The 89 Best Movies of All Time: The Ultimate Must-Watch Films

These must-watch films are essentials.

collage of the best movies ever including Titanic, Clueless, and Lady Bird
(Image credit: Alamy / A24 / Getty Images)

The popcorn's been popped, the sweatpants are on, and the evening is your oyster. Your next challenge: Figuring out exactly which of the best movies available to you is the one you're going to watch tonight. No matter what you're looking for—a rom-com, a murder mystery, a sad film, a great musical movie—there are plenty of must-watch films in your chosen genre to settle in with for the first (but probably not the last) time.

We movie lovers at Marie Claire know how time-consuming picking a great movie can be, so we did the work for you. We combed through movie rankings, critical reviews, and award nominations, and spoke to fellow pop culture fans to bring you this list of crucial must-watch films. Of course, you can expect to see well-known classics like Casablanca and The Sound of Music on this list, in addition to movies from iconic directors like Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick, and Alfred Hitchcock. But modern classics like Everything Everywhere All At Once and Get Out stand up just as well and are on this list, too. 

The below must-watch movies are modern classics, the best of the best, the essential films that millions of people are probably jealous that you're getting to see for the first time. (A bonus: You’ll also find must-know facts and exactly why each film is considered the “best.”) Ahead, in no particular order: The best movies of all time.

The Best Romance Movies of All Time

There are a few things you can (almost) always expect from a romance movie: a love story (duh!); attractive protagonists; and a happy ending—usually. Maybe you need to be reminded that true love is out there. Or maybe you need to show your partner what real romance looks like. Some of the movies on this list are funny, and some are the ultimate in sad romance films, but there’s one thing all of these romantic films have in common: They're sure to pull on your heartstrings and make you believe in love all over again.

Casablanca (1942)

Casablanca (1942)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Michael Curtiz 

Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

For fans of: black and white films and worldly settings

Set in the early years of World War II in Casablanca, Rick Blaine's (Humphrey Bogart) nightclub is an oasis for refugees despite the warnings he gets from local authorities. But things get rocky when an ex-lover and her boyfriend show up, bringing with them a challenge that Rick has to face. One of the most famous classic Hollywood romance films of all time, Casablanca is a love story you won't forget.

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The Notebook (2004)

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Stars: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Marsden

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 53%

For fans of: unwavering love stories and steamy kisses 

Ryan Gosling. Rachel McAdams. An on-screen kiss that's impossible to forget. The Notebook, based on Nicholas Sparks's 1996 novel, is a must-watch for all of the hopeless romantics out there who believe they'll eventually find their way back to their one true love. "It wasn't over. It still isn't over!"

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Titanic (1997)

Titanic (1997)

(Image credit: Alamy)

Director: James Cameron

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

For fans of: tragic love stories and real-world disasters

Need we say more? If you haven't watched Titanic yet (please don't admit this out loud), do yourself a favor and stream it on Netflix immediately.

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A Star Is Born (2018)

A Star Is Born (2018)

(Image credit: Alamy)

Director: Bradley Cooper

Stars: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliot

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

For fans of: musical movies and remakes 

If you were alive in 2018, you most definitely heard about Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga's on- and off-screen chemistry thanks to their roles in the hit adaptation of A Star Is Born. The movie centers on rockstar Jackson Maine (Cooper) and struggling artist Ally (Gaga) who fall in love while Maine pushes Ally into the spotlight and confronts his own demons. Make sure to have a pack of tissues handy.

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Before Sunrise (1995)

Before Sunrise (1995)

(Image credit: Getty images / Hulton Archive)

Director: Richard Linklater

Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Erni Mangold

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

For fans of: Europe and love at first sight

In this swooningly romantic movie from Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke play a pair of travelers—she French, he American—who have a chance meeting in Vienna and decide to spend the evening before his departing flight walking around the city and talking to one another. In 2005, the sequel Before Sunset continues the story, and then in 2015 the trilogy is wrapped up with Before Midnight. All of them are worth watching over and over.

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You've Got Mail (1998)

You've Got Mail (1998)

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Director: Nora Ephron

Stars: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Greg Kinnear

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69% 

For fans of: online dating and rivals 

The Marie Claire team is *very* passionate about You've Got Mail. Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, the 1998 drama/romance tells the story of two neighborhood bookstore rivals who absolutely hate each other in real life, then fall in love online, and well...we won't spoil the rest for you. (The good ol' AOL days.)

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In the Mood for Love (2000)

In the Mood for Love (2000)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Kar-Wai Wong

Stars: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Maggie Cheung, Kelly Lai Chen

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

For fans of: love never realized and beautiful costumes 

The elaborate costumes, the stunning visuals, and the beautiful art direction are all key features of art house movie In the Mood for Love, by Chinese director Wong Kar-Wai. And though there's sparse dialogue, sit back and prepare to be enchanted by the slow but captivating scenes of two married neighbors falling in love.

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Roman Holiday (1953)

Roman Holiday (1953)

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Director: William Wyler

Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Eddie Albert

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

For fans of: royals and European getaways 

Breakfast at Tiffany's (opens in new tab) is terrific, of course, but Audrey Hepburn won the Academy Award for her turn as a princess who ditches her schedule (and her entourage) in favor of exploring Rome, only to fall asleep on a bench and get rescued by a hunky American reporter played by Gregory Peck.

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Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)

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Director: Aditya Chopra

Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Amrish Puri

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

For fans of: opposing families and Indian cultures  

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, the highest-grossing Indian film of 1995, is an absolute delight. The Bollywood rom-com about two young star-crossed lovers who fall in love despite their parents' critiques ended up winning 10 Filmfare Awards—India’s Academy Award equivalent—and changed the game forever.

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When Harry Met Sally (1989)

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

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Director: Rob Reiner 

Stars: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

For fans of: fall and friends-to-lovers

If you haven't seen When Harry Met Sally, you probably know it from this famous "I'll have what she's having" scene. But it's worth seeing in full to relive Nora Ephron's groundbreaking screenwriting, plus the easy banter between America's sweetheart Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal (it kind of set the stage for modern rom-coms as we know them).

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Love Jones (1997)

Love Jones (1997)

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

Director: Theodore Witcher

Stars: Larenz Tate, Nia Long, Isaiah Washington

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

For fans of: Chicago and dramedies

A photographer (Nia Long) and a poet (Larenz Tate) fall in love in one of the best romance movies of all time. 

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The Princess Bride (1987)

The Princess Bride (1987)

(Image credit: MGM)

Director: Rob Reiner

Stars: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

For fans of: fairytales and adventures 

There are so many things packed into The Princess Bride: historical fantasy, sweeping romance, laugh-out-loud comedy, subtle satire, Robin Wright and Mandy Patinkin! If you haven't seen yet, just think of every time you've heard, "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die," as little nudges to watch.

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Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

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Director: David O. Russel

Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

For fans of: football and dysfunctional relationships

What looks from the outset like a typical rom-com delves deeper into the motions of mental illness, as a bipolar man tries to reconnect with his estranged wife following his release from a psychiatric ward. He meets a recently widowed woman (Jennifer Lawrence) with her own problems, who convinces him to join a dance competition with her to help him win his wife back.

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

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Director: Michel Gondrey

Stars: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

For fans of: dreamy visuals and nonlinear stories 

One of the smartest love stories ever written (it won best screenplay at the Oscars that year) captures a couple who both undergo a treatment to erase each other from their memories following a breakup. The dream, right? Not so, as they revisit their life together in woozy flashbacks and realize that they're not ready to let go just yet.

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Like Water for Chocolate (1992)

Like Water for Chocolate

(Image credit: IMDb)

Director: Alfonso Arau

Stars: Lumi Cavazos, Marco Leonardi, Regina Torné

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

For fans of: magical cooking and family dynamics

This sumptuous story follows the life of a Mexican girl who's subjected to a family custom that demands she stays unmarried and take care of her mother through old age. She ends up pouring her lifetime of unfulfilled passion into her cooking, where her family literally feels her emotions while eating, thanks to a helping of magical realism.

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The Best Comedy Movies of All Time

Sometimes, we all need a little cheering up, and what better way to do that than with a feel-good movie that makes you laugh? These comedy films are guaranteed to bring a little levity to your evening, whether it be through jokes or characters in insane situations. With typically universally relatable stories, comedy movies remind us that it's okay to poke fun at ourselves once in a while. 

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

(Image credit: Alamy)

Director: John Hughes 

Stars: Mathew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

For fans of: playing hooky and fourth wall breaks

Every kid in high school dreamed of having a day off like Ferris Bueller's and, frankly, I still aspire to have one like his as an adult. Come for each character's hilarious antics, stay for the inevitable comparisons between Alan Ruck's character, Cameron Frye, and his current character on Succession, Connor Roy.  

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Mean Girls (2004)

Mean Girls (2004)

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Director: Mark Waters

Stars: Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

For fans of: teen comedies and high school clichés 

No movie has ever spoofed high school culture as brilliantly as Mean Girls, whose hilarious script by Tina Fey has become iconic, bringing the phrases "so fetch," "I know, right?" and "cool mom" into our modern language. It lives on in countless memes and GIFs, even though the movie's more than 10 years old at this point.

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Clueless (1995)

Clueless (1995)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Amy Heckerling 

Stars: Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

For fans of: Jane Austen adaptations and classic '90s movies

Cher Horowitz stole everyone's heart in the '90s as the well-intentioned Valley Girl with an enviable revolving closet who set out to prove she wasn't "just a ditz with a credit card." Inspired by Jane Austen's Emma, Clueless sees her trying to play matchmaker at school, until she gets caught up in her own love triangle.

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His Girl Friday (1940)

His Girl Friday (1940)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Howard Hawks

Stars: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

For fans of: journalism and screwball comedy 

Carey Grant and Rosalind Russell play a formerly married couple—he an editor, she an investigative reporter—who have to team up for one last assignment. Of course, the fact that he hired her only after finding out she was engaged to someone new might have something to do with it, but Russell is hilarious and their chemistry is bananas in this romance.

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Some Like It Hot (1959)

Some Like It Hot (1959)

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Director: Billy Wilder

Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

For fans of: impersonations and comedic duos

If you don't know why Miss Marilyn Monroe was and is such a big deal, take a look at this one. The film shows off her vocal chops as the lead singer of an all-girl band who dreams of wooing a millionaire. As her band travels to sunny Florida, she makes friends with two new musicians in the group, who she doesn't realize are men in disguise and on the run.

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Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

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Director: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones

Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98% 

For fans of: silly humor and cult classics 

You'll never think of coconuts the same way after watching this silly British slapstick comedy set in the time of King Arthur and the fabled Round Table. God sends a group of knights on a quest to find the Holy Grail, where they encounter several nonsensical obstacles along the way—a classic Monty Python premise. 

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The Wedding Party (2016)

Movies must see the wedding party

(Image credit: Netflix)

Director: Kemi Adetiba

Stars: Adesua Etomi, Banky Wellington, Richard Mofe-Damijo

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67% (Audience Score)

For fans of: weddings and family shenanigans 

One of the highest-grossing Nigerian movies of all time, anyone interested in Nollywood should check out The Wedding Party. The film shows every aspect of the wedding day between Dozie (Banky Wellington) and Dunni (Adeusa Etomi), down to the families' concerns and the planner's antics. Plus there's plenty of glamorous inspo for your own big day.

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10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

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Director: Gil Junger

Stars: Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 70%

For fans of: Shakespeare retellings and bad boys

Volumes could be written about the sheer brilliance of this movie. If you've never seen it, know that it's one of the best teen movies ever made, from the script to the acting (two words: Heath. Ledger.) to the speech-making and wooing. It feels like a modern Shakespearean comedy because it is. (Ever heard of Taming of the Shrew?)

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The Big Lebowski (1998)

The Big Lebowski (1998)

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Director: Joel Coen

Stars: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi 

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

For fans of: stoner humor and twisted comedies 

Still one of the most quotable of all the Coen Brothers' movies, this film is notable for its hilarious script, continually madcap sequence of events, and stoner dialogue from lead actor Jeff Bridges a.k.a. "The Dude."

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Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (2018)

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (2018)

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Animation)

Director: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Stars: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

For fans of: stunning animation and relatable protagonists

If you love superhero movies, this Spider-Man standalone may become your favorite of them all. The Oscar-winning animated film follows Miles Morales' origin story with a multiverse twist that has multiple Spider-Mans (Spiders-Man? Spider-Men?) popping up in his world.

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Legally Blonde (2001)

Legally Blonde (2001)

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Director: Robert Luketic 

Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 70%

For fans of: female empowerment and chick flicks 

Heard of the bend and snap? If you can believe Legally Blonde came into our lives almost two decades ago, it's time to give this classic feel-good movie a watch if you haven't already—even if just to witness the evolution of Reese Witherspoon and her incredible acting. What, like it's hard?

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Coming to America (1988)

Coming to America (1988)

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Director: John Landis

Stars: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%

For fans of: corny lines and snappy jokes

A hilarious comedy with a super-sweet love story, Coming to America is an essential watch for anyone who loves to smile. This film also cemented Eddie Murphy's place as comedy royalty, with him and Arsenio Hall cracking us up through multiple different characters.

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Bridesmaids (2011)

Bridesmaids (2011)

(Image credit: Universal Studios)

Director: Paul Feig

Stars: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

For fans of: all-female casts and hilarious gags 

Kristen Wiig wrote and stars in Bridesmaids, a film about a bridal party's hilarious activities leading up to the big day (which should be required viewing every wedding season).

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The Breakfast Club (1985)

The Breakfast Club (1985)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: John Hughes 

Stars: Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

For fans of: unexpected friendships and teen makeovers

John Hughes's catalog of '80s films (with Molly Ringwald often playing the starring role) are all classics, though this story about unexpected friendship that blossoms in the middle of detention hall takes the cake for its iconic scenes, from coordinated dances to beauty makeovers.

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Knives Out (2019)

Knives Out (2019)

(Image credit: Claire Folger/Claire Folger)

Director: Rian Johnson

Stars: Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

For fans of: ensemble casts and whodunnits 

This comedic mystery pays homage to old-school detective flicks while also showing a brand-new caper that surprises at every turn. Also, Daniel Craig is at his best when he gets to bust out a hilarious accent.

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Clue (1985)

must watch movies

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Director: Jonathan Lynn

Stars: Tim Curry, Lesley Ann Warren, Colleen Camp

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 68%

For fans of: ensemble casts and whodunnits (but sillier)

A word of caution for die-hard murder mystery fans: Watch Clue for the laughs, not the solutions. This campy cult-classic based off the board game is a hilarious time if you embrace the ridiculous premise and would rather laugh than investigate.

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The Best Classic Movies of All Time

Less of a genre and more of a distinction, we define "classic movies" as the kind of film that changed their respective genres forever. Being familiar with the films on this list will set you apart from the casual pop culture fan and put you on the road to becoming a movie buff. For a film to be a classic in our book, it needs to have some years on it (all of these films on our list came out before 1990), be universally loved, and had a major cultural impact. The classic movies below all check those boxes.

Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Nicholas Ray 

Stars: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

For fans of: teen angst and the 1950s

Two words for you: James! Dean! The old Hollywood icon's second to last film, as teenager Jim Stark, before his untimely death in 1955 ended up being one of his most celebrated. The unlikely bond shared on-screen between him, John "Plato" Crawford (Sal Mineo), and Judy (Natalie Wood) gave American youths at the time a movie where they could finally see themselves on the screen.

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A Raisin in the Sun (1961)

A Raisin in the Sun (1961)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Daniel Petrie 

Stars: Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90% 

For fans of: theatrical plays and social commentary 

A Chicago family, the Youngers, are about to receive a windfall that will change their lives, but they have different ideas on how to use the money. An adaptation of the Lorraine Hansberry play made with the original cast, this film questions who is allowed the American Dream.

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Carmen Jones (1954)

Carmen Jones (1954)

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Director: Otto Preminger

Stars: Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte, Pearl Bailey

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%

For fans of: historic performances and musicals 

This underrated musical set at an all-Black army camp follows Carmen (Dorothy Dandridge), who, despite being sought after by every man at the base, has her sights set on the super married Joe (Harry Belafonte). Dandridge's performance as Carmen Jones got her nominated for an Oscar, making history as the first African American actress in a leading role to be nominated.

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To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

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Director: Robert Mulligan 

Stars: Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Robert Duvall 

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

For fans of: historical stories and court cases 

Scout Finch tells the story of how her father, Atticus, a small town lawyer in the rural South, defended a wrongfully accused black man in this adaptation of Harper Lee's beloved novel. Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch is how most people who've seen this movie think of the character, and you will too when you see it.

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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: George Roy Hill 

Stars: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

For fans of: Westerns and buddy comedies 

Robert Redford! Paul Newman! Really strong facial hair game! What could go wrong? Well, actually, a train robbery does go wrong, leaving outlaws Butch Cassidy (Newman) and The Sundance Kid (Redford) on the run from a seriously dangerous posse as they try to leave rural Wyoming for Bolivia. It's a Western film you can't miss.

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12 Angry Men (1957)

12 Angry Men (1957)

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Director: Sidney Lumet

Stars: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

For fans of: courtroom dramas and realistic thrillers 

This classic film is ostensibly about a dozen white men on a jury arguing over whether a young Puerto Rican man actually killed his father (the class and race dynamics feel unfortunately familiar, 60-plus years later). But it's really about prejudice and stereotype and the assumptions we carry with us every day without realizing it. If you didn't get to watch this one in school, watch it now.

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Rocky (1976)

Rocky (1976)

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Director: John G. Avildsen

Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burgess Meredith

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

For fans of: sports movies and underdog stories 

It’s the classic underdog story that made Sylvester Stallone a household name. The movie follows boxer Rocky Balboa on the road to fight heavyweight champion Apollo Creed in a match deemed “a somebody vs. nobody.” The film, written by Stallone, would go on to win Best Picture at the Oscars in 1977.

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The Godfather (1972)

The Godfather (1972)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Francis Ford Coppola 

Stars: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

For fans of: mob dramas and gangster action

Yes, there are three parts to this trilogy that might require a night of bingeing. But there's really nothing like Francis Ford Coppola's depiction of the mob family of Don Vito Corleone. It's a chilling to the bone, action-packed story that's not one to miss.

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Jaws (1975)

Jaws (1975)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Stars: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss 

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

For fans of: tension-building suspense and iconic theme songs 

When Steven Spielberg made this movie, I’m unsure if he knew it would become the face of anti-shark propaganda, and make a whole generation scared to get in the water. Regardless, this movie about a sheriff, marine biologist, and fisherman hunting down a shark that’s terrorizing their beach town is a must-see.

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Do the Right Thing (1989)

Do the Right Thing (1989)

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Director: Spike Lee

Stars: Danny Aiello, Giancarlo Esposito, Ossie Davis

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

For fans of: slice-of-life stories and driving messages 

Spike Lee acts and directs in a film that marries comedy and drama perfectly. Roger Ebert's review (opens in new tab) is pretty spot-on, but to summarize: Lee builds a community in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, teeming with life and tension on the hottest day of the year. And then he rips it all apart. But it's so much more compelling than even that description. Lee handles all his characters with love, and there's no one who's truly evil, despite spot-on and heart-wrenching commentary about racism, classism, and poverty.

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Back to the Future (1985)

Back to the Future (1985)

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Director: Robert Zemeckis 

Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Crispin Glover

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

For fans of: Comedic sci-fis and '80s references 

This sci-fi film sees Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, a time traveler who drives his flying Delorean back into the '50s after an experiment gone wrong. Fun fact: the sequel is set in the far-away future, a.k.a. 2015.

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The Sound of Music (1965)

The Sound of Music (1965)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Robert Wise

Stars: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker. 

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

For fans of: sweet storylines and uplifting music 

Julie Andrews plays an Austrian nun during World War II in the Academy Award-winning film. When she comes to the villa of retired naval officer Captain Georg von Trapp to be governess to his seven children, she begins to realize how much the family means to her. The latter part of the movie has an unexpected twist and displays the unfathomable truth of what it was like living in Nazi Germany.

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

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Director: Milos Forman

Stars: Jake Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Brad Dourif

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

For fans of: memorable characters and tragic comedies 

Jack Nicholson's at his best in this film about a habitual criminal who's sentenced to time in a mental hospital. There, he threatens the natural order under the watch of cruel Nurse Ratched and attempts to flee with his fellow patients. The film swept up five Academy Awards in its day, from Best Picture to Best Actor and Best Actress.

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The Graduate (1967)

The Graduate (1967)

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Director: Mike Nichols

Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

For fans of: love triangles and a moving score

Between the Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack and the easy-on-the-eyes love triangle—Dustin Hoffman as a wandering college graduate, his married neighbor Mrs. Robinson, and her daughter—this film is hard to not immediately fall in love with.

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Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

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Director: Jim Sharman 

Stars: Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%

For fans of: wild characters and over-the-top dance numbers 

See for yourself where all the live versions of the cult favorite Rocky Horror Picture Show began with this over-the-top, perfectly cast musical (see: young Susan Sarandon).

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The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The Wizard of Oz

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Director: Victor Fleming

Stars: Judy Garland, Jack Haley, Ray Bolger

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

For fans of:  

A technical marvel at its time and one of the most influential films ever, this 1937 film is definitely worth a watch for movie buffs, even if you've seen countless iterations of L. Frank Baum's fairy tale.

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The Best Scary Movies and Thriller Movies of All Time

Horror and thriller films do something to us that no other genre of films do—they terrify us. Some people may think it’s crazy, but feeling a sense of fear, dread, and anticipation via movies is an adrenaline rush like no other. These classic horror movies and thrillers feature some of the most terrifying creatures, killers, and jump scares, not to mention some unforgettable psychological horror. You’re going to want to leave the lights on when you go to bed after watching these.

Parasite (2019)

Parasite (2019)

(Image credit: Neon)

Director: Bong Joon Ho

Stars: Song Kang-ho, Choi Woo-sik, Park So-dam

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

For fans of: gruesome twists and commentaries on social issues 

An unemployed family of four slips into the lives of the crazy wealthy Park family. Then, there's an incident that can’t entirely be cleaned up in a cleaning shift. Long after the credits roll, you’ll be questioning the ending and mulling over the tough, important themes.

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The Shining (1980)

The Shining (1980)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%

For fans of: Stephen King and eerie settings 

Jack Nicholson is on this list a few times, but this classic horror movie is probably his most well-known role. The Torrance family—husband Jack, wife Wendy, and son Danny—are staying in the Overlook Hotel during the winter. Then, the hotel begins to come alive with a terrible, terrifying evil. Stephen King famously hated this adaptation, because Stanley Kubrick takes out all the empathy from the patriarch (Nicholson, playing crazy like he was born to do it). But it makes the story even more powerful. Viewed through today's lens, it's also a haunting look at the effects of domestic violence.

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Promising Young Woman (2020)

Promising Young Woman (2020)

(Image credit: Focus Features)

Director: Emerald Fennell

Stars: Carey Mulligan, Laverne Cox, Bo Burnham 

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

For fans of: feminism and twisted revenge

This very dark comedy juxtaposes one woman's insatiable quest to avenge her best friend's tragic assault in front of a backdrop of all things frilly, pink, and sweet. That stark contrast only makes the movie's incredibly intense climax that much more shocking. Promising Young Woman was nominated for five Oscars in 2021, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Carey Mulligan, and a history-making Best Director nod for Emerald Fennell.

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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

For fans of: creepy villains and outer space

This movie is trippy and a bit hard to follow, but it's absolutely required viewing. Stanley Kubrick takes us from the dawn of the human species to the dawn of a totally new species in just a few hours, and his view of space and space travel set the standard for a thousand sci-fi films to come. More importantly, it's compelling and totally, totally terrifying. It's aged really well, despite being made over 50 years ago.

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Annihilation (2018)

Annihilation (2018)

(Image credit: Paramount)

Director: Alex Garland

Stars: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

For fans of: twist endings and jaw-dropping visuals

Based very, very loosely on the book of the same name, Natalie Portman is a scientist who goes in search of her husband. She enters Area X, a mutated, trippy landscape that's been expanding ever since it was hit by a meteorite. And shit just keeps getting weirder and scarier. This is directed by Alex Garland, the same guy who did Ex Machina (opens in new tab) (another fascinating, freaky watch). Honestly, he's becoming the next big sci-fi director, and this proves it.

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Rear Window (1954)

Rear Window (1954)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Stars: Grace Kelly, James Stewart, Wendell Corey

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

For fans of: taut suspense and chilling endings

This early Hitchcock movie boasts an impressive 98% percent Rotten Tomatoes score, and it's still considered one of the best of its time. Starring Princess Grace Kelly and James Stewart, the film revolves around a man confined to his wheelchair whose pastime involves spying on his neighbors (through the rear window—get it?). Things take a turn for the worst when he believes he's witnessed a murder.

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Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther (2018)

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel Studios)

Director: Ryan Coogler

Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

For fans of: origin stories and Marvel superheroes 

This pseudo-origin story of Marvel's first Black superhero is a megahit for good reason, with an emotional story of a new king finding his way and grappling with his country's history. It's also a showcase for the late Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed several Black icons over his career and got to originate this hero.

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Jurassic Park (1993)

Jurassic Park (1993)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Stars: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

For fans of: monster movies and amusement parks  

It's a little hard to believe that the Schindler's List director also came up with this dino adventure movie, but what's even more impressive is that the two films came out mere months apart. This could not be more different, but if you're looking for a film about these prehistoric creatures, stick to the classic. There's so much loving attention paid to the dinosaurs' look—there isn't a ton of CGI, with a greater reliance on practical effects—but more importantly, the human characters are just as interesting. Samuel L. Jackson, in the best cameo of all time.

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Trainspotting (1996)

Trainspotting (1996)

(Image credit: Alamy / Moviestore Collection Ltd )

Director: Danny Boyle 

Stars: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

For fans of: dark comedies and controversial subject matters

Considered one of the best British films of all time, Trainspotting follows a group of heroin addicts in Edinburgh, Scotland who try and fail to integrate themselves into "normal" society. It's dark, sure, but it's also an ode to youth and economic insecurity that you won't be able to stop thinking about.

Heathers (1988)

Heathers (1988)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Michael Lehmann

Stars: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

For fans of: twisted high school movies and campiness

Winona Ryder's always in her element in off-beat dark comedies, and this one sets her in the middle of a high school where her character Veronica gets invited to a join a popular clique of "Heathers" (literally three girls whose names are Heather) until they betray her. Veronica and her partner-in-crime J.D. Dean (Christian Slater) set out to right all the wrongs made against her, in cruel and unusual ways. 

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Train to Busan (2016)

Train to Busan (2016)

(Image credit: Hulu)

Director: Yeon Sang-ho

Stars: Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-seok, Choi Woo-sik

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

For fans of: zombie horrors and Korean films

In this legendary Korean thriller, a group of travelers on a bullet train have to fight off a car full of zombies as a mysterious infection ravages the country. The pulse-pounding film has a stellar cast and a secret heart, with the characters making touch choices to help their families survive.

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Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock 

Stars: Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

For fans of: slasher films and horror in the mundane

One of the first slasher films (that launched many copycats to come) is Alfred Hitchcock's creepy story of Norman Bates and his hotel on the hill.

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Carrie (1976)

Carrie (1976)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Brian De Palma

Stars: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, William Katt

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

For fans of: supernatural horror and revenge stories 

Sissy Spacek is the one true Carrie—a bullied young woman who develops telekinetic abilities just in time for a prank prom invite to turn into a full-fledged bloodbath. I know we shouldn't condone violence, but it's hard not to root for poor Carrie after her classmates dump pigs blood on her in her prom dress, right?

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Get Out (2017)

Get Out (2017)

(Image credit: Universal)

Director: Jordan Peele 

Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener 

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98% 

For fans of: psychological thrillers and comedic relief 

It's not often that a movie so perfectly taps into the spirit of the times, but in a year where Trump's presidency sparked tense discussions about police brutality, race, and false liberalism, this was the breakout movie that did the job—in the horror genre, no less. Director Jordan Peele turns the typical horror script on its head with this blend of cultural criticism and horror tropes.

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Nope (2022)

Nope

(Image credit: Universal Studios)

Director: Jordan Peele 

Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82% 

For fans of: Extraterrestrial creatures and sibling dynamics

Peele's third film is his most ambitious and visually stunning, following a pair of horse-training siblings who discover a mysterious being has settled down near their ranch. Both the film's main creature-feature plot (opens in new tab) and its Gordy's Home (opens in new tab) side story present interesting themes on surveillance and the nature of spectacle.

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'The Silence of the Lambs' (1991)

'The Silence of the Lambs' (1991)

(Image credit: MGM)

Director: Jonathan Demme

Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95% 

For fans of: Psychological thrillers and charming cannibals

Anthony Hopkins' performance in this film made Hannibal Lecter the creepiest villain of the past few decades, who isn't even the actual villain of this film. Lecter's influence is felt in many horror baddies who have come after, but there's nothing like hearing the original say "fava beans and a nice Chianti."

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The Best Drama Movies of All Time

Movies that fall under the drama genre are exactly what the name suggests: dramatic. The list of films that can be considered a drama is long and varied. Anything from period pieces, teen dramas, war movies, movies for girls' night, biopics, etc, fall under the drama category, but what they all have in common is emotionally driven characters and plenty of conflict. 

Life is Beautiful (1997)

Life is Beautiful (1997)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Roberto Benigni 

Stars: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81% 

For fans of: World War II stories and bittersweet humor 

While this Italian film is about the horrors of the Holocaust, it has plenty of comic moments as well—and it works. Roberto Benigni gives a breathtaking performance as a family man who, as a Jew, is sent with his family to a concentration camp in northern Italy, but uses his imaginative powers to convince his young son that it's all a game.

Erin Brockovich (2001)

erin brockovich film

(Image credit: Universal Studios)

Director: Steven Soderbergh 

Stars: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, Aaron Eckhart

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

For fans of: legal dramas and uncovering corruption 

This inspiring drama stars Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich, a single mom who uncovers an environmental crime and goes after the huge corporation involved.

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Dead Poets Society (1989)

Dead Poets Society (1989)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Peter Weir

Stars: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke 

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

For fans of: inspirational stories 

Set at a New England private school in 1959, this movie follows an English teacher, played by Robin Williams, and his relationship with his students as he teaches them to live a little more through poetry. The movie gave Williams his second Oscar nominee, and Ethan Hawke said that working on this movie inspired him to continue to be an actor.

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Schindler's List (1993)

Schindler's List (1993)

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Stars: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes 

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

For fans of: chilling historical periods and brutal atmospheres 

A movie about the Holocaust is almost guaranteed to be poignant, but under Stephen Spielberg's expert direction, this one surprises with its restraint. That's deliberate—the sadness and symbolism build throughout the film so that you have a full sense of what happened, who did it, and why it matters so, so much. The movie's in black and white, with the smallest pop of color to offer a moment of hope and then (devastatingly) all possible heartbreak in one unforgettable image.

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Minari (2020)

Minari (2020)

(Image credit: David Bornfriend / A24)

Director: Lee Isaac Chung 

Stars: Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, Youn Yuh-jung 

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

For fans of: immigration stories and nostalgic aesthetics 

Minari is a family drama that may bring back your childhood memories. The film follows a Korean-American family who moves to an Arkansas farm in order to find their "American Dream."

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The Farewell (2019)

The Farewell (2019)

(Image credit: A24)

Director: Lulu Wang

Stars: Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin 

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

For fans of: complicated family dynamics and cultural traditions 

In her Golden Globe-winning role, Awkwafina plays Billi, a woman on a trip to China for a "family wedding" that's actually a final goodbye to her grandmother. While there, Billi struggles to find a deeper connection to the country and tries to understand her family's decision to keep her grandmother's sickness a secret from her.

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Lady Bird (2017)

Lady Bird (2017)

(Image credit: Universal)

Director: Greta Gerwig 

Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Timothée Chalamet

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

For fans of: coming-of-age stories and mother-daughter drama

Greta Gerwig dives into the tricky dynamics of mother-daughter relationships in this coming-of-age story. Saoirse Ronan plays the titular Lady Bird, a teen navigating her last year at her Catholic high school. Gerwig paints a portrait of adolescence that's poignant, genuine, and hilarious. 

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The Truman Show (1998)

Movies must see - the Truman Show

(Image credit: Getty images)

Director: Peter Weir 

Stars: Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95% 

For fans of: reality TV and cautionary tales 

If you've ever wondered whether your life is just one big sitcom, The Truman Show illustrates what happens when one man, played by Jim Carrey, realizes that his entire life is scripted for television. While that premise seems pretty straightforward, there's a lot of deeper messaging about narcissism, surveillance, media, and what it means to have free will. 

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Moonlight (2016)

Moonlight (2016)

(Image credit: Courtesy of A24 Films)

Director: Barry Jenkins 

Stars: Mahershala Ali, Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders