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

by Brett & Kate McKay on July 13, 2009 · 698 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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{ 682 comments… read them below or add one }

401 Alex Tonner July 29, 2010 at 7:23 am

What? Not one single horror film!
How about a few films where we see an imperfect man. Here we go.
The Shining.
The lost weekend.
The man who would be king.
Under the volcanoe – John Huston
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
I Stand Alone/ American Psycho

I could go on. Alcoholism, drug addiction, insanity. perversion – you know were’re not all perfect James Bond types. I reckon it’s worth exploring the dark side too you know.

402 c praxis July 30, 2010 at 1:44 am

I greatly enjoyed this list. I would implore the writer of it to revisit the film ‘big fish’, by Tim Burton. A tale about a father and a son, and how sometimes a tall tale is more honest than the truth itself. If ever there was a film about being a good man, this was it.

one small other thing. I believe, as a man, Robert the Bruce is the Best Character in Braveheart. He tries to do right and honor his father, but after betraying wallace, he knows he has to do right from there on out, no matter the consequences. Nothing more manly than a man who has made mistakes, finding redemption.

I defy you to remember this scene without a chill up your spine…
Robert the Bruce: Those men who bled the ground red at Falkirk fought for William Wallace. He fights for something that I never had. And I took it from him, when I betrayed him. I saw it in his face on the battlefield and it’s tearing me apart.
Robert Bruce, Sr.: All men betray. All lose heart.
Robert the Bruce: I DON’T WANT TO LOSE HEART!!!. I want to believe as he does. I will never be on the wrong side again

just my 2 cents, a nit pic on a fantastic list.

403 Sean July 30, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Good list! I think you forgot Stanley:

Paths of Glory! &
Eyes Wide Shut!

Kubrick’s amazing and inciteful investigations into “manliness”! Was Lolita in there as well?

404 dennis July 30, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Nice work…..but please High Noon….crap all the the men run and Coop is saved by a quaker………….
Forget the shootist and True Grit…..
Wayne at his best Red River……..The Quite Man…..
Gunga Din
12 O’Clock High
The Thing( the original)
My Darling Clementine

405 Sean August 3, 2010 at 12:12 am

good list. Seen a lot of them , need to watch a lot of them. Only movie I’d really add to the list would have been “ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST.” Good,Bad, and The Ugly was great, but OUATITW is Sergio’s masterpiece where he said all that needed to be said about the end of the age of gunslingers. And a true mans’ flick. A tale of revenge, and a tale of hero’s and villains trying to survive in a changing world.

Harmonica:”So I guess you found out that you weren’t a business man afterall.”

Frank: “Just a man.”

Harmonica: “An ancient race…..

406 Joseph Johnson August 5, 2010 at 2:48 am

For the top 100 movies for men I would have to put “The Passion of the Christ” by Mel Gibson in the top 10, because when life is over and all said and done, THIS ALONE will be the only life and the subject that really matters.
-Joseph Johnson
Connecticut, USA
Webmater of site devoted to St Gemma Galgani:

407 Kieran August 6, 2010 at 11:45 pm

This is a movie discussion. Don’t turn it into a discussion about religion

408 cheks August 7, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Here is a list of true and tough Manly movie characterizations

409 Buzz August 10, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Re: The French Connection. A “heroine” smuggling ring?! What, were they smuggling Princess Leia, Scarlett O’Hara, and The Unsinkable Molly Brown?

Or perhaps you mean a heroin-smuggling ring?

410 Perpetuo August 11, 2010 at 7:48 pm

Great list. But I can’t imagine a list without the following:
The Dirty Dozen
The Longest Yard (original version w/ Burt Reynolds)
The Hunt For Red October
On the Waterfront
The Outlaw Josey Wales
The Magnificent Seven
The Usual Suspects
The Wild Bunch
The Departed
Dances With Wolves
Lonesome Dove
Band of Brothers
North and South…had a lot for guys to like.
White Heat
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Bad Day at Black Rock….starring Spencer Tracy, Lee Marvin, Earnest Borgnine, Walter Brennan, Robert Ryan….All manly, but all critically flawed.
Out of the Past…Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum…now there are to guys who could never be accused of unmanly behavior…great to watch the tension between these two.

411 Perpetuo August 11, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Forgot to mention; regardless of what some may think, Clark Gable certainly fulfilled the definition of one type of classic male in GWTW. Frankly, he was a guy’s guy in just about all his films.

412 Shannon August 12, 2010 at 12:43 am

It’s tough to narrow down a list of great manly movies to just 100. There’s a couple that I would have left off, but I’ll focus on a few that should have honorable mention at worst.

300 is one of the manliest movies ever made. No question

Black Hawk Down and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

413 Jamie August 13, 2010 at 10:43 am

Jaws has to be on here….I am shocked it wasn’t.

Rocky needs to be changed to Rocky 1-4 (All great movies)
All the Predator movies could be on here
Judgement NIGHT with emilio estavez was a GREAT guy movie
Showgirls…say what you want but EVERY guy wanted to see Jesse Spano strip
Striptease…see above and insert Demi Moore
The Wrestler
Fast and the Furious

414 Gareth August 14, 2010 at 9:42 am

I’d put “Invictus” in this list as well because of what it says about inspiring leadership. Best line: “You’re risking your future as our leader”. “The day I am afraid to do that is the day I am no longer fit to lead.”

415 Alex August 16, 2010 at 11:06 pm

I loved the list, especially the specification of the original Star Wars trilogy. However, I have to question the disclusion of Blazing Saddles. It’s probably the best comedy I have ever seen.

416 Laird Wilcox August 21, 2010 at 1:10 am

Any list of men’s movies should include Akira Kurosawa’s SEVEN SAMURAI. This is one of the most spectacular adventure movies produced. Filmed in the 1950′s, it has NOTHING to do with fantasy swordplay, ninjas or Bruce Lee acrobatics. It’s the story of seven out-of-work soldiers who band together to defend a village of farmers against bandits. Men will love it.

417 Gordon September 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm

No Python at all? Come on, Life of Brian is one of the greatest comedy’s ever, and it even has a message amidst all the laughs. All men love Monty Python.

418 Dan September 20, 2012 at 11:50 am

“The Count of Monte Cristo” has so many amazing messages about being a man that I can’t believe it was left off this list!

419 Pablo September 21, 2012 at 11:01 am

here’s mine top 100 movies of all time :)

420 Lumpy September 23, 2012 at 8:25 am

I’d have included “The Ghost and the Darkness”, “Open Range” and “Fractured”. The good news is, that I own most of the 60 titles from this list that I’ve seen–and will have to work on the other 40…

421 Mike September 27, 2012 at 10:33 am

If this list is revisited, the authors might want to consider “Taken.” Nothing more manly than Liam Neeson storming through France and kicking ass.

422 Aaron September 30, 2012 at 12:10 pm

This is a great list, however I feel that there is an inadequate amount of contemporary films here.

423 Dusty October 2, 2012 at 8:08 pm

A very good list here, with very manly themes. As said before, there are just SO many good movies, and it’s difficult to narrow it down to merely 100. Like others here, I thought of some more must-sees for manly men:

*”Contact” (1997), with Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey — This is a modern classic on the quest for truth from the two sometimes seemingly contradicting ‘ways of knowing’ — science and religion. Based on the novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Cornell University astronomer, Carl Sagan. & directed by the great Robert Zemeckis. The thrill and humility of paradigm-shifting scientific discovery is SO superbly portrayed by Foster. The best line is John Hurt’s enticing “Wanna take a ride?”

*Can’t remember if this is on the list, but another Zemeckis modern classic, “Castaway” with Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt.

*Probably the best movie about forgiveness. “My Life” with Michael Keaton and Nicole Kidman. It’s also one of the most honest film portrayals about death and dying..and what matters most when we face our mortality.

424 Bull October 3, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Some more manly movies, that should be in the top 100 if not top 20 list are;

- Night of the Living Dead (1968)
- Ghettysburg
- Terminator
- Clash of the Titans (1981)
- Apocalypse Now
- Full Metal Jacket
- Warrior
- Faster
- Casino
- Goodfellas

just to name a few.

425 Bull October 3, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Almost forgot one

- Red Dawn


426 Giraffe Monsoon October 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Three quarters of Clint Eastwood’s movies should be on this list.

I disagree with above commenter about Once Upon a Time in the West. It is NOT better than The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.
Also Clint’s other Spaghetti Westerns , Fistful of Dollars & For a Few Dollars More (with another great man’s man actor Lee Van Cleef) should be listed.

Clint’s great movies like Where Eagles Dare, Unforgiven, High Plains Drifter, & Outlaw Josey Wales are essential man’s movies, no one can deny.

427 David October 14, 2012 at 9:50 am

Why not mention a Fred Astaire movie or two? Winning a gal’s affections on the dance floor is pure class! Most females love a man placing his arm around her waist and giving her a spin or two around the dance floor. You can’t take better lessons than from the suave and elegant Mr. Astaire. Learning to dance is one of the most pleasurable things I ever done — and deeply rewarding too!

428 Nate October 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Keyword: Stanley Kubrick. This list NEEDS Stanley Kubrick.. I thought you’d at least put 2001 on here, but I guess not…

429 Jeff Faced October 16, 2012 at 4:48 am


430 Nicholas October 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm

This list is full of new films, missing are the good oldies. “The Dawn Patrol” was filmed in the 30′s (not sure what year exactly.) and it certainly deserves to be here.

431 Josh October 22, 2012 at 7:31 pm

How about Stand By Me, Goodfellas and Goodwill Hunting….3 I thought off the top of my head. The list is pretty good though.

432 Ryan October 23, 2012 at 7:13 am

I’m surprised you added The Outsiders The Socs seem like they would be some of your best buds.

433 Geraldo Kaprosy October 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I would like to suggest the film “Revolution” for your list. It is the real story of the American Revolution and Al Pachino is most convincing in the lead role. The movie takes the viewer back in time to experience what the exploited poor went through..

434 J.D. October 24, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Great list! Thanks for taking the time to compile and comment on them. As I read the above comments, and look at my own DVD collection, there are some “Honorable Mentions” that stand out:
“The Outlaw Josey Wales”,
“We Were Soldiers”,
“Reservoir Dogs” (I’ll never be able to listen to “Stuck In the Middle With You” the same way again!),
“The Road Warrior”,
“Blade Runner”,
“Ronin”, and
“The Blues Brothers”(hey, they can’t ALL be serious and heavy!)
Thanks again.

435 Jonathan R Young October 26, 2012 at 10:02 am

I have seen all but 5 great list!

all so try

The Thing
Evil Dead 2
Wall Street
Glean Gary Glean Ross
Blazing saldales
The jerk
Paths of glory
the shining
Barry Lyndon
The killing
Clockwork orange
Sunset blvd
millers crossing
The big labouski
Rear window
8 1/2
a fist full of dollars
a few dollars more
smokey and the bandit
Blade runner

all Hichcock.

The best years of our life is a wonderful movie GREAT!!!

436 Casey October 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm

forest gump
the matrix
the fugitive
the departed
american history x
jerry maguire
no country for old men
training day

437 Sparky October 29, 2012 at 1:25 am

This is a good list, although it seems that it’s flooded with older movies just for the sake of putting old movies in there.

A few more:
Master and Commander: Far Side of the World
The Last Samurai

438 Rudetski October 29, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Lol Indiana Jones does not have a best line? In that case I vote for the grunting of Indiana just before he shoots the cocky swordsman in the head :-)

BTW I really miss “Network” in here. Best movie of all times in terms of how the world starts to revolve aound entertainment networks

439 Vicster October 29, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I watched 25th Hour, damn did that movie make me cry.

440 Pablo (Otakupahp) November 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Where are James Bond’ movies? How can you talk of maliness without Mr Bond? jajaja

441 Oscar November 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm

“by the way but – American Beauty? This is a man’s list right?”

Actually Kevin Spacey gets back to his self as a man. Main part of the movie

For me It is, and its a “mans” movie.

Many people may just dont got that and sure a lot of women watched it as a random “romantic drama entertainment” but they also watched uncomprehendingly “fight club” because of brad pitt.

442 Ryan November 14, 2012 at 8:27 pm

It’s technically not a movie, but Band of Brothers should definitely be on the list. Best television I’ve ever watched by far. Also:
Pearl Harbor
The Hunt for Red October

I was really glad the shawshank redemption was on the list, one of my favorites.

443 Ryan November 14, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Oh yeah, red dawn all the way

444 Michael F November 18, 2012 at 5:42 pm

No Werner Herzog? I’d suggest Aguirre and Nosferatu.
Also, the documentary ‘My Best Fiend’ is a great study of two strong-willed men (Herzog and Klaus Kinski).

445 Saxon November 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Manly man Han Solo? Well, he did grow into one, bit by bit throughout the series, but to most of us he was clearly outmanned by Han Solo.

446 Johnny November 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Monty Python’s Life of Brian should be on this.

447 Antonio November 23, 2012 at 12:14 am

“There is no PACT between LIONS and MEN”

448 Skip November 24, 2012 at 12:13 am

1. Rooster Cogburn
2. Big Jake
3. 13th Warrior
4. Payback
5.To Have and Have Not
6. Last Man Standing

There are more, but these stand out more than most.

449 Kennedy November 25, 2012 at 11:59 pm

“Lincoln” can go ahead and be added to this list.

450 John November 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Any list of movies about what it means to be a man that does not include “The Big Country” is incomplete.

451 Francis X November 30, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Excellent list! I called my 80 year old Dad and quizzed him on the “best lines.” He couldn’t believe that ‘Valdez is Coming’ was not on the list! (what?). As for me, the most romantic movie ever made with the killer love line of all time was also pretty manly; “I love you Sara, I always have…I came through time for you.” Need I say more? — FX

452 AOK December 1, 2012 at 8:26 am

Many fine recommendations on this list, many that I love very much, some I will make a point to view and only a few (ex. American Beauty) that I will avoid like the plague. Additionally, no manly film collection would be complete without:
1. The Edge (1997) “What one man can do, another can do.”
2. Grumpy Old Men (1993) “I don’t know one damn thing but I know this: the only things in this life that you really regret are the risks you didn’t take. And God knows if you see a chance to be happy you grab it with both hands and to hell with the consequences.”
3. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) “Coffee’s for closers only.”
4. 29th Street (1991) “Y’know I just developed a theory on life. Okay listen because it’s very complicated.”
5. Tin Men (1987) “I’m gonna get this guy. Just for the fun of it!”
6. Matewan (1987) “T’ain’t no guns allowed at t’dinner table!”
7. Blade Runner (1982) “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

453 Aaron Fenton December 4, 2012 at 12:27 am

Love the list. counted how many I’ve seen and I have 50 of them to watch still. Only one I would add is Black Hawk Down. It’s a story of men looking after one another and never leaving your brother behind. Certainly one for the list.

454 marco December 6, 2012 at 3:20 pm

year of the dragon

cimino and rourke at their best.
With one of the best character ever

455 Ryan M. December 7, 2012 at 5:32 am

Fight Club? That doesn’t teach you how to be a man, that teaches you how to be a sex crazed, violent animal. Yuck.

456 Unkown December 10, 2012 at 6:38 am

This is a excellent list. I’m a little disappointed that Easy Rider didn’t make it. I’m surprised to see American Beauty and Fight Club. They are great movies from the 90s.

457 Jason December 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Good Will Hunting should be on this list it has a powerful message about growing up, and that being a man is about more than just existing.

“Every day I come by your house and I pick you up. And we go out. We have a few drinks, and a few laughs, and it’s great. But you know what the best part of my day is? For about ten seconds, from when I pull up to the curb and when I get to your door, ’cause I think, maybe I’ll get up there and I’ll knock on the door and you won’t be there. No goodbye. No see you later. No nothing. You just left. I don’t know much, but I know that. “

458 GT December 10, 2012 at 7:13 pm

A South Korean film worth checking out.

The Man From Nowhere – A quiet pawn shop owner is essentially a de-facto guardian for the young girl who lives in the apartment next door with her mother, a drug-addicted prostitute. Events lead to the young girl being abducted by a crime syndicate, and the pawn shop owner sets out to save her with a ferocity that makes this film so visceral and touching.

459 calvin willis December 11, 2012 at 9:45 pm

you failed to mention one of the greatest movies of all time…Fight Club. That movie (and the book) taught me most of the things i need to know when humans purposely throw ourselves back into the middle ages. smokin aces was good too.

460 crs21 December 11, 2012 at 10:12 pm

I feel pretty good. I’ve seen all but six of these films and I don’t regret seeing any of them.

461 Lars December 15, 2012 at 6:14 am

You forgot Dazed and confused!
Even tho we all are gentlemen here.
We all want to relive that last day of school, youth, party mentality.

462 David A. Murray December 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Thanks for this list; it includes many of my favorites as well, and many that make my “top 100″ list. I’d like to suggest two more:

1) The Best Years of Our Lives. Not only the best movie about veterans ever made, but possibly one of the very greatest American films of all time (Bette Davis thought it was the greatest American film ever). One of the things that makes it great is that it avoids sentimentality. The characters gain a catharsis, but they do not solve all their problems: Frederic March’s banker will continue to be an alcoholic, Harold Russell’s hand-less veteran will still struggle even though he gets his girl, etc.

2) Tunes of Glory, a British film starring Alec Guiness in one of his best (though today little-known) roles. I include it here because it’s specifically about men taking care of men emotionally, how they do it, why they should, and what happens when they don’.t

463 William Jeffrey December 23, 2012 at 9:56 am

How about Cinema Paradiso?

464 rollo December 23, 2012 at 11:23 am

No Apocalypse Now
Deer Hunter?
I have a Brain dump the movie with Burt Renolds…..You sure have a pretty mouth and squeal like a pig boy.

465 Paul December 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Good list films have agree,probally compile longer list, but off top my head hears few.
Speaking of Burt above,film best one springs mind is 1st one list.

Good will hunting
Midnight Express
Life of Brian
The odd couple
Once Upon time in America
Escape To Victory
Escape From Alcatraz
Taxi Driver
The Deer Hunter
Crimson Tide
Point Break
As Good as it gets
Man Who Would be king
The Hitcher

Clints mentioned comments have to agree totally epic films,and Rockys compilation & Jaws.

466 Burton December 26, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Glad to see The Odd Couple mentioned above. It was a good picture of men living their lives in the real world, as opposed to macho fantasies. Overcoming a divorce is far more of a trial than mindlessly slaughtering other men ala Rambo.

You might also consider Falling Down as it deals with real issues which men face in the post-modern era, and shows what can happen when men are pushed too far.

Then there is Hoosiers. A man struggles for a small triumph in the Heartland of America. No shootouts, but he wins a victory all the same.

As for war movies, I always liked Uncommon Valor. It’s not just about rescuing POWs, but saving one’s own soul.


467 Michael December 29, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Wages of Fear

468 Michael December 29, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Many fine movies in the list. I think Captains Courageous would fit in perfectly too.

469 DR January 3, 2013 at 9:08 pm

…And Justice for All.

470 Gemma January 5, 2013 at 10:30 pm

How about Local Hero? It’s been my favourite film for ages.

471 Jer January 6, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Great list and great attempt at an impossible task.

Great to see The Endless Summer, but sad to not see On Any Sunday. The easy camaraderie between Malcom Smith, Mert Lawwill, Steve McQueen and the rest in this celebration of motorcycle sport and recreation is infections. This was the film that got motorcycling out from under the shadow of The Wild One. Oooh, another one..

Also sad to see Swingers and Ghostbusters at the expense of High Noon and Tombstone (a fount of great movie quotes and a great treatise on friendship.)

The Sandlot

The Patriot

Man on Fire

Breaking Away was a great film about dreams, coming of age and class tensions: “We rednecks are few… college paleface students are many. I counsel peace.”

One last thing, T.E. Lawrence led the Bedouins against the Ottoman Turks, not the British.

472 Scott C January 7, 2013 at 7:03 pm

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is conspicuously absent. Also a sleeper movie that is fantastic is The Oxbow Incident with Henry Fonda, Harry Morgan and a young Anthony Quinn. Speaking of Fonda and Spaghetti Westerns, what about Once Upon a Time in the West?

473 Alexei Bublik January 8, 2013 at 6:03 pm


474 Maurice Thrower January 9, 2013 at 2:54 am

Romeo Is Bleeding, The Godfather 1 and 2, Goodfellas.

475 Heath January 12, 2013 at 6:06 am

Man on Fire

Stand by Me

Lean on Me

476 Greg January 14, 2013 at 4:14 am

The list is a bit American movie heavy, when there are some other great films (some of them recognised in your list), but I’m still shocked that there is no sign of Amazing Grace in there! Well worth watching!


477 Jeff Tappan January 16, 2013 at 8:29 am

I think that the line from ‘ The Shootist ‘ about ” I won’t be… ” isn’t just a classic movie line. It’s a mindset, the way a man treats others and expects them to act accordingly.

478 Simeon January 16, 2013 at 11:02 am

I’m surprised that ‘the four feathers’ is not on this list.

479 Michael January 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Meet Joe Black needs to be on this list too. Granted he has too much money, but it shows a man about priorities in life and the importance of family and integrity.

480 pete January 19, 2013 at 7:51 am

what about Excalibur and 300

481 jerry January 22, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Sgt. York…thunder road…open range…the patriot…we were soldiers………they karate kid???? come on…

482 Kyle Vanover January 23, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I’m glad you included The Shootist. That’s one I always tell people should be on their “must see” list. All kinds of lessons on things like passing on wisdom to the next generation, getting your house in order before you die, focusing on what’s important and shaping the way you’ll be remembered when you’re gone. Wayne gives a great performance, as usual, as do Jimmy Stewart and Opie Cunningham – I mean Ron Howard.

Still reading the rest of the list, but good start!

483 Paul Atkinson January 27, 2013 at 9:30 pm

You need to add a bunch…

A Few Good Men
Crimson Tide
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
Blade Runner
Not one James Bond made the list?
The Great Escape
A Christmas Story
Space Oddesy 2001
The Dark Knight

What about a few comedies?
Family Vacation
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The Hangover
Revenge of the Nerds

484 T1m February 1, 2013 at 11:23 am

The Ten Commandments, The Big Red One, Von Ryan’s Express, Planet of the Apes (original)…

We’re all adding great titles here.

Related topic: 100 Must NOT See Movies for Men.

Pick the most horrible flick you can think of, most overrated, not even necessarily a chick flick.

Most God-Awful stupid plot badly acted thing that will drain away your manliness and brain like a hot rain in Phoenix, AZ at night…

Starting, now….

485 joe February 1, 2013 at 11:26 am

You forgot Good Will Hunting

486 mike February 6, 2013 at 3:20 pm

One more i would add would be Dances with wolves

487 Chris February 10, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Even if it has been said already, it deserves to be said again. Errol Flynn in Captain Blood. 1935 Pirate movie.

488 pete February 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm

I hit submit too early. I suggest “Birth of a Nation” if only to thumb your nose at those who demand groupthink in this world.

489 Matt February 16, 2013 at 9:30 am

There are a number of newer movies that belong on -any- top 100 list, especially this one. Off the top of my head, I’d recommend:

The Hurt Locker: Follows three men in the Army tasked with EOD (defusing IEDs) in the Middle East and their growth, or lack of, as time progresses. Full of moments that will literally make you hold your breath.

Drive: A stunt-driver by day / getaway driver by night is pulled into a job that quickly finds him struggling to keep up. An incredibly underrated performance by the entire cast, most of which draws on humanity. The nameless driver has more than a few flaws, but he isn’t painted as a badass; to the contrary, he reacts to shock with the same emotion that most men would feel.

The Fighter: A boxer with an incredibly dysfunctional family fights to gain his own identity. Based on the story of Mickey Ward, played by Mark Whalberg, the truly fantastic change comes from Christian Bale’s wonderful performance as Dickie Ecklund, Ward’s half brother. Speaking of Christian Bale…

Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy: Holy Not-your-dad’s-Batman, Batman! Departing from the lighter energy of earlier movies, Chris Nolan explores Bruce Wayne’s growth as a man, facing fear, chaos and pain.

Warrior: Two brothers with a tenuous relationship enter an MMA tournament with a grand prize that they both desperately need. A simply amazing look at the family dynamic.

American History X: Not so new, but still deserving of mention. An ex-skinhead realizes how wrong his view of race is while in prison, and after his release, struggles to help his younger brother off the same course he took.

Children of Men: In a dystopian future, no new children have been born in a decade; when a man meets a woman with a newborn baby, he chooses to do whatever is necessary to protect them (even if it means walking through a warzone).

490 Mike Diffendall, Jr. February 18, 2013 at 4:36 am

Great list of movies! However, just wanted to add a correction.

In the movie “The Natural” Redford’s bat is named “Wonder Boy”.

Keep up the great work on a great website!

491 Hank February 19, 2013 at 1:38 am

I have seen all but three of these movies, most of them in the theater when they were released. (I’m an old guy) This is an admirable list, but you have left off GONE WITH THE WIND and THE MISFITS, and I might also add PREDATOR or TERMINATOR II…how can it be a Man’s Movie List without Clark and Arnold?

492 Kevin February 21, 2013 at 4:50 am

Point Break????
Definitely should be on the list.

493 Kyle February 21, 2013 at 8:06 pm

where the red fern grows should be on the list

494 Dan February 23, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Only one person mentions Stand by Me and no one mentions Almost Famous

495 EditorJack March 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm

O Brother, Where Art Thou?
A River Runs Through It
Dead Poets Society
Dances with Wolves

496 William March 5, 2013 at 6:30 pm

I’m surprised nobody has even mentioned “A Bridge Too Far” is it not as well known over in America? The final scene with the hundreds of wounded soldiers singing “abide with me” together while the Germans come to capture them is one of the greatest of all time.

497 Shawn March 11, 2013 at 10:59 pm

One movie that I didn’t see on any list but I think people should take a look at is Lucky Number Slevin.

498 Richard March 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm

100 is way too few, even for an A-list. I did not see anyone mention “I Never Sang for my Father”, arguably the best father-son movie ever; both Melvin Douglas and Gene Hackman were Oscar nominated.

And what about war classics like the French “Grand Illusion” with Jean Gabin, and “All Quiet on the Western Front”, and a more recent Israeli movie, “Lebanon”, mostly set inside a tank?

499 Joseph Wright March 14, 2013 at 11:04 am

How can James Bond and Shaft not make the cut? The Sean Connery and Richard Roundtree editions, of course.

500 Rick Kelly March 16, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Can’t argue against any of the above – but a dozen of my favorites that I enjoy watching when the mood hits me are “An American in Paris”, “A Man and a Woman”, “Fargo”, “No Country for Old Men”, “The English Patient”, “Red” “White” and “Blue”, “The Decalogue”, “Pulp Fiction”, “La Dolce Vita” and “All That Jazz”.

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