20. Back to the Future (1985)
> Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi
> Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
> Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson
Michael J. Fox stars as Marty McFly, a time-traveling high school student, in this 1980s comedy classic from director Robert Zemeckis. The movie is loved by both critics and audiences for its humor, science fiction-based inventiveness, and irresistible energy.
19. Psycho (1960)
> Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
> Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
> Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles
The murder scene in the shower in “Psycho” almost instantly became a cultural landmark and is among the most famous in movie history. Adding to the tension of this taut thriller that starred Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh was the music by Bernard Herrmann that projected impending doom. “Psycho” is Hitchcock at his suspenseful best. The motion picture received a 96% Freshness rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and 95% of audiences liked the movie.
18. Parasite (2019)
> Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller
> Directed by: Bong Joon Ho
> Starring: Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo
South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” surprised many by winning Best Picture at the 2020 Academy Awards despite being among the lesser seen nominees. Reception of the film has been near universally positive, however, especially among critics, who have given it a 99% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film tells the story of a lower-class family that dupes a wealthier family into employing them with unexpected results.
17. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
> Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
> Directed by: Jonathan Demme
> Starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney
Jonathan Demme’s psychological thriller “The Silence of the Lambs” made a huge cultural impact upon its release in 1991, thanks in large part to its lead actors Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. The two won Academy Awards for their work on the film, which also won best picture.
16. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
> Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
> Directed by: George Lucas
> Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Confusingly, this is the movie originally released simply as “Star Wars” (it was retitled following the release of “The Empire Strikes Back”). Today a cultural icon, it has been praised as “pure unadulterated entertainment” by critic Vern Perry and lauded by critic Joseph Gelmis for its “technical wizardry, high-velocity storytelling and spirited good humor.”
15. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
> Genre: Drama, Family, Fantasy
> Directed by: Frank Capra
> Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
Frank Capra’s 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life” is watched every holiday season by many. The heart-warming story of George Bailey — played by James Stewart — was ranked as the most inspiring film of all time by the American Film Institute.
14. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
> Genre: Drama
> Directed by: Miloš Forman
> Starring: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Will Sampson
The Miloš 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.
13. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
> Genre: Western
> Directed by: Sergio Leone
> Starring: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef
Sergio Leone’s 161 minute epic “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” is perhaps the most iconic Western of all time. Rife with memorable long shots and close-ups, the film’s story is told more with imagery than words — a decision made in part due to the ease of shooting a movie with little sound.
12. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
> Genre: Action, Adventure
> Directed by: Steven Spielberg
> Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is Steven Spielberg’s homage to action/adventure movies from Hollywood’s golden age. Harrison Ford plays the swashbuckling archeologist Indiana Jones, who has to prevent Nazis from finding the Ark of the Covenant whose powers could make them invincible. The prototypical summer movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” received 95% Freshness rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and 96% of audiences liked the movie.
11. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
> Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
> Directed by: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy
> Starring: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger
From its music to its pioneering, Technicolor visuals, “The Wizard of Oz” is among the most iconic movies ever. Victor Fleming directed the bulk of the film before he was reassigned to direct “Gone With the Wind,” which would ultimately win Best Picture at the Academy Awards over fellow nominee “The Wizard of Oz.” “Oz” did win two Oscars related to music, including Best Original Song for “Over the Rainbow.”
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