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!
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!
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
90. The Patriot (2000)
Logline: After a British officer kills his son, a peaceful farmer seeks revenge.
Memorable Moments: The performance of Jason Isaacs as the evil Colonel William Tavington makes Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) one of the most sympathetic characters you’ll ever meet. Tavington is single-handedly responsible for the deaths of two of Gibson’s sons before it’s all said and done, and the final battle between the two men will have you on the edge of your seat. Also, watch out for that bouncing cannonball!
Why Guys Dig It: For all his faults, Gibson is a great everyman actor. The action and the rest of the supporting cast don’t hurt this film either.
89. John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982)
Logline: A shape-shifting alien terrorizes scientists in the Antarctic.
Memorable Moments: The dated technologies stand out during the film’s opening. After that, this creature feature becomes a gross, suspenseful, and action-packed adventure. The spider comprised of eight legs and a human head will stick with you for days, as will the scene where the guys are testing their blood to see which of them is hosting the creature.
Why Guys Dig It: Spectacular effects from Roy Arbogast (Close Encounters of the Third Kind) enhance director Carpenter’s use of slow-building terror (shades of his own Halloween) to make for one of the best monster movies of all time.
88. Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
Logline: A hit man returns home for his 10-year high school reunion.
Memorable Moments: From the very beginning, this film redefines the depth of John Cusack’s acting abilities. He changes, right before our very eyes, from hapless teenage romantic (Say Anything) to a cool and quiet killer holding onto some of those qualities that made us like him as an actor in the first place. The scenes at the reunion itself are also funny, violent, and unpredictable, with a terrific fight scene staged in front of his old locker.
Why Guys Dig It: It’s a romantic comedy that we can sink our teeth into. Every guy wonders where he will be ten years after high school. Grosse Pointe Blank dramatizes this fantasy with plenty of action, humor, and romance.
87. Death Wish (1974)
Logline: A liberal architect has a violent change of heart after his family is attacked by street thugs.
Memorable Moments: Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) strolls through the most dangerous part of the city at night, gun in hand, praying to get mugged. His family has been brutally attacked in a scene that still sickens. And the criminals that terrorize the streets are finally getting a taste of their own medicine. Jodie Foster’s The Brave One and Kevin Bacon’s Death Sentence followed in its footsteps, with Death Sentence coming closest to matching the intensity and emotion. But there is only one Death Wish, and that includes the four sequels the original spawned.
Why Guys Dig It: The ultimate revenge drama.
86. Hard Times (1975)
Logline: A fast-talking underground fight promoter and a strong silent street fighter team up to take New Orleans by storm.
Memorable Moments: The horrendous Fighting with the even more horrendous Channing Tatum was a rip-off of this masterpiece from director Walter Hill. Chaney (Charles Bronson) is a drifter, who arrives in 1933 New Orleans and quickly finds fighting underground bare-knuckled brawls is a great way to make a living. Speed (James Coburn) is the guy, who can get him the big money fights. A classic example of the fisticuffs genre, Hard Times does a fantastic job of recreating the time period and building to a tense and exciting finish.
Why Guys Dig It: Simpler times at a distance. We don’t want to go back there, but we sure are fascinated by it!
85. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Logline: A young American tourist gets bitten by a wild beast and starts to take on the qualities of the creature.
Memorable Moments: The scene on the Moors where Jack (Griffin Dunne) buys the farm is still scary even today. There is also the subway sequence when David (David Naughton) stalks a businessman to rack up the body count. The changing scene remains the best ever filmed thanks to the effects work of Rick Baker, who won an Academy Award for his contribution. And you can’t leave out the violent dream sequences and that hilariously tragic third act.
Why Guys Dig It: It still packs a full-blooded wallop that few horror films today can live up to. It’s hilarious. It’s raunchy. And it gives us a nice peak at Jenny Agutter back in her heyday.
84. Halloween (1978)
Logline: An escaped mental patient in a William Shatner mask returns home to kill babysitters.
Memorable Moments: Before the supernatural firmly took root and the Laurie Strode-is-Michael’s-sister nonsense diminished the quality of the series, there was this classic terror tale that could really happen. Michael was much scarier when he was just a vessel for random acts of violence. This film, though it has lost something from over 30 years of life and hundreds of viewings, terrified audiences with its slow build, haunting music, and simple story that made us feel the boogeyman was coming, and there wasn’t a damn thing we could do about it.
Why Guys Dig It: Aside from getting to see P.J. Soles without a top, it also delivers plenty of chills to bring us closer to our ladies!
83. Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003)
Logline: Faithful adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien novels.
Memorable Moments: Tons of depth and scope, all handled with the watchful eye of fanboy Peter Jackson made this fantasy adventure one for the ages. The battle scenes and special effects are all glorious in tone and color. Viggo Mortensen plays the rugged Aragorn in a career-making performance. An arsenal of classic character actors and new stars mix with Jackson’s love for the source material to create this generation’s Star Wars.
Why Guys Dig It: It isn’t nearly as lame as the freaky fanboys, who dressed up and waited in line made it seem.
82. American Wedding (2003)
Logline: The American Pie crew gets together one last time for Jim and Michelle’s wedding.
Memorable Moments: Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott) gets off the leash in this movie and shows the true extent to just what kind of an ass he can be. But at the same time, he learns a thing or two and discovers a human side that strengthens the foundation of all their friendships. Tara Reid is nowhere to be found in this one. Neither is Chris Klein. And Thomas Ian Nicholas is reduced to what amounts to an extended cameo. But the choice to focus on Jim, Stifler, and Finch, allows a more streamlined laugh factory that keeps the guffaws rolling.
Why Guys Dig It: We can relate to every single one of these characters.
81. A Knight’s Tale (2001)
Logline: Upon his master’s death, a squire redefines himself as a knight in this loose partial adaptation of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
Memorable Moments: The jousting scenes are a lot of fun, as are the hilarious Chaucer speeches courtesy Paul Bettany. The thing that stands out most about this action-comedy is the use of modern day music for a film set in medieval times. This is established early and quite infectious. David Bowie’s “Golden Years” during a banquet. Queen’s “We Will Rock You” at a joust. It sets the attitude for the entire picture.
Why Guys Dig It: Lots of great humor and action, and a dastardly bad guy in Rufus Sewell contribute to an exciting finale.