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Added by johanlefourbe on 25 Nov 2015 07:54
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1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die (1940's)

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Notes: Since I’m a huge movie buff, I watch all kinds of movies and I’m particularly interested in Classics. However, to be honest, in my opinion, there are two kinds of classics, some of them which remain untouched by time , and which will always be great and amazing like ‘Citizen Kane’ , ‘M’, ‘ Rashomon’ or ‘A bout de souffle’ and the other sort which are still very well regarded but which seems rather dated like ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ , ‘The Wizard of Oz’ or ‘Gone with the Wind’ (Of course, it all depends what your taste is. You might find those movies still amazing and much better than the ones I mentioned before). Anyway, in my opinion, this movie belongs to the second category. I mean, it is a decent comedy with 3 amazing actors (Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart) and the whole thing was rather fun but also terribly fluffy and I really had a hard time to care about the story. I’ll give you that it was much better than all those inane romantic-comedies you get nowadays but I can’t say I was really blown away by this flick. You could argue that the whole fluffiness is inherent to the genre but I don’t agree, a comedy always has to be funny but I don’t think it has to be shallow, at least, that’s my opinion.
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People who added this item 123 Average listal rating (65 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.3
The Bank Dick (1940)


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People who added this item 3030 Average listal rating (1805 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.5


Notes: Even though I was pretty sure that I saw this movie when I was a kid, when I finally re-watched it with my own children, I didn't remember much of it. For example, I was actually surprised that the most iconic trademark of Pinocchio, the fact that his nose is growing when he lies, actually shows up just once in the movie. It actually shows how powerful this tale is and how it will be forever linked to this Disney version. Indeed, after the tremendous success of 'Snow White', Disney decided to go for another well known tale and it became another major classic. What I personally enjoy the most about the whole thing was actually how dark the whole thing was. Indeed, back then, they were still pretty much experimenting, testing how far they could go, and they didn't develop yet their traditional formula of avoiding anything that could be possibly challenging in order to always reach the lowest common denominator. Here, you get a rather complex main character who makes some terrible decisions but this little guy was much more fascinating than the perfect princes and heroes that they would give us afterwards.
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People who added this item 2723 Average listal rating (1575 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.3


Notes: There always will be a debate about this movie. Some think it is indeed the best movie ever made and some will tell you it is the most overrated movie ever made. It is always the risk with such a huge classic that, if you watch it at a very young age (like I did the first time around) after building up some huge expectations, you might wonder what was the fuss all about. In my opinion, this movie is great because it is really subtle and also because it was much ahead of its time. I think it is something you can appreciate most of all if you have seen a lot of movies. Anyway, the second time I watched it, I was then able to see how modern and so well put together the whole thing was. It was simply mesmerizing. And think about it, Orson Welles was only 26 when he directed it... That's rather insane. To think that, at such a young age, this man who was much younger than me, managed to make possibly the best movie of all time. The thought is rather mind-blowing and it was also a curse for Orson Welles who always struggled as a director ever since, even though some of his following directing efforts were more than decent.
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People who added this item 200 Average listal rating (110 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.8


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People who added this item 317 Average listal rating (179 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.9


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People who added this item 454 Average listal rating (300 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.4


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People who added this item 243 Average listal rating (141 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.6


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Notes: Eventually, this movie will be mostly remembered for winning the Best Picture Academy Award at the expense of 'Citizen Kane' but I was still eager to check it out to see if it was actually any good. Well, while the reputation of 'Citizen Kane' has only increased through the years and it is usually considered by most as one of the greatest movies ever made, this movie on the other hand didn't grow old very well, I'm afraid. I can imagine that it had been a big commercial and critical success at the time when it was released but, nowadays, it seems terribly cheesy, at least, that's what I felt like watching the damned thing. I mean, I have to admit that it was well made with some solid performances so it turned out to be OK but not much more than that. Sure, it was dealing with some nice and decent people but, as far as I'm concerned, I would rather have instead the complexity displayed in 'Citizen Kane'. At least, it was very neat to see the lovely Maureen O'Hara who must have been one of the most gorgeous actress ever.
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People who added this item 337 Average listal rating (204 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8.1


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Notes: To be honest, the circumstances I watched the damned thing were far from being ideal (I was really tired and the recording was seriously messed up). On top of that, this movie has a disadvantage of being already 70 years old and, by that time, I had alredy watched many other film noirs with or without Humphrey Bogart so I wasn’t completely blown away by the whole thing. Furthermore, it is always the same issue with this genre, the plot is terribly murky and, in fact, it never really matters which is always something that bother me a little. And, yet, it is still quite an awesome flick nonetheless. Indeed, it is historically quite priceless as it started the directing career of John Huston, the career of Humphrey Bogart and it pretty much launched the genre at the time. Indeed, even though Sam Spade might be the main character, he is not actually a hero, he is definitely not a nice guy and he pretty much dumps the female lead at the end without shedding a single tear.
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People who added this item 2856 Average listal rating (1726 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.3


Notes: The funny thing about this production is that, even though 'Pinocchio' and 'Fantasia' were both critically heralded, they were also some really ambitious projects that had cost Disney a lot and they didn't turn out to be some huge box-office success like 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'. So, back then, they decided to come up with something smaller and cheaper and, surprisingly, it turned out to be a hit. To be honest, I think that the scope was too limited to make it one of my favorites and, with a running time of barely 60 minutes, and the fact that Timothy Q. Mouse was just a recycled version of Jiminy Cricket, it did feel a little bit cheap. And yet, this Dumbo character was really awesome. Indeed, it showed some guts to have a title character who didn’t say a word during the whole thing and there were a couple of scenes involving him and his mother that were just amazing and quite heartbreaking to behold. Also, you won't see any time soon in a Disney feature an infant getting drunk and hallucinating afterwards and a bunch of black crowns smoking some huge cigars. On top of that, they gave us their weirdest (but, in my opinion, also one of their most awesome) musical sequence with the legendary 'pink elephants on parade'.
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People who added this item 162 Average listal rating (86 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.7


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People who added this item 224 Average listal rating (108 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8
Now, Voyager (1942)


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Notes: To be honest, usually, even though I have a lot of respect for such old classic comedies, I find most of them rather dated and they never really blow me away (a notable exception would be the greatest masterpieces directed by Charles Chaplin which are just amazing and hilarious). This movie was however an exception and I seriously enjoyed it a lot. First of all, the whole thing was actually slightly weird as the makers tried to combined seamlessly a comedy and a thriller. It was a really tricky mix but I was really amazed about how well it worked. Indeed, as a result, half of the time, I was laughing my ass off and, the rest of time, I was actually wondering if the characters were actually going to make it. The whole thing is even more impressive when you think that it was made in the middle of WWII and released just a few months after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
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Notes: To be honest, it has been ages since I have seen this flick and I should definitely re-watch it at some point. Well, even though Orson Welles will always be remembered for ‘Citizen Kane’, this follow-up was actually more representative of his career. Indeed, following the tremendous success of ‘Citizen Kane’, there was a huge buzz about his next directing effort and you would have expected that the guy would receive pretty much ‘carte blanche’ but, instead, his movie was famously butchered by the studio. From then on, Welles would struggle through his whole career to get his directings project from the ground. It was especially sad with this movie because, in spite of the studio meddling, it was actually still a very good movie and Welles for example really loved the damned thing. Eventually, it could have been a great masterpiece and you can only wonder what his career could have turned out to be if this movie had been released intact. Anyway, even in this form, I still liked this movie a lot and it is definitely worth a look.
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People who added this item 175 Average listal rating (94 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.6


Notes: I wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie but since it won 6 Academy awards (including the one for Best Picture), I thought I should check it out. Well, to be honest, I really had a hard time to care about the damned thing after all. Indeed, even though the beginning scenes were supposed to be sweet and gentle, I thought there were just too fluffy and even borderline silly, to be honest. For example, you had this deal with the roses competition which was seriously tedious. Then, the main plot was not bad but still nothing really amazing and, on top of that, it turned out to be some massive propaganda which was rather disappointing. In my opinion, the whole thing feels nowadays terribly dated and I’m rather amazed it is still getting so much credit nowadays. At least, I have to admit it, Greer Garson and Teresa Wright were both really lovely but it was certainly not enough.
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People who added this item 3244 Average listal rating (1891 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.5


Notes: I have actually seen this one when I was younger but I can’t say I was really blown away so I thought it was time for a re-watch, to make up my mind for good. And, indeed, I now understand why it is so loved. I mean, it still is not one of my favorites but it is sure a really solid feature which completely deserves its reputation. It is interesting to notice that nobody involved, the director, the actors, the producers thought it would be a success and it was just yet another small production which was supposed to disappear pretty quickly at the box-office. Of course, it turned out to be a huge blockbuster. Personally, I really enjoyed the look of the whole thing. Some people don’t like black and white pictures but they really don’t know what they are missing, especially with these everlasting masterpieces. Furthermore, there was this tremendous chemistry between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman which has become a blueprint for many doomed love stories that came afterwards.
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People who added this item 458 Average listal rating (247 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4


Notes: First of all, when you watch this flick, you have to keep in mind that you are actually watching one of the first ancestors of our contemporary horror movies and it was pretty neat to see how it has changed in 70 years. Back then, there was basically no sex, no blood, in fact, to be honest, nothing much happened during the whole thing when you think about it. Pretty muck like today, they made this choice mostly because they basically had no money but it made the whole thing even more effective. There was indeed constantly this eerie atmosphere which was not really frightening but it still made me uneasy throughout the whole duration. To show the impact of this flick, you should know that the horror movie technique of slowly building tension to a jarring shock which turns out to be something completely harmless is actually called a ‘Lewton bus’ after a famous scene from this movie. How amazing is that?
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People who added this item 39 Average listal rating (29 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.8


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Notes: It was the 2nd movie directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and it would be their first critical and commercial hit. Well, to be honest, it actually took me a while to get into this story but it was eventually really worth it. Indeed, the whole thing turned out to be some rather fascinating study of a character with a 40 years span. I was first of all blown away by the make-up but it was also a very nuanced movie. The directing was also quite impressive and the actors were top notch. It was also rather amazing that they dared portray a German character in a postive light (Apparently, it seems that Churchill hated this flick). And, yet, like most of the movies directed by these guys, even though I was able to admit the work done, I still had a hard time to connect with the damned thing. At the end of day, it is all a matter of taste and, if you are into this kind of movies, you will love it, otherwise, it might actually bore you.
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People who added this item 107 Average listal rating (48 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 6.9


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People who added this item 55 Average listal rating (21 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 0


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Notes: I have always been a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock’s work and I was really eager to check it out. On top of that, it was apparently Hitchcock’s favorite movies so I was expecting a lot from the damned thing. Well, to be honest, I was rather amazed by how little I actually cared about this movie. I mean, sure, it was still a decent thriller but I really couldn’t see what was supposed to be so amazing about this feature. Indeed, during the first half, nothing much really interesting happened and it took the damned thing forever to take off. Then, in the second half, it started to become slightly more entertaining but it was too little, too late. Basically, the main idea is that the ominous Uncle Charlie goes to his relatives and the viewers are supposed to be charmed by this sweet family living in this nice little town. Well, to be honest, I didn’t care much for them. Furthermore, I never really understood their fascination and obsession towards this Uncle Charlie. Still, it remains a decent watch though.
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People who added this item 185 Average listal rating (90 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.8
Ossessione (1943)


Notes: I wonder if it was the first movie directed by Luchino Visconti that I managed to watch. Anyway, I remember it very well the first time I saw it. Indeed, back then I was studying in England, in Cambridge for a year, and I managed to follow a course about movies which was easily my favorite course. Every week we would watch a movie and talk about it, starting from the silent era going up to the 90’s. I think this movie was one of the first we watched and it had a great impact one me. At the time, I wasn’t familiar with this story (I hadn’t seen yet both versions of ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice’ from 1946 and 1981 but Visconti’s take was still the best) and I thought it was quite fascinating. What was even more impressive is that this movie was Visconti's directing debut. For a first time director, the guy definitely displayed some skills and, just like Godard and Truffaut with the New Wave, he pretty much managed to launch a whole movie genre in the process (Italian neo-realism).
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People who added this item 506 Average listal rating (326 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.1


Notes: In fact, the first time I saw the damned thing, it was at school when I was a teenager. Basically, like anyone else, I got to watch some movies with my teachers but, most of these attempts were rather disastrous. Indeed, instead of making us watch such modern classics like ‘Pulp Fiction’ or ‘Fight Club’, they would make us watch some old movies which were usually very poorly received. For example, one teacher made us watch ‘Johnny Got His Gun’ and even though it is in fact a great classic, can you imagine watching this with a classroom filled with 30 brainless teenagers? However, there was this one English teacher who actually did manage to show us some very old flicks and, surprisingly, those old classics turned out to be really interesting and entertaining. This movie turned out to be the best of the bunch. Indeed, for each class, we would watch like 15-20 minutes and then we would have a discussion about what actually happened and what could happen next. Eventually, the damned thing was so spellbinding that we would still talk about it even after the class during the break. On top of that, Gene Tierney was easily one of the best femmes fatal I had ever seen.
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People who added this item 410 Average listal rating (224 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.7


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People who added this item 407 Average listal rating (243 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.9


Notes: Well, this movie is really the stuff of legend. First of all, it was the first movie starring Lauren Bacall and back in those days, she was only 20 years old when she made it and it was also the first movie she made with her future husband, Humphrey Bogart. Furthermore, it was directed by the great Howard Hawks and it is an adaptation of a novel written by Ernest Hemingway. Basically, it doesn't get more prestigious than this, does it? Anyway, the acting was off the charts, the directing was very good and I just really enjoyed the story, basically one of those typical film noir they used to make back then. I mean, it was a rather typical film noir but it was full of awesome one-liners and the tone was just really well set and I thought it was completely entertaining. To conclude, it is really a good classic and it is definitely worth a look.
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People who added this item 338 Average listal rating (198 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.8


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People who added this item 149 Average listal rating (71 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.3
Henry V (1944)


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Notes: Eventually, I wasn't disappointed, that's for sure. Indeed, it was a spellbinding film noir, easily one of the best movies in this genre, and it completely deserved its stellar reputation. What I loved the most was the simple and minimalistic way this story was told. Indeed, most of the movie was just about Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck only together in one room talking with each other and giving us some of the best dialogues ever written for a movie. Nowadays, they would give us some boring climax with some huge action scene and, of course, the usual tedious twist at the end but, here, the whole thing remained focused and sharp from the beginning and until the end. It was like the plan they came up with, it was not so far-fetched at all and it made the whole thing even more spellbinding to behold. I also loved the fact that the main character was not fooled by this girl and at first simply walked away when he found out what she was up to, even if he felt terribly attracted to her. That's another great thing about this movie, the characters were all rather shaddy and you could never be sure what they were actually thinking.
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This entry is for Part I and Part II



Part I (1944)


Part II (1958)

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Notes: Well, even though it was indeed pretty good, to be honest, it didn't completely blow me away. First of all, even though Joan Crawford delivered a solid performance and won at the time the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, in my opinion, her character should have been more complex. Indeed, even though Mildred Pierce was first presented as a possible murderer, Crawford slowly removed any evidence that this woman was anything else than perfect and it backfired as it made this woman much lesser interesting then when the movie started. Eventually, the more complex character turned out to be actually Veda Pierce thanks to a really strong performance by Ann Blyth but even this character didn't really work after all. Basically, all what Mildred Pierce did was to give a better life to her children, especially Veda. However, at some point, she managed to become really rich which should have been more than sufficient but Veda kept on being impossible to deal with with no real explanation whatsoever except to provide some conflict to move the story forward. Anyway, even though it didn't completely work for me, I have to admit that it was still a solid film noir.
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People who added this item 236 Average listal rating (144 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.4


Notes: To be honest, even though this movie has a very good reputation, it turned out to be a decent watch but not much more than that. I mean, sure, it was a solid film noir, no doubt about it, but there are some much better movies in this genre, at least, that's my opinion. Eventually, nothing much really happened through the whole thing and it was basically about the unluckiest main character I have ever seen or maybe, as it was argued by some critics, just a thief telling a bunch of lies to the audience but I think it be would giving this movie too much credit. Eventually, I was actually more interested in Vera thanks to Ann Savage who gave such a strong performance. In my opinion, she completely stole the show from the moment she got involved. Anyway, even if it didn't really blow me away, it was still pretty good though.
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Notes: By now, I have seen 5 movies directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all of them were included in this list. Well, from all those movies I have seen, this is the only one I didn't really enjoy. I mean, the title was pretty good but the scope was rather small this time, compared to their other productions which were much more ambitious and, to be honest, I didn't care much about the story and the characters involved. I mean, the whole thing was well directed and it was not bad at all but I didn't really enjoyed it probably because it was not my cup of tea, I guess. Still, it is a classic and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you like the genre.
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People who added this item 302 Average listal rating (146 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.3


Notes: Since it is considered one of the greatest classics of the French cinema, of course, I was really eager to check it out and eventually, I wasn’t disappointed, that’s for sure. Indeed, first of all, you have to check the great people who were involved in this production (it was directed by Marcel Carné and written by French poet Jacques Prévert). When you dig into its history, it is even more amazing as you think that they managed to make this flick during the height of the Nazi occupation and, apparently, it seems that many members of the resistance were actually involved in this production. I have to admit, it is a rather long feature but, with some gorgeous black and white cinematography, some really impressive actors, the whole thing was still pretty damned mesmerizing. By now, I have seen my share of movies directed by Marcel Carné and this must be the most prestigious one.
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People who added this item 66 Average listal rating (31 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.9


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Notes: After hearing many great things about this flick, I was really eager to check it out. Personally, I was more familiar with Lean's later work, composed of great epic adventures such as 'Doctor Zhivago', 'Lawrence of Arabia' or 'The Bridge on the River Kwai'. Here, it is something quite different entirely, in fact, it is the complete opposite. Indeed, it is in black and white and it deals only with two characters, a man and a woman dealing with some rather mundane predicament. However, if the scale was smaller, the whole thing was nonetheless quite fascinating. Indeed, basically, it is a very simple story about love and adultery but so human, so recognizable and so relevant. Honestly, I can't pretend I was really familiar with the actors portraying the two main characters but they both did a really good job. Above all, I was really impressed by the directing by David Lean. Indeed, like I said before, we are here far from his epic work but he still managed to share with us the tormented life of those two lost souls and it was quite something to behold.
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People who added this item 201 Average listal rating (105 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.7
Paisà (1946)


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Notes: Before watching this flick, I had already seen two other versions of this story ('Ossessione' (1943), 'The Postman Always Rings Twice' (1981)) and this version turned out to the best one I have seen so far. There is apparently a 4th version ('Le dernier tournant' released in 1939) but, by now, I think I'm pretty much done with this story... Anyway, coming back to our main feature, even though you didn't have the explosive sex scenes from the Jack Nicholson-Jessica Lange version, John Garfiel and Lana Turner had together some very nice chemistry and they made together one of the best doomed couples I have ever seen. Basically, they were not really good, they were not really bad either, they were both continuously fighting the feelings they had but they couldn't get rid off each other. Even though it was already the 3rd time around I watched this story, it was just spellbinding and it is definitely one of the best film noir I have seen so far. It did tend to drag a little bit towards the end but it might have had to do with the fact that I already knew the whole thing by heart at this point.
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Many years ago, I actually discovered this website thanks to the awesome list 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die but, unfortunately, this list is not up to date anymore so I have decided to create my own version. I will try to add every day a new movie and, of course, I will keep it up to date.


(6th edition)


Furthermore, if you're like me and you don't feel like browsing through the whole list, you can now use this index :

- MAIN LIST
- 1001 Movies ... (2010's)
- 1001 Movies ... (2000's)
- 1001 Movies ... (1990's)
- 1001 Movies ... (1980's)
- 1001 Movies ... (1970's)
- 1001 Movies ... (1960's)
- 1001 Movies ... (1950's)
- 1001 Movies ... (1930's)
- 1001 Movies ... (1920's)
- 1001 Movies ... (1910's)
- 1001 Movies ... (1900's)

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