Cinema Canon

As with the Western Canon for literature, there also exists a ‘cinema canon’ for movies that any aspiring movie buff should watch at least once. For the sake of making this an achievable goal for Cinematically – I’ll limit this to a list of fifty (50) movies that I consider essential viewing as a base to build off of. That list of 50 won’t be revealed all at once, but rather, only when I review a movie on that list. As every item on the list is ‘essential’, I am not ranking them in any particular order at all – the only reason they will be in order is by date reviewed.

As of 3-October 2015, I’ve decided to make the entire list public and simply review the movies whenever I am able. They will be linked to as the reviews are completed.

I’ve made a list of 40 movies (2 of each type (or genre) of movie that I want to highlight, plus 10 movies (1 from each director that I want to highlight)). I’ve tried my best to provide essential films that cross a range of decades, actors, directors, and to show that films that you might classify one way can be classified in another way. A good example of this would be Alien (1979). People might just qualify it as science fiction alone, but the nebulous way that movies can be classified as means that almost every movie can have multiple classifications including ones that most people wouldn’t normally consider. Alien (1979) can easily be placed into the “Horror” category, and I’ve done so, mainly because this is a “canonic” list of only fifty movies to illustrate all of those subjects. They also provide a good baseline for any aspiring film buff, to provide a base to build your knowledge off of:

Directors:

  • Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo (1958) – (28-Jun-2013)
  • John Hughes: The Breakfast Club (1985) – (12-Jan-2015)
  • Stanley Kubrick: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  • Steven Spielberg: Jurassic Park (1993)
  • Martin Scorsese: Taxi Driver (1976)
  • Charlie Chaplin: Modern Times (1936)
  • David Lean: Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • Ingmar Bergman: The Seventh Seal (1957)
  • John Ford: The Quiet Man (1952)
  • William Wyler: The Searchers (1956)

Genres:

  • Musical: The Wizard of Oz (1939) – Victor Fleming (30-Oct-2013)
  • Musical: West Side Story (1961) – Jerome Robbins & Robert Wise
  • Romance: Casablanca (1942) – Michael Curtiz
  • Romance: Amélie (2001) – Jean-Pierre Jeunet
  • Epic: Ben-Hur (1959) – William Wyler
  • Epic: The Ten Commandments (1956) – Cecil B. DeMille
  • Sci-Fi: Blade Runner (1982) – Ridley Scott
  • Sci-Fi: Metropolis (1927) – Fritz Lang
  • Fantasy: E.T. (1982) – Steven Spielberg
  • Fantasy: Ghostbusters (1984) – Ivan Reitman
  • Horror: Alien (1979) – Ridley Scott
  • Horror: Halloween (1978) – John Carpenter
  • Documentary: Hoop Dreams (1994) – Steve James
  • Documentary: The Thin Blue Line (1988) – Errol Morris
  • Crime: Batman (1989) – Tim Burton
  • Crime: Goodfellas (1990) – Martin Scorsese
  • Drama: Citizen Kane (1941) – Orson Welles
  • Drama: Fight Club (1999) – David Fincher
  • Animated: Aladdin (1992) – Ron Clements & John Musker
  • Animated: Pinocchio (1940) – (Multiple)
  • Martial Arts: Enter The Dragon (1973) – Robert Clouse
  • Martial Arts: Ip Man (2008) – Wilson Yip
  • Action: Die Hard (1988) – John McTiernan
  • Action: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – Steven Spielberg
  • Adventure: North by Northwest (1959) – Alfred Hitchcock
  • Adventure: Back to the Future (1985) – Robert Zemeckis
  • Comedy: Groundhog Day (1993) – Harold Ramis
  • Comedy: The Princess Bride (1987) – Rob Reiner
  • Satire: Monty Python And The Holy Grail (1975) – Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones
  • Satire: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) – Stanley Kubrick
  • Speculative: Primer (2004) – Shane Carruth
  • Speculative: A Clockwork Orange (1971) – Stanley Kubrick
  • Thriller: Se7en (1995) – David Fincher
  • Thriller: Blue Velvet (1986) – David Lynch
  • Biography: Papillon (1973) – Franklin J. Schaffner
  • Biography: The Sound of Music (1965) – Robert Wise
  • War: Apocalypse Now (1979) – Francis Ford Coppola
  • War: Star Wars (1977) – George Lucas
  • Western: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966) – Sergio Leone
  • Western: Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) – John Huston

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