So Many Movies: My Current Watchlist

cinephile must-see movies list

This list feels too long and woefully incomplete all at once. I didn’t start keeping a watchlist of any kind until about a year ago, and it has grown immensely since then. The more movies I watch, the more movies I learn that I haven’t seen. At the same time, I have a tendency to devote a good deal of my movie-watching time to going to the theater or to catching up on films that have come out in the last year or so. Unfortunately, all the movies that I don’t see in theaters pile up pretty quickly, and those that have been out for decades continue to go unwatched. Hopefully, posting this here will remind me to make more time for older films. I’m not trying to tell anyone what they should watch, I’m just letting you know what I want to watch.

What’s on the List
This list contains those movies that I want to watch but that I have not yet seen. Some of these movies are on here, because I’ve heard other film lovers sing their praises or because they are important to the history of film in some way. That said, the many of them are on here simply because there is something about them (usually a director, an actor, or both) that leads me to believe that I might enjoy watching them. I know more about some of these films than others—in fact, there are some I hardly know about at all, but I feel like watching them anyway.

What’s Not on It
I have not included any documentaries on this list. Not because there aren’t any that I want to watch (I want to watch a whole lot of them), but because I feel that this list is plenty long as it is.

I also have not included an films that I’ve seen or that haven’t been released yet. (So, while I am thirsting for films like Crimson Peak and The Revenant, you won’t see them below).

More importantly, I haven’t included any films that I don’t know about. If you think I may have missed something great (that I haven’t already seen), feel free to let tell me.

One More Thing
Films directed by women appear in bold in the list below. I’ve done this both to make it easy for anyone trying to watch more films directed by women to pick them out of the list and to remind myself to seek out more information about women filmmakers and their films. I do make an effort to watch films directed by women, but they still make up a small portion of the list below. More often than not, the film’s that people talk about, the films that get wide distributions, and the films that are labelled “important” are made by men, and the film industry has a lot of work to do if it’s ever going to make up for this imbalance.

The List Itself
8 ½ (Federico Fellini; 1963)
28 Days Later (Danny Boyle; 2002)
35 Shots of Rum (Claire Denis; 2008)
The 400 Blows (Francis Truffaut; 1959)
2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick; 1968)
About Elly (Asghar Farhadi; 2009)
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Stephan Elliot; 1994)
Aint Them Bodies Saints (David Lowery; 2013)
Alien (Ridley Scott; 1979)
American History X (Tony Kaye; 1998)
An Angel at My Table (Jane Campion; 1990)
Antichrist (Lars von Trier; 2009)
Another Earth (Mike Cahill; 2011)
Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola; 1979)
Autumn Sonata (Ingmar Bergman; 1978)
The Aviator (Martin Scorsese; 2004)
Babel (Alejandro González Iñárritu; 2006)
Badlands (Terrence Malick; 1973)
The Banquet (Feng Xiaogang; 2006)
Batman (Tim Burton; 1989)
Being John Malkovich (Spike Jonze; 1999)
Belle (Amma Asante; 2013)
Beetlejuice (Tim Burton; 1988)
Beyond the Lights (Gina Prince-Bythewood; 2014)
Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica; 1948)
Biutiful (Alejandro González Iñárritu; 2010)
The Big Lebowski (Joel Coen; 1998)
Blazing Saddles (Mel Brooks; 1974)
Bling Ring (Sofia Coppola; 2013)
Blue Velvet (David Lynch; 1986)
Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn; 1967)
Boogie Nights (Paul Thomas Anderson; 1997)
Bottle Rocket (Wes Anderson; 1996)
Boys Don’t Cry (Kimberly Pierce; 1999)
Brazil (Terry Gilliam; 1985)
Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard; 1960)
A Bridge Too Far (Richard Attenborough; 1977)
Bright Star (Jane Campion; 2009)
The Cabin in the Woods (Drew Goddard; 2012)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene; 1920)
Cache (Michael Haneke; 2005)
Camp X-Ray (Peter Sattler; 2014)
Carrie (Brian De Palma; 1976)
To Catch a Thief (Alfred Hitchcock; 1955)
Chronicle (Josh Trank; 2012)
A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick; 1971)
Collateral (Michael Mann; 2004)
The Court Jester (Melvin Frank and Norman Panama; 1955)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee; 2000)
Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus (Sebastian Silva; 2013)
The Darjeeling Limited (Wes Anderson; 2007)
Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash; 1991)
Day of Wrath (Carl Theodor Dreyer; 1943)
Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick; 1978)
The Deer Hunter (Michael Cimino; 1978)
The Departed (Martin Scorsese; 2006)
The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Marielle Heller; 2015)
Dogville (Lars von Trier; 2003)
Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly; 2001)
The Dreamers (Bernardo Bertolucci; 2003)
The Duke of Burgundy (Peter Strickland; 2014)
The East (Zal Batmanglij; 2013)
An Education (Lone Scherfig; 2009)
The English Patient (Anthony Minghella; 1996)
Enough Said (Nicole Holofcener; 2013)
Enter the Void (Gaspar Noé; 2009)
Eraserhead (David Lynch; 1997)
The Exorcist (William Friedkin; 1973)
Everything is Illuminated (Liev Schreiber; 2005)
Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick; 1999)
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (Russ Meyer; 1965)
Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold; 2009)
Force Majeure (Ruben Östlund; 2014)
Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931)
Frida (Julie Taymor; 2002)
Funny Games (Michael Haneke; 1997)
The Game (David Fincher; 1997)
Gangs of New York (Martin Scorsese; 2002)
The General (Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton; 1926)
Get Carter (Mike Hodges; 1971)
Ghost in the Shell (Mamoru Oshii; 1995)
Girl Fight (Karyn Kusama; 2000)
Girl, Interrupted (James Mangold; 1999)
Gladiator (Ridley Scott; 2000)
The Great Dictator (Charlie Chaplin; 1940)
The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola; 1972)
The Godfather: Part II (Francis Ford Coppola; 1974)
The Guard (John Michael McDonagh; 2011)
Half Nelson (Ryan Fleck; 2006)
Hard Candy (David Slade; 2005)
Hard Eight (Paul Thomas Anderon; 1996)
Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson; 1994)
High Anxiety (Mel Brooks; 1977)
A History of Violence (David Cronenberg; 2005)
The Hitch-Hiker (Ida Lupino; 1953)
Holy Motors (Leos Carax; 2012)
Horror of Dracula (Terrence Fisher; 1958)
Howl’s Moving Castle (Hayao Miyazaki; 2004)
The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck; 2006)
I am Love (Luca Guadagnino; 2009)
The Ides of March (George Clooney; 2011)
The Immigrant (James Gray; 2013)
Interview with the Vampire (Neil Jordan; 1994)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Philip Kaufman; 1978)
Jennifer’s Body (Karyn Kusama; 2009)
Joe (David Gordon Green; 2013)
Kagemusha (Akira Kuroswa; 1980)
The King of Devil’s Island (Marius Holst; 2010)
La Haine (Mathier Kassovitz; 1995)
Lars and the Real Girl (Craig Gillespie; 2007)
Laurence Anyways (Xavier Dolan; 2012)
Layer Cake (Matthew Vaughn; 2004)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Wes Anderson; 2004)
Mad Max (George Miller; 1979)
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (George Miller; 1981)
Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome (George Miller and George Ogilvie; 1985)
The Magnificent Seven (John Sturges; 1960)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford; 1962)
Marie Antoinette (2006; Sofia Coppola)
The Meaning of Life (Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam; 1983)
Memento (Christopher Nolan; 2000)
Metropolis (Fritz Lang; 1927)
Middle of Nowhere (Ava DuVernay; 2012)
Mistress America (Noah Baumbach; 2015)
Mommy (Xavier Dolan; 2014)
Monster (Patty Jenkins; 2003)
Moon (Duncan Jones; 2009)
Mulholland Drive (David Lynch; 2001)
Mysterious Skin (Gregg Araki; 2004)
Mystery Train (Jim Jarmusch; 1989)
Near Dark (Kathryn Bigelow; 1987)
The New World (Terrence Malick; 2005)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven; 1984)
Night Moves (Kelly Reichardt; 2013)
Nosferatu (Werner Herzog; 1979)
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan; 2011)
Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch; 2013)
Orlando (Sally Porter; 1992)
The Orphanage (Guillermo Del Toro; 2007)
The Others (Alejandro Amenábar; 2001)
Panic Room (David Fincher; 2002)
Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro; 2006)
Paper Moon (Peter Bogdanovich; 1973)
Persepolis (Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi; 2007)
The Piano (Jane Campion; 1993)
The Piano Teacher (Michael Haneke; 2001)
The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor; 1940)
Princess Mononoke (Hayao Miyazaki; 1997)
Pusher (Nicholas Winding Refn; 1996)
Pusher II: With Blood on My Hands (Nicolas Winding Refn; 2004)
Pusher III: I’m the Angel of Death (Nicholas Winding Refn; 2005)
Queen of Earth (Alex Ross Perry; 2015)
Ratcatcher (Lynne Ramsay; 1999)
The Red Shoes (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger; 1948)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Jim Sharman; 1975)
Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski; 1968)
The Road (John Hillcoat; 2009)
Rope (Alfred Hitchcock; 1948)
Rosewater (Jon Stewart; 2014)
The Salvation (Kristian Levring; 2014)
Secretary (Steven Shainberg; 2002)
Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh; 2012)
The Searchers (John Ford; 1956)
A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen; 2009)
Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa; 1954)
A Separation (Asghar Farhadi)
Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman; 1957)
Sid & Nancy (Alex Cox; 1986)
Shame (Steve McQueen; 2011)
Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright; 2004)
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick; 1980)
Sin Nombre (Cary Fukunaga; 2009)
Smashed (James Ponsoldt; 2012)
The Snowtown Murders (Justin Kurzel; 2011)
Speak (Jessica Sharzer; 2004)
Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki; 2001)
Spring (Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson; 2014)
The Squid and the Whale (Noah Baumbach; 2005)
Strange Days (Kathryn Bigelow; 1995)
Submarine (Richard Ayoade; 2010)
Sunshine (Danny Boyle; 2007)
Suspicion (Alfred Hitchcock; 1941)
Swingers (Doug Liman; 1996)
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (Chan-wook Park; 2005)
Synechdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman; 2008)
Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese; 1976)
The Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick; 1998)
The Third Man (Carol Reed; 1949)
Titus (Julie Taymor; 1999)
Touch of Evil (Orson Welles; 1958)
Tokyo Story (Yasujirō Ozu; 1953)
Trainspotting (Danny Boyle; 1996)
The Trial (Orson Welles; 1962)
True Romance (Tony Scott; 1993)
Two Days, One Night (Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne; 2014)
Upstream Color (Shane Caruth; 2013)
Ugetsu Monogatari (Kenji Mizoguchi; 1953)
The Usual Suspects (Bryan Singer; 1995)
Vampyr (Carl Theodor Dreyer; 1932)
Wadjda (Haifaa Al-Mansour; 2012)
Walk the Line (James Mangold; 2005)
Water Lilies (Celine Sciamma; 2007)
Wendy and Lucy (Kelly Reichardt; 2008)
Wetlands (David Wnendt; 2013)
Whale Rider (Niki Caro; 2002)
The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy; 1973)
Wilde (Brian Gilbert; 1997)
To the Wonder (Terrence Malick; 2012)
Y Tu Mama Tambien (Alfonso Cuarón; 2001)

Until Next Time
I’m somewhat hesitant to post this. It may be silly, but admitting that I haven’t seen certain films leaves me feeling a little bit vulnerable. Then again, there are a whole lot of movies out there, and I’ve only cared deeply about them for a few years. I’m excited to watch all of these (and countless others), but it’s gonna take a while.

I’m not sure exactly how many people this post will really be of interest to, but thanks for stopping by regardless! If you can think of a few films that I should add, please let me know! You can leave a comment below or can contact me on twitter.

Oh, and if this list has you wondering which films I actually have seen, you can always follow me on letterboxd. (Not everything I’ve ever seen is logged, but just about everything that I remember is.) 

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