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Literature / 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

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1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die is a book about movies supervised by Steven Jay Schneider. It contains a list of movies that are considered "must-see" movies, with each entry accompanied by a short essay explaining why. It was first published in 2003, with new editions having been released annually since then. Because of these updates, there have been more than 1001 movies in total in it (but always 1001 in any given edition, as there are the same number of entries added as removed each edition). As of the 2021 edition, a total of 1245 movies have been included in the English-language version. The book has also been translated to several other languages, and those editions replace some of the entries with local films (Swedish films in the Swedish edition, and so on).

The book eschews True Art Is Angsty and True Art Is Incomprehensible, featuring films like Babe, Booksmart and The Princess Bride alongside the likes of Un Chien Andalou, Persona, and Dancer in the Dark. As the introduction notes, a comprehensive overview of film history does not only contain one type of movie, but all kinds – epics, documentaries, cult films, blockbusters, experimental films, and slapstick comedies. The book also does not aim to contain the 1001 best movies, but 1001 "must-see" movies. To that end, the selection has been made with care taken to ensure that it includes the entire panorama of film history, with films from all eras, regions, and genres.

Treating the book as a cinematic bucket list as the title suggests has become fairly common for cinephiles. There is a List Challenge with over 50 000 users, a wiki, a subreddit, innumerable IMDb and Letterboxd lists, and a bunch of other places online, all dedicated to the list and watching all the movies on it.

See the list at IMDB or Letterboxd.

The book provides examples of: