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  • Writer's pictureMatt Levin

301 Films to see before you die(Hopefully not from COVID-19...)

Updated: Jun 10, 2021

Too Soon? Ok, this is serious stuff, but there has to be a balance between total panic, and being able to be distracted if not have a laugh, right? The reality is we have a lot of time on our hands inside in our homes right now, and we can't think about this apocalyptic stuff every waking minute, or we will literally going insane ala Jack Nicholson in The Shining!(One of my all time favs, I might add).

So, I've seen a lot of people online asking for suggestions about things to watch. Obviously there are a ton of TV shows out there, and a lot of new or newish movies as well. But being a film buff, and having gone to film school, I have a passion for older films, so I've compiled a list of 201 of my favs. Some you've seen, classics, some are more obscure, possible a few or many that you haven't seen. There will be omissions for some of you, everyone has their fav which I understand, films are very personal.

For this list I thought I'd group them by director. One thing I did when I was in film school was I'd take a director and just binge all of their films in a row. It's nice to see the progression and use of similar themes of a certain director from film to film. Organizing this list made one thing glaringly clear - Almost all of the most famous directors in the history of film are men. Of course there are incredible female directors that I included - Elaine May, Katheryn Bigelow, Agnes Varda. But it really shows what a male dominated industry it's been over the years. Thankfully this has been changing with many female directors getting more opportunities and making great films in recent years. (Greta Gerwig, Ava DuVernay, and Sophia Coppola to name a few)

So enjoy this list. Let me know what you think if you watch any of these films and they leave an impression on you. Stay safe, stay sane. Love each other, don't get cabin fever. Get outside, take a walk, stay 6 ft away from the closest human, then come home and watch a great film!

Love, Matt xx

1. Sunset Blvd.

2. Double Indemnity

3. The Lost Weekend. {Billy Wilder}

4. Some Like it Hot

5. Ace In the Hole

6. One, Two, Three

6A. The Apartment

7. Apocalypse Now

8. The Godfather

9. The Godfather Part II. {Francis Ford Coppola}

10. The Conversation

11. One From the Heart

12. Rumble Fish

13. 2001:A Space Odyssey

14. A Clockwork Orange

15. Dr. Strangelove {Stanley Kubrick}

16. Barry Lyndon

17. The Shining

18. Lolita

19. Blow Up

20. The Passenger

21. Zabriske Point

22. Red Desert {Michelangelo Antonioni}

23. L'Avventura

24. L'Eclisse

24. Shampoo.

25. Harold and Maude

26. Being There {Hal Ashby}

27. Coming Home

28. The Last Detail

29. Annie Hall

30. Broadway Danny Rose

31. Sleeper {Woody Allen}

32. Manhattan

33. Crimes and Misdemeanors

34. Zelig

32. Black Narcissus

33. Peeping Tom

34. A Matter of Life and Death {Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger}

36. The Thief of Bagdad

36A. The Red Shoes

37. A Woman Under the Influence

38. Faces

39. Husbands

40. Minnie and Moskowitz {John Cassavettes}

41. Gloria

42. Killing of a Chinese Bookie

43. Opening Night

44. Taxi Driver

45. Mean Streets

46. Raging Bull {Martin Scorsese}

47. The King of Comedy

49. After Hours

49. Network

50. Dog Day Afternoon

51. Serpico {Sidney Lumet}

52. Prince of the City

53. The Verdict

54. On The Waterfront

55. A Face in the Crowd

56. Baby Doll {Elia Kazan}

57. East of Eden

58. A Streetcar Named Desire

59. In a Lonely Place

60. Rebel Without a Cause {Nicolas Ray}

61. Johnny Guitar

62.  MASH

63.  The Long Goodbye

64.  McCabe and Mrs. Miller

65.  The Player {Robert Altman}

66. Nashville

67. Secret Honor

68. Short Cuts

69. The Exorcist.

70. The French Connection

71. Sorcerer {William Friedkin}

72.. To Live and Die in LA

73. Cruising

74. Eraserhead

75. Blue Velvet

76. The Elephant Man {David Lynch}

77. Wild at Heart

78. Mulholland Drive

79. Videodrome

80. Dead Ringers

81. Scanners {David Cronenberg}

82. The Fly

83. Crash

84. Touch of Evil {Orson Welles}

85. Citizen Kane

86. Klute

87. All the President's Men

88. The Parallax View {Alan J. Pakula}

89. Sophie's Choice.

90. Five Easy Pieces

91. The King of Marvin Gardens {Bob Rafelson}

92. Head

93. Don't Look Now

94. The Man Who Fell To Earth {Nicolas Roag}

95. Walkabout

96. Aguirre, Wrath of God

97. Fitzcarraldo

98. Nosferatu the Vampyre {Werner Herzog}

98. Grizzly Man

99. Days of Heaven

100. Badlands

101. The Tree of Life {Terrence Malick}

102. The Thin Red Line

103. Two-Lane Blacktop

104. Cockfighter {Monte Hellman}

105. The Shooting

106. Ride in the Whirlwind

107. Freaks

108. Dracula {Tod Browning}

109. London After Midnight

110. Psycho

111. Vertigo

112. Strangers on a Train {Alfred Hitchcock}

113. The Birds

114. Notorious

115. Alien {Ridley Scott}

116. Blade Runner

117. Santa Sangre

118. El Topo {Alejandro Jodorowsky}

119. Holy Mountain

120. The Heartbreak Kid

121. Mikey and Nicky {Elaine May}

122. A New Leaf

123. Ishtar

124. Cléo From 5 to 7

125. Le Bonheur {Agnes Varda}

126. Vagabond

127. JAWS

128. Close Encounters of the Third Kind. {Steven Spielberg}

129. Schindler's List

130. Raiders of the Lost Ark

131. Chinatown

132. Rosemary's Baby

133. The Pianist {Roman Polanski}

134. Repulsion

135. The Tenant

136. Point Break

137. Near Dark {Kathryn Bigelow}

138. The Hurt Locker

139. The Seventh Seal

140. Cries and Whispers

141. Persona {Ingmar Bergman}

142. Wild Strawberries

143. Fanny and Alexander

144. The Sweet Smell of Success

145. The Ladykillers {Alexander Mackendrick}

146. The Man in the White Suit

147. Seconds

148. The Manchurian Candidate {John Frankenheimer}

149. Birdman of Alcatraz

150. Seven Days in May

151. Rashamon

152. Seven Samurai

152. Ran {Akira Kurosawa}

153. Throne of Blood

154. Yojimbo

155. The Driver

156. 48 Hours {Walter Hill}

157. The Warriors

158. Southern Comfort

159. Where's Poppa?

160. The Jerk {Carl Reiner}

161. Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

162. Oh God!

163. Young Frankenstein

164. Blazing Saddles

165. High Anxiety {Mel Brooks}

166. The Producers

167. History of the World Part I

168. Frankenstein

169. The Bride of Frankenstein

170. The Invisible Man {James Whale}

171. The Old Dark House

172. It's a Wonderful Life

173. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

174. It Happened One Night {Frank Capra}

175. Meet John Doe

176. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

177. Altered States

178. The Devils

179. Women in Love {Ken Russell}

180. Tommy

181. Lair of the White Worm

182. Out of the Past

183. I Walked With a Zombie {Jacques Tourneur}

184. Cat People

185. Curse of the Demon

186. Lawrence of Arabia

187. Doctor Zhivago

188. The Bridge on the River Kwai {David Lean}

189. Great Expectations

190. Once Upon a Time in America

191. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly {Sergio Leone}

192 Fistful of Dollars

193. Once Upon a Time in the West

194. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

195. Amadeus {Milos Forman}

196. Ragtime

197. Modern Times

198. City Lights {Charles Chaplin}

199. The Great Dictator

200. The Wizard of Oz

201. Gone With the Wind. {Victor Fleming, both in the same year, 1939!}

202. Odd Man Out

203. The Fallen Idol {Carol Reed}

204. The Third Man

205. Fargo

206. Raising Arizona

207. Blood Simple

208. No Country For Old Men {Joel and Ethan Coen}

209. Barton Fink

210. The Big Lebowski

211. All That Jazz

212. Lenny {Bob Fosse}

213. Cabaret

214. The Searchers

215. The Quiet Man

216. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance {John Ford}

217. My Darling Clementine

218. The Grapes of Wrath

219. The Maltese Falcon

220. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. {John Houston}

221. The Asphalt Jungle

222. The African Queen

223. The Misfits

226. The Trial of Joan of Arc. {Robert Bresson}

229. Diary of a Country Priest

230. Breathless

231. Weekend

232. Masculine/Feminine {Jean-Luc Godard}

234. Alphaville

235. This is Spinal Tap

236. Misery {Rob Reiner}

237. The Princess Bride

238. The Wild Bunch

239. Straw Dogs

240. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia {Sam Peckinpah}

250. Cross of Iron

251. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

252. Brazil

253. Time Bandits {Terry Gilliam}

254. The Fisher King

255. Twelve Monkeys

256. Last Tango in Paris

257. The Conformist

258. Before The Revolution {Bernardo Bertolucci}

259. The Last Emperor

260. Querelle

261. Berlin Alexanderplatz

262. Veronika Voss

263. In a Year of 13 Moons {Rainer Werner Fassbinder}

264. Effi Briest

266. Death in Venice

267. The Damned {Luchino Visconti}

268. The Leopard

269. 8 ½

270. La Dolce Vita

271. La Strada {Federico Fellini}

272. Nights of Cabiria

273. Shoot the Piano Player

274. Jules et Jim

275. The 400 Blows {François Truffaut}

276. Day for Night

277. Fahrenheit 451

278. Suspiria

279. Phenomena {Dario Argento}

280. Deep Red

281. Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story

282. Safe {Todd Haynes}

283. Far From Heaven

284. Punch-Drunk Love

285. There Will Be Blood {PT Anderson}

286. The Master

287. Magnolia

288. Solaris

289. The Mirror {Andrei Tarkovsky}

290. Stalker

291. Late Spring

292. Tokyo Story {Yasujirō Ozu}

293. Floating Weeds

294. The Last Laugh

295. Sunrise {F.W. Murnau}

296. Nosferatu

297. Pather Panchali

298. Aparajito

299. Apur Sansar {Satyajit Ray}

300. The Big City

301. Charulata

"All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."

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