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10 Best Friendship Movies of All Time

Updated August 8, 2018
8 min read

Ever thought what life would be like without those few people or those priceless, insignificant moments that we yearn to savor? People play their parts in our lives. Some walk away from our lives, leaving an imprint while some stay with us for eternity in all our memories of absolute joy and sorrow. And as human beings, it’s those people and those mundane moments that enrich our lives with priceless memories we’d take to our grave. Cinema has abundantly gifted us with films that speak about the warmest human relationship ever. Friendship. This article takes a look at list of top friendship movies ever. You can watch some of these best friendship movies on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. Some of the films on this list are about love and friendship.

10. Cinema Paradiso (1988)

I wouldn’t know how to categorize this film. ‘Cinema Paradiso’ is an absolute cinematic bliss that remains etched in the memories of every hard core cinephile. ‘Cinema Paradiso’ turns even the most cynical movie buffs into the 7-8-year-old, brimming with ebullience and passion for what we consider to be the most powerful form of art. The film tells the story of a boy who, in a post World War II Italy, develops an intimate bond with an aged, fatherly projectionist who takes him out to the movies. ‘Cinema Paradiso’ beautifully explores the deeply personal and intimate themes of childhood, friendship, nostalgia, youth, passion and is a must watch for every ardent movie lover regardless of the boundary barriers.

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9. Sleepers (1996)

‘Sleepers’ was a film that completely caught me off guard when I first saw it a couple of years back. The raw emotional power of the film swept me off as Barry Levinson tells a devastatingly powerful story of four friends whose lives take a bizarre turn when a street prank goes horribly wrong. As the boys end up in a juvenile prison as punishment, their lives are wrecked and they are forever changed, coming out as ferociously vengeance driven individuals with seething rage underneath their repressed desires and emotions. ‘Sleepers’ smartly deals with the themes of revenge, friendship, and loyalty with utmost respect and reverence.

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 8. Good Will Hunting (1997)

There are films that are special to you; ones that are immensely close to your heart and move you on a deeply personal level. ‘Good Will Hunting’ is that film for me. Something in the film spoke to me about life and friendships in a way that, perhaps, no other film has and this could well be attributed to reasons as silly as nostalgia. Featuring an unforgettable Robin Williams, ‘Good Will Hunting’ tells the story of a mathematical prodigy (Beautifully played by Matt Damon) who eludes from life and his own self until he meets a therapist who changes his life forever. There are several moments in the film that capture the ecstasy of fooling around with friends and those bittersweet goodbyes that make our lives worth living and remembering. ‘Good Will Hunting’ is a film that opens you up to the beautiful world waiting for you and the people longing to be part of it.

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 7. Thelma and Louise (1991)

One of the best feminist movies ever made, ‘Thelma and Louise’ is a hidden jewel in Ridley Scott’s envy-evoking filmography. The film follows the titular characters and their adventurous road trip that shatters their fleeting happiness, leading to unimaginable consequences that changes their lives forever. The film was one of the first to make a sound statement on rape, female liberalism and questions the gender stereotypes deeply entrenched in modern society. ‘Thelma and Louise’ continues to enjoy a strong cult following among movie buffs and staunch feminists.

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6. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Steven Spielberg isn’t a filmmaker. He is a magician. No other director that I can think of, could do wonders with visuals and emotions the way this man does. A film about solitude, ‘E.T’ was a product of Spielberg’s own loneliness that he dealt with as a kid during his parents’ divorce. ‘ET.’ manages to capture the inexplicable loneliness of a child and the charming innocence of his inner world through an ethereal fantasy tale. Eliot’s relationship with E.T is perhaps the most universally loved and one of the most iconic portrayals of friendship ever in cinema. Through Elliot, Spielberg brings out the child in all of us and E.T would forever remain the most adorable alien to have ever graced our planet. If the closing scene does not bring a tear to your eyes, then I don’t know what else would!

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5. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

It would be inhuman of me to ignore this cinematic gem that is universally loved and cherished by the human race. Frank Darabont’s 1994 classic is a deeply uplifting tale of hope, liberation, and friendship. The brilliance of ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ lies in its simplistic and humane treatment of the universal themes of camaraderie, human compassion, fierce determination, and willpower. I cannot recall a lot of films that speak about companionship and human intimacy with the warmth and profundity of ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. There have been countless films that are well and truly ahead of ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ but the film continues to inspire, uplift and move people from around the world with its astonishing simplicity.

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4. The Deer Hunter (1978)

Michael Cimino’s Vietnam War epic is one that was mercilessly thrashed and loathed upon release for its blatant manipulation of historical facts and the controversial liberties it took to paint the seething memories of a time etched in the psyche of a generation that madly reveled their youths in absolute mayhem and chaos. A beautifully flawed movie, ‘The Deer Hunter’ is, at its core, a poignant tale of friendship; one that blinds you to the film’s distorted depiction of war due to its sheer humanity and emotional depth. And what makes the film stand the test of time is Cimino’s timeless portrait of friendship and swaying relationships amidst turbulent times.

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3. Stand by Me (1986)

Magical, riveting, unforgettable and nostalgic. There isn’t enough words to describe this timeless Rob Reiner masterpiece. ‘Stand by Me’ depicts the memories of a writer who recalls his teenage days when he, along with his three friends, went on a trip to find a dead body. What follows is an adventurous teenage exploration of friendships, dreams and desires. ‘Stand by Me’ transcends the cultural and ethnic barriers with its heartfelt depiction of friendships and boyhood angst. Coming of age dramas often times fail to speak for its succeeding generations but despite being 3 decades old, ‘Stand by Me’ is a film that continues to thrill, entertain and bring tears to our eyes. A film for the ages.

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2. Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Movies. Oh, they don’t make them like these anymore! A highly controversial film for its time, ‘Midnight Cowboy’ explores the complex themes of sexuality, fractured American identity, loyalty, and friendships. The film chronicles the lives of two men, Joe Buck and Ratso Rizzo, who bond over a period of time they spend together as hustlers. One of the most beautiful American tragedies ever told, ‘Midnight Cowboy’ portrays the undying friendship shared between its lead characters who are perennial outcasts of the society and seamlessly interweaves the complexities of their relationship. ‘Midnight Cowboy’ is a look back in time; a look back to an era caught up in all its cultural and political upheavals and its people longing for an identity lost in the wounds of societal brutalities and fear of judgments.

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1. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

Sergio Leone’s epic counter attack to Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘The Godfather’ is the epitome of an artist’s magnum opus. Crated with awe-inspiring beauty and astounding ambition, ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ is a hauntingly poetic mosaic of life, dreams, memories and friendship. The film effortlessly outrivals and outshines its predecessors and contemporaries with its startling depiction of poverty, crime, and violence and features arguably, the greatest portrayal of friendships. Leone uses the brutality of time and destiny to explore and dissect the vulnerabilities inherent in human relationships and crafts a haunting mosaic of childhood, broken relationships, and friendship.

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