List of Good Movies

The toughest part of compiling a list of good movies is deciding which films to leave off. That’s because the history of cinema is bursting at the seams with quality motion pictures, and each year brings more into the fold. while I’ve no doubt omitted some of your favorites, my goal was to include quality films from as many eras and genres as possible. from science fiction to dark comedy, this good movies list should feature a little something for everyone. and if I did leave off a title you consider essential, just be patient: hopefully I can remedy the situation in a future article.

Mystic River (2003) – Directed by Clint Eastwood, this morose tale deals with three childhood friends searching for the killer of a local girl in a Boston neighborhood: Jimmy Markum (Sean Penn), a crime figure who also happens to be the father of the deceased; Sean Devine (Kevin Bacon), a local cop; and Dave Boyle (Tim Robbins), a blue-collar worker haunted by memories from his past. Dealing with powerful issues such as revenge and sexual abuse, the film boasts an equally powerful supporting cast, including Laurence Fishburne, Laura Linney, and Marcia Gay Harden. Robbins and Penn would both receive Oscars for their roles, making Mystic River a cinch for any list of good movies.

Network (1976) – a delicious satire about network television’s insatiable desire for ratings. Faye Dunaway and William Holden star as on-again-off-again lovers and rivals, but Peter Finch grabs the spotlight as Howard Beale, a deranged anchorman whose passionate rants take the UBS network to new heights. while Finch would be rewarded with a Best Actor Oscar, he sadly became the first to receive the award posthumously. also starring Robert Duvall and Ned Beatty.

Cool Hand Luke (1967) – Paul Newman stars as Luke, a rebellious inmate in a Georgia prison camp. as he slowly becomes a legendary figure among his fellow inmates, Luke manages to draw the ire of the Captain (Strother Martin), the sadistic prison boss who makes it his mission to break the convict’s spirit. Newman is at his freewheeling best, especially in a scene where Luke attempts to eat fifty hard-boiled eggs in just one hour. a classic of nonconformity.

High Noon (1952) – when a gang of outlaws show up looking for revenge, lawman will Kane (Gary Cooper) is forced to choose between protecting the townsfolk and the pacifist beliefs of his new Quaker wife (Grace Kelly). what follows is a classic western shot in real time. It’s also been a favorite of many American presidents, and bill Clinton is said to have screened it 17 times during his stay in the White House.

Fargo (1996) – another oddball classic from Joel and Ethan Coen, Fargo stars Frances McDormand in an Oscar-winning role as Marge Gunderson, a pregnant police chief investigating a series of brutal homicides. William H. Macy co-stars as a car salesman who pays a pair of criminals (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife, a plot that goes wrong on every possible level. With their trademark mixture of dark humor and drama, the Coens have managed to craft one of the most uniquely entertaining films of the ’90s.

Oldboy (2003) – after being locked in a hotel room for 15 years by a mysterious captor, average businessman Oh Dae-Su is stuffed into a suitcase and released back into the world. He sets out on a quest for revenge, but finds himself falling in love with a sympathetic sushi chef along the way. this twisted and frequently violent tale from South Korean director Park Chan-wook will blow your mind and have you scrambling to view the other two films in his Vengeance Trilogy (Sympathy for mr. Vengeance and Lady Vengeance).

Casablanca (1942) – Considered by many to be the greatest film ever made, Casablanca revolves around an American expatriate, Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) and his attempts to help a former love (Ingrid Bergman) and her husband escape from the Nazis. Claude Raines steals the show in his role as the charmingly corrupt Captain Louis Renault. If you want an example of a near-perfect screenplay, look no further.

L.a. Confidential (1997) – Based on the hard-boiled novel by James Ellroy, the film stars Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce as L.a. cops trying to solve a murder case, each with their own unique style. Crackling with police corruption, seduction, and intrigue, L.a. Confidential would’ve been right at home among the film noir classics of the 1950s. also starring Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger and James Cromwell.

Star Wars: Episode V – the Empire Strikes back (1980) – the darkest film of the George Lucas series, the Empire Strikes back introduces Boba Fett and Yoda, plus it drops the bombshell that Vader is none other than Luke’s father. Featuring a downer ending and loads of sci-fi action, it’s regarded by many Star Wars faithful as the best of the bunch.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) – With each passing year, this tale of a couple (Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet) who elect to have the memories of their relationship erased continues to grow in stature. the trippy screenplay was written by Charlie Kaufman, and it would go on to win an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Co-starring Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson, and David Cross. Combining romance with fantasy, it’s one of the most critically acclaimed films of the 2000s.

American Beauty (1999) – once he starts lusting for his daughter’s best friend (Mena Suvari), Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) enters into a severe mid-life crisis. Taking a skewed look at life in the suburbs, the film generates equal measures of laughter and tears. Annette Bening co-stars as Lester’s unfaithful wife, and Chris Cooper is powerful as an ex-Marine with a definite dark side. Winner of five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Spacey), and Best Director (Sam Mendes), American Beauty has a welcome place on any good movies list.

The Sting (1973) – Paul Newman and Robert Redford team up to run an elaborate con on a mob boss (Robert Shaw) in 1930’s Chicago. Nominated for 10 Oscars, the film would win seven (including Best Picture) and make the piano tune the Entertainer known to audiences worldwide.

On the Waterfront (1954) – Marlon Brando plays Terry Malloy, a washed-up boxer battling corruption and the mob on the docks of New Jersey. Features the famous I coulda been a contender speech. Co-starring Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, and Rod Steiger. Winner of eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Elia Kazan), and Best Actor (Brando).

Hero (2002) – a visually stunning wuxia film from director Zhang Yimou, Hero stars Jet Li as a nameless warrior willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save his country. a satisfying blend of martial arts action and philosophy, Hero co-stars Donnie Yen, Maggie Cheung, and Zhang Ziyi.

Scarface (1983) – Al Pacino serves up plenty of quotable lines and violence in this coked-out tale of a Cuban refugee who rises to the top of the Miami drug trade. Michelle Pfeiffer co-stars, and Brian de Palma directs.

List of Good Movies

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