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  • Matt Levin

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

Updated: Mar 19

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}

35. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

36. The Thief of Bagdad




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!}





UPDATE: A few glaring omissions added!


Fargo

Raising Arizona

Blood Simple

No Country For Old Men {Joel and Ethan Coen}

Barton Fink

The Big Lebowski



All That Jazz

Lenny {Bob Fosse}

Cabaret



The Searchers

The Quiet Man

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance {John Ford}

My Darling Clementine

The Grapes of Wrath



The Maltese Falcon

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. {John Houston}

The Asphalt Jungle

The African Queen

The Misfits



Au Hasard Balthazar

Pickpocket

The Trial of Joan of Arc. {Robert Bresson}

L'Argent

A Man Escaped

Diary of a Country Priest



Breathless

Week End

Masculine/Feminine {Jean-Luc Godard}

Pierrot le Fou

Alphaville



This is Spinal Tap

Misery {Rob Reiner}

The Princess Bride



The Wild Bunch

Straw Dogs

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia {Sam Peckinpah}

Cross of Iron



Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Brazil

Time Bandits {Terry Gilliam}

The Fisher King

Twelve Monkeys



Last Tango in Paris

The Conformist

Before The Revolution {Bernardo Bertolucci}

The Last Emperor



Querelle

Berlin Alexanderplatz

Veronika Voss

In a Year of 13 Moons {Rainer Werner Fassbinder}

Effi Briest

The Marriage of Maria Braun



Death in Venice

The Damned {Luchino Visconti}

The Leopard



8 ½

La Dolce Vita

La Strada {Federico Fellini}

Nights of Cabiria



Shoot the Piano Player

Jules et Jim

The 400 Blows {François Truffaut}

Day for Night

Fahrenheit 451


















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

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