Top 15 Movies to Watch at Least Once in Your Lifetime

Who doesn’t love to watch a heartwarming, inspiring, mind blogging or heart-stopping film once in a while, right? The movie that makes your heart skip a beat by just watching it one time. The movie makes you live your life more adventurously and motivates you to make your dreams into reality.
So, from, Bollywood to Hollywood and everything in between, here is a list of the top 15 movies to watch at least once in your lifetime, without any ranking.

Top 15 Movies to Watch at Least Once in Your Lifetime

1. Artificial Intelligence

The beauty of this movie lies in how the concept of love between a mother and a child is delicately portrayed on the big screen. Humans have created robots that are capable of loving unconditionally. They have upgraded them so much so that they are now defined by their capability to love. This is what we see in the child robot, David, who simply exists for her mother, Monica who agrees to bring David home after her biological son had contracted a rare disease. Can humans love the robots back and as unconditionally as robots do? This was the question that an intern asked the developer of robots like David, and Professor Hobby and this is what director Steven Spielberg asks from this movie.

2. A Beautiful Mind

This is an autobiographical drama film which encompasses the life of American mathematician John Nash. The brilliant mind of the genius was also a place of imaginary friends and enemies, which is what is explored in the movie through the applauding acting by Russell Crowe. This should come as no surprise that the movie has won four Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Director (the movie was directed by Ron Howard), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress. Though the movie was well received by critics, they critiqued the inaccurate portrayal of some aspects of Nash’s life. The movie should be seen as a good portrayal of someone experiencing Schizophrenia rather than thinking it as Nash’s autobiography.

3. Shawshank Redemption

Andy Dufresne, a banker, is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary when he is accused of killing his wife and his lover. Thrown into the prison on a false charge to which he pleads innocence, the movie revolves around his life in the prison and how chained and cornered an innocent man can feel in that environment of oppression, exploitation and assaults by fellow prisoners. The power of undying and often naïve hope of living keeps Andy going from one day to another. The character of hopeful Andy is appropriately contrasted by “Red” who has accepted his fate. Though the movie was not able to garner good Box Office reception, due to its confusing name and unpopularity of prison films, yet, it received many Academy Awards and through word-of-mouth became one of the most rented films of that year.

4. Batman: The Dark Knight

Yes, it is a superhero movie. But even superhero movies can be adapted to all ages and this movie, under the direction of Christopher Nolan and the acting legends Christian Bale and Heath Ledger in prominent roles, proves this fact. The raw and crazy performance of Joker won Heath Ledger an Oscar, the only superhero movie to accomplish such feat. The Gotham of Batman is dismal, dreary and dark but can one Batman be enough to save his world from a ring of organized crime?

This plot might look a little too simple but the major arc of the movie is hope against disbelief in goodness. The hope, no matter how small it is, what keeps a man turning into a maniacal Joker when his world is as dark as Gotham’s. This movie is inspirational even though the villain’s speech does make sense.

5. Oldboy

This movie is a roller-coaster right from the first second. This movie’s twist has another twist of its own. Any details will spoil this movie but Park Chan Wook’s best work is rightly this masterpiece of tragic-revenge. The complexity of the issue that Chan has depicted so simply yet confusing in this movie is rare in the world of one-time watch dramas. No one ever leaves this movie without taking something with them.

6. Devdas

Devdas is one of the classic Bollywood movies. Revolving around Paro, Devdas, and Chandramukhi, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, not only paints a grim world of Devdas, but he explores how society works on a hierarchy based on wealth and the work that one does to attain wealth. It also showcases how prostitutes have to live in the sidelines with no expectation to ever enter the ranks of society and to be seen as one of its respectable members.

Although it is a tragic romantic story it is a masterpiece that can only be made once when talents like Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai, and Madhuri Dixit come under the artistic guidance of Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The movie should be seen as flawless poetry rather than a usual tragedy.

7. Before Sunrise

In this nothing happens yet it touches your heart. Jesse, played by Ethan Hawk (also, see his amazing performance in ‘Predestination’ and also for a mind-blogging story), meets Celine on a train but their conversation would make anyone think that they are long lost friends. They bear out their souls thinking that they won’t meet again in the future, but the friendship then gives way to love in their hearts. This movie reminds us that love might not be dead in the pretentious community if we express ourselves truly to other people. Fun fact: the movie was inspired by a woman whom the writer/director Richard Linklater met in a toy shop in Philadelphia in 1989.

8. Inception

We love to delve into our imaginary world, right? It feels safe and familiar and we are the true God of that world. But what if we feel that stay in it forever or that the world has become a threat to us? This is what Christopher Nolan explores in his ever-shifting, isolating, blue world that the character Cobb. Dominick Cobb and Arthur are “extractors” i.e. who extract information from their target subconscious or from their dream-like state. This resonates theory of Sigmund Freud, a psychoanalyst who proposed that our dreams are actually projections of our subconscious mind or in simpler terms our deepest desires and the smallest of details are stored in this untapped part of the mind.

Saito, a businessman wants these extractors to manipulate his competitor’s son’s decision by changing the details in the subconscious or “inception”. But all of the events get chaotic when Cobb’s dreams get linked into the world of dreams and he desires something that exists only in this unreal world. Nolan actually proposed an idea for a horror movie envisioning “dream-stealers” in 2002. But the idea was only commenced when he was finished with The Dark Knight in 2008. Also, the soundtrack of the movie by Hans Zimmer is a treat for music lovers.

9. Barfi

The direction of Anurag Basu and the acting talent of Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra Jonas are combined, we get something like Barfi. This movie is unusual, to say the least but it is so pure in its depiction of Barfi, a deaf-mute boy in Darjeeling, Shruti, and Jhilmil who is autistic. The movie is hailed for taking up a deaf and mute boy as the main character. It showcases the struggle of specially-abled people in real life and how they feel alienated from people. The movie is optimistic and motivating which can bring even a statue to tears.

10. Parasite

Like the title of the movie suggests, Bong Joon-Ho reveals who the parasites are in the society, through his direction. It narrates the story of a poor family who tries to infiltrate a rich family to make ends meet, by pretending to be highly qualified tutors, housemaids,s and taxi drivers. It is a black comedy thriller that showcases the societal system that makes the poor poorer unless they are able to fraud, cheat or lie their way to get into the system of society. Yet the blood that they drew out because of this is still might not be enough for them to change their destiny.

The ending innovatively ties the whole movie together in one seamless inquisition about these issues. Parasite became the first Korean film to win the Palme d’Or when it premiered at Cannas Film Festival in 2019. It also won 4 Academy Awards and became the first non-English film to win the category for Best Picture. After the wave of K-Pop and BTS, a famous boy band from Korea, the country has marked its name into the world of show business too, through this unique film.

11. The Matrix

If you haven’t watched this classic, game-changing movie then you are in for a fantastic and delicious blue pill of entertainment and hard to swallow red pill of the truth about our perceptions of the world. Neo is The Chosen One, or so it seems in the world which is generated through codes that are usually used to make a program in a computer. This dystopian world of Matrix will make you rethink your own world in ways that you have never explored before.

Keanu Reeves is astonishingly perfect for the character of Neo. One important question to think about, is the world around you actually exists or is just your perception. If you have not drowned in an anxiety-inducing existential crisis, feel free to watch this spectacular movie.

12. Blood Diamond

A tale about the quest of two men, a South African mercenary and a black fisherman, who are in search of a rare gem. The twist is the area is the war conflicted, Sierra Leone of 1999. The movie is one of the few that has taken up a politically sensitive issue as the area was under insurrection by the Revolutionary United Front and they used to exploit and mercilessly torture and kill the citizens to acquire diamonds for their weapons. Edward Zwick’s direction depicts how wars are the result of human greed and ways in which man can kill a man just to acquire a little wealth and power. Although it is a movie, it is far too close to reality for the people of Sierra Leone.

13. Dead Poets society

Is ‘Science and Technology’ superior to the Arts? Or is it the other way around? Humankind has progressed whenever they have invented a new technology. From the Bronze Age to the Age of A.I., the world has no doubt been transformed by every new innovation. But the world is devoid without Tales of Shakespeare, wouldn’t it be? Who will sing the songs of broken heart and how will people connect with each other if they are thinking about progress and the next step solely

This movie reminds its audience of the beauty of the world which humans analyze and comprehend through poetry, painting, movies, songs, and arts. The English teacher, John Keating of Welton Academy, through its unorthodox method of teaching, effectively makes his students and even the audiences realize to listen to the melodies of his world, to see its beauty and take a moment to live instead of running in the rat-race.

14. Good Will Hunting

Good Will Hunting is a drama film that stars famous actors such as Matt Damon, Robin Williams, and Ben Affleck. A 20-year-old janitor, Will Hunting is a hidden genius. He is going through a troubling time and is in the middle of an identity crisis after his life takes a turn, for better or for worse when he punches a police officer. He begins to re-evaluate his relationship with people and how many walls he has built up around him to protect himself from getting hurt but that is also keeping him from living his life to the fullest. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon won Oscars for Best Original Screenplay.

15. Pursuit of Happyness

The sheer perseverance of strength and hope when everything goes against your vision of your life, this movie teaches us that. The Pursuit of Happyness is a biographical drama film based on the inspiring life of Chris Gardener, a year struggle of being a homeless salesman. The struggle that a human faces in establishing himself as an asset to society and to become prosperous, this struggle is an universal struggle, and people from around the globe can relate to the motivating message of the film.


Films have an undeniable effect on us so watching films which can probably make us reflect on our life would be a good idea but of course we hate it when the list ends! Here are some honorable mentions to quench your thirst for films – Reality Bites, Little Miss Sunshine, Pulp Fiction, And Call Me By Your Name

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