12 Best Movies to Learn Filmmaking From

There are always some moments in a movie or an act that makes you go, ” Damn! How did they shoot that thing?” Movies can intrigue and move a person so much that he/she might actually end up getting interested in film-making. If you are from the 2000s era, you might be familiar with the film schools that help people in this career.

Definitely, movies inspire and influence thousands of people worldwide, and some of them are so good that one can literally learn the art of filmmaking from them. So, here is a list of the best movies that might help you to learn filmmaking.

Best Movies To Learn Filmmaking

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Directed by Frank Darabont, The Shawshank Redemption is known as one of the best films ever made. The storytelling, plot setup, and most importantly capturing the essence of an unusual view – “Shawshank Prison” is rather impressive and realistic.

“I guess it comes down to a simple choice.  Get busy living or get busy dying.”

Though it is on the slower side in terms of progression, it will never bore you. Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is wrongly convicted for murder and ended up in life imprisonment. You should watch this movie in order to know what strong will can take even if you have lost all your hope.

2. The Godfather (1972)

Francis Ford Coppola did a mesmerizing job of highlighting the definition to essential parts of the frame which were very precise and yet descriptive in their own way. He used the three-point lighting in a manner that just smoothly blends in the movie.

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) has his empire of mafia and crime in New York and wants to transfer his powers to the son who was reluctant of the idea. The movie is filled with thrill, action, and suspense making it a movie that has everything. It inspired a whole lot of people to create a crime drama, like this legendary one.

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3. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain is one of the greatest screen musical ever made. It’s a romantic musical that will bring a smile to your face no matter how many times you have seen the movie. A romantic movie being family-friendly is hard to find, but this movie is the perfect example of an innocent romance.

Well, we movie stars get the glory. I guess we have to take the little heartaches that go with it. People think we lead lives of glamour and romance, but we’re really lonely – terribly lonely.

The movie is about Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) who were portrayed as an on-screen couple during the transition of the silent film era of Hollywood. For the sake of cheap publicity, they were made an off-screen couple to the audience but Don falls in love with the lady that dubbed his co-star, Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds).

4. In the Mood for Love (2000)

Kar Wai-Wong made an excellent attempt of using texture, color, and hypnotic visuals to express the repressed views of the characters. The sensual red is also put to use often for the heightened impact on the audience. This is one of the movies that made him familiar to the international audience.

I didn’t know married life would be so complicated. When you’re single, you are only responsible for yourself. Once you’re married, doing well on your own is not enough.

Chow Mo-Wan (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) and Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung) have grown to be friends after the two of them have moved into the same building with their spouses. But discovering that their spouses were cheating, they found comfort in their friendship but took an oath to have a platonic bond.

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5. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

This movie is based on Steinbeck’s iconic novel and John Ford has made an exceptional job of recreating the emotional story of The Joads. Although the movie is in black and white, storytelling does the job of covering the fact.

Wherever there’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there.

The poor Joads are forced off from their habitat and have moved to California, where they hardly manage to live independently. Their land and farm had been seized by the bank, which makes it all the more awful. Dive into the emotion-wrecking movie that visually depicts the hardships of a poor family.

6. The Revenant (2015)

The movie was directed by Alejandro, that brought “The Oscar” for himself and Leonardo Di Caprio (the one award he longed for). The setup is snowy and spell-boundlessly beautiful with a plot that is one of a kind.

This film has bagged 3 Oscars for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Best Achievement in Directing, and Best Achievement in Cinematography respectively. Thus, making it the best movie of the year 2016.

As long as you can still grab a breath, you fight.

The Revenant shows how Hugh Glass (Leonardo Di Caprio), a frontiersman fighting for his survival on the snowy mountains after being left out and betrayed by his comrades.

You can watch The Revenant officially here on Netflix!

7. Children of Men (2006)

Alfonso Cuaron sets up the story of the fictional world in 2027, where females have lost fertility due to unknown reasons. The plot is beautifully drawn into the fact that it is a future world with technological advancement. The details of the movie are astounding.

As the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in. Very odd, what happens in a world without children’s voices.

In a world full of infertile women, only England has a few of them, making it the busiest country. The story involves a former activist Theo Faron (Clive Owen), working with his ex-wife to transport a pregnant woman.

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8. America, America (1963)

Elia Kazan did a wonderful job of portraying the history of his own uncle, which depicted what the Greek immigrants went through to be in America during the 19th century. This movie was awarded the best American film of the year! (1963)

You have to look out for yourself in this world, you know. The only bad times I had were when I was soft or human. You can’t afford to be human. People take advantage.

In Anatolia, the Greeks and Armenians were oppressed by the majority – Turks. Stratvos (Stathis Giallelis), a Greek man wanted to make it big and settle in America no matter what by leaving his homeland in Anatolia.

9. Days of Heaven (1978)

Director Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven has absolutely the best lighting as if every shot was taken at the magical hour of the day when the light just blends with the characters making it seem realistic. The landscape of Texas is very detailed and descriptive in the movie.

“Nobody’s perfect. There was never a perfect person around. You just have half-angel and half-devil in you.”

Bill (Richard Gere) and Abby (Brooke Adams) tried to skip poverty by letting Abby marry a rich and seriously ill farmer (Sam Shepard) so that they can claim the riches after he dies. But things start to get complicated when the farmer didn’t die thus, making it complicated for Bill and Abby. The treacherous love triangle is followed by the unimaginable drama that won’t let you leave your seat until the movie is over.

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10. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

The stunning snowcapped Old west is vividly shown by the director of the movie, Robert Altman. The cinematographer also did an excellent job in capturing the interior wooden textures (found in that era), and the frames were more than delightful to watch.

If a man is fool enough to get into business with a woman, she ain’t going to think much of him.

The movie is about a gambler named John McCabe (Warren Beatty) and Mrs. Miller (Julie Christie), who pair up to open a whorehouse. It was going all good until the mining company wanted to buy the whole of it and John was in no mood to sell his tavern. The conflict led to many setbacks that followed one after another.

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11. The Passion of Anna (1969)

The cinematographer Sven Nykvist also called the “master of light,” worked on this film and has shown the use of natural light in various ways to create stark, expressive, and vivid images. The movie is filmed in such a manner so that not only the actress stands out, but also her emotions are detailed to the audience.

I didn’t think life could look like that. I didn’t think life would be a daily suffering.

Anna (Liv Ullmann) has lost her family, and Andreas (Max von Sydow) is still in the trance of the divorce life he is facing. Both had their share of psychological turmoils, but upon meeting gets involved in a love affair. An emotional film depicting both sides of the sorrow, that life makes us face.

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12. Dead Man (1995)

The extensive use of low-light imaging, nighttime shooting, and naturalism is astounding. The Native American culture is well versed in the movie with multiple references to the poetry of William Blake. It has been considered an inspiration to many cinematographers of various generations.

The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn from the crow.

William Blake (Johnny Depp) is chased by the bounty hunters for killing a man but meets a person named “Nobody” who suggests him to move into the spiritual world as he was thought to be the reincarnation of the English poet, William Blake. An unusual ride of the monochrome spiritual world might give you the thrill and excitement you are looking for.

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FAQs On Movies To Learn Filmmaking

1. Name some film school movies.

Some film school movies are:
– The Social Network.
– Clueless.
– Boyhood.
– Forrest Gump.
– Moonlight.

2. Which movies have the greatest cinematography?

Some movies that have the greatest cinematography are:
– The Revenant.
– Gravity.
– Blade Runner 2049.
– There Will Be Blood.
– Birdman.

3. Name some films every film student should see.

Films that every student should see are:
– A Trip to the Moon.
– The General.
– The Passion of Joan of Arc.
– Seven Samurai.
– Breathless.