Must-Watch-Movies for Filmmakers | Get your favourite snacks...
Posted on January 28 2020
Must-Watch-Movies for aspiring Filmmakers:
Ever felt left out, because you have not seen a classic movie everybody rages about? Or are you simply bored with the current cinema program? Or do you want to feel better equipped for starting film-school? Fear not. I have something for you! Here is a list of movies film geeks should have seen. It is a collection of movies, that I deem important for the world of filming. Movies, that show us groundbreaking camera moves - like the Vertigo Effect or spectacular directing, acting, book to show adaptation or the first steps of modern computer animation.
These movies may not only entertain you, but in addition they will show you excellent filmmaking. So get your favourite snacks, invite a friend and enjoy these masterpieces!
(Note: This list has no particular order and is, by all means, not complete. Ask 10 Filmmakers and you will get 10 different lists, since everybody has his/her own taste, besides the all time classics at the end of the list.)
As a 90ties Kid, I will start with some movies that inspired my ambition for filmmaking early on:
Jurassic Park (1993 by Steven Spielberg)
Still manages to amaze me with its unique story, written by Michael Crichton, who is not only a famous writer, but also worked as scriptwriter, director and producer for movies like Westworld (1973), The First Great Train Robbery (1979) and the 13th Warrior(1999). Jurassic Park has an amazing music theme, unforgettable action scenes and of course that mean T-Rex, that brought me lots of nightmares. Bless my parents, who took me along to a drive-in cinema, when I was 7! The groundbreaking computer-generated imagery of dinosaurs mixed with life-sized animatronic dinosaurs makes them look so real, that the movie still holds up and ages better, than other old animation movies.
Back to the Future (1985 by Robert Zemeckis)
Time traveling has never been more exiting! This movie is another modern classic, which packs science fiction, action, romance and comedy in wholesome story of two unlikely heroes. I have to rewatch it every time it aires on tv. Tell me one Kid that did not want a pair of those self-lacing Nikes of the second movie!
Ghostbusters (1984 by Ivan Reitman)
Another childhood favourite. I just rewatched it. When I was young, I loved the balance of this film, being a little scary but still lots of fun! After rewatching it recently, I realized that it contains lots of innuendos, that went right over my head as a kid. So, I got to see a whole new movie, that had me laughing even more, now! Things to love about this movie: The theme Song “Ghostbusters” and the impact on pop culture, Ghostbusters generated. The snarky acting of Bill Murry and his co stars. And Rick Moranis as the worst neighbour and Party host of all time!
Forrest Gump (1994 by Robert Zemeckis)
I don't need to loose much words about this award winning film. Watch it for the great performance of Tom Hanks, its great soundtrack and emotional story, that balances the thin line between comedy and drama without being cheesy!
Star Wars (1977 by George Lucas)
Another huge pop culture phenomenon, that keeps on getting new additions to this day. I loved watching the first trilogy with my dad, whenever it aired on tv. Image his face, when I asked him years later, why Han Solo became an archeologist named Indiana Jones! Star wars had a huge impact on the use of special effects in movies, which was thereafter increased and improved as well as on the look and the narratives of Hollywood productions.
Die Hard (1998 by John McTiernan)
Oh how I admired Bruce Willis as a kid! Last year my friend and I rewatched all Die Hard movies and we both still love the first 3 movies to bits! This franchise has the whole 90ties blockbuster package! Watch “The movies that made us” on Netflix for a great insight in Die Hard and its creation (There are episodes on the making-of Ghostbusters, Dirty Dancing and Home Alone as well!). We were surprised to hear that at the time Bruce Willis was made fun of and not seen as an action hero!
When I turned older I discovered gems like:
Fight Club (1999 by David Fincher)
This Movie introduced me to the genre of “mind-fuck-movies”, like Memento, Inception, Butterfly Effect and the like. It is a movie, that makes you think about society and question standard life-goals. But I need to adhere the Rules: Don't talk about Fight Club.
Pulp Fiction (1994 by Quentin Tarantino)
This film ignited my love for Tarantino's works and their soundtracks. Enjoy stunning performances Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta and Uma Thurman. Nominated for 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture, winning Best Original Screenplay.
Full metal Jacket (1987 by Stanley Kubrick)
The recruit training scenes under Gunnery Sergeant Hartman haunt me to this day. Another great work of Stanley Kubrick, that won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Apocalypse Now (1979 by Francis Ford Coppola)
An epic war film, with a great cast, amazing Soundtrack and unsettling story. Bonus Tip: Watch the making of documentary called: “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse” (1991). It will make you appreciate Coppola's work much more!
Clockwork Orange (1971 by Stanley Kubrick)
Another Kubrick milestone. And a one of a kind movie. Frightening, different and brutal. Kubrick brought a new level of violence on screen. Interesting use of wide-angle lens shots to show distance and disconnection between protagonists, environment and relationships.
Life is beautiful (1997 by Roberto Benigni)
The acting of Roberto Benigni in life is beautiful simply is breath taking. For this masterpiece Benigni won the academy Awards for Best Actor, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Music. The movie itself is so sad, funny and haunting, that it is very hard to stomach.
Memento (2000 Christopher Nolan)
Not a movie to watch with a phone in your hand or other distractions. Do not google reviews or read anything about it, so you won't get spoiled. This neo-noir thriller needs all your attention and still will get confused! The storylines are intricate and the timelines will suck you into the story like a charm. No wonder it was nominated for Best Film Editing and Screenplay.
Matrix (1999 by the Wachowski Siblings)
This movie is not only groundbreaking for its bullet-time shots, but the epitome of the 90ties look. The story about humans against machines and general mind-fuck moments, will give you a lot to contemplate about. Watch it for the visual effects, cinematography, action scenes and the plot.
Blade Runner (1982 by Ridley Scott)
Another essential science fiction film you need to have seen. It is a great example for the neo-noir genre and has stunning visuals.
To this Day I have a fable for Horror and Monster/Alien movies
therefore the following Horror-masterpieces need to be on this List:
Alien (1979 by Ridley Scott)
Academy Award Winner for Best Visual Effects. This movie shows, that suspense is the key element of a good horror movie.
Jaws (1975 by Steven Spielberg)
Made us all afraid of the deep waters and ingrained its theme in our brains! Every situation becomes instantly foreboding, when the Jaws theme is played.
The Shining (1980 by Stanley Kubrick)
Another classic by Kubrick, great acting of Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall. To this day I hate richly patterned hotel floors!
Another special place in my hart is reserved for Crime/Gangster and Mob Movies.
The godfather and The Godfather Part II (1972 and 1974 by Francis Ford Coppola) Are must sees! Both won the Academy Award for Best Picture, three actors where nominated for Best supporting Actor in both films, which is very rare. Part I and Part II received 21 Academy Award Nominations in total. I let these numbers speak for themselves.
Goodfellas (1990 by Martin Scorsese)
Staring two of my all time favourite actors Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci and nominated for 6 Academy Awards.
City of God (2002 by Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund)
This movie leads you into the slum of Rio de Janeiro with all its facets.
And than there are The Classics, which are milestones of Film. You should see them to be able to understand most references and the history of filmmaking, because these are movies that made film history.
Citizen Kane (1941 by Orson Welles)
Casablanca (1942 by Michael Curtiz)
Rear window (1954 by Alfred Hitchcock)
On the waterfront (1954 by Elia Kazan)
12 angry men (1957 by Sidney Lumet)
Vertigo (1958 by Alfred Hitchcock)
North by Northwest (1959 by Alfred Hitchcock)
Psycho (1960 by Alfred Hitchcock)
La Dolce Vita (1960 by Federico Fellini)
L'avventura (1960 by Michelangelo Antonioni)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962 by David Lean)
Chinatown (1974 by Roman Polanski)
What's your favourite Movie?