My List of Must-See Movies


I have already created a list of the Most Important Novels in My Life (which is up for occasional editing and review). Now comes my list of must-see movies.

As with the most important novels, for a film to make the list it must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. It was so profound and meaningful to me that I’ve seen the movie multiple times.
  2. It significantly influenced me as a writer, in terms of storytelling, structure, or character.
  3. Seeing the movie is inexorably linked to and illuminates a moment or period of time in my life.

Here’s the initial list, in no particular order. I’m sure I’ve missed some, and may regret including others. As I re-watch some of these, I will add comments, and also remove from or add movies to this list:

  1. The Godfather
  2. Body Heat
  3. The Wizard of Oz
  4. Michael Clayton
  5. The Graduate
  6. Take Shelter
  7. Pulp Fiction
  8. Choose Me
  9. Casablanca
  10. Nocturnal Animals
  11. Ordinary People
  12. The Big Chill
  13. The Fugitive
  14. Jaws
  15. The Shawshank Redemption
  16. Traffic
  17. Crash (sorry)
  18. Lantana
  19. Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene
  20. Mystic River
  21. American Beauty (despite Kevin Spacey being canceled)
  22. Goodbye, Columbus
  23. A History of Violence
  24. The Manchurian Candidate
  25. Saving Private Ryan
By David Klein

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, journalist, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.


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