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The 50 Best Movies For Guys to Watch in 2024

Since the first motion picture was screened, people have been making best-of lists. If you’re a huge movie fan like me, you probably love reading end-of-year movie rankings. Or, maybe, you hate them because they never seem to include the movies you like. After all, most of those lists are made by movie critics for movie critics. They include arty films, but what about regular movies? Fun movies. Cool movies. Movies for guys.

That’s why I’ve assembled this list of the movies every modern man should watch. I aimed to include a little bit of everything, from Casablanca to John Wick. There are action flicks, of course, but also comedies, dramas, one truly iconic documentary, and even some romantic films. This list is for the well-rounded movie watcher, or for anyone who wants to become one. Here you’ll find some of the best movies for men.

The Best Movies for Men

Sadly, I can’t list every good movie for guys. I may have even ignored your personal all-time favorite (I apologize). You’ll notice the 007 and Fast & Furious franchises are absent. In the former’s case, it’s impossible to pick a definitive era. In the latter’s case, I simply feel there are better action franchises. I can’t please everyone, so I won’t try. This list is the best movies for guys who enjoy a varied film diet.

These movies are so different, they’re nearly impossible to compare. So, instead of arranging them in order of quality, I’ve listed them chronologically. This is a temporal tour through the all-time greatest guy flicks. Here, for your enjoyment (or anger), is my list of the 50 best movies for men.

1. Casablanca (1942)

Included on every “Best movies of all time” list, Casablanca is a classic for a reason. With Humphrey Bogart as Rick, it’s also one of the definitive examples of the stoic, badass leading man. If you’ve never given a black-and-white film a chance, start here.

2. Rope (1948)

There are more iconic Alfred Hitchcock films, but for my money, this is his most interesting. For its time, it was technically experimental and thematically groundbreaking. If you only know Jimmy Stewart from It’s a Wonderful Life, watch this dark thriller. You’ll see the actor in a whole new light.

3. Seven Samurai (1954)

I debated which Kurosawa film to include; I almost added Rashomon, as it’s equally influential in film and pop culture. But in terms of movies for guys, the impact of Seven Samurai can’t be overstated. Multiple movies on this very list owe much of their structure to this pioneering action film.

4. 12 Angry Men (1957)

When I think “good movies for guys,” this immediately comes to mind, and not just because of its title. This is a classic story of a principled man taking a stand—a recurring theme on this list. This film is equally cynical and optimistic about the justice system, which is why it remains relevant.

5. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)

Like Seven Samurai, TGTBATU has so thoroughly entered pop culture, it’ll feel familiar the first time you watch it. The quintessential “Spaghetti Western,” TGTBATU cemented Clint Eastwood’s legacy and came to define westerns for the general audience. It’s also tons of fun.

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6. Easy Rider (1969)

The classic “counterculture” film from the 60s, Easy Rider defined a generation. It also made superstars of its leads: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson. It feels a bit dated now, but as a snapshot of the 20th-century male, it’s an unmissable film.

7. Patton (1970)

Quite possibly your dad’s favorite film, Patton has all the hallmarks of a man’s man movie. The titular hero is a powerful, brilliant leader. It’s about World War II. And the villains are villains, no gray area. Plus, the musical score is iconic.

8. Blazing Saddles (1974)

You’ve seen the memes: This is the comedy they “couldn’t make today.” True or not, there’s no denying Blazing Saddles is one of the greatest comedies of all time. And like other movies, I’ve already discussed, its influence on modern filmmaking is huge. It’s funny, crass, weird, and, dare I say it, progressive.

9. The Godfather Part II (1974)

This is the classic example of a sequel that surpasses the original. The Godfather is a great film, but Part II is a behemoth in terms of talent, influence, and running time. Set aside a weekend for both or just watch Part II. You can ignore Part III. I do.

10.  Jaws (1975)

Love summer blockbusters? Thank Jaws. The hottest months weren’t always filled with action-packed, crowd-pleasing capital-M movies. Stephen Spielberg and a mechanical shark changed all that. Beyond the scares, this is a film about men risking it all for the greater good. Who doesn’t love that?

11.  Rocky (1976)

Rocky was an immediate hit with critics and audiences alike. Still, I doubt anybody thought it would spawn eight sequels. Some of those sequels have actually been good, even great. But the original remains the best, partly because it feels truly grounded in the life of a working-class “bum.”

12.  Taxi Driver (1976)

This wasn’t the first hit for either director Martin Scorsese or star Robert de Niro. But Taxi Driver proved both were undeniable, major talents. Mimicked by many movies–including Todd Phillips’ Joker–this is the standard for anti-hero films. Its dark themes and the even darker ending still resonate.

13.  Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

No film franchise inspires greater debate than Star Wars. You might love or hate the prequels. Maybe the recent sequels wowed you, or maybe you think they’re drivel. Either way, it all started with A New Hope. It’s a classic story of a man learning to embrace his destiny. The sequels and shows can’t take that away.

14.  Alien (1979)

Ridley Scott’s Alien proved that guys could love an action film with a female lead. Sigourney Weaver is Ellen Ripley, and she holds her own in the pantheon of action heroes. The sequels took this franchise in interesting directions, but the original is still a high watermark.

15.  Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas united to create an icon of film history: Indiana Jones. In his first movie, Dr. Jones is everything guys want in their action heroes: smart, brave, suave, and effortlessly cool. Sure, he’s scared of snakes, but that just makes him relatable.

16.  First Blood (1982)

Trivia question: How many people does John Rambo kill in First Blood? The answer: only one. The death counts soared with later installments in the franchise. But this first film is smarter and more restrained than it’s often given credit for. It’s also a definitive man-against-the-world flick.

17.  The Thing (1982)

Like other films on this list, John Carpenter’s The Thing is both a great movie and hugely influential. The “group doesn’t know who to trust” trope has now been done to death. The Thing does it to terrifying perfection.

18.  Back to the Future (1985)

One of the best films of all time, BTTF is clever, stylish, and funny. And it still holds up. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd are absolutely iconic in their respective roles. Whether you were born in 1955, 1985, or 2015, this movie is a crowd-pleaser. (The two sequels are fun too.)

19.  Die Hard (1988)

Bruce Willis’ John McClane arrived as an antidote to the Rambo-style action hero. Instead of being impossibly muscled like Stallone and Schwarzenegger, Willis was the everyman. It made him all the cooler when he kicked butt. It also made him more relatable to us normal dudes.

20.  Field of Dreams (1989)

There are great sports movies. There are great father/son movies. And then there is Field of Dreams, the ideal pairing of both. On one hand, this is a film about life, death, and the struggles of being a father. On the other, it’s one of the best movies about baseball. Ever.

21.  When Harry Met Sally (1989)

“This is a chick flick!” I hear you screaming. Don’t be so limited. Not only can we guys enjoy a romcom, but we should appreciate when one is as exceptional as this one. WHMS is perfectly cast, well-written, and yes, funny and romantic. Tons of bad romcoms have tried to copy it, but few come close to matching its style or humor.

22.  Boyz n the Hood (1991)

This was one of the first films to faithfully and, importantly, sympathetically portray America’s inner-city reality. BNTH is about life among urban gangs, but even more, it’s about navigating life from boyhood to manhood. That’s a universal theme.

23.  Point Break (1991)

The reputation of Point Break has swung wildly from crowd-pleaser to joke to beloved action movie standard-bearer. It’s been imitated endlessly, from The Fast and the Furious stealing its plot to Hot Fuzz lovingly sending it up. It’s also got two perfectly cast stars in Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves.

24.  Terminator 2 (1991)

Playing the antagonist in the original Terminator elevated Arnold Schwarzenegger beyond being just a C-list action star. This sequel is better in almost every way, from cooler action scenes to an even more terrifying robotic villain. Plus, it lets Arnold be both a badass robot bodyguard and a surprisingly affecting father figure.

25.  Jurassic Park (1993)

Jurassic Park put every boy’s fantasies on the big screen in stunningly realistic detail. The sequels that followed have been more miss than hits, but the original is a masterpiece. Plus, the graphics still look great.

26.  Pulp Fiction (1994)

Can you believe Pulp Fiction was only the second major film that Quentin Tarantino directed? His first, Reservoir Dogs, is fantastic, and fans will argue any of his many movies could be his best. But Pulp Fiction is his most iconic (and quotable) film.

27.  The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

I’m pretty sure it’s in the US Constitution that any list of guy movies must include The Shawshank Redemption. There’s a reason this movie appears on so many best-of lists. It’s Hollywood filmmaking at its finest. It’s also one of the few movies most men wouldn’t be ashamed to cry at.

28.  Mission Impossible (1996)

Mission Impossible is arguably the best action franchise. Other than the misstep that is Mission Impossible II, every MI film has been thoroughly entertaining. The stunts in the first aren’t as ambitious as what comes later, but it’s still a thrilling, twisty ride. And it sets the stage for everything that comes afterward.

29.  Good Will Hunting (1997)

No one expected Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to craft one of the great odes to aimless manhood. They did, though, and earned screenwriting Oscars for their effort. Both are excellent in this emotional film. Robin Williams, however, steals the show (and won an Oscar) as the therapist who helps Damon’s Will confront his demons.

30.  Saving Private Ryan (1998)

One of the best war films ever, SPR is also one of the great cinematic depictions of brotherhood. Tom Hanks turns in a predictably great performance, but the whole cast creates characters who feel like someone you know. Plus, the battle scenes remain some of the most brutally realistic in the genre. (Pair this with the Band of Brothers miniseries for a dramatic gut punch.)

31.  Fight Club (1999)

What can be said about this classic that hasn’t already been written in a hundred think pieces? Yes, there’s a deeper message than just “guys need to punch each other to feel alive.” And, no, the movie isn’t arguing that anarchy is the way forward. Look, there’s a lot to unpack with Fight Club, but it’s also just a really cool movie.

32.  The Matrix (1999)

Neo was perhaps the role Keanu Reeves was born to play. There’s no debating that his blank-slate acting style fits the role perfectly. Of course, The Matrix wouldn’t be an all-timer without the ground-breaking graphics and delirious fight scenes. This movie made every teenage boy of the 90s wish they knew kung-fu.

33.  American Psycho (2000)

Is Patrick Bateman the protagonist of American Psycho? The villain? Does he even exist? In director, Mary Harron’s hands, a controversial book became one of the first great movies of the 21st century. It’s part examination of toxic masculinity, part wicked satire of modern life, and part just an f-ed-up slasher flick. It’s also great.

34.  High Fidelity (2000)

High Fidelity is about that rocky stage in a man’s life when he realizes he needs to mature for love. It’s also about bad breakups, “Top 5” lists, great music, and Jack Black being a lovable freak. This movie is for every guy who’s had a trail of “crazy ex-girlfriends” and started wondering, “Am I the problem?”

35.  Ocean’s 11 (2001)

A good dude’s flick can be complex, dark, or even scary. But, sometimes, it just needs to be fun. I contend that all three George Clooney-led Ocean’s films are great. But even if the sequels left you cold, you must admit, Ocean’s 11 is a blast. Who cares if the stakes are never really that high or the actual details of the heist are kinda fuzzy? Hanging with this crew for a couple of hours is enough.

36.  Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

If you’re watching a foreign-language film, it helps if it’s sexy, right? By Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón, this coming-of-age film is about sex, friendship, sex, love, and sex. I don’t want to sell this film short. It’s a well-acted, beautifully shot, complex road movie. There’s also a lot of sex.

37.  The Bourne Identity (2002)

I love the Bourne films. I’m of the opinion that the first three make a perfect trilogy. (I ignore Jason Bourne and the Jeremy Renner one.) The Bourne Identity isn’t even my favorite, but I could still rewatch it every few months. Who knew Will Hunting would turn out to be such a badass?

38.  Grizzly Man (2005)

Few documentaries qualify as “guy movies.” Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man is the exception. This portrait of Timothy Treadwell, a real (now-deceased) man with a passion for bears is a cautionary tale. Is there anything more “manly” than having an obsession that takes over your life? Hopefully, yours doesn’t maul you to death.

39.  The Departed (2006)

Martin Scorsese finally got his Oscar with The Departed. It isn’t his best film or his most transgressive. It’s still a great ride for a wide audience, and it maintains a deliciously dark tone. If you’ve never watched it, I urge you: go in with as little information as possible.

40.  The Fountain (2006)

This is probably the least well-known movie on this list and one of my favorites. From Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan and The Whale), The Fountain is a gorgeous downer. A never-better Hugh Jackman plays a scientist trying to “cure death” before his wife, played by Rachel Weisz, passes. That’s just one of the three plots in this trippy, absolutely stunning film about deathless love.

41.  Into the Wild (2007)

Like Grizzly Man, Into the Wild is about how our obsessions can conquer us. Also like the Herzog documentary, this movie’s lead character, Christopher McCandless, loves nature more than life itself. He may be a tragic hero, but it’s hard not to be inspired by him.

42.  No Country for Old Men (2007)

The Coen Brothers often make films filled with violence and dark wit. This is possibly their most violent and darkest. While Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh is the scene-stealing villain, it’s Tommy Lee Jones that gives NCFOM its soul. Jones’s Sheriff Bell is the embodiment of all traditional men thrust into the distressing realities of a changing world.

43.  Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Tarantino’s take on World War II is a fantasy retelling of the war with graphic violence and impeccable acting. Plenty of war movies serve as history lessons (two are on this list). Inglourious Basterds is something utterly different; it’s dramatic and hilarious in equal doses. I’d even go so far as to call it Quentin’s best film.

44.  The Social Network (2010)

Like other movies here, The Social Network is about the way obsession can be both a blessing and a curse. David Fincher’s retelling of the creation of Facebook is a modern parable. It’s a movie in which almost every major character is unlikeable, and it’s basically perfect.

45.  The Raid: Redemption (2011)

Often, “movies for guys” is just shorthand for “super violent, action flick.” In the case of The Raid, that’s a good thing. Easily the most intense film on this list, this Indonesian thriller has to be seen to be believed. If you haven’t watched it before now, go in blind and just enjoy the ride.

46.  Prisoners (2013)

For a father, there is nothing scarier than the thought of losing his child. Prisoners is an unflinching and brutal film that deals with that exact nightmare situation. It’s not a fun film, but it will stick with you. The cast is fantastic from top to bottom, with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal being as good as it gets.

47.  Moonlight (2016)

This is a different type of movie for men. A heartbreaking story about a gay youth, Moonlight offers an important reconsideration of what it means to be a man. This is one of the “artier” films on this list, but don’t let the subject or style scare you off. It’s a masterwork and deservedly won its Best Picture Oscar.

48.  Queen & Slim (2019)

Called the “Black Bonnie and Clyde,” Queen & Slim could be described as a racial politics movie. But it’s also a movie about what a man will do for the woman he loves. The plot details might not reflect your experience, but its complex love story feels universal.

49.  The Green Knight (2021)

The Green Knight was unjustly ignored when it arrived in post-pandemic theaters. Legends about knights were the original “movies for guys,” and this modern take is a beautiful addition to the tradition. Watch it knowing as little as possible to really appreciate the experience.

50.  John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

America’s answer to The Raid, it’s hard to pick the best of the four. It doesn’t help that each movie starts right where the previous one ended, so they’re essentially one long movie. Currently, Keanu Reeves is arguably America’s best action star, and John Wick, even more than Neo, is his ideal avatar.

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