Everyone’s experienced it. That one life changing movie that opened your eyes. Whether it made you cry, laugh or understand the meaning of love. We’ve all had the pleasure of coming to terms with difficult subjects through the medium of film. Below, we’re going to take a look at 20 of the most life changing movies and in NO particular order, we might add:-
1. The Name of the Rose (1986)
This was the debut novel by Umberto Eco. Originally titled ‘Der Name der Rose’, this mystery-thriller is set in 1327 in a Benedictine Abbey and stars British actor Sean Connery as an intellectually nonconformist monk, who investigates a series of mysterious deaths in an abbey. The film also stars a young (and at the time, up and coming) Christian Slater.
2. Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Arguably one of the best movies ever made, Shawshank Redemption tops most people’s lists. Based on the novel by Stephen King, the movie is brought to life by director Frank Darabont. It follows the story of Andy Dufresne, who is wrongfully imprisoned over the murder of his wife and her lover. He bonds with entrepreneurial prisoner Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding and finds solace and ultimately redemption through acts of common decency.
3. Schindler’s List (1993)
Based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, this is one of the most heart wrenching stories of all time. It deals with one of the most difficult subjects imaginable – the Holocaust. It stars Liam Neeson as Schindler, a member of the Nazi party, who gradually comes to care for his Jewish workforce, leading him to ultimately save some 1,200 Jews from the horror of Auschwitz.
4. Frida (2002)
Nominated for six Academy Awards, ‘Frida’ chronicles the life of Frida Kahlo, an exceptional woman who lived an unforgettable life. The product of humble beginnings, everything from her complex relationship with husband Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina) and controversial affair with Leon Trotsky are presented in this uncompromising portrayal of one of Mexico’s greatest artists.
5. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Jack Nicholson stars as McMurphy, a man with a troubled past, who pleads insanity to escape labour duties in prison in this drama. Upon experiencing abuse and degradation at the hands of oppressive Nurse Ratched, Nicholson’s character must unite the inmates and make a stand. Quite simply, one of Nicholson’s finest roles.
6. Il Postino: The Postman (1994)
The life of a small island fisherman is dramatically changed forever in this heart-warming romantic comedy. Mario, a shy and clumsy local is hired to be the postman of famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, ultimately leading him to muster the courage to win the heart of beautiful waitress Beatrice.
7. The Green Mile (1999)
Set in the 1930’s, Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) and a group of Death Row guards are faced with a difficult moral dilemma when John Coffey, a most kind hearted large man is sent there. Wrongfully convicted of murder and rape, they soon learn he has a special gift.
8. American Beauty (1999)
Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) is a husband, father and advertising executive. He lives a typical, happy suburban life. At least, on the outside. His wife, Carolyn Burnham is having an affair and his daughter is slipping further and further away. He suffers a midlife crisis when he becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter’s best friend (played by Mena Suvari).
9. In the Name of the Father (1993)
Based on the true story of Gerry Conlon, a Belfast man who along with four friends, his father and relatives are wrongly implicated in the IRA bombing of a pub that kills several people. Imprisoned, they spend fifteen years trying to prove their innocence with the help of British attorney, Gareth Peirce.
10. My Left Foot (1989)
Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Christy Brown. Born with cerebral palsy to a poor Irish family, he is ignored by much of the world. His mother, Mrs Brown, sees his true potential. Eventually, he learns to paint and write using his only controllable limb – his left foot. It’s a truly inspirational movie. Even more so that, once again, it’s based on a real story.
11. Once (2006)
A musical that follows ‘Guy,’ an Irish singer and songwriter who spends his days fixing vacuum cleaners for his father and playing music in the local pubs in Dublin. On the verge of quitting music all together, he meets a Czech immigrant flower seller, ‘Girl’, who refuses to let him give up on his dream. The Academy-Award winning film has since become a smash-hit musical in the West End and on Broadway.
12. The Truman Show (1998)
Jim Carrey is Truman Burbankis, a successful business man. He’s married and has many friends. Though, his life is turned upside down when he finds out that every moment of his life, since birth, has been filmed and watched by millions. Furthermore, the world he has come to know is little more than a Hollywood film set.
13. Rain Man (1988)
Charlie Babbitt is a self-centered Los Angeles car dealer. His father leaves his entire fortune, totalling some $3 million, to his savant – and formerly unknown – brother, Raymond. In order to get his fair share of the inheritance, Charlie steals his brother and the two then embark on a once in a lifetime road trip.
14. Forrest Gump (1994)
Tom Hank stars as a man with who has accomplished many great things, despite his low I.Q. Having been present at many key events throughout his life, there’s one thing that’s eluded him – true love. His childhood sweetheart, Jenny Curran, is a wild child who leaves her small town to pursue bigger dreams. Yet, the loveable Forrest never gives up. It’s a testament to the human spirit.
15. The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are two star-crossed lovers in ‘The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’. Though their relationship is perfect at the start, it later turns sour, leading them to perform an experimental procedure to have each other erased from their memories. Though, it is only through this that they discover the love they truly shared.
16. City of God (2002)
Set in Rio de Janeiro, the film follows the story of two brothers growing up in a violent neighbourhood of the city’s slums. Despite sharing the same start in life, they each take radically different paths. One becomes a photographer, and the other, a drug dealer.
17. Dead Man Walking (1995)
Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn) is a convicted murderer on death row, and Sister Helen Prejean (Susan Sarandon) is the nun who accepts his plea for help. Over the course of the film, she comes to care for both the killer and the victims’ families.
18. Braveheart (1995)
There’s certain film epics that come along once in a lifetime. Braveheart, is one of them. William Wallace, begins an uprising against the English and their tyrannically ruler, Edward the Longshanks, after his secret bride is executed for assaulting a soldier.
19. The Wicker Man (1973)
Yes, we’re talking about the Christopher Lee classic here, not the Nicolas Cage remake. It’s set in on a small Scottish island, where a police sergeant is sent in search of a missing girl. The only problem? The townsfolk claim she never existed.
20. The Godfather (1972)
An absolute masterpiece in movie making history, The Godfather’s ensemble cast stars Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, as a father and son duo. The former (Brando), the aging patriarch of an organized crime family transfers control of his empire to his reluctant son (Pacino).
How many of these truly life changing movies have you seen? They’re certainly movies that everyone should experience at least once in their life time. If you haven’t had a chance yet, be sure to do so! You’ll not regret it. Since writing this article even more movies have now come to mind. So I will be publishing a part II in the coming months.