The Dark Knight #4

The second and titular film in five-time Oscar nominee Christopher Nolan’s unforgettable Dark Knight TrilogyThe Dark Knight won 159 awards, including two Oscars (with a further six nominations), and was voted the greatest superhero movie of all time in a 2014 poll by Rolling Stone. The script, by Christopher and his brother Jonathan Nolan (his co-writer on Memento and Interstellar, and the co-creator of Westworld), was also nominated for a Nebula Award.

The cast is led by Oscar winners Christian Bale (The Big ShortViceAmerican Psycho), Sir Michael Caine (Inception), Gary Oldman (MankDarkest HourLéon), and Morgan Freeman (SevenThe Shawshank Redemption). The late Heath Ledger (10 Things I Hate About YouBrokeback Mountain) was posthumously awarded the  Best Actor Award at the 2009 Oscars, BAFTAs and Golden Globes for his unrecognisable portrayal of the anarchic villain, The Joker. Oscar nominees Maggie Gyllenhaal (The DeuceCrazy Heart) and Eric Roberts (The ExpendablesRunaway Train), Golden Globe nominee Aaron Eckhart (Rabbit HoleThank You for Smoking), and BAFTA nominee Cillian Murphy (InceptionPeaky Blinders) also feature.

“An ambitious, full-bodied crime epic of gratifying scope and moral complexity, this is seriously brainy pop entertainment that satisfies every expectation,” says Variety.

Schindler’s List #6

Steven Spielberg’s magnum opus, Schindler’s List, won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, as well as seven BAFTAs and three Golden Globes. As the critics consensus on Rotten Tomatoes says, “Schindler’s List blends the abject horror of the Holocaust with Steven Spielberg’s signature tender humanism to create the director’s dramatic masterpiece.” 

Liam Neeson (Gangs of New YorkMichael Collins) was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor as German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who saved more than 1 000 Jewish refugees from the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Poland during WWII. Ralph Fiennes (The English PatientThe Grand Budapest Hotel) was also nominated for an Oscar and won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor, while Oscar winner Ben Kingsley (House of Sand and FogGandhi) was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor. The cast also includes South Africa-raised actress Embeth Davidtz (MatildaOld).

The screenplay picked up an Oscar for writer Steven Zaillian (The Night OfThe Irishman), while the Oscar for Best Cinematography went to Janusz Kamiński (Saving Private RyanWar HorseLincoln) and the score, by 52-time Oscar nominated and five-time Oscar-winning composer John Williams (Star WarsSupermanHarry Potter) won both an Oscar and a Grammy. The main theme is performed by violinist Itzhak Perlman, winner of 16 Grammys.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy #7 #10 and #14

The ultimate epic fantasy binge, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy comprises The Fellowship of the Ring at #10, The Two Towers at #14, and the concluding chapter, The Return of the King, at #7 on IMDb’s Top-Rated Movies of all time.

The trilogy won 17 Oscars, with The Fellowship of the Ring voted the greatest fantasy movie of all time, and The Return of the King in third place and The Two Towers at #4 in a reader’s poll conducted by Wired in 2012.

Based on the classic, bestselling novel by Bloemfontein-born JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings follows hobbit Frodo Baggins (Critics’ Choice winner Elijah Wood) as he and the fellowship are set on a dangerous quest by the wizard Gandalf (Oscar nominee Sir Ian McKellen) to destroy the One Ring and ensure the downfall of its maker, the Dark Lord Sauron (Bram Stoker Awards Lifetime Achievement winner Christopher Lee).

Taken together with The Hobbit trilogy, An Unexpected JourneyThe Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of the Five Armies, the Middle-earth saga is the 10th biggest franchise of all time, with a global gross of $5.9 billion. And there’s no better time to undertake an epic 17-hour quest to binge the lot than on Hobbit Day, 22 September, in celebration of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’ birthdays.

Inception #13

Christopher Nolan earned his second and third Oscar nominations (for Best Original Screenplay and Best Motion Picture, along with his wife and co-producer, Emma Thomas) for the mind-bending 2010 film Inception, which won 157 awards, including four Oscars. 

Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall StreetThe Great Gatsby) stars as Cobb, a thief who steals corporate secrets by hacking into the subconscious minds of his targets. Emmy winner Joseph Gordon-Levitt (LincolnLooperThe Dark Knight Rises) co-stars, along with Oscar winners Marion Cottilard (La Vie en Rose), Sir Michael Caine (The Dark KnightTenet), BAFTA nominee Cillian Murphy (The Dark KnightPeaky Blinders), and Oscar nominees Elliot Page (as Ellen Page) and Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road).  

Inception holds an 8.8/10 score on IMDb and an 87% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus says, “Smart, innovative, and thrilling, Inception is that rare summer blockbuster that succeeds viscerally as well as intellectually.”

The Matrix #16

Sci-fi action blockbuster and cult classic The Matrix made pop culture icons of Keanu Reeves (John Wick) as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss (Jessica JonesMemento) as Trinity, Laurence Fishburne (Black-ishAnt-Man and the Wasp) as Morpheus, and Hugo Weaving (The Lord of the RingsV for Vendetta) as the iconic villain, Agent Smith. 

Written, directed and produced by the Wachowskis (V for Vendetta), The Matrix won four Oscars, including for Best Visual Effects, thanks to the groundbreaking action choreography and pioneering “bullet-time” slow-motion camera techniques that helped make it the fourth-biggest movie of 1999.

The Matrix has an 8.7/10 score on IMDb and an 88% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Slate saying, “Keanu Reeves makes a lean, strikingly beautiful tabula rasa hero, twisting out of the way of bullets that elongate like silver beads of mercury, and he’s partnered by the equally hard, blank, and androgynously gorgeous Carrie-Anne Moss.”

Best of all, The Matrix Trilogy, which includes the sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, is about to become a quadrilogy with the long-awaited fourth instalment, The Matrix Resurrections, due out at the end of this year. 

Se7en #20

The Oscar-nominated 1995 blockbuster psychological crime thriller Seven has an 8.6/10 rating on IMDb and an 82% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus calls it, “A brutal, relentlessly grimy shocker with taut performances, slick gore effects, and a haunting finale.”

Seven follows retiring police Detective William Somerset (Oscar winner Morgan Freeman from The Dark Knight) and rookie David Mills (Oscar winner Brad Pitt from Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood) on the trail of a serial killer who’s theming elaborate and grizzly murders around the seven deadly sins. 

Directed by triple Oscar nominee David Fincher (MankThe Social Network), with a BAFTA-nominated screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker (Sleepy Hollow), Seven also stars Oscar winners Gwyneth Paltrow (Shakespeare in Love) and Kevin Spacey (L.A. Confidential).