Plenty of movies are good, light-hearted fun. Maybe it’s a family-friendly animated flick, the newest superhero action extravaganza, or a romantic comedy worthy of a date night with your significant other. But not these movies. Not even close.
These movies all deal with the extremely dark and disturbing subject matter. But that doesn’t mean they should be ignored completely. Indeed, some of these movies are celebrated pieces of cinematic art, while others are relegated to the status of “cult classic” in their particular genre. They don’t all make this list for the same reason, though. Some are graphically violent. Some display the absolute worst of humanity. Some are just twisted horror films that make you wonder if the writers and/or directors might secretly be serial killers in their free time.
Here are 20 movies that any cinephile should make time to watch — but probably only once.
20. Schindler’s List (1993)
We’ll kick things off with Schindler’s List, which is easily the best film on this entire list. It did win Best Picture (plus six other Oscars) at the 66th Academy Awards, after all. Steven Spielberg’s amazing film about the real-life Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of over 1,000 Polish Jews during the Holocaust by giving them jobs in his factories.
Originally only motivated by greed, Schindler is deeply affected after witnessing several Nazi atrocities. Despite being a wealthy and influential member of the Nazi Party, Schindler secretly makes plans to save as many lives as he can, blowing his entire fortune in the process. The movie is powerful and emotional, but also a stark reminder of the unspeakable evils that existed not even a century ago. In the end, Schindler is still left feeling incredibly ashamed of his actions, wishing he could have done more.