Top 100: Great Movies Every Guy Must See

By Aric Mitchell on June 8, 2010

Guy movies look and feel a certain kind of way. Revenge, action, comedy, and yes, even a little romance, is what it takes to please us. We’re not even above embracing a kids’ movie once in a while. The qualities that we look for vary.

Sometimes we want mindless action and heavy fireworks. Sometimes we want down and dirty combat, whether on the streets of a city or the beaches of Normandy. Other times we want things that appeal to who we are and what goes on inside of us as we get older and grow further away from what it was we wanted out of life as children. Still other times, it never hurts to have a heavy dose of nostalgia: films that remind us of who we were before our first kiss, before the first hairs sprouted under our arms, before we welcomed our own kids into the world. A time when we used to dream, and there were no limits to where those dreams took us.

100. Gangs of New York (2002)


Logline: A young man seeks revenge for his father’s death in the streets of Civil War-Era New York.

Memorable Moments: There would be a giant hole in cinema without Daniel Day-Lewis. His Bill the Butcher makes this Martin Scorsese film. While Leonardo DiCaprio is still finding his feet as a leading man, Day-Lewis’s Butcher exemplifies the survivalist instincts that make us who we are as a people. You hate him, but you also understand him. A difficult balance that the legendary actor achieves with ease!

Why Guys Dig It: Scorsese+Day-Lewis=Movie Heaven!

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99. Rolling Thunder (1977)


Logline: After losing his hand and his family in an attack upon returning home from Vietnam, a veteran and his hook cut a swath of destruction through the people responsible.

Memorable Moments: William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones star in this classic, considered an extremely violent film for the time. So violent that 20th Century Fox sold it to American International Pictures when executives became concerned with how it would be perceived by the public! The hook to the groin and the blood-soaked finale make this a visceral feast for the senses. Director John Flynn pulls no punches in bringing Paul Schrader’s story to life. Get ready because Major Charles Rane is coming home to war!

Why Guys Dig It: Balls out mayhem where the baddies are bad and the vengeance is just!

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98. Man on Fire (2004)


Logline: An ex-assassin puts his skills to use to rescue a kidnapped little girl.

Memorable Moments: The exploding suppository that our hero (Denzel Washington) feeds to one of his unlucky victims as well as the blood-soaked rampage he uses to punctuate this crime-drama makes for compelling entertainment. Dakota Fanning is adorable as usual, and she keeps this from turning into a one-man show.

Why Guys Dig It: Inflicting grave bodily harm on people who really deserve it. Just one of our many fantasies! Most of us don’t want to do the jail time or get killed, but we sure like to live vicariously through our heroes.

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97. The Karate Kid (1984)


Logline: A teenager befriends a handyman in his new apartment complex and begins learning karate from him to deal with a group of ruthless bullies.

Memorable Moments: The crane kick at the end of the film is the most iconic image from this favorite of childhood. Also, Martin Kove’s performance as the evil instructor added a real sense of danger. But it is Pat Morita in his Oscar-nominated performance that really makes this one a flick to remember.

Why Guys Dig It: We love movies about bullies getting their just desserts. How else can you explain films such as Never Back Down and the upcoming remake of this very film?

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96. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)


Logline: Shagadelic secret agent Austin Powers must stop Dr. Evil and his time machine from going back to the Sixties and heisting his mojo.

Memorable Moments: Mike Myers and Michael McCullers script stuffs the film chockfull of hilarious sight gags and sexual innuendo. The introduction of characters Mini-Me (Verne Troyer) and Fat Bastard (Myers) also made this a hoot. And just when you think they can’t match Elizabeth Hurley’s hotness from the first film, they go off and cast Heather Graham to play romantic lead Felicity Shagwell.

Why Guys Dig It: Dirty jokes, dirty jokes, and more dirty jokes!

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95. Raging Bull (1980)


Logline: True story of the life of middleweight boxer Jake LaMotta.

Memorable Moments: The scene at the breakfast table where LaMotta (De Niro) begs his brother (Joe Pesci) to punch him in the face is a perfect example of both De Niro’s and LaMotta’s knack for understated insanity. Also, LaMotta’s abusive relationship with his wife Vickie (Cathy Moriarty) and those beautifully shot boxing matches make this a great entry in the pugilist genre.

Why Guys Dig It: De Niro never showed better chops as an actor as he does in this disturbing little journey.

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94. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)


Logline: An FBI woman goes after a brutal serial killer with the help of Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecktor.

Memorable Moments: This film gets more credit than its predecessor Manhunter because of Hopkins’ performance as well as the politically correct choice of sticking a woman in the lead role. But make no mistake: it’s a fantastic thriller. Lecktor’s escape scene is brutal, calculating, and fun to watch. Clarice Starling’s (Jodie Foster) kill-or-be-killed moment with Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine) at the end of the movie is also a gripping and uncertain moment. Easily the best film Jonathan Demme ever made.

Why Guys Dig It: Anthony Hopkins. He is amazing. Not so much in Red Dragon and Hannibal, though.

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93. Manhunter (1986)


Logline: An FBI mindhunter goes after the Tooth Fairy, a killer of families, with the aid of the monstrous Hannibal Lecktor.

Memorable Moments: The screen’s first Lecktor (Brian Cox) was every bit as good as the screen’s second (Anthony Hopkins). Though a bit more subtle, he is a chillingly polite monster unlike his somewhat over-the-top successor. Michael Mann’s direction introduced the science of criminal profiling to us for the first time. Tom Noonan’s Tooth Fairy is a large, ominous, and nearly unstoppable presence, and the stylish ending, which features Iron Butterfly used to great effect, makes this an underrated and exciting thriller.

Why Guys Dig It: William Petersen (CSI) jumping through a window to save a blind girl as “Inna Gadda Da Vida” builds to a crescendo. Can’t get manlier than that!

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92. Predator (1987)


Logline: Commandos in Central America become the targets of a superior race of alien creature that can blend in to its surroundings.

Memorable Moments: “If it bleeds, we can kill it.” Star Arnold Schwarzenegger plays his role as Dutch with a straight-laced intensity that avoids the self parody of his later roles. Seeing him, Apollo Creed, and the WWF’s Jesse “The Body” Ventura in a film together is almost too much testosterone to handle. Luckily, there is the Predator to keep them all grounded. Director John McTiernan (Die Hard) balances suspense, stunts, and effects with the grace of a consummate professional.

Why Guys Dig It: Big guns, bloody action, and a tense, exciting showdown where Arnold has clearly met his match!

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91. Goldfinger (1964)


Logline: British Secret Agent James Bond seeks to stop a gold-loving madman from absconding with Fort Knox’s supply.

Memorable Moments: “No, Mister Bond, I expect you to die!” Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) only shows up once in the Bond series, but he leaves an impression that continues to emanate in popular culture nearly 50 years later. While the special effects now date the film severely, his and Oddjob’s (Harold Sakata) roles keep this entry in the series near the top of the list. Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) also remains the most memorable Bond girl, not just for the rather obvious innuendo of her name, but also for her athletic loveliness and no-nonsense charms.

Why Guys Dig It: Pussy Galore.

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