The 75 Favorite Films of All Time

I have always been interested in films. I initially made the list of my favorite movies in 2014 and updated it in 2018. Since then, I wanted to update my blog posts on movies, TV shows, and books, adding new things. Some of my thoughts and rankings have changed since I made them many years ago. The original list of movies was also messy, and I didn’t rank most of the movies. I felt it best to redo it while making it neater. I have included a short breakdown of each film and also ranked the entire list this time.

The Process

What was my process for creating this list? Over the years, I created a list on IMDb of movies that stood out to me the most. From this came a process of elimination of what I felt were the best movies using the criteria of four things below.

Drop down list of what I consider in movies
(click text to expand)
1) Story – Without a well-written and well-presented story, what’s the point of watching?
2) Acting – Facial expressions, body movement, presence, personality, emotion, instincts, tone, style of talking, everything that encompasses an actor. The masters of acting to me are method actors who essentially become the person they’re acting in real-life. Once who have done method acting include Marlon Brando, Robert de Niro, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson for older Hollywood movies & Daniel Day Lewis, Christian Bale, Meryl Streep, Matthew McConaughey, Edward Norton, Heath Ledger for relatively newer movies. For Indian Bollywood movies, this includes actors like Dilip Kumar, Naseeruddin Shah, Aamir Khan, Rajkumar Rao, and Irfan Khan. Overall, method acting is rarely done because of the difficulty involved. Even most of the listed actors don’t usually do method acting except for certain roles.
3) Directing – The captain of the ship. This aspect is usually either overlooked or overrated. It may be overlooked because the average person does not pay attention to the shots or minute details that directors spend days setting up. In any scene, directors may obsess over details, such as arrangment of items down to the individual books, pens, other things, but the average viewer may not notice these subtleties. It may be overrated sometimes because directing is only one facet of a movie. Groundbreaking directing is not required for a movie to be great. A movie can still be compelling with an average director if other aspects like the script, acting, plot are excellent. However, a great director can elevate a film to compensate for weaknesses in other areas.
4) Inspiration – What can you take away from the movie? Whether it’s something personal or something profound that reflects/defines some aspect of your philosophy. Ultimately, you will remember this most about the movie. If the movie did not leave an impression on you or impact you in any way, then you won’t recall it. Unlike the other 3 aspects above, this one is entirely subjective as everyone is inspired by different things and lives by different philosophies & worldviews.

I would highly recommend every movie on this list except for “Clockwork Orange.” While Clockwork is amazing from a technical perspective, multiple long and extremely disturbing scenes make it difficult to recommend. For certain movies like Apocalypse Now, I would recommend the extended versions so that viewers can experience the film as intended. Usually, theater and TV releases slash scenes to keep the minute count down.

Without further ado:

Rankings

Shawshank Redemption

1. The Shawshank Redemption

Shawshank is truly a special movie. Friendship, hope, freedom, and redemption are all themes that this movie represents & it lives up flawlessly to. The script, directing, and acting are top-notch. It makes you self-reflect and wonder about the power of humanity to overcome all odds. I will never forget the character of Andy Dupree and his buddy Red. The legendary writer Stephen King wrote the original story in a short story, but the movie takes it up a few notches. An inspiring movie that I have watched many times, and I always see it in a different light each time.

2. The Godfather

“Godfather” is a flawless movie about an Italian mafia godfather in the USA and their day-to-day doings. One of the greatest acting jobs I have ever seen with a magnificent script, top-notch direction, and memorable music (theme especially). It inspired an entire generation of mafia-based movies and TV shows. Many of the actors in Godfather also rose to success in the years to come. The legendary Marlon Brando stole the show in every scene he was in. While the pace may be somewhat slow, this movie is truly outstanding once you get past that and the story draws you in.

The Godfather
Schindler's List

3. Schindler’s List

This remarkable film shows humanity at one of the lowest points in history during the Holocaust. The acting, directing, and the screenplay stand out to me. The fact that it is based on a true story makes it even more compelling. Oskar Schindler, a German businessman, notices what the Nazis are doing to the Jews and decides to do something about it.

It gives you hope that there are always good people in the world willing to do the right thing and that the most daunting obstacles can be overcome. Truly makes you wonder why we humans do this to one another. This movie and the events it portrays make me lose some hope in humanity, but at the same time, I realize that humans are also capable of overcoming much adversity as the movie encapsulates in its intricate story. This movie also shows that anyone can be a hero and make a difference even while facing impossible odds. The ending is powerful when black and white (representing darkness) turn into color (representing hope and light at the end of the tunnel). It left me speechless and close to tears, which is rare for me.

4. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

The journey for Middle-Earth comes to an end in this wonderful trilogy. People often say “[x] movie wasn’t as good as the book”, and usually they are right. This film might be a rare exception. J.R.R. Tolkien is one of the finest writers in history, but Peter Jackson does an amazing job of bringing it to the big screen. Storytelling, music, acting, directing, cinematography, and production were marvelous. Most of the filming took place in New Zealand, which fit Tolkien’s fictional landscape very well. The ending to the movie was so masterful that you just wanted to clap. This movie won the most Oscars in history, taking home everything it was nominated for. I would highly recommend watching the extended version of each of the films.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Rear Window

5. Rear Window

This entire film takes place in a single room of an apartment looking out into the courtyard complex. There is so much happening that you don’t realize you are in one room the whole movie. Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, at his finest. James Stewart is my favorite actor of all time and one of the greatest actors ever. The beautiful and brilliant actress Grace Kelly had a brief career due to marrying the Prince of Monaco at an early age (and thus becoming Princess), but this was her best film. Alfred Hitchcock is a magician who draws you into his world from start to finish with his masterful brushstrokes.

6. Lawrence of Arabia

This film is based on the real story of T.E. Lawrence, who was a British officer during World War 1. He was a dreamer who united the many Arabian tribes for an assault on the Ottoman Empire. Nobody thought it would be possible, and the rest of the British army mocked him for it. However, Lawrence goes to Arabia, gets the Arabs to buy in with his philosophy, and takes down the Ottoman Empire. Lawrence shows fate is not written until one writes it. Anyone can dream, but it’s those who turn their dreams into reality that truly change the world. I blogged about T.E. Lawrence’s story years ago. Peter O’Toole is amazing in his portrayal of Lawrence along with the rest of the star-studded cast including Peter Guinness, Anthony Quinn, and Omar Sharif. David Lean’s directing, filming, and cinematography are amazing.

Apocalypse Now

7. Apocalypse Now Redux version

Classic Vietnam War masterpiece. The beginning is a bit slow, but once you get drawn in, it picks up steam. The film was amazing with breathtaking war scenes and state-of-the-art Dolby Surround Sound. It’s loud, violent, and intense as hell. Great acting by Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando, who is spectacular as always. Both could be argued as doing method acting in this film.

There were lots of issues with the filming – depicted in the documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse. It took 16 months to film in brutal conditions in the Philippines, and 3 years of editing before they released it to theaters. Director Francis Ford Coppola almost went bankrupt over this film, which went over budget and required Coppola to invest his own money to finish. Sheen was often drunk on the set, facing personal issues that he brought to his character, and almost died from a heart attack during filming. Reportedly, Brando was obnoxious, getting into fights with Coppola, out of shape, and grappling with his own demons, making it challenging to work with him. This film would probably never finish today. I would recommend the Redux version.

8. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

This movie takes place in a mental institution in Oregon in the 1950s. It is based on a novel originally written by Ken Kesey. Jack Nicholson is beyond amazing in his rebellious depiction of the main character Randle McMurphy, and Louise Fletcher won Oscars for best actress as the cold-hearted bitch Nurse Ratched. Much like the book, you want to strangle Nurse Ratched in every scene she is in. The book is narrated by Chief Bromden, a fellow inmate with a keen eye for observation.

The overarching focus lies in a power struggle between McMurphy, representing the individual, and Nurse Ratched, symbolizing society itself. The individual and society are in a continuous battle, with society pressuring the individual to conform. The takeaway message, in my estimation, is that one should live to enjoy life, and it’s perfectly okay to be different. You do not need to conform to society just because you are expected to. Being different does not make you crazy.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Forrest Gump

9. Forrest Gump

What a powerful movie, and one of Tom Hanks’ finest performances. We watch Forrest live through his life’s biggest moments from his perspective and overcome obstacles. Forrest Gump may not be bright, but he is larger than life. He lives as a proper gentleman, just as his mother taught him, avoiding smoking, drinking, and even cursing. Throughout his journey, he is always focused on chasing after this mythical childhood friend Jenny, whom he loves, and carries with him each step of the way. I always believed a person can overcome anything in life, and this movie epitomizes everything I believe in. Tom Hanks is one of my favorite actors with top-notch acting in this masterpiece.

10. 12 Angry Men

Much like Rear Window, this movie takes place in a single room – jury room in this case. The acting, script, and story presentation were outstanding. It left your eyes glued to the screen. Henry Fonda is amazing as a juror in leading the rest of the jury to scrutinize the evidence before reaching a final verdict.

The court proceedings are not realistic, but you wish they were. A jury’s responsibility should involve thoroughly investigating all available facts before arriving at a verdict, even through questioning lawyers and witnesses during the trial. Unfortunately, that does not happen in most courts. Instead, jurors must base their decision on what the lawyers choose to present, often cherry-picking information. In contrast to lawyers, judges, and witnesses, who can freely ask questions for clarification, jurors are restricted from directly questioning anyone. It’s perplexing that while others in the courtroom can seek clarity, jurors may not speak. Surprisingly, only three out of the 50 states in the USA permit jurors to ask questions.

12 Angry Men
Star Wars episode 4: A New Hope

11. Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope

You are transported into the Star Wars universe (or “galaxy far, far away”) the moment you take in the cool intro in the opening credits. The acting and directing could have been better, but the story is what hooks you. There was “Star Trek” and “Dune” years earlier that inspired Star Wars, but there is something else added to the mix – a human touch you could say. Human touch requires soap opera and drama, which is what Star Wars excels in. The rest is history as they say. Star Wars outlived the usefulness of George Lucas, who started something here that grew much bigger than anyone could have imagined. Careers took off from this film, and a universe was born with a life of its own.

12. It’s a Wonderful Life

James Stewart, who had just returned from serving in World War 2 as an Air Force Colonel, plays George Bailey in this classic film by Frank Capra. Bailey faces life’s challenges, losing everything and everyone he loves one by one in the process. In his anguish, he wishes he was never born. An angel gets sent to show him life if he never existed. George comes to understand the profound impact he had on people around the town and how different things would be without him.

It’s a powerful movie that shows the impact of the little things in life and how even the unlikeliest people can touch others in unexpected ways. Bailey develops a deeper appreciation for life and discovers the magical power of kindness, optimism, and life itself. Although you might not have everything you desire in life, and your life might not unfold as you initially hoped, finding happiness comes only through appreciating what you have.

It's a Wonderful Life
The Dark Knight

13. The Dark Knight

The only true Batman is the one portrayed by the great Christian Bale. But Heath Ledger stole the show with his method acting. As far as I’m concerned, he became the Joker both on stage and in real life. He IS the Joker, forever and ever (step aside Jack Nicholson!). Unfortunately, Ledger passed away from a drug overdose months before the movie’s release, and he never got the chance to see the reception. I think we saw why actors rarely use method acting – it requires actors to go a level above acting, and pulling it off is very difficult. Christoper Nolan is one of my favorite directors, and he pulled off the greatest comic book movie of all time in a legendary fashion.

14. Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back

While Star Wars episode 4 is arguably the best from a technical perspective and the beginning of it all, Episode 5 is my favorite from the Star Wars movies. Episode 4 can stand alone, but Episode 5 transformed Star Wars into an actual saga. Episode 5 takes us deeper into the universe while turning the world upside down. We are introduced to the true power of the Empire and the evil Sith lords, Darth Sidious and Darth Vader. It feels like the writers are reaching out to us after episode 4 – “Oh yeah? You destroyed the Death Star?? Wonderful, but we are just getting started!”

My favorite character, Grandmaster Yoda, also enters the equation by beginning Luke’s training as a Jedi, who are famously inspired by Japanese samurai. The development of many characters is further chiseled out and the relationships progress. The pace increases, the acting gets better, the awesome music continues, the cinematography improves, romance is added, and overall creativity is taken up a notch. It is an epic of the highest order.

Star Wars episode 5: Empire Strikes Back
Gandhi

15. Gandhi

Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi is arguably one of the most iconic & poignant figures in history. He was a man of principle who lived and died for peace. He wanted freedom for India but only through peaceful movement, which he called Satyagraha. If anyone from the Indian side rioted through violence against the British, Gandhi would go on fasts for weeks until the riots stopped. Ben Kingsley did a brilliant job depicting his journey. Director Richard Attenborough was masterful in translating a script into a grand cinematic epic. The movie was wholly filmed in India with hundreds of thousands of Indians recruited to re-build the feel of the times. If film is art, this timeless movie certainly lives up to it. A big piece of my worldview was inspired by Gandhi.

16. 2001 A Space Odyssey 

This is arguably Stanley Kubrick’s best movie. Space Odyssey is based on a series of books by Arthur C. Clarke, one of the greatest sci-fi writers in history. The depiction of space, artificial intelligence, and the future is well ahead of its time. Star Trek came earlier, but Space Odyssey takes the cake when it comes to realism. Science, technology, engineering, and philosophy are all brought together flawlessly in this tapestry of photography. Camera work, special effects, and cinematography are nothing short of amazing. Questions, such as what it means to be human and where we come from, are central to this legendary film. These are all questions that we humans have asked ourselves time and time again.

Stanley Kubrick, one of the greatest directors in history, takes us on an epic journey through space, time, and infinity. I will never forget the opening scene with the sun rising over the Earth with the ominous Sprach Zarathustra theme song blaring in the background. Some people wonder about the ending, which is ambiguous. I think it was by design, showing us that our future as humanity is also ambiguous. What does our future hold? Are we going to make it or are we destined to fail in our grand endeavor? In true scientific fashion, we are left in the end with more questions than answers.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

17. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Star Wars might have jump-started Harrison Ford’s career, but Raiders of the Lost Ark catapulted him to legendary status. Steven Spielberg was already a highly respected director, and Raiders confirmed why he is considered one of the greatest directors in history (greatness is what you do over and over again). When you see Harrison Ford in any other roles, you cannot help but think of him as Indiana Jones. Many kids grew up idolizing Indy. “Raiders of the Lost Ark” feels fresh each time you watch it, regardless of how many times you have seen it. The action, the adventure, the explosions, the chases, the mythical history, the romance, and the thrills. What more can you want in a film?

18. The Usual Suspects

Usual Suspects may not be a flashy big-budget film, but it is a masterpiece. The ending blew my mind the first time I watched this film as I was not expecting it at all (I will not spoil it). Bryan Singer, a relatively unknown director, did an excellent job with the directing, and it felt like a sleight of hand. You expect the movie to be heading one way, then suddenly the ending goes in another direction. You have to watch it to understand. The actors also fit very well together, but Kevin Spacey steals the show. Subsequent watches are not as fun due to you knowing the surprise ending.

The Usual Suspects

19. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

A Western epic that pushed Clint Eastwood (the “Good”), Lee Van Cleef (the “Bad”), and Eli Wallach (the “Ugly”) from relatively unknown actors straight into stardom. All Western fans (myself included) know exactly what these three mean to the genre. Director Sergio Leone’s name in the Western genre grew behind this film – the spaghetti western as it is called. The three characters represent different facets of people, and the journey takes us through that battle between good, evil, and ugly. Leone filmed “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”, “For a Few Dollars More”, and “A Fistful of Dollars” back to back to back often reusing the same sets for different films.

20. Godfather Part 2

Director Francis Ford Coppola catapulted the mobster film genre to the top with two masterpieces Godfather 1 and 2 (Godfather 3 left a bitter taste in my mouth). Some say Godfather 2 was even better than the first, but I’m not too sure about that. Marlon Brando’s legendary performance as Don Corleone is a difficult role to follow for even the best actors.

Godfather 2 brought on a rare but pleasant team-up of legendary actors Al Pacino and Robert de Niro. It’s been a long-going argument about who the better actor is between the two. I think Robert de Niro is a slightly better actor, but Al Pacino was sensational in Godfather 2. He plays a cold, heartless prick in this film as he slowly loses a piece of his humanity on the way to the top of the power hierarchy. The music, directing, the cast, and production are all top-notch. The pacing is also faster than the original Godfather, which made this easier to follow along.

Godfather 2

21. Saving Private Ryan

Steven Spielberg has a variety of standout films across different genres, but this one is the gem of war movies. Spielberg has a history of making the stage bigger and better, and Saving Private Ryan lives up to it. The depiction of D-day is as real as possible, but the film is much more than that. In Saving Private Ryan, Captain Miller, portrayed by Tom Hanks, is involved in the Omaha landing at Normandy and tasked with rescuing a paratrooper Private Ryan, played by Matt Damon, from behind German lines. You feel you are part of Miller’s crew, fighting alongside them.

The attention to detail is staggering. Each of the actors went through army training to prepare for the movie. The producers constructed bunkers and battlements across a kilometer of beach in Ireland to recreate Omaha Beach. It took them twenty-five days to film just the opening D-day scene. They utilized hundreds of crew members and 1,000 Irish reserve soldiers.

22. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Some say The Towers was better than Return of The King, and they have an argument to be made. Some battle scenes, including the end battle at Helm’s Deep, are astounding to watch in theater. The battle at Helm’s Deep was what stood out the most from this film. The set cost millions to construct and took months to film.

There was some deviation from Tolkien’s books, such as a contingent of Elves being sent to fight at Helm’s Deep. The age of Elves had ended in Tolkien’s books, so there were not enough elves remaining to fight. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli were crucial figures in the books, but they took up an even bigger role in the films (Aragorn especially). However, these minor changes helped contribute to the big screen. The cinematography, costumes, visuals, and lighting (particularly the scene when Gandalf arrives) are mind-boggling. In the scene when Gandalf arrives at the 11th hour with thousands of horsemen, I recall the theater was filled with applause. Only a great film can do that. Again, I would recommend the extended version.

The Two Towers
Toy Story 3

23. Toy Story 3

This movie is marvelous with exceptional sentimental value. Andy grows up and is heading off to college. His toys mistakenly end up in a daycare center. The toys are heartbroken, but Woody convinces them to escape the daycare center back to Andy. The ending will bring tears to the eyes of all who grew up following Woody and the gang. It’s a story about the importance of imagination and keeping your dreams alive even into adulthood. What makes Toy Story 3 magical is it brings out the kid in everybody regardless of age, place of upbringing, circumstances, gender, and any other factor. I say be a kid for life!

24. Goodfellas

Martin Scorsese is at his best here. “Goodfellas” is loosely based on the life of a real-life mobster Henry Hill, played by Ray Liotta, and fellow mobsters Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito, played by Robert de Niro & Joe Pesci respectively. We see their thrilling rise and demise. The superb acting, masterful directing, intriguing dialogue, fast pacing, and the feel of the changing times feel so authentic. Scorsese makes every moment and every shot count. This film was entertainment personified from start to finish.

Back to the Future

25. Back to the Future

A “timeless” cult classic that never gets old. Christoper Lloyd, playing the mad scientist Dr Brown, and Michael J. Fox, playing Marty McFly, are so much joy to watch. Their chemistry is seamless across the entire trilogy, even if the overall film quality drops in the sequels. You can never forget the arch-enemy Biff, Lorraine, and George McFly. Director Robert Zemeckis did a great job mixing interesting dialogue, science fiction, and comedy into Back to the Future. It always keeps you on your toes and eyes glued to the screen, even if you already know what is coming next.

26. Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

“Dr Strangelove” is an odd movie in its presentation, but it is an exciting film. Director Stanley Kubrick relies on humor to present a very serious situation. Kubrick made this film during the height of the Cold War to mock the stupidity of the Cold War – he mocks both sides and the foolishness involved, including incompetent politicians and bloodthirsty upper military brass under the helm. While it is a comedy, moments in the movie freak you out to see how much power these folks have on both the American and Soviet sides to end the world within hours with just 1 coded order. The dark humor, sarcasm, and intentional use of puns make you laugh but also scare the crap out of you at the same time. The Cold War was a scary time.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

27. Indiana Jones and Last Crusade

It is difficult to choose between The Last Crusade and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Both are amazing movies. The addition of star Sean Connery to the cast as Indy’s father in Last Crusade brings charm and witty humor to complement Harrison Ford. Like father, like son. Everyone knows the story. The Nazis kidnap Professor Henry Jones, played by Connery. Indy must re-trace his father’s steps to not only save Henry but also finish the quest started by Henry in search of the mythical Holy Grail. The Holy Grail can give a person immortality, and it is something the Nazis want. The fighting scenes and humor

28. Fight Club

My head blew up trying to follow this masterpiece of a movie based on a novel by Chuck Palahniuk. I occasionally found myself wondering what was going on and where it was all leading. The beginning was okay, then it entered ‘awesome’ territory at the midway point. After that, it was almost flawless. This movie is much different from most movies I have watched. I cannot say much else without spoiling it. Just know the 2nd half of the movie is not what you expect going in. You might have to watch it a second time before it all makes sense. Director David Fincher is a superb storyteller, masterfully sending us through unexpected twists and turns. Brad Pitt and Edward Norton have great chemistry together.

Fight Club
Interstellar

29. Interstellar

Christopher Nolan does it again. This is another journey through space and time, but on a scale greater than “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The acting, special effects, CGI, and photography are beyond words. The sound and music are key to experiencing this film properly. Leaving the theater, I was in awe and thinking about this special film I had just witnessed. The ending is not easy to understand at first and may require a second watch. I initially found it a bit confusing because of a potential paradox until I researched it further. I blogged about this film in the past, going into more detail about the most interesting and inspirational ideas portrayed. 

30. Life is Beautiful

A brilliant movie about a father, who uses comedy to protect his son from the horrors of the holocaust. His life is filled with pain and suffering, but through it all, he always tries to put a smile on his son’s face. You find yourself laughing while tears are streaming down your face. This movie breaks your heart, but there is something else in play that is inspirational. It shows the wonders of life and how comedy triumphs over everything, even in times of tragedy.

Powerful performance by Italian actor Roberto Benigni, who plays the character ‘Guido’. I think this movie is about life itself more than the Holocaust itself. As long as you keep your dignity and hope alive, no evil can ever dare steal your humanity. This film taught me that as long as you keep your dignity and hope alive, no evil can ever dare steal your humanity. The beauty of love and life trumps everything. Benigni’s Oscar acceptance speech was sensational!

Life is beautiful
3 Idiots

31. 3 Idiots

This film is my favorite Indian movie about a college student attaining success through creativity & thinking outside of the box. The main character, Rancho, played by Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan, inspires his friends to look beyond the textbooks. Life shouldn’t be a competition to see who finishes first or last. One should go to school to learn rather than to simply attain a degree. A degree is useless if you learn nothing about life in the process. The meaning of life exists in experiencing life itself and its many wonders.

The other important theme is that one should not try to follow the crowd. Greatness comes from not being like everyone else, but being yourself. If others laugh at you for being different, then so be it. If everyone thought the same, there would be no change or improvement in civilization. Director Rajkumar Hirani presents the story using comedy, but many moments pull on your heartstrings. The story (and Rancho) is bigger than life itself and captures the essence of what it means to be human. The acting, script, editing, manner of storytelling, cinematography, and music all stand out in this special timeless film. 

32. The Matrix

A cult classic that has often made me question reality. Do we truly exist or are we part of a complex computer simulation? The matrix originally introduced me to this surreal thought in my early teenage years. It’s a complicated thought concerning the nature of reality that philosophers have been trying to grapple with since the beginning. It leaves us with more questions than answers, and I do not want to get into that here. Back to the movie.

The Matrix is a mesmerizing film that you can’t not watch. Writing, directing, CGI, acting, and editing are all beautiful. The presentation will leave you wondering about this film years and decades later. The characters are memorable and stay with you, including Keanu Reeves as Neo, Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus, Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity, and Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith. When this was first introduced, the ideas were innovative and revolutionary. Personal computers were just entering the average person’s home. It has ideas that transcend time.

The Matrix
The Pianist

33. The Pianist

Two words pop up in my head before anything else: Adrien Brody. Holy crap, this is what acting is all about. Brody’s acting and Roman Polanski’s directing carry this difficult-to-watch film. Polanski is a controversial figure well-known in the directing world and wanted for arrest in the USA since the 1970s for reasons I won’t get into here (I recommend reading up on it). Great actors have traveled outside of the USA to work for this man, including for The Pianist.

Pianist is a dark story of one man’s survival during the Holocaust that sends chills down your spine and tears you up from the inside. I only watched it once, and I will carry it with me for life. While Schindler’s list is from the perspective of the savior, this film is from the perspective of the saved. I will leave with one thought: Beauty exists in the power of music and can transform humanity.

34. American History X

This film is about the vicious cycle of hatred, racism, and the power of redemption. Edward Norton plays Derek, a racist neo-Nazi who gets sent to prison for murdering two young black men. He returns years later as a reformed man and finds his younger brother Danny has taken on the role of neo-Nazi once held by Derek. Derek has to grapple with that reality and attempt to stop Danny from going down the same path he once had.

The message is simple. Hatred festers if one allows it to but can be overcome through learning to respect not only yourself but also others and humanity. Edward Norton’s acting is inspirational in this movie with top-notch acting. It is not an easy movie to watch, but it is a must-watch for all. I see lots of similarities between Derek and the businessman in “Schindler’s List”, but the presentation is very different.

American History X
Pulp Fiction

35. Pulp Fiction

Arguably Quentin Tarantino’s best film. I watched this film years ago, but what I recall the most is clever dialogue, wonderful acting from the entire cast, originality, and technicals to gush over. The reason I don’t have this movie higher is because I don’t know what to take away from this movie. This film consists of multiple stories that have thematic connections but also are separate. There is not much character development. The film incorporates almost every genre and defies categorization into a single genre (despite being labeled as a dark comedy).

For all those reasons, this is the toughest film on this list. Most people have this film rated towards the very top, so they may see this as blasphemy. Perhaps I didn’t understand the movie and need to watch it a few more times. It is still a movie that works and compels me to rate it this high.

36. Taare Zameen Par

This Bollywood film also goes by the title “Like Stars on Earth.” It’s a spectacular movie about education. The success of a teacher should not be measured simply by the grades that their students output but by how they reach each student, especially the ones that may be difficult to reach. This movie focuses on a young student named Ishaan, whom his parents and teachers have given up on. He is seen as a troublesome lazy child with no interest in learning. A new teacher, Ram Shankar Nikumbh, played by Aamir Khan, comes along and discovers that Ishaan has dyslexia. With Nikumbh’s tutoring, Ishaan achieves his full potential. The acting and script stand out to me more than anything. I found this movie inspirational, and it left an impression on my views of education I blogged about in the past.

Taare Zameen Par
Once upon a time in America

37. Once Upon a Time in America

Robert De Niro steals the show yet again in a film directed by Sergio Leone, who is typically known for his cowboy westerns. You would think that Martin Scorsese would be the one to direct this considering his history in the gangster genre & his history of working with DeNiro. However, Leone was brilliant even outside of his usual genre. Noodles, played by DeNiro, is a former gangster from New York City. He murders a rival and is sent to prison. Noodles returns decades later and relives his past regrets/betrayals/mistakes through his nostalgic memories. This is a profound story of friendship, family, innocence, growth, death, murder, and betrayal. Leone is masterful with the photography, presentation, and cinematography. The film is slow-paced early on and about 4 hours long, but it will hold your attention. The acting is great, and the graceful music by Ennio Morricone makes you feel the story.

38. Vertigo

Alfred Hitchcock and James Stewart team up yet again in this classic film that is one of the greatest films ever. Stewart plays former Detective John Ferguson, who retired because of a fear of heights. A friend named Gavin asked Ferguson to tail his wife to see what she was up to. Ferguson falls for her during the simple detective work, and the film takes off from there through twists and turns. The camera work, stunning visuals, and cinematography are unforgettable. I recall being taken aback during the ending scene in the bell tower. Hitchcock is an ace director who transformed the film industry with gems like these.

Vertigo
Seven Samurai

39. Seven Samurai

An appearance by another legendary director Akira Kurosawa, who drew inspiration from the Western film industry and, in turn, influenced Western films. The plot concerns a town in Japan, which is being pillaged by bandits. In response, the townsfolk decide to hire a group of seven Samurai to fight back. The visual effects, camera work, editing, and captivating storytelling make this a splendid movie. “Seven Samurai” inspired many later Western films including “The Magnificent Seven”, “Bug’s Life”, and “Mad Max: Fury Road”.

40. Citizen Kane 

This is widely considered the greatest film of all time. I watched it twice, and I’m not too sure about that. This movie depicts the rise and fall of a fictional millionaire newspaper tycoon, Charles Foster Kane. “Citizen Kane” left some to be desired from a story perspective. For the time in question (the 1950s), I think it is great. The elephant in the room is, of course, the brilliant director Orson Welles. He was well ahead of his time when it came to camera work, shot placement, and all the little details that go into directing. This film is no different from the rest of his groundbreaking career.

Citizen Kane
Rocky

41. Rocky

This film on its cover is about boxing, but I disagree. It’s a movie about the power of the human spirit. It is encapsulated perfectly in a Rocky dialogue: It ain’t about how hard you hit, but about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. Life hits you hard, but you have to get back up and keep moving forward. Sylvester Stallone was a nobody before this film, but this turned him into a somebody. While it may not be groundbreaking from a technical point of view, the ideas presented stand the test of time.

42. Jurassic Park

There is nothing that hasn’t already been said about “Jurassic Park,” which was originally written by the great Michael Crichton. John Williams’ music accompanies Steven Spielberg’s directing spectacularly. Spielberg used cutting-edge CGI, special effects, and filming techniques to make the dinosaurs come alive. Acting by Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Sam Neill, and Laura Dern keep the boat afloat. The concept of using DNA from the fossilized remains of dinosaur blood in a mosquito is in the realm of science fiction, but the thrilling way it is presented makes it feel believable. An instant classic.

Jurassic Park
Inception

43. Inception 

Christopher Nolan is famous for making innovative movies with unique concepts presented in novel ways. The complex storyline in “Inception” is not easy to follow. There is so much going on, and I don’t know if I have the intricacies of the plot down. All I can say without spoiling it is that everything is not as it seems. The world is both literally and metaphorically turned upside down. If Hitchcock and Welles were still around, they would have been proud of Nolan’s work here. The cinematography, visuals, CGI, and camera work are magnificent. The entire cast’s performance is almost flawless. I can just imagine the money it must have taken to put such a star-studded cast together.

44. Up

Pixar takes you on a journey using comedy, emotions, and imagination. Carl is a grumpy old widower, who had promised his wife on her deathbed that he would achieve his dreams. He meets a young boy scout named Russell, and they set off on an adventure in a house with balloons. Very moving film that can transform your life. The film’s opening montage, which depicts a young Carl falling in love and his marriage, is heartbreaking to watch. Life goes by fast, and before you realize it, you may find yourself with unrealized childhood dreams. If you don’t pursue your dreams, life may feel incomplete, leaving you in the end, pondering what could have been. This movie is about one such individual, who rather than give up, decides to chase one last adventure late in life.

Up
Alien

45. Alien

Ridley Scott’s enduring “Alien” withstands the test of time, despite the advancements in special effects technology since its release in 1979. Sigourney Weaver plays the character of Ripley in this classic sci-fi horror. I rarely watch horror films, but I eventually mustered the courage to watch this one. The excitement I experienced while watching this pleasantly surprised me. The story is captivating, and the acting is so convincing that you’re hooked from the very beginning to the final battle against the alien at the end. This is one of the rare films where the sequel is as good as the original (or arguably better).

46. Das Boot

Many submarine movies have been filmed over the decades, but Das Boot is by far the best. It follows a group of U-boat crew members on a World War 2 mission in the Atlantic, hunting British ships. The film portrays the human perspective of war realistically, without the flash and glamour often associated with Hollywood, as war is not meant to be glamorous. You feel empathy for the crew, enduring months away from their families in precarious conditions miles underwater and far from civilization. Despite most of the film unfolding within the cramped corridors of a submarine, you hardly notice it. There is always something keeping you on the edge of your seat, including cat-and-mouse chases with Allied ships. The acting, the pace, and the storytelling are outstanding. While the original film is in German, I felt the English dubbing was very good.

Das Boot
Aliens

47. Aliens

Our badass heroine Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, is called into action once again. This time, the alien species she encountered in the first film has taken over a human colony on the moon LV-426. Ripley must use her experience to lead a group of space marines to the colony and determine what happened to the inhabitants. In the process, they have to battle a full hive of these aliens. The producers went in a different direction from Ridley Scott and gave the helm of director to James Cameron. However, the film we end up with does not fall short of the success attained by the original Alien. “Aliens” outperforms Alien at the box office and garners 5 more Oscar nominations.

48. Jaws

This film is based on a novel of the same name. A Great White shark attacks a woman at a beach on Amity Island. Martin Brody, the local sheriff, takes charge of overseeing and dealing with the situation. Oceanographer Matt Hooper and shark hunter Quint are enlisted to go hunt down the shark in the open ocean. This thriller has mixed emotions and tension to keep you on top of your toes. Steven Spielberg rose to stardom after the success of Jaws.

Jaws
Whiplash

49. Whiplash

It’s a film about much more than drumming. “Whiplash” revolves around a mentor, played by J. K. Simmons, resorting to extreme measures to propel his pupil, played by Miles Teller, to the pinnacle of greatness. The film emphasizes the notion that you must fail before you can attain success and underscores the importance of stubborn determination to bounce back after setbacks. You might sweat, you might bleed, you might lose sleep, and you might even lose some of your humanity in the process, but damn it, give it everything you have in life. Discover your motivation, inspire yourself, pursue it with dedication, be passionate, believe in yourself, and fiercely fight for your dreams because no one else will. You might stumble, you might fall, but never give up on your dreams.

Powerful movie once you reflect on the ideas it portrays. The music teacher is a jerk, but he has the right intentions. I was silent and shaking in awe at the end when everything came together. This spectacular movie teaches you more about yourself. You can take those same ideas and translate them into your life. The performances by the two principal actors are outstanding. Some people dislike this movie because Fletcher is too demeaning and harsh. I disagree and feel those people need to look beyond the cover at the underlying message. The world is not all sunshine and rainbows, as Rocky says, but a mean and nasty place you must fight to survive in.

Avengers: Endgame

50. Avengers: Endgame

The Infinity War leaves the universe in turmoil and half of all inhabitants dead. The remaining members of the Avengers assemble once again in “Endgame” to reverse the damage left by Thanos. Endgame does a great job of bringing together our heroes for a last stand. The special effects, CGI, sound, and visuals are usually synonymous with Marvel, as seen since Iron Man a decade earlier, and it’s no different in this case. Marvel transformed the comic book genre to the extent that people eventually became fatigued by it.

51. A Beautiful Mind

This film is based on the life of mathematician John Nash, who later won a Nobel Prize for his contributions to mathematics. Nash also has paranoid schizophrenia, which affects him throughout his journey. Russell Crowe is typically known for his action films like Gladiator, but his performance as John Nash is genuine from start to finish. Jennifer Connelly is intense in her role as Nash’s wife Alicia. The chemistry between the two is outstanding. “The Beautiful Mind” lacked flash and glamor and may not be considered a biopic since it altered facts. Having said that, it’s still a must-watch movie.

A Beautiful Mind
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

52. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

The beginning of the epic journey to save Middle-Earth from the evil forces of Sauron. Beautiful visuals, sprawling cinematography, superb writing, enchanting special effects, and Howard Shore’s wonderful soundtrack combine to make this film a must-watch. While it doesn’t quite reach the level of the latter two films, this is still an outstanding achievement in the film industry. I highly recommended the extended edition to experience it as they meant it to be.

53. Full Metal Jacket

Stanley Kubrick provides a realistic portrayal of the brutality of warfare. Only in video games and movies can war be glorious and joyful. “Full Metal Jacket” is a disturbing tale of two separate films almost. The first half is set in an Army boot camp where young men undergo training. Transforming boys into trained killers requires dehumanization through humiliation and inhumane treatment. The second half takes place in Vietnam from the perspective of a soldier from the boot camp, nicknamed ‘Joker’. The first half of the film is particularly memorable because of the outstanding performances of Private Pyle, portrayed by Vincent D’Onofrio, and Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, played by R. Lee Ermey.

Full Metal Jacket
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

54. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

In the trilogy’s conclusion, Luke Skywalker, now a Jedi Knight after completing his training, returns to help save his friends from the slimy Jabba the Hutt. Luke must also attempt to save his father, Darth Vader, from the dark side of the force. The ending couldn’t be any more fitting. Every plotline and twist led up to this point, culminating in a satisfying release. I felt disappointed, not due to any flaws in the film, but because I realized this was the end of the journey. No other Star Wars trilogies live up to the original.

55. Se7en

Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt play two detectives in the hunt for a serial killer, who uses the seven deadly sins as his motive. What starts as a standalone murder transforms into a sprawling chase. Director David Fincher does an extraordinary job in this extremely dark & grotesque film. Acting is brilliant from the lead actors and the role actors Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey. While disturbing, the entertainment value never lets you down.

Se7en
A Clockwork Orange

56. A Clockwork Orange

Clockwork is by far the hardest film to watch on this list. I will say up front I do not recommend this movie even though it is by a legendary director like Stanley Kubrick. I feel compelled to include it on this list because it’s such a marvel of art that it would be unreasonable to leave it out. The character Alex, portrayed by Malcolm McDowell, is a sociopath who finds pleasure in torturing people and raping women. Eventually, authorities apprehend him and send him to prison, where they subject him to an experimental procedure aimed at eliminating his sadistic tendencies. After getting out of prison, a series of humiliating & traumatic events lead him back to the same state as before the procedure.

The idea here is that society can be harsh and contribute to the creation of sociopaths like Alex. It’s a depressing film that delves into issues not only of the individual but also the broader aspects of society itself. This film was well ahead of its time and arguably transformed the film industry in the technical department.

57. Avengers: Infinity War

Marvel spent over a decade building up everything for this showdown against the juggernaut Thanos. And boy, did they succeed! The action is fantastic, the characters have backstories to draw on from previous films, and the storyline is captivating. There is nothing to complain about from technical, acting, or production perspectives. Marvel had to split this film into two because there was no way to fit it all into one.

Avengers: Infinity War
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

58. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

“Across the Spider-Verse” is the best Spider-Man movie to date and a sequel to “Into the Spider-Verse.” Spider-Verse series stars Miles Morales instead of the usual Peter Parker, but Morales seamlessly fits into the story. He never makes you feel like he isn’t the original Spider-Man; instead, he adds depth to the narrative. The CGI, animation, and voiceover are expertly done. It feels more like art than an animated film starring a comic book hero.

59. Psycho

Alfred Hitchcock brings the novel to the big screen in this timeless classic. Hitchcock’s meticulous attention to detail shines through in this masterpiece “Psycho”, a subject of study for decades. Unlike most other films on this list, there is not a lot of action or adventure here. “Psycho” is more of a subtle film, and at times, subtlety speaks louder than sensationalism. The camera work, shot placement, lighting, sound effects, editing, and all the little things are done perfectly. The suspense, acting, and pacing are what stand out the most. Norman Bates, who is played by Anthony Perkins, sends chills down your spine with his creepy demeanor and psychotic personality, creating a terrifying experience. Janet Leigh’s performance, expressed through her facial expressions and changes in tone, effectively communicates the emotions she’s experiencing.

I studied “Psycho” in Film studies during my senior year of High School, and it was one of the films that ignited my interest in movies. Our teacher dissected many scenes from the film, breaking them down shot by shot, delving into the nitty-gritty details. Hitchcock revolutionized the horror film genre with “Psycho” to the extent that every horror or thriller movie since has drawn inspiration from it.

Psycho
Anand

60. Anand

“Anand” is a classic Bollywood film that was inspired by the Japanese film “Ikiru.” While both movies share similarities, I believe “Anand” has aged better. It was filmed in full color and employed directing techniques that had evolved over the two decades since “Ikiru.” The movie begins with the death of the main character, Anand, played by Bollywood superstar Rajesh Khanna, from cancer. Director Hrishikesh Mukherjee did not want any suspense or ambiguity about whether Anand lives or dies, allowing the audience to focus entirely on his humanity. The rest of the movie depicts a flashback, showing how he coped with cancer, fully aware that there was no cure and his time was limited.

Khanna’s portrayal of Anand is so poignant and on point that one does not realize it is a film. He relies on imagination, laughter, and joy to make the most of the limited time he has left. The acting, music, dialogue, story, and humor take you on a journey, wanting to laugh and cry at the same time. The word ‘Anand’ translates to pleasure, and I think the way Anand lives his life is a model for everyone. One doesn’t require an incurable disease to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of life. If everyone approached life like Anand, the world would be a better and happier place.

61. Good Will Hunting

This film is fairly linear with no twists and turns to bog down the experience. Will Hunting, portrayed by Matt Damon, is a financially struggling young man with a traumatic past. He happens to be a genius in mathematics and works as a janitor at MIT. One day, MIT professor Dr. Lambeau presented a challenging mathematics problem on the blackboard for his students. Will solves it within minutes and leaves his solution on the blackboard, leaving Lambeau stunned. Will gets into a fight and Lambeau comes to the rescue, offering an out for Will if he were to see a psychiatrist. Lambeau sets Will up with Dr. Sean Maguire, played by Robin Williams. The chemistry between Damon and Williams makes this a must-watch.

Good Will Hunting
Mad Max: Fury Road

62. Mad Max: Fury Road

Hollywood has overdone the post-apocalyptic story and the rise against a tyrant narrative. I won’t rehash the plot, which has become a cliché over time. However, the presentation of Fury Road is electrifying, stunning, and every synonym you can think of. The narration, pacing, acting, sets, and action are all memorable. Director George Miller deserves a standing ovation for presenting something that has been done a million times in a new and refreshing manner. Principal actors Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron reportedly had many feuds during the filming, but surprisingly, their chemistry is incredible. I haven’t watched the original Mad Max with Mel Gibson, but I plan to someday. I expect to be disappointed since I’ve already watched Fury Road.

63. Toy Story

Hooray for Pixar! I think everyone has seen this movie multiple times. Nothing new is left to be said. People may label “Toy Story” as a children’s film, but it’s not. It’s a movie for everyone with imagination and dreams. “Toy Story 3” eventually surpassed this movie in every sense possible, but this is the one that started it all. Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, and every actor who lent their voice took a film with a great script to another stratosphere. The animation was not new when Toy Story was released in 1995, but it simply worked. The music by Randy Newman is simply fitting with gems like “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” “I Will Go Sailing No More“, and “Strange Things“.

Toy Stor
The Departed

64. The Departed

Martin Scorsese’s films rarely let you down, and this was no exception. The cast is the first thing that pops out. During the Golden Age of Hollywood, star-studded casts were a regular occurrence, but that era has mostly passed. However, “The Departed” not only assembles an all-star cast but also ensures they fit seamlessly together. The legendary Jack Nicholson portrays Irish gangster boss Frank Costello. Leonardo DiCaprio, not typically associated with gangster films, delivers an outstanding performance as undercover cop Billy Costigan. Matt Damon plays Colin Sullivan, who has infiltrated the police department as an informer for the mob. As both the mob and the police recognize a mole is in their midst, Billy and Colin must navigate the situation to avoid exposure. This entertaining film has a great script, plot twists, and gripping suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat.

65. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

This Bollywood film is about a group of three friends who decide to go on a road trip through Spain. The title translates to approximately “You will not get this life again.” ZNMD is about the coming-of-age journey into adulthood. It beautifully explores themes like the importance of friendship, relationships, and the pursuit of happiness above all else. Filled with adventure, comedy, and romance, it captures the essence of life. Going in, I was prepared for over-the-top dramatic romance, but thankfully, it was not. The writers mostly kept typical clichés at bay, and that made the film very much enjoyable. The story and conflicts the characters face are easily relatable to the audience, irrespective of their upbringing or circumstances. A well-written script, excellent cast, and simple directing techniques make this film easy to follow, leaving you inspired.

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Roman Holiday

66. Roman Holiday

No list is complete without one mention of the elegant and talented Audrey Hepburn. “Roman Holiday” marked the beginning of her legendary career. In this film, Hepburn portrays Princess Ann alongside Gregory Peck’s reporter, Joe Bradley. Weary of her royal duties, Ann escapes from the palace to explore the outside world. Bradley encounters Ann and helps guide her to keep her out of trouble. During the journey, the two fall in love. It’s a fun movie filled with charm from both Peck and Hepburn and stays away from the mushy-gushy romance (thank goodness). Peck was already an established, well-respected actor, but Hepburn stole the show. Similar to Grace Kelly, albeit for different reasons, Hepburn retired from acting at a young age. I wasn’t too familiar with Audrey Hepburn until I watched this. Her beauty, style, and charm captivated me, and I became an instant fan.

67. Gladiator

This is not anywhere close to a perfect movie. Acting, directing, cinematography, and photography are all very good. However, the thing that compelled me to put this in is the brilliant depiction of the Roman Empire, the culture, and the era. The only other film that compares is “Spartacus” by Stanley Kubrick. While the story of Spartacus is more captivating, the filming is not quite on the same level as “Gladiator”. Director Ridley Scott took inspiration from “Spartacus” and somehow made the world-building even better. The casting of Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix as the two main characters could not be any more perfect. Crowe takes command of the stage and embodies the will of Maximus. The dialogue, sound effects, score by Hans Zimmer, and stunning visuals stay with you long after the film is over.

Gladiator
Terminator 2: Judgment Day

68. Terminator 2: Judgment Day

I initially didn’t have Terminator 2 on this list for some reason. I was scrolling through the films I had excluded, and I noticed “Terminator 2”. How could I possibly leave this entertaining sci-fi movie out? Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t a naturally great actor, but this is the best work of his career. Director James Cameron did an excellent job combining special effects, CGI, music, and his vision into an action-packed gem. If you enjoy explosions, artificial intelligence, technology, and badass stunts, “Terminator 2” does it best. Interestingly, I often catch myself randomly humming the “Terminator 2” theme song.

69. The Apartment

Billy Wilder didn’t direct many films, but this is said to be his best work. C.C. Baxter, played by John Lemmon, is a lowly executive in an insurance company named ‘Consolidated Life’. In his ambition to rise in the ranks, he has permitted the executives to use his apartment for extramarital affairs. One affair involving Baxter’s boss and an elevator operator named Fran, whom Baxter has a crush on, goes wrong, and Baxter must deal with the ramifications. A series of comedic mistakes and drama unfold in this excellent film. “The Apartment” was ahead of its time because films didn’t openly discuss topics like affairs and sexual harassment.

The Apartment
Amadeus

70. Amadeus

While everyone knows who Mozart was, not everyone is familiar with his life story (although this film takes creative liberties). Tom Hulce portrays Mozart as a lighthearted young man, yet troubled by his addiction to alcohol. F. Murray Abraham plays Antonio Salieri, Mozart’s arch-enemy, reminiscing about Mozart’s troubled personal life and his profound compositions. “Amadeus” excels in telling Mozart’s story, blending comedy, drama, and music seamlessly. The directing, witty dialogue, and cinematography make this film a must-watch. The film occasionally slows down in pace, but it’s not a film one should miss.

71. Dead Poets Society

The late Robin Williams portrays Mr. Keating in this touching film about forging your own path in life without conforming to the expectations of society. Mr. Keating is no ordinary teacher; he utilizes an unorthodox teaching style while genuinely caring for his students. He challenges them to be daring and find their voice in the world. Teaching that poetry, beauty, romance, and love are what we stay alive for, he instills the belief that words and ideas can change the world. We bear the responsibility not only to improve ourselves but also to contribute something to the world. I watched this film for the first time in my freshman year of college, and it transformed my life. This film made me a fan of Robin Williams. I blogged my thoughts on this movie in the past. Carpe diem, seize the day, my friends.

Dead Poets Society
Blade Runner 2049

72. Blade Runner 2049

The sequel to the classic ‘Blade Runner’. This excellent Sci-fi mystery by Denis Villeneuve leaves you awed. The technicals, set designs, costumes, and music are great, but what you remember the most about this film are the stunning visuals. The movie gradually builds suspense with its subtle storytelling. Editing cuts could have quickened the pacing by eliminating unnecessary fluff. While the story leaves something to be desired, I think this film belongs on this list. Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford have good chemistry together. Ana de Armas is also beautiful but in a limited side role. They could have also used better Jared Leto. This film is certainly far from perfect.

73. Taxi Driver 

This film is dark, depressing, and difficult to follow. Understanding “Taxi Driver” requires the viewer to delve into the mind of the main character, Travis Bickle, played by Robert de Niro, and it’s no simple task. Since he doesn’t let anyone in, we must assess him based on his actions, expressions, and the limited dialogue he shares. He is also someone dealing with PTSD, insomnia, and other mental illnesses difficult to gauge. The narrative is presented from Travis’s perspective. Travis is an unreliable narrator because his schizophrenic delusions make it challenging to consistently follow along.

The concepts in “Taxi Driver” remain pertinent even today, but the film itself hasn’t aged too well. The pacing lacks something, and the story presentation leaves something on the table. It is possible that this was done deliberately to immerse viewers in the alienation and loneliness experienced by Travis. The acting is very well done by not just DeNiro but also Jodie Foster and Cybill Shepherd. “Taxi Driver” was innovative for the time in which Scorsese made it. The film is still extremely well made from a technical perspective.

Taxi Driver
Titanic

74. Titanic

The film industry has released many films on the Titanic over the decades. James Cameron’s Titanic is probably the best of them. James Cameron famously dived in a submarine to get shots of the original Titanic and used $40 million to build a movie set with a replica. I won’t rehash the plot. The music, visuals, special effects, and cinematography are beautiful from the very first scene. The acting by the entire cast is great, especially Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. The romance arc felt too drawn out and clichéd at times. It’s conflicting because the movie probably doesn’t work without the romance story, but it could have been presented more frankly without going so heavily into cliché territory.

75. Stand by Me

It’s only fitting that I started this list with a film based on a short story by Stephen King and ended it with another one also by Stephen King. This movie follows the thrilling adventure of four teenage boys as they set out in search of the dead body of a kid they knew. However, this film is about more than just the story. It delves into the innocence and experience of a group of friends spellbound by one event. The style, the atmosphere, and the music successfully transport you into the 1950s era. Usually, films with child actors leave you wanting more, but “Stand by Me” never disappoints in the acting department. It’s a film for anyone who is or was once a teenager.

We experience the most joy during the initial watch because the mystery element disappears on a rewatch. If you already know the plot and the ending, the adventure loses some of its magical spark. Nevertheless, it remains an amazing timeless movie with issues and ideas that every young teenager grapples with on the path to becoming an adult.

Stand by me

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Die Hard
  2. American Beauty
  3. Ben-Hur
  4. Lagaan
  5. Gangs of New York
  6. The Green Mile
  7. PK
  8. Joker
  9. Rebecca (original from 1940)
  10. Dial M for Murder
  11. The Sting
  12. Dune Part 1
  13. Munnabhai M.B.B.S
  14. Once Upon a Time in the West
  15. Gone Girl
Harsh Shukla
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