501 Must-See Movies: Mystery & Thriller

“Mystery & Thriller” is my favorite genre from this list.  It seems that legendary directors, some of my favorites, are drawn to these types of films: Tarantino, Scorsese, Hitchcock
and Kubrick for example.  Below is the list of the films that I have seen so far, with some additional information about a few.

Now that I’ve given of rundown of all the films that I have seen to this point off the list, I will be starting on shorter more frequent posts as I cross new ones off the list.

Seen to date: 24 out of 50

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Director: John Huston

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor and Peter Lorre

AFI Top 100: #23 (1998) #31 (2007)

Private Detective Sam Spade (Bogart) gets immersed in a mystery when he begins to investigate the death of his partner.  Strange characters continue to appear as he gets more involved with the crime.  Each of these characters is hoping to get their hands on the mysterious Maltese Falcon statue.

As Sam Spade, Bogart established his persona as a cold, tough guy with a sincere grin.  This is an outstanding example of the noir genre and established many of the genre’s most regarded trademarks.

My Rating – 4 Ticket Stubs (Out of 5)

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 100% (43 Reviews)

The Third Man (1949)

Director: Carol Reed

Starring: Joseph Cotton, Alida Valli and Orson Welles

Academy Awards: Best Cinematography (Black and White)

AFI Top 100: #57 (1998)

My Rating – 3.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 100% (59 Reviews)

Strangers on a Train (1951)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Starring: Farley Granger, Ruth Roman and Robert Walker

Academy Awards: Best Cinematography (Black and White)

My Rating – 2.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 98% (41 Reviews)

The Killing (1956)

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Starring: Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray and Vince Edwards

My Rating – 4 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 97% (31 Reviews)

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Director: Arthur Penn

Starring: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway and Gene Hackman

Academy Award Wins – Best Supporting Actress (Estelle Parsons) and Best Cinematography

AFI Top 100: #27 (1998) #42 (2007)

Clyde Barrown (Beatty) is a small time bank robber, just out of prison who convinces Bonnie Parker (Dunaway) to join him on a string of robberies that span the Midwest.
Headlines and bodies continue to pile up as they make their way across the country.

Some contend that Bonnie and Clyde was the unofficial start to Cinema’s silver age.  It is one of the truly iconic films of its era, no matter which era you might place it in. In 1967, this was one considered to be one of the most violent films ever made.  While the level of violence has certainly been surpassed, it managed a certain level of  subtly and humor that is rarely duplicated in as masterful of a fashion.  Also, Dunaway is outstanding as the bored small town girl, turned notorious criminal.

My Rating – 4 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 89% (46 Reviews)

Bullitt (1968)

Director: Peter Yates

Starring: Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn and Robert Duvall

Academy Awards: Best Film Editing

My Rating – 1.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 97% (33 Reviews)

The Italian Job (1969)

Director: Peter Collinson

Starring: Michael Caine, Noel Coward and Benny Hill

My Rating – 2 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 84% (25 Reviews)

The Godfather (1972)

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and James Caan

Academy Awards: Best Actor (Brando) and Best Picture

AFI Top 100: #3 (1998) #2 (2007)

Don Corleone (Brando) is the head of one the Corleone crime family and is in conflict with the other crime families who want to sell drugs.  An attempt on his life, brings his son Michael (Pacino) back into the family business.

The Godfather is one of the greatest films ever made.  The American Film Institute
would obviously agree with that statement as it had Coppola’s mafia classic in the top 3 of its greatest American Film list in both editions.  Brando’s portrayal of Don Corleone is one of those performances in which you wish he was on the screen constantly.  He was rewarded with an Academy Award for his work.

My Rating – 5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 100% (73 Reviews)

Mean Streets (1973)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro

My Rating – 4  Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 98% (46 Reviews)

Chinatown (1974)

Director: Roman Polanski

Starring: Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway

Academy Awards: Best Original Screenplay

AFI Top 100: #19 (1998) #21 (2007)

My Rating – 4 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 100% (48 Reviews)

The Conversation (1974)

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Starring: Gene Hackman, John Cazale and Allen Garfield

Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Sound and Best Original
Screenplay

My Rating – 3.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 98% (43 Reviews)

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Director: Sidney Lumet

Starring: Al Pacino, John Cazale and Charles Durning

Academy Awards: Best Original Screenplay

My Rating – 3 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 97% (36 Reviews)

Taxi Driver (1976)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Robert De Niro, Jodi Foster and Harvey Keitel

AFI Top 100: #47 (1998) #42 (1998)

My Rating – 4 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 98% (60 Reviews)

Scarface (1983)

Director: Brian De Palma

Starring: Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer

My Rating – 3 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 89% (53 Reviews)

Goodfellas (1990)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci

Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor (Pesci)

AFI Top 100: #94 (1998) #92 (2007)

My Rating – 4.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 97% (58 Reviews)

Miller’s Crossing (1990)

Director: Joel Coen

Starring: Gabriel Byrne, John Turturro and Albert Finney

My Rating – 4 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 91% (54 Reviews)

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth and Steve Buscemi

A group of hired criminals, known only to each other by color pseudonyms, clad in black suits and ties gather under LA crime boss, Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) for one big jewel heist.  The crime went awry when cops showed up and the survivors suspect that
one of their own ratted them out.

Another one of my absolute favorites that deserves more than 5 stars, Reservoir Dogs is an
unbelievably gripping film.  The dialogue seems authentic and the action is perfectly done.  Unlike a standard heist film, the actual robbery isn’t central to the film.  In
fact it is barely shown at all.  Most of the film takes place in the warehouse that they agreed to meet at and in flashbacks to the planning stages.  Some say Reservoir Dogs is the best
directorial debut since Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane.  It established Tarantino as one of the truly unique voices in the American Film landscape.

My Rating – 5+ Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 96% (47 Reviews)

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis

Academy Awards: Best Original Screenplay

AFI Top 100: #95 (1998) #94 (2007)

My Rating – 5+ Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 94% (54 Reviews)

Leon (1994)

Director: Luc Besson

Starring: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman and Natalie Portman

My Rating – 2 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 78% (41 Reviews)

Se7en (1995)

Director: David Fincher

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt and Kevin Spacey

My Rating – 3.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 85% (53 Reviews)

The Usual Suspects (1995)

Director: Bryan Singer

Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey and Kevin Pollak

Academy Awards: Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor
(Spacey)

My Rating – 4 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 89% (53 Reviews)

Fargo (1996)

Director: Joel Coen

Starring: Frances McDormand, William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi

Academy Awards: Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress (McDormand)

AFI Top 100: #84 (1997)

My Rating – 4.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 94% (67 Reviews)

The Departed (2004)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson

Academy Awards: Best Director (Scorsese), Best Picture, Best Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay

My Rating – 4.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 93% (227 Reviews)

The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

Director: Paul Greengrass

Starring: Matt Damon, Albert Finney and Julia Stiles

My Rating – 2.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 81% (188 Reviews)

@D_C_Evans

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About DC Evans

I’m a long time film lover. For as long as I can remember, I’ve spent my free time going to multiplexs; renting tapes and building my own DVD/Blu-ray collection. I'll be blogging about my efforts as I watch my way through the history of film. For starters, I’ll be focusing on watching each movie in the book “501 Must-See Movies.” Follow me on twitter: @D_C_Evans
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