21 Movies Everyone Should See At Least Once in Their Life

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More films are available to watch than anyone could see in a lifetime. With so many options to choose from, finding a suitable movie can be a daunting task. However, some of these films have transcended time and culture to leave a critical mark on the world of cinema.

To help viewers on their journey of film brilliance, we have cultivated a list of films we believe everyone should see once. From heart-wrenching dramas to irreverent comedies, this list provides some of the best entries the world of film has to offer.

1. The Shawshank Redemption

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

This film proves Stephen King is not a one-trick pony. The Shawshank Redemption is a timeless classic that tells the story of redemption and hope. The film depicts the harsh realities of life behind bars and the mental impact it can have on those trapped there.

Directed by Frank Darabont, The Shawshank Redemption features brilliant character development and unrivaled cinematography. It is not only one of Stephen King’s best stories but also one of the greatest films of all time.

2. The Godfather

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

This film is the mobster movie to end all mobster movies. The Godfather is a cinematic masterpiece that explores the hidden world of organized crime. The film follows the rise of the Corleone family as the dominant force in the Italian mafia.

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather has influenced pop culture for over fifty years. The film features impeccable dialogue and one of the best character arcs ever conceived. Brilliant performances by Al Pacino and Marlon Brando help bring this epic drama to life.  

3. Monty Python and The Holy Grail

Photo Credit: Python (Monty) Pictures.

This iconic comedy leaves more than a flesh wound on its audiences. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a hilarious retelling of King Arthur’s adventures. Featuring a mix of slapstick comedy and biting satire, this film has been hugely influential in the comedy world.

Directed by Monty Python member Terry Gilliam, Monty Python and the Holy Grail features unmissable performances that are still used in pop culture references today. This film is a must-see classic for comedy fans.

4. Forrest Gump

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

This film teaches us to never back down in the face of adversity. Forrest Gump is a heartwarming tale of a disabled man’s journey through life. The film’s message of kindness and hope has resonated with audiences for over two decades.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Forrest Gump features Tom Hanks at his best. The film is a must-watch for anyone who wants an uplifting tale about the indomitable nature of the human spirit.

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5. Pulp Fiction

Photo Credit: Miramax Films.

This film cemented Quentin Tarantino’s status as a master filmmaker. Pulp Fiction is a genre-defying, nonlinear film that explores the seedy underworld of Los Angeles. It features standout performances by Samual L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, and John Travolta.

Pulp Fiction has defined the action genre for generations. Its blend of comedy, action, and alarming elements continues to impress audiences of all ages. Pulp Fiction is a must-see for anyone who wants to witness a truly original piece of cinema.

6. Parasite

Photo Credit: CJ Entertainment.

This South Korean satire is about the horrors of modern life. Parasite is a film that explores themes of power, economics, and class systems. At its heart, Parasite is a scathing critique of the effects that capitalism can have on those at the bottom of the social ladder.

Directed by Bong Joon Ho, Parasite follows a poor family as they slowly infiltrate the lives of an upper-class family. The film is praised for its social commentary and is a must-watch for those who want to be challenged while they are entertained.

7. Goodfellas

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This all-star mob film takes out the competition. Goodfellas is an iconic crime drama that explores the real-life rise and fall of gangster Henry Hill. The film features mesmerizing performances by Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci.

Directed by Martin Scorsese, Goodfella’s use of voice-over narration revolutionized the genre and can be seen in many of the crime films that followed. The film is a must-see for anyone who wants to see a genre-defining movie.

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8. Young Frankenstein

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

This slapstick comedy features Gene Wilder at his best. Young Frankenstein is a fantastic parody of the horror genre. Meta horror films are all the rage these days, but it all started with this iconic comedy.

Directed by Mel Brooks, Young Frankenstein follows Dr. Frankenstein’s grandson as he gets roped back into the search for everlasting life. Young Frankenstein is a must-see for fans of the spoof genre.

9. The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Aliens from Transylvania steal the show in this classic musical. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a genre-blending film that follows a young couple who are taken in after their car breaks down. The film explores themes of sexuality, purity, and gender.

Directed by Jim Sharman, The Rocky Horror Picture Show features unforgettable performances by Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, and Meat Loaf. This film is a must-see for anyone who wants to witness something truly out of this world.

10. The Thing

Photo Credit: Universal Studios.

This film teaches us not to trust what we see. The Thing is considered one of the greatest horror films ever made. The film follows a group of Antarctic scientists besieged by a shape-shifting alien. Their trust in each other soon breaks down as they begin to disappear one by one.

Directed by John Carpenter, The Thing utilizes practical effects and a sense of paranoia to instill fear in its audience. The Thing is a must-see for anyone interested in being truly frightened.

11. The Exorcist

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This film made Catholicism scary again. The Exorcist is one of the most influential horror films ever. It single-handedly invented the Catholic possession genre, which is still wildly popular today. The film follows a mother and her recently possessed daughter as they ask to seek the church’s help to save her from damnation.

Directed by William Friedkin, The Exorcist’s use of subliminal images and vulgar displays of possession terrified audiences in a way no other film ever has. The film is a must-see for anyone who wants a terrifying religious experience.

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12. Requiem for A Dream

Photo Credit: Artisan Entertainment.

This is possibly the bleakest film ever made. Requiem for a Dream is a brilliant film about the cost of addiction. The film features unforgettable performances by Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn, Jennifer Connely, and Marlon Wayans.

Directed by Darren Aronofsky, Requiem for a Dream gives a glimpse into the life of each addict and their eventual fall from grace. This film is a must-see for anyone who wants to be scarred by a piece of media.

13. Pan’s Labyrinth

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

This film shows how fantasy can help us escape. Pan’s Labyrinth is a masterfully done horror fantasy that follows a young girl during the Spanish Civil War. She soon learns she is the princess of a whimsical and dark world. However, entering this world comes at a staggering cost.

Directed by the brilliant Guillermo del Toro, Pan’s Labyrinth is a strikingly beautiful tale of woe. The film creates its magical elements using practical effects and clever color theory. Pan’s Labyrinth is a must-see for anyone who loves folklore.

14. American History X

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

This powerful film explores the roots of racism. American History X follows a young man from a white supremacist family as he investigates why he holds his hateful viewpoints. The film features heart-wrenching performances by Edward Norton and Edward Furlong.

Directed by Tony Kaye, American History X reminds us that hate and racism are tools of oppression that hurt all those involved. The film is a must-see for anyone who wants to see a heartbreaking drama.

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15. Donnie Darko

Photo Credit: Pandora Cinema.

This haunting sci-fi film defined a generation. Donnie Darko is the story of a troubled teenager who is visited by a time-traveling giant rabbit. This strange film has reached cult classic status for its unconventional narrative and unique structure.

Directed by Richard Kelly, Donnie Darko is an unsettling film that burrows under your skin, and no amount of scratching will get it out. This film is a must-see for anyone who wants something dark yet beautiful.  

16. Heathers

Photo Credit: New World Pictures.

This film is the horror equivalent of Mean Girls. Heathers is a satirical film aimed at the hierarchical nature of high school. The film features incredible performances by a young Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. Their depiction of teenage angst has elevated the film to its cult classic status.

Directed by Michael Lehmann, Heathers follows two teenagers as they start killing off the mean girls of their high school. The film is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys a good horror comedy.

17. Sin City

Photo Credit: Dimension Films.

This film brings the darker side of graphic novels to the silver screen. Sin City is a brilliant adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic series of the same name. The film utilizes a black-and-white backdrop with dashes of color to create a one-of-a-kind viewing experience.

Directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, Sin City features an all-star cast and impressive character depth. It is a must-see film for anyone who wants to see a stylish and captivating film.

18. There Will Be Blood

Photo Credit: Miramax Films.

This film highlights the cost of greed and deceit. There Will Be Blood is a sprawling epic about the American dream and the hunt for success. The film features an unmissable performance by Daniel Day-Lewis as a callus oil tycoon.

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood is a timeless examination of the cost of capitalism and power. This film is a must-watch for anyone who loves social commentary in their movies.

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19. 300

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This may be the bloodiest, most extravagant action film to date. 300 is a fictional retelling of the battle of Thermopylae. The film is loved for its slow-motion and stylized violence sequences.

300 knows better than to let something like historical accuracy get in the war of a good action flick. This is a must-see film for anyone who enjoys an entertaining action flick.

20. The Fly

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

This film is the ultimate body horror experience. The Fly is the story of a scientist who successfully builds a matter transporter device. However, an unforeseen element slowly combines his body with the DNA of a housefly.

Directed by David Cronenberg, The Fly is a gross-out horror flick with a heart. The film features terrific performances by Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. This is a must-watch film for those interested in the evolution of horror films.

21. V for Vendetta

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This film teaches us the importance of standing up to fascism. V for Vendetta is based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and explores themes of revolution and freedom. The film features dramatic performances by Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman.

Directed by James McTeigue, V for Vendetta offers a timeless message about the power of a nation and the fragility of society. This is a must-see film for anyone interested in political allegory and visually stunning action.

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7 Celebrities Who Are Genuinely Good

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We’ve all heard the famous adage that “no publicity is bad publicity,” and while it tends to be accurate, there are certainly exceptions. We expect celebrities to have at least some controversy associated with their name, be it an old scandal or a fresh feud. But what about those few stars who stay out of the limelight and get along without a hint of trouble?

7 Celebrities Who Are Genuinely Good

10 Actors Perfectly Cast for Their Character Roles

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Many movies are cast with actors that are decent fits. They can even be great because the actor does an excellent job adapting to the role. However, there are some movies where the fit is just so perfect that you could not imagine the movie being a success if they had chosen anyone else.

10 Actors Perfectly Cast for Their Character Roles


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