We're all familiar with classics like Citizen Kane and Psycho. If you haven't seen them, you've at least heard of them and are familiar with the impact they've had on cinema.
A curious moviegoer took to a film forum to speculate about what recent films cinephiles think will become classics 50 years from now. These films were considered the top contenders.
1. Parasite (2019)
The Korean groundbreaking masterpiece, Parasite, captivated audiences worldwide with its searing social commentary and impeccable storytelling. The film follows the impoverished Kim family as they infiltrate the affluent Park household, blurring the lines between satire, thriller, and dark comedy.
As the first ever foreign language film to win an Oscar for Best Picture, this film turned heads and has been a trailblazer in filmmaking. With an 8.5 rating, it is the 35th-highest-rated film on IMDb.
2. No Country For Old Men (2017)
Directed by the Coen brothers, No Country for Old Men is a gripping and atmospheric neo-Western that entwines fate, morality, and violence. Set in Texas, the film follows the unfolding chaos triggered by the discovery of a drug deal gone wrong.
As a relentless hitman named Anton Chigurh relentlessly pursues a hunter who stumbles upon the money, the lines between good and evil blur, resulting in a haunting exploration of the human psyche.
Its masterful direction, sparse dialogue, and Javier Bardem's unforgettable portrayal of Chigurh cement its status as a modern classic.
3. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
With its memorable characters, sharp dialogue, and unapologetic approach to rewriting history, Inglourious Basterds is destined to be celebrated for its audacity and craftsmanship. Quentin Tarantino's audacious and revisionist World War II epic, Inglourious Basterds, takes audiences on a thrilling and unpredictable journey.
Set in German-occupied France, the film follows a group of Jewish-American soldiers, known as the Basterds, on a mission to assassinate high-ranking Nazis. Blending historical fiction with Tarantino's signature dialogue and subversive style, the film weaves together multiple storylines that culminate in a tension-filled climax.
4. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Wes Anderson's whimsical and visually stunning The Grand Budapest Hotel transports audiences to a bygone era of charm and elegance. Set in the fictional European republic of Zubrowka, the film recounts the adventures of legendary concierge Gustave H. and his loyal protégé Zero Moustafa.
Amidst a backdrop of political upheaval and dark humor, the story unfolds as they become embroiled in a captivating tale of art theft, murder, and romance. With its meticulously crafted sets, Anderson's signature symmetrical compositions, and a stellar ensemble cast, this film is a cinematic marvel that will be cherished for its artistry and quirky storytelling.
5. Interstellar (2014)
Interstellar is a visually breathtaking and intellectually ambitious science fiction epic directed by the ever-daring Christopher Nolan. Set in a future where Earth faces an impending environmental catastrophe, the film follows a group of astronauts who embark on a perilous interstellar journey to find a habitable planet for humanity.
Nolan's ability to blend mind-bending concepts of space and time with emotional depth creates a deeply moving viewing experience. With its awe-inspiring visuals, thought-provoking narrative, and Hans Zimmer's haunting score, the film offers a transcendent cinematic experience that will endure as a landmark in the genre.
6. Inception (2010)
Another Nolan-directed mind-bending thriller, Inception, takes audiences on a gripping exploration of dreams and the power of the human mind. Set in a world where skilled thieves can enter people's dreams to extract information, the film follows a master thief named Dom Cobb as he attempts an audacious task: planting an idea in someone's subconscious.
With its intricate layers of reality, breathtaking action sequences, and complex narrative structure, Inception immerses viewers in a realm where perception and reality intertwine.
As audiences grapple with the film's philosophical questions about the nature of dreams and the power of the mind, Inception cements its place as a cinematic tour de force that will continue to captivate and challenge viewers for decades to come.
7. Black Swan (2010)
Darren Aronofsky's psychological thriller, Black Swan, explores the dark recesses of obsession, perfection, and the pursuit of artistic excellence. The film follows Nina, a talented ballerina, as she secures the lead role in Tchaikovsky's “Swan Lake” and descends into a haunting psychological transformation.
Blurring the boundaries between reality and hallucination, Black Swan is an immersive exploration of the sacrifices artists make for their craft. With Portman's mesmerizing performance, which earned her an Oscar, coupled with Aronofsky's masterful direction and the film's atmospheric tension, it's one of the best films ever made about artistic sacrifice and obsession.
8. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
With Leonardo DiCaprio's magnetic performance, Scorsese's kinetic direction, and a sharp screenplay, The Wolf of Wall Street offers a scathing critique of Wall Street culture and leaves an indelible mark as a darkly comedic cautionary tale. Directed by Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street presents a raucous and unflinching portrayal of greed, excess, and the pursuit of the American Dream.
Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, the film follows his rise and fall as a corrupt stockbroker in the 1990s. Through relentless debauchery, wild parties, and financial manipulation, Belfort's world spirals out of control.
9. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019)
Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood serves as a love letter to the golden age of Hollywood while offering a poignant exploration of nostalgia and the ever-changing nature of the industry. Set in 1969 Los Angeles, the film intertwines the lives of struggling actor Rick Dalton and his loyal stunt double Cliff Booth as they navigate a rapidly evolving film industry and the infamous Manson Family murders.
10. The Dark Knight (2008)
The Dark Knight redefined the superhero genre, pushing the boundaries of storytelling and character development. The film follows Batman as he confronts his greatest nemesis, the Joker, in a battle of morality and chaos.
With its gritty realism, morally complex themes, and Heath Ledger's legendary portrayal of the Joker, this film transcends the confines of a typical comic book adaptation and is considered one of the best films ever made. There's no doubt this will be considered a classic in 50 years.
11. Jojo Rabbit (2019)
Taika Waititi's audacious satire, Jojo Rabbit, offers a unique and poignant perspective on World War II through the eyes of a young German boy named Jojo. Imaginary friend Adolf Hitler accompanies Jojo on his journey as he confronts his own biases and discovers the power of love and compassion.
Blending humor and heartbreak, the film navigates the delicate balance between comedy and tragedy, challenging viewers to confront history's darkest chapters with empathy and understanding.
Waititi's bold directorial choices, heartfelt performances, and a screenplay that balances humor and poignant moments make Jojo Rabbit a daring and thought-provoking film that is ahead of its time artistically.
12. Titanic (1997)
James Cameron's epic romance-disaster film, Titanic, weaves a timeless tale of love and tragedy against the backdrop of the ill-fated RMS Titanic. The film follows the journey of Jack, a free-spirited artist, and Rose, a young aristocrat, as they fall in love aboard the ship's maiden voyage.
Their passionate romance is tested when the Titanic strikes an iceberg, leading to one of the most iconic and heartbreaking endings in cinematic history. Titanic has captured cinema's heart for the past nearly thirty years, so it already has a good track record of holding up over time.
13. Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022)
Everything Everywhere All At Once is a brilliant meta-modern film directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinart. In a world torn apart by an interdimensional rupture, a reluctant hero discovers she possesses extraordinary abilities. With the world's fate at stake, she must confront the bewildering dangers and bizarre creatures that emerge from the multiverse.
As she embraces her newfound powers, she becomes the last hope in the battle to restore order and save humanity from impending chaos.
The film brilliantly capitalizes on the metaverse trope in the most inventive, creative interpretation yet and manages to deliver a poignant philosophical antidote to the nihilism of postmodern films — finding meaning in a universe where nothing matters.
14. The Lighthouse (2019)
Robert Eggers' atmospheric psychological horror film, The Lighthouse, immerses viewers in a descent into madness and isolation. Set in the late 19th century, the film follows two lighthouse keepers, played by Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, who struggle with their sanity as they contend with supernatural forces and deteriorating mental states.
With its black-and-white cinematography, gripping performances, and hauntingly surreal atmosphere, the unsettling journey of The Lighthouse has pushed the boundaries of psychological horror and already become a modern horror cult classic among highly coveted A24 films.
15. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 serves as both a worthy sequel to Ridley Scott's 1982 classic and a standalone sci-fi masterpiece. Set in a dystopian future, the film follows Officer K, a replicant blade runner, as he uncovers a secret that could disrupt the fragile balance between humans and replicants.
With stunning visuals, a mesmerizing score, and Ryan Gosling's introspective performance, it's a mesmerizing and thought-provoking meditation on the nature of consciousness.
16. Hereditary (2018)
Ari Aster's directorial debut, Hereditary, is a chilling exploration of grief and inherited trauma. The film follows the Graham family as they unravel the dark secrets lurking within their ancestry, leading to horrifying events that test the limits of their sanity.
With its atmospheric tension, stellar performances, and an unflinching examination of the human psyche, Hereditary establishes Aster as a master of modern horror, delivering a haunting and deeply unsettling experience that viewers are dying to forget but can't look away.
Don't lose your head; if you can make it through this brutal, disturbing onslaught of suffering, you can make it through anything.
17. Dune (2021)
In this film adaptation of the famous book, part one of Dune wowed audiences with its futuristic visuals that stayed true to the book's source material. Sci-fi fans are already regarding it as a classic in the making, especially with its stunning world-building. When Paul Atreides and his family assume control of the treacherous planet Arrakis, they face a web of deceit and power struggles.
As factions vie for control over the valuable resource known as melange, Paul finds himself entangled in a dangerous battle for supremacy. Betrayal and chaos unfold, testing his leadership and forcing him to navigate a treacherous path to protect his family and secure the future of Arrakis.
18. Whiplash (2014)
Damien Chazelle's gripping drama, Whiplash, delves into the obsessive pursuit of greatness and the price of artistic excellence. The film follows Andrew Neiman, an ambitious young jazz drummer, and his tumultuous relationship with his demanding and ruthless music teacher, Terence Fletcher. As Andrew strives for perfection, he is pushed to his physical and emotional limits in a relentless quest for greatness.
This film captivates audiences with its electrifying performances, intense musical sequences, and gripping narrative that explores themes of ambition, sacrifice, and the blurred line between mentorship and abuse. The film's final payoff with the drumming sequence is what solidifies it as a classic in the making for me.
19. Gattaca (1997)
Andrew Niccol's underrated futuristic science fiction film, Gattaca, presents a dystopian society where genetic manipulation determines one's destiny. The story revolves around Vincent Freeman, a genetically “inferior” man who dreams of joining an elite space program. In a world governed by genetic discrimination, Vincent assumes the identity of a genetically superior individual to fulfill his aspirations.
Gattaca is a prescient exploration of the potential pitfalls of a genetically determined future and will only
20. Top Gun: Maverick (2022)
Having served as a distinguished Navy aviator for over three decades, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell thrives in the role of a daring test pilot, defying limitations and avoiding promotions that would confine him. Tasked with training a group of young graduates for an important mission, Maverick is compelled to confront the haunting memories of his past and confront his deepest apprehensions.
As the stakes escalate, he finds himself on a mission where courage and sacrifice become paramount, pushing those who take to the skies to make the ultimate choice.
This ambitious sequel that came out nearly forty years after the first film exceeded expectations and wildly outpaced the original, earning a much higher rating on IMDb and an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
21. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (2018)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, revolutionizes the superhero genre with its inventive animation and heartfelt storytelling, which earned it an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film.
The film introduces Miles Morales, a young teenager who becomes the new Spider-Man and discovers a multiverse of alternate Spider-People. With its stunning visuals, diverse cast of characters, and richly layered narrative, this film embraces the core essence of Spider-Man while pushing the boundaries of what a superhero (and animated) film can be.
22. Arrival (2016)
Denis Villeneuve's thought-provoking science fiction film, Arrival delves into the complexities of language, time, and human connection. When mysterious extraterrestrial spacecraft land on Earth, linguist Louise Banks is recruited to decipher their language and understand their intentions.
As Louise delves deeper into the enigmatic alien language, she unravels the profound implications it holds for humanity.
23. Uncut Gems (2019)
Benny and Josh Safdie's relentless thriller, Uncut Gems, takes viewers on a high-stakes journey through the underbelly of New York City's diamond district. The film follows Howard Ratner, a charismatic and compulsive jewelry store owner, as he navigates a series of risky bets and increasingly dangerous situations in pursuit of a big win.
Adam Sandler delivers a career-defining performance as Ratner, capturing his frenetic energy and desperation in the face of mounting pressures. With its frenetic pacing, immersive cinematography, and a pulsating score, Uncut Gems feels like a heart attack inducing an adrenaline rush from start to finish.
24. The Banshees of Inisherin (2022)
Set on a secluded island near Ireland, Pádraic experiences profound heartbreak when his close friend Colm abruptly terminates their lifelong bond. Determined to mend their fractured relationship, Pádraic enlists the aid of his sister and a troubled island resident. Together, they embark on a relentless quest to reconcile with Colm, employing every possible means.
However, as Colm's determination intensifies, he presents an ultimatum that leads to unforeseen and astonishing outcomes. This was by far the most profound hidden gem of 2022. Martin McDonagh, known for his biting dark comedies, has outdone himself with this 20th-century Shakespearean tragedy. It's moving, hilarious, sad, thought-provoking, and beautiful. It's a shame it didn't win Best Picture.
25. La La Land (2016)
Damien Chazelle's enchanting musical, La La Land, pays homage to the golden age of Hollywood while capturing the dreams, aspirations, and heartaches of two aspiring artists in Los Angeles.
The film follows Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a jazz pianist, as they navigate their careers and a complicated romantic relationship.
With its dazzling musical numbers, vibrant visuals, and captivating performances by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, La La Land immerses audiences in a world of nostalgia, passion, and the pursuit of artistic fulfillment.
Jaimee Marshall is a culture writer, avid movie buff, and political junkie. She spends the bulk of her time watching and critiquing films, writing political op-eds, and dabbling in philosophy. She has a Communication Studies degree from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where she flirted with several different majors before deciding to pursue writing. As a result, she has a diverse educational background, having studied economics, political science, psychology, business admin, rhetoric, and debate.
At Wealth of Geeks, Jaimee places an emphasis on film and television analysis, ranking the best [and worst] in media so you can find more diamonds in the rough and waste less time on box-office duds. You can find her articles on politics and culture in Evie Magazine, Katie Couric Media, Lotus Eaters, and Her Campus. You can also find her find her episode of Popcorned Planet, where she analyzes the Johnny Depp & Amber Heard trial. She has written extensively about due process, free speech, and pop culture.