I love lists like this! As a big-time movie fan, I’m always looking for new flicks to add to my “must-watch” list. We wanted to know what people thought were movies everyone should see at least once in their lifetime, and there were so many great responses. We narrowed it down to 12 of the best.
How many of these fan and critically acclaimed movies have you seen?
Despite being released in the 1940s, Casablanca continues to be regarded as one of the greatest movies ever made.
“Once you watch Casablanca, dozens of cultural references will make more sense.” one of the more popular answers read. Others agreed, saying there’s a good reason this movie makes most “best of all time” lists.
12 Angry Men
What fans couldn’t agree on with 12 Angry Men is which one was better: the original or the 1997 remake. I’ve only seen the latter, but this has inspired me to watch the 1957 version!
“I was sitting in air conditioning while watching it and could still feel the heat and humidity in that room.” someone commented.
No, not the new social media network from Zuck, the mid-80s British film. If you haven’t heard of it (most haven’t), it follows a UK city through a “what if” scenario of a nuclear explosion nearby. Just a warning: Despite being shot on a shoestring budget, Threads’ harrowing storytelling will stay with you.
Someone shared some sound advice to heed before you watch Threads: “You only need to watch it once, don’t watch it before you sleep, and read the TV Tropes guide beforehand if you have any doubts.”
Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan is a cinematic masterpiece and a must-watch for everyone. Even if you’re not into war movies!
“If you watch that beach landing scene and still romanticize war, you’re a psychopath.” the person who suggested this one said.
One of my favorite movies, Schindler’s List gives the viewer a look into what life was like in Nazi Germany. It’s also based on a true story; there was a real Oskar Shindler who saved 1,100 Jews from the Holocaust.
“The ending of Schindler’s List is incredibly moving. It’s a stark reminder of how this wasn’t long ago and that we should never forget the past.” someone replied to this suggestion.
Others suggested The Pianist (another movie I love), so if you’re looking for another movie like Schindler’s List definitely check that one out too.
I’m on team “everyone should watch Shawshank Redemption” at least once. Not only are the story and characters amazing, but it’s an important cultural touchstone piece as well. I recently re-watched this film with my partner and son (both hadn’t seen it) and it definitely still holds up.
Someone shared this quote from the movie, which I love: “I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright.”
Dead Poets Society
It may not be his only serious movie, but if you only know Robin Williams as a super-funny guy Dead Poets Society is going to completely change your perception of this late actor. Even though the story is about a teacher inspiring youths, you can’t help but feel like you can do anything after watching this film.
Someone on Reddit summed this one up perfectly, saying, “What a beautiful, bittersweet movie. Great writing, amazing acting, and a timeless story. Dead Poets Society is one of the greatest movies of all time and deserves to be remembered forever.”
It’s a Wonderful Life
Often thought of as a movie you watch every year at Christmastime, It’s a Wonderful Life follows the story of a man considering taking his own life. Angels appear, and they show him what life would be like if he wasn’t around.
I haven’t seen It’s a Wonderful Life, but this comment has made me want to check it out this holiday season. “I hope I don’t need to explain beyond that for those who know. I will say it’s a movie that gets better with time, and it has been out for nearly eighty years and it shows no signs of souring.”
This is an interesting suggestion amongst established classics, but I completely agree with the folks who suggested Idiocracy as a must-watch movie. I also quote it every time I drink Gatorade, so that’s some lasting power!
Amidst replies that were just movie quotes, someone said (quite depressingly) “The sad thing is—this movie hits closer to reality every day.”
The Princess Bride
Silly and campy, The Princess Bride is one of those movies you can’t help but love. Part adventure, part comedy, it holds merit both as a fantasy story and ultra-quotable experience.
“No one has mentioned The Princess Bride yet? Inconceivable!” the person who suggested this cult classic said, referencing the iconic movie quote.
Grave of the Fireflies
This is a Japanese animated film set in World War II. It follows a pair of siblings struggling together after an American firebombing separated them from their parents. I watched this one as a kid and remember how sad it (along with another similar animated film Rail of the Star) was.
“The greatest movie I will never watch again.” someone commented on the film. Others agreed with the sentiment, adding things like “God, that film broke me down multiple times.” and “Once and never again. I cried 11 times.”
You’ve been warned.
Another heart-wrenching film, Hotel Rwanda, tells one of many all-too-real stories of the Rwanda Genocide. While it’s not explicitly a true story, it’s inspired by true events.
All the replies to this one were folks talking about how heartbreaking Hotel Rwanda was. “I bawled several times through it.” someone said.
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