The following films comprise a core list of recommended films for students to see.
Note: Films marked with an asterisk (*) are currently difficult to locate for screening or purchase.


The 400 Blows (1959) or Jules and Jim (1962) (dir. Francois Truffaut, France)

Adaptation (2002, dir. Spike Jonze, United States)

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972, dir. Werner Herzog, West Germany/Peru)

*A Movie (1958, dir. Bruce Conner, United States)

Andrey Rublyov (1969, dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, Soviet Union)

Apocalypse Now (1979, dir. Francis Ford Coppola, United States)

The Apu Trilogy (Song of the Road, 1955; The Undefeated, 1956; The World of Apu, 1960;

dir. Satyajit Ray, India)

A Question of Silence (1982, dir. Marleen Gorris, Netherlands)

Ashes and Diamonds (1958, dir. Andrzej Wajda, Poland)

Babe (1995, dir. Chris Noonan, Australia)

The Battle of Algiers (1965, dir. Gillo Pontocorvo, Algeria/Italy)

Battleship Potemkin (1925, dir. Sergei Eisenstein, Soviet Union)

The Bicycle Thief (1948, dir. Vittorio De Sica, Italy)

The Big Sleep (1946, dir. Howard Hawks, U.S.)

The Birth of a Nation (1915, dir. D.W. Griffith, United States)

Black Girl (a.k.a. Noire de . . . ) (1966) or Ceddo (1975) (dir. Ousmane Sembene, Senegal)

Black God, White Devil (1964, dir. Glauba Rocha, Brazil)

*Blood of the Condor (1969, dir. Jorge Sanjines, Bolivia)

Blade Runner (1982, dir. Ridley Scott, U.S.)

Blood Simple (1984, dir. Joel and Ethan Coen, United States)

Blow-Up (1966, dir. Michaelangelo Antonioni, Italy)

The Blue Angel (1930, dir. Josef von Sternberg, Germany)

Boat People (1982, dir. Ann Hui, Hong Kong)

Body and Soul (1925, dir. Oscar Micheaux, United States)

The Body Beautiful (1991, dir. Ngozi Onwurah, Britain)

Breathless (1960, dir. Jean-Luc Godard, France)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920, dir. Robert Wiene, Germany)

Casablanca (1942, dir. Michael Curtiz, United States)

Un chien andalou (1930, dir. Luis Bunuel, France)

Chungking Express (1994, dir. Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong)

Citizen Kane (1941, dir. Orson Welles, United States)

City Lights (1931) or Modern Times (1936) (dir. Charlie Chaplin, United States)

Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962, dir. Agnès Varda, France)

Closely Watched Trains (1966, dir. Jiri Menzel, Czechoslovakia)

*Dance, Girl, Dance (1940, dir. Dorothy Arzner, United States)

Daughters of the Dust (1991, dir. Julie Dash, United States)

Dead Ringers (1988, dir. David Cronenberg, Canada/United States)

Do the Right Thing (1989) or Girl 6 (1996) (dir. Spike Lee, United States)

Double Indemnity (1944, dir. Billy Wilder, United States)

The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982dir. Peter Greenaway, Britain)

Dr. Strangelove; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) and 2001: A

Space Odyssey (1968) (dir. Stanley Kubrick, United States)

Duck Amuck (1953, dir. Chuck Jones, United States)

Edison short films (1896-8, The Kiss, Cockfight, etc., United States)

Eraserhead (1977, dir. David Lynch, United States)

Fantasia (1940, dir. Walt Disney, United States)

Farewell My Concubine (1993, dir. Kaige Chen, China/Hong Kong)

Fire (1996) or Earth (1998) (dir. Deepa Mehta, India)

Gap-Toothed Women (1987, dir. Les Blank, United States)

Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933, dir. Mervyn LeRoy, United States)

Gone With the Wind (1939, dir. Victor Fleming, U.S.)

The Grand Illusion (1937) or The Rules of the Game (1939) (dir. Jean Renoir, France)

Harlan County, USA (1976, dir. Barbara Kopple, United States)

*Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (a.k.a. Jeanne Dielman) (1975, dir.

Chantal Ackerman, Belgium)

Julien donkey-boy (1999, dir. Harmony Korine, United States; see also: Dogme 95 Web site @

Knife in the Water (1962, dir. Roman Polanski, Poland)

La Jetee (1962, dir. Chris Marker, France)

The Last Laugh (1924) or Sunrise (1927) (dir. F.W. Murnau, Germany)

The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter (1980, dir. Connie Field, United States)

The Life of Oharu (1952) or Ugetsu (1953) (dir. Kenji Mizoguchi, Japan)

Looking for Langston (1988, dir. Isaac Julien, Britain)

The Lumière Brothers’ First Films (selections, i.e. Workers Leaving a Factory, 1895; Baby’s

Meal, 1895; The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat, 1897; dir. Antoine and Auguste

Lumière, France)

The Man with a Movie Camera (1929, dir. Dziga Vertov, Soviet Union)

A Trip to the Moon (1902; dir. Georges Méliès, France)

Matewan (1987, dir. John Sayles, United States)

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944, dir. Vincent Minnelli, United States)

Memories of Underdevelopment (1968, Gutierrez-Alex, Cuba)

Meshes of the Afternoon (1943, dir. Maya Deren, United States)

Midnight Cowboy (1969, dir. John Schlesinger, United States)

Nanook of the North (1922, dir. Robert J. Flaherty, United States/France)

Nema-ye Nazdik (a.k.a. Close-Up) (1990, dir. Abbas Kiarostami, Iran)

Our Hospitality (1923, dir. John G. Blystone and Buster Keaton, United States)

Paris Is Burning (1990, dir. Jenny Livingston, United States)

The Piano (1993, dir. Jane Campion, Australia)

Psycho (1960, dir. Alfred Hitchcock, U.S.)

Pulp Fiction (1994, dir. Quentin Tarantino, United States)

Raging Bull (1980, dir. Martin Scorsese, United States)

Rashomon (1950), Ikiru (1952), The Seven Samurai (1956,dir. Akira Kurosawa, Japan)

Rear Window (1954, dir. Alfred Hitchcock, United States)

Salaam Bombay (1988, dir. Mira Nair, India)

Surname Viet, Given Name Nam (1989) (dir. T. Minh-ha Trin, United States)

Rebel Without a Cause (1955, dir. Nicholas Ray, United States)

Roger and Me (1989);Bowling for Columbine (2002); Fahrenheit 911 (2004) (dir.

Michael Moore, United States)

Rome, Open City (1945, dir. Roberto Rossellini, Italy)

The Searchers (1956, dir. John Ford, United States)

The Seventh Seal (1957, Ingmar Bergman, Sweden)

Some Like It Hot (1959, dir. Billy Wilder, United States)

Spirited Away (2001, dir. Hayao Miyazaki, Japan)

La Strada (1954) or 8 ½ (1963) (dir. Federico Fellini, Italy)

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song (1971, dir. Melvin van Peebles, United States)

The Thin Blue Line (1988, dir. Erroll Morris, United States)

The Third Man (1949, dir. Carol Reed, Britain)

Tokyo Story (1953, dir. Yasujiro Ozu, Japan)

*Tongues Untied (1990, dir. Marlon Riggs, United States)

Triumph of the Will (1935) or The Olympiad (1938) (dir. Leni Riefenstahl, Germany)

The Way Home (2002, dir. Jeong-hyang Lee, South Korea)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988, dir. Robert Zemeckis, United States)

Window Water Baby Moving (1962, dir. Stan Brakhage, United States)

The Wizard of Oz (1939, dir. Victor Fleming, United States)

Written on the Wind (1957, dir. Douglas Sirk, United States)

Xica da Silva (a.k.a. Xica) (1976, dir. Carlos Diegues, Brazil)

Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl (1998, dir. Joan Chen, Hong Kong/United States)