Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Frohlich, Fritz Rasp
Without Metropolis, this list would be threadbare. Phenomenally ahead of its time, German director Fritz Lang's dystopian marvel was the most expensive flick ever made in Germany at the time of its release, and every dollar shows up on screen.
Viewing Metropolis today, it's incredible to think that the damn thing was made way back in 1927-the effects, as well as the pacing and overall imagination, rival most of the sci-fi films released in modern times.
A certified silent film era classic, Metropolis takes place in a futuristic dystopian society in which classes are separated between rich folks and grunt workers, but the story is the least of the film's concerns. Lang's magnum opus is a feast for the eyes, inspiring awe with its large-scale cityscapes, overcrowded setpieces, and iconic shot of a female robot given life through Frankenstein-style electrical experimentation.
If you're unfamiliar with the kind of attention a silent film demands, have no fear. Metropolis is that rare example of a non-talky picture that's too immense to bore less savvy moviegoers. If someone does nod off during it, just tell them to use their limited attention span to see The Hangover Part II.