14 Top Movies That You Need to See at Least Once in Your Life

We’ve read many books that made us stay awake at night — they were so good. In the movie industry, there are masterpieces too. They made both critics and regular viewers fall in love with them. When there’s not much to watch in terms of movie selections now, it’s time to go back and watch some classic films. In the long history of the movie industry, there have been quite a few great films, and we don’t want them to be forgotten.

We at Bright Side have made a list of 14 movies that definitely deserve your time.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975

Criminal Randle Patrick McMurphy ends up in a psychiatric facility where he first tries to fight the system but then decides to run away. Together with another patient, he develops a plan but he becomes free in a very unexpected way.

Director Milos Forman managed to get the actors to do their absolute best. The crew spent several weeks in a working psychiatric facility where the actors ate and underwent procedures together with real patients. By the way, Ken Kesey, whose novel was adapted for the movie script, didn’t see the film and didn’t like the adaptation. But critics and viewers absolutely loved this movie.

The film was pretty cheap in terms of production — it cost just $3 million in the 1970s and earned over $100 million. Critics witnessed a regular person battle the powerful governmental system, and simple viewers were charmed by the story of the rebel. At the beginning of the ’90s, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was added to the Complete National Film Registry Listing.

IMDb score — 8.7

It Happened One Night, 1934

Ellie, a spoiled millionaire’s daughter runs away from her family. On her way, she meets Peter, a reporter who is looking for an amazing story for his article.

The crew and the actors were quite dissatisfied with their work: the main actress Claudette Colbert even said that she had just finished the worst movie in the world. But the amazing acting and great dialogue made the film really popular. There’s no philosophical depth or serious subtext behind the scenes, but this funny comedy is still fun to watch.

The authors of modern romantic comedies (like Bridget Jones’s Diary) were inspired by this good old film from the ’30s. Even though the actors didn’t really think the film would be successful, it’s great to watch even today.

IMDb score — 8.1

The Silence of the Lambs, 1991

A student at the FBI Academy, Clarice Starling, is investigating a complicated case. She was forced to ask Hannibal Lecter for help, who is an incredibly dangerous yet amazing doctor.

This is an amazingly well-written story with interesting characters. Sir Anthony Hopkins did a great job at portraying the terrifying yet smart maniac.

Unlike the typical Hollywood thrillers, there’s no shooting or other form of action in The Silence of the Lambs, but the relationship between the characters was fascinating, which is why even 29 years after its release, the movie is still popular.

IMDb score — 8.6

Gone with the Wind, 1939

The love story of the Southern beauty, Scarlett O’Hara, and the adventurer, Rhett Butler, develops alongside big historic events.

The movie was shot in 1939 but it’s still interesting to watch the story of Scarlett and Rhett. The amazing acting displayed by Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable makes viewers really empathize with the characters and worry about them. And the phrase: “I’ll think about that tomorrow,” became iconic.

Gone with the Wind is one of the few book adaptations that doesn’t require you to read the actual novel to understand what’s happening. The epic scenes and some romantic events may look a bit old-fashioned, but they still give you the bright emotions that we often lack in real life.

IMDb score — 8.1

Annie Hall, 1977

Stand-up comedian Alvy Singer and a truly neurotic and flighty singer, Annie Hall, fall in love with each other. But their love is doomed.

The amazing jokes, funny scenes, and many cultural references turn this simple romantic comedy into an interesting piece of art.

This is indicative of the lively works by Woody Allen. And his mockery of sweet happy endings of romantic movies is interesting, but it’s not the biggest part of this film.

IMDb score — 8

American Beauty, 1999

Lester Burnham turned 40. An ordinary midlife crisis makes him do several unexpected things that start a whole series of events.

The stunning visuals, the talented acting by Kevin Spacey, and the great music create a fantastic atmosphere. Many scenes are still quoted and even 20 years later, the red rose petals are really recognizable. Despite the dramatic story, the film is full of funny and satirical scenes.

It’s hard to concentrate on a single thing when watching the film: between the story or the visuals. Also, the former and the latter often contradict each other. American Beauty is a fascinating riddle. The film is mentioned everywhere and so often that everyone has to see it at least once.

IMDb score — 8.3

The Apartment, 1960

An insurance company employee, C.C. Baxter, owns a cozy apartment not far from the office. Hoping for a promotion, Baxter let his bosses have dates in his apartment which become a problem for his own life.

The film is shot in black and white, which creates the dark atmosphere of the noir movies of the ’40s. Director Billy Wilder humorously tells the story of how ambition and greed can make even nice people do not-so-nice things. The great soundtrack and acting made this film incredibly popular.

The Apartment deserves your attention because of the great dialogue that tells a lot about the characters. Even though the movie is set in the previous century, the hard choices the main character has to make are still relatable. By the way, Jack Lemmon’s previous film (Some Like It Hot) was also done in black and white.

IMDb score — 8.3

Network, 1976

The owners of a TV channel use the madness of their ex-employee to make their ratings higher and earn more money.

This is a dark satirical film that looks relatable today. All the actors are so good that it sometimes feels like a documentary. The changes in the characters are so believable because the reasons why they do things are simple and clear.

All the events happening on-screen are explainable and familiar. Network draws the image of pretty much any modern TV channel. This is why it’s sometimes kind of scary to watch what is happening.

IMDb score — 8.1

Million Dollar Baby, 2004

A persistent and talented waitress makes her way into professional boxing with the help of a talented coach.

The story of the film is not something new. But the moving acting lets the story go beyond the classic cliché movies we know. Eastwood demonstrates his amazing directing talent, making viewers empathize with the characters.

Sometimes, it’s hard to watch. Eastwood has no mercy for his viewers and his characters. He never tries to sweeten the pot. And we don’t just mean the actual fights, but also the relationships between the characters.

IMDb score — 8.1

The English Patient, 1996

This film is set in the last months of World War II. A young nurse takes care of a patient that has a secret about his past.

This is an amazingly beautiful film. Some of the events happen in North Africa and the landscapes become secondary characters of the film. The interesting story and tragic romance draw everyone’s attention.

Ralph Fiennes is great in the role of the adventurer that found a love deep within Africa. The dark ending doesn’t make the story worse. And Colin Firth was great at portraying the deceived husband.

IMDb score — 7.4

Chinatown, 1974

A private detective starts investigating a love affair but finds himself in a web of lies and corruption.

Roman Polanski recreated the atmosphere of the ’30s in this film. The part of Jake Gittes was a breakthrough role for actor Jack Nicholson. And Faye Dunaway looked very convincing in the role of the leading femme fatale.

This is a really well-thought-out film. There are no unnecessary shots of useless characters. Every actor plays their part beautifully, even if they appear on-screen for just a few seconds. The motives and actions of each character are very clear.

IMDb score — 8.1

Rocky, 1976

Amateur boxer Rocky Balboa gets the unique chance to fight the defending champion, Apollo Creed.

The film became universally popular thanks to the naive but honest acting displayed by Sylvester Stallone, who really worked hard to create the character. Many scenes from the film became classic and are often quoted to this day. And the soundtrack still makes our hearts beat faster.

This is a film you should see when you’re sad. And no matter how many times you watch this movie, you’ll always root for Rocky Balboa who fights for victory.

IMDb score — 8.1

La La Land, 2016

A jazz pianist and an amateur actress fall in love with each other. They try to build a relationship and find a balance between their feelings and ambitions.

This is a bright musical movie that recreates the atmosphere of old Hollywood. This funny and sad story of 2 talented people became an unforgettable piece of art thanks to the acting and amazing soundtrack.

The dances and songs are so good that you can watch the movie a countless number of times. This film’s music is the main character, followed by the plot and the dialogue. The feelings, thoughts, and desires of the characters are shown in motion through different musical motives. By the way, La La Land beat the record set by One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and won 7 Golden Globes.

IMDb score — 8

Silver Linings Playbook, 2012

After going through treatment at a psychiatric facility, Pat Solitano lives with his parents and dreams of getting his wife to love him again. But then, at his friends’ party, he meets Tiffany, a charming girl with her own problems.

Thanks to the amazing acting and original plot, the film manages to avoid the main cliché moments that many romantic comedies have. The film is quite emotional, but it’s also funny and it has some unexpected plot twists.

The movie makes you think about family relationships. It inspires you to make changes. For example, to spend more time with your loved ones and be more attentive to what they need.

IMDb score — 7.7

Have you found any new movies for you on this list? Or would you like to add something?

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