Movies are an important part of popular culture. You may view them as less refined than books, but the stories are essentially the same. As much an art form as painting, video games, music, and books, movies capture our imagination and show us perspectives we’d never see on our own. Life is short – don’t let it pass you by without seeing these movie classics:
50. The Iron Giant (1999)
Don’t let the fact that The Iron Giant is an animated film starring Vin Diesel fool you – it’s pure cinematic brilliance, a sci-fi film featuring a giant alien robot weapon of mass destruction. After crashing into the earth, he’s rescued by a young boy named Hogarth (Eli Marienthal), and they develop a friendship. The film approaches war and world destruction from the eyes of a child. It makes you fall in love with a robot… and then it breaks your heart. If you’re not crying by the end of this movie, you’re the robot.
Best Quote: Hogarth (Marienthal) “Oh, here. This is Superman. He’s a lot like you. Crash-landed on Earth, didn’t know what he was doing… but he only uses his powers for good, never for evil. Remember that.”
49. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
People debate back and forth over which is the best sci-fi “Star” franchise between Star Wars and Star Trek. In reality, neither matters, but you should at least watch them to understand the conversation. The Empire Strikes Back is widely hailed as the best Star Wars movie, so get it out of the way first…
Best Quote: Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) “Luke…I am your father.”
48. Spaceballs (1987)
…Then watch the actual best Star Wars movie ever made. Mel Brooks is a king of screwball comedy, and Spaceballs is the film Scary Movie wishes it was, parodying everything about the Star Wars franchise. Anytime you hear a debate about the best Star Wars movie, confidently remind the participants it is Spaceballs.
Best Quote: Yogurt (Brooks) “May the Schwartz be with you…”
47. Starship Troopers (1997)
But the actual “best” sci-fi Star movie is neither Trek nor Wars; it’s -ship Troopers. This brilliant military propaganda film has just the right blend of action, adventure, and dialogue to make it watchable for generations. Neil Patrick Harris and the rest of Earth’s bravest soldiers fight off alien bug attacks in an all-out war. Those Trek nerds in Spandex or Wars Force zealots wouldn’t stand a chance against these bugs.
Best Quote: Jean Rasczak “This is for all you new people. I have only one rule. Everybody fights, no one quits. If you don’t do your job, I’ll kill you myself! Welcome to the Roughnecks!”
46. Snowpiercer (2013)
Everything you ever wanted to know about class warfare is brilliantly on display in this post-apocalyptic look at humanity’s survivors of a great ice age. Snowpiercer is a perpetually sustainable train that keeps all the passengers alive, but the rich are living luxuriously, while the poor stowaways are fed insects and treated like animals. Things eventually boil over, and a rebellion uprising surges through the train from the slums in the back, all the way to the engineer at the front. This movie will inspire you to make the world around you a better place.
Best Quote: Mason (Tilda Swinton) “Order is the barrier that holds back the flood of death. We must all of us on this train of life remain in our allotted station. We must each of us occupy our preordained particular position. Would you wear a shoe on your head? Of course you wouldn’t wear a shoe on your head. A shoe doesn’t belong on your head. A shoe belongs on your foot. A hat belongs on your head. I am a hat. You are a shoe. I belong on the head. You belong on the foot. Yes? So it is. In the beginning, order was proscribed by your ticket: First Class, Economy, and freeloaders like you. Eternal order is prescribed by the sacred engine: all things flow from the sacred engine, all things in their place, all passengers in their section, all water flowing. all heat rising, pays homage to the sacred engine, in its own particular preordained position. So it is. Now, as in the beginning, I belong to the front. You belong to the tail. When the foot seeks the place of the head, the sacred line is crossed. Know your place. Keep your place. Be a shoe.”
45. Bride and Prejudice (2004)
A colorful Bollywood-style film, Bride and Prejudice is a remake of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Filled with beautiful visuals (not least of which is Aishwarya Rai) and music, this exotic reimagining of a literary classic hits all the right spots. A musical romantic comedy everyone can enjoy, Bride and Prejudice reminds us Hollywood isn’t the only entertainer on the block.
Best Quote: Lalita Bakshi (Rai) “You should be stirring your husband’s dinner not trouble.”
44. Tae Guk Gi (2004)
Set during the Korean War, Tae Guk Gi follows two brothers (played by Bin Won and Dong-gun Jang) who find themselves on opposite sides, eventually meeting in battle and being forced to fight. With a fascination for everything America, South Korea is churning out several talented filmmakers, writers, and actors (see Snowpiercer above). This war epic is easily one of the most insightful war movies ever made.
Best Quote: Jin-seok “I wish this was all just a dream. I want to wake up in my bed, and over breakfast, I’d tell you that I had a strange dream. Then I would go to school, and you and mom would go to work.”
43. Caddyshack (1980)
Golf is arguably the most boring sport to watch. Caddyshack, a comedy centered on said-boring sport, is hands down the funniest movie ever made. Starring an array of comedy legends at the top of their game, it’s not only a laugh-a-minute ride, it’s a visually beautiful film. With multiple concurrent storylines, a variety of comedic styles, a great soundtrack, and the best pool scene ever put on film, watching Caddyshack feels like a party everyone is invited to.
Best Quote: Ty Webb (Chevy Chase) “You’re rather attractive for a beautiful girl with a great body.”
42. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Still popular at midnight showings around the world, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a cult classic that can’t be ignored. Transvestite vampires from outer space, led by Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry) kidnap a couple (Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick), who must fight off their sexual advances and escape. Don’t watch this movie alone – find a midnight showing, dress in some lingerie, bring a newspaper, water pistol, and rice, and be sure to let them know you’re a virgin to the show.
Best Quote: Frank (Curry) “A mental mind fuck can be nice.”
41. Fight Club (1999)
If anyone ever quotes Fight Club to you, punch them in the face and yell, “you forgot the first rule.” That’s because it’s a brilliant film that does a great job of drawing the viewer into a twisted plot with a twist ending you should know by now but I’ll leave alone. Brad Pitt and Ed Norton do a great job with their character, and Meatloaf makes his most epic film appearance since Rocky Horror Picture Show. Anonymous’ #ProjectTyler was derived from Fight Club, as was just about every cool thing you ever heard a bro say.
Best Quote: Tyler Durden “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”
40. Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005)
This is the movie where Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie met. Watching their onscreen chemistry, it’s easy to see what they see in each other. No matter how many times this movie is on TV, we have to watch it. Filled with shootouts, explosions, comedy, romance, and flat-out sex appeal, Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a spy film with something for everyone. It doesn’t make you think; it just invites you to sit, stare, and smile.
Best Quote: John Smith (Pitt) “Your aim’s as bad as your cooking sweetheart… and that’s saying something!”
39. The One Percent(2006)
The One Percent is the second of Johnson & Johnson heir Jamie Johnson’s documentaries (Born Rich being the first) chronicling a lifestyle that 99% of us will never have. Jamie gives the rest of us a look into the lives of America’s wealthiest and most elite families. Jamie’s father Jim spends the majority of the movie opposing the filming. With the crash of the artificial housing market soon after and the Occupy movement popping up 5 years later, it’s easy to see what he’s afraid of.
Best Quote: Jamie Johnson “The top 1% of Americans, like my family and me, own roughly 40% of the country’s wealth, and we share an aggregate net worth that is greater than the bottom 90% of individuals combined.”
38. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Holiday films tend to fall flat outside the holiday season, but Tim Burton’s classic Nightmare Before Christmas manages to skirt this limitation by including specks of every holiday (although focusing mostly on Halloween and Christmas). Even Wal-Mart has to be impressed. Jack Skellington is on a mission to bring Christmas joy to Halloweentown and learns the hard way some things can’t be changed. Nightmare is a cinematic dream set in clay.
Best Quote: Jack Skellington “Just because I cannot see it, doesn’t mean I can’t believe it!”
37. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Any Stanley Kubrick aficionado will tell you his films move at a slow pace, but tell a powerful story. The first half of Full Metal Jacket is all about the United States Marines’ basic combat training program, and R. Lee Ermey’s charismatic turn as a Marine Drill Instructor. After the first hour, you’d almost swear Vincent D’Onofrio’s Gomer Pyle is the main character. The actual story, however, revolves around Matthew Modine, and the dehumanizing effects of the Vietnam War.
Best Quote: Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (Ermey) “If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training, you will be a weapon. You will be a minister of death praying for war. But until that day you are pukes. You are the lowest form of life on Earth. You are not even human fucking beings. You are nothing but unorganized grabastic pieces of amphibian shit! Because I am hard, you will not like me. But the more you hate me, the more you will learn. I am hard but I am fair. There is no racial bigotry here. I do not look down on niggers, kikes, wops or greasers. Here you are all equally worthless. And my orders are to weed out all non-hackers who do not pack the gear to serve in my beloved Corps. Do you maggots understand that?”
36. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Like Snowpiercer and The One Percent, Slumdog Millionaire brilliantly showcases the detrimental effects of the class war on the lower class. When penniless Mumbai orphan (known as slumdogs) Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) makes it to the final 20 million rupee round of India’s “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” he’s arrested, tortured, and forced to explain how he knew all the answers. How he did it is one of the greatest stories of all time – both the journey and payout of Slumdog Millionaire are worth it.
Best Quote: Malik “When somebody asks me a question, I tell them the answer.”
35. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
An instant classic and one of the best superhero movies ever made, X-Men: Days of Future Past is amazing to watch on film, although depressing in that it means the Marvel cinematic universe will remain split by back-end contracts for a long time to come. X-Men is one of comics’ most iconic franchises, mostly because of the innovative usage of interdimensional and time-travel, along with underlying political themes. DoFP captures everything we love about mutants, while erasing the earlier X-films that were tragically dated and had to go.
Best Quote: Charles Xavier “The past: a new and uncertain world. A world of endless possibilities and infinite outcomes. Countless choices define our fate: each choice, each moment, a moment in the ripple of time. Enough ripple, and you change the tide… for the future is never truly set.”
34. The Beatles Anthology (1995)
More than just a movie, The Beatles Anthology is a documentary series, a three-volume set of double albums, and a book that chronicles everything you need to know about John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. More than just Beatlemania, this anthology is the story of fame in the modern world, told through the eyes of the people who experienced the launch of it. It’s a must-see for anyone living in the camera’s eye, which is everyone these days. We’re not The Beatles, but we have the same problems.
Best Quote: Lennon “Trying to please everybody is impossible – if you did that, you’d end up in the middle with nobody liking you. You’ve just got to make the decision about what you think is your best, and do it.”
33. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Sometimes a movie entertains you, and sometimes it educates you. While Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind definitely entertains (how could it not, starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet?), the lessons in Charlie Kaufman’s imaginative script about relationships, breakups, memories, and love are more important. We’d all love to forget that relationship that went horribly awry, but would that truly make things easier?
Best Quote: Joel (Carrey) “What a loss to spend that much time with someone, only to find out that she’s a stranger.”
32. Network (1976)
What makes Network great is its universally realistic depiction of media. TV anchor Howard Beale (Peter Finch) is sick and tired of dealing with society so he goes live on the air and gives the most epic speech in cinematic history. His brutal honesty makes him an instant icon, reviving his career. The TV network exploits his anti-establishment following for profit. Beale’s star power grows until it eventually pops, and he must be disposed of. The message in Network gets more and more important as our digital society progresses.
Best Quote: Beale “I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!’ So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’”
31. Back to the Future (1985)
Back to the Future is a time travel movie filled with memorable characters. Biff (Thomas Wilson) is your stereotypical bully with the most quotable lines in cinema. Doc Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) inspired a generation to become crazy scientists. The heart of the movie, though, is protagonist Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) – a normal kid in a crazy situation he overcomes. If he can do it, so can you.
Best Quote: Doc “Don’t worry. As long as you hit that wire with the connecting hook at precisely 88 miles per hour, the instant the lightning strikes the tower… everything will be fine.”
30. Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Godfather 2 is most often cited as the model of sequels outdoing the original movie, but Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey tops that list. Bill S. Preston, Esq, (Alex Winter) and Ted Theodore Logan (Keanu Reeves) are the models of slacker youth. The first Bill & Ted movie most triumphantly explored time travel in a phone booth, and the second movie ups the ante. The dimwitted pair battle death on a journey through heaven & hell to overcome a villain from the future. Bogus Journey is a lighthearted look at a scary subject that doesn’t shy away from the uncomfortable questions.
Best Quote: Bill “And over here, our bass player, the Duke of Spook, the Doc of Shock, The Man with No Tan, please say hello to Death himself, the Grim Reaper.”
29. Into the Wild (2007)
Ever wanted to cut up all your identification and disappear? Christopher McCandless did it, and he documented his journey in a series of journals, which were later adapted into the book and film Into the Wild. The wild is a place that’s interesting to discuss, because it doesn’t actually exist. There’s no land in this world that’s not owned by someone. You can’t go anywhere out of your house without being on someone else’s property. That’s McCandless’s point with Into the Wild.
Best Quote: McCandless “I’m going to paraphrase Thoreau here… rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness… give me truth.”
28. Avatar (2009)
Avatar is one of the most visually beautiful films. Even people who complain about special effects in movies dropped their jaws upon seeing it for the first time. The movie pushed modern cinematic technology into a new age, ushering in the age of stereoscopic 3D and ultra-realistic 4k visuals. Beneath its beauty, the film features a cross-species love story and a social message. Avatar is a must-see for any fan of beauty and art..
Best Quote: Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) “I became a Marine for the hardship. Told myself that I can pass any test a man can pass. All I ever wanted was a single thing worth fighting for.”
27. Braveheart (1995)
Braveheart is the best war movie ever made. Mel Gibson both directed and starred in the epic film about William Wallace’s (Gibson) war for Scotland’s freedom from the British The battles are brutal and graphic. The speeches are inspiring. The cinematography and soundtrack in Braveheart is so moving, you’ll find yourself actually enjoying bagpipe music. By the closing credits, you’ll find yourself wanting to paint your face blue and scream out “FREEDOOOOMMM!!!” until your last breath.
Best Quote: Wallace “Aye, fight and you may die. Run and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance—just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”
26. Titanic (1997)
Spoiler alert: the ship sinks at the end. That doesn’t ruin the beauty of watching this love story aboard the ill-fated Titanic unfold. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet are the epitome of young love, and James Cameron goes to great lengths to preserve as many details of the ship and time period as possible. Don’t be so counterculture you avoid this movie because of its popularity – enjoy the majesty of this cinematic Mona Lisa.
Best Quote: Rose (Winslet), prior to letting Jack (DiCaprio) fall to the depths of the ocean like the necklace she’s withholding throughout the film, “I’ll never let go, Jack. I’ll never let go.”
25. South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut (1999)
If there’s one thing Trey Parker and Matt Stone know, it’s comedy and music and pop culture references, and let’s just face it – these guys are geniuses who know everything. This anti-Disney cartoon is every bit as catchy and classic, but filled with all the language, plot twists, and Cartman-spewing-Jew-hating we love in the show. The Simpsons fumbled their movie, and Family Guy’s went direct-to-video, but South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut stands among the greatest movies ever put on film and given widespread theatrical release.
Best Quote: Mr. Garrison “…I’m Sorry Wendy, but I don’t trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn’t die.”
24. The Audition (1999)
Before Saw or the cavalcade of murder-porn horror movies in America, was The Audition from Japan. I judge horror movies by how many full-length cartoons I have to watch afterwards so I can sleep peacefully, and Audition is at least a 10-toon film. A widower, auditioning women for his new wife, picks a young beautiful woman named Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina) …who turns out to be the most eerily psychotic film character ever. Yamazaki has scenes of torture so brutal they’re almost unwatchable, and the pleasure she takes in her work is beyond disturbing.
Best Quote: Asami Yamazaki: “Kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri!” (Translation: Pain pain pain pain pain pain!)
23. Cinderella Man (2005)
James Braddock (Russell Crowe), a washed up boxer who fights impossible odds to compete for the heavyweight championship, is one of cinema’s most memorable underdogs. Director Ron Howard expertly recreates the 1930s setting to draw you into this “based on a true story” sports drama filled with award winning actors. Cinderella Man is everything you want in a sports movie.
Best Quote: James Braddock “I have to believe that when things are bad I can change them.”
22. Good Will Hunting (1997)
A janitor with an attitude problem (Matt Damon) solves a complicated math problem at MIT, gets sent to a psychiatrist (Robin Williams), and has to choose between his street life and becoming a respected mathematician. Good Will Hunting is a charming drama with great writing, brilliant acting, and an intelligent story. The movie explores a lot of philosophical angles on the human experience in a way that draws you in.
Best Quote: Sean (Williams) “So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that.”
21. Ghostbusters (1984)
I’m not afraid of ghosts, and the Ghostbusters are a large part of the reason why. This movie was one of the first big-budget blockbuster comedies, and it still works beautifully today, despite the somewhat dated graphics and equipment. Spawning merchandise galore and two cartoon series (one with a possessed car and gorilla), Ghostbusters is legendary. Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, and the remaining surviving cast have already given their blessing to a new iteration starring Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, so get reacquainted with the series while you can.
Best Quote: Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) “I want you inside me.”
Dr. Peter Venkman (Murray) “It sounds like you’ve got at least two or three people in there already.”
20. 99 Francs (2007)
Despite being French, 99 Francs turns out to be a brilliant look at the excesses of modern advertising. Jean Dujardin plays a flamboyant Octave Parango, who’s on top of the world as his advertising company thrives from his accounts. Soon, however, he loses his passion for the art of it and goes on a Fear-and-Loathing-esque slide through the drugged out dregs of humanity. With a handful of endings, each more poetic than the last, 99 Francs is a delightful film to watch.
Best Quote: Parango “Marketing is a perverted fom of democracy: the orchestra is leading the conductor. The opinion polls decide on politics, trials decide advertising, panels choose the songs we hear on the radio, sneak previews determine how films should end…”
19. Aladdin (1992)
One can argue for days which of Robin Williams’ movies is the best. Though lacking his actual face, Aladdin definitely has the best mix of the beloved late-actor’s personality and vocal talents. The musical story of a street rat who finds a genie and becomes a prince, Aladdin is Disney at its family-entertainment best. Enjoyable for fans of all ages, Aladdin reminds us the exotic Middle East is more magical than scary.
Best Quote: Genie (Williams) “But, oh, to be free! Not to have to go “Poof! What do you need?”, “Poof! What do you need?”, “Poof! What do you need?” To be my own master. Such a thing would be greater than all the magic and all the treasures in all the world! But what am I talking about? Let’s get real here, it’s not gonna happen. Genie, wake up and smell the hummus.”
18. V for Vendetta (2005)
Spawning the Guy Fawkes masks popularized by Anonymous is only one achievement of V for Vendetta. This graphic novel-based film by the Wachowski Brothers shows an alternative future where Germany won WWII and England is a tyrannical state. V (Hugo Weaving), a faceless freedom fighter preserves the visual arts, literature, music, cooking, and other valuable knowledge before teaming with Natalie Portman to blow up Parliament.
Best Quote: V “Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition.”
17. The Stone of Destiny (2008)
If you like Braveheart, you’ll love The Stone of Destiny, which follows a group of college students led by Ian Hamilton (Charlie Cox) who reignited Scottish pride in the 1950’s by stealing the giant stone Scottish throne from the heart of London’s Buckingham Palace. After watching this real-life theft on one of the most secure political landmarks in the world reminds you anyone can make a difference with just a small act. This underdog tale will inspire you to take a stand for something good in your community the way William Wallace inspired his kinfolk to take arms against the British.
Best Quote: Ian “It was only a rock, a big lump of sandstone, you might pass right by it, but to us, it was symbol of our freedom, of our independence. We all knew about it of course, we learned as children how it was the Scottish stone of kings, but they took it from us. And as a nation is suppose we’d forgotten about it. Time does that. It was history.”
16. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Another real-life story, con-man Frank Abagnale Jr. (DiCaprio) managed to hustle and lie his way onto free flights, hotels, and the greatest check-cashing scheme in the history of the U.S. Abagnale now works for the FBI, and his story is the reason for all those watermarks and other security features on physical checks, along with digital security features for debit/credit cards and other identification methods. Learn the basics of identity and financial hacking in Catch Me If You Can.
Best Quote: Frank Abagnale, Jr. [In a letter] “Dear Dad, you always told me that an honest man has nothing to fear, so I’m trying my best not to be afraid.”
15. Where the Buffalo Roam (1980)
While Johnny Depp is often praised for his portrayal of cultural icon Hunter S. Thompson, Bill Murray nailed it on the head first. Where The Buffalo Roam mashes together several of Thompson’s writings about his adventures with his attorney, Oscar Zeta Acosta. Murray gives a great performance, perfectly capturing everything we love about Thompson, and proving he’s much more than just a comedian.
Best Quote: Hunter “In my case, you know, I hate to advocate drugs or liquor, violence, insanity to anyone. But in my case it’s worked.”
14. Inside Man (2006)
A cop (Denzel Washington) tries talking down a criminal mastermind (Clive Owen) in the best bank heist ever put on film. What makes Inside Man so great is the cat and mouse tension between the cops and robbers. This is much more than your average bank robbery. It’s not money these guys are after, and even knowing they get away with it won’t take away the shock of seeing how… and why…
Best Quote: Dalton Russell (Owen): “This time next week, I’ll be sucking down piña coladas in a hot tub with six girls named Amber and Tiffany.”
Keith Frazier (Washington): “More like taking a shower with two guys named Jamal and Jesus, if you know what I mean. And here’s the bad news: that thing you’re sucking on? It’s not a piña colada!”
13. When in Rome (2010)
Romantic comedies can be difficult to watch, unless they have enough comedy to make them worth it. With a parade of comedic stars ranging from Danny DeVito to Dax Shepard rushing to woo an unlucky girl who steals coins from a fountain in Rome, casting a spell of love on the men who made the wishes on the coins, When in Rome is funny enough to grab a guy’s attention while his woman is watching.
Best Quote: Beth (Kristen Bell) “It’s like, I meet a guy, and I think it’s great, and anyone else would just be thinking about how much greater it’s going to get. And I’m constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
12. Shrek (2001)
Fairy tale movies are a dime a dozen. Shrek stands above the pack because of its fresh look at the genre. The ogre is the hero, the pint-sized prince antagonizes everyone, and fairy tale creatures are being rounded up and destroyed. Hilariously skewing everything Disney or Grimm, Shrek is the bar by which all other fairy tales are measured. I know the Muffin Man, and I love every minute of it.
Best Quote: Donkey (Eddie Murphy) “Hi, Princess!”
Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) “It talks!”
Shrek (Mike Myers) “Yeah, it’s getting him to shut up that’s the trick!”
11. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Ever wonder where a life of crime would’ve taken you in life? Pulp Fiction follows the exploits of a variety of lowlifes in a fictionalized Los Angeles, filled with Big Kahuna burgers and Red Apple cigarettes. Told out of chronological order, watching Butch (Bruce Willis), Vincent (John Travolta), Mia (Uma Thurman), and the rest of the thugs’ lives unravel, one can’t help but cheer for each of them to succeed, despite knowing many won’t.
Best Quote: Jules (Samuel L Jackson) “Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I’d never know ’cause I wouldn’t eat the filthy motherfucker. Pigs sleep and root in shit. That’s a filthy animal. I ain’t eat nothin’ that ain’t got sense enough to disregard its own feces.”
10. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The excess of Wall Street during the trading madness of the financial crisis is documented in Martin Scorsese’s biographical tale of penny stock trader Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio). Snorting coke of a hooker’s ass is how the adventure starts, and it just amps up from there. Although based on the same story as Boiler Room, The Wolf of Wall Street is an actually watchable story America’s excess and misguided goals.
Best Quote: Belfort “Let me tell you something. There’s no nobility in poverty. I’ve been a poor man, and I’ve been a rich man. And I choose rich every fucking time.”
9. Ip Man (2010)
Yip Man was a grandmaster of the Wing Chun style of martial arts, teaching a variety of students, including the legendary Bruce Lee. Ip Man is the story of this legend from Hong Kong, also portrayed in The Grandmaster. Although highly fictionalized and artistically styled, it’s easy to relate to the plight of Yip Man. This story is a classic tale of traditions being overwhelmed by brutal tyranny and global politics.
Best Quote: Ip Man “Nobody is number one forever.”
8. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Ever wonder what it looks like behind the scenes of the U.S. .gov’s black ops mission to hunt terrorists? We’ll never know for sure, but Zero Dark Thirty gives us an idea of how the decades-long hunt for Osama bin Laden was planned and executed. From waterboarding to random v& kidnapping squads, ZDT reminds us there’s a real enemy out there – us.
Best Quote: Maya “Quite frankly, I didn’t even want to use you guys, with your dip and velcro and all your gear bullshit. I wanted to drop a bomb. But people didn’t believe in this lead enough to drop a bomb. So they’re using you guys as canaries. And, in theory, if bin Laden isn’t there, you can sneak away and no one will be the wiser. But bin Laden is there. And you’re going to kill him for me.”
7. Jurassic Park (1993)
Dinosaurs are amazing. Seeing them next to humans is almost surreal, and that’s the feeling we got when Steven Spielberg’s epic based on Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park novel was released. Sure, there are inconsistencies, Easter Eggs, and errors (the T-Rex steps into the road, then throws the Ford Explorer into the same spot, where it falls onto the top of a tree), but it’s still a magical adventure. Who wouldn’t want to see a zoo filled with dinosaurs? Make a real-life Jurassic Park happen, science!
Best Quote: Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) “God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.”
6. Ray (2004)
The most important aspect of Ray Charles’s (Jamie Foxx) storied career is portrayed in Ray, though the average viewer may not have caught it. The handicap Ray overcame wasn’t blindness – it was his position in our society’s class system. As an artist, he had no control over his own work, but he was the first mainstream musician to successfully lobby for control over his own masters. Even Michael Jackson and The Beatles couldn’t do that. This movie chronicles a legend in the music business.
Best Quote: Ray “Baby, when I walk out that door I walk out alone in the dark. I’m trying to do something ain’t nobody ever done in music and business. But I can’t do it if I’m alone everywhere I go. I don’t wanna be alone here, Bea. Not in my own home. Look, Bea, if you don’t understand me, then who will?”
5. The Dark Knight (2008)
When Heath Ledger was announced as the Joker in a new Batman movie, The Dark Knight, the internet erupted with fury. “He’ll never be as good as Jack Nicholson,” we cried. I wish Heath Ledger could have lived to see the collective jaw of the world drop. Ledger’s Joker is the best character performance in movie history. The Dark Knight isn’t just the best Batman movie. It’s not just the best superhero movie. It’s one of the undisputed best films ever made.
Best Quote: Joker (Ledger) “Do you want to know why I use a knife? Guns are too quick. You can’t savor all the… little emotions. You see, in their last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way, I know your friends better than you ever did. Would you like to know which of them were cowards?”
4. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The story of two men who form a friendship during long-term prison sentences, Shawshank is the best prison movie ever made. Morgan Freeman’s narration is so good, it launched him a second career. Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is the kind of protagonist every movie should have. The dialogue and plot as superb. The soundtrack is beautiful. Dufresne dancing in the rain after crawling through miles of sewage is an epic movie moment. You’ll be tempted to run outside and dance along with him.
Best Quote: Red (Freeman) “When they put you in that cell… and those bars slam home… that’s when you know it’s for real…A whole life blown away in the blink of an eye. Nothing left but all the time in the world to think about it…”
3. Love Actually (2003)
Love Actually follows the intertwining stories of eight British couples dealing with love in very different ways. It’s a romantic comedy and a Christmas film, but it is in no way sappy. It’s a touching comedy filled with amazing moments. It’s impossible to watch this movie without laughing, crying, and falling in love with at least one character. Love Actually is the best romantic comedy ever written.
Best Quote: Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) “Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don’t buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!”
2. Gandhi (1982)
Richard Attenborough’s three hour biography of Mahatma Gandhi (Ben Kingsley) is the best biopic ever made. Gandhi was a lawyer who freed India from British rule. Where William Wallace fought with his sword, Gandhi fought violence with nonviolence and compassion, becoming one of the most prolific revolutionaries in human history. The Gandhi biopic covers as many highlights as possible from his life, showcasing his wisdom how anyone can follow his footsteps.
Best Quote: Gandhi “When I despair, I remember that the way of truth and love has always won. There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it: always.”
1. Forrest Gump (1994)
Forrest Gump is the best movie ever made. It spans generations to tell the fictional story of the most likeable, honest, caring, and genuinely good person this world will ever see. If everyone in this world had even a fraction of Gump’s heart, we’d solve all the world’s problems. The soundtrack is a classic. Tom Hanks is amazing. Forrest continuously overcomes adversity throughout the movie. His life is comprised of every heroic act in the news on any given day. From the first second to the last credit, everything about this movie is flawless. You can watch it 100 times and never tire of it. Forrest Gump is the reason movies exist.
Best Quote: Forrest “Stupid is as stupid does.”
Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and writer. Penny has been featured on Main Street, Cannabis Now, Hardcore Droid, and The Huffington Post.