15 Must Watch Hollywood Movies
(Edit made on January 17th, 2016: In hindsight 12 Angry Men should have been in the Top 5. )
One question that I come across every now and then is, ‘Can you please suggest a good movie?’ I generally try to do justice to the person’s need. Because well, it is all about one’s taste. In this post I have tried to list down 15 Must Watch Hollywood Movies (initially it was supposed to be 10, but could not contain it).
I have tried my best to include the best, it was really difficult leaving out the ones I did, in fact a few were impossible to leave out, I have therefore mentioned a list of all the movies that I had considered and could not make it to the 15, at the end of the post. Hope I can do justice to the title of the post…however if you ask me the actual 15 must watch….well, it depends!
I have not seen all that is there to see and I am sure there are still some awesome movies out there that I am yet to watch. This list is therefore based on whatever I have come across so far.
Even though I have included the IMDB link’s and IMDB ratings for the movie, they list is not based on IMDB’s rankings!
[In Alphabetic Order]
Behind Enemy Lines 
Genre: Action, Thriller, Drama, War
IMDB Rating: 6.2/10
Synopsis: A Navy navigator is shot down over enemy territory and is ruthlessly pursued by a secret police enforcer and the opposing troops. Meanwhile his commanding officer goes against orders in an attempt to rescue him.
Director: John Moore
Star cast: Gene Hackman, Owen Wilson and Gabriel Macht
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0159273/
One of the best war movies ever. The entire star cast gives a power packed performance. It is a thrilling movie with a lot of Action & Emotion. Complete entertainment.
Eagle Eye 
Genre: Action, Thriller
IMDB Rating: 6.6/10
Synopsis: Jerry and Rachel are two strangers thrown together by a mysterious phone call from a woman they have never met. Threatening their lives and family, she pushes Jerry and Rachel into a series of increasingly dangerous situations, using the technology of everyday life to track and control their every move.
Director: D. J. Caruso
Star cast: Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan and Rosario Dawson
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1059786/
Shia La Beouf caught my attention with this movie, even though he had already done the first instalment of Transformers when this movie released, it took me this movie to really stand up and take notice of him. Great action and an awesome concept. Super Movie.
Fight Club 
Genre: Action, Thriller, Crime
IMDB Rating: 8.8/10
Synopsis: An office employee and a soap salesman build a global organization to help vent male aggression.
Director: David Fincher
Star cast: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0137523/
This movie plays with your mind. It is outstanding. It is a little gory but then hey…it is called ‘Fight Club’!! An outstanding star cast once again with the likes of Pitt, Norton & Helena. All three of them deliver scintillating performances. The movie deserves to be a cult and the story, screenplay, cinematography, direction are flawless. Brad Pitt as always is the Rockstar of this movie!
Forrest Gump 
Genre: Drama, Comedy
IMDB Rating: 8.7/10
Synopsis: Forrest Gump, while not intelligent, has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny, eludes him.
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Star cast: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright and Gary Sinise
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109830/
My theory is that if you are looking for a good movie and don’t know which one to chose and yet want to make sure that you don’t disappoint yourself, pick any movie which has Tom Hanks in it. The actor always delivers. I wanted make sure that I don’t end up picking all his movies in this list of Top 15 and it was really difficult picking up one, but I finally settled down for Forrest Gump. Forrest Gump is not just a movie, it is an experience, and it is the ultimate underdog movie even though it has never been positioned as an underdog movie. It revolves around the story of a man who seems mentally challenged and has like a thousand shortcomings but he never gives up and keeps trying until he succeeds. The story is inspiring and the role of Forrest Gump is extremely well essayed by Tom Hanks. It is funny, it is sad, it is emotional & it is also stupid but once you meet Forrest Gump, you will never be able to forget him.
Genre: Sci-fi, Action
IMDB Rating: 8.8/10
Synopsis: In a world where technology exists to enter the human mind through dream invasion, a highly skilled thief is given a final chance at redemption which involves executing his toughest job to date: Inception.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Star cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page & Tom Hardy
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1375666/
One of the most terrific movies till date. The movie has got layers after layers; literally…Leonardo does a fantastic job along with a special mention for Tom Hardy who as always is his brilliant self. However, it is Nolan that deserves all the accolades for making the movie what it is. The movie has a brilliant story, screenplay, cinematography and excellent direction by Nolan. The movie test the extent to which the human mind can go, it will force you to think and think hard. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t understand the movie at your first attempt.
Into The Wild 
Genre: Adventure, Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.2/10
Synopsis: After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life.
Director: Sean Penn
Star cast: Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn and Catherine Keener
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0758758/
The thing about this movie is that it is a really slow movie that needs to be savoured. It is not the kind of movie that you want to watch when you are all worked up and are looking for some entertainment. You want to watch this movie when you have a lot of time and are looking to relax. The movie is a journey and your mind needs to travel with it, so make sure you are ready to let go. A true adventurist will really love this movie for the others it is a great watch which forces us to think and do things that we wish to do but don’t end up doing due to the various pressures that we face in our day to day life.
The Dark Knight 
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Crime, Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.9/10
Synopsis: Batman, Gordon and Harvey Dent are forced to deal with the chaos unleashed by a terrorist mastermind known only as the Joker, as he drives each of them to their limits.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Star cast: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger & Aaron Eckhart
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0468569/
Watch this movie for ‘The Joker’. In one of his last performances the late Heath Ledger gives an unforgettable performance, a performance of a lifetime. He has immortalized ‘The Joker’. Heath Ledger was awarded a posthumous Oscar was his performance of ‘The Joker’. The movie debuted on #1 on IMDB when it released. Gotham has never been darker. Christian Bale reprises the role of Batman and does complete justice to the role. The movie is almost a classic now and a Must Watch.
The Holiday 
Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy
IMDB Rating: 6.8/10
Synopsis: Two women troubled with guy-problems swap homes in each other’s countries, where they each meet a local guy and fall in love.
Director: Nancy Meyers
Star cast: Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law & Jack Black
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0457939/
The Holiday is easily the best ‘feel good’ movie that I could come up with. The movie about two women exchanging their houses and living each other’s lives over a vacation indeed makes one feel like going for a Holiday. It makes one relive their best moments from their lives and that is how it created the ‘feel good’ that it does. The chemistry between Cameron Diaz & Jude Law is breathtaking, while Kate Winslet and Jack Black hold their own. The movie is not an out an out romantic movie but it is about life and how a Holiday can change things forever!
The Notebook 
Genre: Romance, Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.9/10
Synopsis: A poor and passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman and gives her a sense of freedom. They soon are separated by their social differences.
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Star cast: Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0332280/
The Notebook is easily the best romantic movie that I could come up with. Titanic may actually be the best but it is too cliché, so I went for The Notebook. There is however one main competitor for this movie which happens to be ‘A Walk to Remember’. Whenever either of the movies is discussed, the other is bound to be mentioned. I, however, feel that The Notebook beats A Walk to Remember hands down!! The Notebook is set in the older days which makes it beautiful, the sets, the costumes, the mannerisms are unparalleled, the invoke romance. The story of how the protagonists meet, fall in love, get drifted away from each other and how it pulls them back together…or does it??? The final scene of the movie may bring tears to your eyes, be prepared. If you wish to impress your girl with a really sweet romantic movie, this one is for you.
The Number 23 
Genre: Crime, Suspense, Thriller, Mystery
IMDB Rating: 6.2/10
Synopsis: Walter Sparrow becomes obsessed with a novel that he believes was written about him. As his obsession increases, more and more similarities seem to arise.
Director: Joel Schumacher
Star cast: Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen and Logan Lerman
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0481369/
‘Jim Carrey is a comedian.’ This statement is completely wronged by this movie. In The Number 23, Jim Carrey gives an outstanding performance in a really really serious role. This movie would fall into my Top 5 anyway. It is just too good. The movie is about a man’s obsession with the number 23. It is a dark movie with crime, guns & sex playing their roles to perfection. Jim Carrey will however blow your mind with this one.
The Prestige 
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Mystery
IMDB Rating: 8.4/10
Synopsis: The rivalry between two magicians is exacerbated when one of them performs the ultimate illusion.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Star cast: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0482571/
The fact that this is third Christopher Nolan movie in this list pretty much explains my obsession towards movies made by him, but trust me, I am not the one to be blamed, he is. Once you manage to watch all the movies on this list, you too will resonate my feelings. With ‘The Prestige’ Nolan, once again starts playing with the mind of the audience which he now seems to be a master of. The Prestige is a story of two magicians who are trying to outdo each other and are looking for ‘Real Magic’, will either of them find it or will Nolan once again leave it for you to interpret. The movie once again, like all a Nolan movies, is rich in content and has a number of layers to it. Each time you watch it, you like it more!
The Shawshank Redemption 
Genre: Drama, Crime, Thriller, Mystery
IMDB Rating: 9.2/10
Synopsis: Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.
Director: Frank Darabont
Star cast: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman and Bob Gunton
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111161/
The undisputed #1. Has been on IMDB #1 for as long as I can remember. Has been temporarily dislodged by a few movies from this very list but at the end of the day, it remains at the number one position. The movie is kind of slow and one may find it boring in a few places but trust me, that is the trick, you have to watch it till the end. I was told about this movie by a friend at a birthday party, I saw it the very next day and since then it has been my favorite, but trust me, you have to give the movie a chance, you have to watch it till the end to know why it is so highly rated. I am not spilling any beans on this one, it is for you to find out.
The Social Network 
Genre: Biography, Drama, Comedy
IMDB Rating: 8.0/10
Synopsis: Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking website that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.
Director: David Fincher
Star cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1285016/
I call movies like these semi-documentaries as they talk about an actual incident, but the entire thing is recreated in first person instead of a boring narration. There is only one other movie which comes remotely close to this one which interestingly happens to be about another landmark in the field of IT, Pirates Of Silicon Valley, which is the story of Bill Gates and Late Steve Jobs. The Social Network is, however, one of the smartest movies that i have seen in recent times. It tells the entire story of how Facebook was created and what legal problems it had to go through to reach where it is today but does it in a really witty manner. The movie has amazing dialogues and Jesse Eisenberg absolutely tears it apart in his role of Facebook CEO, Mark Zukerberg. This movie is a must watch for simply how smart & witty it is!
Vicky Cristina Barcelona 
Genre: Drama, Romance
IMDB Rating: 7.3/10
Synopsis: Two girlfriends on a summer holiday in Spain become enamoured with the same painter, unaware that his ex-wife, with whom he has a tempestuous relationship, is about to re-enter the picture.
Director: Woody Allen
Star cast: Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0497465/
Oh Woody Allen! Nothing seems wrong or out of place or socially unacceptable anymore after watching this movie. The movie is set in Spain which has its own charming effect on the audience along with a stellar cast of Javier Bardem, Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson & a guest appearance by Penélope Cruz. A holiday like never before. The movie seems to be on a tight rope walk but amazingly it manages to keep itself on it and steadily so throughout the movie. One of my favorite movies, a must watch.
Wall E 
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Family
IMDB Rating: 8.5/10
Synopsis: In the distant future, a small waste collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.
Director: Andrew Stanton
Star cast: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight and Jeff Garlin
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0910970/
The Oscar winning animation movie is easily one of the best Animation movies ever. The movie which is a love story between to robots, one which the humans are trying to phase out, ‘Wall E’ and another which is the next generation robots ‘Eva’ became so popular that there was a special petition in front of the Academy Awards Panel to include Animation movies in the Best Movie category. The petition, however, was not accepted and the movie won an Oscar for the best Animated Movie of 2008. The movie also reflects at the destructive ways of Humans and what it could lead the world to. The romance between the two robots though, specially Wall E, is so heart warming that you won’t be able to hold back your feelings for the it.
A Night At Roxbury 
Synopsis: Two dim-witted brothers dream of owning their own dance club or at least getting into the coolest and most exclusive club in town, The Roxbury.
Director: John Fortenberry
Star cast: Chris Kattan, Will Ferrell and Raquel Gardner
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120770/
A Night At Roxbury is easily one of the funniest movies one will come across. Will Farrell is his usual self and delivers a performance which will throw you of your seats. It is a no brainer but do not miss this one at any cost. An excellent movie to watch with a bunch of crazy friends.
The ones that just missed out!
[In Alphabetic Order]
12 Angry Men 
Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle 
Inglorious Basterds 
The Green Mile 
Music & Lyrics 
Never Back Down 
Pirates Of Silicon Valley 
Saving Private Ryan 
Shutter Island 
Speed Racer 
Step Up 2 – The Streets 
Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street 
The Exorcist 
The Girl Next Door 
The Hangover 
The Kite Runner 
The Matrix 
The Phantom of The Opera 
The Pursuit of Happyness 
The Truman Show 
Too Big to Fail 
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