70) Apollo 13 (1995)
We all knew the outcome (or should have), and yet we were glued to our seats, riveted to the last reel when the space shuttle Odyssey cleared through the atmosphere and landed in the pacific. Ron Howard, in his finest work, put the audience right on that spacecraft in Apollo13, and the result was part suspenseful thrill-ride, part uplifting human fable.
69) Scream (1996)
After Scream, self-referential horror movies almost became their own genre. But don’t forget where it all started—with this clever, hip, and endlessly scary slasher flick that told us what to expect, and then flabbergasted us anyway. For many millennials, Scream is where their love of horror started. And now it’s a never-ending love affair.
68) Memento (2000)
In 2000, the world was introduced to Christopher Noloan, and he has since gone onto become one of the most crowd-pleasing auteurs of “big” cinema. Memento, however, reminds us of just how effective he still was when he was small. A mind-bender to the extreme, Memento is proof of how satisfying a movie can be when it makes things really hard on us.
67) The Lion King (1994)
Beautifully drawn, complete with jaunty songs by Elton John and Tim Rice, The Lion King stands atop Disney’s glorious animated heritage.
66) The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
That rare and beautiful combination – gut bustlingly hilarious, and innately sweet. Both Steve Carrell and Judd Aptatow became household names thanks to this raunchy, brutally honest tribute to sexual UNpromiscuity. We’re thankful they did.
65) Speed (1994)
News flash: Keanu Reeves was good in a movie. Not just good – really good! It may have been because his blank stupor was so fitting with the character, but he brilliantly led this supercharged action thriller to its “explosive” extreme. This is what happens when you take a simple (and somewhat silly) conceit and turn it into adrenalized poetry.
64) All the President’s Men (1976)
It came out only two years after Richard Nixon resigned as President, making it a timely political drama. But All the President’s Men has aged beautifully because it is such a keen reminder of what journalism once was, and should still be—a lengthy and meticulous investigative process. Timely, sure, but also timeless.
63) The Exorcist (1973)
When people call it the scariest movie of all time, they really mean the “creepiest.” You may not jump from your seat, but you’ll be unsettled for days, and the psychological trauma may be everlasting. Is that exorcism scene the greatest in horror movie history? It has our vote.
62) The Sound of Music (1965)
You can love it as a kid; you can love it as an adult. Most importantly, you can love it forever. The classic musical has everything—history, romance, suspense, and a female deer.
61) It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
The most classic Christmas movie that isn’t really a Christmas movie. Frank Capra’s soul-churning masterpiece is regarded as feel-good, and it is, but it’s also darkly harrowing in a way that often goes unnoticed. The movie is more grounded in reality than all the cliché jolliness might suggest, which makes It’s a Wonderful Life worthy of all its praise that has gained a bit of an overcooked reputation.