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100 Films to Watch If You're Going to Study Film (Pt. 2)

Part 2

As you already know, we've covered most of the obvious ones in "Part One" of this exercise. These posts are made to mark the end of season one of "The Filmmaker's Guide to..." and now, we move on to season two in which there are longer, more difficult films to analyse. Not the ones we've already done aren't difficult enough, let's just say the first one we're looking at for season two is a certain film by Oliver Stone. That article may be cut up into two parts since there is so much I want to say and I don't want to keep you longer than you're obliged to stick around.

In "Part Two," we explore the slightly more obscure (uses Top Gun as a header whilst saying that) films. We're going to talk through some films that some of you may find in the picture sections of your textbooks, which are either quite popular for their obscurity in research or just aesthetic enough to drop into a textbook. Not to say the others weren't, but I've found that a lot of the ones on this list come up in some film books, just by chance.

Part One was covering the starting point, especially the top 10. Those are the ones you should definitely begin with and you definitely should see if you watch anything at all. So if you haven't checked it out, Part One, one to 10 is where you need to be. Hopefully I can make quite a few of these lists, since I'm in a celebratory mood and, well, let's just say that I've already got "Part Three" up my sleeve as well.

Again, these articles are all dedicated to a special friend of mine who wants to be a director when she's older. She already knows quite a bit about film for someone who has not yet done any study of it in school and has studied quite a lot herself. So let's all give her love and support for her future in film.

Let us continue, with small bits of writing by me through various films in this top 100. Again, (*) will indicate my favourites whilst there will be some intermittent commentary now and again (I'll try and cut it down now, I realised I made the last one longer than I intended).


Still from Walk the Line

101. Walk the Line*

102. Platoon*

103. JFK*

I bloody love this film. I've seen it around five times and I can tell you that even though it is long and the first time you watch it you'll hate having to put yourself through the torture, the movie itself is technically brilliant. Once you start studying the symbolism, the cinematography, the editing styles and even the uses of colour palettes—you'll really get where Oliver Stone is coming from. Did I just give away my next article? I think I did...

104. The Pianist

105. Kill Bill 1 & 2

106. Empire of the Sun*

The depiction of war and violence isn't just done through the storyline, the differentiation between "them" and "us" is done through the colours, style and even the way the film is edited. The cinematography is smooth in certain part and when it becomes more spliced, you can really feel the atmosphere change. It's a brilliant film so please watch it.

107. Chaplin*

This is one of my favourite movies of all time so if you don't watch it, I'll be very upset. This film is a beautiful blend of colours, time period, brilliant editing and an amazing use of diegetic music to add to the atmosphere. The way in which this film conveys the story of the great Sir Charles Chaplin is absolutely beautiful and I really need you to watch this film. If you want to learn how to make a biopic, this is the one to watch. This is how it's done properly.

108. Wall Street

109. Top Gun

110. Natural Born Killers


Still from Carrie

111. Carrie (1976)

112. The People vs. Larry Flynt

113. The Devil's Advocate*

114. Phantom Carriage* [Silent Film] 

115. The Fly

The film's cinematography is something to be beheld. The way in which the colour palette evolves with the characters throughout the film really does show that change from human to fly. Even though the film may make you feel a bit sick—it's still a brilliantly made film. It is intended to look really strange. Don't believe me? Check out the editing and cinematography on the scene where he's climbing the wall, asking why he can do what he's doing. It's excellent.

116. Martyrs [French Movie]

117. Scent of a Woman

118. From Here to Eternity

119. Saving Private Ryan

120. Scarface*


Still from The Danish Girl

121. The Danish Girl*

To this day, The Danish Girl is one of the greatest achievements of cinematography and character design I have ever seen. Firstly, I was blown away by Eddie Redmayne's incredible acting and secondly is the physical design of his character. The way in which he acts so in tune to the way the character has been designed and written is perfect and seriously, if you want to watch a film adapted from a book then this one should be on your list.

122. Cannibal Holocaust

123. The Conjuring*

I'm not going to say too much about this other than to read my article on The Conjuring Universe. It's my favourite franchise and has some incredible things to analyse.

124. The Blair Witch Project*

125. A Nightmare on Elm Street

126. Carlito's Way

127. A Dangerous Method

128. Modern Times*

129. Poltergeist

130. Invasion of the Body Snatchers*

A must-watch if you want to learn about the beginnings of cult horror/thriller filmmaking. It is a brilliant piece of work with some incredible shots and editing. I highly recommend this film because well, I too studied it!


Still from All About Eve

131. All About Eve

132. The Omen*

Some brilliant shots here. I love the way that the camera almost cranes down slightly upon Damien because it makes him look a little bit more menacing, as if something isn't quite right. The way the colours are used is brilliant for contrast. For example: Watch the scene where the lady hangs herself whilst shouting words to Damien; the colour palette directly contrasts the way in which this scene portrays atmosphere. This makes it a bit more disturbing and has been copied by other horror films throughout the years.

133. On the Waterfront 

134. Pandora's Box [Silent Film]

135. The Bonfire of the Vanities

136. Perfume: Story of a Murderer*

Again, one of my favourite films of all time. This film is detailed in one of my articles to do with Horror Filmmaking in which I concentrate on the creation of atmosphere in this very movie. I have seen this film various times and I am still awe-inspired by the way in which it portrays character and the life of the character. The character in question is called Jean-Baptiste and the way in which the character is filmed is actually brilliant because at one moment we will feel sympathy for him and the next, we find him utterly disturbing and unhinged.

137. Rebel Without a Cause

138. High Noon

139. Bridge on the River Kwai

140. Evil Dead*


Still from The African Queen

141. The African Queen

142. Blackboard Jungle 

143. Double Indemnity 

144. Bicycle Thieves

145. An American Werewolf in London

I bet you've all heard me talk about this film far too much. I love the atmosphere and the colours in this movie and I really appreciate the amount of effort gone into designing the character of the werewolf. If you want to learn more then have a flick through my articles until you find the one on this film. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

146. The Maltese Falcon 

147. The Master

148. Black Narcissus 

149. The Lost Weekend 

150. Donnie Brasco*


Still from The Big Sleep

151. The Big Sleep

152. The Thin Man

153. Bringing Up Baby 

154. Dracula (1931)

155. King King (1933)

156. The Great Dictator

157. Duck Soup

158. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)

159. Sherlock Jr. 

160. Gaslight


Still from You Can't Take It with You

161. You Can't Take It with You 

162. The General 

163. The Kid

164. The Asphalt Jungle 

165. The Passion of Joan of Arc [Silent Film] 

166. The Phantom of the Opera* (1925)

I think you should try and analyse the history behind the production of this film, since there are three different versions of it. I think you'll be surprised as to why there are three versions of the same film and what it did for the production value of each of the three versions. Also, Lon Chaney is a genius, isn't he? This film is pure brilliance.

167. Way Down East [Silent Film] 

168. Broadway Melody

169. The Ten Commandments 

170. His Girl Friday


171. Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler* [Silent Film] 

172. Nanook of the North

173. The Man Who Laughs* [Silent Film]

Based on the book by Victor Hugo (a little more obscure than his work, Les Miserables), this is a horrifying, yet sympathetic tale conveyed through incredible amounts of action. I love this film for inspiring the character of the Joker in Batman—or so is the story. Yet, the film itself has a certain timelessness about it, like it haunts you after you've seen it. It is brilliant, grotesque and yet, amazingly perfect.

174. L'Inferno* (1911) [Silent Film]

175. The House of Ghosts* (1908) [Silent Film]

Please watch this, it's really short and you're bound to enjoy it. It's film taking on the horror-comedy genre for the first time and really, it does a very good job!

176. The Golem* [Silent Film]

I think you'll find the different facts about the sequels, parodies, etc. of this film very interesting. It's always important to research background and the background to this film, especially to The Golem and the Dancing Girl are quite interesting to read about. I hope you find the story as intriguing as I did.

177. Faust (1926) [Silent Film] 

178. Velvet Buzzsaw

179. The Conjuring 2*

Valak is my all-time favourite character in any movie, so please give her a great round of applause when you watch this film because she is just the best character ever. The character design of her, her presence and the way she moves about the room and appears in places is a brilliant addition to the film. The way she is designed physically is meant to be ironic to her actual character—she is my all-time favourite and I'll be upset if you don't warm to her.

180. Michael Jackson's Thriller*

It's only the greatest music video of all time. I wrote an article on it around my page somewhere and if you're into this short film, I suggest you read it. The use of allusion is brilliant as it alludes to An American Werewolf in London and even uses the same director. It is a brilliant archetype of storytelling and a wonderful addition to the horror/comedy genre.


181. Misery*

182. The Nun* (2018)

If I have to say it again then I will, Valak is my favourite character in any film ever and I love her. Please read my stuff on The Conjuring Universe for more details. Or, as an alternative, you can read my article on the character design of Valak if you're like me and just there for her. We are all Team Valak here, right?

183. As Above, So Below*

184. Rosemary's Baby*

185. Spirited Away

186. The Artist

187. Orphans of the Storm 

188. The Autopsy of Jane Doe

189. The Ninth Gate

190. Sukiyaki Western Django*


Still from La Vie en Rose

191. La Vie en Rose*

192. A Trip to the Moon

193. Fantasia

194. Goodbye Lenin 

195. The Rise of Evil 

196. Black* [Indian Film] 

Possibly my favourite Indian Film of all time. It has high drama and a great plot. The cinematography in this film is surprisingly good for a Bollywood Film and the acting is incredible. The fact that this film doesn't get more recognition seriously makes me mad as hell.

197. Run Lola Run 

198. Going Clear

199. Blackfish

200. Exit Through the Gift Shop


I love film and, well, I've planned another part to this which will be out in a while as well. I also love sharing which films you should probably watch if you want to study film. This doesn't mean you have to go through and watch them all; it means that you probably want to go through and pick out the ones that you would like to watch based on the kind of films you study. For example: I like to study Adaptation Films, Biopics, Documentaries, and Horror Films, so those are the ones I watch more of.

I would like you to take the time to check out the way these films are put together as well because the editing in films like Chaplin and The Conjuring 2 are absolutely amazing. I mean, I love it. I hope you will too.

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