Culture / Film

A non-exhaustive list of the best movies of all time

The great Jean Luc Godard: Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world. Cinema is also transportive, and what better way than to high-tail out of Sydney Winter than through the big screen? There's no way around it: the temperature is continuing to drop, the scarves have come out in full swing, and we're fast approaching hibernation.

Oceanic winter is skirting around the corner, and we want you to come fully primed for your shut-in. This is the time of the year to bundle up with a long list to knock off on your Letterbox'd. For your preparation, we've assembled a shortlist of the best movies of all time that have rocked our worlds in a multitude of ways.


Fallen Angels

Forget In The Mood for Love, this is Wong Kar-Wai's crowning piece de resistance. A saga for the young and heartbroken, the film follows the concurrent lives of a hitman, a femme fatale, and some unscrupulous teenagers. They are all, word for word, fallen angels.


Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive was the first film that yielded a proper, bloodcurdling shriek from me. One minute I was taking notes for my film elective and the next I witnessed the true magic of cinema: a fright of Lynchian measures. Did I mention bottle blondes?



Lady Diana Spencer and Kristen Stewart a good movie make. Stewart's heartbreaking performance as the eponymous Princess of Wales relies heavily on her craft, the ghost of Anne Boleyn and a deliciously ominous score by Jonny Greenwood. It (in my esteemed opinion) eclipses any other on-screen portrayal of the beloved figurehead. And trust me, I've studied them all.


Poor Things

This was the movie that held up my 2024. Cinema is back. Don't want to take my word on it? The unorthodox fairy tale featuring an Oscar-winning performance from Emma Stone is now available for streaming across Australia.


Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain has persisted in public conscience for decades. It went from a barred, controversial work to everyone's go-to tear-jerker, and understandably so. The motif of cowboys in love is so prominent that even my best friend and I have been captured posing as Enis and Jack Del Mar: one arm slung over the other, the tip of our cowboy hats framing our carefully adopted expressions of disquiet. Only difference? We don't stem the rose.


Tangerine was shot entirely on three iPhone 5s. What's more impressive is that its depth of quality and flow seem entirely unaffected from the movie's filming device of choice. Sin-dee and Alexandra are out for blood. There's a cheating boyfriend, bills to be paid, and doughnuts to scoff down. This trans epic is a heartwarming story of found family and womanhood.


Grand Budapest Hotel

There's no best movie without Wes Anderson. And there's no Wes Anderson without Grand Budapest Hotel. The first time I watched this film in cinema I had no idea of the impact it would have respectively on fifteen and twenty-five year old me. This pink-confection hued traipse into the alps is all you need on a wintry, 17 degree day.

Silence of the Lambs

If Donatella Versace backs it, who are we to disagree? Make sure to watch with dimmed lights.


A Streetcar Named Desire

I've always believed in the kindness of strangers. Villainy, delusion, and the illusion of glamour come together in this story - offering America a newer and greater lexicon of lunacy with one Blanche Dubois. In addition to that, Marlon Brando plays an oafish hunkering brute. We're at war with whether we want to pummel him, or au contraire. 


The Handmaiden

Park Chan-Wook's thriller is nothing short of magnificent. No one expected the film to meet taboo with tragedy with so much explosive grace. Park reworks hierarchy and romance between the two women, choosing instead to let them eclipse one another in their tussle for the uncovered truth. 


Black Swan

Aronofsky at his very best. This performance by Natalie Portman has shifted the way we see ballet, art, the entire spectre of performing femininity. Psychological thriller was never the same after this film.



This is not for the faint of heart or the nuclear-family sufficient. Charlotte Well's biopic turned melodrama takes us on a sticky, sun-kissed epilogue of a young father and a daughter blooming from the cusp of girlhood. It took home the French Jury prize at Cannes and we think we know all the tear-sopped reasons why.



WhatareyoudoingIthoughtyoulikedme. And cue the thud of the axe.


Your Name

Makoto Shinkai was not playing around with this animated film. 'Your Name' chronicles a budding romance between Mitsuha from the mountains and a boy from the city called Taki. With a magical realism turn of events, this film vyes between heartbreaking and heartwarming.


Get Out

The first of Peele's masterpieces. A classic of American new horror. A palpitating performance from Daniel Kaluuya. And enough gritty, sardonic humour wormed in between all the gore. What's not to love?



I am a Satoshi Kon radicalist. And Paprika might be your best entry-point into his warped multiverse of psychological thriller and fragmentation. She's your best go-to for ride, as indicated in the introduction above.


Lady Chatterley's Lover

This re-adaptation of DH Lawrence's original work is moving in every manner.


Working Girl

Sigourney Weaver is a viper-tongued CEO. Harrison Ford is devastatingly handsome. It's a dramedy with plenty of tingling romance in between. This film shaped the Office siren look (and disposition) before it took over our TikTok conscience. 'I have a head for business and a body for sin.' I still want that tattooed on my clavicle.


Triangle of Sadness

To break up the mass mountain of trailers, I have this clip for you. Triangle of Sadness is a modern-day retrospective of wealth, class, and the frivolity of being part of the 1% until it blows up in your face. Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or winner turns social hierarchy on its head, with electric performances from Harris Dickinson and the late, captivating Charlbi Dean.


The Rocky Horror Picture Show

In all honesty, there's nothing quite like it. Dr. Frank-n-Furter's residence is a transportive ride through horror and camp like nothing we've ever seen before. Let's do the time warp again, why don't we?


A Brighter Summer's Day

Edward Yang's creation is a coming of age, a melodrama, a thriller-action, and a tableau of family drama and conflict all in one. Set awash the backdrop of 1960s Taiwan, it burns alight as a bildungsroman for teenage Xiao Si as she wrests with responsibilities and romance. It is truly Yang's modus operandi.


Three Wishes for Cinderella

In Eastern European cinema, Václav Vorlíček's take on the classic fairytale is both delightful and full of whimsy. With a derivative that leaves our titular namesake princess slightly more cheeky and less gracely, Three Wishes for Cinderella is an active agent of her glittering destiny.


Dior And I

The musical soundtrack is immersive, to say the least. The fashion is next-level. Catch this 'Behind-the-Seams' look at the real ingenues of fashion, one garment at a time.


Elizabeth: Our Golden Age

You can't tell by the white-rouging, but this is baby-faced Cate at her finest. Watch her tackle the role of the matriarch head-on with so much explosive grace. There's pomp and the gilded age.



This is whip-smart comedy at its best. A critical favourite amongst the Sundance Film Festival, in DOPE, Malcolm (Shameik Moore) is carefully weaving through life in a lower-socioeconomic district in Los Angeles while juggling college applications, academic milestones and sitting the SAT. A chance invitation to an underground party leads him into an adventure that could allow him to go from being a geek, to being dope, in hallucinatory twists and turns. It is, in every right, very dope.


The Grandmaster

Wong-Kar Wai said if I'm going to make an action movie, I'll be doing it my way. With incendiary performances from Zhang Ziyi and Tony Leung, the reimagined 'Ip Man' defends his home and nation against defenders. This is the man who trained Bruce Lee after all. It's well worth seeing how he's landing those kicks himself.



There's a reason this film is named the most beautiful piece of cinema in the year it was produced in 2021. Kirsten Dunst and Alexander Skarsgard at a wedding gone wrong. With mounting, delicious tension and enough familial scandal to go around, Melancholia is the perfect descent into darkness.


The Florida Project

A24 struck gold with Willem Dafoe. It further went on to prove that a piece of titular cinema doesn't always require a flashy budget if you have heart and quippy dialogue.


Batman Forever

This will be the only superhero film featured here. Batman Forever transcends the genre for many reasons, but Sugar 'N Spice are two of them.


Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Marilyn Monroe stuns in the role of show-girl Lorelei Lee. She is to be engaged to the notorious Gus Esmond, and the whole camp disapproves. Jane Russell makes a grand case for our brunettes also.


The Lost Daughter

Olivia Colman is simply leagues above the rest in every way. And The Lost Daughter draws a straight line as to why: her performance in this seaside saga is moving and innumerably detailed.



There's a dreamgirl in every one of us. And there's nothing Beyonce, Anika Noni Rose and Jennifer Hudson cannot turn out in this musical-epic of our times.



Ijaazat is a powerful tale of feminism and patriarchal clashing in middle class rulings of India. Feminine agency and reunion come together in unexpected, propulsive ways.


Les Miserables

Let me provide some credentials: I've watched the film three times in the cinema, and the musical twice on London's West End. Don't forget Anne Hathaway's I Dreamed a Dream. Put it on, and you're in great hands.


Interview with a Vampire

Before Twilight, we had this.


Made in Hong Kong

People tend to gloss over Fruit Chan in favour of Wong-Kar Wai when they think of Hong Kong cinema. I am here to put an end to that. Made in Hong Kong is a tearful, evocative tribute to my home city that suspends somewhere inbetween youth culture and displacement. Violence, sex and escapism come head-on in this beautiful rendering.


The Red Shoes

Love or lifelong passion? This prima ballerina will have to choose.



The wildest of wild rides. Jeff Goldblum advised to accompany a screening with acid. We will not provide a comment for that decision.


La Vie En Rose

Edith Piaf's biopic is filled with tragedy till the very end. Relentless, we watch on.


Miss Congeniality

This isn't a chick flick. This is the chick flick. Sandra Bullock just aces it as a tough as nails but lovable protagonist, with none of the pluckiness and all the bite. And when she arrives onto the landing strip of the airport, birds of paradise sing. That lilac number is unstoppable on a woman with a mission.


Dangerous Liasons

The most dangerous thing in this film is John Malkovich's dusty-eyed stare.



In our books, this qualifies in every right as a film. The three-part short intersperses Body Electric, Gods & Monsters, and Bel Air within a narrative of downfall, infamy, dark and light — featuring Del Rey as Mary, Mother of Christ and more lengthily as Eve, who is responsible for the first instance of gatekeeping recorded by man.


Girl, Interrupted

There's something about Girl, Interrupted which captures how all of us could be at our worst. Mental illness and repression through are told the arc of two young women who find one another in a psychiatric ward.


Grey Gardens

Big and Little Edie and a whole lot of hjinks.


Shaolin Soccer

Who thought fusing Shaolin Kungfu and soccer would lead to the apex of comedy?



A delicate web of obsession weaved by Alfred Hitchcock. Leave at home your fear of heights, birds or the mundane, because this thriller is one twist and turn away from becoming Suspiria. With a symphonic score by Bernard Herrmann, Hitchcock's Vertigo is a maddening descent into obsession.


Sleek, hyperstylised and emotionally sharp, SWOON imposes the acting chops of Craig Chester (as Leopold) and Dan Schlachet (Loeb), as well as Michael Kirby, Michael Stumm and Ron Vawter in a tightrope of legal and psychological infamy. Under the eye of Tom Kalin, the black and white film is a triumph of the deadly.


Spring Breakers

A little sun can bring out your dark side.


Punch Drunk Love

Adam Sandler and Emily Watson are knockout tour de forces in this drama. What happens when love, seven sisters and an extortionist come together in tow? A bull in the china shop.


Bring It On

Bring It On is the perfect feel-good watch with knife-edge. The dialogue is funny, the commentary relevant, and it is a whole lot of funny. Your Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union fix and one-stop shop.



Caught in fragrante delicto. That one green dress of yore. Jealousy. Red Herrings. Dive in, and emerge, wet and wispy from the fountain.


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