12 Movies You’ll Regret Not Watching Before You Die

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?


Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains in Casablanca (1942).
Image Credit: Deutsche Kinemathek.

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

12 Angry Men.
Image Credit: MGM.

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.


Image Credit: BBC.

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

Tom Hanks and Leland Orser in Saving Private Ryan (1998).
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

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.

Schindler’s List

Liam Neeson in Schindler's List (1993).
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

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.

Shawshank Redemption

Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption (1994)/
Image Credit: CastleRock Entertainment.

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

Ethan Hawke, Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Josh Charles, Gale Hansen, Dylan Kussman, Allelon Ruggiero, and James Waterston in Dead Poets Society (1989).
Image Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

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

It's a Wonderful Life.
Image Credit: Paramount.

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.”


Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

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

The Princess Bride.
Image Credit: MGM.

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

Grave of the Fireflies
Image Credit: Studio Ghibli / Toho.

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.

Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda.
Image Credit: United Artists.

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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Kim Dickens as Madison Clark - Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 6.
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Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson in Mad Men.
Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/AMC.

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Timothy Olyphant, Drew Barrymore in Santa Clarita Diet Season 2
Image Credit: Saeed Adyani/Netflix.

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Outer Banks. Rudy Pankow as JJ in episode 303 of Outer Banks

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Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. Sarma Melngailis in Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.
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18 thoughts on “12 Movies You’ll Regret Not Watching Before You Die”

  1. Hotel Rwanda was good, but Sometimes in April is more realistic to what happened. I had to pause it and walk away multiple times just to catch my breath.

    • Everyone forgets about this because it wasn’t the big studio movie that Hotel Rwanda was, but this was by far the better movie. I saw this before Hotel Rwanda came out and never even went to the theater to see it because Sometimes in April already told the story beautifully and tragically. I will never watch it again because it took everything out of me.

    • If you thought that Hotel Rwanda (Rwanda…great song by Rancid: album Rancid…Jimmy Cliff covers & hits Ruby Soho out of the park.) was good, then you might check out Ran: Akira Kurosawa based upon Shakespear’s King Lear.

  2. I know a list needs an end, but so much lacking in this!!
    Citizen Kane, Gone with the Wind, anything with Betty Davis in it,
    Godfather, Jaws, Rebecca, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, 6th Sense, Goodfellas,
    Casino, Brokeback Mountain, Young Frankenstein…oh I give up. Usual Suspects.

  3. Yes, I agree. This list is lacking. Silence of the Lambs, Parasite, Toy Story, Malcom X, 12 Years a Slave, There Will Be Blood, E.T, Road Warrior, Blade Runner, The Piano, Moonlight, Titanic, The Wild Bunch, 7 Samurai, Magnificent 7, True Lies (ok, I’m stretching it on this one, but everything a movie should be. So entertaining!)

  4. Blazing Saddles, 2001 A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Apocalypse Now, Pulp Fiction, Halloween (orginal), Blue Velvet, Full Metal Jacket, Caddyshack… I could go on and on.


  6. A movie that I believe everyone should see at least once but they may not be able to stop at just watching once is The War it’s an amazing movie that came out same year as Forrest Gump but not very well publicized. The movie has a great cast of actors. Kevin Costner, Elijah Wood, Mira Winningham. A movie I love so much that there are scenes i have memorized word for word they just made a profound impact on me.

  7. No Sci-Fi films usually make a list like this. A prime candidate for me, and my favorite Sci-Fi film of all time, is the original Day the Earth Stood Still with Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, and of course, Gort. Although made decades before the high-tech used today, it is remarkably effective and still relevant. “Klaatu barada nikto” is one of the most famous lines in movie history, A well-acted, intelligent movie where the alien is the good guy. A far better movie than the high-tech but miserable remake made decades later that I can’t stand to even watch.

  8. “Wow, what an incredible list of must-watch movies! I appreciate the diverse range of genres and timeless classics included here. It’s like you’ve curated a masterpiece collection that captures the essence of cinema. I can’t wait to start checking off these films one by one. Thank you for providing such valuable recommendations that will surely enrich our movie-watching experience. Keep up the excellent work! Best regards, Gary Ford.”

  9. “The Cruel Sea” (b&w), British production which follows a professional mariner from the British merchant marine – a member of the Royal Naval Reserve called up to serve as a new naval ship’s Captain, and a young university educated man commissioned into the Royal Navy Voluntary Reserve as an officer at the beginning of WWII. (And many other characters too). It follows them through the 6 years of the war while conveying a real feel for the dangerous, grinding, cold, wet, stressful conditions of their life escorting civilian ships across the North Atlantic Ocean in the face of the German submarine assault. I think that the black and white film helps to show us the life they endured or didn’t survive. Best war-at-sea film except for maybe “Das boot” (same battles from the other side’s point of view). (NOTE: I’m retired after 33 years in U S Merchant Marine)


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