200 Essential Movies To Watch Now

Rotten Tomatoes staff presents 200 essential movies to watch now, whether you’re a film buff or just starting your journey into cinema! We culled choices across genres, film movements, and centuries, mixed with staff favorites to shake things up. Best of all, every movie on the list is Certified Fresh!

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#1

The Wizard of Oz (1939)
99%

#1
Adjusted Score: 115.246%
Critics Consensus: An absolute masterpiece whose groundbreaking visuals and deft storytelling are still every bit as resonant, The Wizard of Oz is a must-see film for young and old.
Synopsis: L. Frank Baum's classic tale comes to magisterial Technicolor life! The Wizard of Oz stars legendary Judy Garland as Dorothy,... [More]
Directed By: King Vidor, Victor Fleming

#2

Citizen Kane (1941)
100%

#2
Adjusted Score: 113.549%
Critics Consensus: Orson Welles's epic tale of a publishing tycoon's rise and fall is entertaining, poignant, and inventive in its storytelling, earning its reputation as a landmark achievement in film.
Synopsis: This is the labyrinthine study of the life of a newspaper tycoon.... [More]
Directed By: Orson Welles

#3

The Third Man (1949)
99%

#3
Adjusted Score: 112.081%
Critics Consensus: This atmospheric thriller is one of the undisputed masterpieces of cinema, and boasts iconic performances from Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles.
Synopsis: American writer, Holly Martins, arrives in post-war Vienna to visit his old friend Harry Lime. On arrival, he learns that... [More]
Directed By: Carol Reed

#4

Get Out (2017)
99%

#4
Adjusted Score: 112.85%
Critics Consensus: Funny, scary, and thought-provoking, Get Out seamlessly weaves its trenchant social critiques into a brilliantly effective and entertaining horror/comedy thrill ride.
Synopsis: Now that Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend... [More]
Directed By: Jordan Peele

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 111.89%
Critics Consensus: With exhilarating action and a surprising amount of narrative heft, Mad Max: Fury Road brings George Miller's post-apocalyptic franchise roaring vigorously back to life.
Synopsis: Filmmaker George Miller gears up for another post-apocalyptic action adventure with Fury Road, the fourth outing in the Mad Max... [More]
Directed By: George Miller

#6

All About Eve (1950)
100%

#6
Adjusted Score: 110.833%
Critics Consensus: Smart, sophisticated, and devastatingly funny, All About Eve is a Hollywood classic that only improves with age.
Synopsis: Based on the story The Wisdom of Eve by Mary Orr, All About Eve is an elegantly bitchy backstage story... [More]
Directed By: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

#7

Inside Out (2015)
98%

#7
Adjusted Score: 110.966%
Critics Consensus: Inventive, gorgeously animated, and powerfully moving, Inside Out is another outstanding addition to the Pixar library of modern animated classics.
Synopsis: Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it's no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life... [More]

#8

The Godfather (1972)
98%

#8
Adjusted Score: 109.679%
Critics Consensus: One of Hollywood's greatest critical and commercial successes, The Godfather gets everything right; not only did the movie transcend expectations, it established new benchmarks for American cinema.
Synopsis: Popularly viewed as one of the best American films ever made, the multi-generational crime saga The Godfather is a touchstone... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#9

Metropolis (1927)
99%

#9
Adjusted Score: 110.671%
Critics Consensus: A visually awe-inspiring science fiction classic from the silent era.
Synopsis: In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind... [More]
Directed By: Fritz Lang

#10
Adjusted Score: 110.686%
Critics Consensus: Playing as both an exciting sci-fi adventure and a remarkable portrait of childhood, Steven Spielberg's touching tale of a homesick alien remains a piece of movie magic for young and old.
Synopsis: Both a classic movie for kids and a remarkable portrait of childhood, E.T. is a sci-fi adventure that captures that... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 109.837%
Critics Consensus: Capturing its stars and director at their finest, It Happened One Night remains unsurpassed by the countless romantic comedies it has inspired.
Synopsis: Frank Capra's seminal screwball comedy, which won all five major Academy Awards for 1934, is still as breezy and beguiling... [More]
Directed By: Frank Capra

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 109.59%
Critics Consensus: Clever, incisive, and funny, Singin' in the Rain is a masterpiece of the classical Hollywood musical.
Synopsis: Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor star in Singin' in the Rain, one of the greatest and most successful... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly

#13

Casablanca (1942)
97%

#13
Adjusted Score: 109.807%
Critics Consensus: An undisputed masterpiece and perhaps Hollywood's quintessential statement on love and romance, Casablanca has only improved with age, boasting career-defining performances from Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
Synopsis: One of the most beloved American films, this captivating wartime adventure of romance and intrigue from director Michael Curtiz defies... [More]
Directed By: Michael Curtiz

#14

Moonlight (2016)
98%

#14
Adjusted Score: 110.942%
Critics Consensus: Moonlight uses one man's story to offer a remarkable and brilliantly crafted look at lives too rarely seen in cinema.
Synopsis: The tender, heartbreaking story of a young man's struggle to find himself, told across three defining chapters in his life... [More]
Directed By: Barry Jenkins (III)

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 108.988%
Critics Consensus: A Hard Day's Night, despite its age, is still a delight to watch and has proven itself to be a rock-and-roll movie classic.
Synopsis: The year is 1964 and four young lads from Liverpool are about to change the world - if only the... [More]
Directed By: Richard Lester

#16
Adjusted Score: 108.45%
Critics Consensus: With its involving story and characters, vibrant art, and memorable songs, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs set the animation standard for decades to come.
Synopsis: It was called "Disney's Folly." Who on earth would want to sit still for 90 minutes to watch an animated... [More]

#17

North by Northwest (1959)
100%

#17
Adjusted Score: 109.048%
Critics Consensus: Gripping, suspenseful, and visually iconic, this late-period Hitchcock classic laid the groundwork for countless action thrillers to follow.
Synopsis: While having lunch at the Plaza Hotel in New York, advertising executive Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) has the bad... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#18

The Maltese Falcon (1941)
100%

#18
Adjusted Score: 108.636%
Critics Consensus: Suspenseful, labyrinthine, and brilliantly cast, The Maltese Falcon is one of the most influential noirs -- as well as a showcase for Humphrey Bogart at his finest.
Synopsis: After two previous film versions of Dashiell Hammett's detective classic The Maltese Falcon, Warner Bros. finally got it right in... [More]
Directed By: John Huston

#19

King Kong (1933)
98%

#19
Adjusted Score: 108.562%
Critics Consensus: King Kong explores the soul of a monster -- making audiences scream and cry throughout the film -- in large part due to Kong's breakthrough special effects.
Synopsis: "How would you like to star opposite the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood?" Enticed by these words, brunette leading... [More]

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