The 10 Most Rewatchable Movies of All Time

6. The Apartment (1960, Billy Wilder)

The Apartment (1960)

Certain purists like to point to “Sunset Boulevard”, “Double Indemnity”, or even “Some Like it Hot”, but this Best Picture-winning tale of romance in the Big Apple — one of the rare perennial Valentine Day’s fixtures that can do double-duty as a family-friendly festive flick — strikes us as the purest distillation of Billy Wilder’s trademark light touch, barbed wit, and occasionally ruthless cynicism.

Jack Lemmon is disarmingly endearing as C.C. Baxter, a low-level office drone at a big New York insurance company who lends out his Upper West Side apartment to stay in his boss’s good graces, only to end up falling head over heels in love for one of his current flings, the company’s happy-go-lucky elevator operator (a pitch-perfect Shirley MacLaine).

A bittersweet dramedy about how debilitating and dehumanizing the modern workplace can be for the human soul resonated with 1960s audiences when it stormed into theaters right at the tail end of Hollywood’s Golden Age and has stood the test of time as one of most enduringly charming American tentpoles ever made under the studio system. Smart, relatable, and laugh-out-funny, “The Apartment” is like the movie equivalent of a warm, fuzzy hug after a tough day.


7. Mulholland Drive (2001, David Lynch)


Whereas most of the other entries featured in this list could be labelled as broadly accessible crowd-pleasers, every re-watch reveals something new about David Lynch’s thorny and unorthodox turn-of-the-century opus.

A cracked-mirror vision of Los Angeles that pulls us headlong into the mindscape of a naive blonde starlet (Naomi Watts, in one of the finest performances of the 21st century) before spiraling off into a fantastic world of make-believe, watching “Mulholland Drive” is an experience akin to peeking into the dark recesses of someone else’s subconscious. No wonder the film usually leaves unassuming first-time viewers with a mixed feeling of wonder, bafflement, and desperate urge to go down its rabbit hole once again.

Letting the whole thing wash over you instead of trying to follow the narrative breadcrumbs too closely is a good bet to make future re-watches infinitely more enriching and exciting, though that hasn’t stopped hardcore film buffs and wannabe psychoanalysts from trying their darndest to connect the dots and unlock every meaning and abstraction. At the end of the day, it all boils down to the tragic story of a failed actress driven to murder by romantic jealousy – a film that remains just as moving, indescribable, and heartbreaking today as it was in 2001.


8. Evil Dead II (1987, Sam Raimi)

Pound for pound, Sam Raimi’s micro-budgeted horror staple doesn’t hold a candle to the likes of “Jaws”, “The Thing”, or “The Shining” as far as sending chills down your spine or getting under your skin. But whenever you’re feeling down and need a palette cleanser that will lift your spirits, you can always curl up and press play on the Evil Dead trilogy and count on any given entry to deliver the goods.

The original 1981 movie about a bunch of horny college students unleashing a centuries-old demonic force at a ramshackle cabin in the woods was a complete game-changer that jump-started Raimi’s career in a big way and made a splash against all odds as a midnight screening fixture sensation despite its meager $1,600 budget. But first-time viewers don’t need a refresher of any kind if they decide to jump straight ahead to the superior 1987 sequel and experience Sam Raimi’s gonzo style in all its gruesome glory.

Picking right up where its predecessor left off, the middle installment of the series finds Bruce Campbell’s chainsaw-wielding survivor pitted against another horde of supernatural foes, ranging from stop-motion zombies to disembodied hands, with the director pulling every visual trick up his sleeve and constantly towing the lines between gnarly body horror and full-blown slapstick comedy to the point you don’t know whether to squirm in disgust or laugh at the sheer insanity of it all (See also: 1992s “Army of Darkness”).


9. Hard Boiled (1992, John Woo)


You haven’t really experienced the full breadth of action cinema until you’ve been exposed to the work of John Woo, the Hong Kong trailblazer who put his name on the map in the 1980s with explosive shoot-’em-ups that juggled over-the-top melodrama with breathtaking action set pieces, top-level craftsmanship, and death-defying stunts.

All of Woo’s thematic hallmarks and signature action mayhem are present and in full blossom in this memorable crime caper he directed in 1992 right before he broke camp and took his talents to Hollywood, led by the inimitable Chow Yun-Fat in the role of a wisecracking rogue cop called Tequila dead-set on avenging his partner’s death at the hand of a Triad gang.

If you’ve seen “Hard Boiled” already, you probably would agree that few movies in any genre have ever provided such an evergreen rewatchability value or bang for your buck. If you haven’t (and you really should), just know you’re missing out on a film that stakes a legitimate claim to the title of greatest action movie ever. Just consider the following scene: After single-handedly gunning down an entire army of Triad members in a bravado 3-minute-long one-shot sequence, Chow’s barrel-wielding cop Tequila heroically leaps from a second-story window all while holding a newborn baby in his hand. If movies ever get any cooler than that, please let us know.


10. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015, George Miller)

At the exact moment when the global demand for comic book adaptations and IP-driven studio cash-grabs seemed to reach its zenith and quality popcorn blockbusters felt in rather short supply, Australian maestro George Miller came to the rescue to jolt new life into the action genre with a decades-in-the-making rollicking madcap ride that reminded mass audiences what must-see big-screen spectacle really looks like.

What at first blush seemed like the last in a long line of belated legacy sequels nobody asked for turned out to be a stone-cold classic that got our adrenaline juices pumping, won 6 Oscars, and improved on the original by stretching the possibilities of its dystopian setting and zany premise up to the breaking point. Describing the Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron-led “Mad Max” soft reboot as a feature-length non-stop car chase sequence across a post-apocalyptic wasteland is somewhat accurate but only scratches the surface of why this is unlike any action film Hollywood has churned out before or since.

Chalk it up to recency bias, but enough time has passed already that there’s no disputing its place in the all-time pantheon of movies you simply must watch from start to finish whenever you catch it on cable. Oh, what a lovely day, indeed!