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101 102 Movies You Must See Before...

Cary Grant runs for cover in Alfred Hitchcock's "North By Northwest" -- one of the iconic images in movie history.

EXCERPT FROM INTRO: This isn't like Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" series. It's not my idea of The Best Movies Ever Made (that would be a different list, though there's some overlap here), or limited to my personal favorites or my estimation of the most important or influential films. These are the movies I just kind of figure everybody ought to have seen in order to have any sort of informed discussion about movies. They're the common cultural currency of our time, the basic cinematic texts that everyone should know, at minimum, to be somewhat "movie-literate." I hope these movies are experiences we can all assume we share.

So, I looked up the list and here it is, with only a couple changes. (I added "Fight Club" because it's essential and it hadn't been released at the time I made the list.) I remember I tried to represent key examples of all important genres, movie stars, directors, historical movements, and so on -- like an overview of the 20th century in 101 movies. Yes, there are many more I'd like to add, but remember, this is only a primer. How many have you seen? (Hot titles should link to Roger Ebert's reviews.)

Full meandering, long-winded, digression-filled, "will he ever get to the point?" intro here.

"2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968) Stanley Kubrick "The 400 Blows" (1959) Francois Truffaut "8 1/2" (1963) Federico Fellini "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" (1972) Werner Herzog "Alien" (1979) Ridley Scott "All About Eve" (1950) Joseph L. Mankiewicz "Annie Hall" (1977) Woody Allen "Apocalypse Now" (1979) Francis Ford Coppola* "Bambi" (1942) Disney "The Battleship Potemkin" (1925) Sergei Eisenstein "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) William Wyler "The Big Red One" (1980) Samuel Fuller "The Bicycle Thief" (1949) Vittorio De Sica "The Big Sleep" (1946) Howard Hawks "Blade Runner" (1982) Ridley Scott "Blow-Up" (1966) Michelangelo Antonioni "Blue Velvet" (1986) David Lynch "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967) Arthur Penn "Breathless" (1960) Jean-Luc Godard "Bringing Up Baby" (1938) Howard Hawks "Carrie" (1975) Brian DePalma "Casablanca" (1942) Michael Curtiz "Un Chien Andalou" (1928) Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali "Children of Paradise" / "Les Enfants du Paradis" (1945) Marcel Carne "Chinatown" (1974) Roman Polanski "Citizen Kane" (1941) Orson Welles "A Clockwork Orange" (1971) Stanley Kubrick "The Crying Game" (1992) Neil Jordan "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951) Robert Wise "Days of Heaven" (1978) Terrence Malick "Dirty Harry" (1971) Don Siegel "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" (1972) Luis Bunuel "Do the Right Thing" (1989 Spike Lee "La Dolce Vita" (1960) Federico Fellini "Double Indemnity" (1944) Billy Wilder "Dr. Strangelove" (1964) Stanley Kubrick "Duck Soup" (1933) Leo McCarey "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982) Steven Spielberg "Easy Rider" (1969) Dennis Hopper "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) Irvin Kershner "The Exorcist" (1973) William Friedkin "Fargo" (1995) Joel & Ethan Coen "Fight Club" (1999) David Fincher "Frankenstein" (1931) James Whale "The General" (1927) Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman "The Godfather," "The Godfather, Part II" (1972, 1974) Francis Ford Coppola "Gone With the Wind" (1939) Victor Fleming "GoodFellas" (1990) Martin Scorsese "The Graduate" (1967) Mike Nichols "Halloween" (1978) John Carpenter "A Hard Day's Night" (1964) Richard Lester "Intolerance" (1916) D.W. Griffith "It's a Gift" (1934) Norman Z. McLeod "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) Frank Capra "Jaws" (1975) Steven Spielberg "The Lady Eve" (1941) Preston Sturges "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) David Lean "M" (1931) Fritz Lang "Mad Max 2" / "The Road Warrior" (1981) George Miller "The Maltese Falcon" (1941) John Huston "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962) John Frankenheimer "Metropolis" (1926) Fritz Lang "Modern Times" (1936) Charles Chaplin "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1975) Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam "Nashville" (1975) Robert Altman "The Night of the Hunter" (1955) Charles Laughton "Night of the Living Dead" (1968) George Romero "North by Northwest" (1959) Alfred Hitchcock "Nosferatu" (1922) F.W. Murnau "On the Waterfront" (1954) Elia Kazan "Once Upon a Time in the West" (1968) Sergio Leone "Out of the Past" (1947) Jacques Tournier "Persona" (1966) Ingmar Bergman "Pink Flamingos" (1972) John Waters "Psycho" (1960) Alfred Hitchcock "Pulp Fiction" (1994) Quentin Tarantino "Rashomon" (1950) Akira Kurosawa "Rear Window" (1954) Alfred Hitchcock "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955) Nicholas Ray "Red River" (1948) Howard Hawks "Repulsion" (1965) Roman Polanski "The Rules of the Game" (1939) Jean Renoir "Scarface" (1932) Howard Hawks "The Scarlet Empress" (1934) Josef von Sternberg "Schindler's List" (1993) Steven Spielberg "The Searchers" (1956) John Ford "The Seven Samurai" (1954) Akira Kurosawa "Singin' in the Rain" (1952) Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly "Some Like It Hot" (1959) Billy Wilder "A Star Is Born" (1954) George Cukor "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951) Elia Kazan "Sunset Boulevard" (1950) Billy Wilder "Taxi Driver" (1976) Martin Scorsese "The Third Man" (1949) Carol Reed "Tokyo Story" (1953) Yasujiro Ozu "Touch of Evil" (1958) Orson Welles "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948) John Huston "Trouble in Paradise" (1932) Ernst Lubitsch "Vertigo" (1958) Alfred Hitchcock "West Side Story" (1961) Jerome Robbins/Robert Wise "The Wild Bunch" (1969) Sam Peckinpah "The Wizard of Oz" (1939) Victor Fleming

* added belatedly for reasons explained at the bottom of this post, here.

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