50 Must-See Movies of The Past Two Decades (COMPLETE)

by Huump | created - 28 Sep 2011 | updated - 11 Nov 2011 | Public

This is a list of fifty movies from the past two decades that in my opinion are must-see films. FINAL LIST.

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1. Scream (1996)

R | 111 min | Horror, Mystery

65 Metascore

A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich

Votes: 268,535 | Gross: $103.05M

An original Wes Craven slasher.

2. A Murder of Crows (1998)

R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

A disbarred lawyer takes credit for a late friend's book, which becomes a smash hit but the tables turn on him sooner than he suspected.

Director: Rowdy Herrington | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Tom Berenger, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Eric Stoltz

Votes: 7,185

3. Black Dynamite (2009)

R | 84 min | Action, Comedy

65 Metascore

Black Dynamite is the greatest African-American action star of the 1970s. When his only brother is killed by The Man, it's up to him to find justice.

Director: Scott Sanders | Stars: Michael Jai White, Arsenio Hall, Tommy Davidson, Phyllis Applegate

Votes: 43,774 | Gross: $0.23M

4. Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (2003)

R | 105 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

69 Metascore

When the head of a statue sacred to a village is stolen, a young martial artist goes to the big city and finds himself taking on the underworld to retrieve it.

Director: Prachya Pinkaew | Stars: Tony Jaa, Petchtai Wongkamlao, Pumwaree Yodkamol, Suchao Pongwilai

Votes: 68,434 | Gross: $4.56M

5. Black Swan (2010)

R | 108 min | Drama, Thriller

79 Metascore

A committed dancer struggles to maintain her sanity after winning the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake".

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder

Votes: 662,058 | Gross: $106.95M

6. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

R | 118 min | Drama, Fantasy, War

98 Metascore

In the Falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.

Director: Guillermo del Toro | Stars: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú

Votes: 583,990 | Gross: $37.63M

7. The Da Vinci Code (2006)

PG-13 | 149 min | Mystery, Thriller

46 Metascore

A murder inside the Louvre, and clues in Da Vinci paintings, lead to the discovery of a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years, which could shake the foundations of Christianity.

Director: Ron Howard | Stars: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno, Ian McKellen

Votes: 379,203 | Gross: $217.54M

8. 300 (2006)

R | 117 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy

52 Metascore

King Leonidas of Sparta and a force of 300 men fight the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C.

Director: Zack Snyder | Stars: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West

Votes: 702,922 | Gross: $210.61M

9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

PG | 152 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

64 Metascore

An orphaned boy enrolls in a school of wizardry, where he learns the truth about himself, his family and the terrible evil that haunts the magical world.

Director: Chris Columbus | Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith

Votes: 584,878 | Gross: $317.58M

10. Running Scared (2006)

R | 122 min | Action, Crime, Drama

41 Metascore

A low-ranking thug is entrusted by his crime boss to dispose of a gun that killed corrupt cops, but things get out of control when the gun ends up in wrong hands.

Director: Wayne Kramer | Stars: Paul Walker, Cameron Bright, Chazz Palminteri, Vera Farmiga

Votes: 94,809 | Gross: $6.86M

11. Minority Report (2002)

PG-13 | 145 min | Action, Crime, Mystery

80 Metascore

In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Max von Sydow

Votes: 478,800 | Gross: $132.07M

12. The Departed (2006)

R | 151 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg

Votes: 1,104,378 | Gross: $132.38M

13. The Matrix (1999)

R | 136 min | Action, Sci-Fi

73 Metascore

A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving

Votes: 1,554,836 | Gross: $171.48M

14. Sin City (2005)

R | 124 min | Crime, Thriller

74 Metascore

A film that explores the dark and miserable town, Basin City, and tells the story of three different people, all caught up in violent corruption.

Directors: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba

Votes: 721,778 | Gross: $74.10M

15. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)

PG-13 | 140 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

68 Metascore

Three years into the Clone Wars, the Jedi rescue Palpatine from Count Dooku. As Obi-Wan pursues a new threat, Anakin acts as a double agent between the Jedi Council and Palpatine and is lured into a sinister plan to rule the galaxy.

Director: George Lucas | Stars: Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Samuel L. Jackson

Votes: 655,579 | Gross: $380.26M

The final chapter of the Star Wars prequels.

16. Face/Off (1997)

R | 138 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

82 Metascore

In order to foil a terrorist plot, an FBI agent undergoes a facial transplant surgery and assumes the identity and physical appearance of a terrorist, but the plan turns from bad to worse when the same terrorist impersonates the FBI agent.

Director: John Woo | Stars: John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Joan Allen, Alessandro Nivola

Votes: 332,279 | Gross: $112.23M

17. The Crow (1994)

R | 102 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy

71 Metascore

A man brutally murdered comes back to life as an undead avenger of his and his fiancée's murder.

Director: Alex Proyas | Stars: Brandon Lee, Michael Wincott, Rochelle Davis, Ernie Hudson

Votes: 158,252 | Gross: $50.69M

18. Mobsters (1991)

R | 104 min | Crime, Drama

From start to finish, it's a story of friendship between 4 street-wise males who don't mind using violence to achieve the lives that they want. They trust no one but each other which is vital to their success as mobsters.

Director: Michael Karbelnikoff | Stars: Christian Slater, Patrick Dempsey, Rodney Eastman, Costas Mandylor

Votes: 7,934 | Gross: $20.25M

The tale of "Lucky" Luciano and his rise to power as a mobster.

19. Inception (2010)

PG-13 | 148 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

74 Metascore

A thief who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a C.E.O.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe

Votes: 1,893,504 | Gross: $292.58M

20. Shutter Island (2010)

R | 138 min | Mystery, Thriller

63 Metascore

In 1954, a U.S. Marshal investigates the disappearance of a murderer who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley

Votes: 1,036,665 | Gross: $128.01M

21. Boyz n the Hood (1991)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

Follows the lives of three young males living in the Crenshaw ghetto of Los Angeles, dissecting questions of race, relationships, violence and future prospects.

Director: John Singleton | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Hudhail Al-Amir, Lloyd Avery II

Votes: 115,247 | Gross: $57.50M

22. American History X (1998)

R | 119 min | Drama

62 Metascore

A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did.

Director: Tony Kaye | Stars: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly D'Angelo, Jennifer Lien

Votes: 974,124 | Gross: $6.72M

23. Sleepy Hollow (1999)

R | 105 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

65 Metascore

Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the decapitations of three people, with the culprit being the legendary apparition, The Headless Horseman.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon

Votes: 311,969 | Gross: $101.07M

24. The Devil's Advocate (1997)

R | 144 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

60 Metascore

An exceptionally adept Florida lawyer is offered a job at a high-end New York City law firm with a high-end boss - the biggest opportunity of his career to date.

Director: Taylor Hackford | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron, Jeffrey Jones

Votes: 308,525 | Gross: $60.98M

25. The Prestige (2006)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

66 Metascore

After a tragic accident, two stage magicians engage in a battle to create the ultimate illusion while sacrificing everything they have to outwit each other.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine

Votes: 1,095,556 | Gross: $53.09M

Ex-partners (magicians) become rivals after the death of their third, who was also one magicians lover.

26. Pulp Fiction (1994)

R | 154 min | Crime, Drama

94 Metascore

The lives of two mob hitmen, a boxer, a gangster and his wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis

Votes: 1,695,672 | Gross: $107.93M

27. District 9 (2009)

R | 112 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

81 Metascore

Violence ensues after an extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth finds a kindred spirit in a government agent exposed to their biotechnology.

Director: Neill Blomkamp | Stars: Sharlto Copley, David James, Jason Cope, Nathalie Boltt

Votes: 613,435 | Gross: $115.65M

Can aliens and humans coexist on the same planet??...

28. Saw (2004)

R | 103 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

46 Metascore

Two strangers, who awaken in a room with no recollection of how they got there, soon discover they're pawns in a deadly game perpetrated by a notorious serial killer.

Director: James Wan | Stars: Cary Elwes, Leigh Whannell, Danny Glover, Ken Leung

Votes: 359,184 | Gross: $56.00M

29. Law Abiding Citizen (2009)

R | 109 min | Action, Crime, Drama

34 Metascore

A frustrated man decides to take justice into his own hands after a plea bargain sets one of his family's killers free.

Director: F. Gary Gray | Stars: Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx, Leslie Bibb, Colm Meaney

Votes: 257,794 | Gross: $73.34M

30. Brothers (I) (2009)

R | 105 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

58 Metascore

A young man comforts his older brother's wife and children after he goes missing in Afghanistan.

Director: Jim Sheridan | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Tobey Maguire, Sam Shepard

Votes: 105,174 | Gross: $28.50M

The story of a soldiers worst nightmare...

31. The Social Network (2010)

PG-13 | 120 min | Biography, Drama

95 Metascore

As Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, he is sued by the twins who claimed he stole their idea, and by the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Rooney Mara

Votes: 580,073 | Gross: $96.96M

The story of it's creators and the origin of the social network, FaceBook.

32. Super 8 (2011)

PG-13 | 112 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

72 Metascore

During the summer of 1979, a group of friends witness a train crash and investigate subsequent unexplained events in their small town.

Director: J.J. Abrams | Stars: Elle Fanning, AJ Michalka, Kyle Chandler, Joel Courtney

Votes: 324,216 | Gross: $127.00M

33. RED (2010)

PG-13 | 111 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

60 Metascore

When his peaceful life is threatened by a high-tech assassin, former black-ops Agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) reassembles his old team in a last ditch effort to survive and uncover his assailants.

Director: Robert Schwentke | Stars: Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, Mary-Louise Parker

Votes: 275,593 | Gross: $90.38M

Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman, together...

34. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

PG-13 | 178 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

92 Metascore

A meek Hobbit from the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to destroy the powerful One Ring and save Middle-earth from the Dark Lord Sauron.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean

Votes: 1,549,334 | Gross: $315.54M

A journey for the ages...

35. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

79 Metascore

When a simple jewelry heist goes horribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn

Votes: 853,839 | Gross: $2.83M

The movie that started Quentin Tarantino's career.

36. Grindhouse (2007)

R | 191 min | Action, Horror, Thriller

77 Metascore

Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's homage to exploitation double features in the 60s and 70s with two back-to-back cult films that include previews of coming attractions between them.

Directors: Robert Rodriguez, Eli Roth, Quentin Tarantino, Edgar Wright, Rob Zombie | Stars: Kurt Russell, Rose McGowan, Danny Trejo, Zoë Bell

Votes: 172,385 | Gross: $25.03M

Rodriguez... Tarantino... Enough said.

37. The Dark Knight (2008)

PG-13 | 152 min | Action, Crime, Drama

84 Metascore

When the menace known as the Joker wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, Batman must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine

Votes: 2,135,266 | Gross: $534.86M

This is theatrical perfection!

38. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons

Votes: 1,170,184 | Gross: $130.74M

39. Menace II Society (1993)

R | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

A young street hustler attempts to escape the rigors and temptations of the ghetto in a quest for a better life.

Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes | Stars: Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, June Kyoto Lu, Toshi Toda

Votes: 47,829 | Gross: $27.90M

40. Shrek (2001)

PG | 90 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

84 Metascore

A mean lord exiles fairytale creatures to the swamp of a grumpy ogre, who must go on a quest and rescue a princess for the lord in order to get his land back.

Directors: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson | Stars: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow

Votes: 576,386 | Gross: $267.67M

A family must-see.

41. Natural Born Killers (1994)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama

74 Metascore

Two victims of traumatized childhoods become lovers and psychopathic serial murderers irresponsibly glorified by the mass media.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Rodney Dangerfield

Votes: 204,264 | Gross: $50.28M

42. Halloween (2007)

R | 109 min | Horror

47 Metascore

After being committed for 17 years, Michael Myers, now a grown man and still very dangerous, escapes from the mental institution and immediately returns to Haddonfield to find his baby sister, Laurie.

Director: Rob Zombie | Stars: Scout Taylor-Compton, Malcolm McDowell, Tyler Mane, Brad Dourif

Votes: 104,710 | Gross: $58.27M

A worthy remake of the classic original.

43. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

R | 116 min | Drama, Horror, Musical

83 Metascore

The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, aka Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall

Votes: 327,830 | Gross: $52.90M

A frightfully delightful musical drama.

44. Tombstone (1993)

R | 130 min | Action, Biography, Drama

50 Metascore

A successful lawman's plans to retire anonymously in Tombstone, Arizona, are disrupted by the kind of outlaws he was famous for eliminating.

Directors: George P. Cosmatos, Kevin Jarre | Stars: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton

Votes: 117,817 | Gross: $56.51M

45. Beowulf (2007)

PG-13 | 115 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

59 Metascore

The warrior Beowulf must fight and defeat the monster Grendel, who is terrorizing Denmark, and later, Grendel's Mother, who begins killing out of revenge.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Ray Winstone, Crispin Glover, Angelina Jolie, Robin Wright

Votes: 156,706 | Gross: $82.16M

46. National Treasure (2004)

PG | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Mystery

39 Metascore

A historian races to find the legendary Templar Treasure before a team of mercenaries.

Director: Jon Turteltaub | Stars: Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Sean Bean

Votes: 289,601 | Gross: $173.01M

47. Troy (2004)

R | 163 min | Drama, History

56 Metascore

An adaptation of Homer's great epic, the film follows the assault on Troy by the united Greek forces and chronicles the fates of the men involved.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen | Stars: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Julian Glover

Votes: 461,715 | Gross: $133.38M

48. Fight Club (1999)

R | 139 min | Drama

66 Metascore

An insomniac office worker and a devil-may-care soapmaker form an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Meat Loaf, Zach Grenier

Votes: 1,725,939 | Gross: $37.03M

49. Phone Booth (2002)

R | 81 min | Crime, Thriller

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