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35 Movies That Deserve a Big Applause for the Greatest Acting Performances

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If you haven't watched even one of these movies, you're missing out! Guess you know what's on the movie menu for tonight.

1. Gandhi (1982)

IMDb: 8.1

This acclaimed biographical drama presents major events in the life of Mohandas K. Gandhi, the beloved Indian leader who stood against British rule over his country. Dedicated to the concept of nonviolent resistance, Gandhi is initially dismissed by English officials, including the influential Lord Irwin, but eventually he and his cause become internationally renowned, and his gatherings of passive protest move India towards independence.

2. Ray (2014)

IMDb: 7.7

The story of Ray Charles, music legend. Told in his adult live with flashbacks to his youth we see his humble origins in Florida, his turbulent childhood which included losing his brother and then his sight, his rise as pianist in a touring band, his writing his own songs and running his own band and then stardom. Also includes his addiction to drugs and its affect on his working life and family life.

3. The Revenant (2015)

IMDb: 8.0

While exploring uncharted wilderness in 1823, legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass sustains injuries from a brutal bear attack. When his hunting team leaves him for dead, Glass must utilize his survival skills to find a way back home while avoiding natives on their own hunt. Grief-stricken and fueled by vengeance, Glass treks through the wintry terrain to track down John Fitzgerald, the former confidant who betrayed and abandoned him.

4. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

IMDb: 8.6

Young FBI agent Clarice Starling is assigned to help find a missing woman to save her from a psychopathic serial killer who skins his victims. Clarice attempts to gain a better insight into the twisted mind of the killer by talking to another psychopath: Hannibal Lecter, who used to be a respected psychiatrist. FBI agent Jack Crawford believes that Lecter, who is also a very powerful and clever mind manipulator, has the answers to their questions and can help locate the killer. However, Clarice must first gain Lecter's confidence before the inmate will give away any information.

5. 21 Grams (2003)

IMDb: 7.7

This is the story of three well-meaning but flawed people: Paul Rivers, an ailing mathematician lovelessly married to an English émigré; Christina Peck, an upper-middle-class suburban housewife, happily married homemaker with two young daughters, with hiding a secret past; and Jack Jordan, an ex-convict who has found in his Christian faith the strength to live a law-abiding life and raise a family. They will be brought together by a terrible accident that will change their lives. By the final frame, none of them will be the same as they will have learnt harsh truths about love, faith, courage, desire and guilt, and how chance can change our worlds irretrievably, forever.

6. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

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IMDb: 8.3

During World War II, Lt. Aldo Raine leads his squad of Jewish-American soldiers behind enemy lines in Nazi occupied France. Their job is simple: kill the enemy. They also have a particularly violent approach to what they do scalping their victims. Soon they are known and feared throughout the German army. In Paris, Shosanna runs a cinema and through a chance meeting with a German war hero, is selected to host the premiere of one of Dr. Josef Goebbels propaganda film. With all of the German high command scheduled to attend - including Hitler, Goering and Martin Bormann - it seems like the ideal opportunity for Lt. Raine and his men to bring the war to a quick end. Shosanna, who is Jewish and whose parents and siblings were killed before her eyes, also has her own plans for the evening's festivities. When she realizes that the man who killed her family Colonel Hans Landa, known as the Jew Hunter, will also be there it makes her own plans complete.

7. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

IMDb: 8.3

Drugs. They consume mind, body and soul. Once you're hooked, you're hooked. Four lives. Four addicts. Four failures. Despite their aspirations of greatness, they succumb to their addictions. Watching the addicts spiral out of control, we bear witness to the dirtiest, ugliest portions of the underworld addicts reside in. It is shocking and eye-opening but demands to be seen by both addicts and non-addicts alike.

8. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

IMDb: 7.6

Because his wife left him and took his son with her, screenwriter Ben Sanderson has started drinking, a lot. He's getting more and more isolated and he troubles women in bars because he wants to have sex with them. When he gets fired, he decides to leave everything behind and move to Las Vegas and drink himself to death. In Las Vegas he meets Sera, a prostitute with some problems as well who he moves in with.

9. Taxi Driver (1976)

IMDb: 8.3

Travis Bickle is a lonely, impotent and insomniac ex-marine, who spends his nights driving his taxi throughout the shadowy streets of mid-70's New York City. Travis is fed up with the society he finds himself surrounded by, wishing that a "real rain will come and wash all the scum off the streets". But Travis's personality sees him being unable to connect with virtually anyone, until he becomes infatuated with a blonde campaign worker named Betsy and then later meets an adolescent prostitute named Iris. As Travis grows increasingly more paranoid of his situations, he begins to sees these relationships he develops as 'missions' of which he will need to be the saviour.

10. Rain Man (1988)

IMDb: 8.0

Charlie is a hustler. He's been on his own long enough to know how to work people and situations. He finds that the father who threw him out as a teen ager has died. He's left him a now antique convertible and something more important, a previously unknown brother, Raymond. Raymond is autistic, but is able to calculate complicated mathematical problems in his head with great speed and accuracy. Their father has left his fortune to Raymond who doesn't even understand what money is for. Charlie is enraged by what has happened and by his father keeping Raymond's existence from him for his entire life. He kidnaps Raymond from his residential home but then finds that Raymond will only fly Qantas. The two begin a long road trip that will lead them to an understanding of each other.

11. Sophie's Choice (1982)

IMDb: 7.7

Sophie is the survivor of Nazi concentration camps, who has found a reason to live in Nathan, a sparkling if unsteady American Jew obsessed with the Holocaust. They befriend Stingo, the movie's narrator, a young American writer new to New York City. But the happiness of Sophie and Nathan is endangered by her ghosts and his obsessions.

12. There Will Be Blood (2007)

IMDb: 8.1

The film follows the rise to power of Daniel Plainview - a charismatic and ruthless oil prospector, driven to succeed by his intense hatred of others and desperate need to see any and all competitors fail. When he learns of oil-rich land in California that can be bought cheaply, he moves his operation there and begins manipulating and exploiting the local landowners into selling him their property. Using his young adopted son H.W. to project the image of a caring family man, Plainview gains the cooperation of almost all the locals with lofty promises to build schools and cultivate the land to make their community flourish. Over time, Plainview's gradual accumulation of wealth and power causes his true self to surface, and he begins to slowly alienate himself from everyone in his life.

13. No Country for Old Men (2007)

IMDb: 8.1

In rural Texas, welder and hunter Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) discovers the remains of several drug runners who have all killed each other in an exchange gone violently wrong. Rather than report the discovery to the police, Moss decides to simply take the two million dollars present for himself. This puts the psychopathic killer, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), on his trail as he dispassionately murders nearly every rival, bystander and even employer in his pursuit of his quarry and the money. As Moss desperately attempts to keep one step ahead, the blood from this hunt begins to flow behind him with relentlessly growing intensity as Chigurh closes in. Meanwhile, the laconic Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) blithely oversees the investigation even as he struggles to face the sheer enormity of the crimes he is attempting to thwart.

14. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

IMDb: 7.7

Two young men, Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, meet when they get a job as sheep herders on Brokeback Mountain. They are at first strangers, then they become friends. Throughout the weeks, they grow closer as they learn more about each other. One night, after some heavy drinking, they find a deeper connection. They then indulge in a blissful romance for the rest of the summer. Unable to deal with their feelings for each other, they part ways at the end of the summer. Four years go by, and they each settle down, Ennis in Wyoming with his wife and two girls, and Jack in Texas with his wife and son. Still longing for each other, they meet back up, and are faced with the fact that they need each other. They undeniably need each other, and unsure of what to do, they start a series of "fishing trips", in order to spend time together. The relationship struggles on for years until tragedy strikes.

15. Boys Don't Cry (1999)

IMDb: 7.6

Based on actual events. Brandon Teena is the popular new guy in a tiny Nebraska town. He hangs out with the guys, drinking, cussing, and bumper surfing, and he charms the young women, who've never met a more sensitive and considerate young man. Life is good for Brandon, now that he's one of the guys and dating hometown beauty Lana; however, he's forgotten to mention one important detail. It's not that he's wanted in another town for GTA and other assorted crimes, but that Brandon Teena was actually born a woman named Teena Brandon. When his best friends make this discovery, Brandon's life is ripped apart.

16. Breaking the Waves (1996)

IMDb: 7.9

Bess McNeill is a young woman living in a conservative coastal village in Scotland. Against the wishes of her church she marries Jan, a Scandinavian worker on an oil rig. She is insanely in love with Jan and can't bear it when he leaves to do his shift on the oil rig. Then Jan is injured at work and everything changes.

17. Schindler's List (1993)

IMDb: 8.9

The incredible true story of the enigmatic and opportunistic businessman Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of more than 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust. Schindler's List chronicles the trials and triumph of one man who made a difference and the tribulations of those who survived one of the darkest chapters in human history because of his actions.

18. Black Swan (2010)

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IMDb: 8.0

Nina Sayers is a dancers with a New York City ballet company. She is dedicated to her art and her craft but lacks confidence. She is also pressed on by her domineering mother, also a ballerina in her youth, who gave up dancing when she got pregnant with Nina. Nina seems to achieve her goal when the company's artistic director Thomas Leroy selects her as the lead in their new production of Swan Lake. Leroy is honest however in telling her that while he has no doubt she can handle the role of the white swan, he's not sure she can handle the role of the black swan. Adding to her self-doubts is the arrival of a new dancer, Lily, who seems ideally suited to playing the black swan. To succeed, Nina will will have to transform herself into something she has never been.

19. Cast Away (2000)

IMDb: 7.8

A man is marooned on an island after his plane crashes into the ocean. Far away from home, his girlfriend, and any human contact, he engages in a battle of wits with himself as he is tested mentally, physically, and emotionally in order to survive.

20. The Machinist (2004)

IMDb: 7.7

Trevor Reznik is a lathe-operator who suffers from insomnia and hasn't slept in a year. Slowly, he begins to doubt his sanity as increasingly bizarre things start happening at work and at home. Haunted by a deformed co-worker who no one seems to think exists, and an ongoing stream of indecipherable Post-It notes he keeps finding on his fridge, he attempts to investigate what appears to be a mysterious plot against him and, in the process, embroils two women in his madness.

21. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

IMDb: 8.7

McMurphy has a criminal past and has once again gotten himself into trouble and is sentenced by the court. To escape labor duties in prison, McMurphy pleads insanity and is sent to a ward for the mentally unstable. Once here, McMurphy both endures and stands witness to the abuse and degradation of the oppressive Nurse Ratched, who gains superiority and power through the flaws of the other inmates. McMurphy and the other inmates band together to make a rebellious stance against the atrocious Nurse.

22. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

IMDb: 8.0

In 1985, in Dallas, the homophobic electrician and rodeo rider Ron Woodroof is a cocaine user who frequently has sex with hookers and promiscuous women. When he has an accident at work, he is sent to the hospital where Dr. Sevard and Dr. Eve tell him that he is HIV+ and will die within thirty days. Ron also meets trans-gender Rayon, who is drug addicted and also has the disease. Ron does not accept the diagnosis but a couple of days later he realizes that it may be accurate. He researches about the disease and learns that AZT might be lethal for infected people. Further, he discovers that in Mexico there is a doctor with revoked license named Vass that uses alternative drugs in the treatment of AIDS. Ron improves his health and decides to sell the drugs in Dallas. He makes a partnership with Rayon and soon he creates the Dallas Buyers Club, where the memberships pay four hundred dollars per month to have the necessary drugs. But the FDA does not accept his research and he is oppressed by the authorities.

23. My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989)

IMDb: 7.9

Christy Brown is born with cerebral palsy to a large, poor Irish family. His mother, Mrs. Brown, recognizes the intelligence and humanity in the lad everyone else regards as a vegetable. Eventually, Christy matures into a cantankerous artist who uses his dexterous left foot to write and paint.

24. The Pianist (2002)

IMDb: 8.5

A brilliant pianist, a Polish Jew, witnesses the restrictions Germans place on Jews in the Polish capital, from restricted access to the building of the Warsaw ghetto. As his family is rounded up to be shipped off to the German Nazi labor camps, he escapes deportation and eludes capture by living in the ruins of Warsaw.

25. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

IMDb: 8.2

At Princeton University, John Nash struggles to make a worthwhile contribution to serve as his legacy to the world of mathematics. He finally makes a revolutionary breakthrough that will eventually earn him the Nobel Prize. After graduate school he turns to teaching, becoming romantically involved with his student Alicia. Meanwhile the government asks his help with breaking Soviet codes, which soon gets him involved in a terrifying conspiracy plot. Nash grows more and more paranoid until a discovery that turns his entire world upside down. Now it is only with Alicia's help that he will be able to recover his mental strength and regain his status as the great mathematician we know him as today.

26. La môme (2007)

IMDb: 7.6

Born into poverty and raised in a brothel, Édith Piaf manages to achieve worldwide fame. Though her extraordinary voice and charisma open many doors that lead to friendships and romances, she experiences great personal loss, drug addiction and an early death.

27. The Godfather (1972, 1974, 1990)

IMDb: 9.2

When the aging head of a famous crime family decides to transfer his position to one of his subalterns, a series of unfortunate events start happening to the family, and a war begins between all the well-known families leading to insolence, deportation, murder and revenge, and ends with the favorable successor being finally chosen.

28. Awakenings (1990)

IMDb: 7.8

A new doctor finds himself with a ward full of catatonic patients. He is disturbed by them and the fact that they have been catatonic for decades with no hope of any cure. When he finds a possible chemical cure he gets permission to try it on one of them. When the first patient awakes, he is now well into his 50s having gone into a catatonic state at 20 years of age. The film then delights in the new awareness of the patients and then on the reactions of their relatives to the changes in the newly awakened.

29. Amistad (1997)

IMDb: 7.3

Based on the true story of America's slave trade, the film shows the saga of an 1839 mutiny aboard the slave ship, Amistad. Much of the story revolves a courtroom drama as lawyers for the slaves seek their freedom and return home. The case is a watershed moment for America-Spain relations, and reveals the political machinations as it holds repercussions on the North-South conflict eventually leading to America's Civil War.

30. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

IMDb: 7.5

Taking place in the American Northwest in the early 1880s, the film dramatizes the last seven months in the life of famed outlaw Jesse James, beginning with the Blue Cut train robbery of 1881 and culminating in his assassination at the hands of Robert Ford the following April. In the time between these two fateful events, the young and jealous Ford befriends the increasingly mistrustful outlaw, even as he plots his demise.

31. Raging Bull (1980)

IMDb: 8.2

When Jake LaMotta steps into a boxing ring and obliterates his opponent, he's a prizefighter. But when he treats his family and friends the same way, he's a ticking time bomb, ready to go off at any moment. Though LaMotta wants his family's love, something always seems to come between them. Perhaps it's his violent bouts of paranoia and jealousy. This kind of rage helped make him a champ, but in real life, he winds up in the ring alone.

32. The Last King of Scotland (2006)

IMDb: 7.7

In the early 1970s, Nicholas Garrigan, a young semi-idealistic Scottish doctor, comes to Uganda to assist in a rural hospital. Once there, he soon meets up with the new President, Idi Amin, who promises a golden age for the African nation. Garrigan hits it off immediately with the rabid Scotland fan, who soon offers him a senior position in the national health department and becomes one of Amin's closest advisers. However as the years pass, Garrigan cannot help but notice Amin's increasingly erratic behavior that grows beyond a legitimate fear of assassination into a murderous insanity that is driving Uganda into bloody ruin. Realizing his dire situation with the lunatic leader unwilling to let him go home, Garrigan must make some crucial decisions that could mean his death if the despot finds out.

33. Malcolm X (1992)

IMDb: 7.7

Biograpical epic of Malcolm X, the legendary African American leader. Born Malcolm Little, his father (a Garveyite Baptist minister) was killed by the Ku Klux Klan. Malcolm became a gangster, and while in jail discovered the Nation of Islam writings of Elijah Muhammad. He preaches the teachings when let out of jail, but later on goes on a pilgrimage to the city of Mecca, there he converts to the original Islamic religion and becomes a Sunni Muslim and changes his name to El-Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz. He is assassinated on February 21, 1965 and dies a Muslim martyr.

34. What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

IMDb: 7.8

There isn't much for Gilbert to look forward to in the small, dying town of Endora. The only thing keeping him sane is his mentally challenged brother, and his physically challenged mother. Despite the challenges that are posed in this small town, Gilbert had forgotten that he has become challenged himself, and with the help of a marooned world traveler, begins to see the bigger picture.

35. Monster (2003)

IMDb: 7.3

The true story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos who was convicted of luring men to their death and eventually executed in 2002. In 1989, she was working as a prostitute and finally makes a friend when she meets and begins a relationship with a young woman, Selby. Determined to straighten out her life, she tries to find legitimate work but with little education and limited social skills, she fails at every turn. She starts working as a hooker hitching rides along the local interstate highway and after robbing a few clients has an encounter with a vicious client whom she kills in self-defense. After that however she just takes to killing clients taking their money and car. Once arrested she claims self-defense but is eventually convicted.

Created by an Onedio member. No intervention by Onedio Staff. You can freely create Onedio content.

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