Making a list of the 10 most iconic movies that we will never forget is not an easy venture considering that there are millions of films out there and no one has seen all of them. Still, out of these countless pictures that have graced the cinemas over the years, there are movies that stand apart in a league of their own. The most iconic movies are those that forever altered the landscape of cinema. Movies that told deeply moving stories, inspired, transfixed, changed, and encouraged viewers to feel deeply what is being shown to them. Here is our list of ten of such movies we will always remain proud of.
10 Most Iconic Movies To Hit The Screen
1. Citizen Kane (1941)
Depending on whom you ask, Citizen Kane is the most iconic movie ever made. It tells the story of a wealthy media mogul and the scramble that journalists go on to figure out the meaning of the last word he said before he died. As they go on their search, we witness the rise and fall of the man’s life, his weaknesses, hurts, and everything in between. It’s a classic tale of greed and unending search for happiness.
It is one of the most complex and breathtaking movies you will ever see and the story will follow you everywhere, even after the credits are done rolling. The director, Orson Welles, manages to compress a lifetime of memories into just a few goosebump scenes, each one more magnificent than the last.
2. Casablanca (1943)
Casablanca is not an iconic movie simply because of the way it masterfully blends elements of humor, romance, and intrigue, but because of the characters. They can hardly be described as heroes; they are just regular people seeking out practical methods for survival, which in the time when the movie was set meant looking out for your neck and minding your business alone.
The movie is beautifully shot in a manner that makes it almost impossible for you to tear your eyes away from the screen. The flaws and vulnerabilities of the characters are splayed open for everyone to see. Every scene pulls you in: the use of lights and shadows, even the music wafting through the air is ominous yet full of promise. No matter how many times you see it, Casablanca never loses its spell but becomes fresher with each new viewing. That is the mark of an iconic movie.
3. The Godfather (1972)
This Academy Award-winning film by Francis Ford Coppola is based on the novel of the same name written by Mario Puzo. It follows an Italian-American mafia family, the Corleones, as they struggle to maintain internal unity and power over their extensive crime empire. The Godfather has some of the most unforgettable dialogues and sequences ever seen on screen.
Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, and James Caan put in their career-best performances in the movie. At the 45th Academy Awards in 1973, The Godfather picked up ten award nominations and took home three including Best Picture and Best Actor. You cannot call yourself a lover of movies if you haven’t seen this film.
4. Raging Bull (1980)
Raging Bull was directed by Martin Scorcese and features Robert De Niro as a boxing champion named Jake LaMotta whose jealousy and impotence takes expression through chilling violence. Raging Bull is an iconic movie we will always remain proud of because it explores salient issues that a lot of people can relate to. What happens when a man loses what he feels is the essence of his masculinity; how does he begin to articulate and contend with such a reality?
There is a particular scene in Raging Bull where Jake LaMotta is watching TV with his brother when his wife comes in, says hello, gives her brother-in-law a kiss and goes upstairs. The boxer finds this really unsettling and begins quizzing his brother relentlessly in order to get him to admit to something he doesn’t know. He is powerless and unable to stop himself from pushing everyone he loves over the edge even if it means tumbling down right after them.
5. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Adapted from a Stephen King novel, The Shawshank Redemption is an uplifting story about two convicts who develop a close friendship in prison. Their relationship is full of many beautiful and heartwarming moments which center around life, hope, violence, and of course, redemption. Although the movie wasn’t very popular when it was first released, it has since attracted a cult following and is widely regarded as one of the most iconic movies ever made.
Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins star as the leads and their performances are magnificent. The movie has many quotable one-liners and has continued to inspire people more than 20 years after it first graced our screens.
6. Notorious (1946)
Let’s be honest, only Alfred Hitchcock can make the kind of movies he made. He seemed to have a secret magic formula that only he knew about and could use to make turn every script he touches into a deeply fascinating spectacle. It is no wonder he is fondly referred to as The Master. He was incredibly skilled at spinning a web of suspense that traps the viewers’ emotions and refuses to let go.
In Notorious, he pairs Ingrid Bergman with Cary Grant and Claude Rains in a tragic love triangle. Grant asks Bergman, who loves him absolutely to seduce a Nazi spy, Rains. She agrees but he then interprets her decision as proof that she is a notorious woman and he keeps on misconstruing her actions. Rains, albeit the villain, is willing to die for her but he can’t seem to break away from the strings of his domineering mother. The constant tug and pull of emotions on the screen will have you in your feelings in no time. Easy to see why this is one of the most iconic movies ever made.
7. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Stanley Kubrick performed a somewhat miraculous feat in the making of A Space Odyssey. He completely transformed the way people made movies or thought about their essence. The beauty of the movie is that it did not rely on narrative to sell the story but on special effects and images. The premise of the movie is simply fantastical. An ape learns how to use a bone as a weapon, flings it into the air and finds it transformed into a spaceship, which then takes man away from the burdens of this planet into a whole new world.
It has been several decades since the film hit the cinemas and relentless debates about its meaning are still going on. Perhaps, that is the point of A Space Odyssey – there is more to life than the meanings we ascribe to it. The movie asks the viewer to step out of the habits of their mind and dare to see things differently even if we do not understand them.
8. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Before the movies were ever released, very few people could imagine that it was possible to adapt J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy novel series into films that would really do justice to the beauty of the books. Peter Jackson was the director who bet on himself and proved all the naysayers wrong. Each of the movie installments in the trilogy is a wonder to behold, but the final chapter, The Return of the Ring, is the icing on top of the cake.
The battle sequences, story progression, character development, and sheer emotional and cinematic spectacle that plays out in the film marks it as one of the most iconic movies of all time.
9. The Matrix (1999)
When The Matrix arrived, everyone agreed that nothing like it had ever been seen before. This classic cyberpunk, sci-fi thriller spins a web of conspiracy in a world where humans have been turned into unthinking slaves by machines. In the futuristic setting where this iconic movie unfolds, humans are being used as batteries that power computers that create simulations that deceive us into thinking our lives are happy, normal, and safe. However, Neo (Keanu Reeves) and his coterie of leather-clad renegades are determined to bring back reality and liberate humankind no matter what it takes.
The Matrix is an insightful take on the advance of the digital era and its tendency to create illusions that keep us away from the truths of our existence.
10. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Quentin Tarantino is seated at the high table of filmmakers. He has given movie-lovers some of the most iconic movies that will never be forgotten in the history of cinema. The unique way he blends almost senseless violence with comedy works like a slap on the face because it shakes you awake. Pulp Fiction is considered as Tarantino’s masterpiece and it’s difficult to disagree.
The movie unravels the story of crime and life in the Los Angeles underworld. It is fast-paced, unpredictable, and packed with witty dialogues that are impossible to forget. It is further elevated by the interesting array of characters who are trying to make the best out of their bad situations and a soundtrack that brings it all home.