30-essential-films-for-men1

By Gear Patrol Reader Tim Chaffee

Each year, we men go about watching our fair share of movies. This summer, it will be blockbusters like Transformers 2, Angels & Demons, Up, and Star Trek. Of course, some of you fine gents prefer the home viewing experience (dare I say, “properly equipped” home viewing experience?). So, there you are – patiently working your way through your carefully considered Netflix queue or through each Tuesday’s new releases at Best Buy. IMDB’s own Top 250 list aside, I implore you to read on and discover that there are better options, and these options are films. Yes, films. Not movies.

It’s in that spirit that I humbly offer up my own upgrade for the 30 Days of Upgrades Initiative: 30 essential films for authentic men to have seen. This is not a list of the 30 Best Movies Ever. There are plenty of those lists and they take into account production value, directorial genius, and top-notch acting. No, this list is a list of films essential for the understanding of male psyche. These films span the representation of various parts of our emotional being. There will be dissent, disagreement, and opinion. I urge you to share, so that I may argue with you, thereby respecting your opinion even more. What good is a dialogue without discourse?

In no particular order:

  • The Great Escape (1963) – Steve McQueen | About
  • Dirty Harry (1971) – Clint Eastwood | About
  • The Godfather (1972) – Al Pacino | About
  • The Seven Samurai (1954) – Takashi Shimura | About
  • North by Northwest (1959) – Cary Grant | About
  • Enter The Dragon (1973) – Bruce Lee | About
  • Spartacus (1960) – Kirk Douglas | About
  • The Maltese Falcon (1941) – Humphrey Bogart | About
  • Deliverance (1972) – Burt Reynolds | About
  • Platoon (1986) – Charlie Sheen | About
  • Casino (1995) – Robert De Niro | About
  • The Godfather: Part II (1974) – Al Pacino | About
  • Heat (1995) – Al Pacino & Robert De Niro | About
  • Unforgiven (1992) – Clint Eastwood | About
  • Lawrence Of Arabia (1962) – Peter O’Toole | About
  • 12 Angry Men (1957) – Ensemble Cast | About
  • Chariots Of Fire (1981) – Ian Charleson | About
  • There Will Be Blood (2007) – Daniel Day-Lewis | About
  • The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman | About
  • Taxi Driver (1976) – Robert De Niro | About
  • Scarface (1983) – Al Pacino | About
  • Fight Club (1999) – Edward Norton, Brad Pitt | About
  • The Exorcist (1973) – Jason Miller | About
  • Apocalypse Now (1979) – Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen | About
  • Goodfellas (1990) – Robert De Niro | About
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966) – Clint Eastwood | About
  • Hamlet (1948) – Lawrence Oliver | About
  • Mad Max (1979) – Mel Gibson | About
  • Raging Bull (1980) – Robert De Niro | About
  • One Flew Over The Cukoo’s Nest (1975) – Jack Nicholson | About

Before you shout “Bloody Hell!”, let me precursor by recognizing that films like Schindler’s List, Casablanca, and Usual Suspects, are absent. Trust me, these are important films, but not what I (respectfully) feel are essentials. The beauty here is that you can submit your own films and thereby append this list with your own choices via the comments.

Now, whether you watch these films on DVD, 35mm film, or Blu-Ray is neither important nor relevant. What does warrant your attention, however, is your consumption and your takeaways. Put yourself in the shoes of men like Cary Grant, Robert De Niro, or Peter O’Toole – if only for a moment. Feel their psyche and be vigilant of their approach. These movies are classics and they represent a gamut of male prowess and alacrity. Take these lessons and learnings and apply them to your own life. Most importantly, have the ability to acknowledge that you have seen these films, understood them, and are a better man because of it.

Tim Chaffe is an avid Gear Patrol reader, long time resident of Schenectady, New York, and an amateur film buff. He also considers himself a connoisseur of unhealthy adventures such as food tours, bourbon tastings, and bouldering. He would provide an email address, but prefers to be incommunicado.