Quest for the MacGuffin films

by dan_dassow | created - 31 Dec 2013 | updated - 01 Jan 2014 | Public

Somebody has something and may or may not know they have it, and somebody wants it and may or may not know who has it...or nobody knows what it is. It might even be a person. And everybody might know what it is.

Poll suggested by horn-5.

You may discuss the poll here.

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1. Citizen Kane (1941)

PG | 119 min | Drama, Mystery

100 Metascore

Following the death of publishing tycoon, Charles Foster Kane, reporters scramble to uncover the meaning of his final utterance; 'Rosebud'.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead

Votes: 373,135 | Gross: $1.59M

2. North by Northwest (1959)

Not Rated | 136 min | Adventure, Mystery, Thriller

98 Metascore

A New York City advertising executive goes on the run after being mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis

Votes: 279,620 | Gross: $13.28M

3. The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Not Rated | 100 min | Film-Noir, Mystery

96 Metascore

A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre

Votes: 142,950 | Gross: $2.11M

4. The 39 Steps (1935)

Not Rated | 86 min | Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller

A man in London tries to help a counter-espionage Agent. But when the Agent is killed, and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to save himself and stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Lucie Mannheim, Godfrey Tearle

Votes: 47,988

5. The Narrow Margin (1952)

Approved | 71 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A woman planning to testify against the mob must be protected against their assassins on the train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Director: Richard Fleischer | Stars: Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White, Queenie Leonard

Votes: 6,520

6. 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: 1,701,828 | Gross: $107.93M

7. Get Shorty (1995)

R | 105 min | Comedy, Crime, Thriller

82 Metascore

A mobster travels to Hollywood to collect a debt, and discovers that the movie business is much the same as his current job.

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld | Stars: Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito, John Travolta

Votes: 72,431 | Gross: $72.08M

8. Nadine (1987)

PG | 83 min | Comedy, Mystery, Romance

In 1950s Texas, a woman trying to recover sexy photos of herself and divorce her husband witnesses a murder and uncovers corrupt land dealings.

Director: Robert Benton | Stars: Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger, Rip Torn, Gwen Verdon

Votes: 3,609 | Gross: $5.67M

9. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure

85 Metascore

In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before Adolf Hitler's Nazis can obtain its deadly powers.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies

Votes: 833,062 | Gross: $248.16M

10. Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941)

Passed | 216 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

To protect a magic talisman from being used for evil, a teenage boy named Billy Batson is given the power to become an adult superhero, Captain Marvel, with a single magic word: "Shazam!"

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Tom Tyler, Frank Coghlan Jr., William 'Billy' Benedict, Louise Currie

Votes: 1,014

11. Cronos (1993)

R | 94 min | Horror

70 Metascore

A mysterious device designed to provide its owner with eternal life resurfaces after four hundred years, leaving a trail of destruction in its path.

Director: Guillermo del Toro | Stars: Federico Luppi, Ron Perlman, Claudio Brook, Margarita Isabel

Votes: 25,136 | Gross: $0.62M

12. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

82 Metascore

After discovering a mysterious artifact buried beneath the Lunar surface, mankind sets off on a quest to find its origins with help from intelligent supercomputer H.A.L. 9000.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter

Votes: 560,368 | Gross: $56.95M

13. Ronin (1998)

R | 122 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

67 Metascore

A freelancing former U.S. Intelligence Agent tries to track down a mysterious package that is wanted by the Irish and the Russians.

Director: John Frankenheimer | Stars: Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, Stellan Skarsgård

Votes: 164,223 | Gross: $41.62M

14. Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Not Rated | 102 min | Comedy, Family, Romance

91 Metascore

While trying to secure a $1 million donation for his museum, a befuddled paleontologist is pursued by a flighty and often irritating heiress and her pet leopard, Baby.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Charles Ruggles, Walter Catlett

Votes: 52,029

15. What's Up, Doc? (1972)

G | 94 min | Comedy

The accidental mix-up of four identical plaid overnight bags leads to a series of increasingly wild and wacky situations.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich | Stars: Barbra Streisand, Ryan O'Neal, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars

Votes: 17,939

16. Repo Man (1984)

R | 92 min | Comedy, Crime, Sci-Fi

75 Metascore

Young punk Otto becomes a repo man after helping to steal a car, and stumbles into a world of wackiness as a result.

Director: Alex Cox | Stars: Harry Dean Stanton, Emilio Estevez, Tracey Walter, Olivia Barash

Votes: 31,488 | Gross: $3.57M

17. Arabesque (1966)

Unrated | 105 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

Story of international intrigue involving a university professor, an Arab prime minister, a ruthless businessman, a beautiful spy, and hieroglyphics.

Director: Stanley Donen | Stars: Gregory Peck, Sophia Loren, Alan Badel, Kieron Moore

Votes: 5,839

18. The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

Approved | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

66 Metascore

A debonair, adventuresome bank executive believes he has pulled off the perfect multi-million dollar heist, only to match wits with a sexy insurance investigator who will do anything to get her man.

Director: Norman Jewison | Stars: Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Paul Burke, Jack Weston

Votes: 20,877

19. That Man from Rio (1964)

Not Rated | 112 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

A young man comes to the rescue of his girlfriend abducted by thieves and brought to Rio. An extravagant adventure ensues.

Director: Philippe de Broca | Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Françoise Dorléac, Jean Servais, Roger Dumas

Votes: 4,065 | Gross: $0.04M

20. Charade (1963)

Not Rated | 113 min | Comedy, Mystery, Romance

83 Metascore

Romance and suspense ensue in Paris as a woman is pursued by several men who want a fortune her murdered husband had stolen. Whom can she trust?

Director: Stanley Donen | Stars: Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, James Coburn

Votes: 62,159 | Gross: $13.47M

21. The Mummy (1932)

Approved | 73 min | Fantasy, Horror

A resurrected Egyptian mummy stalks a beautiful woman he believes to be the reincarnation of his lover and bride.

Director: Karl Freund | Stars: Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Arthur Byron

Votes: 21,579

22. The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)

G | 68 min | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi

Englishmen race to find the tomb of Genghis Khan before the sinister Fu Manchu does.

Directors: Charles Brabin, Charles Vidor | Stars: Boris Karloff, Lewis Stone, Karen Morley, Charles Starrett

Votes: 2,852

23. The Score (2001)

R | 124 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

71 Metascore

An aging thief hopes to retire and live off his ill-gotten wealth when a young kid convinces him into doing one last heist.

Director: Frank Oz | Stars: Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Marlon Brando, Angela Bassett

Votes: 115,033 | Gross: $71.07M

24. Jackie Brown (1997)

R | 154 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

64 Metascore

A middle-aged woman finds herself in the middle of a huge conflict that will either make her a profit or cost her life.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda

Votes: 295,308 | Gross: $39.67M

25. It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)

G | 205 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

59 Metascore

A group of motorists hear about a crook's hidden stash of loot, and race against each other across the country to get to it.

Director: Stanley Kramer | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney

Votes: 35,576 | Gross: $46.30M

26. Brick (2005)

R | 110 min | Action, Crime, Drama

72 Metascore

A teenage loner pushes his way into the underworld of a high school crime ring to investigate the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend.

Director: Rian Johnson | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lukas Haas, Emilie de Ravin, Meagan Good

Votes: 96,792 | Gross: $2.06M

27. Men in Black (1997)

PG-13 | 98 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

71 Metascore

A police officer joins a secret organization that polices and monitors extraterrestrial interactions on Earth.

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld | Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D'Onofrio

Votes: 489,268 | Gross: $250.69M

28. Heavy Metal (1981)

R | 86 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy

51 Metascore

A glowing green orb - which embodies ultimate evil - terrorizes a young girl with an anthology of bizarre and fantastic stories of dark fantasy, eroticism and horror.

Directors: Gerald Potterton, John Bruno, John Halas, Julian Harris, Jimmy T. Murakami, Barrie Nelson, Paul Sabella, Jack Stokes, Pino Van Lamsweerde, Harold Whitaker | Stars: Richard Romanus, John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Don Francks

Votes: 29,217

29. The Dark Crystal (1982)

PG | 93 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

66 Metascore

On another planet in the distant past, a Gelfling embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of a magical crystal, and so restore order to his world.

Directors: Jim Henson, Frank Oz | Stars: Jim Henson, Kathryn Mullen, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz

Votes: 57,967 | Gross: $40.58M

30. Casablanca (1942)

PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War

100 Metascore

A cynical American expatriate struggles to decide whether or not he should help his former lover and her fugitive husband escape French Morocco.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains

Votes: 489,290 | Gross: $1.02M

31. All the President's Men (1976)

PG | 138 min | Biography, Drama, History

80 Metascore

"The Washington Post" reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Richard Nixon's resignation.

Director: Alan J. Pakula | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam

Votes: 95,269 | Gross: $70.60M

32. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

PG-13 | 126 min | Drama, Thriller

94 Metascore

A former prisoner of war is brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy.

Director: John Frankenheimer | Stars: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury

Votes: 68,469

33. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

R | 178 min | Western

90 Metascore

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Aldo Giuffrè

Votes: 643,387 | Gross: $6.10M

34. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Passed | 126 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

98 Metascore

Two Americans searching for work in Mexico convince an old prospector to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt, Bruce Bennett

Votes: 106,456 | Gross: $5.01M

35. No Country for Old Men (2007)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

91 Metascore

Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen | Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson

Votes: 789,257 | Gross: $74.28M



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