50 Movies All Guys Should See Before They Die
Classic movies like Bullit, Easy Rider, The French Connection, amongst others, are guy movies, but our list is a modern guide (past 20 years). The movies in this list are pretty much everything that chick flicks are not: any or all of bad ass cars, ass-kickings, kick-ass girls, scary monsters, super creeps, outrageous or immature comedy, with the occasional bit of real emotional or intellectual depth. It’s not necessarily about an award-winning film, though we’ve included lots of those. It’s about the elements of a guy movie. Some of these should be seen for the actors/ acting, some for the story, others for the cinematography or special effects, and still others for more obscure reasons that are harder to define well.
Enjoy, and feel free to commend us or tell us how dumb we are for forgetting YOUR fave guy movie. But beg, borrow, torrent, buy, rent, pay per view, and pass the buttered Orville, please. In each of the five main sections (#50-41, #40-31, etc.), to see a larger poster, trailer, and movie details, please click on the movie title.
Please also note that much of the content in these movies, and sometimes the video trailers, is intended for adults and might be occasionally be NSFW. View with discretion.
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that amongst our “50 guy movies” list, many of the same directors and actors show up multiple times. Some directors have an understanding of what makes a guy movie, and some actors are just suited to such roles. So we’re not making an intentional shrine to Quentin Tarantino, Guy Ritchie and Frank Miller. It just appears that way.
50. Revolver. Revolver’s story and camera work is well-thought out, yet another misunderstood movie from Guy Ritchie – a master of the “guy movie’ genre. Jason Statham plays an ex-con who becomes a successful gambler, thanks to a formula, but comes to the negative attention of a crime boss.
49. Joy Ride. This is an early co-writing effort from Lost’s and Cloverfield’s J.J. Abrams. Despite its low-budget feel and non-originality, it’s actually quite compelling – possibly because the actors aren’t big enough yet to be larger than life, adding an authenticity. Perfect viewing for all you pranksters out there.
48. Natural Born Killers. NBK is amongst one of the most violent American films made but meant in fact to be a satire of the violence in American media and entertainment, and shows how media makes superstars of criminals, whether intentionally or incidentally.
47. The Limey. Terence Stamp is a British ex-con who learns of his daughter’s death in Los Angeles. Now, he’s out for vengeance upon the man whom he feels is responsible.
46. The Matador. Pierce Brosnan, once known for being a suave James Bond for female filmgoers, shows a different facet of his acting skills, portraying a comedic, neurotic hitman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
45. Insomnia. Insomnia brings together three great acting talents – Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank – trying to solve the murder of a young woman in an Alaska town.
44. Face/Off. Reason to watch: For the brilliant acting that Cage and Travolta needed to do to convince us that they actually swapped faces for real in the movie. I can’t think of any two other actors that could have pulled off this John Woo thriller classic.
43. American Psycho. If you’re wondering how it was that Christian Bale gave such a great performance as a much grittier Bruce Wayne/ Batman in Batman Begins (2005), watch American Psycho, about a Jekyll and Hyde-like investment banker who delves into his alter ego. Best lines: “I’m into murders and executions mostly,” says Bateman, to a girl in a nightclub.
42. Speed. Can a movie set on a speeding city bus be a thriller? Sure, if you throw in the conditions that it’s rush hour and the bus must not slow down, else a rigged bomb goes off. Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bulloch make it worth seeing this Oscar-winning thriller. Great scenes: when the bus jumps the gap in a highway overpass.
41. Black Snake Moan. Reasons to see this: A nearly unrecognizable Christina Ricci at her grittiest, Samuel L. Jackson possibly at his most zealous, and the incredible Delta Blues soundtrack. Dark, heavy, intense movie. Reasons not to see it: Christina Ricci as a trashy Rae, in shorts and skivvies, chained up by bad-ass Samuel L. Jackson – because it’s not as sleazy as the grindhouse-style poster might suggest.
40. Grosse Pointe Blank. Martin Q. Blank (John Cusack) is a neurotic hitman sent to his old haunting grounds, Grosse Pointe, where there’s a ten-year high school reunion party. Given his current profession, a reunion party isn’t exactly the best place to end up. Best lines: “What am I going to say? I killed the president of Paraguay with a fork. How’ve you been?”
39. Midnight Run. Jonathan Mardukas (Charles Grodin) is an embezzling accountant and the Mafia want their money back. The FBI want him too, and so do a couple of bounty hunters, including Jack Walsh (Robert De Niro), who captures him and learns to regret. Walsh can handle the rival bounty hunters, the Mafia hitmen, and eluding the FBI. What he can’t put up with is The Duke’s constant chattering in this hilarious action/ comedy.
38. Training Day. If you haven’t seen Training Day, you probably haven’t seen a narcotics cop driving a car with hydraulics and nice wheels, nor seen Snoop Dogg in a wheelchair, nor seen Denzel Washington as one of the meanest sumbitches around – a cop who has crossed the line. An incredibly gripping movie.
37. Hustle & Flow. Terrence Howard portrays a pimp, DJay, at a crossroads in his life, wanting take what he feels is his last chance to become a rapper/ emcee. He just has to get around all the people bringing him down. For all of you out there that have an aspiration.
36. Scent of a Woman. Pacino won the Best Actor Oscar in 1993 for his portrayal of the blind Lt. Col. Frank Slade, who loves living it up, including driving a Porsche at high speed.
35. Ocean’s Eleven. Danny Ocean (George Clooney) gets out of prison and is already plotting a casino heist. Not one casino but three. This remake of the 1960s Rat Pack original is entertaining and loaded with lots of great actors.
34. The Bourne Identity. What happens when you’re an elite secret agent but you not only lose your memory, but your own government now considers you a risk and is out to kill you? You get an action-packed thriller starring Matt Damon that keeps you wondering just how he’ll get out of this problem.
33. Donnie Brasco. Al Pacino is Lefty Ruggiero, a mob character who befriends and vouches for Donnie Brasco (Johnny Depp), an undercover FBI agent collecting evidence in order to take down members of organized crime. To betray Ruggiero or not is the decision Brasco has to make. Excellent performances from both of these fine actors and supporting cast.
32. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. A man (Philip Seymour Hoffman) with money problems due to drug addiction convinces his younger, weaker brother to help him rob their family’s jewelry store. Only the insurance company will suffer, right? But things go wrong. Director Sidney Lumet tells this story of family dysfunction from both a forward and reverse timeline, building up our knowledge of what went wrong with the robbery, as well as what defines and drives the characters.
31. When We Were Kings. This very engrossing documentary is a part of American cultural history, despite the fact that boxing match – called the Rumble in the Jungle – between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman too place in Zaire, in 1974. Float like a butterfly/ sting like a bee.
30. Collateral. Tom Cruise as a bad guy? A very rare occurrence. This hitman has some work to do, but he takes a cab to do his business. Jamie Foxx is the unlucky cab driver who tries to save the final target. A very convincing thriller.
29. Match Point. Your momma probably warned you about women like this, but most femme fatales have never looked as good as Scarlett Johansson. It’s not your daddy’s Woody Allen movies. Unlike most older Woody Allen movies, which are very cerebral, this one’s so much sexier because of Johansson’s quirky, sensual beauty.
28. Lucky Number Slevin. Josh Hartnett is Slevin Kelevra, who is mistaken for his friend, Nick, who owes a lot of money to The Rabbi (Ben Kingsley) and The Boss (Morgan Freeman), both crime lords, and is pursued by an assassin, Mr. Goodkat (Bruce Willis), and a detective. He has only lovely Lindsey (Lucy Liu) to help him solve Nick’s disappearance and get out of trouble. Best lines: Goodkat says, “I’m a world class asssassin, f**khead,” when asked by Slevin how he found him at the airport.
27. Carlito’s Way. Al Pacino stars as ex-con who wants to live a cleaner life. Except former associates, family, and his lawyer keep dragging him back into the life he once lived. Incredible performances from the supporting cast. Best lines: Pacino to the gang who killed his nephew in their bar, with an empty gun: “Here comes the pain”, followed by “I don’t invite this sh*t; it just comes to me” (in narration).
26. The Killer. John Woo might be considered Hong Kong’s equivalent of Quentin Tarantino. Some of Woo’s movies might in fact be more violent. In The Killer, the quietly charismatic Chow Yun-Fat, as Ah Jong, takes one last job, planning to retire and take care of a singer he accidentally blinded once, but gets double-crossed.
25. 300. This 5th century B.C. tale, based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel “300?, weaves history with incredible, violent battle scenes as King Leonidas defends Sparta against the Persians. As with other movies based on Miller’s graphic novels (e.g., Sin City, elsewhere in this list), the visual style tries to maintain the feel of a graphic novel.
24. Trainspotting. (The trainspotting was a male activity in 80s Britain and refers to a variety of obsessions.) The movie has one of the most wretched yet screamingly funny toilet scenes in cinema history. Keep in mind that it’s a drug movie, about a small group of friends and their way of coping with life, what they descend to to get by. Best lines: “For a vegetarian, Ren, you’re a f**king evil shite.” But be warned about some of the awful scenes that’ll follow. If you get through it all, hopefully you’ll get the point.
23. Snatch. No, we can’t understand what the hell Brad Pitt’s Mickey O’Neil is saying, either. But this is a Guy Ritichie film with Jason Statham, lots of very colorful characters, stolen diamonds, a lot of ass-kicking, and Brad Pitt as a Gypsy bare-knuckle fighter. A classic.
22. American Gangster. You don’t see Denzel Washington in too many villain roles. One was as a cop on the dark side in Training Day (elsewhere in this list). Another is in American Gangster, set in the 1970s, where he plays a Manhattan heroin kingpin. Russell Crowe plays the detective trying to bring him down.
21. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Guy Ritchie is a master at crime/ thrillers that have an injection of comedy. In this Lock, Stock, the lesson is: don’t play in crooked card games, especially when they’re run by someone named Hatchet Harry, who says you now owe him a half million Pounds. Don’t trump that mistake by trying to rob a gang who plan to rob a pot-growing operation.
20. Hot Fuzz. Ripsnortingly funny British cop movie from the Shaun of the Dead crew. ROTFLMAO. My stomach hurts so bad from laughing. Highly recommended if you like dry British humor (and even if you don’t). Sargeant Angel, an over-achieving London riot cop, gets sent to a station in the countryside, expecting a boring existence in a model, award-winning town that hasn’t had a murder in 20 years – only accidents. Or so they say.
19. Million Dollar Baby. The saying “you fight like a girl” takes on new meaning as a determined Hilary Swank tries to convince cranky Clint Eastwood to train her to box. Great lines: Morgan Freeman as narrator says, “People love violence…. Same people claim to love boxing… Boxing is about respect.” Clint Eastwood says to Hilary Swank, “I don’t train girls… Girly, tough ain’t enough.” A priest to Clint Eastwood, “There are no demi-gods you f**king pagan.” Basic message: even the toughest guys feel emotion sometimes.
18. The Big Lebowski. A Coen Brothers dark comedy masterpiece, starring Jeff Bridges and John Goodman, with several great supporting actors. Bridges is Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, mistaken by really bad guys for millionaire Jeffrey “The Big” Lebowski, who they’re looking for to clear up debts, incurred by his pretty young wife.
17. Kill Bill Vol 1, Vol 2. A witty feast for the mind, with lots of female assassins who beat on each other, kung fu, and typical Tarantino humor, violence and a great soundtrack (which Robert Rodriguez and RZA produced). Kill Bill was released as two “volumes”, but you really need to watch both of them together to make any real sense of them. Not to mention, “Bill” doesn’t show his face until Vol 2. You only hear his voice and see his hand wiping the face of Uma Thurman’s character, The Bride. Best scene (vol 1): When “The Bride” faces 50 or 60 assassins with only her sword. Great line: Lucy Liu to Uma Thurman: “Silly Caucasian girl likes to play with Samurai swords.”
16. Braveheart. While there are some historical inaccuracies, Mel Gibson’s Braveheart shows the struggle of 13th Century Scotsman William Wallace, in his efforts to overthrow British rule. Highlights: incredible cinematography and well-executed battle scenes.
15. Sin City. If not for all the great acting talent, and not for the great directors (Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino), then watch it for the fact this is an incredible visual adaptation of Frank Miller’s Sin City graphic novels. The black and white with red style really pops out, adding an unusual dimension to the photography.
14. No Country For Old Men. The Coen Brothers are master filmmakers. This movie, which won them 4 Oscars and another 83 awards, including Best Supporting actor for Javier Bardem and Best Picture. Bardem plays a cold-blooded, determined killer who goes after stolen drug money, using a shotgun and a compressed-air cattle gun as his weapons.
13. Se7en/ Seven. A self-righteous, diabolical serial killer takes it upon himself to violently eliminate people who violate the seven deadly sins. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, who both give admirable performances, are the detectives on a mission to capture the killer.
12. The Usual Suspects. Best line: While discussing the possibly imaginary crime lord Keyser Soze, Kevin Spacey’s character says, “The best trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
11. Goodfellas. One of the best mob movies, and based on a true story. See it for Joe Pesci’s Oscar-winning portrayal of a hair-trigger, ultra-violent Tommy DeVito, who finds a way to be offended about anything and everything. Multiple great actors, and many you might recognize from The Sopranos TV series.
Here it is – our choice for the top 10 modern guy movies.
10. Crank. Want an excuse for having sex in public? This movie has it, and utilizes it several times, not to mention car chases, guns and Jason Statham as a professional assassin – a guy movie mainstay. Brilliant.
9. Casino Royale. This is a grittier James Bond than portrayed by Pierce Brosnan or Timothy Dalton. Daniel Craig is both debonair and tough – he’s got steel ones as well as real feelings. Dame Judi Dench plays a tough M. One of the most sophisticated Bond movies made, and shows the origins of Bond becoming an agent. (This is not a remake per se, as I’d originally stated. The original Casino Royale was a Bond spoof starring David Niven.)
8. Grindhouse. Russ Meyer, eat your heart out. This is intentional b-movie madness like it’s never been done before. Not one but two great directors, two flicks in one (Planet Terror/ Death Proof), hot chicks, fast cars, big guns, and scantily-clad hot chicks with big guns. What more do you want? Okay, guest directors and a list of writers that include “zombie rock” legend Rob Zombie.
7. Heat. This has guy movie written all over it, and not just for the fact that it has both Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Heat is a long but intense thriller worth watching, with De Niro as a professional criminal performing big heists, and Pacino as the cop trying to take him and his crew down.
6. Gladiator. What could be more “guy” than a guy fighting tigers in a colosseum? A man who loses his wife and child, and goes from being a general to a slave to a gladiator fighting man, beast and empire, in a multiple award-winning movie.
5. Die Hard. This is the epitome of guy movies. Bruce Willis as Officer John McClane kicks the butts of twelve terrorists who take an officer tower hostage, in order to steal over $600M in bearer bonds.
4. Unforgiven. This is the way a Western – a genre all about bravado – should be, and given to us by a master filmmaker, Clint Eastwood. It’s a movie that some people call “the last Western.”
3. Reservoir Dogs. Star-studded, foul-mouthed, politically incorrect, and lots of violence, blood and gore, with an ending not to be missed. Reservoir Dogs is Quentin Tarantino’s seconddirecting effort, and the mostly unchanging scenery adds to the intensity.
2. Fight Club. The trailers for this film don’t do it justice. In fact, they give the completely wrong idea of what it’s about. Of course, they really can’t reveal too much, else there goes the story. It is about guys fighting, but not quite in the way you might expect.
1. Pulp Fiction. Some of the greatest lines, jammed-packed with great actors, and a combo of violence and humor. Typical Tarantino flick with a great soundtrack, not to mention a great dance sequence between Uma Thurman and John Travolta.