Jim Emerson's "102 Movies You Must See"

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"These are the movies I just kind of figure everybody ought to have seen in order to have any sort of informed discussion about movies. They’re the common cultural currency of our time, the basic cinematic texts that everyone should know, at minimum, to be somewhat ‘movie-literate.’ I hope these movies are experiences we can all assume we share….This isn’t like Roger Ebert’s ‘Great Movies’ series. It’s not my idea of The Best Movies Ever Made (that would be a different list, though there’s some overlap here), or limited to my personal favorites or my estimation of the most important or influential films…. I tried to represent key examples of all important genres, movie stars, directors, historical movements, and so on — like an overview of the 20th century in 101 movies. Yes, there are many more I’d like to add, but remember, this is only a primer. How many have you seen?" —Jim Emerson

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  1. 1 new

    1963, in 32 top lists Check
  2. 2 new

    Les quatre cents coups

    1959 — a.k.a. The 400 Blows, in 25 top lists Check
  3. 3 new

    2001: A Space Odyssey

    1968, in 42 top lists Check
  4. 4 new

    Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes

    1972 — a.k.a. Aguirre, the Wrath of God, in 18 top lists Check
  5. 5 new

    Alien

    1979, in 27 top lists Check
  6. 6 new

    All About Eve

    1950, in 23 top lists Check
  7. 7 new

    Annie Hall

    1977, in 31 top lists Check
  8. 8 new

    Apocalypse Now

    1979, in 36 top lists Check
  9. 9 new

    Bambi

    1942, in 12 top lists Check
  10. 10 new

    Bronenosets Potemkin

    1925 — a.k.a. Battleship Potemkin, in 26 top lists Check
  11. 11 new

    The Best Years of Our Lives

    1946, in 26 top lists Check
  12. 12 new

    The Big Red One

    1980, in 9 top lists Check
  13. 13 new

    Ladri di biciclette

    1948 — a.k.a. Bicycle Thieves, in 35 top lists Check
  14. 14 new

    The Big Sleep

    1946, in 19 top lists Check
  15. 15 new

    Blade Runner

    1982, in 30 top lists Check
  16. 16 new

    Blowup

    1966 — a.k.a. Blow-Up, in 18 top lists Check
  17. 17 new

    Blue Velvet

    1986, in 24 top lists Check
  18. 18 new

    Bonnie and Clyde

    1967, in 28 top lists Check
  19. 19 new

    À bout de souffle

    1960 — a.k.a. Breathless, in 27 top lists Check
  20. 20 new

    Bringing Up Baby

    1938, in 21 top lists Check
  21. 21 new

    Carrie

    1976, in 8 top lists Check
  22. 22 new

    Casablanca

    1942, in 36 top lists Check
  23. 23 new

    Un chien andalou

    1929 — a.k.a. Un Chien Andalou, in 22 top lists Check
  24. 24 new

    Les enfants du paradis

    1945 — a.k.a. Children of Paradise, in 20 top lists Check
  25. 25 new

    Chinatown

    1974, in 28 top lists Check
  26. 26 new

    Citizen Kane

    1941, in 36 top lists Check
  27. 27 new

    A Clockwork Orange

    1971, in 33 top lists Check
  28. 28 new

    The Crying Game

    1992, in 8 top lists Check
  29. 29 new

    The Day the Earth Stood Still

    1951, in 13 top lists Check
  30. 30 new

    Days of Heaven

    1978, in 18 top lists Check
  31. 31 new

    Dirty Harry

    1971, in 14 top lists Check
  32. 32 new

    Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie

    1972 — a.k.a. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, in 20 top lists Check
  33. 33 new

    La dolce vita

    1960 — a.k.a. La Dolce Vita, in 20 top lists Check
  34. 34 new

    Do the Right Thing

    1989, in 20 top lists Check
  35. 35 new

    Double Indemnity

    1944, in 32 top lists Check
  36. 36 new

    Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop...

    1964, in 33 top lists Check
  37. 37 new

    Duck Soup

    1933, in 24 top lists Check
  38. 38 new

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

    1982, in 27 top lists Check
  39. 39 new

    Easy Rider

    1969, in 18 top lists Check
  40. 40 new

    Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

    1980, in 23 top lists Check
  41. 41 new

    The Exorcist

    1973, in 26 top lists Check
  42. 42 new

    Fargo

    1996, in 23 top lists Check
  43. 43 new

    Fight Club

    1999, in 16 top lists Check
  44. 44 new

    The General

    1926, in 33 top lists Check
  45. 45 new

    The Godfather

    1972, in 38 top lists Check
  46. 46 new

    The Godfather: Part II

    1974, in 27 top lists Check
  47. 47 new

    Gone with the Wind

    1939, in 30 top lists Check
  48. 48 new

    Goodfellas

    1990, in 29 top lists Check
  49. 49 new

    The Graduate

    1967, in 25 top lists Check
  50. 50 new

    Halloween

    1978, in 14 top lists Check
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Last updated on Feb 10, 2012; source