Hollywood has long been a staple in our homes and on the big screen with thousands of films in various genres. They excite us, torment us, thrill us and relax us. Most people love films for one reason or another and they serve as one of the most popular forms of entertainment the world over.
Therefore, it’s only natural that we come up with our own list of the top 30 Movies Every Gentleman Must See. Focusing on films that matter to men, this is my personal list of some of my favorite films and your’s might look different. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Also, take a look at my list of 30 books you should read.
The quintessential gangster flick, this movie has become the encyclopedia of how to be a man. The Godfather is the I-ching. The sum of all wisdom. It is, in effect, a movie that teaches men how to be men. The way Ferris Bueller taught you how to skip school, the Godfather gives you the answer to any questions. What should I take on vacation? “Leave the gun, take the cannoli”. If you haven’t seen it, watch it.
The Shawshank Redemption
Brilliant and well acted, this film focuses on a prominent banker who becomes unjustly convicted of murder and spends many years in the Shawshank prison. The movie focuses on the frightening realities of prison life and offers some unique twists and turns that makes this movie an edge of your seat, nail biting experience. It doesn’t hurt that it stars an all-star cast including Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins at the helm. Watch it here.
This movie has long held a spot in my top five favorite films of all time. Christian Bale stars as in this elegant thriller as a young, wealthy investment bank executive who feverishly works to hide his psychopathic alter-ego from his colleagues and friends as he escalates deeper into his deeply psychotic behavior. Check it out here.
Often cited as the greatest movie ever made, Citizen Kane is also one of my favorite films of all time. This classic from 1941 stars Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten in a realistic portrayal of the news reporters of the forties who scramble to unearth the meaning behind the final words of a publishing tycoon. It is one of the most brilliant and well produced films ever made and absolutely deserves a spot on your DVD rack. Don’t miss out and watch it here.
When you pair Martin Scorsese and Robert Di Niro together you get results that are worthy of awards. Raging Bull follows the life of an emotionally self-destructive boxer as his violence and temper take him to the top in the ring but destroy his life outside it. A must watch! Get it here.
A Hitchcock classic, this horror film focuses on the life of a young secretary who steals $40,000 from the client of her employer. As she runs from the law, she checks into a remote motel run by a psychotic young man under the domination of his mother. It defines the word “creepy” and stars Anthony Perkins in what can only be described as an eerily poignant performance that’s so realistic it will disturb you to your core. See it here.
1958 was a good year for Alfred Hitchcock and actor James Stewart who starred in this portrayal of a retired San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia. As he investigates the unusual activities of an old friend’s wife, he becomes more and more obsessed with her. Watch it here.
The Silence of the Lambs
Starring Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter and Jodie Foster as Agent Clarice Starling, this disturbingly chilling film focuses on the life of a young FBI cadet who is tasked with interviewing a manipulative and brilliant psychopath in an effort to catch another serial killer who skins his victims. Foster’s portrayal of Starling is incredible but it’s Hopkins who shines as the sinister Dr. Lecter giving you chills throughout this remarkably well acted film. If you haven’t seen it, watch it here.
Al Pacino has a way of starring as a brutal gangster that makes you wonder whether he was one in a past life. The year is 1980 and Pacino stars as a young, greedy immigrant from Cuba who, over the course of many years, becomes one of the most feared drug cartel leaders in Miami. Get a copy here.
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Arguably, the best film in the franchise, this particular installation focuses on the young Indiana Jones who is hired by the US government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis have a chance to get their hands on it. An edge of your seat adventure, the film catapulted the franchise into popularity leading to Disney theme park rides and shows, an entire series of film and is today, one of the most popular and well received film series ever made. Check it out here.
Anyone who says Sylvester Stallone is a B-list actor obviously hasn’t seen Rocky. In the first of this series, Stallone portrays Rocky Balboa, a small-time boxer who is given the rare opportunity to fight the heavy-weight champion, Apollo Creed. Knowing his is the underdog, Rocky goes the distance in his gritty film that shows one mans desire for respect. If you want to watch it, check it here.
In this Steven Spielberg classic, a small island community is ravaged by a menacing great white shark. Roy Schneider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss star in this nail biting thriller focusing on a police chief, a marine scientist and rough-and-tumble fisherman who set out to hunt the shark and save the lives of the the people in this small summer town. A classic you need to see, watch it here.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
A Clint Eastwood classic, the film portrays two men in an uncomfortable alliance against a competitor in a race to find gold that’s buried in a remote cemetery. The ultimate “guy’s guy” movie, it has gone down as a classic that every man needs to watch. Check here to watch now.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Paul Newman and Robert Redford are two Hollywood legends that, when paired together create something sublimely perfect. This film focuses on two Western bank/train robbers who flee to Bolivia when the law gets too close. If you have not seen it, watch it here.
Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci star as three friends working through the hierarchy of the Italian Mafia in an attempt to get to the top. In one of my favorite mobster movies, it focuses on a small-time gangster named Henry Hill who takes part in a robbery with Jimmy Conway and Tommy De Vito who kill off everyone else involved in the crime. As they begin to climb the ladder of the mob, Henry must make the decision whether to help arrange the downfall of Jimmy and Tommy, or whether to keep quiet and stay safe. Note the lawyer at the end is Ed Hayes. If you want to see it, watch it here.
My favorite horror movie of all time, and often called the scariest movie ever made, The Exorcist is the story of a mother who seeks the help of two priests in an effort to rid her young daughter who is seemingly possessed by the devil. It’s well acted, creepy beyond comprehension and is sure to be a go-to every Halloween as it is in my home. Get it here.
The Quentin Tarantino classic, this film stars John Travolta, Uma Thurman and Samuel L Jackson. The film focuses on the lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster’s wife and a pair of diner bandits whose lives intertwine in four separate stories about violence and redemption. Don’t let it pass and watch it here.
Another Robert Di Niro and Martin Scorsese partnership, this is the story of a mentally unstable veteran who makes his living as a taxi driver in the heart of New York City. As he witnesses the sleaze of the city at night, it fuels his desire for violent action in a deranged attempt to save a preadolescent prostitute he feels responsible for. Check it out here.
North by Northwest
Star Wars Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
There’s a reason that the Star Wars treasury is so popular and films like The Empire Strikes Back are ones that make it deserving of your praise. My favorite Star Wars film, this entity focuses on Luke Skywalker as he advances in his Jedi training with Master Yoda as his friends are pursued by Darth Vader after the rebels have been brutally overpowered by the Empire on their newly established base. This film is probably the most famous of all the Star Wars films and really documents everything that is favorable in the series. If you haven’t yet seen the Star Wars movies this is a great one to start with, despite it not being the first. Don’t wait and watch it here.
Stanley Kubrick takes this Stephen King classic to new heights of creepiness as a family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter. The hotel has an evil and spiritual presence that influences violence in the father as his psychic son sees horrific visions from the past and into the future. It is bar-none, one of the greatest horror movies ever made and certainly worthy of your praise. You can watch it now, check this.
Full Metal Jacket
Another Stanley Kubrick masterpiece, there aren’t many films that start off so brutally heated. The film follows the bootcamp training and career of a young, pragmatic Marine who observes the dehumanizing effect of the Vietnam War. Have you seen it? Check it here.
No list of movies for men is complete without the addition of the first Die Hard movie. A Christmas classic for the guy’s guy, the film follows the very unlucky NYPD officer John McClane, who tries to save his wife and her colleagues who have been taken hostage by terrorists during their work Christmas party in Los Angeles. If you want to watch it, grab a copy here.
Another of my top five favorite movies of all time, this film follows the life of a young and impatient stock broker willing to do anything for wealth. When he is given the account of a ruthlessly greedy baron, he begins illegal trading under the arm of the corporate raider who takes the young broker under his wing. Watch it here.
12 Angry Men
Starring Henry Fonda, this classic courtroom drama focuses on a challenging juror who slowly convinces the others that the murder case isn’t as clear as it seems. Brilliantly acted and well produced, this film should be one that you see. Check it out here.
One of my favorite cop movies ever made, Clint Eastwood portrays the gritty San Francisco cop Harry Callahan who is tracking a crazed psychopath called ‘the Scorpio Killer’ through the city as he kills citizen after citizen in a game of cat and mouse with the men in blue responsible for protecting them. If you want a copy, get it here.
Arguably the best James Bond movie ever made, Dr. No follows Sean Connery as he plays 007 in an attempt to find answers on a missing colleague’s disappearance and the disruption of the American space program. If you’re going to watch one Bond movie, I urge you to make it this one. There is a reason it’s made this list of the top thirty movies of all time. No need to look further, you can watch it here.
Steve McQueen, one of the greatest action stars to grace the screen, plays an all-guts, no glory San Francisco cop hellbent on finding the kingpin that killed the witness under his protection. The is the quintessential action movie. Watch it. You can get a copy here.
Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty star as three friends intent on paddling the Cahulawassee River before it’s turned into a manmade lake. Outdoorsman Lewis Medlock takes his friends on what is supposed to be a river-rafting trip of a lifetime but turns into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with inbred hillbillies in the deep American backcountry. If you want a copy, get it here.
The Godfather Part II
Most sequels don’t compare to their originals but many critics agree The Godfather Part II even out-shined the first. Al Pacino, Robert Di Niro and Robert Duvall star in this 1920s story of mob boss Vito Corleone as his son Michael tightens the family’s grip on the mob scene from Lake Tahoe to pre-revolution Cuba. If you want to see this movie, get it here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the top films ever made. Of course, what makes a movie great isn’t something that we don’t all agree on and therefore this list isn’t intended as the end-all and be-all guide to great cinematography. Instead, we hope it helps introduce you to some films you perhaps haven’t seen. We’ve covered a wide range of genres from action to horror and we hope you find at least one or two that you’ll enjoy as much as I did.