October 10, 2007

The Original Must See Movies Checklist

Note: This is a re-posting of a pretty long list of “Must-See” Movies that I compiled in 1994. I’ve written a brief introduction today for context, and I include for posterity a lengthy introduction originally written in 1994. You can read it all below, or just skip to the list itself.


Some of the projects I’ve done on-line over the years have disappeared into the ether, no longer hosted anywhere. I recently found one of my very first internet projects, from way back in 1994 when I was in college. I’m posting it here on Ironic Sans for posterity, with slight embarrassment looking back to this 13-year-old project. I was clearly not much of a writer back then. I used lots of exclamation points and even a smiley. And I coined the term “Netters” to mean “People who use the internet.” It never caught on.

There wasn’t much of a World Wide Web back then, but there were lots of interesting conversations happening on Usenet Newsgroups, including one called “rec.arts.movies” which was a message board for discussing movies. One day in May, I posted a message asking people to recommend “Must-See Movies.” I got dozens of e-mails in response, each with dozens of movie recommendations, including several suggestions from a guy named Col Needham, who was working on a relatively new project of his own called the Internet Movie Database.

I also got lots of requests to share the list once it was compiled. So I posted the list to rec.arts.movies. I suggested that people add up their total and post it to the group.

Eventually, the “Official Netters’ Must-See Movies Checklist” did make its way to the web, where I added interactivity. You could go down the list, and check off the movies as you go, and at the end the website calculated your total, and told you what the average was of everyone who came before you, so you could see where you ranked. Col turned out to be incredibly helpful in automating the process of linking all the movies to their IMDb listings. But sadly, the company hosting my website had a crash sometime around 1997, and lost my whole site. I had no backup and neither did they.

So the following is all that survived. Hopefully it has aged well with time. You can scroll down to read the embarrassingly badly-written and too-long introduction (like the one you’re reading now?) as it appeared in 1994, or you can skip the intro and go straight to the list itself.

It’s the Official Netters’ MUST-SEE MOVIES Checklist!!!
by David Friedman
Last Revision: May 9, 1994


Here’s the Introduction:
This is the Official Netters’ MUST-SEE MOVIES Checklist!!! Version 1.1

This is NOT a FAQ. At the time of the first version, there had yet to be any questions asked about it, let alone any Frequently Asked Questions. There WAS a section, however, of Infrequently Asked Questions. These were questions that I anticipated people having while reading the list, but they hadn’t been asked of me yet. Since then, I have gotten lots of questions from lots of people. So there now are Frequently Asked Questions among the Infrequently Asked ones. But just because I feel proud to have coined a new phrase (Infrequently Asked Questions), I’m still calling the questions and answers section Infrequently Asked Questions.


1.1 -Lots of things are cleared up in the Infrequently Asked Questions section.
-The Star Wars Rule has been ammended and explained more completely.
-The Leonard, Part 6 rule has also been ammended and explained in detail.
-About 75 more movies have been added. Any new movies are indicated with an asterisk.
-Any of the Infrequently Asked Questions that are new or have been somehow changed are indicated with an asterisk. Anything else that’s been changed or added is also indicated with an asterisk.
-Miscellaneous other things have been changed, mostly just slight changes. Thoroughly read the Infrequently Asked Questions for more details.


No table of contents. I always thought they were a waste of space. Just keep reading…


1. Why do we have The List?

Well, that’s quite simple. It’s best summarized by putting here some excerpts from the post that started it all. Read:

A friend of mine recently asked me to help her come up with a list of must-see movies that she should watch over vacation. Being put-on-the-spot, I was only able to come up with about forty or fifty. So I ask all of you to send me titles of what YOU consider to be must-see movies. The guidelines are as follows:

No OBVIOUS must-see movies that chances are everybody has already seen (e.g. Star Wars). “Everybody” in this case is defined as “a reasonably educated person of 20 years of age who has enough of an interest in movies that she has seen plenty of them but would like to further educate herself.”

No rarely-seen movies. She wants to see must-see movies that might actually come up in an intellectual conversation about cinema without other people saying “Huh? I’ve never heard of that one.”

A good tip: If you’ve ever been discussing cinema with an equally-educated movie buff, and you’ve mentioned a movie to which they replied “I’ve never seen that one. Always wanted to, but never got around to seeing it,” prompting you to say “WHAT?! You’ve NEVER SEEN So-And-So?! You’ve GOT to see it!” Send that title. Chances are, she’s never seen it either.

I got a vastly overwhelming response to this single post. Many people requested that I send them the completed list. So I decided to compile it all. These are the titles that YOU people said were MUST-SEE MOVIES. I didn’t make up the list, I only typed it all up. The members of rec.arts.movies made this list, so I give it to the members of rec.arts.movies. That’s why the apostrophe comes AFTER the word “Netters” in the title. It is by the Netters and for the Netters.

2. How on Earth can you justify calling [insert movie here] a MUST-SEE MOVIE?

Since the titles are things that people sent me, I felt it beyond me to decide that even though they feel a certain movie is a MUST-SEE, I don’t and therefore it doesn’t deserve to be on The List. So for the most part, if someone sent me the movie title, I added it to the list. I did use SOME discretion, though. For instance, I’m sorry but I could not justify calling _Leonard, Part 6_ a MUST-SEE MOVIE. I tried to make sure that most of the titles followed the guidelines listed above, but I did let some slip by.

3. How on Earth can you NOT include [insert movie here] as a MUST-SEE MOVIE? *

Well, first of all, it’s possible that nobody sent me that title. Secondly, it’s possible that I felt it didn’t meet the guidelines listed above. Thirdly, it’s possible you’re talking about _Leonard, Part 6_. If you’re really concerned, e-mail me about it and I’ll either add it to the list or tell you why I decided against adding it. No, wait. There IS a fourth possibility. It’s possible that you sent me the title among a whole big list of other titles and I was so damn tired that I decided to skip around a bit to make my life easier. I didn’t do this often, but I suppose if I’m gonna be honest I have to admit that I did do it from time to time. The way I justified it was thusly: If someone else wanted it, too, I probably already added it or will when I come to it on their list. If nobody else wanted it on the list, then really only one person is gonna miss it. Sorry, but I’ve got finals to worry about!

4. What are those question marks scattered around some of the years or directors on the list?

Well, if there is a question mark, it means that I either did not know the year or director of the film or I wasn’t certain. If you know the answer, please e-mail me so I can update it. I’m pretty sure that I got all of them right, but I’m only human. And considering the fact that I requested everyone to send me the YEARS and DIRECTORS for all the movie titles they sent me if they knew them and only got a couple who actually DID, I think I did a pretty decent job getting all those titles and names pretty accurately.

5. So what’s the deal with the Star Wars Rule? *

Okay… Here’s the deal. Initially, movies like Star Wars and Jurassic Park were not to be on the list because they were deemed too obvious. But after careful consideration, it has been determined that it’s okay to have obvious movies on the list because if this is going to be a complete list of MUST-SEE MOVIES, there really isn’t any good reason to NOT have them all, including the obvious ones! Besides, for every obvious on that I omitted, I got at least a dozen e-mail letters asking why they were omitted. And I must have gotten at least as many letters from people asking why some obvious movie or other is on the list. And incidentally, not a single person did request Jurassic Park, but just in case anyone wants to know (or doesn’t know for some odd reason) it was a 1993 film directed by Steven Spielberg.

6. And what about the Leonard, Part 6 Rule? Why doesn’t it apply to _The Beastmaster_ and others? *

Here’s why: Just because a movie is bad does not mean that it can’t be a MUST-SEE. For example, _Attack of the Killer Tomatoes_ is certainly not the greatest piece of cinema in the world. Neither is _Better Off Dead_ or _Ferris Bueller’s Day Off_ or any other number of films people mentioned for that matter. But they still have something to offer. They may just be a fun film. I mean, _Plan 9 from Outer Space_ is by no means a great film. In fact, it has long been heralded as the WORST film. But it’s still definitely a MUST-SEE because it’s so damn fun to make fun of! Ya see what I mean? The same holds true for _Killer Tomatoes_, _The Day of the Triffids_, and a bunch of others. This never claims to be a list of great films, just MUST-SEE MOVIES. One thing I kept in mind when trying to determine whether or not the Leonard, Part 6 Rule applies to a certain film was this: Does this movie have any relevence to cinematic history? If so, I would go ahead and add it to the list. Leonard, Part 6 has, in my mind anyway, no place in cinematic history. The only place it has in ANY history is only in a complete biography of Bill Cosby that wants to include his embarrassments as well as his accomplishments. If I decided that a film has as much place in history as Leonard, Part 6, I ommitted it from the list. And hey, if you have a problem with it, compile your own damn list! :)

Likewise, every good movie isn’t necesarrily a must-see either. For instance, I enjoyed _The Hand that Rocks the Cradle_ very much, but I would never call it a must-see movie.

7. Why are there little lines in front of all the movie titles?

It’s a checklist, silly! There has to be a space for putting a check-mark next to the movies you’ve seen!

8. Well now that I’ve got this large list, what am I supposed to do with it?*

For starters, print it out! Then go down your list and check off all the movies that you’ve seen already. The total number is your List Factor. The way I figure it, List Factor scores break down as follows:

0 - 15: Time to get a VCR
16 - 50 Not too bad if you live in a small town with a one-screen theatre that gets a new movie once every six months or so.
51 - 80 Not bad at all, considering the wide variety of movies that are on The List.
81 - 120 Good going! Keep watching ‘em!
121 - 200 Wow…! Quite the movie-goer!
201 - 300 Who do you think you are? Gene Siskel?!
301 - 400 Slow down! You’re gonna wear out your VCR!
400 - 499 I think SOMEONE has a WEE bit too much time on their hands! Mighty impressive!
500 + Do you realize that you’ve spent a total of about a month and a half watching just the movies on this list?! Now add all the time you’ve spent on ones that aren’t even MUST-SEE MOVIES and see how much of your life you have wasted away sitting in a darkened room watching light being projected through celluloid. Hmm… Gives ya something to think about, doesn’t it!?

9. So now that I’ve got my List Factor, what am I supposed to do with it?

Get on over to rec.arts.movies and let us all know what it is! We can all post our List Factor numbers and learn just how much each person has seen. Perhaps the average List Factor can tell us something about the average rec.arts.movies poster. I dunno, I’m not much of a statistician.

10. And once I’ve done that, what am I supposed to do with this large print-out that I’ve just made? Recycle the paper?

Hardly! Keep it handy! How many times have you gone to a video store only to find that the movie you really wanted was out. You walk around the store thinking, “Gee. There’s nothing here I really want to see.” Well now you’ve got a whole List of MUST-SEE MOVIES! Get yourself one of those Video Movie Guides (I recommend the Martin & Porter version) and look up some of the movies on the list that you haven’t seen. You’ll be surprised to find that you’ll want to see quite a few of them! You’ll learn quite a bit. Are you a big Jack Nicholson fan who always wanted to know where you could find a musical where he SINGS? Try _Tommy_. Are you wondering why the scene in _The Untouchables_ where the baby carriage falls down the stairs looked familiar? Rent _The Battleship Potemkin_ and find out why. Work on increasing your List Factor!

11. How often are you going to update and repost this thing? *

Well due to the average of 15-20 e-mail letters a day I’ve been getting, the first revision came out only four or five days after the original, and with quite a few changes and additions. But my life is pretty busy, so I don’t know when the next one will come out. Hopefully a new one won’t be needed for quite a while… I don’t know that exactly “quite a while” means but I guess when it rolls around I’ll know.

12. Is this file available via ftp someplace? *

Well you already have it, so you don’t really need it again, do you? Just kidding… Um… I’m working on it. If it is made available, it will be announced in rec.arts.movies.

13. How come you wrote “Dr. Strangelove” instead of “Dr. Strangelove; or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” which is the real entire title?

Well it just wouldn’t all fit. I’m sorry. But if you go to your local video store and ask for “Dr. Strangelove,” they should know what you’re talking about. Incidentally, that is the same reason that you won’t find “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask)” on the list. But just for completeness, it was directed by Woody Allen and released in 1972. A couple other films were abbreviated to fit also. But not so you’d notice. Only one, maybe two films had to be cut to fit.

14. Hey! Ya know what you could do that would really make this thing a million times better?!

No, but if you e-mail me, you can let me know!

15. Do you realize that some of your movie titles are out of order?

Really? Oops… Let me know which ones and I’ll fix it. I tried to do it all alphabetically, but I made some mistakes I guess.

16. What are the strange numbers and names after the movie titles?

The year of release and the name of the director. Duh.

17. Hey… Are you getting hostile with me?

No, I just kinda thought it was sorta obvious… I mean, you did ask about the years and directors way back in question number four.

18. Yeah well did you stop to think that maybe I forgot?

Insert rolling-eyes-towards-the-ceiling emoticon here
(if anyone has an emoticon to express this, please let me know)

19. And besides, you’re not quite mister wonderful yourself if you had so much time on your hands that you could actually type this thing up. What, don’t you have a social life?

Well it just so happens that I used this thing as a diversion from studying for my finals, okay? Ya can’t blame a guy for procrastinating! Sheesh! Anyway, without any further ado, here is…


_Abominable Dr. Phibes, The* (1971, Robert Fuest)
_Abyss, The (1989, James Cameron)
_Adam’s Rib* (1949, George Cukor)
_Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The (1989, Terry Gilliam)
_Adventures of Robin Hood, The (1939, Michael Curtiz)
_African Queen, The (1951, John Huston)
_After Hours (1985, Martin Scorsese)
_Akira (1990, Katsuhiro Otomo)
_Alien (1979, Ridley Scott)
_All That Jazz (1979, Bob Fosse)
_All the President’s Men (1976, Alan J. Pakula)
_Amadeus (1984, Milos Forman)
_American in Paris, An (1951, Vincente Minelli)
_American Graffiti (1973, George Lucas)
_American Werewolf in London, An (1981, John Landis)
_Angel at My Table, An (1990, Jane Campion)
_Angel Heart* (1987, Alan Parker)
_Annie Hall (1977, Woody Allen)
_Antarctica (1984, Koreyoshi Kurahara)
_Apartment, The* (1960, Billy Wilder)
_Apocalypse Now (1979, Francis Ford Coppola)
_Asphalt Jungle, The (1950, John Huston)
_Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1980, John DeBello)
_Autumn Sonata (1978, Ingmar Bergman)
_Backdraft (1991, Ron Howard)
_Back to the Future (1985, Robert Zemeckis)
_Barbarella* (1968, Roger Vadim)
_Barton Fink (1991, Joel Coen)
_Battleship Potemkin, The (1921, Sergei Eisenstein)
_Beastmaster, The (1982, Don Coscarelli)
_Beetlejuice (1988, Tim Burton)
_Being There (1979, Hal Ashby)
_Ben-Hur (1954, William Wyler)
_Better Off Dead (1985, Savage Steve Holland)
_Beyond the Valley of the Dolls* (1970, Russ Meyer)
_Bicycle Thief, The (1949, Vittorio de Sica)
_Big Chill, The* (1983, Lawrence Kasdan)
_Big Sleep, The (1946, Howard Hawks)
_Biloxi Blues (1988, Mike Nichols)
_Birds, The (1963, Alfred Hitchcock)
_Birdy (1985, Alan Parker)
_Birth of a Nation, The (1915, D. W. Griffith)
_Black Narcissus (1947, Michael Powell)
_Black Stallion, The (1979, Carroll Ballard)
_Blade Runner (1982, Ridley Scott)
_Blazing Saddles (1974, Mel Brooks)
_Blob, The (1958, Irvin S. Yeaworth, Jr.)
_Blood Simple (1984, Joel Coen)
_Blue Velvet (1986, David Lynch)
_Blues Brothers, The (1980, John Landis)
_Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969, Paul Mazursky)
_Bob Roberts (1992, Tim Robbins)
_Body Double (1984, Brian De Palma)
_Bonnie and Clyde (1967, Arthur Penn)
_Brazil (1985, Terry Gilliam)
_Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961, Blake Edwards)
_Breakfast Club, The (1985, John Hughes)
_Breaking the Sound Barrier (1952, David Lean)
_Breathless (1959, Jean-Luc Godard)
_Bridge on the River Kwai, The (1957, David Lean)
_Bridge Too Far, A* (1977, Richard Attenborough)
_Bringing Up Baby (1938, Howard Hawks)
_Broadcast News (1987, James L. Brooks)
_Buckaroo Banzai (1984, W. D. Richter)
_Bullitt (1968, Peter Yates)
_Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969, George Roy Hill)
_Cabaret* (1972, Bob Fosse)
_Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The (1919, Robert Wiene)
_Caligula* (1980, Tinto Brass)
_Candidate, The (1972, Michael Ritchie)
_Cannery Row (1982, David S. Ward)
_Cape Fear (1962, J. Lee Thompson)
_Cape Fear (1992, Martin Scorsese)
_Captain Blood (1935, Michael Curtiz)
_Carefree (1938, Mark Sondrich)
_Carrie (1976, Brian De Palma)
_Casablanca (1943, Michael Curtiz)
_Cat On a Hot Tin Roof (1958, Richard Brooks)
_Chariots of Fire (1981, Hugh Hudson)
_Chinatown (1974, Roman Polanski)
_Christmas Story, A (1983, Bob Clark)
_Cinema Paradiso (1989, Giuseppe Tornatore)
_Citizen Kane (1941, Orson Welles)
_City Lights (1932, Charles Chaplin)
_Clockwork Orange, A (1971, Stanley Kubrick)
_Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, Steven Spielberg)
_Color Purple, The* (1985, Steven Spielberg)
_Coma* (1978, Michael Crichton)
_Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1990, Peter Greenaway)
_Cool Hand Luke (1967, Stuart Rosenberg)
_Conversation, The (1974, Francis Ford Coppola)
_Cotton Club, The* (1984, Francis Ford Coppola)
_Creature from the Black Lagoon, The* (1954, Jack Arnold)
_Creepshow* (1982, George A. Romero)
_Cries and Whispers (1972, Ingmar Bergman)
_Crying Game, The (1992, Neil Jordan)
_Cyrano de Bergerac (1950, Michael Gordon)
_Cyrano de Bergerac (1990, Jean Paul Rappeneau)
_Dances with Wolves (1990, Kevin Costner)
_Dangerous Liaisons (1989, Stephen Frears)
_Danton (1982, Andrzej Wajda)
_Darkman (1990, Sam Raimi)
_Das Boot (1981, Wolfgang Petersen)
_Dave (1993, Ivan Reitman)
_Day of the Triffids, The* (1963, Steve Sekely)
_Day the Earth Stood Still, The (1951, Robert Wise)
_Dazed and Confused (1993, Richard Linklater)
_Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982, Carl Reiner)
_Dead Poets Society, The* (1989, Peter Weir)
_Dead Ringers* (1988, David Cronenberg)
_Death of a Salesman* (1985, Volker Schlondorff)
_Decline of Western Civilization, The* (1981, Penelope Spheeris)
_Deep Throat (1972, ????????)
_Deer Hunter, The (1978, Michael Cimino)
_Delicatessen (1991, Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
_Devil and Daniel Webster, The (1941, William Dieterie)
_Dial M for Murder (1954, Alfred Hitchcock)
_Die Hard (1988, John McTiernan)
_Diner (1982, Barry Levinson)
_Diva (1982, Jean-Jacques Beineix)
_Dirty Dozen, The (1967, Robert Aldrich)
_Do the Right Thing (1989, Spike Lee)
_Dr. No (1962, Terence Young)
_Dr. Strangelove (1964, Stanley Kubrick)
_Doctor Zhivago (1965, David Lean)
_Dog Day Afternoon (1975, Sidney Lumet)
_Dominique and Eugene* (1988, Robert M. Young)
_Don’t Look Now* (1973, Nicholas Roeg)
_Double Indemnity* (1944, Billy Wilder)
_Double Life of Veronique, The (1989, Krystof Kieslowski)
_Down by Law (1986, Jim Jarmusch)
_Dracula* (1931, Tod Browning)
_Dracula (1979, John Badham)
_Dream a Little Dream (1989, Marc Rocco)
_Driving Miss Daisy (1989, Bruce Beresford)
_Drugstore Cowboy (1989, Gus Van Sant, Jr.)
_Duck Soup (1933, Leo McCarey)
_Duel* (1971, Steven Spielberg)
_E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982, Steven Spielberg)
_Easy Rider (1969, Dennis Hopper)
_East of Eden (1955, Elia Kazan)
_Eating (1991, Henry Jaglom)
_Elephant Man, The (1980, David Lynch)
_Emerald Forest, The (1985, John Boorman)
_Empire Strikes Back, The* (1980, Irvin Kershner)
_Eraserhead (1978, David Lynch)
_Evil Dead, The (1982, Sam Raimi)
_Excalibur (1981, John Boorman)
_Exorcist, The (1973, William Friedkin)
_Face to Face (1975, Ingmar Bergman)
_Fail-Safe (1964, Sidney Lumet)
_Fantasia (1940, Ben Sharpsteen)
_Fahrenheit 451* (1967, Francois Truffaut)
_Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982, Amy Heckerling)
_Fatal Attraction (1987, Adrian Lyne)
_Father of the Bride (1950, Vincente Minelli)
_Father of the Bride (1992, Charles Shyer)
_Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986, John Hughes)
_Fiddler on the Roof* (1971, Norman Jewison)
_Field of Dreams (1989, Phil Alden Robinson)
_First Nudie Musical, The* (1979, Mark Haggard)
_Fish Called Wanda, A (1988, Charles Crichton)
_Fisher King, The (1991, Terry Gilliam)
_Five Easy Pieces (1970, Bob Rafelson)
_5,000 Fingers of Dr. T., The (1952, Roy Rowland)
_Fly, The (1958, Kurt Neumann)
_Fly, The (1986, David Cronenberg)
_Forbidden Planet (1956, Fred McLeod Wilcox)
_Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994, Mike Newell)
_400 Blows, The (1959, Francois Truffaut)
_Frankenstein (1931, James Whale)
_Freaks (1932, Tod Browning)
_French Connection, The (1971, William Friedkin)
_Frenzy* (1972, Alfred Hitchcock)
_From Here to Eternity (1953, Fred Zinneman)
_From Russia with Love* (1963, Terence Young)
_Full Metal Jacket (1987, Stanley Kubrick)
_F/X (1986, Robert Mandel)
_Gallipoli (1981, Peter Weir)
_Gandhi* (1982, Richard Attenborough)
_Gaslight* (1944, George Cukor)
_Gay Divorcee, The (1934, Mark Sandrich)
_General, The (1927, Buster Keaton)
_Ghostbusters (1984, Ivan Reitman)
_Giant (1956, George Stevens)
_Glass Key, The* (1942, Stuart Heisler)
_Godfather, The (1972, Francis Ford Coppola)
_Godfather, Part II, The (1974, Francis Ford Coppola)
_Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956, Inoshiro Honda & Terry Morse)
_Goldfinger (1964, Guy Hamilton)
_Gold Rush, The (1923, Charles Chaplin)
_Gone with the Wind (1939, Victor Fleming)
_Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, The (1966, Sergio Leone)
_GoodFellas (1990, Martin Scorsese)
_Graduate, The (1967, Mike Nichols)
_Grand Canyon (1991, Lawrence Kasdan)
_Grand Hotel (1932, Edmund Goulding)
_Grand Illusion (1937, Jean Renoir)
_Grapes of Wrath, The (1940, John Ford)
_Grease* (1978, Randal Kleiser)
_Great Dictator, The (1940, Charles Chaplin)
_Great Escape, The (1963, John Sturgis)
_Great Expectations (1946, David Lean)
_Greed (1924, Erich Von Stroheim)
_Green Card (1990, Peter Weir)
_Groundhog Day (1993, Harold Ramis)
_Guide for the Married Man, A* (1967, Gene Kelly)
_Gunfight at the O.K. Corral* (1957, John Sturges)
_Gunfighter, The (1950, Henry King)
_Gunga Din (1939, George Stevens)
_Guns of Navarone, The (1961, J. Lee Thompson)
_Hair (1979, Milos Forman)
_Hamlet (1948, Laurence Olivier)
_Handmaid’s Tale, The (1990, Volker Schlnodorff)
_Harakiri (1963, Masaki Kobayashi)
_Hard Day’s Night, A (1964, Richard Lester)
_Harold and Maude (1972, Hal Ashby)
_Head (1968, Rob Rafelson)
_Heathers (1989, Michael Lehmann)
_Heavy Metal (1981, Gerald Potterton)
_Hellraiser* (1987, Clive Barker)
_Henry & June* (1990, Phil Kaufman)
_Henry V* (1944, Laurence Olivier)
_Henry V (1989, Kenneth Branagh)
_Hidden, The (1987, Jack Sholder)
_Hidden Fortress, The (1961, Akira Kurosawa)
_High and Low (1962, Akira Kurosawa)
_Highlander (1986, Russell Mulcahy)
_High Noon (1952, Fred Zinnemann)
_His Girl Friday (1939, Howard Hawks)
_Hope and Glory (1987, John Boorman)
_Howards End (1992, James Ivory)
_Hudsucker Proxy, The (1994, Joel Coen)
_Hunchback of Notre Dame, The (1923, Wallace Worsley)
_Hunchback of Notre Dame, The (1939, William Dieterie)
_Impromptu (1991, James Lapine)
_Intolerance (1917, D. W. Griffith)
_Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956, Don Siegel)
_Irma la Douce* (1963, Billy Wilder)
_It Happened One Night (1933, Frank Capra)
_It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963, Stanley Kramer)
_It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, Frank Capra)
_Jacob’s Ladder (1990, Adrian Lyne)
_Jason and the Argonauts (1963, John Chaffey)
_Jaws (1975, Steven Spielberg)
_Jazz Singer, The (1927, Alan Crosland)
_Jean de Florette (1987, Claude Berri)
_Jerk, The (1979, Carl Reiner)
_Johnny Suede (1992, Tom DiCillo)
_Jungle Book, The (1967, Wolfgang Reitherman)
_Kentucky Fried Movie, The* (1977, John Landis)
_King Kong (1933, Cooper and Schoedsack)
_Klute (1971, Alan Pakula)
_La Dolce Vita (1960, Federico Fellini)
_La Femme Nikita (1991, Luc Besson)
_La Strada (1954, Federico Fellini)
_Lady Eve, The (1941, Preston Sturges)
_Lady From Shanghai, The (1948, Orson Welles)
_Last Emperor, The* (1987, Bernardo Bertolucci)
_Last House on the Left* (1979, Wes Craven)
_Last Picture Show, The (1971, Peter Bogdanovich)
_Last Tango in Paris (1972, Bernardo Bertolucci)
_Laura (1944, Otto Preminger)
_Lawrence of Arabia (1962, David Lean)
_Lenny* (1974, Bob Fosse)
_Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948, Max Ophuls)
_Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, The* (1972, John Huston)
_Life of Brian (1979, Terry Jones)
_Liquid Sky* (1983, Slave Tsukerman)
_Little Big Man (1970, Arthur Penn)
_Little Caesar (1930, Marvin LeRoy)
_Local Hero (1983, Bill Forsyth)
_Lolita (1962, Stanley Kubrick)
_Longest Day, The* (1963, Annakin, Marton and Wicki)
_Lost Horizon (1937, Frank Capra)
_M (1931, Fritz Lang)
_M*A*S*H (1970, Robert Altman)
_Mad Max (1979, George Miller)
_Magnificent Ambersons, The (1944, Orson Welles)
_Maltese Falcon, The (1940, John Huston)
_Man Who Knew Too Much, The (1934, Alfred Hitchcock)
_Man Who Knew Too Much, The (1955, Alfred Hitchcock)
_Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The (1962, John Ford)
_Man Who Would Be King, The (1975, John Huston)
_Man With Two Brains, The (1983, Carl Reiner)
_Manchurian Candidate, The (1962, John Frankenheimer)
_Manhattan (1979, Woody Allen)
_Manon of the Spring (1987, Claude Berri)
_Marathon Man* (1976, John Schlesinger)
_Marriage of Maria Braun, The (1979, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
_Masque of the Red Death, The* (1964, Roger Corman)
_Matador (1988, Pedro Almodovar)
_Mean Streets (1973, Martin Scorsese)
_Meet John Doe (1942, Frank Capra)
_Metropolis (1926, Fritz Lang)
_Midnight Cowboy (1969, John Schlesinger)
_Midnight Run (1988, Martin Brest)
_Mildred Pierce (1947, Michael Curtiz)
_Miller’s Crossing (1990, Joel Coen)
_Misfits, The (1916, John Huston)
_Mr. Mom (1983, Stan Dragoti)
_Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939, Frank Capra)
_Modern Times (1936, Charles Chaplin)
_Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974, Terry Gilliam)
_Moonstruck (1987, Norman Jewison)
_Much Ado About Nothing (1993, Kenneth Branagh)
_Muppet Movie, The (1979, James Frawley)
_Music Box (1933, Raoul Walsh)
_My Brother’s Keeper (1949, Alfred Roome)
_My Cousin Vinny (1992, Johathan Lynn)
_My Fair Lady (1964, George Cukor)
_My Left Foot (1989, Jim Sheridan)
_My Life as a Dog (1987, Lasse Hallstrom)
_Naked Lunch* (1992, David Cronenberg)
_Name of the Rose, The (1986, Jean-Jacques Annaud)
_Nashville (1975, Robert Altman)
_National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978, John Landis)
_Natural, The (1984, Barry Levinson)
_Network (1976, Sidney Lumet)
_Night at the Opera, A (1935, Sam Wood)
_Night of the Hunter, The (1955, Charles Laughton)
_Night of the Living Dead (1968, George A. Romero)
_Night on Earth* (1993, Jim Jarmusch)
_Nightmare Before Christmas, The* (1993, Henry Selick)
_1984* (1984, Michael Radford)
_North by Northwest (1959, Alfred Hitchcock)
_Nosferatu (1922, F. W. Murnau)
_Notorious (1946, Alfred Hitchcock)
_Now, Voyager (1942, Irving Rapper)
_Nun’s Story, The (1959, Fred Zinnemann)
_Odd Couple, The (1968, Gene Saks)
_Odd Man Out (1946, Carol Reed)
_Officer and a Gentleman, An (1982, Taylor Hackford)
_Oliver Twist (1948, David Lean)
_Omen, The* (1976, Richard Donner)
_Once Upon a Time in America (1984, Sergio Leone)
_Once Upon a Time in the West (1969, Sergio Leone)
_One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975, Milos Foreman)
_On Dangerous Ground (1950, Nicholas Ray)
_On Golden Pond* (1981, Mark Rydell)
_On the Beach (1959, Stanley Kramer)
_On the Town (1949, Gene Kelly & Stanely Donen)
_On the Waterfront (1954, Ella Kazan)
_Orphee (1948, Jean Cocteau)
_Othello* (1952, Orson Welles)
_Out of the Past (1947, Jacques Tourneur)
_Parent Trap, The* (1961, David Swift)
_Passage to India, A (1983, David Lean)
_Passion of Joan of Arc, The (1928, Carl Dreyer)
_Patch of Blue, A (1965, Guy Green)
_Paths of Glory (1957, Stanley Kubrick)
_Patton (1970, Franklin Schaffner)
_Pawnbroker, The (1965, Sidney Lumet)
_People Under the Stairs, The (1992, Wes Craven)
_Persona (1966, Ingmar Bergman)
_Peter Pan (1953, Luske & Geronimi & Jackson)
_Phantom of the Opera, The (1925, Rupert Julian)
_Philadelphia Story, The (1942, George Cukor)
_Piano, The (1993, Jane Campion)
_Pink Floyd - The Wall (1982, Alan Parker)
_Pink Panther, The (1964, Blake Edwards)
_Plain Clothes (1988, Martha Coolidge)
_Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959, Edward D. Wood)
_Planet of the Apes (1968, Franklin J. Schaffner)
_Platoon (1986, Oliver Stone)
_Player, The (1992, Robert Altman)
_Poltergeist (1982, Tobe Hooper)
_Pope of Greenwich Village, The* (1984, Stuart Rosenberg)
_Popeye (1980, Robert Altman)
_Postman Always Rings Twice, The* (1946, Tay Garnett)
_Power of One, The (1992, John G. Avildsen)
_Pride of the Yankees, The (1942, Sam Wood)
_Prince of the City (1981, Sidney Lumet)
_Princess Bride, The (1987, Rob Reiner)
_Producers, The (1968, Mel Brooks)
_Proof (199?, Jocelyn Morehouse)
_Psycho (1960, Alfred Hitchcock)
_Public Enemy, The (1933, Raoul Walsh)
_Purple Rose of Cairo, The* (1985, Woody Allen)
_Queen of Hearts* (1989, John Amiel)
_Quiet Man, The (1952, John Ford)
_Rachel, Rachel (1968, Paul Newman)
_Raging Bull (1980, Martin Scorsese)
_Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, Steven Spielberg)
_Rain Man (1988, Barry Levinson)
_Raising Arizona (1987, Joel Coen)
_Ran (1985, Akira Kurosawa)
_Rashomon (1951, Akira Kurosawa)
_Rear Window (1954, Alfred Hitchcock)
_Re-Animator (1985, Stuart Gordon)
_Rebecca* (1940, Alfred Hitchcock)
_Rebel Without a Cause (1954, Nicholas Ray)
_Remains of the Day, The (1993, James Ivory)
_Repo Man* (1984, Alex Cox)
_Reservoir Dogs (1992, Quentin Tarantino)
_Restless Natives (1986, Michael Hoffman)
_Return of the Jedi* (1983, Richard Marquand)
_Ride the High Country (1962, Sam Peckinpah)
_Right Stuff, The (1983, Phil Kaufman)
_Risky Business (1983, Paul Brickman)
_River’s Edge (1987, Tim Hunter)
_Road to Utopia (1945, Hal Walker)
_Robocop (1987, Paul Verhoeven)
_Rocky* (1976, John G. Avildsen)
_Rocky Horror Picture Show, The (1975, Jim Sharman)
_Roger & Me (1989, Michael Moore)
_Roma* (1972, Federico Fellini)
_Romancing the Stone (1984, Robert Zemeckis)
_Room with a View, A (1986, James Ivory)
_Rosemary’s Baby (1968, Roman Polanski)
_Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1991, Tom Stoppard)
_Rules of the Game, The (1939, Jean Renoir)
_Running on Empty* (1988, Sydney Lumet)
_Sadie Thompson (1928, Raoul Walsh)
_Samurai Trilogy, The (1954, Hiroshi Inagaki)
_Saturday Night Fever (1977, John Badham)
_Say Anything… (1989, Cameron Crowe)
_Scanners* (1981, David Cronenberg)
_Scarface (1983, Brian De Palma)
_Scenes from a Marriage (1973, Ingmar Bergman)
_School Daze* (1988, Spike Lee)
_Schindler’s List (1993, Steven Spielberg)
_Sea Hawk, The (1940, Michael Curtiz)
_Searchers, The (1956, John Ford)
_Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The* (1947, Norman Z. McLeod)
_Serpico* (1973, Sidney Lumet)
_Servant, The (1963, Joseph Losey)
_Seven Samurai, The (1954, Akira Kurosawa)
_Seven Year Itch, The* (1957, Billy Wilder)
_Seventh Seal, The (1956, Ingmar Bergman)
_sex, lies, and videotape (1989, Steven Soderbergh)
_Shane (1955, George Stevens)
_Shining, The (1980, Stanley Kubrick)
_Shootist, The (1976, Don Siegel)
_Shot in the Dark, A* (1964, Blake Edwards)
_Sid and Nancy (1986, Alex Cox)
_Silence of the Lambs, The (1991, Jonathon Demme)
_Silent Running (1971, Douglas Trumbell)
_Singin’ in the Rain (1952, Stanley Donen)
_Slacker (199?, Richard Linklater)
_Sleeping Beauty (1959, Clyde Geronimi)
_Sleuth (1972, Joseph Mankiewicz)
_Spellbound (1945, Alfred Hitchcock)
_Some Like It Hot (1959, Billy Wilder)
_Something Wild (1986, Jonathon Demme)
_Sound of Music, The (1965, Robert Wise)
_Spartacus (1960, Stanley Kubrick)
_Splash (1984, Ron Howard)
_Splendor in the Grass (1960, Ella Kazan)
_Stagecoach (1939, John Ford)
_Stalag 17 (1953, Billy Wilder)
_Stand by Me (1986, Rob Reiner)
_Starman (1984, John Carpenter)
_Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan* (1982, Nicholas Meyer)
_Star Trek III: The Search for Spock* (1984, Leonard Nimoy)
_Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home* (1986, Leonard Nimoy)
_Star Wars* (1977, George Lucas)
_Sterile Cuckoo, The (1969, Alan Pakula)
_Sting, The (1973, George Roy Hill)
_Strangers on a Train* (1951, Alfred Hitchcock)
_Student Bodies (1981, Mickey Rose)
_Stunt Man, The (1980, Richard Rush)
_Sullivan’s Travels (1942, Preston Sturges)
_Sunrise (1929, F. W. Murnau)
_Sunset Boulevard (1950, Billy Wilder)
_Super Fly (1972, Gordon Parks, Jr.)
_Tall Guy, The (1990, Mel Smith)
_Taming of the Shrew, The* (1966, Franco Zeffirelli)
_Taras Bulba (1962, J. Lee Thompson)
_Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese)
_Tea and Sympathy (1959, Vincente Minelli)
_Ten Commandments, The (1956, Cecil B. De Mille)
_Terminator, The (1984, James Cameron)
_Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The (1974, Tobe Hooper)
_Thief* (1981, Michael Mann)
_Thing (From Another World), The* (1951, Christian Nyby)
_Thing, The (1982, John Carpenter)
_Third Man, The (1949, Carol Reed)
_This Is Spinal Tap (1984, Rob Reiner)
_Three Men and a Cradle (1985, Coline Serreau)
_Through a Glass Darkly (1962, Ingmar Bergman)
_THX 1138 (1971, George Lucas)
_Time After Time (1979, Nicholas Meyer)
_Time Bandits (1981, Terry Gilliam)
_Time Machine, The (1960, George Pal)
_Tin Men (1987, Barry Levinson)
_To Have and Have Not (1951, Howard Hawks)
_To Kill a Mockingbird (1962, Robert Mulligan)
_Tokyo Story (1953, Yasujiro Ozu)
_Tommy (1975, Ken Russell)
_Tom Jones (1963, Tony Richardson)
_Tootsie (1982, Sydney Pollack)
_Top Hat (1935, Mark Sandrich)
_Touch of Evil (1958, Orson Welles)
_Trading Places (1983, John Landis)
_Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The* (1948, John Huston)
_True Grit (1969, Henry Hathaway)
_True Romance (1993, Tony Scott)
_12 Angry Men (1957, Sidney Lumet)
_Twelve O’Clock High (1949, Henry King)
_Two for the Road (1967, Staney Donen)
_2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick)
_Ugetsu (1952, Kenji Mizoguchi)
_Unforgiven (1992, Clint Eastwood)
_Untouchables, The (1987, Brian De Palma)
_Valley of the Dolls* (1967, Mark Robson)
_Vertigo (1958, Alfred Hitchcock)
_Videodrome (1983, David Cronenberg)
_View from the Bridge, A (1963, Sidney Lumet)
_Vikings, The* (1958, Richard Fleischer)
_Village of the Damned* (1960, Wolf Rilla)
_Watership Down (1978, Martin Rosen)
_Way We Were, The* (1973, Sydney Pollack)
_West Side Story (1961, Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins)
_Westworld (1973, Michael Crichton)
_When Harry Met Sally… (1989, Rob Reiner)
_Who’ll Stop the Rain (1978, Karel Reisz)
_Wild Geese, The (1978, Andrew V. McLaglen)
_Wild Strawberries (1957, Ingmar Bergman)
_Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory* (1971, Mel Stuart)
_Wings of Desire (1989, Wim Wenders)
_Witches of Eastwick, The* (1987, George Miller)
_Withnail and I* (1987, Bruce Robinson)
_Witness (1985, Peter Weir)
_Wizard of Oz, The* (1939, Victor Fleming)
_Woman in the Dunes (1964, Hiroshi Teshigahara)
_Woman Under the Influence, A* (1974, John Cassavetes)
_Women in Love (1970, Ken Russell)
_Woodstock* (1970, Michael Wadleigh)
_World According to Garp, The (1982, George Ray Hill)
_Wuthering Heights (1939, William Wyler)
_Yankee Doodle Dandy (1941, Michael Curtiz)
_Young Frankenstein (1974, Mel Brooks)
_Z (1969, Constantin Costa-Gavras)
_Zulu (1964, Cy Endfield)

-Total of 535 movies (I think)

* Denotes Additions Since Last Version


Thank you so much for this list! I will turn it into my personal dvd shopping list! I’ve already seen 91 of them, but still…

209, but lots on there which I’ve wanted to see for years. Must find more time…

159. I was often embarrassed when I’d seen one of the bad movies on the list, and it was surrounded by great movies that I haven’t seen.

202. I think.

Wow, only 86 for me. If only I’d branched out, instead of watching When Harry Met Sally for the 25th time. Better get to work.

It would be awesome if you’d post this to listsofbests.com. I’d offer to do it for you, but you deserve the credit.

I’m working my way through lots of “best of” lists on that site, and what’s cool is that if you check it off on one list, it automagically gets checked off on another…

281! That was more than I would have thought. I was a little taken aback, however, because I’d never heard of the first movie. But maybe I should have.

230. I really need to get out more.

Ooh, “World According to Garp, The (1982, George Ray Hill)” should be “Roy Hill.” I know this because “The Sting” and “The World of Henry Orient” are on my list. And by the way, why only one Almodovar film on the list?

26… which I’m actually surprised about. Before starting college, it was probably at about 10 (I’m a senior now). Hooray for becoming a slightly more well-rounded film-viewer.

(And for the record, I do live in a small town with one theatre. 3 screens, but only so many of those have come out during my own 22-year lifetime)

214 but I skipped about 25-30 as I know I saw them but don’t remember a damn thing about them.

May I suggest adding American Beauty (1999, Sam Mendes) to the list?

107… I feel so ashamed. I should have seen way more. I take solice in the fact that I’ve seen more obscure movies than most and I could proudly check off any Marx Bros movie you could throw at me.

Great list!

In many ways _Bride of Frankenstein_ is a better movie than the original. In any case it is certainly a must see movie.

I would also add _Gospel According to Saint Matthew_ by Pasolini.

And maybe _Shrek_.


I’m more disturbed by what I haven’t seen than what I have.

231, but maybe 236 (IMDb isn’t working for me, for some reason). There are many, many left that I’ve been meaning to see for some time; quite a few of which I own but haven’t yet watched.

I can’t wait for the playoffs to end….


310 (rough counting; the doubts weren’t checked at imdb…)! Not bad I should say. But I conted four terrible misses: Two-Lane Blacktop (Monte Hellman), The Last Run (Richard Fleischer), Casque d’Or (Jacques Becker) and In a Lonely Plave (Nicholas Ray).

“Schindler’s List”

“Girl, Interrupted”


Oh well, you can’t have seen every movie ever made, but these were worthy of consideration.

R.O.T.O.R. - if all these movies could be condensed into one movie, it would be R.O.T.O.R. (1989 - Cullen Blaine)


If only you could have kept updating after 1994. Quite a few good movies have come out since then—or at least, melodramatic films that aren’t really artistic nor deep that try to be artsy.

You know, up until 1994, I remember movies were better. I’m only 21, but my dad made me watch AMC and TCM with him all the time so I feel like those older movies from before my time are a part of my childhood. Thanks, Dad.

You need to add more stuff like Arsenic and Old Lace and The Big Sleep to your list, if only because old black and white movies just *feel good* (if you ignore the inherent racism, sexism, and formulaeic writing that cropped up now and then).

PS: I’ve seen most of this list—over two-thirds of this list just going by mental checkmarks. Again—thanks, Dad. :D

291… not bad for someone who “doesn’t go to movies” according to my friends.

Where is Pulp Fiction?

*shakes head in depressed, confused shame*

How could you not include Natural Born Killers?

Bless your heart, and your balls, for posting the full 1994-flavor prose in all its glory. My first web pages were in 1995; I was nineteen. Many of the very earliest I no longer have, but even *remembering* some of my writing from back then makes me blush and squirm in my seat. I could never have been brave enough to repost anything but gutted snippets from my tilde days. I salute you, sir.

Thank you for this little piece of internet history! Very interesting story.

119 Which is not bad considering majority were made before I was even born (I’m 19) which makes my 119 not so bad. Excellent list, many I would add to it though.


Many great movies from after 1994 should be on this list, too bad!
Excellent list either way.