The Beginners

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Created by JessKlette.

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Movies...ruining the book since the 1920's.

For my friends that have been overwhelmed with my recommendations over the years. This is the beginner's list. The list is for luke-warm fan's of film, the one's who would never admit that "the film was better than the novel" (You know who you are), the ones who have briefly ventured into the terrain of Technicolor but have jumped off the train at a screening of "Deuce Bigelow"or have given up after witnessing the less than 'dynamic' range of Keanu Reeves and Nicholas Cage.

Fear not, good film exists.

I hope that you will be able to knock of these films one by one and succumb to the passion for film that will begin to grow within you. I hope these films will inspire you to look for more films made by the same directors, for more performances by some great actors and pursue beautiful cinematography by the masters of their craft. Ultimately I hope that this list would be the start of your journey through the wonderful world of moving pictures.

The films listed are evaluated by year: so take "Jaws" or "Say Anything" for example...not exactly the greatest movies known to man but they were brilliant for the years that they came out. The Impact on the trajectory of film making and cultural significance also plays a huge factor e.g "À bout de souffle (Breathless)" might be a bizarre choice but the French New Wave introduced techniques like starting the dialogue of a scene before cutting to the shots of the characters speaking. Wide consensus or popular approval are considerations for some choices e.g "Titanic" and "Finding Nemo" were chosen as they are enjoyed by a wide array of audiences. Some pictures are in the list because of the brilliant performances by actors e.g the 2011 film "Take Shelter" has an interest premise and is very well made for the budget that was available to them but it's Michael Shannon that completely steals the show and displays some of the finest acting since the beginning of film itself.

My specialty is classic American cinema...yes, contrary to hipsterian knowledge, a large percentage of the best films ever made are American and yes, films can be in English and they can be enjoyable - We don't need to sit through "Salo: 120 Days of Sodom" just so we can say that we have seen a movie that regular people who don't appreciate violent intellectual porn haven't. So there is tons of great early American film including some wonderfully dramatic, chiaroscuro inspired Film-Noir. I have also sourced important films from an array of countries, even from Iran for all you 'progressive' cool cats. An endnote: Bias is reduced when using methodology like I have listed above. Many of the film's here I am not fond of at all, including Kubrick's 40min sequence of apes bashing rocks in "2001: Space Oddessey", but these films are still significant and they do have large groups of eccentric fans.

Seeing those scribblings of movie lists handed to friends might be long gone, or keeping the place at page 22 of attempts at Tolstoy's "War & Peace"...this indestructible digital version might be the thing that gets you guys on the right track. Please enjoy these films and let me know what you think of them. : )

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  1. 1 new

    Le voyage dans la lune

    1902 — a.k.a. A Trip to the Moon, in 13 top lists Check
  2. 2 new

    The Great Train Robbery

    1903, in 12 top lists Check
  3. 3 new

    The Musketeers of Pig Alley

    1912, in 7 top lists Check
  4. 4 new


    1914, in 11 top lists Check
  5. 5 new

    Les vampires

    1915, in 13 top lists Check
  6. 6 new

    Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages

    1916, in 23 top lists Check
  7. 7 new

    The Birth of a Nation

    1915, in 21 top lists Check
  8. 8 new

    Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl

    1919 — a.k.a. Broken Blossoms, in 13 top lists Check
  9. 9 new

    Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

    1920 — a.k.a. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, in 30 top lists Check
  10. 10 new

    The Kid

    1921, in 14 top lists Check
  11. 11 new

    Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens

    1922 — a.k.a. Nosferatu, in 27 top lists Check
  12. 12 new

    The Gold Rush

    1925, in 29 top lists Check
  13. 13 new


    1927, in 34 top lists Check
  14. 14 new

    7th Heaven

    1927, in 10 top lists Check
  15. 15 new

    Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

    1927, in 34 top lists Check
  16. 16 new

    All Quiet on the Western Front

    1930, in 16 top lists Check
  17. 17 new

    M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder

    1931 — a.k.a. M, in 34 top lists Check
  18. 18 new

    42nd Street

    1933, in 12 top lists Check
  19. 19 new

    It Happened One Night

    1934, in 27 top lists Check
  20. 20 new

    The Scarlet Empress

    1934, in 11 top lists Check
  21. 21 new

    The Wizard of Oz

    1939, in 32 top lists Check
  22. 22 new

    Gone with the Wind

    1939, in 30 top lists Check
  23. 23 new


    1940, in 22 top lists Check
  24. 24 new

    The Great Dictator

    1940, in 24 top lists Check
  25. 25 new

    His Girl Friday

    1940, in 19 top lists Check
  26. 26 new

    The Maltese Falcon

    1941, in 24 top lists Check
  27. 27 new

    Citizen Kane

    1941, in 36 top lists Check
  28. 28 new

    Cat People

    1942, in 13 top lists Check
  29. 29 new


    1942, in 36 top lists Check
  30. 30 new

    Shadow of a Doubt

    1943, in 10 top lists Check
  31. 31 new

    Meet Me in St. Louis

    1944, in 15 top lists Check
  32. 32 new

    Double Indemnity

    1944, in 33 top lists Check
  33. 33 new

    It's a Wonderful Life

    1946, in 29 top lists Check
  34. 34 new

    The Big Sleep

    1946, in 20 top lists Check
  35. 35 new

    The Red Shoes

    1948, in 24 top lists Check
  36. 36 new

    The Third Man

    1949, in 33 top lists Check
  37. 37 new

    Sunset Blvd.

    1950 — a.k.a. Sunset Boulevard, in 33 top lists Check
  38. 38 new

    The Asphalt Jungle

    1950, in 15 top lists Check
  39. 39 new

    A Streetcar Named Desire

    1951, in 15 top lists Check
  40. 40 new

    Strangers on a Train

    1951, in 15 top lists Check
  41. 41 new

    La strada

    1954 — a.k.a. La Strada, in 19 top lists Check
  42. 42 new

    A Star Is Born

    1954, in 14 top lists Check
  43. 43 new

    Singin' in the Rain

    1952, in 34 top lists Check
  44. 44 new


    1952, in 22 top lists Check
  45. 45 new

    Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

    1953, in 10 top lists Check
  46. 46 new

    Rear Window

    1954, in 29 top lists Check
  47. 47 new

    Shichinin no samurai

    1954 — a.k.a. Seven Samurai, in 33 top lists Check
  48. 48 new

    Rebel Without a Cause

    1955, in 16 top lists Check
  49. 49 new

    The Seven Year Itch

    1955, in 3 top lists Check
  50. 50 new

    Le notti di Cabiria

    1957 — a.k.a. Nights of Cabiria, in 19 top lists Check
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Last updated on Apr 6, 2012;