Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Stars: Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, Clu Gulager, Randy Quaid
Lesson Learned: Nostalgia isn't always what it's cracked up to be; sometimes, it hurts.

The aforementioned American Graffiti, No. 16 on this countdown, presents its nostalgia with pleasantness and smiles; The Last Picture Show, on the other hand, does so with gloom, somberness, and tense introspection. Widely celebrated director Pete Bogdanovich's monumental classic uses its 1951 high school backdrop as a gateway into a much bigger and softly tragic narrative. A young Jeff Bridges is amongst the actors who play teens living in a dying Texas town, where minimal funds gradually sink their neighborhoods into quasi-tombs. Heartbreak, death, and the collective sorrows over a closed movie theater comprise The Last Picture Show's most pain-soaked elements; high school movies don't get much more melancholic than this.