100 Must See Movies: The Essential Men’s Movie Library

by Brett & Kate McKay on July 13, 2009 · 701 comments

in Movies, Travel & Leisure


For whatever reason (most likely the fact that viewing is easier than reading), films don’t seem to get the same kind of cultural respect as books do. Which is a shame because excellent movies can be just as entertaining, mind-expanding, and life changing as good books. Scenes, characters, and quotes from the greatest movies stay with us long after we view them. Their ability to transport you to different times and exotic locations, to completely absorb you in the story, make movies one of the closest approximations of real magic we have in this world.

And for better and for worse, film has had a huge impact on masculinity in the 20th Century. Movies have produced archetypes of manliness that many men judge themselves against today. To view how male characters of cinema have been portrayed over the decades, is to see clearly the ways in which our perception of masculinity has changed and continues to change. Thus it seemed only proper that The Art of Manliness take a stab at creating a list of essential movies every man should see.

We didn’t want to make a list of movies that consisted solely of violence and gratuitous T and A that make up most guy movie lists. Nor did we want to create a list of just independent avant-garde movies that while culturally or cinematically significant, aren’t very entertaining. We wanted to create a well rounded list of films that have something to say about manliness. Some of the movies speak poignantly about what it means to be a man. Others give examples of true manliness in action. Some are lessons in how not to be a man. And others are simply entertaining movies that are just plain manly. But the common thread that runs through all of them is that they’re great movies that have stood the test of time.

Let us know in the comments which movies you loved, which ones you hated, and the movies you think every man should see before he dies. Without further ado, we present The Art of Manliness 100 Must See Movies for Men.

The Great Escape


This group of Allied POWS fought the enemy the best way they could – by bustin’ out of prison. Based on a true story, the film has been hailed as one the greatest escape movies of all time. Despite its length (172 minutes), the movie maintains interest through the engaging relationships of the prisoners. Each individual contributes their skills and personality to the effort, even the self-interested American (played by Steve McQueen). I guess his skill would be making killer motorcycle chase scenes.

Best line: “I’m going… out.”

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


Based loosely on the real lives of Western outlaws Robert Leroy Parker (aka Butch Cassidy) and Harry Longabaugh (aka the Sundance Kid), Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid is a classic movie about two buddies trying to make it in a changing world. What’s funny about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is that you forget that these guys were hardened criminals who robbed banks and trains for a living. The easy going charm Robert Redford and Paul Newman bring to their roles makes you like the characters despite their choice of profession. Their clever hijinks and humor make the movie an enjoyable ride.

Best line: “Boy, I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals.”

Dirty Harry


Cops that won’t let anything – even the law – stand in their way of catching the bad guy may have become a Hollywood cliché, but when Dirty Harry first pulled out his .44 magnum it was a brand new story. Harry Callahan stops at nothing as he hunts down the Scorpio, a serial killer that picks people off with a sniper rifle. The plot isn’t bad, but it’s Clint Eastwood that drives the entire picture. His rebel good- guy cop set a high mark for others to try and follow.

Best line: “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”

The Endless Summer


Working 60 hours a week sucks. I mean, it really sucks. The idea of travelling around the world to exotic spots with the simple objective of surfing every chance you get is about the most enticing thing on the planet. In step Mike Hynson and Robert August. Famed documentary director Bruce Brown follows the pair around the world as they chase the summer and whatever waves they can ride. If you can’t surf, or you can’t take the time off work to surf – live vicariously through this movie.

Bull Durham


This movie is great for many reasons – of which, I cite two: 1) Kevin Costner can actually play baseball, instead of looking like a moron as do many other actors trying to swing a bat. 2) Tim Robbins character wears lingerie when he pitches – which is completely classic. Besides these, there are many other elements that make the movie relevant: the mentor/mentee, the old vs. the young, fighting for the woman, baseball. But ultimately it’s about a bunch of guys trying to make their mark on life – which we can all certainly relate to.

Best line: “Charlie, here comes the deuce. And when you speak of me, speak well.”

The Apartment


Do nice guys always finish last? Not necessarily. The Apartment is a true gem of a movie that doesn’t seem get the attention it deserves. Both dramatic and funny, the film is a dark comedy about a corporate drone who finally gets tired of being constantly walked on, mans up, and becomes a mensch. Things don’t always work out when you do the right thing, but sometimes they do.

Best line: “Shut up and deal.”

The Shootist


Nobody wants to die alone. Especially gunslingers. In a haunting portrayal that foreshadowed his own fate, John Wayne plays J.B. Brooks, an aging gunfighter dying of cancer who resigns himself to live out his days in private. But skeletons from his past prevent him from fading away, so he decides to go down the only way he knows – with his six gun blazing.

Best line: “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.”



At its core, Hoosiers is about redemption – basketball is just the vehicle. The story revolves around a basketball coach that has fallen from grace and finds himself at a small rural town in Indiana. He ruffles feathers and fights to earn the respect of his players, the town, and a doubtful teacher. The team chases glory, while others in the town remember what it is like to win. Not only is it one of the most inspiring movies of all time, it has one of the most hardcore stoics in all of sport movie history. Jimmy = Clutch.

Best line: “You know, most people would kill… to be treated like a god, just for a few moments.”

Last of the Mohicans


This movie set the standard for war epics of the modern era. Few are its equal. A Mohican father and his son, along with their adopted son, attempt to maintain their neutrality amidst the French-Indian War in colonial America. The men are pulled into the fray after rescuing two daughters of a British Officer during a skirmish and escorting them to their father’s fort. As the impending battle builds around them, the men remain devoted to the daughters, going to great lengths to preserve them. From the opening sequence of Uncas and Hawkeye sprinting through the dense forest, to the final scene on the promontory, the movie is gripping and powerful. Additionally, they play lacrosse in this movie – that fact alone secured its place on this list.

Best line: “Someday I think you and I are going to have a serious disagreement.”

The Bicycle Thief


An Italian Neo-Realist classic, The Bicycle Thief tells the bleak story of a man in impoverished post-war Italy whose bicycle, which he needs to work, is stolen. Father and son hunt all over Rome to find the bike, with no one to help them and ultimately no success. And thus the father is faced with a classic philosophical problem: is it okay to steal to feed your family? Realistic and honest, this movie provides one of the best glimpses into the nature of the father/son relationship.

Best line: “Why should I kill myself worrying when I’ll end up just as dead?”

Field of Dreams

field_of_dreamsTo what lengths would a person go for a chance at reconciliation? If it is for your (dead) father, most of us would do anything. Field of Dreams is Ray Kinsellas’s journey of reparation with his father. Ray, an Iowa farmer, erects a baseball field in his cornfield after a voice tells him, “If you build it, he will come.” The voice continues, and after a series of mysterious and supernatural events, he is able to make amends. It is quite possible that a game of catch can heal most wounds between a father and son – even death, I suppose.

Best line: “If you build it, he will come.”

North by Northwest


Starring dapper dude, Cary Grant, North by Northwest is classic Alfred Hitchcock. Grant plays a hapless New York advertising executive mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive. The problem is the government thinks he’s a spy, too, and they’re on the chase as well. Talk about a bad day.

Best line: “I don’t like the way Teddy Roosevelt is looking at me.”

The Outsiders


The film adaption of SE Hinton’s famous novel perfectly captures the tumultuous nature of teenage angst. The well-to-do Socs and blue collar Greasers hate each other’s guts, and when Johnny the Greaser kills a Soc, a series of dramatic and tragic events are set in motion, including an old fashioned rumble. The film is a star-studded affair, filled with the likes of Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Ralph Macchio, and Diane Lane, many before they were household names. And best of all, it was shot on location in my home city of Tulsa.

Best line: “Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold.”

First Blood (Rambo)


The more weighty issues in First Blood are usually overshadowed by the gratuitous action. Understandably so, but the movie is built on Rambo’s struggle to return to society after the Vietnam War. A Medal of Honor recipient, Rambo is kicked out of a small town and then arrested for vagrancy. The sheriff and his deputies go overboard with torture and Rambo reverts back to what he does best. Nothing good can come from pissing off a guy named Rambo.

Best line: “They drew first blood, not me.”

The Manchurian Candidate


A Cold War classic starring Frank Sinatra in probably his best movie performance. The film was so controversial that it was banned from further release after JFK’s assassination. The Manchurian Candidate focuses on the way in which propaganda and the manufacture of political views can influence one’s perception and behavior in the most provocative of ways. The story follows several former Korean War soldiers who have been brainwashed by the military. Follow them as they try to unravel the source of the reoccurring nightmares. A real thriller. Don’t bother with the Denzel Washington version. The original is still the best.

Best line: “There are two kinds of people in this world: Those that enter a room and turn the television set on, and those that enter a room and turn the television set off.”

In the Heat of the Night

mpaintheheatofthenightposter.jpg Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier), a respected detective from up North, is thrown into a murder investigation in the small town of Sparta, Mississippi. While he initially doesn’t want any part of the case, Tibbs exemplifies manly resolve as he sticks around, staring down bigot after bigot while searching for the murderer. The film is famous for a scene in which Tibbs, after being slapped by a white man, slaps him right back. The screenplay originally called for Poitier to simply take it, but the actor found this passive response degrading and insisted he be allowed to hit back. That my friends, is being a man. You slap me in the face, I’ll slap you right back, Sucka.

Best line: “They call me MISTER Tibbs!”



A quiet gunslinger who is trying to escape his past befriends a pioneer family that has settled out west. He attempts to settle down and become a hired hand to the family, but the ranchers who want to drive cattle through the homesteaders’ property are attempting to drive them out. Shane tries to stay out of the disputes, but keeps being drawn in and is finally compelled to put his six shooter back on to protect his adoptive family. Perhaps the most touching part of the movie is the relationship Shane develops with the farmer’s son.

Best line: “A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

Double Indemnity


Perhaps the greatest American contribution to the film noir style, Double Indemnity is dark rumination on greed, manipulation, and betrayal. Barbara Stanwyck plays a classic femme fatale who uses her womanly wiles to lure insurance salesman Walter Neff into a plan to kill her husband for the “double indemnity” payout. But Neff is not a guileless victim after all. Palatable tension, suspense, and snappy dialogue make this film a true classic.

Best line: “How could I have known that murder could sometimes smell like honeysuckle?”

Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside)


Politics of euthanasia aside, living is so much more than just breathing. Based on the life of Ramón Sampedro, the movie examines the fight to end his own life after 30 years of being paralyzed from the neck down. Despite his desire to end his life, through his courage and self awareness, he inspired others to embrace their own.

The Maltese Falcon


The Maltese Falcon is filled with ambiguities in morality. Sam Spade, played by Humphrey Bogart, is a hardened and cynical man. But underneath his rough exterior is a man with a sense of idealism. Spade lives by a code of honor that doesn’t let him take the corrupt and easy solution to life’s problems. The Maltese Falcon forces us to answer a simple question: when push comes to shove, will we stick to our own code of honor or will we sell out?

Best line: “[It's the] stuff that dreams are made of.”

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{ 685 comments… read them below or add one }

201 Max August 6, 2009 at 12:03 am

Nice list which includes a few I have not seen. The top of my list of movies of all time is “A Man For All Seasons”. A fabulous movie about the manly character of Sir Thomas Moore that stands up to all of England. even to his death.

202 Josh Barol August 7, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Not enough Charlton Heston. Ben Hur is there. That’s great. How about Planet of the Apes, the Omega Man, Soylent Green or the Ten Commandments? Those are must see man movies.

203 Daniel Stinebaugh August 8, 2009 at 12:19 pm

I must say I’m torn on this list. I agree with about half of the posts, but to see so many classics, and so few of the newer movies, heck, where’s Robocop? Spaceballs? Shoot em Up? (alright that last one is debatable as well) but still a decent refference list for my Girlfriend to check.

Either way thanks for the time and post!

204 download movies August 8, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Mmmm….Great list.Thnx

205 aj August 11, 2009 at 1:00 am

The French Connection was about gangs smuggling “women admired and emulated for their achievements and qualities”? I better watch that film again…

I think your spell checker is working overtime – I’m thinking “heroine smuggling ring” should be “heroin smuggling ring”.

Good list though. I’ve got some viewing for the weekend to get through.

206 Graham August 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm

A few worthy mentions:

The Third Man
My Man Godfrey
His Girl Friday
The Thin Man
M (The Film by Fritz Lang)
Raging Bull
Taxi Driver
Blade Runner
Life is Beautiful
Hotel Rawanda
The Big Sleep

207 Ed August 11, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Take Rasin in the Sun off this list. I love Gangs of New York but how does that make it and Goodfellas or The Departed does not?

Regardless, awesome list. Some real classics on there.

208 Jack August 12, 2009 at 12:07 am

I’d like to include “The Fountainhead” from the book of the same name. Gary Cooper plays the main charter. Easily a man’s man charter.

209 Jack August 12, 2009 at 12:15 am

My Personal Best Westerns:

1. Who Killed Liberty Valance: John Wayne, Jimmy Stuart
2. High Noon: Gary Cooper

210 Tom August 12, 2009 at 5:23 pm

I was afraid that 12 Angry Men wasn’t in there, but you didn’t disappoint. I second Hutch’s bid for Goonies. It’s the fun pirate adventure movie you loved as a kid, but looking back you see it for what it really is. A group of boys become men by standing by each other, even with their vast diversity (from Data to Mouth to Sloth), confronting their weaknesses, and ultimately risking everything to save their neighborhood from destruction. Same basic credo for Stand by Me as well.

211 Don August 13, 2009 at 11:30 am

Maybe I missed it..but how in the world can Deliverance not be on this list??? Once of the best movies of the last century. Somebody enlighten me pls

212 mfs insd August 13, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Did I miss ‘Easy Rider’ and ‘The King of Hearts’ somewhere in this list.

213 JeffConn August 13, 2009 at 6:50 pm

Must to add to the list:
Duck Soup
Magnificent Seven
And please remove any movie with Tom Cruise in it. He’s shown himself many times to be less than a man.

214 JC August 13, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Have you even seen Rocky?? He runs up the stairs at the Art Museum as noted in Rocky 5, and “Eye of the Tiger” isn’t played once until Rocky 3. If you’re gonna write a review about a movie the least you could do is actually watch it.

215 dannyb August 13, 2009 at 9:17 pm

legends of the fall, band of brothers, the sand pebbles.

216 jay August 15, 2009 at 10:03 am

Where is the Dirty Dozen?
That has to be up there with some of the manliest things to ever grace a strip of film.

90% of this list is good. but just because a movie is old or boring doesn’t make it manly.
Hell, a manly movie doesn’t even have to be that good.

217 Cooler King August 17, 2009 at 6:31 pm

I think most commenters are forgetting the difference between a manly movie and a cool movie. Why would Boondock Saints be on a list like this? What does it have to do with being manly? Same with Fight Club. Please watch more movies.

218 Q August 19, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Awesome list. Usually I read lists like the IMDB top 100 and feel like barfing. The ones suggested in the comments section are impressive too. I’ll add a few that I didn’t see mentioned in either place:

Hara Kiri: Tatsuya Nakadai getting his revenge, maniacally laughing and throwing the top knot of his adversary in front of the crowd might be the coolest moment in movie history. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vk-xztZ7rEU&feature=related

Breaker Morant: “Shoot straight you bastards, don’t make a mess of it!”

The Ox-Bow Incident: Timeless tale of mob justice.

Lonesome Dove: A mini-series but still epically manly. “A man who wouldn’t cheat for a poke don’t want one bad enough”

The Naked Prey

The Day of the Jackal

219 Brett August 20, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Thanks for the suggestions, Q. I’ll have to take a look at those.

220 niegaosh August 20, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Yes, I am very fond of these, some of which have seen many times before the case!

221 Evangeline August 22, 2009 at 12:04 am

Great list, disagree with a few, but you can’t please everybody.
One I would have loved to see on there is Carlitos Way. One of the best movies I have ever seen, and very manly.

222 Phil C. August 26, 2009 at 12:38 am

Definitely Tombstone, and Papillon (1973)
Starring: Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
If you haven;t seen it, this movie will knock your socks off!

223 Phil C. August 26, 2009 at 12:47 am

No “Boys in the Hood”?
There is no better movie of a father manning up and teaching his son how to be his own man.

224 Rod August 27, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Days of Thunder and The Big Lebowski,Great to get drunk and watch as is Fridays and Talledega Nights.

225 Kevin August 29, 2009 at 12:44 am

There is a great man movie you guys left out. It is a must! The Ghost and The Darkness! Based on a true story the book is “The Man Eaters of Tsavo” As always, tbe book was better.
Great line from “The Ghost and the Darkness”

Charles Remington: We have an expression in prize fighting: “Everyone has a plan until they’ve been hit.” Well my friend, you’ve just been hit. The getting up is up to you.

226 Joe August 31, 2009 at 10:04 pm

The Straight Story

227 Greg September 5, 2009 at 6:07 pm

There’s something wrong with a “Man’s Movie” list that has “The Apartment” and “Gandhi” on it, but not “300″ and Blackhawk Down.”

228 Jason September 6, 2009 at 9:36 pm

12 O’clock High is a must watch. It’s still used as a method of teaching leadership in the military, specifically the U.S. Air Force.

229 mario September 14, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Rush Hour 2

230 Gary September 16, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Great list but Shaft should have been included

231 Beau September 18, 2009 at 10:02 am

Yes, a mostly fantastic list! But here are a few of my “Manly” favorites that I didn’t see on the list:

Papillon – Steve McQeen and Dustin Hoffman
Sargeant York – Gary Cooper
To Hell and Back – Audie Murphy

232 antonio September 20, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Great work at the compilation! To put a cosmopolitan twist to it, check out John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow; and The Killer. Don’t forget Tom Hanks’s and Paul Newman’s Road to Perdition too!

233 Justin September 21, 2009 at 1:31 am

I would like to include Stand by Me, Hope and Glory and The Princess Bride in the list, all awesome man movies.

234 Howard September 22, 2009 at 11:20 am

You say that The Manchurian Candidate “..follows several former Korean War soldiers who have been brainwashed by the military.” You neglect to say that the military that brainwashed them was the Chinese/N. Korean/Russian ones.

235 Josh September 23, 2009 at 4:20 pm

What about “We Were Soldiers”? There is an archetype character for every style of masculinity in that movie. Best line: (after being told he should get a M-16) “Sir, if the time comes I need one, there’ll be plenty lying on the ground.”

I also agree with others that Legends of the Fall should be in there. Band of Brothers should be there too (though technically a miniseries and not a movie).

236 Louwrens September 27, 2009 at 9:58 am

I would add ‘A long day’s dying’ not well known, but paratroopers trying to get back from behind enemy lines.

237 DuBach September 28, 2009 at 2:08 am

Watch Fistful of Dollars with Eastwood, then watch Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. Basically, Leone took the idea from Kurosawa. Almost the same exact story. But it’s interesting how context can put a different spin on things.

These were all great picks. Another Bogart would’ve been “Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” And I was surprised how many great movies Redford has been in.

238 Orgotloth October 2, 2009 at 1:53 pm

umm, we’re forgetting a few necessities here

1) The Big Lebowski (Amazed this one wasn’t on the list, it is by all definitions a man movie)
2) Heat (Amazing heist flick)
3) Pitch Black (I say this because of riddick, he is a survivor and does so with knowledge that he is superior, not gloating, just confident)
4) Boondock Saints (brothers doing what is needed and willing to die for it)
5) Office Space (a story of a man taking control of his destiny)
6) Scarface (a man building an empire and living his american dream)
7) Dr. Strangelove (This is the most complete and the most brilliant film ever made)
8) Tombstone (a story about a man giving everything for what he believes in)
9) Pulp Fiction (Another man’s movie, i can’t really put my finger on it)

In addition theese movies should definately be taken off this list

1) Star Wars (while i enjoy the original trilogy i find nothing inherently manly or outstanding about the films)
2)Lord of the Rings (three movies about people walking to a volcano then tossing a ring in, not to mention the 10 or so endings after that, theres nothing inspiring or really good about these movies)
3) Groundhog Day (While a decent movie not what I’d call on par with the others on this list)

As I haven’t seen all the movies listed those are all the suggestions I can make

239 Nick Stone October 3, 2009 at 12:59 am

Everyone’s added their suggestions, and some I agree with (We Were Soldiers, Heat, The Departed) and some that I certainly don’t (Pitch Black, Talladega Nights), but I have one single suggestion that I have always liked, but no one seems to know about.

The Edge. Stars Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin. Hopkins plays a billionaire genius with a photographic memory who is stranded in the Canadian Rockies with Alec Balwin’s character. Thing is, Hopkins knows how to keep cool, and how to survive, and shows himself to be a fantastic leader, despite being a fat old man. Manliest line: “We’re gonna kill the motherfucker!” This line comes when the two men have reached the end of their ropes after being stalked by a grizzly with a taste for blood. These two suburbanites, with nothing more than gumption and a sharp stick, set out to face down an enormous grizzly bear (played by friendly old Bart the Bear, who unfortunately died a little while ago).

If you guys haven’t seen it, it’s a well-done movie, with some excellent acting, and it’s just about being a man. Simply put, it’s all about doing what needs to be done and getting through obstacles, regardless of what comes up. I highly recommend it as a man movie.

240 Chris Hodapp October 4, 2009 at 8:04 pm

The Man Who Would Be King.

How could you have missed this?

“Now listen to me you benighted muckers. We’re going to teach you soldiering. The world’s noblest profession. When we’re done with you, you’ll be able to slaughter your enemies like civilized men. ”

Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer (as Rudyard Kipling), and directed by John Huston.

“Danny never let go of Peachy’s hand, Peachy never let go of Danny’s head.”

Any man who doesn’t break down in tears at the end of this incredible film is no man at all. It’s even got Freemasons in it. Hats on.

241 Jerry Hooper October 9, 2009 at 11:06 pm

What about “The Quiet Man” or ” Mc Clintock!”…..

242 Steve-P October 10, 2009 at 11:58 am

More modern manly film classics:
Frequency (2000) Jim Caviezel and Dennis Quaid – A father and son manliness tales that is timeless. I always love stories with a time paradox!
The Passion of the Christ (2004) Jim Caviezel – No explanation necessary!
We Were Soldiers (2002) Mel Gibson – Best Vietnam movie ever. Plays a great counterpoint to all the drunken, drug laced tales of genocide and mayhem and proves real men fought that war for us!
Pirate’s of the Carbbean (All of them) Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom – Many aspects of manliness, courage, commitment and love as well as the unusual effeminate manly-man Jack Sparrow juxtaposed against the prototypical swashbuckling Will Turner.
I grew up on Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne. Somehow manliness has gone from having to do what’s right even when it is impossible to violence and aggression for any reason. I applaud that many of those films are not on your list!

243 william October 14, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Stephen seagal in “Under seige” not on this list? for shame!

The movie is top five in this list !

244 Bill October 20, 2009 at 11:58 pm

Where is my Boondock Saints?

245 Tyler October 29, 2009 at 10:42 pm

how is fight club not on this list?! FIGHT CLUB

246 Andy November 11, 2009 at 8:45 pm

For my money, it doesn’t get more manly than The Godfather. It’s all about loyalty to your family and commitment to promises. Just an awesome movie all around.

247 Nathan Mitchell Griffin November 18, 2009 at 11:36 pm

The Cowboys – John Wayne

248 KEVIN! November 19, 2009 at 4:48 pm

I must say, there doesn’t seem to be a Kubrick film on here, most notably Full Metal Jacket.

249 Kurt November 30, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Two movies to be viewed by every man, Conan the Barbarian and Mad Max: The Road Warrior.

250 Curley Bill December 5, 2009 at 10:05 am

Surely the most manly film has to be ‘Rob Roy’?
One poor man defends his honor to the point of death against rich and powerful enemies (and Tim Roth is one of cinema’s greatest villains).
Also, how about ‘Open Range’?
And, finally, if ‘Gladiator’ rates a mention the ‘Troy’ should also.

251 Tommo December 7, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Scarface, Casino, Goodfellas. Suppose youve had to vary the genres a fair bit so cant get all of them in there. Papillon’s a classic. Lock Stock or Snatch maybe. Boys from company C is a great film aswell. Cheers 4 the list though, theres some old chestnuts on there defo worth a watch.

252 jordan booker December 13, 2009 at 1:30 pm

I liked the list but I must say that The Boondock Saints should have made the list.

253 Ryan Harris December 13, 2009 at 9:44 pm

It would be nice if there was a way to just one-click add this whole list to my netflix queue. Great list!

254 1776J December 16, 2009 at 6:59 pm

What about the 1920s and 1930s??

I find myself very surprised that sooo many great and very masculine movies with far more talent and masculinity than that of The Karate Kid, Swingers, American Beauty Old Yeller or Groundhog Day? (I honestly don’t know why some of those wound up on that list?) were pushed aside? Maybe its just a lack of knowledge of them, which is understandable,… otherwise,… WOW??

I’d trade all those mentioned and a few others like Top Gun for a trip back in time with such greats with grit, unmatched wit and talent and machismo as,…

Angels With Dirty Faces -1938 James Cagney
Little Ceasar – 1930 Edward G. Robinson
Scarface (THE ORIGINAL!!!) – 1932 Paul Muni
I am a Fugitive From A Chain Gang – 1932 Paul Muni
The Roaring Twenties – 1939 James Cagney
Public Enemy – 1931 James Cagney
The Adventures Of Robin Hood – 1937 Errol Flynn
Maltese Falcon – 1941 Humphrey Bogart
The Sherlock Holmes series of movies from the 1930s with Basil Rathbone

In fact, if I read your list right,.. I don’t think there was one James Cagney movie listed?? Cagney was one of the very biggest and most recognized fellows with that MANLY grit about him throughout his entire film career.
…and what about one of the movies with some of the biggest collections of MANLY scenes within it,….


I mean there aren’t many actors or roles in Groundhog Day, Karate Kid, Top Gun or otherwise that can even come close or hold a candle to Clark Gable’s style, wit, and debonair persona that took on anything and anyone in his role as Rhett Butler!

I think you may want to adjust your list. :-)

255 Mr. Anderson December 17, 2009 at 8:36 am

I would like to nominate “Silverado”.

256 Sean December 18, 2009 at 6:32 pm

Come on! “Wonder Boy” was the name of Roy Hobbs’ bat in “The Natural,” Boy Wonder was Batman’s gay sidekick.

I also nominate:

American Gangster, Training Day, Animal House, Batman Begins/Dark Knight, Casino, Goodfellas, True Romance, The Program, Platoon, Miracle, Falling Down and Red Dawn

257 markicon December 18, 2009 at 8:48 pm

The French Connection – Could u smuggle a heroine for me please?

258 drumdiva December 18, 2009 at 9:59 pm

If you ask me, the title of this article should be “100 Must See Movies: The Essential Movie Library for Everyone”. I’m a woman and I’ve seen almost all of the films on this list (and my all-time favorite film is “The Godfather”). We women have brains in our heads, too, so why should we settle for the mindless romantic pablum that’s geared toward women on a daily basis? That we’re “supposed” to like?

259 Jason December 23, 2009 at 3:41 pm

A list without Lonesome Dove is no list at all.
No Goodfellas either. Atleast you have Cool Hand Luke and Old Yeller.
Ghostbusters? Wow.

260 shallowandmean December 28, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Only agree with two: Double Indemnity & Maltese Falcon. Double Indemnity is FRED MACMURRAY; Maltese Falcon is SIDNEY GREENSTREET. The LINE from Double Indemity: “You’re no smarter. Just a little taller!” Rendered by Edward G. Robinson. From Maltese Falcon: “You’re an amazing character, Mr. Spade!” (Sidney Greenstreet).

261 Iain January 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm

My three cents:
“From Russia With Love” – is a better Bond movie than “Dr. No” – probably the best Bond movie.
“Warlock” as someone mentioned above? Oh, God no! Good with the original french movie, “The Wages of Fear”. To be a man when you make a commitment you follow through.
“Ronin” – Absolutely amazing car chases and again, commitment.

262 Warped January 2, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Your lack of Yojimbo is disturbing.

Wanna be a man? Wanna be a thinking man with the skills of Jason Bourne and the presence of some kinda badass that makes the average guy wet himself? Learn from Toshirô Mifune in Yojimbo.

263 Rob January 2, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Not too bad a list, but too many baseball movies!

264 Pat January 4, 2010 at 1:10 pm


265 Eric January 4, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I would love to own most of this list. Black Hawk Down, The Last Samurai and Forever Strong are also really good.

266 Shawn January 5, 2010 at 3:33 am

Hope this was a working list. I mean seriously….there is certainly some fantastic films that belong on this list by any measure. Others, however, diminish the credibility of your website as an authority on manliness.

No list of this type should exclude The Quiet Man. It seems to be one of the most fitting with manliness and the deposition of your website.

I contribute my personal recommendations to primarily remove the following films due to non-applicability, cheesiness, or otherwise just poorly made movies (this is not to say that I don’t like many of these, but really?):

Flight Club
American Beauty
Lord of the Rings
Groundhog Day
Karate Kid
Star Wars
Die Hard
Remember the Titans
Malcolm X
Manchurian Candidate
Gangs of New York
Borne Ultimatum
Bull Durham
Saving Private Ryan
First Blood

267 ma77hew January 15, 2010 at 8:31 am

I’m a bit saddened to see that Jason Statham doesn’t make the list. He’s either the rough-edged good guy, or the bad guy that you’re supposed to sympathise with.

That said, I have about 90 movies to watch before I can get critical.

268 Leah January 17, 2010 at 5:11 am

I don’t know if anyone else has mentioned it; maybe not seeing as it’s an Aussie film, but Gallipoli (1981) is a great representation of our lifestyle, mateship, our troops, and their role in WWI.

Another great one others have no doubt mentioned is Gran Torino.

269 John January 21, 2010 at 9:00 am

I agree with ‘Four Feathers’ – that was a great film!
The 2002 version is ok…just.

The 1939 version was one of the best lessons on manliness I ever received in a Saturday afternoon matinee.

270 Steve H January 22, 2010 at 7:56 am

Blue Velvet – David Lynch

271 Don D January 27, 2010 at 3:10 am

What about /Troy/The Last Samurai/Heat/Predator/The 13th Warrior/Full Metal Jacket/ among others. These are truly great men movies. Really, Heat has to be one of the top 5. What do you think?

272 Don D January 30, 2010 at 5:41 am

Also some other great movies were the 3 underworld movies.

273 Alex February 1, 2010 at 9:54 am

It ammuses me greatly that a lot of the comments are from peeps that haven’t even bothered to read the list, as some of the reccomendations they are complaining are mising are on there!

As for Jason Stratham, he’s either a poor actor or accepts any film given as most are shite!

274 Rick February 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Am I the only person who’s seen Gone, Baby, Gone? Here’s a man who has a clearly defined code and follows it to the end, regardless of what’s easy or seems like the best choice. Right is right and wrong is wrong, and in the end, he has to live with the costs of following that code. If that’s not being a man, I’m apparently on the wrong list. It’s a refreshing return to cinema’s golden age, when tragedies were tragic by the textbook definition, and everything wasn’t tied up in a neat bow to be spoon-fed to the audience by the time the credits rolled.

And Capra’s schlock was heavy-handed even for the time, but to declare “It’s a Wonderful Life” even watchable is a travesty. I just can’t get behind any movie that doesn’t punish the villain by the end. SNL really had the best ending to that movie.

275 Michael February 2, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Lonely are the Brave (1962) — Kirk Douglas

276 Kyle February 7, 2010 at 11:47 am

American History X needs to be added.

277 Jim February 8, 2010 at 11:50 am

Iron Cross, Man Who Would Be King

Life is Beautiful? Please.

278 David February 9, 2010 at 9:54 pm

It is quite challenging if not impossible to create a list of 100 “anything” that will be made up of things that everyone agrees with due to how subjective these lists can be. I think the fair thing to do is to watch every movie on this list before making a criticism.

279 Levi Barnes February 16, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Great list. One suggestion.

Shawshank Redemption is the worst kind of bad movie — manipulative, overdone, rife with caricatures and contrived situations. Nothing real in this movie. My suggestion to replace it: The Winslow Boy – a surprising turn by David Mamet. Appropriately understated and true to life. There are victories in lives that don’t involve heroine or stormtroopers.

280 matthew February 19, 2010 at 11:57 pm

every time i saw Kevin Costner in this list i died a little. except for seagal, costner is the worst of the worst.

281 David February 22, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Overall a good list. I agree with matthew about Kevin Costner. Movies I would include on the list:

-Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
-Gran Torino
-Good Will Hunting
-Rob Roy
-Four Feathers (1939)
-Star Trek (2009)

Also I don’t remember seeing a Daniel Craig movie on there; Defiance, Casino Royal, and Layer Cake are all good man movies.

282 George Bennett March 2, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Thanks for putting this together i will be coming back to this post for years

283 Dave March 7, 2010 at 6:23 pm

I would include “Life Is Beautiful” and “Master and Commander.”

284 Robert Legendre March 15, 2010 at 6:18 pm


285 Thomas N. Havel March 16, 2010 at 1:53 am


286 John Woods March 20, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Wow that is way cool.


287 gman March 20, 2010 at 10:07 pm

How about animal house?

288 Nick March 20, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Notable omissions:

The Cowboys (1972) — John Wayne shows boys how to become men.

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) — Leslie Howard plays a fop so he can rescue French aristocrats from Madame Guillotine, alienating his wife in the process.

The Mark of Zorro (1940) — the plot is similar to The Scarlet Pimpernel, having Tyrone Power play an effete dandy, disappointing his father, so he can restore justice to the downtrodden. The movie includes some of the best swordsmanship in movies, with Tyrone dueling one of movie’s best fencers Basil Rathbone (and at times fencing master doubles).

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) — Errol Flynn sacrifices his lands and title to protect the innocents and restore King Richard to his throne. Again, Basil Rathbone shows his fencing prowess against the much less skilled Errol.

Given some films on the list, I’m quite surprised none of the above are mentioned (or did I miss them? If so my apologies).

289 EM March 20, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Where the fuck is Terminator?

290 Peter Payne March 20, 2010 at 10:50 pm

No Tootsie?!?!


291 R Shannon March 20, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Great list. One film that gets overlooked that should be on this list is Home From The Hills. A true classic, a son who can never live up to his father’s expectations.

292 DFS March 20, 2010 at 11:12 pm

On the Manchurian Candidate it should read”brainwashed by the North Korean Communists”not”The Military”
Big difference.

293 Tim March 20, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Blazing Saddles.

It teaches you about friendship, about race relations, about humor.
It also features outstanding performances from Clevon Little and Gene Wilder.

294 Terry March 20, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Great list – very well done. I would also include Boondock Saints but (funny as it sounds) it’s hard to get a list of movies down to 100. I’ll have to keep this bookmarked and see a few I’ve missed. Thanks.

295 rafael the pro gamer from orlando March 21, 2010 at 1:44 am

Forest Gump and Cast Away kick some..

296 Mitch March 21, 2010 at 5:31 am

Boondock Saints and most Guy Richie films.
Band of Brothers (and prob The Pacific as well)

297 Bruce March 21, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Too many posts begin “I like the list but…”. I like the list but no Scarface, no Treasure of Sierra Madre, no Raging Bull (no Scorsese at all). Really?

298 Dana March 21, 2010 at 12:45 pm

I’d add Little Big Man, and The Eiger Sanction…both manly…

299 madhatter March 21, 2010 at 4:31 pm

90% of these movies suck balls unless you’re 40+.

300 Scott March 21, 2010 at 6:01 pm

“The bravery the seven samurai show will inspire any man to stand up for injustice.”

In the seven samurai think it should instead be “stand up to injustice”

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