1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how many you've watched or finding films to try out.
Some single entries in the book consist of multiple films. I've added all the films they list in the entry.
I've tried to be as accurate and complete as possible, but if you spot any errors or omissions, please, do let me know.
Currently in no strict order, but sort options are now available to sort lists chronologically.

Read notes
  • A Trip to the Moon
  • The Great Train Robbery
  • The Birth of a Nation
  • Les Vampires
  • Intolerance
  • Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  • Way Down East
  • Within Our Gates
  • Orphans of the Storm
  • The Phantom Carriage
  • The Smiling Madame Beudet
  • Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler
  • Nanook of the North
  • Nosferatu
  • Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages
  • Foolish Wives
  • Our Hospitality
  • The Wheel
  • The Great White Silence
  • Greed
  • The Last Laugh
  • Sherlock, Jr.
  • The Thief of Bagdad
  • Battleship Potemkin
  • The Big Parade
  • The Eagle
  • The Gold Rush
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • Seven Chances
  • Strike
  • The Adventures of Prince Achmed
  • The General
  • Metropolis
  • Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
  • The Jazz Singer
  • The Kid Brother
  • Napoleon
  • The Unknown
  • The Crowd
  • The Docks of New York
  • October
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc
  • Steamboat Bill, Jr.
  • Storm Over Asia
  • Blackmail
  • Un Chien Andalou
  • Man with a Movie Camera
  • Pandora's Box
  • Throw of the Dice
  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • The Blue Angel
  • Earth
  • L'âge d'or
  • À nous la liberté
  • La chienne
  • City Lights
  • Dracula
  • Frankenstein
  • Limite
  • Little Caesar
  • M
  • Le Million
  • The Public Enemy
  • Tabu
  • Boudu Saved from Drowning
  • Freaks
  • I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
  • Love Me Tonight
  • Me and My Gal
  • Scarface
  • Shanghai Express
  • Trouble in Paradise
  • Vampyr
  • 42nd Street
  • The Bitter Tea of General Yen
  • Duck Soup
  • Footlight Parade
  • Gold Diggers of 1933
  • King Kong
  • Las Hurdes
  • Queen Christina
  • She Done Him Wrong
  • Sons of the Desert
  • Zéro de conduite
  • L'Atalante
  • The Black Cat
  • The Goddess
  • It Happened One Night
  • It's a Gift
  • Judge Priest
  • The Thin Man
  • The 39 Steps
  • The Bride of Frankenstein
  • Captain Blood
  • Mutiny on the Bounty
  • A Night at the Opera
  • Peter Ibbetson
  • Top Hat
  • Triumph of the Will

169 Comments

  • Does anybody know which movie has been removed from Letterboxd recently? All of these lists dropped to 1166. I'm pretty sure it's something I had seen.

  • My first guess was In the Realm of the Senses, which someone might have changed to be marked as a pornographic film on TMDB, but when I just searched for it here on Letterboxd I still found it. Other possibilities include Salo, Sweet Sweetback's Baadaassss Song, and The Idiots. I haven't looked for them.

  • Letterboxd Twitter says it's Pinocchio. They're working on it.

  • Well, it's now back to 1,167, so somebody was messing with something because I definitely saw it at 1,166 when I went to search for In the Realm of the Senses and when I switched to another list of the same films. Both lists are now back to normal.

  • 20%

    not even close

  • There are some ripe stinkers to avoid on this list. American Hustle? Les Miserables? War Horse? Tree of Life? Avatar? The Hurt Locker? And holy fuck are you fucking kidding, Monsters and The fucking Hangover? I mean, some of these aren't awful, but should any of them be ranked among the quintessential films to see before you die? Absolutely not.

  • @Paul Bulger, :-) I guess that, by your comment, that you've seen those stinkers! I couldn't agree more with you... however, I'm guessing that many if not most on this list are really there because of its value as historical, experimental, or influential in some way to cinema as a whole..

  • It's far too soon to tell if Monsters or The Hangover have any value at all whatsoever in film history, which neither of them will. Both are completely unoriginal, and have been done better a dozen times over by other movies before and after them.

    Avatar was essentially a very expensive and overlong Pixar movie without any of the wit or charm.
    Les Miserables was just plain bad.
    And while American Hustle, War Horse, and The Hurt Locker weren't terrible, all three have also been done exponentially better by films before and after.

    The only thing I'd give a maybe to is Tree of Life, because even though it was overlong, pretty boring, and pretentious, it was different. Definitely not the kind of thing you see every day.

    And those are only a few. I could go through and pick apart tons of things that somehow managed to make appearances on this list.

    I just don't really like the idea of placing such recent movies on a list like this in general, since we should give each of them at least ten years to see if they've managed to remain relevant and important.

  • It probably would be somewhat relative to mention that of the films you listed, only 3 are still on the list, besides American Hustle which just got added (and will likely be culled within a year or two).

  • @Paul Bulger - Others have said this, but it bears repeating: this is not a list of the best movies of all time; it is a list of movies intended to represent every facet of the history of movies - from silents, to experimental, to award winning, to blockbusters. For example, a film may have been made behind the Iron Curtain at great personal danger to the director. That makes it important, but it doesn't mean that it's a good movie.

    If you ever choose to see all the entries, trust me when I say that you will see FAR worse than any of those films that you have called out so far. (Check out Vinyl by Andy Warhol sometime. You can find it on Youtube. It's on the list and has been since the first one was published in 2003.)

    And while I agree that it's difficult to tell what current movies will be those that in a generation will be ones that best represent a specific moment in movie history, the publication each year of a new book, with new entries, ensures that it continues to get attention. The publishers are, after all, a business, which means constantly coming out with new products to keep the sales going.

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