Every film fan has their collection of Blu-rays and DVDs lined up along a shelf there for the world to view and be admired. It is the pride of a cinephile and a conversation piece for guests as you discuss your library and taste in films, whether they be cinematic masterpieces or shameful guilty pleasures. For those of you looking to complete your collection, we’ve compiled a list of the 50 must-have Blu-rays that should be on every connoisseur’s shelf. So without further ado, and in no particular order:-
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Very few people can comprehend Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi masterpiece, but it’s no doubt a visionary spectacle everyone should see. With this in your collection you can impress people with your artistic knowledge of cinema.
2. Batman (1989)
Long before Christopher Nolan rebooted the franchise, Tim Burton took the campy colourfulness of the original series and revamped it with a much darker gothic tone. Jack Nicholson also gave us the finest Joker interpretation, until a certain Heath Ledger came along (See No. 18)
3. Airplane! (1980)
One of the funniest comedies ever made Airplane! is essentially a spoof remake of the B-Movie Zero Hour! (1957) with the makers using the original screenplay almost word for word. No doubt, when you’re feeling down, this will cheer you up with it’s silly humour.
4. Blazing Saddles (1974)
A comedy from the legend that is Mel Brooks. Starring Cleavon Little and the late Gene Wilder I defy you not to laugh whilst watching. With this on your shelf it’ll show you have a sense of humour, no matter how wacky the jokes.
5. Trainspotting (1996)
Danny Boyle’s tale of heroin addicts in 90’s Edinburgh is British cinema at it’s best. Gritty and real the film pulls no punches with it’s subject matter. Held up by it’s strong cast including Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle and Kelly McDonald it’s now considered a cult classic.
6. The Usual Suspects (1995)
This neo-noir crime thriller from Bryan Singer has one of the most famous twists known to cinema. With it’s twisting and turning this may be one you need to watch a couple of times, which is why it’s best you own it.
7. Alien (1979)
“In space no one can hear you scream”, but in your living room, everyone will. Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror rewrote the rules and introduced us to the most terrifying creature, the Xenomorph. Leave the lights on for this one.
8. Back to the Future (1985)
Where the adventures of Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) began. The moment you see the DeLorean roll out the back of the lorry bathed in smoke, you know you’re in for a wild ride. Time travel has never been so much fun.
9. Casablanca (1942)
The quintessential romance, movie star legends Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman show us what true love really is. With fantastic supporting roles played by Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre, this film is arguably one of the best ever made.
10. Akira (1988)
Nobody does animation like the Japanese and Akira is a testament to that. With it’s beautiful art style and cyberpunk setting it’s hard not to get lost in the world of Neo-Tokyo. Based on Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga, it’s become a cult film and considered one of the best animations of all time.
11. Die Hard (1988)
He was just an ordinary cop in extraordinary circumstances. Bruce Willis’ John McClane is the everyman hero, ready to do the right thing no matter what the odds. The first Die Hard will always be the best, as well as a perfect action film. Nothing comes close.
12. Ghostbusters (1984)
It may have been remade, but nothing can take away from the original. One of the funniest casts put together, it’s blend of comedy and horror was something that could never be bested. Bill Murray’s improvised wit is something to behold, again and again and again.
13. Blade Runner (1982)
The second Ridley Scott sci-fi on this list, Blade Runner didn’t impress upon initial release. However over the years it has built a cult following and a newfound appreciation has developed. The Final Cut is Scott’s intended vision and boy is it an improvement.
14. Fight Club (1999)
They say the first rule of Fight Club is “you do not talk about fight club”, so I’ll keep this brief lest I be beaten to a pulp. David Fincher’s exploration of emasculation spawning an underground fight club ended with one of the biggest twists since The Usual Suspects.
15. Goodfellas (1990)
Any blu-ray collection requires a Martin Scorsese crime thriller and none stand head and shoulders above like Goodfellas. Based on the true story of Henry Hill, Ray Liotta and Robert DeNiro star with a fantastic performance from Joe Pesci. This one’s worth killing for.
16. Casino Royale (2006)
No collection is complete without a Bond film. With so many to choose from it’s hard to pick just one, but Casino Royale is the perfect addition. Daniel Craig’s first and director Martin Campbell’s second, it was the reboot Bond needed to bring him into the 21st Century.
17. Jaws (1975)
The summer blockbuster that sparked a rational fear of sharks, and put people off swimming in the ocean for a while. Steven Spielberg’s aquatic horror proved he could handle a big budget (even if he did go over) and set him on the path to master filmmaker.
18. The Dark Knight (2008)
After George Clooney’s Bat-nipples, we never expected to see big screen Batman again, until Christopher Nolan gave us Batman Begins (2005). A refreshing take on the character he was surprisingly able to top it with this epic sequel. Heath Ledger played a big part in it’s success.
19. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
30 years after Beyond Thunderdome (1985) director George Miller returns to the character that started his career. A balls to the wall action film, this is essentially one epic chase through a post-apocalyptic desert. No matter how many times you watch, it never gets old.
20. Drive (2011)
With it’s neo-noir tone and 80’s vibe, Nicolas Winding-Refn presents a visual treat with each frame. Ryan Gosling plays against type as a cold-blooded violent driver-for-hire who gets in over his head. Graphic violence and sharp dialogue makes for perfect repeat viewing.
21. Gravity (2013)
Director Alfonso Cuaron showed us what it’s really like to be in space and how shit-scary it can be when everything goes wrong. Sandra Bullock gives one of the best performances of her career with George Clooney supporting, even if it’s not for very long.
22. Jurassic Park (1993)
Steven Spielberg’s fantastic adaptation of Michael Crichton’s sci-fi novel. A futuristic park where dinosaurs are brought back to life, but very quickly things start to go wrong. The CGI hasn’t aged a day and looks just as good in HD.
23. Leon (1994)
No doubt Luc Besson’s best film and star Jean Reno’s best performance. The beautiful tale of a lost girl, played by 11-year old Natalie Portman finding solace in the world of a contract killer. Gary Oldman almost steals the film as corrupt DEA agent Norman Stansfield.
24. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Considered one of the best sequels of all time, The Empire Strikes Back regularly features on many peoples top ten lists. The iconic moment where Luke discovers who his true father is never fails to shock those who have yet to see it.
25. Predator (1987)
Arnold Schwarzenegger takes on an invisible trophy-hunting alien in this action sci-fi from Die Hard director John McTiernan. Going on to become one of the most iconic aliens to grace cinema screens it later starred alongside another certain creature.
26. The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (1966)
Nobody makes westerns like the Italians with their gritty worlds and despicable characters. Director Sergio Leone is almost single handedly the reason spaghetti westerns became so popular and this film is no doubt his wild west masterpiece.
27. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Quentin Tarantino broke onto the scene with Reservoir Dogs (1992), but this is where he perfected his craft. A twisting blend of multiple connected stories complimented with sharp dialogue and graphic bursts of violence. What more could you need?
28. Inception (2010)
This cerebral action thriller from Christopher Nolan stunned audiences with it’s compelling dream worlds and complex script. Whilst not entirely difficult to follow it can benefit from multiple viewings and should therefore be possessed.
29. Groundhog Day (1993)
Just like Bill Murray relived the same day over and over, you’ll want to watch this film as many times as possible. One of Murray’s best with a humorous yet heartfelt performance, you’ll get a kick out of his constant frustration from waking up to the same shit.
30. Psycho (1960)
They call Alfred Hitchcock the Master of Suspense and Psycho is Exhibit A. With the famous shower scene that has been spoofed so many times with the iconic music and Anthony Perkins portrayal of the titular psycho, it’s a chilling insight into the mind of a killer.
31. Rocky (1976)
Before he became the muscled action hero we now know him as, Sylvester Stallone broke onto the scene writing and starring in this very human story of a simple man given the chance for greater things. If there isn’t a tear in your eye during the final scene, you’re not human.
32. Lethal Weapon (1987)
You’ll never be too old for this shit. Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Murtaugh (Danny Glover) are mis-matched cops partnered up in this action thriller written by Shane Black and directed by Richard Donner. The buddy cop movie doesn’t get much better than this.
33. Gladiator (2000)
Ridley Scott brings the sword and sandals epic back from the dead. Starring Russell Crowe as the titular gladiator Maximus, we follow his quest for revenge against the Emperor (Joaquin Phoenix) who murdered his family. The best way for revenge is killing a lot of people along the way…apparently.
34. Heat (1995)
Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro finally acting together. Two powerhouse performers battling it out on screen. Rewatching the classic coffee shop scene never gets old and with a copy on your shelf you can keep going back to it.
35. Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
An homage to the action heroes of 1930s film serials, Raiders of the Lost Ark is a perfect Sunday afternoon film. Pour yourself a cup of tea, grab a biscuit, curl up on the sofa and get lost in the epic adventures of Indiana Jones.
36. Se7en (1995)
A dark and twisted hunt for a serial killer obsessed with the seven deadly sins. Two detectives (Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman) investigate the gruesome murders tracking down the killer to discover his unusual agenda, resulting in a shocking end.
37. Scarface (1983)
Legend Al Pacino stars as Cuban refugee Tony Montana who wants the “American Dream” and is willing to do anything to get it. One of Pacino’s best performances, the rise and fall of this gangster is a story you’ll want to watch again.
38. The Shining (1980)
Master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel didn’t impress the author upon release, due to changes made from the source material. However, audiences marvelled at Jack Nicholson’s erratic portrayal of struggling writer Jack Torrence.
39. Toy Story (1995)
The first feature length computer animated film, Toy Story is a landmark film in animation. With it’s charming story of living toys featuring the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, this is definitely one the whole family can enjoy.
40. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Another adaptation of Stephen King’s work, it’s considered by many as one of the best films of the 90s, and has been number one on IMDB’s Top 250 movies list since 2008. It’s hard to believe that when the film released it was a box-office disappointment.
41. The Matrix (1999)
This mind-bending sci-fi by the Wachowskis amazed audiences with it’s intelligent story-telling and advanced visual effects. It’s hard to pick a favourite moment, be it the lobby shootout or the final fight in the subway. It’s hard not to watch again.
42. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Steven Spielberg’s powerful World War II drama opens with one of the most shocking and hard-hitting portrayals of war. The impressive scope of the famous D-Day landings allowed us to understand what it must have been like for the brave men that fought that day.
43. The Thing (1982)
A landmark in special effects, this remake by director John Carpenter, features some eye-popping moments of gore. It’s one of those, “you can’t not look situations”. A dark story of paranoia and distrust amongst friends will have you gripped to your seat.
44. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Although not our first cinematic introduction to Hannibal Lector (see Brian Cox, Manhunter, 1986) Anthony Hopkins defined the role and brought him to the attention of a wider audience. With his calming voice, yet chilling demeanour it’s a performance that stays with you.
45. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
He said he’d be back and he was, but this time he was the good guy. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 must protect a young John Connor (Edward Norton) from a more advanced Terminator (Robert Patrick) made of liquid metal. Not much needs to be said about this one, simply perfect.
46. Some Like It Hot (1959)
One of the funniest comedies from three of the finest actors of their time. The comical interplay between Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis partnered with the beautiful Marilyn Monroe. A match made in heaven by director Billy Wilder.
47. The Godfather (1972)
Francis Ford Coppola’s mafioso masterpiece starring Marlon Brando in his most iconic role. Team that up with a young Al Pacino and it’s no wonder it goes down as one of the best mafia movies of all time. This is one offer you can’t refuse.
48. Speed (1994)
Can a film be heart-stopping and get your pulse racing? If it can then Speed is definitely a culprit. Pre-Matrix Keanu Reeves must prevent a bomb exploding on a bus by keeping it’s speed above 50mph. The plot may sound crazy, but it’ll keep you entertained.
49. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
The team behind hit sitcom Spaced bring us this Romantic-Zombie-Comedy. For a zombie film, this is British comedy at it’s best with it’s humorous take on an apocalyptic event. The plan is simple: get to the pub, have a pint and wait for it to all blow over.
50. Taxi Driver (1976)
It’s no surprise this is the third Robert DeNiro film on this list. As actors go he’s one of the best and Taxi Driver is arguably his finest role. Vietnam vet Travis Bickle (DeNiro) suffers from insomnia taking a job as a taxi driver, but his broken mind soon takes him down a dark path.