There are certain movies that everyone, even novice filmgoers, will recognize: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining; David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia; David Fincher’s Fight Club; Mike Nichols’ The Graduate. Each is lauded by critics, admired by filmmakers, and adored by audiences. And yet none of them made this list.
That’s because the criteria for our list of the 100 Must-Watch Movies to See Before You Die is extremely strict and weighted in historical context. More than a “best movie of all time” list, here are the ones that changed the course of cinema upon their initial release. The ones that inspired or fundamentally altered entire movie genres. Some of these movies are pushing 100 years old, while others were released within the last decade. Regardless, they all hold an important place in the canon of cinema as we know it.
Every self-respecting movie fan owes it to themselves to see each of these at least once before they visit that multiplex concession stand in the sky. Our picks range from horror staples like The Thing to markers of entire eras like The Social Network. So if you’re asking yourself “what should I watch?” this list is perfect for you. We know you’ve got time on your hands – better get started!