Ten Must-Watch Films
For impactful storytelling

Are you an aspiring filmmaker hungry for inspiration and insight? Look no further. We’ve curated a list of ten films that every budding filmmaker should watch. From timeless classics to modern masterpieces, these films offer a wealth of knowledge and creativity to fuel your own cinematic journey. Grab your popcorn and let’s dive in:


Hailed as an absolute masterpiece, the cinematic gem that is Citizen Kane (1941) stands as a revolutionary achievement under the brilliant direction of Orson Welles. This cinematic marvel weaves the tale of Charles Kane, unraveling his enigmatic history through the lens of a mysterious reporter. Venture into a realm where power, identity, and the relentless search for significance intertwine in a mesmerizing dance of themes. Welles’ use deep focus and a daring non-linear narrative shattered conventional norms and etching a fine mark in the annals of film history. Even in our contemporary era, this timeless story holds up incredibly well, its influence continuing to shape the essence of modern storytelling.

2. seven samurai

A cinematic marvel from Akira Kurosawa, Seven Samurai (1954) centers on a group of seven warriors banding together to defend a vulnerable village from bandits. Its historical significance lies in its lasting influence on storytelling and action-adventure genres, setting a new benchmark for character development, innovative cinematography, and emotional resonance that continues to inspire filmmakers and audiences to this day. The film’s elegant portrayal of themes like honor, sacrifice, and camaraderie highlight the power of unity in the face of adversity. Living in our mind’s eyes, Kurosawa’s gorgeously-rendered black-and-white visuals not only evoke a sense of timeless elegance but poetically captures the nuances of human expression.

3. Apocalypse Now

Under the tactful direction of Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now (1979) closely traces the odyssey of Captain Willard, who undertakes a perilous mission to locate and eradicate Colonel Kurtz, a once-loved officer now consumed by insanity. Within this gripping narrative, the film delves deep into the convoluted layers of the human psyche during times of conflict, erasing the lines between morality and brutality while laying bare the destructive influence of power. The true brilliance of the film resonates in its poignant portrayal of the difficult aftermath of war, mirroring the fatigue and disillusionment that pervaded the era.

4. Pulp fiction

Pulp Fiction (1994) tactfully intertwines the destinies of diverse characters through a narrative that defies chronology, creating a tapestry of crime, cleverness, and serendipitous intersections. The movie deftly navigates themes of ethical ambiguity, the pursuit of salvation, and the capriciousness of destiny, delivering an eerie voyage into the realm of human actions and decisions. By employing creative narrative techniques and distinct character dynamics, the movie’s enduring influence continues to echo in modern filmmaking, inspiring upcoming generations of imaginative storytellers.

5. Shawshank redemption

Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption (1994) traces the odyssey of Andy Dufresne, unjustly incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit. The movie’s core themes of hope, camaraderie, and fortitude infuse every frame, underscoring humanity’s ability to conquer challenges. The film’s lasting impact is rooted in its depiction of resolute perseverance and the profound sway of companionship, creating an enduring masterpiece that resonates with audiences across generations.

6. Pan's Labyrinth

Guided by the deft hand of Guillermo del Toro, Pan’s Labyrinth invites us into the captivating realm of young Ofelia, who stumbles upon a mythical labyrinth amidst the harsh aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. The movie seamlessly intertwines an enchanting fusion of fantasy and reality. Core themes of innocence, bravery, and the might of imagination take center stage, illuminating Ofelia’s flight from the atrocities of her era. The film’s ultimate significance rests in its singular narrative approach, exemplifying the potency of imagination as a tool for confronting the shadows of reality.

7. birdman

Birdman (2014) thrusts us into the frenzied realm of Riggan Thomson, a once-celebrated actor known for his superhero portrayal, now striving to rejuvenate his career with a Broadway venture. The film delves into the pursuit of validation, the quest for artistic integrity, and the nebulous boundary between reality and illusion. The film is notorious for using long, uninterrupted camera shots to immerse the audience in the present moment. This inventive technique, combined with its exploration of fame and self-worth, distinguishes Birdman amidst its contemporaries.

8. mad max: fury road

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) catapults us into a post-apocalyptic realm, following Max Rockatansky and Furiosa as they unite to liberate captive women from the grip of the oppressive Immortan Joe. This adrenaline-pumping odyssey of action and survival accentuates themes of liberation, defiance, and solidarity against despotism. The film’s revolutionary employment of practical effects and stunts revolutionized the action genre, establishing an unprecedented benchmark for exhilarating thrills on the big screen.

9. Get out

Jordan Peele’s captivating debut Get Out (2017) acquaints us with Chris, a young Black man, who embarks on his first visit to his white girlfriend’s family, only to find himself in a swiftly unsettling and eerie predicament. The film stands as an intelligent and contemplative horror-thriller, delving into themes of race, identity, and social critique. Peele’s magic is amplified by the film’s bold exploration of racism and the appropriation of culture, prompting reflection on deep matters amidst heart-pounding tension and cementing its distinct stance within the realm of horror.

10. parasite

The Oscar-winning Parasite (2019) quietly explores the dynamics between two families of differing social classes – one prosperous, the other broke – whose lives unexpectedly intertwine. The film skillfully mixes dark humor with social commentary, examining themes of inequality, greed, and the pursuit of dreams. Its groundbreaking success as a non-English language film shattered national barriers, demonstrating the universal power of captivating storytelling that resonates worldwide.

films that elevate your storytelling journey

Thanks for checking out this list. Within each of these films lies a wealth of profound insight and a captivating exploration of techniques, all of which have the potential to enrich and guide your personal journey in storytelling. Whether you’re interested in storytelling, cinematography, sound design, or directing, these narratives are a treasure trove of practical wisdom, ready for you to harness and apply in your own creative pursuits.