There is not much better than a great film, easy to say. You’ve heard countless bespectacled critics talk about the “magic of cinema” but they do have a point. There’s not much out there that can widen your eyes and smiles like a great film. Here, compiled by people you’ve never met and cannot trust, are the greatest.
A landmark in anime, Japanese cinema, world cinema and 80s cinema (as well as influential to numerous genres), Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s sci-fi masterpiece is neon-drenched, beautifully crafted feasted for the eyes and ears. KANEDAAAAA!!!!!
Speaking of sci-fi masterpieces, this is pure class. One of the greatest lead characters of all time, inspired atmosphere-building and practical effects that hold up 40+ years later.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
While this hasn’t aged the best, there is an argument to be made about reviewing this in a modern context. And besides, the absurdity and deliverance of this dialogue never fails to put you in stitches.
Avengers Assemble (2012)
In an age where MCU cross-over extravaganzas are ten-a-penny, it’s easy to forget how mAH-HUSSIVE a deal this one was when it came out. Even today, this’ll have any superhero fan in pure bliss.
Back to the Future (1985)
Calling this iconic doesn’t do it justice. Marrying the swing of the 50s with 80s flash through time travelling to the tune of Johnny B. Goode is about as fun as it gets.
A staple of Tim Burton’s nigh-on perfect early track record, Beetlejuice is the primo schlocky horror comedy. Aesthetically, it’s in a league of its own, and the performances from top-to-bottom are a joy to watch.
One of the most underrated movies you’ll ever see, Jack Black gives a career-best turn, with help from a razor-sharp script, in a story you’d never believe was true.
The Big Lebowski (1998)
A battle between a guy who has been dubbed El Duderino and johnson-cutting nihilists is about as dumb as it gets. This is the cult movie to end all cult movies.
The Cable Guy (1996)
Another underrated gem, another comedy-great giving an all-time best performance, another appearance from (a young) Jack Black. Jim Carrey was never better than in this.
Chicken Run (2000)
Aardman’s first major non-Wallace & Gromit venture and their best yet, opening the new millenium with flying chickens fighting pie-making farmers. Truly, an apt start for this brave new world.
The Dark Knight (2008)
One of the greatest single acting performances at hand, Christopher Nolan made one of the greatest films of the 00s with this suspenseful and effortlessly cool love letter to all things Gotham.
I’ve not a seen an adaptation of any book (graphic novel or otherwise) as faithfull as this one. Karl Urban personifies the character of Dredd in a narrative that serves as the perfect template for shooting the living fuck out of everyone all the time.
The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
Disney aren’t usually known for making films as stone-cold serious or, lest we forget, uncompromisingly historically accurate as this pre-colonial Peruvian think piece. So many innocent soufflés burnt.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Who knew Jim Carrey getting serious in every dumb overthinking romantic’s dream would actually work. This 00s flick is much more than just any love story, and its delivered with a very intelligent flourish and the kind of tonal mood-board to match that of the most aesthetic bedroom.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
One of the most essential and timeless family films of our times, E.T. is a joyously made classic, and remains to influence so many new films and TV series to this day for very good reason.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Another bona fide 80s classic, Ferris Bueller and co. embody a youthful energy and chill tones better than most else that have tried before or since, while no-one will ever be as lovable or charismatic as this perfect little shit.
Fight Club (1999)
Call me a 90s NYU student with a Tyler Durden poster, but Fight Club is still a perfectly realised execution of Chuck Palahniuk’s vision. Both Pitt and Norton are bitingly sardonic in their roles, as the whole thing feels more like a symphony of chaos than a story.
Finding Nemo (2003)
Would it be too call this Pixar’s greatest achievement? It’s most certainly their prettiest picture, with a truly heart-warming story filled with peril and laughs — an essential family classic.
First Blood (1982)
“Don’t push it or I’ll give you a war you won’t believe” — ohohohohohooooo… The best Sly flick, the best all action flick because of how reserved it really is (compared to the sequels at least). It doesn’t get more visceral than this.
Get Out (2017)
A statement from Peele with his directorial debut; one of the most deeply disturbing and best horror films of all time striking with a bitter relevance.
Oh I think we can all agree on some level that this is the best film the 80s had to offer, or at least the most 80s. The ensemble cast (inc. Ernie!!!) are just iconic, the jokes are brilliant, the concept’s awesome, the effects are surprisingly spooky. You can’t not love this.
Mixing Christmas with tilted camera angles, a stabbing soundtrack and microwave deaths, this is a melting pot of conflicting themes and yet they all feel right at home with each other in this, just, absolutely fun time.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
To imagine that people had reservations about this absolute peach of a blockbuster is incredible to me. It’s hilarious, action-packed and, at times, really touching. Plus, a classic soundtrack.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
There had to be a Harry Potter flick somewhere in here. Striking the balance between the innocent magic of the two films prior and the darker, more mature tone of the later films in the series, Prisoner of Azkaban was where everything came together at its best.
Hot Fuzz (2007)
The discussion between if this tops Shaun of the Dead will rage on forever, but this cop-cult capade has enough west-country charm and that signature Wright-Pegg-Frost formula to just be perfect.
In Bruges (2008)
Martin McDonagh has one of the most signature, slickest directorial styles of today and this is his best, slickest film by a country mile, exploring dark alleys of guilt across the beautiful streets of Bruges. Fuckin’ Bruges.
One of Nolan’s best works, Inception is every bit as mind-bending as it’s been touted as since it came out. However, the director is at his best when he’s fucking with you.
The Incredibles (2004)
Leave it to early 00s Pixar to hop onto whatever genre they liked and kill it, The Incredibles is not only a brilliant superhero adventure, but also one of the best kid-friendly explorations of the family dynamic.
The Iron Giant (1999)
Pure animated class, and something of a forgotten gem coming in an era dominated by the beginnings of CGI animation. A story as lovely as it is funny put to screen with some of the best animation of its decade.
The Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
There’s not much out there with a purer understanding of camp than this ridiculous, fantastic, ridiculously fantastic musical showcase — with endlessly catchy songs and a perfect cast.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Fellowship of the Ring (2001)/The Two Towers (2002)/The Return of the King (2003))
The fantasy saga that defined an entire generation of nerds had its grasp on this writer for the entirety of his teenage years and to this day remains the best fantasy saga that has ever set foot on this Earth. Or, Middle-Earth, I guess. Tolkien’s wonderful story put to screen in a fittingly epic way with a handful of career-defining acting turns, awe-inspiring sets and grand panning cinematography with some of the greatest battle scenes ever put to screen. A decade defining trilogy and quite possibly the best ever.
Kill Bill (2003/2004)
For all the founded critiques of Tarantino’s interpretation of feminism, it’s undeniable how, in an era of femme fatales with not a brain cell or shred of clothing between them, Beatrix Kiddo is one of the deadliest on-screen characters ever written.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
The most visually bombastic movie ever made. A mixture of budget and ingenuity on Miller’s part results in a film for which ‘batshit’ can only hardly describe its tamest moments.
Mars Attacks! (1996)
Another campy Burton flick, no doubt. There’s something magnetising to how stupid this movie is on almost every level. That said, when you’ve got so many amazingly ridiculous moving parts in such a narrative, it’d be difficult to pull off — he pulled it off.
The Matrix (1999)
Oh let’s get the trench coats out boiiiiisssss. Even with the numerous sequels, parodies, homages and straight rip-offs of this era-defining flick, The Matrix is still one of the best true-blue action movies of the 20th century.
Hey, look, it’s Nolan fucking with us again. His most enjoyably head-scratching movie to date (unlike Interstellar, which made no sense), Memento‘s interwoven story and key visual clues make the viewer as much a detective as the main character.
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Pixar’s playful sense of fun summed up: This cast of disgusting, smelly monsters is silly followed by silly on top of a whole lot of silly and it’s the funniest any of their films has ever been.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Made with love and all the quirks we’ve come to expect from a Wes Anderson flick, but the loveliest and most quirky of them all.
Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
There is no reason this should even work as a good film, let alone become such an influential phenomenon. Take the most niché setting you can think of, add nobody actors playing the most distant oddballs, make comedy gold.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Imagine not loving Pirates of the Caribbean. I literally can’t. A world without this film is not a world I would want to live in. Dancing 3D skeletons and all.
Planet Terror (2007)
Released as a double-bill with Tarantino’s underwhelming Death Proof, Robert Rodriguez channeled the best of his films into this pure firecracker of exploitation dynamite.
Princess Mononoke (1997)
Ghibli’s crown jewel: A fantasy epic as grandiose as it is beautiful, visceral and emotionally affecting, told through a story and setting that feels as if its powerful enough to move an entire planet.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Probably the most ambitious and off-the-wall an action-comedy has ever got, Tarantino’s alternating time-lines and bits and bobs of stylish ludicrousness here range from accidentally blowing a guy’s head off to Bruce Willis inadvertently becoming a policeman’s gimp. Do you know what I fancy now? An El Royale, with cheese. Get a grip, France.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
THE adventure movie, isn’t it? It’s storytelling 101 done so perfectly, you can’t fault it. Everything movies should be.
Mixing rats with the elegance of Parisian culture, in about the most Pixar way possible. And it’s one of their best.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Another 90s college dorm favourite, Tarantino’s debut flick is pure crime class. Every character here is a pure piece of shit but, in this seedy frame, they’re our heroes — as they very quickly self-destruct.
Simultaneously the cleverest action movie of the 80s and the pipe dream of a caffenated 12 year old, no amount of Verhoeven’s trademark gratuitous shots of tits can get in the way of the violent judgement of robo-justice.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
A landmark piece of queer history, it’s difficult to fathom just how ahead of its time Richard O’Brien’s love letter to sci-fi, horror and transvestism is. Immaculate in its messiness, Rocky Horror knows just what it is, and who it’s for, which makes it impossible not to love.
Rush Hour (1998)
Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan was a match made in heaven and always would be, but the holy wonder of what was to come of it could not have been foreseen by even the wisest of soothsayers to be within the realm of human creation. The perfect and most finely balanced clash of cultures here creates what remains the best action-comedy ever made, and we all know it.
School of Rock (2003)
Would you hire Jack Black as a teacher? I hear he teaches a whole lot of Latin. Then again, I’ve also heard he’s touched a lot of kids, so I’m not sure what to think anymore. What I do know for sure, though, is that this is an absolute cLASSIC.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
A controversial contender for the greatest movie of all time, sure. But what Scott Pilgrim lacks in artiness and auteurship, it has spadefuls in detail, perfect casting, creative visual effects and camera-work, witty dialogue and cracking music.
The nastiest film to get mainstream critical attention (and isn’t Antichrist or something else Willem Dafoe defiles himself in), Fincher’s psychological horror masterpiece is difficult to watch for many narrative and contextual reasons, but that’s what makes it so compelling.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
A more brilliant British film I’ve never seen. Sure, you can’t mention it without Hot Fuzz, but Shaun of the Dead has a realism and charm to it that makes it magnetic and lovable.
The Shining (1980)
This is auteur film-making at its painstaking finest. Everyone knows the lengths Kubrick stretches his crew to make this film, and it shows. Every scene is a painting, every performance is a person. If you’re looking for technically perfect films, you’re looking at it.
Spirited Away (2001)
Perhaps not quite as earth-shattering as Mononoke, but a weird and wonderful dive into a world beautifully animated, and an eternally memorable story told.
Star Wars (1977)
A groundbreaking release for the shape of cinema to come. While Jaws may have pioneered the blockbuster, George Lucas’ reimaging of opera, fairytale and Kurosawa has defined science fiction in the 40+ years since.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
A continuation of the magic and wonder of the original and beginning all of the sequels, prequels, spin-offs and spin-offs of those spin-offs with the best one yet — it’s all happening here, iconic moment after iconic moment.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
The beginning of this modern Star Wars saga may not be the same groundbreaking stuff as its 70s counterpart, but as cinema spectacles go, this is the pinnacle. What was a pipe-dream thought impossible by so many kids, including yours truly, was started by this film and I’ve never experienced a more excited cinema trip in my life.
This is Spinal Tap (1984)
How is this not real life? It’s so utterly surreal from the situations to the interviews and McKean, Guest and Sheerer become the characters so completely, it’s hard not to buy into it.
Tongan Ninja (2002)
New Zealand’s crown jewel, and they got a Pacific islander to do all the work. Go buy a DVD now. Steal it for all I care. All I care about is that you watch it. You will not regret it. Jermaine Clement, you wonderful man.
Toy Story (1995)
The start of all things CGI, a genuinely groundbreaking achievement by Pixar and a wonderful, memorable way to kick it all off.
Toy Story 2 (1999)
A complete and utter explosion of nostalgia from start to finish, the perfect sequel. But damn was Pete stinky.
Toy Story 3 (2010)
About as touching and heartfelt as Pixar may have ever got, and a poignant, satisfying conclusion to the story — at least for a few years.
Yeah, more Pixar. Is anyone complaining? They love to get us all teary. They love making us cry. The utter gits. Still, in this fascinating South American setting and with about as lovable cast as you could ever ask for, we don’t care if we shed a tear or two, do we?
V for Vendetta (2005)
As well as inspiring the Facebook profile pictures of countless Monster-swilling 14-year-olds in the early 2010s (as well as a hacking group I’m still not taking chances with), V For Vendetta translates the powerful original material into a beautifully choreographed manifesto of a film.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
Aardman’s perfect ode to one of the greatest sects of niche British culture, and cheesier than the most symphonic prog metal you’ll ever set your ears upon.
Wayne’s World (1992)
Extreme close-ups and street hockey aplenty, this is the best homage to rock/metal culture put to screen and Mike Myers’ funniest. No Stairway? Denied.
Keep checking up on this badboi for updates and additions to these absolute masterpieces.