Tori’s List of Must Watch Movies

Tori DiPasquale, Resident Movie Buff

Movies are important! They shape our culture and influence our lives, often in significant ways. Whether they’re funny or dramatic, happy or sad–or just flat out insane–people continue to enjoy them! As a person who has devoted a lot of my time to watching films, I think some movies are so impactful and have such a legacy that everyone should see them. That is why I have developed a list of the top 12 movies you have to see before you die.

A fair warning, some of these are rated R, so check with a parent or guardian before watching!


Jurassic Park– This is an absolute no-brainer to me. Steven Spielberg’s classic action/horror/scifi/thriller about a dino-theme park gone horribly wrong is truly a joy. Despite the technical limitations of primitive 90’s CGI and puppetry, the special effects still hold up! You just really can’t beat Jeff Goldblum and dinosaurs, so go watch it!

A famous shot from “Jurassic Park”

Jaws– Another Spielberg classic, this nautical 1975 horror/thriller changed the movie industry forever. Talk about impact: This movie was the highest-grossing film of its time, and it made waves in the economy. People became so fearful of sharks that tourism plummeted in coastal towns and created a spike in controversial shark-hunting. All in all, it’s a genius movie that balances scares with genuine character development.


The Grand Budapest Hotel– A more modern pick, Grand Budapest is director Wes Anderson’s masterpiece about a long forgotten hotel’s hayday in the 1930’s. A spectacular blend of pastel colors, wild adventures, and some of the best dialogue I have ever heard in a film, Budapest is truly something magical. 


A poster for “Brazil”

Brazil– I am incredibly biased towards this movie for a multitude of reasons, but I genuinely believe it is the best film ever made. Set “somewhere in the twentieth century”, this dystopian masterpiece about the drudgery of modern life and the dangers of government authoritarianism continues to feel incredibly relevant, even 45 years after its initial release. A stellar cast, including Oscar-award winner Robert DeNiro, brings director Terry Gilliam’s vision to life in a brilliant, completely original way. I could go on about this movie for hours, but I’ll just say one last thing: it has been three months since I first watched it, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.


The Big Lebowski– We can all appreciate a film that has very little conflict and just lets us take in the aura of the movie. This is the epitome of that. Lebowski is a wild ride through heavily stylized imagery and comedy, with surrealist sequences and a lot of bowling. Two iconic leading performances from John Goodman and Jeff Bridges make Big Lebowski a defining part of the cult cinema of the 90s. I don’t honestly know how else to describe it, but Steve Buscemi is in it, so go give it a watch!


My favorite shot from “The Godfather”

The Godfather– Most people are aware of Francis Ford Coppola’s mobster masterpiece, so I won’t say too much about it. However, it lives up to its reputation as one of the best movies ever made. To briefly summarize, it is the story of an Italian immigrant who rose to a position of incredible power within the mob, and then the transition of that power onto his sons.  Every performance is perfect, but Marlon Brando and Al Pacino naturally stand out as the stars of the film. I highly recommend both this and its sequel, The Godfather II. There is a third part, but it isn’t nearly as good.


Monty Python and The Holy Grail– I guarantee you someone you know has quoted this movie to you before, whether you realized it or not. This comedy about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is extremely iconic for a reason, as every single bit is memorable in its own way. With a mixture of brilliantly subversive writing and just the right amount of slapstick, it plays beautifully to all age groups. I highly recommend watching this by yourself once, and then twenty more times with everyone you know. Trust me, you’ll want to keep going back.

This shot shows the five of the six members of Monty Python


Paddington– I know what you’re thinking: “I’m a teenager! I don’t want to watch a kids movie about a British bear”. That’s a valid point, but you’ll quickly forget about it the moment it starts. Both Paddington movies are perfect, blending subtle comedy all age groups can enjoy and that classic childish humor we all grew up loving. It is extremely heartwarming and a really fun film to watch with the whole family.


An American Werewolf in London– I am not a horror movie fan, but this is definitely an exception to that rule. An iconic piece of 1980s cinema, this masterpiece has continued through the years as a dark comedy classic. The title tells you everything you need to know already-there’s an American who happens to be a werewolf running around London wreaking havoc on unsuspecting British people. If that doesn’t sound even the least bit interesting to you, I don’t know how to help you. I highly recommend watching this with a group of friends on halloween, I promise you’ll love it. Oh and a fun fact, this was the first movie to win the Academy Award for Best Makeup! 


Griffin Dunne and Rosanna Arquette in “After Hours”

After Hours– When I say the name Martin Scorsese, I’m sure this movie doesn’t come to mind. That’s why I often recommend it! It is something special and out of the ordinary. Taking place over one night in NYC, we follow a man who just can’t seem to catch a break. It is also a very interesting depiction of a side of 1970s NYC that is not often seen. You’ll be frustrated, on edge, uncomfortable, and laughing, but I promise you won’t be bored.


Andre the Giant, Mandy Patinkin, and Wallace Shawn in “The Princess Bride”

The Princess Bride– Out of all of the movies on this list, I recommend this one the most. Not only one of the best comedies of all time, Princess Bride is one of the best movies ever made. A fairy tale come to life, this book to movie adaptation is a favorite among almost everyone I know. I am never able to remember names of people in movies, but I could list off the entire cast list and their characters’ names within a matter of seconds, that’s how memorable they are. Easily the most quotable movie out of this list (although Holy Grail is extremely close) you will not be able to stop thinking about the iconic lines in this movie.


12 Angry Men– I hate to end on a more serious note, but this is just a very important film. An examination of the United States justice system and how everyday people work within it, this play-turned-movie is perfectly made. It tackles every issue you could think of including racism, classism, and groupthink. It may seem like a boring concept, I mean, why would any sane person want to watch a 2 and a half hour movie about 12 white guys arguing? But trust me, it is one of the most interesting and engaging movies I’ve ever seen. Plus If you watch it you can brag about having seen a movie from the 50’s!


This is an extremely personal list and one that not everyone will enjoy. These movies have heavily influenced me and my interest in movies, and I hope they do the same for you! Now please, go watch a movie!