Lists

20 Best Movies You Must Watch in a Movie Theater

January 24, 2019
10 min read

Films today are not constrained to any limits or specifications and come in all forms. We have short films less than a minute long on one end and films stretching more than 4 hours on the other end as well. Similarly, the scale of each film varies between extremes. There are films made especially for the smaller screens and there are some that are large-scale events in themselves. These films either had amazing visuals or music scores, but the overall viewing experience is best achieved in a cinema hall. Here is the list top movies that you must watch in a movie theater, in the biggest screen possible. And if not, then these must be experienced on 4K.

20. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

Harry Potter recently celebrated 20 years of the release of the first book, and this movie brought an end to the amazing journey. For the people who grew up with Harry Potter, this movie was one of the toughest goodbyes. ‘The Battle of Hogwarts’ is one of the best chapters in the books and this movie does complete justice to it, which has helped the movie reach this list. Apart from the final battle, the excellent sequence involving a Dragon at Gringotts, the presence of most of the loved characters throughout the series and the emotions displayed by the actors make it a treat to watch on the big screen.

19. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Wes Anderson always makes his movies look very beautiful and ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ is among the top few. Every scene is perfect, the coloring and the lighting are spectacular. The brilliant locations and an ensemble cast consisting of Ralph Fiennes, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and Jude Law make this movie a must watch on the big screen, and definitely one of the top contenders on this list.

18. 300 (2006)

Our first war movie on this list, ‘300’ is a visually stunning film. The plot consists of King Leonidas who leads 300 Spartans into battle against the Persian “God-King” Xerxes and his invading army of more than 300,000. The intricate war sequences shot in Zack Snyder’s unique style along with Gerrard Butler in the lead make this movie a delight to watch on the big screen. The special effects are brilliant and the story-telling is crisp.

17. Lagaan (2001)

‘Lagaan’ made it to this list because it turned every theatre into a cricket stadium. The audience cheered just like it would in an actual cricket match. Ashutosh Gowarikar’s simple story-telling technique and Aamir Khan’s brilliant acting made us feel like we were a part of the movie. The happiness and disappointment at various points could be felt in the theatre. The excellent locations in the movie and the overall atmosphere that was created make it a must watch on the big screen.

16. The Revenant (2015)

Alejandro G. Inarritu gave us the masterpiece that is known as ‘The Revenant’ which also finally broke the jinx of Leonardo DiCaprio and Oscars. Both, Innaritu and the cinematographer for the film, Emmanuel Lubezki won back to back Oscars, and do they deserve it! This movie has been brilliantly shot, right from a battle sequence at the beginning, to Leonardo DiCaprio’s fight with a bear and to the epic finale involving the protagonist and the antagonist (Tom Hardy). Leonardo’s line ‘I ain’t afraid to die anymore, I’ve done it already’, stays with you for quite some time even after you have left the theatre.

15. Schindler’s List (1993)

The first Steven Spielberg Movie on this list, ‘Schindler’s List’ is one of the finest movies ever in Hollywood. It is the story of a man by the name Oskar Schindler, who using his pull, saves the lives of over 1000 Jews by recruiting them to work in his Polish factory. The excellent star cast comprising of Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley, along with the brilliant portrayal of the horrid World War 2 atmosphere, make this film truly iconic. An interesting fact about the movie, when Spielberg, a dropout, went back to complete his degree after almost 33 years, he submitted ‘Schindler’s List’ as his final project.

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14. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

This list had to have at least one modern war movie and who better than Steven Spielberg to deliver! The movie is set during the Normandy invasion in World War II and the first 27 minutes are among the most intense opening sequences ever on the big screen. The graphic portrayal of war, the excellent sound effects and a star cast containing the likes of Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Edward Burns make it a delight to watch in the theatre.

13. The Fall (2006)

‘The Fall’ is one of the most visually stunning films ever made. Conceived and made with passion over a duration of 3 years and shot in over 20 countries, the film managed to capture the most exotic and popular locations in colorful and bright settings. The film is a visual masterpiece and you must watch it at least once to imagine how amazing it would have looked on the big screen.

12. Jaws (1975)

‘Jaws’ was a complete cinematic experience. It started the trend of The Summer Blockbuster. The film managed to keep the viewers on the edge of their seats, thanks to John Williams’ excellent score and the stunning animatronics. The film released much before I was born and I only wish I could have witnessed the marvel on the big screen.

11. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-03)

After JRR Tolkien wrote the excellent books, few would have thought they could be made into even better movies, and Peter Jackson proved the non-believers wrong. All of us had pictured the interesting locations and characters while reading the books and watching them come to life was a treat. The special effects, the spectacular battle sequences (especially Helm’s Deep) and the beautiful locations (in New Zealand) make the trilogy a must watch on the big screen. Shout out to the Hobbit trilogy and its excellent Smaug sequences.

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10. Titanic (1997)

‘Titanic’ makes it to this list not only because it is a cinematic marvel but also because it is one of the first movies that used special effects to great use to tell a dramatic story. The final sequences involving the iceberg look spectacular on the big screen. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet’s romance is beautiful, the supporting cast is excellent and the amazing cinematography helped this movie make its spot firm on this list.

9. Life of Pi (2012)

‘Life of Pi’, a masterpiece from the creative genius Ang Lee, is another movie that makes it to this list purely because of its spectacular visuals that can be properly enjoyed only on the big screen. The movie follows the journey of an Indian boy who survives a shipwreck and makes it back to share on a lifeboat with only a tiger for company. The visual effects, especially the sequences with the tiger, Richard Parker and one involving a giant blue whale are just excellent.

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8. Inception (2010)

Most of Christopher Nolan’s movies deserve to be on this list, and ‘Inception’ is definitely among them. The dream sequences involving car chases, exotic locations like snowy mountains and deserted cities, paradoxes like the infinite staircase and the amazing direction make this movie among the first ones to make it to this list. Also, the coordinated gasp from the audience, signaling surprise, right at the end of the movie is something that I am going to carry with me forever.

7. Jurassic Park (1993)

A theme park with Dinosaurs as the main attraction, why not? In this 1993 movie, Steven Spielberg takes us on an amazing ride where we get to see all kinds of dinosaurs, right from velociraptors to the mighty T-Rex. For its age, the special effects are spectacular and the dinosaurs look very realistic. It is no wonder that they re-released the movie in 3D to celebrate the 20th anniversary giving a chance to those fans who couldn’t experience it on the big screen the first time round. Shout out to Jurassic Park 2, with the excellent visuals of a T-Rex in New York City.

6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Similar to Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, this one is another must-watch on the big screen for the die-hard fans. Apart from the excellent special effects and spectacular visuals, just the appearance of well-known characters who we are seeing after a long time make the ride worth-while. The new cast fits in easily and the movie definitely lives up to the expectations, setting up the franchise beautifully for two more movies (apart from stand-alone movies).

5. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

This is the fourth installment in the Mad Max Series and has been directed by George Miller. The brilliant portrayal of a post-apocalyptic world, the exotic location (in a desert in Namibia), colourful and interesting looking characters, and an action sequence that almost spans the entire duration of the movie, make this movie a must watch on the big screen. The best attraction was the sandstorm sequence and the fact that a dystopian future could be presented in such a beautiful manner.

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4. Interstellar (2014)

Many space movies on this list and ‘Interstellar’ is one of the finest when it comes to visuals. This movie is definitely among Christopher Nolan’s best movies and the stunning visuals are one of the main reasons. Apart from ‘Gravity’ and ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (also on this list), this is one of the few space movies to accurately depict space travel and it has been done in a brilliant manner. The genuine acting, excellent story-telling, an unexpected cameo by a well-known actor and a good looking cast make this film a must-watch on the big screen.

3. Avatar (2009)

Avatar is another movie on this list that is a combination of an innovative thinking and spectacular visuals. Set in the Utopian world of Pandora, it is a fight for resources between humans and the interesting inhabitants of this different world. Shot in 3D, the excellent battle sequences, in the end, the amazing looking inhabitants, flora and fauna in Pandora and the interesting conflict of loyalties for the main character make it a must watch.

2. Gravity (2013)

‘Gravity’, unlike other movies on this list, can only be enjoyed on the big screen. The entire movie follows the journey of one lady who finds herself lost in space and how she makes her way back to earth. The brilliant cinematography, excellent usage of 3D and the spectacular visuals are the closest most of us will ever get to experiencing space travel. Alfonso Cuaron has also kept it crisp and so even though we just see one character in most of the frames, we are hooked for the entire duration.

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1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Stanley Kubrick’s magnum opus, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ was a film way ahead of time. It still would have been an inimitable masterpiece if it were released in 2001! Kubrick put his entire dedication in the project to ensure that every frame was a painting. Just as he wanted. Just perfect. The master of symmetry left no stones unturned to ensure that we saw just what he wanted us to. The groundbreaking visuals stunned the audience and those who were lucky enough to witness the cinematic marvel on the big screen felt nothing but awe while watching it.

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