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queenzboulevard's avatar

If I could only watch one movie to open my eyes to the art of film, what would it be?

Asked by queenzboulevard (2551points) January 1st, 2009
38 responses
“Great Question” (4points)

Like pretend I’m dying or something lol, or that I love art but have never watched a movie before, or that I think that the best movie ever made in the history of movies is Iron Man.

Which movie would I have to watch to appreciate the art of film? Tough question, but remember I can only see one. If it’s too difficult, you can name one from different genres.

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cornets_01's avatar

you could watch an indie film. it makes you more expressive, ‘coz you can somehow relate to it..

shadling21's avatar

Cleo from 5 to 7 is the first that comes to my mind, for some reason.

Jack79's avatar

Just off the top of my head: “A Night on Earth” by Jim Jarmusch. (I just thought of that because I’m about to watch another Jarmusch film in a bit). It is funny and easy to follow, but made in a wonderful way, and there are many big names in it. “Four Rooms” is a similar type of film. Then of course you can go into international cinema, like “Jizda” or “Im Juli” two road movies I recently watched and loved (Czech and German respectively). But I am sure there are much better films that I just can’t think of right now.

srmorgan's avatar

Romance: Jules et Jim, circa 1961

Comedy: Some Like It Hot 1958 or The Great Disctator 1940”

” Epic ” Lawrence of Arabia 1963.


russellsouza's avatar

“El Dorado” by Marcel L’Herbier. It was made in 1920 and it experiments with film techniques that were remarkably ahead of its time. Anything from the French silent avant-garde movement and German works like “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” would give you a great introduction to the history and beauty of film as a medium.

vanslonski's avatar

Check out Fellini’s works.
Also, “The Man Who Cried”, with Christina Ricci and Johnny Depp.
A most strange work, but a miracle with the meager budget spent.

Maverick's avatar

2001: A Space Oddessy

But really anything by Stanley Kubrick.

artificialard's avatar

My appetite for film kind of straddles the populist/high-art line. I really enjoy a certain amount of abstract expression in the film but find it hard to pay attention without a well-conceived storyline.

Picking just one it’d be Gattaca. It’s just an epic film that’s inspires visual awe everytime I see it – I just feel like taking every still and framing it as gallery art (the sunrise scene makes me tear up). The visual design is intriguingly influenced by classic styling applied in a futuristic context that ties into the themes of the movie very well.

Other critical film elements like an persuasive storyline, great direction/pacing, and superb acting that’s restrained but profound from some great actors are all there too.

Kind of ironic that out of all the movies here Iron Man is being sold on the Amazon sidebar

Bluefreedom's avatar

To Kill A Mockingbird

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

(Several different movies by Steven Spielberg are examples of brilliant film making also)

St.George's avatar



The films of Woody Allen

tiffyandthewall's avatar

je t’aime paris!
it’s a collection of a lot of different stories from all different people, and it’s just so breath taking. oh man. some of them are silly, some of them are kind of heart-breaking, some of them are just beautiful. i think it made me see things a bit differently than i do. i really recommend it.

Knotmyday's avatar

“Young Frankenstein,” Mel Brooks. Personally, I celebrate the man’s entire catalog.

shadling21's avatar

I second russell’s suggestion of Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Classic expressionism. Getting into older movies can be difficult for someone used to modern film technology. Be sure to have plenty of coffee on hand.

I can think of so many more, but it really depends on what a person is looking for in the film. I mean, It Happened One Night, His Girl Friday, Rashomon, Psycho, Bicycle Thief… All great films that could get you hooked.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

Fellini, most definitely. Followed closely by American Beauty, Milk, Conversations with Other Women, Waking Life, A Clockwork Orange, Citizen Kane, and Amelie.

artificialard's avatar

Another good way to go about it is to just go through The Criterion Collection of videos. To me it’s the most durable distinction for a film to be remastered as a Criterion – anything in there would have merit.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@artificialard: Even just the films on the home page are a great representation of amazing films.

artificialard's avatar

For sure! Actually there’s a Essential Art House boxset that’d be great if you don’t mind splurging.

Chungking Express is there too – not so much telling a story as it exposes incredibly intimate peek at these beautifully human lives. A little regional and dated but for me that just increases the appeal.

mrdh's avatar

Any of Fritz Lang’s works. Especially M. If you like sci-fi, Metropolis should appeal to you. The Testament of Dr Mabuse is very good too.

artificialard mentioned Chungking Express. I’d recommend In the Mood For Love as well, also starring Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung.

cyndyh's avatar

I think you can’t really appreciate film with just one movie. A part of appreciate these things -any kind of art form – is exploring your way through it. Iron Man is a fine movie. If you like that I’d suggest Dark Knight and Unbreakable and maybe Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

If you liked reading comedy and wanted to see what could be done with it in film I’d suggest Groundhog Day and maybe Ghostbusters. (This one’s hard because a lot of my favorite comedy kind of depends on prior knowledge of other movies or people or events like This Is Spinal Tap and Walk Hard and Bubba Hotep.)

If you were going to make a study of an interesting director I’d go with Hitchcock and start with Lifeboat.

If I was pressed out and out to tell you one movie that everyone should see before they die it would be Seven Samurai. It’s a well-put-together story and visually stunning. It’s one of those movies where I quickly forgot I was reading subtitles because the story just grabs you.

jjd2006's avatar

I second Amelie and American Beauty.
Those are two movies that stick out to me where after I watched them, I just sat and thought for a while.
So good.

dalepetrie's avatar

The AFI would say Citizen Kane, and I have to agree that is one hell of a movie which covers a lot of the bases that one would learn in film school. But for my money, Magnolia is the film I would suggest. All the literary and film concepts I’ve ever learned about are present in this film…it makes the best use I’ve ever seen of both symbolism and foreshadowing. The entire film is metaphorical, but it is also a study in great acting, great writing, strong emotionally gripping performance, non-linear storytelling, cinematography, nuance, abstraction, etc. It is one of the greatest ensemble casts I’ve ever seen assembled, and it wrings out the most incredible performances from every actor…even Tom Cruise, who in other circumstances can’t act his way out of a paper bag, gives a performance that is so compelling you can’t turn away. It’s a film which when you watch it, if you can wrap your mind around even 10% of it, you end up going, “what the hell did I just see?” It does what all great art strives to do, it stays with you, it invades your soul and makes you want to know more about it. The answers are not all there in black and white, it is densely layered, and arguably too much so for most audiences. But if you really wanted to learn about everything film is capabale of, I’d suggest you watch this movie (and take notes…keep an eye out for the number 82).

m_dub's avatar


Two of the only movies I’ve watched in recent times that have left me completely satisfied, and have stayed in my memory.

coquilicot's avatar

Contempt by Godard, Vertigo by Hitchcock, Rashoman by Kurosawa are all good places to start….

BronxLens's avatar

Bull Dhuram (comedy-romance)
Layer Cake (action-drama)
The Diving Bell & the Butterfly (drama/foreign language)
Return of the Jedi (science fiction)
The Godfather Pt. 1 (drama)

IBERnineD's avatar

Hands down: The Fall!

TitsMcGhee's avatar

One I forgot: BRICK. That film is definitely a work of art. On just a visual level, there is a simplicity that is astounding and a great color palate. The story is conversely complex and engaging. It’s a film worth watching over and over.

futurelaker88's avatar

eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)
Probably the last great film Orson Welles directed.

mij's avatar

Get hold of a copy of ” The Bands Visit ” put out by MADMAN.
Or try ” three burials ”
If you want something a bit more upbeat…

Kingkamandi's avatar

Sullivan’s Travels by Preston Sturges
Citizen Kane by Orson Welles
Blue Velvet by David Lynch

mij's avatar

Just watched ” Slum Dog Millionaire ”
Different, enjoyable, one to check out folks…

francescadellacruz's avatar

The Fall and Man with a Movie Camera

sjmc1989's avatar

Im tied between three Doctor Zhivago, American Beauty, or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest all great film hard to choose

mij's avatar

” Cinema Paradiso ”

mij's avatar

Or if you want some excitement and a lot of twists and turns try ” Run Lola Run ” or the laid back ” The Big Lebowski ”

cyndyh's avatar

I love Run Lola Run.

Medlang's avatar

Shawshank Redemption

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