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Watch these movies or else

This entry was posted by on Thursday, 27 April, 2006 at

As you know, my great passion in life is movies, and browsing through the Internet today I found Jim Emerson’s list of 102 movies you must see before… you can be called movie-literate. (via Kottke)

This isn’t like Roger Ebert’s “Great Movies” series. It’s not my idea of The Best Movies Ever Made (that would be a different list, though there’s some overlap here), or that they were my favorites or the most important or influential films, but that they were the movies you just kind of figure everybody ought to have seen in order to have any sort of informed discussion about movies. They’re what I like to think of as the common cultural currency of our time, the basic cinematic texts that everyone should know, at minimum, to be somewhat “movie-literate.” I hope I can assume these movies are experiences we can all assume we share.

And, as Jason Kottke did, I will republish the list here, with the ones I’ve seen, marked with an asterisk:

* 2001: A Space Odyssey
The 400 Blows
* 8 1/2
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
* Alien
All About Eve
* Annie Hall
* Apocalypse Now
* Bambi
The Battleship Potemkin
The Best Years of Our Lives
The Big Red One
The Bicycle Thief
The Big Sleep
* Blade Runner
* Blowup
* Blue Velvet
* Bonnie and Clyde
Bringing Up Baby
* Casablanca
Un Chien Andalou
Children of Paradise / Les Enfants du Paradis
* Citizen Kane
* A Clockwork Orange
* The Crying Game
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Days of Heaven
* Dirty Harry
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
* Do the Right Thing
La Dolce Vita
Double Indemnity
* Dr. Strangelove
* Duck Soup
* E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial
* Easy Rider
* The Empire Strikes Back
* The Exorcist
* Fargo
* Fight Club
* Frankenstein
The General
* The Godfather, The Godfather, Part II
* Gone With the Wind
* GoodFellas
* The Graduate
* Halloween
A Hard Day’s Night
It’s a Gift
* It’s a Wonderful Life
* Jaws
The Lady Eve
* Lawrence of Arabia
* Mad Max 2 / The Road Warrior
The Maltese Falcon
The Manchurian Candidate
* Modern Times
* Monty Python and the Holy Grail
The Night of the Hunter
* Night of the Living Dead
* North by Northwest
On the Waterfront
* Once Upon a Time in the West
Out of the Past
* Persona
Pink Flamingos
* Psycho
* Pulp Fiction
* Rear Window
Rebel Without a Cause
Red River
The Rules of the Game
The Scarlet Empress
* Schindler’s List
The Searchers
* The Seven Samurai
* Singin’ in the Rain
Some Like It Hot
A Star Is Born
A Streetcar Named Desire
Sunset Boulevard
* Taxi Driver
The Third Man
Tokyo Story
Touch of Evil
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Trouble in Paradise
* Vertigo
West Side Story
The Wild Bunch
* The Wizard of Oz

50 out of 102. Not bad, but definately far from good! Better get started right way!


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