As a huge movie-lover, I decided I’d like to have in memory all those films which have moved me in one way or another.
Here are my fifty first picks in no particular order, with more to come. I also included my favorite documentaries in this list.
1. Almost Famous (2000)
Okay. This is number one for a reason. A one-of-a-kind film about journalism, music, love, life on the road, music, Cameron Crowe, and more music. A huge influence on my life.
2. A Scanner Darkly (2006)
Richard Linklater’s brilliantly effective, comedic, thought-provoking and rotoscope-style film that will make you appreciate Keanu Reeves as an actor if you don’t already. Features music from Radiohead; based on the novel by Philip K. Dick.
3. Across the Universe (2007)
A musical any Beatles fan would love. Features my personal favorite Evan Rachel Wood.
4. At Close Range (1986)
Underrated film starring Sean Penn and Christopher Walken; based on a true story; features Madonna’s hit “Live to Tell.”
5. American Beauty (1999)
One of the greatest films of all time; excellent cast; Kevin Spacey at his finest.
6. A Serious Man (2009)
Overlooked film from the Coen Brothers with a great soundtrack. One of my favorite movie endings; who wouldn’t want to watch a spinning tornado while Jefferson Airplane plays on their headphones?
7. American Psycho (2000)
The film that put Christian Bale on the map officially. Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis.
8. Another Day in Paradise (1998)
A great drug movie starring James Woods and Vincent Kartheiser.
9. Amelie (2001)
Excellent French film starring the lovely Audrey Tautou.
10. Brick (2005)
Excellent indie film noir which is also a book by Rian Johnson. Stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
11. Blood Diamond (2006)
An excellent action/drama starring Leonardo DiCaprio, focused on the real-life conflict-diamond trade in Africa.
12. Billy Elliot (2000)
Two words: T-Rex. Or maybe that’s one word. Either way, a bittersweet comedy/drama about following your dreams.
13. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)
Takes place during the Holocaust, when a young German boy befriends a Jewish boy in a nearby concentration camp.
14. Badlands (1973)
Terrence Malick’s great “road movie” based on the real-life serial killings of Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate.
15. The Beach (2000)
One of my favorite exotic, forbidden-getaway movies, even with the weird video game sequence. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
16. Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Michael Moore’s comedic an introspective documentary on America’s gun control policies.
17. The Breakfast Club (1985)
Probably my favorite 80s flick, not to mention my favorite John Hughes’ movie. Any high school kid can relate.
18. Bug (2006)
An underrated psychological thriller/mystery starring Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon.
19. Boy A (2007)
An interesting take on whether redemption is possible for a young ex-convict.
20. The Butterfly Effect (2004)
I loved how Kutcher actually did a serious movie. An interest concept and story about how our choices affect our fate.
21. Boogie Nights (1997)
One of my favorite films from one of my favorite directors. Tons of amazing actors, superb depiction of the 70s porn industry, great soundtrack, and, of course, the biggest penis you’ll ever see on film.
22. Blow (2001)
Excellent movie based on the life of George Jung, starring Johnny Depp, with a great soundtrack and a moral lesson about money, parenting and fate.
23. Big Fish (2003)
An imaginative, colorful story from Tim Burton about a man reliving his father’s life through the stories he told.
24. Beetle Juice (1988)
A twisted, childhood favorite from Tim Burton.
25. Being John Malkovich (1999)
Some of my favorite actors in this flick; Cameron Diaz and her animals are particularly great. An interesting concept about living your life in someone else’s skin.
26. Beyond Rangoon (1995)
I wasn’t expecting to like Patricia Arquette in this film, but after seeing her literally in action, I give her props for this role as an American citizen in turbulent Burma.
27. The Big Chill (1983)
Having one of the best classic rock soundtracks makes this film enjoyable and memorable.
28. Basketball Diaries (1995)
Semi-autobiographical account of the life of Jim Carroll and his descent into heroin addiction. Not for the faint of heart, not your typical drug movie, but worth seeing as rarely do we witness vulgarity in a poetic manner. Stars Leo DiCaprio.
29. The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005)
A touching story on modern development and commune life, as well as relationships and how far we’ll go to stay in our comfort zone. Starring some of my personal favorite actresses, Jena Malone and Catherine Keener, as well as the brilliant Daniel Day-Lewis and young actress Camilla Belle.
30. Boyz n the Hood (1991)
Other than Spike Lee and Larry Clark, not many directors can accurately portray life in the ghetto like John Singleton.
31. A Bronx Tale (1993)
A classic flick with memorable quotes, from director Robert DeNiro.
32. The Constant Gardener (2005)
Beautiful, politically-charged film, starring the wonderful Rachel Weisz.
33. Crash (2004)
Excellent film, intertwining the lives of several characters.
34. Chasing Amy (1997)
An interesting, comedic story about a lesbian who falls for a man.
35. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
The classic from director Stanley Kubrick, based on the novel by Anthony Burgess.
36. Candy (2006)
An underrated, bittersweet movie about two lovers addicted to heroin; beautifully shot.
37. Cruel Intentions (1999)
The sultry, romantic drama with an awesome soundtrack to boot.
38. Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)
A well-cast, quirky comedy from director Jim Jarmusch, featuring Cate Blanchett in two roles.
39. Clerks (1994)
Kevin Smith’s black-and-white film debut surrounding two NJ convenience store clerks.
40. Carlito’s Way (1993)
One of Brian De Palma’s classics starring Al Pacino and Sean Penn.
41. City of God (2002)
An excellent action/drama that takes place in the turbulent streets of Rio de Janeiro.
42. Counterfeiters (2007)
Based on the true story of history’s largest counterfeiting operation, done by the Nazis during World War II.
43. The Craft (1996)
The imaginative story of four witches in high school who test the bounds of magic.
44. The Crow (1994)
The cult classic starring Brandon Lee, who eerily died during the film’s creation. An amazing soundtrack pairs with this unique story, about a man brought back from the dead through the vessel of a crow.
45. Donnie Darko (2001)
The fantastically unique film from director Richard Kelly, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone and Drew Barrymore. A film that can be interpreted several ways.
46. Dead Man (1995)
Directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Johnny Depp, Crispin Glover and Gary Farmer, “Dead Man” is an exceptionally creative an artistic film, (often described as an acid western,) surrounding a white man who befriends a Native American in his unexpected journey of becoming an outlaw killer. With soundtrack by Neil Young.
47. Dogma (1999)
The wonderfully comedic and thought-provoking film from Kevin Smith, starring an array of actors as angels, demons and saviors.
48. The Dark Knight (2008)
An all-star cast lines this brilliant and darkly intense film from director Christopher Nolan, showing the Joker as he’s never been shown before.
49. Dumb & Dumber (1994)
One of my favorite comedies, directed by Peter Farrelly.
50. Dazed & Confused (1993)
The classic from director Richard Linklater, with an amazing classic-rock soundtrack.