brilliant and astounding motion picture that tackles the world of gangsters as well as common 1990’s racism. While it may be badly edited, it adds to it’s originality and so far it’s one of the most original gangster movies I have ever seen. I know what you’re thinking, “Why not The Godfather?” But this movie has it all, it’s entertaining, it’s artistic, and it’s downright brutal in some parts as well as emotional. Watch it!

27. My Side of the Mountain (1969)

G | 100 min | Adventure, Family

As young Sam Gribley runs away he learns about nature.

Director: James B. Clark | Stars: Ted Eccles, Theodore Bikel, Tudi Wiggins, Paul Hébert

Votes: 942

For all the lucky individuals out there in the world who are sick of society and want freedom.

28. Noce i dnie (1975)

245 min | Drama, Romance, War

An epic saga of the Niechcic family, told from a woman's perspective. In 1914 in the war-torn Kaliniec, Barbara Niechcic remembers her youthful love, marriage hardships, family life in the countryside and finally her husband's death.

Director: Jerzy Antczak | Stars: Jadwiga Baranska, Jerzy Binczycki, Emir Buczacki, Stanislawa Celinska

Votes: 386

After all these rebellious movies, it may be too much to ask for a conservative movie, but you don’t have to prepare any yawns. This movie, while set in an entirely traditional setting and characters, is actually a realistic view on how people lived through tradition and how some views they shared were wrong and the other views they shared were right. Definetly a beautiful movie, but beware, it’s traditional.

29. 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: 669,255 | Gross: $403.71M

I really do have a soft spot in my heart for this movie, Spiderman, with Tobey Maguire, an actor who has the guts to shed his own blood on the screen for an ungrateful audience like us. This movie is brilliant, it’s nostalgic, it’s timeless, it’s adventurous, and whenever I watch it I always feel like a child again.

30. Spider-Man 2 (2004)

PG-13 | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

83 Metascore

Peter Parker is beset with troubles in his failing personal life as he battles a brilliant scientist named Doctor Otto Octavius.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina, James Franco

Votes: 527,099 | Gross: $373.59M

Again, this is the same as the first one.

31. Spider-Man 3 (2007)

PG-13 | 139 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

59 Metascore

A strange black entity from another world bonds with Peter Parker and causes inner turmoil as he contends with new villains, temptations, and revenge.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Topher Grace, Thomas Haden Church

Votes: 484,678 | Gross: $336.53M

And same again, but I’ll want to add another note onto this. Believe me, this is not as bad as some critics have pushed it; it’s a brilliant metaphoric movie that gives us a glimpse into the darkness hidden inside ourselves. Maybe I overdid it when I said that, especially for a superhero movie, but no matter it’s social rank, I love it.

32. Breathless (1960)

Not Rated | 90 min | Crime, Drama

A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard | Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger, Henri-Jacques Huet

Votes: 69,777 | Gross: $0.34M

This was an incredibly ground-breaking, revolutionary movie for it’s time because of it’s stylish, fast-paced quick takes and editing. Back before the 1960’s, avant garde cinema did exist and there were many experiments, but none were quite so rare as Breathless itself! This isn’t a movie for all the boring people out there who want a boring “true story” or “one about the Queen,” this is a fantastic movie for rebels like me. See it.

33. The Green Mile (1999)

R | 189 min | Crime, Drama, Fantasy

61 Metascore

The lives of guards on Death Row are affected by one of their charges: a black man accused of child murder and rape, yet who has a mysterious gift.

Director: Frank Darabont | Stars: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt

Votes: 1,094,478 | Gross: $136.80M

This movie has been called racist, but it really isn’t. In fact, it’s anti-racism, because it shows how a black man is falsely accused of rape and murder, and the fact that he has magical powers really isn’t a stereotype at all, it’s beautiful. Some of the scenes with Michael Clarke Duncan are some of the most emotional I’ve seen in a long time, and the execution scenes are brutal and harrowingly impacting. This is a masterpiece for everyone, black, white, male, female, conformist, rebel, and perhaps even aliens one day.

34. Passion Fish (1992)

R | 135 min | Drama

After an accident leaves her a paraplegic, a former soap opera star struggles to recover both emotionally and mentally, until she meets her newest nurse, who has struggles of her own.

Director: John Sayles | Stars: Mary McDonnell, Alfre Woodard, Angela Bassett, Lenore Banks

Votes: 4,848 | Gross: $5.41M

This is a brilliant melodrama about self-discovery and how it transforms two people in a bonding friendship, a white paraplegic woman and a black woman. This tackles down a lot of personal and social issues that paraplegics would of had and still have today, and for that, along with a beautiful soundtrack and sweeping cinematography, it’s beautiful. It really is.

35. 'Round Midnight (1986)

R | 133 min | Drama, Music

A troubled, but talented musician flees the US to escape his problems, finding refuge and support in Paris.

Director: Bertrand Tavernier | Stars: Dexter Gordon, François Cluzet, Gabrielle Haker, Sandra Reaves-Phillips

Votes: 4,484 | Gross: $3.27M

Great jazz movie about the heart of the soul, the heart of the music and wonder of it all...jazz. Before La La Land, before Mo Better Blues, there was ‘Round Midnight, the jazz defining movie of the 80’s. It’s old school, it’s fun, it’s got heart and soul, it’s astounding...what more can one want?

36. Hugo (2011)

PG | 126 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy