To Kill a Mockingbird

Few courtroom dramas are as famous or as well regarded as this 1962 adaptation of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Over the years, countless Australian high school students determined not to read the book have been more than happy to watch the fair, calm and compassionate Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) fight the good fight on screen, arguing for justice in a cruel world. In 2003, the American Film Institute voted Finch the greatest movie hero of the 20th century.


Toy Story

Before it arrived in 1995, Toy Story probably looked like a very kiddy movie. Once it opened, however, adults instantly recognised the film as a great work of art with messages that resonate across all age groups. There’s a hell of a lot of love out there for Woody, Buzz and the gang, and we all know why: because this film is a pure delight. It was also hugely influential, being the first feature-length computer animated film ever made.


2001: A Space Odyssey

Now approaching the age of 50, the reputation of Stanley Kubrick’s voyage into the past, our solar system and the human psyche only continues to strengthen. Untarnished by countless imitators and parodies, 2001 continues to resonate thanks to vastly influential production design, our distrust of machine intelligence, and an impactful climax that maximises cinema’s ability to communicate non-verbally, even subconsciously.


The Silence of the Lambs

He's just a normal bloke who likes fava beans, a snifter of fine chianti and munching on various parts of the human body. Widely regarded as one of the greatest villains of all time, the ultra-sophisticated Hannibal Lecter was unforgettably inhabited by Anthony Hopkins, who scored an Oscar for his troubles. Although the Academy Awards often snubs genre films, this one scored big – winning five Oscars in all the major categories.



He’s never exactly beaten around the bush, but with Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese surpassed himself. Ultra-violent, profane, bleak, hilarious and seriously stylish, this is the gold standard of gangster cinema. It is an utter vindication of Scorsese’s decision to marry directorial liberties and cinematic flourishes with the true story of a real-life wiseguy – using all manner of tricks to capture the essence of organised crime.



Christopher Nolan's super trippy blockbuster introduced a new kind of corporate espionage: stealing secrets from people while they’re dreaming. In the words of the director, it’s a heist movie "set within the architecture of the mind." The out-there premise allowed for spectacular scenery-rearranging set pieces that looked damn, damn good on the big screen. The so-called "extractor" Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is Inception’s protagonist, but the film is most memorable for its dazzling visuals.


The Princess Bride

The classic bedtime story framing device was put to great use in this enchanting classic, which turned the terrible cliché "a film the whole family will love!" into a veritable truism. Told with the flavour of an old school Hollywood epic, and based on a classic fantasy novel written by William Goldman, The Princess Bride has a way of taking audiences of any age to a happy place.