Films to Watch

We here at Cinema Paradiso are, without a doubt, proper film buffs and we certainly have no shortage of good films to watch. In fact, you could binge nonstop and never crack the surface. We’ve searched through all the titles, bringing you a list of great films to see.

We’re proud to present our carefully-selected, feel-good films to watch as well as some intense pieces – we’re pretty sure we’ve picked out the wheat from the film chaff. Amongst our top films to watch list, you’ll discover a real treasure trove, from predictable action flicks to breath-taking thrillers and other exciting genre types. Hopefully, our film guide will help you dig up some great titles this month...

The Best Films to Watch

So, what are the top films to watch, exactly? The greatest films of all time? The real trailblazers? Our pick of top-rated films to watch includes an extensive range, from horror and adrenaline-pumping action to highly-regarded classics produced by the best writers and film directors in the industry.

What Makes a Good Film Good?

It’s a huge, million-pound question that can’t possibly be answered. Judgement comes down to personal taste – there’s a whole lot more to a good film than meets the eye. Why do some stand the test of time whilst others swiftly lose their worth? Here are some ideas on what we think makes a good film.

Pleasant/engaging characters. Characters are crucial in any storyline. At the end of the day, you’re giving a whole two hours of your time – that’s precious in today’s rat race, right? The protagonist (or hero) needs to elicit the response, “I understand them” or “that could be me.” If we don't like the central character of the film, then it won't stand up very well.

A clear theme. Top films to watch need to tell the audience something, whether it’s that you need to love yourself and others, that killing is bad and lying is wrong.

Simple plot. An over-elaborate plot doesn’t make for a good film to watch at all. Plot can make or break today’s cinema and while it doesn't have to be stripped to the bone, some plot points and twists tend to get messy.

Likeable ending. The finale is vital. Countless films have been ruined because of a dreadful ending. It needs to put a good lid on the rest of the film.

That said, there are a few films that are popular with almost everyone…

Universally Great Films to Watch

Most of us have experienced walking into the cinema, then walking out feeling like a different person. Films have the potential to inspire and shape our decisions about life. Let’s look at some universally nice films to watch...

  • Forrest Gump (1994)

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    2h 16min

    Forrest Gump is the film triumph that became a phenomenon. Tom Hanks gives an astonishing performance as Forrest, an everyman whose simple innocence comes to embody a generation. Winner of six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Robert Zemeckis) and Best Actor, it makes a perfect material for a movie night.

  • Wonder Woman (2017)

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    2h 15min

    Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, Princess of the Amazons, raised on a sheltered island paradise and trained to be an unconquerable warrior. When an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers... and her true destiny.

  • The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

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    2h 16min

    The story of two men who form a friendship during long-term prison sentences, Shawshank is no doubt one of the greatest films to see. Who doesn’t love Morgan Freeman’s narration? As for the plot and dialogue, it’s superb as is the soundtrack.

  • The Princess Bride (1987)

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    1h 35min

    A very nice film to watch indeed, a true love story. It has everything, a flourishing romance, adventures, revenge and even a pirate. Happily, after things go wrong with the lovebirds, they also get better, and in the end, they find their way to each other. It’s arguably one of the best classic rom-com films that have graces our screens.

  • Inception (2010)

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    2h 22min

    While for some Inception wasn't wholly well-received, the movie simply had to go on our list. Not only because the movie seems to get more intriguing the more times you watch it, but also because the plot is fascinating. After all, the film is essentially about intercepting dreams! Enjoy!

  • Dunkirk (2017) Bodega Bay

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    1h 42min

    A war film that most certainly packs a punch and most definitely helps us remember those amazing soldiers that fought during the world war, Dunkirk tells the story of allied soldiers from Belgium, France and the British Empire, surrounded by German troops.

  • Paddington 2 (2017)

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    1h 39min

    What is there not to love about Paddington bear? If you hadn’t already been hooked by the first film, the second one will most definitely capture your heart. Now settled with the Brown family, Paddington completes some odd jobs to raise money for a gift for his Aunt Lucy. When the gift is stolen though, things get interesting... Marmalade sandwich anyone?

  • Pulp Fiction (1994)

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    2h 28min

    An all-star cast in a skillfully woven tale of small-time gangster life in a most ambitious and provocative film. Bruce Willis, John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson deliver career performances as petty thugs in LA's criminal underworld - where gritty confrontations, fast talk and perverse humour are all part of the daily grind. Nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award 1995, this boldly inventive and expertly orchestrated crime sage is hailed by critics as a landmark achievement in modern filmmaking!

  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

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    2h 8min

    In your quest for a good film to watch, be sure to add this one to your list. The movie shows the awful truth about how patients were treated in mental institutions back in the day, telling the story of someone who desperately wanted to break out, to break conventions, to revolutionise things, for himself and for the others.

  • 12 Years a Slave (2013)

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    2h 8min

    Evidently, its key theme is slavery, and the corruption human nature can so easily reach. That said, it offers thoughts about numerous other worldly issues, namely the role of religion. There’s nothing sentimental about the way Steve McQueen depicts this and that’s what makes it so shocking. You cry because what you witness is truly horrific, not because the violins are playing. Ridley’s powerful script and McQueen’s directional skills display the wicked nature of society that allowed such a barbaric system.

  • Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

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    1h 55min

    A breathless, thrilling tale about a Mumbai orphan who climbs from rags to riches, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire is undoubtedly one of the best films to watch. This harrowing underdog’s story reaches a pinnacle in one of cinema’s most euphoric, upbeat endings, introducing the real India to hundreds of film lovers for the first time.

    Danny Boyle
    Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Saurabh Shukla
  • Fight Club (1999)

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    2h 13min

    This film is worthy of a place in the “what film to watch” list, largely owing to its fresh take on life – it’s not so much about violence, but about choices. It’s an aggressive, challenging, often vicious satire, all of which make for a truly awe-inspiring masterpiece. We follow a man’s psyche on an intellectual and emotional ride, as he takes an unfamiliar path towards rebellion against consumer society. 

  • The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King (2003)

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    3h 12min

    An amazingly powerful visual experience, Peter Jackson has crafted perhaps one of the finest written pieces of our era into this quintessential epic. Overall, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is one the most fine-tuned, cinematically flawless films ever made. Whether they’re of Mordor and the slopes of Mt. Doom, Minas Tirith, Pelennor Fields and Osgiliath, or the climb to Shelob's cave near Minas Morgul, Peter Jackson really portrays the true impact of these landscapes and images.

  • The Godfather (1972)

    2h 50min

    In late 1940's New York, Mafia 'Godfather' Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) gathers his three sons around him for daughter Connie (Talia Shire)'s wedding; the hot-headed Sonny (James Caan), ineffectual Fredo (John Cazale) and war hero Michael (Al Pacino), who chooses to distance himself from the family 'business'. When Vito is shot and wounded for refusing to sanction a rival family's heroin sales on his territory, Sonny temporarily takes over and embarks on bloody gang warfare. This results in him being killed in an ambush, and Michael finds himself nominated to succeed the ailing Vito.

Not found the film you’re looking for here?

Be sure to browse our top 100 films section, where we look at the most popular films ever rented since 2003 or take a look at our Award Winners category.

To find other top films to watch, check out our New Releases page. Have you joined Cinema Paradiso yet?

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