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Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

What Movies should I have seen in order to be culturally literate?

Asked by Imadethisupwithnoforethought (14669points) August 23rd, 2011

I have always felt that there are certain classic books and essays I should get around to reading in order to feel like an educated adult who could hold a conversation with another educated adult.

What Movies should I have seen?

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46 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well, in what culture do you want to be literate, exactly? If you’re like me and are into gender and sexuality convos, you should have seen Paris is Burning, Herdsmen of the Sun and Fire.

tom_g's avatar

Like @Simone_De_Beauvoir says, it certainly depends. If you walk into a conversation I am having with friends, you’re not going get very far talking about some Disney flick.

But I think I know what you’re getting at. What about IMBD’s Top 250? That might help.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Casablanca is probably one of the most often quoted movies. Citizen Kane seems to get referenced quite a bit.

gailcalled's avatar

Off the top of my head:

Citizen Kane
Casablanca
The Third Man
A Day at the Races and A Night at the Opera
Some LIke it Hot
Gone with the Wind
Wizard of Oz
The Battleship Potemkin
The Seventh Seal
Wild Strawberries
Fanny and Alexander
Annie Hall
Manhattan
Sleepers
All About Eve
The Thirty-Nine Steps
Psycho
Vertigo
North by Northwest
Sabrina (the original)
The Godfather I and II
An American in Paris
Roman Holiday
Several of the early Pink Panthers
The Jazz Singer
White Christmas
Rashomon
Borat

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@gailcalled I saw only 3 of those, lol.

gailcalled's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: Wait a second or two. I keep adding new ideas. (I loved the video of your elder as the blue gnome. What a hoot)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@gailcalled Yep, still 3. At least, we can talk about cats. (yeah, the Russian pre-school does spectacular plays)

gailcalled's avatar

@Simone De Beauvoir; How about Apocalypse Now, Lawrence of Arabia, the Bridge on the River Kwai, A Room with a View, Das Boot, the comedies of Alec Guiness, Mr. Hulot, Arsenic and Old Lace…my head reels.

(Russian, eh? That explains why I could not understand the lyrics.)

mazingerz88's avatar

In my wurld? Dumb and Dumber. Tee hee…!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@gailcalled None of those. Yep, I didn’t grow up here and am not huge on movies, mostly books.

josie's avatar

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Shane
The Outlaw Josey Wales
Mulholland Drive

tom_g's avatar

Here’s my own brain dump, @gailcalled,-style in no particular order….

12 Monkeys
Fargo
Snatch
Dead Man
Fight Club
GoodFellas
Stranger than Paradise
Mystery Train
Down By Law
Lost Highway
American Beauty
Jacob’s Ladder
The Big Lebowski
No Country for Old Men
Synecdoche, New York
Donnie Darko
Brazil
Manhattan
Memento
Sideways
Annie Hall
Mulholland Dr.
The Usual Suspects
Crimes and Misdemeanors
The Godfather
Swingers
After Hours
Napoleon Dynamite
Night on Earth
There Will Be Blood
Rushmore
The Royal Tenenbaums
Hannah and Her Sisters
Being John Malkovich
The Shining
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Adaptation
Lost in Translation
Wild at Heart
Barton Fink
Eraserhead

(just to give you an idea of how the list might be different depending on the crowd)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@tom_g 8! I’m doing better.

Blackberry's avatar

I’ve seen way more from toms list than gails list.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@Blackberry when someone said they hadn’t seen Blade Runner the other day, it dawned on me, that people just assumed other people had seen all the important movies. Now I am curious as to which ones I need to see.

Blackberry's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought I tried to watch Citizen Kane once, and maybe I was just tired, but I fell asleep. I’ll have to try again.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Blackberry Also, if I may, try to notice how Welles composed his shots. The angles, the transitions, the shadows, the depth of field. ( they said that in one scene he pioneered that shot where the lens showed that much depth of field )

I was already in my late 20’s when I saw it and has seen quite a lot of films prior but I was just blown away with his directing. Imo, he was truly a visual artist. I think he based his character on one of the early media barons, Hearst? So, if you would care to read about the connection, that might give a sense of perspective.

And watch it after having enough sleep and beer free! Lol. Goodluck Rosebud!

gailcalled's avatar

@tom_g: vv The movies on your list that I have not seen. (And I forgot…how could I..The Big Lebowski.) Some of these I will check out; some I know that I have no interest in, such as The Shining and The Royal Tenenbaums.

Snatch

Dead Man 

Stranger than Paradise

Mystery Train

Down By Law

Lost Highway 

Jacob’s Ladder

Synecdoche, New York 
Donnie Darko 

Memento

Mulholland Dr.

Crimes and Misdemeanors

Swingers 
After Hours
Napoleon Dynamite
Dynamite

Night on Earth

Rushmore 

The Royal Tenenbaums

Being John Malkovich

The Shining

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Adaptation

Lost in Translation

Wild at Heart

gasman's avatar

American Film Institute went to a lot of trouble compiling their all-time AFI Top 100 list, chosen by a jury of experts. You might not agree with all the picks or their ranking, but it’s a great place to start.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Fiddler on the Roof
West Side Story
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Tokyo Story
Soy Cuba
2001: A Space Odyssey
Throne of Blood
Seven Samurai (actually most Kurosawa films with Mifune are good, with the exception of Ran)

The Apu Trilogy
Breathless (the original, although the remake was enjoyable)

FutureMemory's avatar

The Fountainhead (1949)

6rant6's avatar

Different reasons for watching, but I’d say…

For cultural literacy alone:
Star Wars
The Matrix
Sound of Music
West Side Story
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Frankenstein
Blazing Saddles
ET
Modern Times (1936)
Some Like It Hot
Wizard of Oz

To know something about film:
Ran
The Sting
Metropolis
The Maltese Falcon
Behind the Green Door
Reefer Madness
Steamboat Willie
Tron
Avatar
Slumdog Millionaire
Flubber
Blair Witch
Oklahoma

To learn about the human condition
Patton
Apocalypse Now
The English Patient
AI
Pollyanna
Dog Day Afternoon
Thelma and Louise
Lilies of the Field
Schindler’s List

Poser's avatar

All great lists. I’d like to add Scent of a Woman. Maybe not necessary to be culturally literate, but damn, Pacino is a great actor.

Kardamom's avatar

@tom_g ‘s list is very good and so is @gailcalled but I’ve only seen about half of the movies listed. And just for the sake of saying it, some of the classics stank! I won’t say which ones, because it’s all a matter of taste. But I’ll put some more on the must see list. Some of which I loved, and some meh…

Rear Window

The Birds

Eat Drink Man Woman

The Scent of Green Papaya

Pulp Fiction

The Good The Bad and the Ugly

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Pulp Fiction

Singing in the Rain

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Superman (the first one)

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

The African Queen

Scarface

Yankee Doodle Dandy

It’s a Wonderful Life

Look Who’s Coming to Dinner

To Sir With Love

A Hard Day’s Night

Yellow Submarine

Asphalt Jungle

Little Women (the one with Katharine Hepburn)

We Love You Alice B. Toklas

The Littlest Rebel

The Philadephia Story

The Lion in Winter

Funny Girl

On Golden Pond

Mary Poppins

Rock Around the Clock

The In Laws (the one with Alan Arkin and Peter Falk)

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane

Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte

Poltergeist

E.T.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

The Little Tramp

The Kid

The Champ (both versions, the one with Jackie Cooper and the one with Rick Shroeder)

Hairspray (the one with Ricki Lake and Divine)

Taxi Driver

Heidi (the one with Shirley Temple)

Sybil

The Turning Point

Sophie’s Choice

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Tora Tora Tora

Yentl

Head

Alice’s Restaurant

Harold and Maude

Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice

Rosemary’s Baby

The Exorcist

Dirty Harry

American Graffiti

Clockwork Orange

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Big Wednesday

The Deer Hunter

Jaws (the first one)

M*A*S*H

Bonnie and Clyde

Rocky (the first one)

Saturday Night Fever

The Last Picture Show

The Sheik

Deliverance

Austin Powers (the first one)

Being There

Joker94's avatar

In no particular order,

The Outlaw Josey Wales
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Goonies
Pulp Fiction
My Cousin Vinny
The Princess Bride
Memento
The Prestige
Natural Born Killers
Apocalypse Now Be it Redux or the original cut.
The Toy Story Trilogy
The Star Wars Saga
The Social Network
I’ll probably be back with more later.

Kardamom's avatar

I just realized that I listed Pulp Fiction twice, which is ironic, because I’m one of the few people that loathed that movie.

So to rectify that, I’ll add in a different movie. Dances With Wolves.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@Kardamom good as I wanted to give you two GAs for the original answer, and now I have the opportunity

Blackberry's avatar

I always like checking out these lists because I’m bored a lot on the weekends and I’m tired of watching crappy movies. I tried to watch cowboys vs aliens the other day and had to turn it off, and I’ve never turned off a movie before for no reason. Just tired of the same formula in action movies.

Blackberry's avatar

I’m liking this movie Lost in Translation.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Blackberry I love that film. ScarJo and Bill Murray had great chemistry, and I’m a sucker for [redacted so I don’t give away plot points].

gasman's avatar

oops – wrong Q

FutureMemory's avatar

@gasman You sure you’re on the right thread?

Joker94's avatar

I watched Evil Dead II tonight. I’d recommend it! I now have to watch the entire trilogy.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Blackberry I thought Cowboys was still in the theaters?

Blackberry's avatar

@FutureMemory I broke the law lol. And that movie was really good, but I really hate seeing people walk away from potential love :(

Michael_Huntington's avatar

@Joker94 Holy crap! I watched Evil Dead II last night as well!

Joker94's avatar

@Michael_Huntington Wasn’t it awesome?! Ash Williams was a total BAMF.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

@Joker94 Definitely. Check out “Army of Darkness” for another dose of Ash’s “badashery”.

gailcalled's avatar

@tom_g: I just reread your list. There were several movies that I had seen but forgotten, obviously not going into my Pantheon.

These are te six that interest me;

Snatch
Memento
Mulholland Dr.
Rushmore
Eternal Sunshine
Adaptation

@Kardamom I have seen all but eleven on your list.

tom_g's avatar

@gailcalled – There are a few different types of movies within those 6. Snatch and Rushmore are probably the most accessible, but the others are more rewarding.

Blackberry's avatar

Has anyone seen the movie Happiness from 1998 (I think)? That movie was crazy funny, and controversial.

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