99 Best Must-Watch Movies of All Time Movie Bucket List

A classic film noir based on the Walter Mosley “Easy” Rawlins detective novel, this has all the moodiness and style you’d expect from something so rooted in this genre. Not only is Washington incredibly magnetic in the lead, but this was the movie that introduced the world to Don Cheadle, who steals the show as Rawlins’ loose cannon friend, Mouse. A movie about a bunch of heroin addicts in Scotland doesn’t immediately scream “good times,” which is why Trainspotting hit the cultural zeitgeist like a tornado. A fast, surreal, rollicking comedy set to an amazing soundtrack, the movie manages to be a total blast despite never glossing over (and in some scenes, unblinkingly digging right into) the darker and more tragic elements of drug addiction. It doesn’t glorify its characters or what they do, but still manages to make them all charismatic and watchable. Set in Spain during the 1940s, Pan’s Labyrinth is about a girl who escapes into an elaborate fantasy world to avoid her sadistic military stepfather.

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The year has provided some incredible films, many you can stream right now. But there were some truly wonderful releases, ranging from music docs and musicals to westerns and the just plain weird. The order reflects Tomatometer scores (as of December 31, 2021) after adjustment from our ranking formula, which compensates for variation in the number of reviews when comparing movies or TV shows. Sign up for our email to enjoy your city without spending a thing (as well as some options when you’re feeling flush).

Convinced to throw a house party by her best friend Lupe (Victoria Moroles), Sunny (Kuhoo Verma) has sex not with her crush Hunter (Provost) but with religious nerd Kyle (Mason Cook)–a decision that leads to crisis when, the next morning, she comes to fear that she’s pregnant. Thus a rollicking mission to obtain a morning-after Plan B pill is born, driven by Sunny’s fear of not only teen parenthood but disappointing her demanding Indian mother (Jolly Abraham). Punctuated by a bevy of hilarious one-liners, Prathi Srinivasan and Joshua Levy’s script is raunchy and sweet in equal measure, capturing its protagonists’ anxieties and desires (for sex, for acceptance) with absurd heart. As the hesitant-to-come-out Lupe, Moroles is a consistent delight, and Verma is even better as the frazzled Sunny, in what may be the breakout performance of the year. Sure, we’ve yet to hit the quarter-century mark, when these sorts of lists tend to start landing.

It’s a pretty traditional boxing film, but there is a one-take fight scene that will leave you wondering how they shot it for years. The sequel to the 1963 film The Pink Panther, which introduced audiences to bumbling French cop Inspector Clouseau, A Shot in the Dark is Sellers really settling in and taking his physical and verbal comedy to the next level. And it’s not just about Sellers, either—the opening scene is an incredibly choreographed sequence as the camera tracks residents of a Parisian apartment complex sneaking into each other’s rooms for midnight trysts.

The story of a pair of NYPD narcotics detectives (Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider) who uncover a heroin-smuggling operation headquartered in France, The French Connection is a cop thriller with smarts and boatloads of style. You feel the dirt and grime of 1970s New York in every scene, and Hackman’s Detective “Popeye” Doyle is an instant icon with his grizzled demeanor and porkpie hat. If you’re looking for more films to add to the list, check out these Irish movies you can stream now. This movie was known for a long time as “The Bicycle Thief,” a title that turned out to be a slight mistranslation.

If you think of jazz music as a soundtrack to a leisurely afternoon sipping pumpkin lattes in a Starbucks, then you need to see Whiplash. Almost unbearably intense, this story of an aspiring jazz drummer (Miles Teller) who is challenged to raise his game by an overbearing and abusive teacher (J.K. Simmons), this movie feels almost like a horror film at times. Simmons is dynamic and menacing and instantly iconic, and Teller more than keeps up with him.

Still an impressive and awe-inspiring adventure, even almost 30 years later. War films have been a staple of cinema since its birth, so you really have to go the extra mile to do something new in that space. 1917 follows two British soldiers in World War I as they traverse war-torn France on a mission to warn an artillery battalion of an impending German ambush. What is astonishing is that the film unfurls as though in one continuous take, which is mind blowing, as it moves steadily from moments of mundane ordinariness to intensely terrifying scenes of war. Like every other art, film advances through criticism, by which I don’t mean after-the-fact assessments by people like me, but the skeptical scrutiny that filmmakers bring to bear on the conditions and traditions of their own creative practice.


  • This movie changed the way superhero films were thought of for a generation of young viewers, and that’s something worth watching in itself.
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  • Sure, it’s set in high school, and, yes, it mines the trials and tribulations of teen life for laughs, but that’s where the similarities end.
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  • The Social Network tells a fictional account of how Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard college student, and his friends created the most important social networking site of the early 2000s, and all the drama and millions that followed.
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  • What makes this movie exceptional is, first and foremost, the chemistry between the two leads—this is a high point in the careers of both Robbins and Freeman (which is saying something).
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  • Just have tissues handy, because this sad movie goes straight for the heartstrings.
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  • Keith Thomas’s feature debut has a great sense of its insular milieu as well as the trauma and stress of escaping an extremist religious environment, and the writer/director drums up suspense from set pieces that exploit silence to eerie effect.

Sometimes when you watch old comedies, you can appreciate their place in history but don’t find yourself laughing all that much. The Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup—a mockery of politics and war—still has the power to elicit genuine laughs. It’s surprising now to look back and see the utter anarchy that was the Brothers’ comedy—they have a “mess with everyone at all times” ethos that keeps their comedy from feeling stale or corny even many decades later. And the song “Whatever It Is, I’m Against It” seems to have predicted current political discourse. ” haunts every college graduate, and it forms the heart of this late-’60s comedy starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft.

Nick Schager is a NYC-area film critic and culture writer with twenty years of professional experience writing about all the movies you love, and countless others that you don’t. Fiery tensions are everywhere in this hypnotic film–be it between love and sex, passion and reason, sanity and madness, or modern art and reggaeton street culture–as Ema reacts to her situation by concocting a scheme to get her child back through carnally devious means. Larraín stages his material like a sweaty, pulsating fever dream-cum-dance-routine, all of it revolving around his alternately entrancing and horrifying protagonist, whose quest for motherhood takes on increasingly demented form. There’s palpable volatility to his study of Di Girolamo’s intriguing Ema, who proves to be a figurative and literal flamethrower. Panah Panahi, son of legendary filmmaker Jafar Panahi (who was sentenced to six years in prison earlier this year for “inciting unrest”), makes his directorial debut with this comedic family drama, which some have described as Iran’s answer to Little Miss Sunshine. A family of four sets off on a road trip that inspires both tears and laughter as they traverse the countryside.

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