6 Movies You Have To See Before You Die

Kelly Michele

Kelly has been a lover of movies since she was little. Although her movie tastes have changed a little since her younger days of Carebears and Mary Poppins, her love of film hasn't. She can generally be found watching any horror movie she can get her hands on, but will occasionally throw an indie film or documentary into the mix to shake things up. She speaks in movie quotes and uses film references in daily conversation; and she does all of this while attempting to change the world's negative opinion of fangirls.

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  • Michelle StJames

    Wow. Narrowing this down to six (I would absolutely list the two trilogies as one choice each) is impressive because while there are films I would add (The Godfather and Godfather II, Thelma and Louise, Saving Private Ryan)–I wouldn’t want to remove any of your choices.

    Terrific list!

    • I had such a hard time!!! I almost threw down the pen and said forget it a few times. The Godfather 1 & 2 were on my list, but I never even thought of the other two — good choices!!

  • Love this list. There are definetely some movies I would like to add.

    – Dogma: That movie is still relevant today
    – Fight Club: Need I say more.
    – Matrix: The first one though. It really goes downhill after that.

    • DOGMA!! Okay, yeah, that one needs to be on this list. As well as the other two, but I’m MAD at myself that I didn’t think of Dogma!

  • John

    A list like this says more about the person making the list than the films themselves. Though before glancing at the title, I expected to see 6 films that couldn’t really be argued with. For example, The Wizard of Oz may not make everyone’s list, but as a film that has stood the test of time, few would argue against it. However, four of the films inclusion on the list made me arch an eyebrow, and think REALLY??? In fact, one of the films I would strongly argue against, but Not because it’s a not a great film. To me, that film doesn’t belong on the list because there are simply many other BETTER films. It comes back around to a list like this saying more about the person than the films.

    • I agree that the list would be swayed a little on personal taste (and not just because I wrote it…lol!) but what are the movies that made you think “REALLY???”? And what reasons? I’m very curious to see what you would have placed in their spots and why!

      While there were a TON of movies on my initial list I thought that these all had brought something to the industry, either in their given time… or still today! I agree that there are probably other “epic” and “better” films that I could have added, but that’s exactly where the author’s taste takes over, I think.

      Next time I’ll try to be a little less biased towards my favorites!

      • Bias is fine. Everyone has their own taste in movies. Your list may be
        different than mine but it is still a valid list nevertheless. The whole
        point of a list is to include things that are relevant to you.

        John, what would you include in your list?

        • John

          Hey Eric,

          I would start by trying to address what the list is… My favorites? A short history of cinema? Am I giving it to an alien to explain our culture? Ha!

          I’ll stick to a few of my favorites:
          American Beauty / Fight Club This was a powerful cinematic double punch for me the year they came out.
          Planet of the Apes/ Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
          Duck Soup/ The Grapes of Wrath

          Honestly, if pushed, I could probably think of other more recent films, but more than likely I wouldn’t even include any films that aren’t at least 25 years old. Kind of like that period they used to have for putting dead people on US stamps.

          The middle group, I could easily repalce with a few others from the period… Chinatown, Easy Rider, The Last Detail spring to mind.

          The last group was tricky…do you include a western, a cartoon, a musical, sci-fi, horror…I opted for mainstream, but I could pull a lot of titles out…really, it was probably more about trying to stick to the theme that I started…

          Seriously, I could write and write about my favorite films…these were just a few that I thought of first…I tried to spread them out. Looking back over my list, the common thread seems to be people trying to find their place. There is probably a good party game in their somewhere-‘What do your favorite movies say about you?’-NEW FROM MATTELL!

          Interesting topic, that’s for sure.

      • John

        Since you asked, Ithe films on this list that I wouldn’t have included and reasons (not all, but kneejerk reactions) include:

        ET: fun, sweet, but on a personal level, it’s simply never been a film that I went back to for repeated viewings. I would probably have included an animated film or another genre.

        Jurassic Park/ Lord of the Rings: fun movies, that I’ve seen many times, but CGI and effects don’t make a film. I can honestly say neither would make even my top 100.

        Star Wars: Honestly, I was always more of a Star Trek guy, but I wouldn’t argue with anyone who put Star Wars (the first one) on their lists, the others in the series, well, I am not going to be the one to argue their mythology or their importance in film.

        Schindler’s List: It’s inclusion is the film that really made me take notice. I’ve seen it a few times. Powerful film. But I can’t say I ever enjoyed it. It feels odd writing that a film with such an important story wouldn’t make my list, but honestly, I would probably put something like The Diary of Anne Frank before it, assuming I was trying to stay within the subject matter. It’s dark…and let me stress I like dark. It left me depressed every time. Incredibly depressed.

        Spielberg: Great director. I’m sure his films will be studied for decades, but he adds touches to his films that sometimes bother me and that I feel they would have been better without. For example: Schindler’s List… one thing has ALWAYS bothered me in that film…the use of the color red. I didn’t just notice it. I actively disliked it. Much like the use of the falling banner at the end of Jurrassic Park. In both cases, I had an immediate negative reaction and am always pulled out of the moment. Honestly, they and moments like them make me feel like the director is trying to manipulate my emotions. I know that’s his job, but I’m not supposed to be thinking that during the film. Honestly, every time, it’s like having cold water thrown on me in that moment. And not in a theatrical good way…but one that makes me think…the director is toying with you.

        Like I wrote in my original post, the list says a lot about the writer. Heck, reading this, probably says a lot about me to you. Hopefully not all bad…

        I’ll add a few films that I would put on my list in my comment to Eric’s post.

        • Thanks for replying! I think what you said is correct, it’s really a matter of the writer when a list like this is being made… which is why ET, Jurassic Park, and Star Wars made my lists.

          However, even though they are some of my favorites, I’m still sticking with that they had a big impact on the movie industry, either at their time or that they continue to.

          As far as Spielberg is concerned – I hesitated to put that many of his movies in this list; but ultimately decided to just go for it. I didn’t really realize that I was THAT much of a fan of his until I had this article completed!

          I think we have different tastes in not only movies but director styles – because i LOVED the use of red in Schindler’s list as well as the banner at the end of Jurassic Park.

          I love debating different opinions, especially with someone that can defend theirs, so thanks again for posting!!

          • John

            It’s very telling…people and their lists… Rolling Stones vs. Beatles. Elvis vs. Buddy Holly.

            You are right though, I would never deny Spielberg’s films changed cinema. Personally, I could watch Jaws over and over. I feel that way about most of his early work. I sort of lost interest in him as a director in cinematic terms though about the time his name became linked to the term ‘blockbuster’.

            Confession…I worked at a cinema for the better part of a decade starting in the mis-80’s so I was overexposed to a lot of his wortk.

            I enjoyed reading your list though. Maybe you can revisit the topic at a later date. I know I’m really looking forward to everyone’s thoughts over the reactions to the new OScar winners.

            • I think I’d like to do another pass at this and stick to a film from each genre and maybe pull a date range…lol. It was hard for me because I was looking at the industry in its entirety. And my other problem is I don’t see a lot of the “classic” movies. My film background is sadly lacking in that department!

  • Great list Kelly! I think the challenge in writing a list like this is that you cannot pick only your favorite movies, but the movies that you think everyone should see because they represent something important in the movie world and of course had an impact on you too.

    But of course all these lists will always be subjective and that’s why they’re fun. I think my list would have to include The Matrix and probably Lord of the Rings too. That said I’m sorry to say that Star Wars wouldn’t be on my list.

    • Oh, it’s SAD that Star Wars wouldn’t have made your list…lol. the Matrix is one that I toyed with, but I wasn’t THAT big of a fan! But putting that aside, people SHOULD see that movie.

  • Kat

    I know it’s cliche but I think my list would have to include Black Swan – if only because I’ve never been startled by a movie the way I was with Black Swan. I’m usually one to go, sit down, watch a movie, and leave without thinking about it afterwards but that wasn’t the case with Black Swan.

    I’ve never seen Schindler’s List so other than that and Jurassic Park (Sorry! It’s a great movie… but must see?!) I would say that all of the other 4 movies seem to be legitimate must-sees, if only to catch major, oft-used pop culture references.

    • Black Swan…. that is a GOOD call. I agree, there hasn’t been a movie out in a long time that made me feel the way that Black Swan did after I saw it.

  • Anonymous

    I would probably replace ET with either Gone With the Wind or Lawrence of Arabia. I love both period pieces and they completely engross you in a different time and place.

    • Gone With The Wind is a great one.