20. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
> Genre: Comedy
> Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
> Starring: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden
A dark, satirical comedy about nuclear war, this Stanley Kubrick classic features Peter Sellers playing three roles, including that of the sinister Strangelove. The shot of actor Slim Pickens riding an H-bomb as it falls is one of the most memorable cinematic images of the era.
19. The Dark Knight (2008)
> Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
> Directed by: Christopher Nolan
> Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart
“Dark, complex and unforgettable,” according to critics consensus on Rotten Tomatoes, this sequel to “Batman Begins” pits Batman against his arch-enemy, The Joker, played here by the late Heath Ledger, whose performance won him an Academy Award for best actor in a supporting role. “[P]robably the smartest and most stylish action movie since ‘The Matrix,’” said the Orange County Register.
18. Chinatown (1974)
> Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
> Directed by: Roman Polanski
> Starring: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston
Arguably Roman Polanski’s greatest film, this stylish film-noir stars Jack Nicholson as a private detective who, while investigating a case of adultery, stumbles onto a murder plot that includes incest and government corruption. The cynical tone of ”Chinatown” reflects the mood of post-Vietnam America. Critics awarded the movie a 98% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and 93% of audiences liked the film.
17. Modern Times (1936)
> Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family
> Directed by: Charles Chaplin
> Starring: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman
“Modern Times” was written, directed, scored, and produced by Charlie Chaplin. Set during the Great Depression, the film spoke to the masses by touching on topics such as poverty, hunger, and unemployment.
16. All About Eve (1950)
> Genre: Drama
> Directed by: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
> Starring: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders
Backstage Hollywood venom tinged with biting wit infuses this much-acclaimed Bette Davis black comedy about an aspiring actress who cold-bloodedly manipulates her way toward stardom. Critics called it “impeccably written,” “gunshot sharp,” and “downright funny.”
15. Kes (1969)
> Genre: Drama, Family
> Directed by: Ken Loach
> Starring: David Bradley, Brian Glover, Freddie Fletcher
An abused, downtrodden English boy discovers, trains, and bonds with a kestrel — a kind of falcon — in this classic example of British social realism. Critics gave the movie a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
14. The Third Man (1949)
> Genre: Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller
> Directed by: Carol Reed
> Starring: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli
“The Third Man” stars Orson Welles as Harry Lime, a black marketer taking advantage of the wreckage and chaos of post-war Vienna. Carol Reed’s masterpiece features Anton Karas’ oddly upbeat zither music and atmospheric cinematography. Critics awarded the movie a 99% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and 93% of audiences liked it.
13. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
> Genre: Drama
> Directed by: Milos Forman
> Starring: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Will Sampson
The Milos Forman-directed drama about a criminal who encourages rebellion against an oppressive nurse in a mental hospital did exceptionally well at the 1976 Academy Awards, winning the Oscars for best picture, best director, best screenplay, best actor, and best actress. Seventeen years later, the movie was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the U.S. Library of Congress and added to the National Film Registry.
12. Goodfellas (1990)
> Genre: Crime, Drama
> Directed by: Martin Scorsese
> Starring: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci
Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro are paired once again in this mob story narrated by gangster and FBI informant Henry Hill, played by Ray Liotta, and adapted from Nicholas Pileggi’s book “Wiseguy.” “Goodfellas” is not for the faint of heart because of the mob violence, but it does provide great insight into the culture of organized crime. Critics gave the film a 96% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and 97% of audiences liked the film.
11. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
> Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
> Directed by: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
> Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld
Despite being released just last year, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” has had a huge impact in a cinematic marketplace that is saturated with superhero movies. The animated movie makes Spider-Man “amazing” once again.