When you hit your mid-20s, you’ve got most things figured out.
You’re on a career path, probably, you’ve dated around and know the type of person you want in your life, and you also likely have a specific taste in culture - from music and TV, to theatre and movies.
But while taste is subjective, we’d argue that there are some fundamental movies that everyone should have seen before they can go off and dive down niche rabbit-holes refining their own tastes.
Below are a selection from some of the Indy100 team. If you haven’t seen all of them? Feel judged. But know that you can redeem yourself by binge-watching for the next few weekends.
1 - A Clockwork Orange (1972)
“Stanley Kubrick’s interpretation of the dystopian novel is deeply unsettling and will remain in a viewer’s mind long after the closing credits. Granted, it will ruin the song Singin’ in the Rain, but we think that’s a price worth paying.”— Kate Plummer.
2 - The Graduate (1967)
“Boasting a stellar soundtrack by Simon & Garfunkel, a bizarre and amusing plot, AND interesting cinematography, the 1967 movie has a timeless quality which makes it a must-see for all.” — Kate Plummer.
3 - Midnight Cowboy (1969)
“This is not the wholesome buddy film we deserve, but the wholesome buddy film we need. Another Dustin Hoffman classic, this should be high on everyone’s list.”— Kate Plummer.
4 - Fatal Attraction (1987)
“You have probably heard of the phrase ‘bunny boiler’, and if you watch Fatal Attraction you will understand where it comes from. Arguably, the film has aged badly and veers dangerously close to being sexist, but it’s a thriller like none other and has one of the best child acting performances of all time.”—Kate Plummer.
5 - Blade Runner (1982)
“Ridley Scott’s 1982 masterpiece remains not only the director’s finest work but one of the greatest science fiction films ever made. If you haven’t seen it yet be warned there are many version available. We would recommend ‘The Final Cut’ to fully immerse yourself in the dystopian neo-noir of a futuristic Los Angeles (which is ironically in the past now), inhabited by highly advanced robots.” — Greg Evans.
6 - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
“Horror might not be to everyone’s taste, especially the slasher genre but if you are gonna see just one make it The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Tobe Hooper’s classic is not as gory as its name or reputation would suggest but the film’s relentless sense of dread and its bewildering atmosphere will haunt you for hours after your first viewing and that’s not a bad thing at all. “— Greg Evans.
7 - 2001: A Space Odyssey (1969)
“If you haven’t seen a Stanley Kubrick film then the director’s work is so rich that you really can’t go wrong with any of his films. If you truly want to have your socks knocked off by a film that leaves you questioning the meaning of life then 2001: A Space Odyssey is the film for you. Watch it on the biggest screen possible with the best sound system for the complete experience of Kubrick’s vision.” — Greg Evans.
8 - Citizen Kane (1941)
“Regarded by many as the single greatest film ever made, Orson Welles enduring masterpiece revolutionised filmmaking as an art form when it was released in 1941 for its groundbreaking cinematography, editing, score and narrative structure. Oh and have we mentioned that this was Welles first film and he was just 25-years-old when he made it?”—Greg Evans.
9 -Vertigo (1958)
“Another film that often competes with Citizen Kane for the title of the greatest film ever made is Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Like much of Hitchcock’s work you might notice a lot of scenes have been parodied in The Simpsons but that doesn’t cheapen the film in any way, as it remains a kaleidoscopic trip into a man’s unravelling psyche after he becomes dangerously obsessed with his friend’s wife.” - Greg Evans.
10 - The Matrix (1999)
“The Matrix feels as fresh as ever and continues to add layers to its legacy. Whether you come for the timely tale of enslaved human’s attempting to defeat an all-powerful artificial intelligence, the transgender allegory that has been confirmed by directors Lana and Lily Wachowski or just the stunning special effects, there is still a lot to love about this landmark movie.”—Greg Evans.
11 - Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
If you haven’t seen Raiders of the Lost Ark by now then you either weren’t born in the ‘90s or have had something better to do on every bank holiday known to man. That being said, you are in for a treat as this rollicking good adventure from Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg is as thrilling as ever and it also features a Nazi literally melting. Who wouldn’t enjoy that?”—Greg Evans.
12 - Taxi Driver (1976)
“If you are after something much darker and more troubling from your movies then Martin Scorsese’s exploration of a dejected man’s descent from a Vietnam veteran to a violent vigilante is a must. It’s much better than Joker, a film that borrowed heavily from it and shows you what Robert De Niro would look like with a mohawk.” — Greg Evans.
13 - It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
“A Christmas classic that can be watched any time of year isn’t the saccharine sentimental movie that the title might suggest. If you ever feel that things are going your way and you need reassuring that you are loved and cared for then the closing moments of this film are some of the most life-affirming scenes in cinema history. You’d have to have a heart of stone to not be even remotely moved by this film’s message.”— Greg Evans.
14 - Donnie Darko (2001)
“Possibly the coolest teen movie ever made and definitely the strangest. Donnie Darko emerged from nowhere in 2001 to take the world by storm and made Jake Gyllenhaal a star. A modern cult classic with a killer ‘80s soundtrack, Donnie Darko still mystifies and enchants 20 years after its release. Just don’t ask us what’s actually going on.”—Greg Evans.
15 - Groundhog Day (1993)
“The concept of someone having to constantly relive the same day over and over again in order to discover something more meaningful about themselves has been copied to no end recently by films and series like Palm Springs and Russian Doll but Groundhog Day remains the original and the best. Bill Murray has never been better and you’ll find yourself both in hysterics and saddened by his situation. “— Greg Evans.
16 - Pulp Fiction (1994)
“If you are of a certain age then you’ll only know Quentin Tarantino as the guy with a foot fetish who makes homage movies to gone-by eras of Hollywood. Once upon a time though he was the coolest director in the game and Pulp Fiction remains his greatest work. A bloody, tense and often hilarious collection of interwoven crime stories that you’ll be quoting for weeks afterwards and also serves as a crash course in cinema history.” — Greg Evans.
17 - Rocky (1976)
“Sports movies are never quite as good as they ought to be but that can’t be said for Rocky. The boxing film, starring and written by Sylvester Stallone won the 1977 Oscar for Best Film is a tale as old as time as an underdog attempts to overcome the odds and impress the woman he loves. It might sound cliched but you’ll be throwing and taking every punch with Rocky as the movie reaches its emotional conclusion.”— Greg Evans.
18 - Mean Girls (2004)
“With Rachel McAdams’ performance of classic popular girl and leader of “The Plastics” Regina George to Lindsey Lohan’s humble character, Cady Heron getting involved with them, Mean Girls is the epitome of an imagined high school group of girls that run any and everything in school. Also, if you see people wearing pink on Wednesdays, it’s from one of the catchphrases in the movie: On Wednesdays we wear pink.”—Breanna Robinson.
19 - The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Leonardo DiCaprio channels Jordan Belfort a fired Wall Street stockbroker who turns to penny stocks and eventually a “pump and dump” financial scheme. In the film, he befriends the preppy and hilarious Donny Azoff (played by Jonah Hill) in this 2013 dark comedy, directed by New Hollywood era director Martin Scorcese. The glitz, glamour, and the fun money can bring and the downfall is all showcased expertly. It’s also worth mentioning that the film went in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most profanity used in a motion picture. The word f*** was used 569 times in the film. - Breanna Robinson.
20 - Titanic (1997)
This is a prime Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet movie. The chemistry between the two amidst the onset of tragedy is beautifully heartbreaking. We also can’t forget the iconic “I’m flying” scene. - Breanna Robinson.
21 - Casablanca (1942)
“This film - in our humble opinion - dominates the romance genre. Not only did it birth some of the most iconic lines in cinematic history, such as “Here’s looking at you, kid,” and “We’ll always have Paris,” it’s also just a really great film. Starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, the film centers around an American cafe owner who struggles whether or not to help his former lover and her fugitive husband escape the Nazis in French Morocco.” —Sandra Salathe.
22 - The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
“Who doesn’t love a good Wes Anderson film? This is by far one of Anderson’s most iconic films to date. Then again, every Wes Anderson film feels iconic in some way, shape or form. If you’re looking for an offbeat comedy to sink your teeth into, Anderson’s brilliantly stylized and hilarious film, about an eccentrically dysfunctional family is a good place to start. Not only that, it also features an all-star cast including, Angelica Houston, Gene Hackman, Danny Glover, Billy Murray Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ben Stiller, to name a few.”—Sandra Salthe.
23 - The Shining (1980)
“ If you’re a fan of cinematic horror and haven’t seen Stephen King’s The Shining, can you really call yourself a true fan of the genre? Directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson and Shelly DuVall, the film centers around a family that escapes to an isolated hotel for the winter, only to discover it’s haunted by sinister forces who negatively influence the father. You’ll definitely sleep with the light on for a few nights after watching this. We still have nightmares about “that” bathroom scene.”—Sandra Salathe.
24 - Rear Window (1954)
“This one is equally suspenseful as it is frightening. Alfred Hitchcock’s legendary thriller teaches audiences about the consequences of spying on your neighbours. Starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly, the film follows a news photographer who spies on his neighbours while confined to a wheelchair. When he believes he’s witnessed a murder take place, that’s when things get interesting. “—Sandra Salathe.
25) Get Out (2017)
“Jordan Peele’s horror/thriller about benevolent racism was just as chilling as it was eye-opening. The film follows a young African-American man (Daniel Kaluuya) as he his white girlfriend (Allison Williams) to her parents for the weekend, only to discover an overall uneasiness about them which quickly takes an unexpected turn for the worse.”—Sandra Salathe.
26 - The Big Lebowski (1998)
“When the Coen Brothers introduced The Big Lebowski to the audiences in 1998, it instantly became a cult classic. The offbeat comedy follows Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski (Jeff Bridges), a Los Angeles slacker and avid bowler, who seeks restitution for his ruined rug after being mistaken for a millionaire by the same name. The film also stars John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and Julianne Moore.”—Sandra Salathe.
27- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
“We all have an ex we wish we could erase from our conciseness. This bittersweet film explores that exact concept. The film follows a couple who undergoes a medical procedure to erase one another of their from their memories after a painful breakup. Starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, the visually breathtaking film explores the intricacy of relationships and the pain of heartbreak.”—Sandra Salathe.
28 - Psycho (1960)
“In 1960, the world was introduced to Norman Bates, and the fear of showering without locking the door. Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller centres around a woman who embezzles $40,000 from her employer, then checks into a remote motel run by an eerie young man with evident mommy issues. This one will definitely make you rethink stopping off at the charming B&B on the side of the road once travelling commences again.”—Sandra Salathe.