Thinking about Afi Top 100 Movies, there are many movies talking about this feeling. Here are 25 of the best ones.
From Frank Darabont, starring Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler
The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont, based on the 1982 Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. It tells the story of banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary for the murder of his wife and her lover, despite his claims of innocence. Over the following two decades, he befriends a fellow prisoner, Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), and finds himself protected by the guards after the warden begins using him in his money-laundering operation. With the help of Red, Andy is able to get money to the outside world and eventually gain his freedom. The film ends with both Andy and Red leaving prison and starting a new life. The film has a strong moral theme of hope, the power of friendship, and the possibility of redemption.
From Francis Ford Coppola, starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton
The Godfather is a 1972 American crime drama directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by Albert S. Ruddy. It stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, and Diane Keaton. The film follows the Corleone family, a powerful New York mafia family headed by Don Vito Corleone (Brando). His eldest son, Sonny (Caan) is the hot-headed heir to the family business, while Michael (Pacino) is the youngest son, who has avoided the criminal lifestyle and instead is a war hero. When Don Vito is nearly killed in an assassination attempt, Michael assumes the role of the family head and works to protect the Corleone interests. He also sets out to avenge his father's attempted murder, using his new found power to eliminate the enemies of the family. The Godfather is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made and was awarded three Academy Awards. It is also credited with establishing a new era of American cinema, combining Hollywood genres with New Hollywood sensibilities. The film is widely credited with creating a "godfather" archetype which has been used in many films since.
From Steven Spielberg, starring Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall
Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical drama film directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Steven Zaillian. The film is based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. The film follows Schindler's rise from a member of the Nazi Party to a humanitarion and his attempt to save as many Jews from the Holocaust as he can. The film also stars Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, and Caroline Goodall in supporting roles. The film was critically acclaimed, receiving twelve Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay, and won seven.
From Francis Ford Coppola, starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton
The Godfather Part II is the 1974 sequel to the classic 1972 film The Godfather. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, it stars Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, and Robert De Niro. The Godfather Part II continues the saga of the Corleone crime family by exploring the life of Michael Corleone as he expands his family’s criminal empire in 1958–1959. While Michael seeks to legitimize the family’s business, his father Vito (De Niro) is seen in flashback scenes as a young immigrant in New York in 1917–1925. In the present, Michael deals with the sabotage of his business by a rival family and the increasing tension between him and his brother Fredo. Meanwhile, Vito’s story is told through flashbacks, showing his rise from poverty to becoming a respected crime boss in Little Italy. The film was critically acclaimed and won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Coppola.
From Sidney Lumet, starring Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler
12 Angry Men is a 1957 American courtroom drama film directed by Sidney Lumet and written by Reginald Rose. The film follows a jury of twelve men as they deliberate the conviction or acquittal of a defendant on the basis of reasonable doubt. The defendant is accused of murdering his own father. Over the course of their deliberation, the jurors become increasingly emotionally invested in the case. Through their discussion, the jurors become increasingly divided and tempers flare, leading to a dramatic climax. Ultimately, the jurors must decide whether the defendant is guilty or innocent, and the film highlights the difficulty of making a sound judgement in such a complex situation.
From Quentin Tarantino, starring John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis
Pulp Fiction is a classic 1994 crime film directed by Quentin Tarantino. It follows the intertwining stories of two hitmen, a boxer, a gangster, and his wife over a three-day period in Los Angeles. The story is non-linear, with many darkly humorous moments, unexpected plot twists, and extreme violence. It stars John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson as the two hitmen, Uma Thurman as the gangster’s wife, and Bruce Willis as the boxer. Pulp Fiction won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and is widely considered a classic of American cinema.
From Peter Jackson, starring Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) is the first installment of director Peter Jackson's epic fantasy adventure trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novel. The story follows a small group of hobbits, humans, elves, and dwarves as they embark on a quest to destroy the powerful One Ring and keep it from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord Sauron. Along the way, they encounter numerous challenges and make allies with the forces of good, including the wizard Gandalf, the elf lord Elrond, and Aragorn, the human heir to the throne of Gondor. With the help of these allies and their own courage, the Fellowship of the Ring is determined to save Middle-earth from the forces of evil.
From Robert Zemeckis, starring Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field
Forrest Gump is an epic journey of a man who, against all odds, embraces life and seizes every opportunity for greatness with a childlike wonder. The movie follows Forrest, a gentle and naïve man from Alabama, as he manages to surprise and inspire people from all walks of life throughout his life. Through his unique perspective, Forrest Gump touches upon some of the most memorable events of the late 20th century, including the Vietnam War, Watergate, and the rise of the American South. Along the way, Forrest meets some remarkable people, including Lieutenant Dan, the love of his life Jenny, and President John F. Kennedy. The story is a heartfelt and humorous exploration of life, love, destiny, and the power of the human spirit.
From Milos Forman, starring Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Michael Berryman, Peter Brocco
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a 1975 American drama film directed by Milos Forman, based on the 1962 novel by Ken Kesey. It tells the story of Randle McMurphy, a misfit prisoner who is sent to a mental institution for evaluation. McMurphy quickly makes friends with the other inmates and encourages them to rebel against the oppressive hospital staff. The novel and film explore themes of freedom and individualism against a backdrop of institutionalization and authoritarianism. It stars Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, and Danny DeVito and won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
From Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco
Goodfellas is a 1990 American crime film directed by Martin Scorsese, who co-wrote the screenplay with Nicholas Pileggi, based on Pileggi's book Wiseguy. Starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino and others, the film follows Henry Hill, a Mafia associate, over a period of three decades, from 1955 to 1980. The story details Hill's rise through the criminal underworld and his struggles with his own personal demons. The narrative focuses on his relationships with his friend Tommy DeVito, his wife Karen Hill, and his mob superiors. Goodfellas is an intense, crime-filled drama that explores the criminal lifestyle in a realistic and gritty manner, and has been widely praised by critics. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor for both Joe Pesci and Lorraine Bracco. It has since been regarded as one of the best films of all time.
From George Lucas, starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope is an iconic space opera originally released in 1977 and directed by George Lucas. It is the fourth installment of the Star Wars film series and stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, and Alec Guinness. The story follows young Luke Skywalker, a farm-boy from Tatooine who dreams of a better life. After meeting Obi-Wan Kenobi, a Jedi master, Luke joins forces with him, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca to save the galaxy from the evil Galactic Empire and its powerful weapon, the Death Star. With the help of the Rebel Alliance, Luke and the team fight against Darth Vader and the Imperial forces to restore freedom to the galaxy. In the end, Luke has to face his destiny as a Jedi knight, and the Rebel Alliance is triumphant.
From Frank Capra, starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell
It's a Wonderful Life is a classic Christmas drama directed by Frank Capra. It follows the story of George Bailey, a small-town man who is on the brink of suicide on Christmas Eve. He is visited by his guardian angel, Clarence, who shows him what life would have been like if he had never existed. With Clarence's help, George learns to appreciate his life and the people who love him. The film ends with George's family and friends celebrating Christmas and his homecoming. It's a Wonderful Life is a reminder to cherish what we have, and to be grateful for our families and friends.
From Steven Spielberg, starring Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns
Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American epic war drama film directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Robert Rodat. The film follows United States Army Rangers Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) and a squad of seven men as they search for a paratrooper, Private First Class James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon), who is the last-surviving brother of four servicemen. Set during the Invasion of Normandy in World War II, the film tells the story of a group of U.S. soldiers who are tasked with finding and returning Ryan. Despite facing overwhelming odds, Miller and his squad face the German Army in a series of intense battles as they race against time to find Ryan and bring him home to his mother in America. The film received critical acclaim and was a box office success. It was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won five, including Best Director (Steven Spielberg) and Best Cinematography. Saving Private Ryan is widely regarded as one of the greatest war films ever made and is often cited as one of Spielberg's finest works.
From Jonathan Demme, starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons
The Silence of the Lambs is a psychological horror-thriller directed by Jonathan Demme and released in 1991. It stars Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling, an FBI trainee who is tasked with interviewing the incarcerated Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer, to help solve the case of a serial killer dubbed "Buffalo Bill" who skins his female victims. The film follows Clarice as she attempts to gain insight from Lecter, while also dealing with her own demons and anxieties. As the story progresses, Lecter gives Clarice useful information about Buffalo Bill, and the two form a strange bond. In the end, Clarice is able to catch Buffalo Bill and Lecter is transferred to a different facility. The Silence of the Lambs won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay, and is widely considered to be one of the greatest films of all time.
From Michael Curtiz, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains
Casablanca is a classic romantic drama set in WWII-era Morocco. It stars Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, a cynical American expatriate who runs a nightclub in the city. He is reunited with his former lover Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) who is now married to a Czech Resistance leader. Rick is also pressured by a corrupt police captain to help the Resistance in their fight against the Nazis. In the end, Rick makes a selfless sacrifice and helps the lovers reunite in their fight against the Nazis. The film ends with a memorable line uttered by Rick: “Here’s looking at you, kid.”
From Charles Chaplin, starring Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers
City Lights is a silent romantic comedy by director Charles Chaplin. The film follows the story of The Tramp, a kind-hearted and good-natured man struggling to make a living in the city. He meets a beautiful blind girl who mistakes him for a wealthy man and falls in love with him. The Tramp is determined to make enough money to pay for her to get the medical treatment she needs to restore her sight. In an effort to help the girl, he gets involved with a boxing match, a night in jail, and other various schemes to try to make money. Eventually, his efforts are rewarded and the girl regains her sight, only to find out that the man she loves is The Tramp. The film ends with a touching climax as the girl realizes that she loves The Tramp no matter how poor he is. City Lights is considered one of Chaplin's greatest films, and is often cited as one of the greatest films ever made.
From Alfred Hitchcock, starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin
Psycho is a classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller from 1960. It follows a young woman, Marion Crane, who steals money from her employer and goes on the run. She checks into a run-down motel, run by the disturbed Norman Bates, who is under the domination of his dead mother. As Marion begins to uncover the twisted secrets of the Bates family, her life is suddenly and brutally cut short. The film is widely considered to be one of Hitchcock's best, and is well-known for reinventing the horror genre.
From Francis Ford Coppola, starring Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest
Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American epic war film directed, produced, and co-written by Francis Ford Coppola. The film follows US Army Special Forces Colonel, Benjamin Willard (Martin Sheen), on a mission to assassinate a renegade Green Beret, Colonel Walter Kurtz (Marlon Brando). Willard’s journey takes him to the depths of the Vietnam War, where he discovers the horror and insanity of the conflict. The film’s central themes of morality, the horror of war, and individualism are explored along the way. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest films ever made, and won the Palme d’Or at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival.
From Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter
Rear Window is a classic 1954 thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It tells the story of a wheelchair-bound photographer named L.B. Jeffries who, while confined to his apartment, begins to suspect that his neighbor has committed a murder. With the help of his fiancée, Lisa Fremont, and his nurse, Stella, Jeffries begins to piece together clues that he hopes will prove his suspicions. As the mystery unfolds and the suspense builds, Jeffries realizes he might be putting himself in danger in his attempt to uncover the truth.
From Charles Chaplin, starring Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman, Tiny Sandford
Modern Times, a classic silent comedy directed by Charles Chaplin, follows the struggles of a factory worker (Chaplin) in the modern, industrialized world. After being fired for his clumsiness and lack of efficiency, the worker takes a job as a night watchman. Through a series of misadventures, he eventually finds himself in jail, where he meets a young orphan girl, who he falls in love with. After escaping from prison, he and the girl embark on a journey of adventure, ultimately ending with the worker back in his old factory job. The film is a satire of the social, economic and technological changes that were transforming the world at the time, and it remains a classic of the silent era.
From Stanley Kubrick, starring Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is a 1964 black comedy film directed by Stanley Kubrick. The film is a satirical look at Cold War fears of a nuclear conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States. As tensions escalate between the two superpowers, a demented United States Air Force general (Sterling Hayden) orders a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union without authorization from his superiors in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, a number of people try to stop the attack, including President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers), the mild-mannered U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union (George C. Scott), a British Royal Air Force officer (Slim Pickens), and the mysterious and sinister Dr. Strangelove (Peter Sellers). In the end, the Americans, Soviet Union, and the world itself are left facing the possibility of a nuclear holocaust.
From Steven Spielberg, starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark is a classic action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg in 1981. It follows the story of archaeologist and professor Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) as he embarks on a quest to find the long-lost Ark of the Covenant, a biblical artifact believed to contain the Ten Commandments and the power to smite one's enemies. Along the way, he must battle the Nazis and their agents, as well as supernatural forces protecting the Ark. The film features thrilling action sequences, memorable characters, and a classic score from John Williams. In the end, Indiana Jones is victorious, and the Ark is returned to its rightful owners.
From Orson Welles, starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead
Citizen Kane is an Orson Welles-directed drama about the rise and fall of Charles Foster Kane, a wealthy newspaper magnate. The story follows Kane's life from his humble beginnings as a child prodigy to his death at a palatial estate, Xanadu. As Kane's death is investigated by a news reporter, the audience learns of his many achievements as well as his numerous failures in both political and personal life. Through flashbacks and interviews with his associates, a clearer picture of Kane's life emerges. In the end, the reporter is unable to uncover the meaning of Kane's last words, "Rosebud," which remain a mystery. Citizen Kane is widely acclaimed as one of the best films of all time, and has been praised for its masterful cinematography, innovative editing, and powerful performances.
Gene Kelly, starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen
Singin' in the Rain is a 1952 American musical romantic comedy film directed and choreographed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen. The plot follows Don Lockwood, a silent film star with a flourishing career, and his attempt to adjust to the advent of the "talkies". Don's fiancee, the glamorous and shallow silent film star Lina Lamont, is aghast to learn that her voice does not match her on-screen persona, so Don's friend and aspiring actress Kathy Selden is brought in to dub her voice. As Don and Kathy fall in love, Lina's attempts to win back Don's affections leads to a series of comic misadventures. With classic musical numbers such as "Good Morning," "Make 'Em Laugh," and the titular "Singin' in the Rain," the film is widely considered one of the greatest musical films of all time.
From David Lean, starring Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins
Lawrence of Arabia is an epic historical drama directed by David Lean and released in 1962. The film tells the story of T.E. Lawrence, a British Army officer who was instrumental in organizing and leading the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Lawrence struggles to maintain his own identity while helping to unite the disparate Arab tribes. The film features a star-studded cast and some of the most magnificent cinematography ever produced. It is a timeless classic that is still widely acclaimed to this day.