Whenever I see one of those lists of ‘classic’ movies that everyone should see, I realise there’s quite a sizeable hole in my movie-watching, but even I was shocked by how few of Film 4’s 50 Films to See Before You Die I’d actually seen. Out of the 50, there were only 16 I’d seen. As a person who sees a lot of movies, this seemed like something I should rectify.

It’s mainly, but not exclusively, the older films I haven’t seen on these various must-see lists. I’m pretty good at crossing off recent releases, but going back and watching classics is something I don’t often have time to do. There are plenty of other movies that are considered classics that I haven’t seen either, so I decided to combine Film 4’s list with the movies I hadn’t seen from IMDB’s Top 50, leaving me with the grand total of 46 movies to try to watch. I doubt I’ll get to see them all – I suspect some of the Film 4 ones might be hard to find on TV or on Amazon streaming. I’m not going to put any sort of time limit on myself for this either, it might be a long-term mission.

So this is my list:

The Apartment
Citizen Kane
North by Northwest
All About Eve
2001: A Space Odyssey
Apocolypse Now
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Fanny and Alexander
Double Indemnity
The Usual Suspects
Touch of Evil
Three Colours Blue
The Ladykillers
The Ipcress File
Secrets and Lies
This Sporting Life
Sexy Beast
The King of Comedy
Princess Mononoke
Pan’s Labryinth
Fight Club
Dr Strangelove
Dawn of the Dead
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
A Night at the Opera
Mullholland Drive
Heavenly Creatures
Pink Flamingoes
Raising Arizona
The Good the Bad and the Ugly
Angry Men
Seven Samurai
Once Upon a Time in the West
Life is Beautiful
American History X
City Lights
Spirited Away
Rear Window
Modern Times
Sunset Blvd

I find it quite incredible that I haven’t seen Apocolypse Now, Psycho, The Usual Suspects (I started to watch it once, but got bored), or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It makes me feel quite ignorant as a keen movie fan!

I decided to start off by watching Mulholland Drive, as it was on my Amazon Prime for free. I love Twin Peaks, so I went into it with high hopes. It was quite watchable for the first half, but when it got to the part with Betty and the blue box (I don’t think that’s a spoiler), it ceased to make any kind of sense. I even rewound it because I thought I’d missed a bit, but no, it had just descended into utter nonsense. For a film that people rave about so much, it was very disappointing. In fact, I’m struggling to think of anything I liked about this movie, aside from maybe Rita’s costumes.


Feeling a little bit dim, I googled Mulholland Drive, and one of the top links was “Mulholland Drive plot explanation”. I read a Guardian article about it where they asked six film critics to make sense of the plot. None of them came up with the same explanation, and all of them pretty much admitted that they didn’t really understand it. So I felt a little better about not really getting it. I’m not sure what the point is of a film where the plot is so impenetrable that six film critics couldn’t even make sense of it.

This is a problem I’ve found quite often with ‘classic’ or ‘must-see’ movies – they rarely live up to the hype. I’m going to persevere though, and try to cross off a few more from my list. Hopefully the next one I see will be a bit easier to understand than Mulholland Drive…