It was hard to pick just one Pixar movie, but WALL-E is the winner due to sheer originality. The first 20 minutes don’t have any dialogue, and the hero doesn’t speak a single word for the whole movie. Sweet, sweet WALL-E is the last remaining robot of his kind after the destruction of Earth until he meets EVE, another robot sent to search the planet for signs of sustainable life. Things really kick off when WALL-E, having bonded and basically fallen in love with EVE, follows her back to her ship.
Smile is a vlogger who always wears a mask, afraid to reveal her braces to the world. Both young people are terrible at communicating, until a chaotic meeting at a mall draws them together, and they begin to bring each other out of their shells. This feature directorial debut from Kyōhei Ishiguro (Your Lie in April) is a charming slice-of-life romcom that transcends its teen romance trappings. Its gorgeous animation, stunning color palette, and eye-catching pop art aesthetic are further bolstered by a genius soundtrack that blends Cherry’s haiku with hip hop influences. True to its title, Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop is an effervescent, joyful affair that will bring a smile to the face of even the most jaded viewer.
Set in the early years of World War II in Casablanca, Rick Blaine’s (Humphrey Bogart) nightclub is an oasis for refugees despite the warnings he gets from local authorities. But things get rocky when an ex-lover and her boyfriend show up, bringing with them a challenge that Rick has to face. One of the most famous classic Hollywood romance films of all time, Casablanca is a love story you won’t forget. Sure, we’ve yet to hit the quarter-century mark, when these sorts of lists tend to start landing.
But it’s really about prejudice and stereotype and the assumptions we carry with us every day without realizing it. Less of a genre and more of a distinction, we define “classic movies” as the kind of film that changed their respective genres forever. Being familiar with the films on this list will set you apart from the casual pop culture fan and put you on the road to becoming a movie buff. For a film to be a classic in our book, it needs to have some years on it (all of these films on our list came out before 1990), be universally loved, and had a major cultural impact. Sometimes, we all need a little cheering up, and what better way to do that than with a feel-good movie that makes you laugh?
When he decides to do the same, he’s forced to relive their entire relationship. Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey are practically unrecognizable in this movie, in her case because of a rotating collection of wigs and spot-on American accent. Jim Carrey looks like himself, but plays such an introverted, somber man that you’ll have a hard time accepting he’s the same man behind Ace Ventura. The plot of Avatar is basically Pocahontas but from the perspective of John Smith, which, ew. You watch it for the incredible showcase of CGI and motion capture technology.
It’s a fairly simple premise, but in Steven Spielberg’s hands, it becomes one of the most beloved films of all time. Is one of those movies that you’d watch over and over again if it didn’t make you cry so much. Plus, it features an adorable 7-year-old Drew Barrymore and practical effects that hold up pretty well even today. When Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) visits his white girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) family for the weekend, he’s understandably worried about how he’ll be received as a Black man…and telling you anything else would be robbing you of an excellent plot twist, so I’ll stop there. Jordan Peele won an Oscar for his screenplay and established himself as a horror auteur with Get Out, a movie that more than lives up to the hype.
These comedy films are guaranteed to bring a little levity to your evening, whether it be through jokes or characters in insane situations. With typically universally relatable stories, comedy movies remind us that it’s okay to poke fun at ourselves once in a while. Set in 18th-century France, a young painter named Marianne (Noémie Merlant) is commissioned to paint the free movie sites wedding portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), the daughter of a French countess, only she must keep it in secret. By day, Marianne and Héloïse spend time together and eventually grow a mutual attraction, while Marianne attempts to paint Héloïse at night. Each shot of this rich period piece is like a painting itself, and the love story is so intimate to watch unfold.
In all seriousness, you’ve probably seen at least one of the many, many zombie movies that are out in the world, but you haven’t seen one as smart and unique as Train to Busan. Taking place almost entirely on a zombie-infected train, Train to Busan has a cast of characters who represent the very best and very worst of humanity as they run out of time (and space!) to escape the zombies. Don Lee charmed the world as Gilgamesh in Eternals, and he brings the same heart to his breakout role here. In 1981, Monica and Quincy meet as children, and both want nothing more than to be professional basketball players.
It soon emerges their spouses are having an affair, and a romance of stolen glances and intimate longing begins to emerge. Love stories are rarely as ravishingly beautiful (or deeply influential) as this. His movie about the 1912 sinking of the world’s biggest cruise liner was the most expensive ever made, suffered a difficult, overrunning shoot, and was predicted to be a career-ending flop. But it turned out to be one of the most successful films of all time (in terms of both box office and Awards), and made him King Of The World.
Of course, use your judgment when choosing whether to go back to the movies or not, but there’s an ever-growing percentage of vaccinated moviegoers who are champing at the bit to get back in front of the big screen. After years of neglect at the hands of his aunt and uncle, Harry Potter finds out he’s secretly a wizard in line to attend the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. I dare you to watch Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and not get sucked into the famous series.
Director Jérémy Clapin charts the life of Naoufel, a Moroccan immigrant in modern-day France who falls for the distant Gabrielle, and Naoufel’s severed hand, which makes its way across the city to try to reconnect. With intersecting timelines and complex discussions about fate, I Lost My Body is often mind-bending yet always captivating, and Clapin employs brilliantly detailed animation and phenomenal color choices throughout. Worth watching in both the original French and the solid English dub featuring Dev Patel and Alia Shawkat, this one dares you to make sense of it all. Hopped up on nationalism and dreams of battlefield glory, Paul Bäumer (Felix Kammerer) is an eager young recruit for the German army during the last year of the First World War. His romantic view of the conflict is shattered on his first night in the cold trenches, surrounded by death and disaster, and dealt a tragic blow with the meaningless loss of a dear friend. It’s all downhill from there in this magnificently crafted adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s groundbreaking novel, one of the most important pieces of anti-war literature of the 20th century.
Mila Kunis co-stars as the resort receptionist who presents a new opportunity for love; Bill Hader, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd and Jack McBrayer turn up in small but uproarious supporting roles. Kumail Nanjiani wrote and stars in The Big Sick, the real-life story of how Nanjiani met and fell in love with his wife, Emily. The film feels familiar in its sincerity but brings a twist to the rom-com with clashing cultures. Eighty years after its release, this classic still deserves every bit of its perfect Rotten Tomatoes rating. There’s still a wedding at the end of the movie, but we won’t spoil who ends up as the groom.
Robert De Niro stars as Jake LaMotta, a real life boxer who fought as much in the ring as he did out of it. LaMotta’s memoir served as the basis for the screenplay and covers his delinquent adolescence, his involvement with the mafia, and his abusive relationship with his wife and brother. It’s one of De Niro’s best performances and won him his second Oscar. After the credits roll on Dolemite Is My Name, we guarantee you’ll be 10,000 times more likely to go out and stage a horndog nude photo shoot for your next cult comedy record. The only person having anywhere near as much fun as Eddie Murphy, playing real-life club comedian/singer Rudy Ray Moore, is Wesley Snipes, goofing around as the actor-director D’Urvill Martin. With the help of a madcap crew, they make a truly terrible 1975 Blaxploitation kung fu movie based on Moore’s pimp alter ego, Dolemite.
As anti-war, civil rights, and hippie activists involved in the protests at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, the Seven (theoretically eight) were picked as convenient scapegoats after the unrest was crushed at the behest of Mayor Richard Daley. Centered on the eponymous Berlin nightclub, this documentary explores the lives of LGBTQ+ people during the interwar years, from the roaring 1920s through the rise of the Nazis and into the horrors of World War II. It’s an ode to what was lost, but with an eye on the bizarre contradictions of the age, where openly gay club-goers would wear their own Nazi uniforms as the years went by. Everything the Nazis Hate is emotionally challenging viewing in places, but it serves up an important slice of queer history that many will be completely unaware of. There is so much happening beneath the surface in Saint Omer, documentarian Alice Diop’s narrative debut.