17 Movies To Watch Every Year for a Lifetime of Joy

The Shawshank Redemption Movie (1994)

Movies have the power to transport us to different worlds, evoke emotions we never knew existed, and leave a lasting impact on our lives. While there are countless films out there to choose from, some movies are so good that they leave a lasting impression on us, and we find ourselves wanting to rewatch them time and time again.

From timeless classics like The Godfather and Casablanca to modern masterpieces like The Dark Knight and The Shawshank Redemption, these are the movies that will keep you glued to the screen, and make you never want to watch anything else.

1. The Avengers (2012)

Marvel's The Avengers Captain America Incredible Hulk Hawkeye Thor Iron Man Black Widow Chris Evans Jeremy Renner Scarlett Johansson Robert Downey Jr Chris Hemsworth Mark Ruffalo
Image Credit Marvel Studios.

Released in 2012, The Avengers is the type of flick you show someone who's never seen a comic book movie. With quippy humor, dynamic action and powerhouse performances from Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and more, it's something worth throwing on at any time. 

2. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

After being wrongly sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife and the man she was having an affair with, Andy Dufresne struggles to escape the day-to-day trauma of a prison cell. Through his supreme intelligence, a powerful friendship, and his ability to maintain his optimism, he finds flashes of hope. 

3. Scarface (1983)

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Scarface tells the story of Tony Montana, a Cuban immigrant who rises to power in the Miami drug scene. As he becomes more successful, his lust for power and money leads him down a path of destruction, ultimately leading to his downfall. Al Pacino's legendary performance as Tony Montana has made this movie a classic and a must-watch for any crime-drama fan.

4. Shrek (2001)

Image Credit: DreamWorks Pictures.

This hilarious and heartwarming animated movie about an ogre named Shrek who is forced to go on a quest to rescue a princess to save his swamp from being overrun by fairytale creatures is a 2000s favorite. Along the way, he meets a donkey named Donkey and falls in love with the princess, who has a surprising secret of her own.

5. We're the Millers (2013)

were the millers
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

We're the Millers is a raunchy comedy about a small-time drug dealer who enlists a stripper, a runaway, and a neighbor to pose as his family to smuggle a large amount of marijuana across the border from Mexico. Hilarity ensues as the fake family tries to avoid getting caught by the authorities and the drug cartel.

6. Final Destination (2000)

Final Destination
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

A group of high school students cheat death when one of them has a premonition about a deadly plane crash. However, they soon realize that death is coming for them one by one in a series of freak accidents in this horror thriller. The tension and suspense build as the characters try to outsmart death and escape their fate.

7. Rush Hour (1998)

Rush Hour
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

This action-comedy is about a Hong Kong detective, played by Jackie Chan, who comes to Los Angeles to help the FBI solve a kidnapping case. He is partnered with a wisecracking LAPD detective, played by Chris Tucker, and the two of them must overcome their cultural differences and personal quirks to solve the case and save the day.

8. The Mummy (1999)

Brendan Fraser The Mummy Returns 2001 Universal Pictures 2
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

The Mummy is an action-adventure movie that follows adventurer Rick O'Connell as he and a team of archaeologists uncover a cursed Egyptian tomb. As they unwittingly release a powerful mummy, they must race against time to stop him from unleashing his evil upon the world.

9. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The Nightmare Before Christmas
Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stop-motion animated movie about Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, who becomes bored with his annual holiday and decides to take over Christmas. The movie is a beautifully crafted blend of Halloween and Christmas themes, with unforgettable songs and characters.

10. Coraline (2009)

Image Credit: Focus Features

Coraline is a dark fantasy movie about a young girl who discovers a secret door in her new home that leads to an alternate universe where her “Other Mother” and “Other Father” seem perfect. However, she soon discovers that the “Other World” is not what it seems and must fight to escape its clutches.

11. Superbad (2007)

Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Superbad is a raunchy coming-of-age comedy about two high school seniors, played by Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, who are desperate to attend a party and lose their virginity before they graduate. Along the way, they encounter hilarious and awkward situations that make for a memorable night.

12. Inglorious Basterds (2009)

Inglourious Basterds
Image Credit: The Weinstein Company.

Inglorious Basterds is a World War II action thriller about a group of Jewish-American soldiers tasked with taking out as many Nazis as possible. The movie is full of Tarantino's trademark style and features memorable performances by Brad Pitt and Christoph Waltz.

13. Beetlejuice (1988)

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Beetlejuice is a dark comedy about a recently deceased couple who hire a “bio-exorcist” named Beetlejuice to scare away the new living residents of their home. However, things quickly spiral out of control as Beetlejuice proves to be more trouble than he's worth.

14. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

Home Alone 2 Lost in New York
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is the beloved sequel to the classic Home Alone movie. Kevin McCallister finds himself separated from his family once again, this time in New York City. He must once again use his wits and resourcefulness to outsmart a pair of bumbling burglars and protect his home away from home. The movie is full of heartwarming moments and slapstick humor that make it a holiday favorite.

15. The Sound of Music (1965)

the sound of music
Image Credit: 20th Century Studios.

The Sound of Music is a musical that has touched many for generations. When a nun, who is a bit of a free spirit, is sent to be the governess to a retired naval captain and his seven children. For many, this story is a story of love and resilience, and it's worth watching every single year.

16. Christmas Story (1983)

A Christmas Story
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

A lot of families watch an endless loop of A Christmas Story on Christmas every year! It's a tradition for many families, about a family very similar to their own, set back in the 1940s.

17. The Lion King (1994)

The Lion King
Image Credit: Disney Enterprises, Inc.

The Lion King is one of the most beloved Walt Disney movies and many adults find themselves rewatching the animated classic every year. Simba knows he'll be king of the pride one day, but he decides to run away after experiencing something heartbreaking.

Author: Jaimee Marshall

Title: Freelance Writer

Expertise: Politics, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Pop Culture


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.