The 29 Most Rewatchable Movies Ever Made

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“Pain is temporary, film is forever.” That quote has been used ad nauseam to drive home the fact that cinema is engrained in permanent ink, and that however difficult or arduous the process of making a particular film, the end result is (hopefully) worth it. The truth is not every movie is worth standing the test of time, and some age more gracefully than others. But film is forever, and that’s one of the great things about the artform. Movies are always there, unchanged (unless George Lucas is involved), to revisit at any time you like. Granted that’s become more difficult in the post-Blockbuster era, but everyone has their stable of movies they return to time and time again.

So the Collider staff put their heads together to generate a list of the most rewatchable movies of all time. These are films that, for a variety of reasons, hold up on repeat viewing after repeat viewing. Maybe they perfectly evoke a universal theme, or maybe they’re just immensely enjoyable. Some were even made to purposely reward repeat viewings with in-jokes and nods that are reflected in reveals later in the film. But all of these, we attest, are worth revisiting many times over.

So without further ado, we present to you the most rewatchable movies ever made.

Goodfellas

 

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Image via Warner Bros.

When filmmaker Martin Scorsese made Goodfellas, he was coming off the controversial reaction to his 1988 film The Last Temptation of Christ and before that, the tepid reception to The Color of Money. So you could say he had something to prove. Scorsese dug back into his Italian roots to craft one of the best gangster films of all time, with a contemporary spin. The result is a rollicking, epic, comic, and ultimately tragic tale of life in the mob from street-kid to rat. Scorsese proves his mastery of cinema with a film that is impeccably paced, filling out the ensemble with unforgettable performances from Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Lorraine Bracco, and of course Joe Pesci. The film has not one but multiple pieces of cinema iconography in it, from the legendary Copacabana tracking shot to the frenetic, visceral “coked out cooking day” sequence. It is, obviously, tremendously watchable, and that Scorsese was able to combine such entertainment value with such rich storytelling is a testament to his talent. – Adam Chitwood

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

 

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Image via Paramount Pictures

If we were ranking this list in terms of rewatchability, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off would be towards the top. By 1986, John Hughes had perfected the “teen movie” format in a variety of ways, from the female-centric young love of Sixteen Candles to the outsider POV of The Breakfast Club. But with Ferris Bueller, Hughes tackled quite possibly his most trite subject yet—skipping school—and churned out a classic. As with all of his films, there’s a hefty amount of heart to be found in Ferris Bueller, and while the title character is a fun-loving dude, it’s Cameron and Sloane who carry the hefty thematic weight. Cameron’s struggling with depression and a troubled relationship with his father, while Sloane worries about her future. It’s to Hughes’ credit that he was able to tackle weighty subjects and in the same breath stage a massive dance sequence in the middle of Chicago, and it’s that balance of pure joy and crushing reality that make Ferris Bueller so memorable. The film is the anti-party movie party movie, having its cake and eating it too, and it is delicious. – Adam Chitwood

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

 

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Image via Paramount Pictures

A film you can quote from end-to-end is a pretty good sign that you’re willing to watch the film endlessly. While Will Ferrell and Adam McKay have shown their strength as a team time and time again, it’s their first feature outing, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, which shines the brightest. It’s a film that’s unafraid to be totally weird, and unlike Anchorman 2, which is fine but doesn’t hold up on repeat viewings, it knew that a little Brick went a long way. Anchorman wasn’t a huge hit when it was released in 2004, but it found its audience on home video, which isn’t surprising. It’s a film you want to own so you can watch it again and again. – Matt Goldberg

Memento

 

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Image via Newmarket Films

Any self-professed fan of Christopher Nolan who hasn’t seen Memento at least three times should have their Nolan card revoked. Though it wasn’t his first directorial effort, it was his first feature-length collaboration with younger brother Jonathan Nolan, and a breakthrough film that would open the door for his now-iconic Batman trilogy. Memento set the tone of what a “Nolan film” would be: tense, smart, expertly plotted, charismatically acted, and meticulously edited. Memento could arguably be called Nolan’s most clever film to date, though it’ll find strong competition from fans of Inception and the scientifically researched script behind Interstellar. But much like how Leonard’s quest to find his wife’s killer feels as if it’s part of an endless, renewing cycle, so does Memento feel worthy of watching over and over. – Dave Trumbore

Shaun of the Dead

 

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Image via Universal Pictures

The filmmaking team of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost first made waves with their TV series Spaced, but it was the trio’s 2004 feature film Shaun of the Dead that made them household names. Indeed, their twist on the zombie movie with a so-called “zomromcom” is a spectacular feat of cinema—a film that is equal parts hilarious, creepy, and moving. But what makes Shaun of the Dead (and all of Wright’s films for that matter) so rewatchable is that it is impeccably crafted. Every single camera movement is motivated, every line of dialogue perfectly timed, all adding up to a viewing experience that is a feast for the senses. There’s a reason people return to this film time and time again (especially at Halloween), and Wright and Pegg’s script rewards repeat viewings with various bits of foreshadowing—including a speech at the pub at the very beginning of the movie that lays out the entire plot of the rest of the film. When so much care is put into crafting such a rich and rewarding viewing experience, it’s no reason Shaun of the Dead has endured as a new-classic. – Adam Chitwood

The Social Network

 

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Image via Sony

First reactions to news of The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin writing a movie about Facebook were bursts of laughter. And then when David Fincher signed on to direct, that laughter turned to incredulity. What? Why? How? As it turns out, the duo were on to something; The Social Network resulted in possibly the defining film about the early 21st century. Sorkin took the invention of Facebook and infused the story with drama of Greek Epic proportions, crafting a tragedy of sorts about power and relationships. It’s a film about outsiders, about feeling undervalued, and about the allure of glory and perceived vindication. It’s also one of the most entertaining films of the 21st century so far. The odd pairing of Sorkin and Fincher proves to be a match made in heaven, as each elevates the other’s best qualities while dampening one another’s worst tendencies. The creative push and pull between Sorkin’s romanticism and Fincher’s pragmatism is almost chemical, and the pure entertainment factor that the two are able to infuse this character-rich story with makes it an endlessly watchable film. – Adam Chitwood

Spirited Away

 

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Image via Studio Ghibli

Like many of Miyazaki films, Spirited Away is a melty, mind-bending riff on a classic fairy tale, but his gorgeous and deliciously eerie take on Alice in Wonderland marks his most compellingly rewatchable. A gorgeous allegory on the beauty and peril of growing up, you’d be hard pressed to find another Miyazaki so beguiling in its world-building. A film elegantly designed to work as well for children as it does for their adult counterparts, thanks to its tendency to puncture the precious with sharp elements of pitch darkness, Spirited Away is complex, bewitching and just plain gorgeous, but most of all, infinitely revisitable. — Aubrey Page

The Shawshank Redemption

 

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Image via Columbia Pictures

There’s a solid chance you’ve seen this movie in its entirety, maybe just not in one sitting. Frank Darabont’s classic adaptation of one of Stephen King’s most un-King-like short stories has been in regular rotation on cable TV channels for the last 20 years or so. It’s a solid crime-drama full of fantastic character performances, but the real draw here is the central theme of perseverance in the face of injustice and downright evil. Tim Robbins takes the weight of Andy Dufresne’s conviction on his shoulders and makes us feel every hour, day, and year leading up to his hard-won escape, but never gives us reason to lose hope along the way. It’s a redemptive tale, as the title promises, and that simply never gets old. – Dave Trumbore

Grosse Pointe Blank

 

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Image via Buena Vista Pictures

Everybody has that one movie you can watch a thousand times and never get tired of. For me, that’s George Armitage‘s Grosse Pointe Blank. There is no time I won’t watch Grosse Pointe Blank, and if it shows up on TV, well, that’s what I’m doing for the next hour and 47 minutes. It’s a quirky film, specifically crafted as a vehicle for John Cusack‘s oddball charm (he co-wrote the screenplay with Tom JankiewiczD.V. DeVincentis, and long-time collaborator Steve Pink). A romantic comedy/action hybrid with a soundtrack worthy of the team behind High FidelityGrosse Pointe Blank stars Cusack as a hit man in the midst of a life crisis when a job brings him back to his hometown on the eve of his high school reunion. There, he’s reunited with his first and only love, Debbie (Minnie Driver), who helps him come to grips with owning up to your misdeeds and respecting the value of life. Cusack and Driver have exceptional on-screen chemistry — a peculiar mix between that butterflies-in-the-stomach anticipation and lived-in camaraderie — and their connection carries the film, even in the midst of one excellent action set-piece after the next. Ultimately, Grosse Pointe Blank is a story about second chances and making amends. It’s about dropping your baggage and starting fresh. — Haleigh Foutch

Band of Outsiders

 

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Image via Columbia Pictures

While many of Godard’s French New Wave works are so anti-establishment as to be frankly assaulting to watch (see: Masculin Feminin, 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her), Band of Outsiders is Godard at his most sentimental. With an aura of Breathless, his energetic debut, but with emotion rarely seen in his oeuvre, Band of Outsiders is distinct in its rare affection and exuberance. Often heart-wrenching but always liltingly light, the film is rife with the kind of meta-movie love the director does so well, but the presence of relatively complex characters and a comprehensible plot make this the easy go-to for a cheerful French New Wave fix. The fact that the lovely Anna Karina stars is just a welcome bonus. — Aubrey Page

Jurassic Park

 

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Image via Universal

It’s Jurassic Park, what is there to say? One of Steven Spielberg‘s best and one of the best blockbuster movies of all time, Jurassic Park is %100, unadulterated cinematic magic. It transports you to a world of wonders and terrors where dinosaurs roam, and it fulfills that promise in every possible way with groundbreaking special effects, expertly conceived set pieces (Spielberg is a master of adventure, after all), and a cast of loveable characters who felt grounded in reality. Somehow, that magic never wears thin. Those characters never grow old. And in an age of constantly improving, spectacular visual effects, Jurassic Park is immune to the ravages of time, selling the splendor just as much as the day it was released. — Haleigh Foutch

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Elf

 

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Image via New Line Distribution

Elf is no masterpiece—it’s silly!—but a film need not be perfect to qualify as rewatchable. Indeed, what director Jon Favreau pulled off with Elf is in some ways just as difficult, as he and star Will Ferrell ended up crafting a Christmas classic; a film that is on heavy rotation every December, and that pretty much every family member can agree on as a swell movie-night pick. One need only look at the cloying Broadway musical adaptation to understand the finely tuned alchemy that Favreau and Ferrell capture in this film, as it’s not easy to replicate. The story is outlandish but Favreau sells it with throwback stop-motion animation effects and an empathy for every character, while Ferrell delivers a character that is outlandishly nutty but not too over the top. It’s a tightrope walk of sorts, and Elf performs it beautifully. So yeah, Goodfellas this is not, but rewatchable? You betcha. – Adam Chitwood

A Few Good Men

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Image via Columbua Pictures

If this is ever on TNT (and it usually is), I usually just let it play to the end. Aaron Sorkin’s work is incredibly rewatchable, but sometimes you’re not in the mood to marathon West Wing episodes or embrace the nastiness present in The Social Network and Steve Jobs. Sometimes you need the comfort of a courtroom drama mixed with Sorkin’s soaring dialogue, and that’s where A Few Good Men comes in. Yes, we all know the Jessup speech, but the film is packed with wall-to-wall great moments packaged in the warm blanket that is the courtroom drama. It’s not Sorkin’s deepest work or his most challenging, but it’s one I’m always happy to watch. – Matt Goldberg

Hot Fuzz

 

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Image via Universal Pictures

It was hard not to include every Edgar Wright film on this list, but in narrowing it down to two, Hot Fuzz certainly makes the cut. Just as with Shaun of the Dead, this twist on the buddy action film genre is lovingly realized and impeccably crafted, with attention paid to every single cut, every song choice, and every joke. The film plays out as a whodunit of sorts before that tremendous Wicker Man-esque twist, and Wright and co-writer Simon Pegg string the audience along by leaving bread crumbs to the true killer that, while they do pay off, don’t necessarily lead in the direction one might assume. And that’s all the better—you may “figure it out”, and you’re not wrong but you’re not 100% right either. Plus, the film is a downright delight, with Pegg and Nick Frost once again proving to be a formidable comedic duo with a strong dose of heart, while Wright fills out the ensemble with impeccable British performers giving surprising turns. The greater good indeed. – Adam Chitwood

Back to the Future

 

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Image via Universal Pictures

Just like with A Few Good Men, if Back to the Future is ever on TV, I just let it play. It’s the perfectly paced adventure movie. It’s a clinic on economic storytelling (just think about how much information you get about the world and the characters before the opening credits are even finished), and while it certainly romanticizes elements of the 1950s while also flirting with Oedipal subtext, it’s still a ridiculously fun and enjoyable movie. There’s a reason Back to the Future is considered a classic, and while the sequels are enjoyable (Part II more so than Part III), the original is the one I keep coming back to. – Matt Goldberg

The Matrix

 

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Image via Warner Bros.

There’s nothing like watching The Matrix for the first time. The closest thing to that experience is watching it again and again after the fact in order to figure out just what the heck is going on in this movie. It’s a rare film that completely changes the way you watch it and the things you look for once you understand the mechanism that drives it; The Matrix is one such film thanks to its nested realities, technopunk aesthetic, and incredible action sequences. Beyond that, it also delivers a solid anti-authoritarian message, one that’s accessible across time, space, and demographic boundaries. And even if you understand what’s going on in The Matrix well before Neo does, it’s fun to watch him try to puzzle it all out over and over again. – Dave Trumbore

Groundhog Day

 

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Image via Columbia Pictures

It wouldn’t be a rewatchable movies list without Groundhog Day, as the time-loop film’s entire conceit involves watching the same events play out over and over again. This is another case of two differing sensibilities clashing to result in a perfect balance, as director Harold Ramis’ emphasis on comedy makes the film hilarious while Bill Murray’s insistence on delving into the philosophical implications of Phil Collins’ situation brings in the thematic weight. This is a movie that could have turned repetitive really fast, but Ramis finds a way to keep the story fresh in each scene, while Murray delivers one of the best performances of his entire career. The film is delightfully charming and, thanks to Murray, dryly funny, but it’s also surprisingly dark, and it’s that willingness to go to uncomfortable places that I think has made the film endure so long. – Adam Chitwood

Magic Mike XXL

 

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Image via Warner Bros.

Watching Magic Mike XXL is like getting invited to the best road trip party of all time. There’s nothing about it that’s not fun — well, actually, Amber Heard’s mopey, cooler-than-you hangabout is a major drag, but literally every other part Magic Mike XXL is a giddy treat. From the moment Channing Tatum starts Pony-ing around his construction workshop in the film’s opening scenes, XXL goes full tilt on just living large and having a good time. There is a whiff of a dramatic subplot wherein Mike finds that once he cleaned up his act, got the girl, and started the business of his dreams, everything fell apart, but XXL largely dispenses with its predecessor’s introspection in favor of a non-stop party. Everything about Joe Manganiello‘s Big Dick Richie (but especially his gas station dance break) is gleeful and joyous, as is Jada Pinkett Smith‘s commanding and surprising turn as Mike’s former flame/boss/ladypimp, Rome, and her mansion of gyrating wonders. And XXL is a rarity in that it’s got infinite appeal to both men and women. I think park of why it never hit at the box office is because they marketed it purely to the ladies when XXL is really one of the most bro films about dude bonding ever made. Magic Mike XXL is sexy and cheeky (just look at that title) and it’s always fun as hell. — Haleigh Foutch

Harold & Maude

 

Image via Paramount Pictures

Though certainly one of the more polarizing of the ‘70s cult classics, the romantic charmer (and clear Wes Anderson influencer) flips the weepy on its head with a May/December romance between a young, death-obsessed misfit (Bud Cort) and a vivacious octogenarian (Ruth Gordon). A controversial premise, to be sure – but the film’s soft center, which oozes with of-the-moment rebellion and features life-affirming and tear-jerking moments in spades – couldn’t be more universal. Buoyant and fiercely unique, Harold & Maude easily gets better with every rewatch. (Even though you’ll still cry every time.) Bonus points for that wildly catchy Cat Stevens soundtrack. — Aubrey Page

The Fifth Element

 

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Image via Sony

One signifier of a film’s rewatchability (technical term, that) is just how quotable it is. The Fifth Element, arguably Luc Besson’s best directorial effort to date earns solid rewatchability points based on that metric alone. Even if you get to the point where you can recite every quote-worthy bit of dialogue in sync with the actors or sing along with Diva Plavalaguna, there’s still so much to enjoy on subsequent watches. It’s set far enough into a (hopefully) fictional future that the film’s sci-fi elements don’t feel archaic or even familiar, the characters are refreshingly bizarre each and every time they appear on screen, and the scene-chewing simply never gets old. It helps that the film’s effects and costumes rely heavily on the practical side of things rather than quickly outdated computer-generated gimmicks. Perhaps best of all, there’s no bad time of day (or year) to watch this thing, even if you’ve seen it dozens of times already; you don’t even need a multi-pass! – Dave Trumbore

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