The movies on this list may not be your favorite, but they all have had an impact on culture and filmmaking—from the first animated film.
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
Despite the glaring exclusion of Tom Bombadil, “Fellowship of the Ring” is considered by many to have stayed the closest to the book. The film makers didn’t hesitate to go “all in” at a time when epic high fantasy on this scale wasn’t a sure box office hit. For this reason, it accomplished a rare feat, receiving praise from old fans as well as new.
Seven Samurai chronicles the story of a village that hires seven rogue samurai to protect them from bandits (it would later be reborn in Western Culture as “The Magnificent Seven”). It is the highest grossing Japanese movie ever and one of only a few Japanese films to ever make it into western cinema to any significant extent. Despite being in Japanese, the movie is filmed and acted in such a way that you could understand what’s going on even without the subtitles, and despite being three and a half hours long, doesn’t suffer from pacing problems that many modern, shorter movies do. Also, yes, the sword fights are amazing.
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
The best from Disney’s renaissance period, the tale as old as time was not only groundbreaking because of the CGI in the ballroom sequence (The chandelier. You know what I’m talking about), but because it was the first full length animated feature to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Yes, it’s that good. And yes, it holds up. The characters are well developed, the humor is timeless, and the music…well, it won the Academy Award for Best Original Music Score. Just ignore the live action remake, it loses all the charm and magic of the animated version.