By popular demand, here is the official Mystery Grove Film Recommendations list. Watch all of these in order if you want to truly understand the world we live in today.
Miami Blues (1990) is a deep-fried thriller about a handsome psychopath who steals a detective's badge and goes on a robbery spree through the South Florida criminal underworld. One of the hidden gems of reactionary cinema.
The Duellists (1978) follows two rival French officers through the Napoleonic Wars. A minor insult sets off a decades-long series of duels between the men, neither willing to abandoned his honor.
Excalibur (1981) condenses several Arthurian legends into a single spectacular epic. One of the most hypnotic and visionary films of all time.
Barcelona (1994) is a wonderful comedy that follows two estranged cousins, one an insecure businessman and the other a brash naval officer, who reunite in Barcelona for a series of misadventures. Great reflection on family, romance, and getting older.
Nightfall (1956) tells the story of an artist framed and left for dead by bank robbers. With the help of his model girlfriend, he must elude both police and the criminals while hunting for a hidden fortune.
Andrei Rublev (1966) follows the Russian icon painter through decades of struggle, showing how a man who came from one of the bleakest times in human history could end up creating art that still inspires today.
Sorcerer (1977) is a slick and mean-spirited thriller about four desperate men hired to drive highly unstable explosives to an oil well deep in the jungle.
The King (2019) is a modern retelling of the rise of Henry V. Very cool battle scenes and refreshing take on a familiar story.
Point Break (1991) is a sprawling action epic about an FBI agent who goes undercover to hunt down a gang of surfers funding their free-spirited lifestyle through bank robbery.
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) tells the story of two legendary outlaws in the last days of the Old West. The bodies stack up as one tries to buy his freedom with the other's life.
First Man (2018) is the criminally underrated retelling of Neil Armstrong's journey to his historic moonwalk is an ode to American masculinity. Headline of the Harvard Crimson's review: "In ‘First Man,’ Triumph for White Male Dreams"
Legionnaire (1998) is a pulp action classic following a boxer who is forced to enlist in the legendary French Foreign Legion to escape the gangsters hunting him.
The Lady Eve (1941) a classic romantic comedy about a beautiful card shark trying to seduce a bumbling millionaire. All of Preston Sturges's films are great.
Russian Ark (2002) follows a ghost and his long-dead aristocrat companion through the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, bouncing through several hundred years of shared history and culture. Innovative and beautiful; shot in a single take.
Total Recall (1990) is a muscular sci-fi masterpiece about a construction worker who finds himself embroiled in a bloody interstellar conspiracy after paying for memories of a dream vacation to Mars.
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) follows a small time New England crook as he scrambles to betray enough of his criminal associates to secure a reduced sentence. As gritty as a crime thriller can get.
Master and Commander (2003) is the king of naval combat movies. Tracks the crew of a British warship hunting and being hunted by a much more powerful French vessel at the height of the Napoleonic Wars.
Брат (Brother) follows a recently-discharged Russian conscript as he moves to the big city in Yeltsin-era Russia to follow his hitman brother.
Брат 2 (2000) picks up immediately where the first film left off, with the conscript and his brother embarking on a twisted adventure to the South Side of Chicago. Deals with the diaspora experience and finding your place in the world.
Maverick (1994) is a cocky western comedy starring Mel Gibson as a fast-talking and cowardly gambler trying to scrape together enough money to enter a once-in-a-lifetime poker tournament.
Das Boot (1981) follows a German U-boat in the closing stages of WW2. Realistic (an actual U-boat "Ace" served as technical advisor) and moving film about brotherhood in times of extreme hardship. Watch the Director's Cut.
To Live and Die in L.A. (1984) is an ultra-stylish thriller about two Secret Service agents who go rogue to take down the counterfeiter who murdered their mentor. White knuckle. Probably has the best car chase of all time.
Sinister (2012) follows a desperate true-crime writer after he moves into a "murder house" with his family to work on a new book, only to discover a cache of snuff films. Suburban living at its scariest.
Hail the Conquering Hero (1944) is about a good-hearted dockworker unable to fight in WW2 due to hayfever, but too ashamed to go home. He is befriended by a squad of recently-returned Marines, whose scheme to return him to his family without losing face quickly snowballs.
Proof of Life (2000) is an understated and realistic look at the Kidnapping & Ransom industry, following a specialist as he negotiates for the life of an American engineer taken hostage by South American guerillas. One of the last old school thrillers.
Inherent Vice (2017) is a beautiful and surreal detective comedy set in the last days of California's Hippie Era. My favorite movie of all time.
Under the Silver Lake (2019) is a pitch black conspiracy caper set in post-gentrification Los Angeles. Buried by the studio on release because of its message.
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) is a perfect comedy-thriller about a New York Transit Police captain negotiating with professional criminals who have taken a subway car hostage and demanded a $1 million ransom. Not a single wasted moment.
Unknown Soldier (2017) tells the largely-ignored story of the Continuation War, a massive conflict between Finland and the Soviet Union that lasted from 1941-1944. Probably the most realistic depiction of WW2 era infantry combat ever filmed.
Miller's Crossing (1991) is a perfect gangster movie about a mob fixer who finds himself trapped in a web of conflicting loyalties and betrayals, forced to choose between death and losing what little innocence he has left.
Support Your Local Sherriff! (1969) is a classic western comedy about a smooth-talking drifter who charms his way to the top of a corrupt town. Can watch it with your family.
Blackhat (2015) follows an elite cybercriminal released from prison to help investigators unravel a global financial terror network. All about freedom and dignity in the digital age. Watch the director's cut, much better than the theatrical release.
Silence (2016) is about two Portuguese missionaries in the early 17th century who infiltrate Japan during the height of Christian persecution to search for their lost mentor, rumored to have renounced his faith under duress.
Ran (1985) is an inspired adaptation of King Leer by Akira Kurosawa, one of the greatest directors of all time, set in feudal Japan. The climactic battle sequence is unforgettable.
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) chronicles the life of the Japanese author through vivid adaptations of his works.
The Killer (1989) is the king of Hong Kong action movies, following a good-hearted hitman looking for a clean getaway and the dogged detective hunting him. Extremely influential.
Bloodsport (1988) is the incredible true-ish story of a US Army Captain who goes AWOL to fight in a brutal underground full-contact tournament in Hong Kong. The best martial arts movie ever.
Overlord (1975) is a genuinely beautiful film that intersperses archival footage of the air campaign over Britain and France with the narrative of a British conscript, haunted by visions of his own death during the upcoming D-Day landings.
Kung Pow! Enter the Fist (2002) is a martial arts parody following "the Chosen One" as he attempts to escape an army of mysterious assassins. A truly timeless classic.
The Naked Gun (1988) is a flawless comedy following the intrepid detectives of Los Angeles' elite Police Squad as they stumble through their mission to prevent the assassination of the Queen of England. The sequels are excellent as well.
Night of the Running Man (1995) is a forgotten action gem about a Las Vegas cab driver who finds a small fortune in his backseat only to be forced to evade a suave hitman across thousands of miles. You will have fun watching this.
F/X (1986) is another lost pulp classic about an Australian special effects artist who finds himself embroiled in a complicated and dangerous conspiracy after being hired to fake a retiring mobster's death. Brian Dennehy excels as the cop trying to bring him in.
Internal Affairs (1990) follows an LAPD detective attempting to take down an extremely intelligent and psychopathic officer who created an empire of corruption to provide for his multiple wives possibly dozens of children. True thriller.
Croupier (1998) follows a misanthropic writer who gets a job at a sleezy casino while his life and relationships slowly begin to spiral out of control. Great reflection on the nature of fate and chance. A genuine must-see.
The Salton Sea (2002) is a wonderfully dated movie about a musician who immerses himself in the early 2000s Southern California meth underworld in order to track down the men who killed his wife.
Prince of the City (1981) tells the true story of a corrupt NYPD narcotics officer who, after turning informant to help remove a few bad actors in his unit, finds himself captive in a sprawling federal investigation that threatens everyone he said he'd never betray.
The Way of the Gun (2000) follows a pair of small-time crooks who find themselves out of their depth after kidnapping a mob boss's surrogate mother. Innovative (and vicious) action scenes. Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie would go on to helm the Mission Impossible franchise.
Hard Eight (1996) tells the story of an aging gambler who takes a young scam artist and his prostitute girlfriend under his wing. Slow burn.
Violent Cop (1989) is about a brutal Japanese detective who slowly loses his mask of sanity while investigating his former partner's murder.
Best Seller (1987) sees a straight-laced true crime writer stalked by an unstable hitman who wants him to write his life story, exposing very powerful people in the process.
Guilty as Sin (1993) is a forgotten classic staring Don Johnson as the ultimate womanizer, accused of murdering his much older wife. When a beautiful young attorney takes his case, she finds herself trapped in a high stakes psychological game. Extremely funny.
Absence of Malice (1981) is a great legal drama about a Miami liquor distributor whose life is thrown upside down after an unethical federal prosecutor leaks fake information to an ambitious journalist implicating him in a mob murder. Very relevant today.
Manhunt: Search for the Night Stalker (1989) is a made-for-tv police procedural that is far better than it has any right to be. Two all-business detectives scramble to stop the psychotic home invading serial killer who paralyzed Los Angeles for months.
Den of Thieves (2017) is a modern action classic made for a different, better, time. An ultra-hard charging gangland detective faces off against a ruthless crew of bank robbers. Entertaining at a level that should not be possible today.
Street Thief (2006) is a seedy mockumentary that follows an industrious Chicago burglar through his routine. Lots of great details ripped from the casefiles of unsolved low-level crimes near you.
Troy (2004) is a greatly simplified but still enjoyable retelling of the ancient Greek epic poem The Iliad. One of the last great sword and sandals epics. Watch the director’s cut.
Sexy Beast (2000) sees an aging British gangster’s comfortable retirement in Spain interrupted by the worst houseguest of all time, a psychotic prior associate determined to enlist him in one last job.
Oculus (2013) is a dreamy late night horror flick about a brother and sister reunited to destroy the haunted mirror that brought their childhood to a tragic end.
Hell House LLC (2015) is an ultra-low budget horror mockumentary about a group of friends who try to set up a haunted house attraction for quick cash, succeeding more than they would have liked.
Blood Simple (1984) is a slasher-inspired crime thriller about a simple affair between a bartender and the bar owner's wife that spirals into a murder for hire and much more.
The Killing (1956) is about a seemingly-perfect racetrack heist set up by a brilliant ex-con looking to get out for good.
Eastern Promises (2007) sees a naïve London midwife entangled with a Russian mafia chauffer after discovering the child of a dead sex slave.
For a Few Dollars More (1965) is a masterful spaghetti western about two ruthless bounty hunters who team up to hunt and kill a legendary outlaw.
The Enemy Below (1957) depicts the cat-and-mouse struggle between an American destroyer escort and a German U-Boat at the height of WW2. Ultra tight naval combat movie, written by a decorated British captain.
Miami Vice (2006) sees two undercover narcotics detectives navigate the increasingly globalized and disorientating underworld, attempting to juggle their personal lives with the impersonal and murderous force of international crime.
My Name is Nobody (1973) is the story of an aging gunfighter whose journey to retire peacefully to Europe is interrupted by a mysterious joker who wants to draw him into a mythic final battle with "The Wild Bunch." A western fairytale.
The Gallant Hours (1960) is a very unique war film depicting Admiral Halsey's leadership during the bitter struggle over Guadalcanal during WW2. Unique: zero battle scenes, just increasingly tense meetings as Halsey attempts to manage all of the difficult personalities involved.
Black Christmas (1974) is the scariest movie of all time. A sorority is plagued by disappearances and increasingly disturbing anonymous phone calls around the holidays. Genuinely upsetting.
Scandal Sheet (1952) sees an unscrupulous newspaper editor forced to outwit his own protégé reporter after murdering the wife he abandoned and unwittingly becoming headline news.
The Naked City (1948) follows two NYPD detectives as they attempt to unravel a complex blackmail scheme that’s left a trail of bodies across the city. Really remarkable how well everything aged. Full of great street footage of post-WW2 New York.
He Walked by Night (1948) is the ultimate LA Noire. A pure police procedural following the LAPD’s hunt for a remarkably intelligent cop-killing armed robber.
Animal Kingdom (2010) is a vicious drama about a young man who slowly finds a place in his distant relatives’ strange crime family as it attempts to elude increasingly ruthless and corrupt police.
The Rover (2014) is a blood-soaked and bleak revenge story set in the a near future Australian outback sucked dry by global economic recession.
Rollerball (1975) takes place in a corporate dystopia where people live and often die over the ultimate combat sport. One superstar athlete struggles to make it to retirement with his dignity and neck intact.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) is an epic western about the last days of the legendary outlaw and the man who killed him.
Donnie Brasco (1997) tracks one of the most extensive FBI infiltrations of the mafia in history. An agent posing as a low-level jewel thief is taken under the wing of an aging enforcer, who becomes his father, his friend, and his target.
Chungking Express (1994) is a film about love and missed connections in the big city. Great look at the back alleys of Hong Kong in their prime.
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1989) is a romantic comedy about a recently released mental patient who kidnaps a heroin-addicted porn star he had a one night stand with years ago, and tries to convince her to marry him. Surprisingly sweet but not family friendly at all.
Sunstroke (2014) sees a captured officer reflect on a brief love affair he had a decade before the Russian Civil War as he and the last remnant of the White Army await their fate in a Bolshevik prison camp.
Ice Station Zebra (1968) is the mother of all Cold War thrillers. A complex espionage plot unfolds as dueling Soviet and American "rescue" teams race to reach the beleaguered Arctic research station where an experimental satellite just crash landed.
Vertical Limit (2000) is the impossibly entertaining story of a semi-retired, deeply traumatized, mountain climber called back into action when his sister becomes trapped high in the Himalayas.
LA Confidential (1997) is still the best detective movie ever made. Three not-so-good cops in post-war Los Angeles come together to unravel the massive conspiracy behind a massacre at the Night Owl Diner.
Kill Me Again (1989) sees a low-rent private detective on the run for his life after being hired by a beautiful woman to help her fake her own death and finally escape her tough guy husband.
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