A few of you guys have been after me to post a list of films, especially considering that I never shut up about them. Well, here it finally is. I took the most recent AFI 100 Greatest Films of All-Time list and pulled out the ones I think are the most essential, and carry the most weight in terms of pop culture — which is important to designers. Once you've seen all of these, you can hold your own with almost any film buff. There's a huge variety here, so let's see who can tackle the most by the time school rolls around again! In order to get the list up to a round number (50), I added a few films that are either very popular, cult films, or referenced a lot in pop culture. Enjoy! Post back if you get a chance to see any of these — conversation is a good thing.
1. CITIZEN KANE (1941)
The greatest movie ever made? Certainly the fartherst ahead of its time — though many people don’t like it the first time they see it. You need to know all of the on- and off-screen context in order to fully appreciate the film.
2. THE GODFATHER (1972)
Considered better than Kane by some, easily the best mafia movie ever — also the most quotable. This is the best movie of the best decade for American movies: the 70s.
3. CASABLANCA (1942)
The definitive Hollywood studio picture, featuring the greatest movie star of all time: Bogart. Flawless and timeless in every way.
4. RAGING BULL (1980)
Overhyped by those who are angry it didn’t win best picture. Still, Deniro is astonishing and the B/W filming is simply extraordinary. Like Kane, this changed the way people would make and view movies.
5. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952)
The greatest musical ever, and a fun film. Simply a must.
6. GONE WITH THE WIND (1939)
The most lavish and publicized movie ever made, adjusted for inflation, this is the undisputed box-office champ of all time. Nothing else even comes close.
7. VERTIGO (1958)
Hitchcock’s greatest achievement. Challenging film with a lot going on underneath the surface gets better with every viewing. It’s necessary to watch it multiple times to understand everything that happens. Don’t let anyone ruin the secrets for you.
8. STAR WARS (1977)
I’m sure you’ve seen this, if you haven’t you must — you’ll be left out of too many pop culture references!
9. PSYCHO (1960)
Not in the same league as “Vertigo,” and a bit dated by today’s standards — most people know the ending and the psycho-babble has become cliche. However, graphic designer Saul Bass (the greatest of all time!) directed the stunning shower sequence.
10. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)
It’s cool to like Kubrick, especially these days, and this is probably his most artistic film. Lots of good pop culture inside, but very challenging. Film people beat each other up over the hidden meanings.
11. THE GRADUATE (1967)
12. CHINATOWN (1975)
13. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962)
14. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939)
15. HIGH NOON (1952)
16. ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)
17. DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944)
18. THE MALTESE FALCON (1940)
19. THE GODFATHER PART II (1974)
20. ANNIE HALL (1977)
21. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946)
22. DR. STRANGELOVE (1964)
23. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934)
24. A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951)
25. REAR WINDOW (1954)
26. TAXI DRIVER (1976)
27. THE DEER HUNTER (1978)
28. JAWS (1975)
29. ROCKY (1976)
30. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)
31. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971)
32. EASY RIDER (1969)
33. 12 ANGRY MEN (1957)
34. SWING TIME (1936)
35. GOODFELLAS (1990)
36. THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971)
37. DO THE RIGHT THING (1989)
38. BLADE RUNNER (1982)
Plus 12 more must-sees not on the AFI list!
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
North by Northwest (1959)
Swing Kids (1993)
True Romance (1993)
The Warriors (1979)
White Heat (1949) (Gotta have a Cagney film somewhere!)
Young Frankenstein (1974)