20 Amazingly Valuable Thrift Store Finds

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Thrift stores are always a treasure trove of vintage clothing items, posters of kittens, and old kitchen appliances—but sometimes a lucky shopper comes across an actual treasure.

1. A BEN NICHOLSON SCREEN PRINT

In November 2014, Jo Heaven was browsing her local “charity shop”—the British term for thrift stores that raise money for philanthropic organizations—in Swindon, England, when she came across a landscape print with stylized livestock. Liking the “quirky” screen print, she snapped it up for 99 pence (just over $1), and it was only once she got it to the car that Heaven noticed a note of provenance on the back, naming the artist as Ben Nicholson, the influential British modernist.

“My mum was an art teacher, so I’d vaguely heard of Ben Nicholson,” Heaven later told the BBC. “I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, what have I found here?’” The screen print turned out to be one of a set of four made from a single piece of cloth in 1938; another print from the set is in the collection of London's Victoria and Albert Museum. After having the print authenticated by the art experts at Bonhams, Heaven sold it through the auction house for £4,200 (about $5500). She donated 10 percent of the proceeds to the charity shop where she bought the artwork, and invested the rest of the money to a charity she runs called Empower, which supports development projects in the Gambia. “I didn’t earn this money so it seems only right to benefit others rather than gain myself,” Heaven told the Swindon Advertiser.

2. VINCE LOMBARDI’S SWEATER

Lombardi west point sweater
Heritage Auctions, ha.com

On a June afternoon in 2014, Sean and Rikki McEvoy were rifling through the bins at a Goodwill store in Asheville, North Carolina, looking for items they could resell through their vintage clothing business. Sean saw an old sweater with “West Point” emblazoned across the front. Thinking it looked like a vintage basketball warm-up, he tossed the sweater in their pile of goods, which they paid for by weight—58 cents a pound. Five months later, he was watching a documentary about Vince Lombardi, the famed coach of the Green Bay Packers, when a black-and-white photo flashed on the screen. The picture featured a young Lombardi during his 1949–1953 tenure as an assistant coach for Army’s football team, wearing a West Point sweater that looked rather familiar. And Rikki had noticed just the night before that the sweater had a name tag sewn into the neck. “It wasn’t Lombardi, was it?” her husband asked. “Yes, it’s Lombardi,” she replied. Sean nearly passed out.

Sean called the NFL Hall of Fame, and when he told them of his find, they tried to convince him to donate it to them—for free. The McEvoys passed, and in February 2015, they sold the sweater to an anonymous collector for $43,020 at a New York City auction of sports memorabilia.

But how did Lombardi’s sweater end up at the Asheville Goodwill in the first place? It was donated by Ann Wannamaker, whose late husband, Bill Wannamaker, had coached with Lombardi at West Point for a single season in 1952 and somehow ended up with the sweater. More than 60 years later, Ann was cleaning out her house and tossed the sweater into a pile of items to donate, leading to a very lucky find for the McEvoys. “It’s like winning the lottery,” Sean said.

3. A FLEMISH-SCHOOL PAINTING

In late 2010, a South Carolina man was browsing his local Goodwill when he noticed an oil painting in an antique frame—a still life of a dinner table. “I figured the oil painting was out of the 1800s because of the frame it was in,” said the man, who used his middle name, Leroy, in the press to maintain his privacy.

A former antiques dealer, Leroy thought the painting might be worth a “couple of hundred” dollars, so he bought it for $3. About a year later, his daughter took it to be appraised on Antiques Roadshow, whose appraisers offered an initial estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. That’s no chump change, but the painting turned out to be worth even more than that. Painted around 1650 by a Flemish school in Amsterdam, the still life sold for $190,000 in March 2012 through an auction house in Massachusetts. Leroy told reporters that he planned to split the money with his son and daughter-in-law. “It’s the biggest find I’ve ever had,” he said.

4. A PICASSO PRINT

picasso print found in a thrift store
Zach Bodish

In early 2012, Zach Bodish, an avid thrifter, was tracing his usual route through the Volunteers of America store in Clintonville, Ohio, looking for items to fix up and sell, when he came across a framed poster for a 1958 Picasso exhibition. Penciled in the lower left corner was the notation “6/100,” suggesting that the print was a numbered edition. Scrawled on the back were a few lines in French, which Bodish couldn’t read, though the word “originale” looked promising.

Bodish shelled out $14.14 for the poster and frame, and once he got home, he started Googling. He soon realized he had gotten his hands on a linocut poster created by Picasso for an exhibition of his ceramics in the French village of Vallauris in 1958, of which only 100 had been produced. And as for that writing on the back, it meant, “original print, signed proof.” A faded red scribble in the corner of the print was Picasso’s signature. “I started shaking a little bit,” Bodish recalled. The poster he had found was not only a limited edition, but an artist’s proof, one of a batch of initial prints that are approved by the artist before printing the other copies for the series. “You could have knocked me over with a feather,” Bodish wrote on his blog. He initially thought the poster might be worth $3000 to $4000, but after having the print authenticated, he sold it for $7000 in a private sale.

After an article in The Columbus Dispatch highlighted Bodish’s thrift shop discovery, a retired English teacher from Columbus named Ed Zettler contacted the paper, saying he was the one who had donated the print, which he thought was simply a reproduction. According to Zettler, a friend had given him the Picasso print as a housewarming gift in the 1960s, and it had sat in his basement for decades before he decided to donate it while clearing out his house. But Zettler had no hard feelings toward Bodish, telling Today, “That’s the risk you take when you bring something to the thrift store.”

5. AN ILYA BOLOTOWSKY PAINTING

When Beth Feeback first saw the big red abstract painting, she didn’t like it. Still, she ended up paying $9.99 for it at the Goodwill in Oak Ridge, North Carolina, because she hoped to reuse the canvas for one of her own paintings, which featured cartoonish cats. Luckily, a friend suggested that Feeback check the labels on the back, leading her to Google the name Ilya Bolotowsky and discover that he was a celebrated abstract painter who had fled Russia for the U.S. as a teenager—a painter whose works command prices upwards of $15,000. Though she originally found the painting unappealing, once she learned its value, Feeback quipped, “This is the most beautiful damned painting I’ve ever seen in my life.” She soon sold the painting, called Vertical Diamond, through Sotheby’s for $34,375, a price that includes an unspecified buyer’s premium (the final gavel price for the painting itself was about $27,000).

So how did this painting by a Russian émigré end up at a Goodwill in North Carolina? On the back of Vertical Diamond, a sticker reading Weatherspoon Art Gallery provided a clue. The registrar at the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro looked for traces of the painting in museum records and found that Burlington Industries, a North Carolina fabric manufacturer, had loaned the painting to the Weatherspoon for a 1979 show. Burlington Industries presumably sold the painting at some point, or it may have floated around after the company filed for bankruptcy in 2004 and moved out of its headquarters, dispersing much of its art collection. But regardless of how the painting found its way to Goodwill, Feeback was very glad it did.

6. A CHINESE LIBATION CUP

A few years ago, a shopper in a Sydney op shop (“op shop” or “opportunity shop” is the Australian term for thrift store) found an interesting carved cup in the shape of a flower and spent $4 to take it home. The man later experienced quite the windfall when it turned out his purchase was a 17th-century Chinese “libation cup” made from a rhinoceros horn. He sold it through Sotheby’s [PDF] in June 2013 for $75,640.

7. A JAEGER-LECOULTRE WATCH

When Zach Norris saw a diving watch marked LeCoultre at a Phoenix Goodwill in January 2015, he knew he’d come across something valuable—and he didn’t want to let it go. Produced by the Swiss luxury watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre, whose modern timepieces sell for thousands of dollars, this vintage watch was tagged just $5.99. “I didn’t even want to give it to [the cashier] to scan,” Norris told KTVK. “I was like, you can scan it in my hand if you want to.” Though he knew vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre diving watches were worth thousands to collectors, Norris soon discovered that his watch was particularly special, a model called LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm. Produced beginning in 1959, the model was one of the first watches with an alarm for divers to use, and less than 1000 of them were ever made.

Norris had the watch authenticated by a local Jaeger-LeCoultre dealer, and after a website for watch collectors called HODINKEE highlighted Norris’s find, he was flooded with questions and offers to buy it. Norris accepted an offer from Eric Ku, a San Francisco-based vintage Rolex dealer and watch enthusiast, for $35,000—plus an Omega Speedmaster Professional worth $4000 (a watch Norris had long desired). In addition to donating a portion of his profits back to Goodwill, Norris earmarked a good chunk of his earnings to pay for his wedding the following fall.

8. AN 1823 EDITION OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

The United States Declaration of Independence
iStock

In March 2006, a music equipment technician named Michael Sparks was looking through the Music City Thrift Shop in Nashville, Tennessee, when he noticed a rolled-up, yellowed document—a copy of the Declaration of Independence. Sparks happily bought the document for $2.48. “I’ve seen Declarations of Independence in thrift stores before,” Sparks later said. “This one was so beautiful I thought it was an engraving.”

When he examined the paper further upon getting home, he noticed that it was marked 1823, and that it said “by order of the government.” Sparks soon learned that his thrift store purchase was an “official” copy of the Declaration, one of 200 commissioned by President John Quincy Adams in 1820 and printed by William Stone three years later. Only 35 such copies had previously been found. Sparks’s Declaration had been shellacked, and the varnish kept the ink dark, making his document one of the best preserved of its kind. Sparks sold the 1823 Declaration through Raynors’ Historical Collectible Auctions in 2007. The winning bid? $477,650.

It turns out the Declaration had been donated to the Nashville thrift shop by locals Stan and Linda Caffy. Stan had bought the document at a yard sale in the mid-1990s for around $2, then hung it for decoration in his garage where he works on bicycles. His wife urged him to get rid of it, and other items, when the couple was cleaning out their garage in 2006. “I’m happy for the Sparks guy,” Stan Caffy told USA Today. “If I still had it, it would still be hanging here in the garage and I still wouldn't know it was worth all that.”

9. A GIOVANNI BATTISTA TORRIGLIA PAINTING

In late 2012, a Goodwill employee in Manassas, Virginia, named Maria Rivera discovered a small portrait in the store’s donation bin. Depicting an elderly woman holding a cup of tea, the oil painting had cracks in its surface and was housed in an ornate gold frame. The painting reminded Rivera of something she’d seen in a museum, so she pulled it from the pile, thinking it seemed potentially valuable. “I didn’t know how much at that time, but I said, we have some money here,” she told NBC News4. A lot of money, it turns out. The painting was authenticated as the work of 19th-century Italian artist Giovanni Battista Torriglia. Goodwill auctioned off the portrait on its website in January 2013. It earned a winning bid of $11,205.

10. AN ALEXANDER CALDER PAINTING

When Karen Mallet saw a lithograph with the signature “Calder” while shopping at a Goodwill outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she didn’t want to get her hopes up. She recognized the name of Alexander Calder—a celebrated American sculptor, painter, and printmaker—and decided she had to buy the print, just in case it was an original. “I thought, I don't know if it’s real or not but it’s $12.99. I’ve wasted more on worse things,” she told the Associated Press.

Her Goodwill loyalty card brought the price down to $12.34, which Mallet forked over happily. Then, when she got home, Mallet started Googling. She quickly found pictures of numerous works by Calder in the same style (a similar painting, the basis for a set of lithographs, is in the collection of MoMA in Manhattan). Soon Mallet felt confident enough to take her Goodwill purchase to an expert for authentication. Jacob Fine Art Inc., in suburban Chicago, verified that the print was an original 1969 Calder lithograph called Red Nose, number 55 of 75 such lithographs. The appraisers set the replacement value at $9000, but Mallet told reporters in late 2012 that she has no plans to sell the print. While she didn’t connect to the piece originally, “It grew on me,” she said. “Now I love it.”

11. A PHILIP TREACY HANDBAG

In February 2012, John Richard was browsing at an Oxfam charity shop in London when he opened a dusty box and discovered an eye-catching handbag. The 73-year-old retired chef was intrigued by the bag’s print—images of Elvis Presley by Andy Warhol rendered in shades of brown—and decided to take it home, though he balked momentarily at the listed price of £20 (about $26). He tried to haggle the cashier down to £15 but decided to make the splurge when she refused to budge. Still, he put the bag aside once he got home and didn’t think about it for several months.

Remembering the bag later that year, Richard examined it and noticed a Philip Treacy label. Treacy is an Irish designer best known for making sculptural hats, including the one Princess Beatrice wore (to much mockery) to the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. A luxury designer handbag—might it be worth some money? Richard contacted the Philip Treacy shop in London and asked them to examine the bag. Store manager Gee Brunet confirmed that it was a hand-sewn, limited-edition Treacy design, of which only 10 were ever made. “It’s a piece of art, not a bag,” Brunet said.

Richard had the handbag appraised at £350,000, and he told reporters that he’d received two offers, for £250,000 ($325,000) and £350,000 ($455,000), from buyers in China. “I’m rather glad I didn’t put it back now,” Richard told the Daily Express.

12. A STADIUM EVENTS VIDEO GAME CARTRIDGE

stadium games video game screenshot
Bandai

On a spring day in 2013, Jennifer Thompson was perusing the $1 DVD section of a Goodwill store in Charlotte, North Carolina, when she noticed a video game sitting behind the glass counter. Tagged for $7.99, it was an NES cartridge for Stadium Events—a name that reminded Thompson of a Yahoo! article she’d read about the rarest and most sought-after games. She drove across the street to use the Wi-Fi at McDonald’s and confirmed her intuition: Stadium Events was a highly-coveted game that sold for thousands of dollars. Returning to Goodwill, Thompson purchased the cartridge, praying the cashier wouldn’t notice the golden egg he was letting go, then she drove to a local used video game store to test the desirability of her latest purchase.

She showed Wilder Hamm, the owner of Save Point Video Games in Charlotte, a few common games she said she wanted to sell, before revealing Stadium Events at the bottom of the pile. “Oh my God!” Hamm blurted out. “Normally in this business, we try not to show our cards,” Hamm explained later, but Thompson had surprised him and he couldn’t hide his excitement. “I felt honored just to hold it,” he told Kotaku.

Thompson auctioned off Stadium Events through the website GameGavel.com, ultimately selling the game to an orthodontist from Bedford, Indiana, for $25,000.

13. A VALUABLE DOG LITHOGRAPH

the brook hill dog painting by Alexander Pope
Public Domain

In March 2015, Floridian Maureen Flaherty attended the grand opening of a local Goodwill store, where she noticed a large lithograph print of a dog hanging on the wall. Two cashiers took the print down and Flaherty handed over $44 for it—adding a 50-cent donation to the listed price of $43.50. But Flaherty hadn’t even made it to her car when a local antiques dealer flagged her down in the parking lot. He told her, “You just walked out with the most valuable thing in there,” and tried to buy the print, but Flaherty declined his offer because she “just loved it” and wanted to keep the lithograph for herself. But the antiques dealer’s offer had piqued her curiosity, and when she got home, Flaherty did some internet research and realized that she’d just bought a print of a 1911 Alexander Pope painting called The Brook Hill Dog, which had been distributed to bars as advertising for distillery brand Friedman, Keiler & Co.’s “Brook Hill” whiskey.

Learning that a similar print had recently been sold for $3300, Flaherty decided to auction off her find for charity. “I foster dogs so I had the idea that since it’s a dog print, let’s auction it off so half the funds will go to a dog fund,” Flaherty told ABC News. The lithograph sold on eBay for $5150 and Flaherty donated half her earnings to a local animal rescue. She kept the remaining money to fund a book she was writing about fostering dogs, which came out the following year.

14. AN 18TH-CENTURY CHINESE CENSER

A woman from Surrey, England, discovered a colorful, gold-rimmed bowl while exploring a charity shop in Somerset. The metal bowl turned out to be an 18th-century Chinese censer, or incense bowl, produced during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. Created using a technique called cloisonné, the censer is decorated with a scrolling lotus pattern against a turquoise background. Appraisers at the John Nicholson’s auction house estimated the censer’s value at £5000 to £8000 (about $6500 to $10,000)—quite an upgrade from the £2 charged by the charity shop. But the sharp-eyed thrifter who scored the item earned an even greater payday when John Nicholson’s included the bowl in their “Oriental Auction” in March 2017. Only 4.4-inches wide, the censer sold for £21,000 (about $27,000).

15. AN EDOUARD LÉON CORTÈS PAINTING

Workers at a Goodwill in Easton, Maryland, were sorting through donations in March 2008 when they unearthed a painting depicting a street scene of a flower market. Done in an Impressionist style, it seemed to be an original oil painting, not a print, and when store manager Terri Tonelli returned from her vacation, the employees told her they suspected the artwork was valuable. Thanks to Google, Tonelli figured out it was likely the work of noted French Impressionist Edouard Léon Cortès, who produced a number of paintings of flower markets. Goodwill shipped the painting to Sotheby’s auction house in New York, where it was authenticated, cleaned, and auctioned off. “It could have very easily ended up put in a pile, marked for $20,” Goodwill’s regional marketing director told the Associated Press. Instead, Goodwill sold the painting, called Marche aux fleurs, for $40,600.

16. AN AUGUSTA NATIONAL GREEN JACKET

green jacket auctions
Green Jacket Auctions

In 1994, a sports journalist noticed a green blazer in a stack of used suit jackets at a Toronto thrift store. When he unearthed the green blazer, he immediately recognized the patch on the pocket: the logo of the Augusta National Golf Club. While all members of the Georgia club get such jackets, nowadays they are only allowed to wear them at the club (though they were allowed to take them home in the 1950s and 1960s); the only person who can sport the green blazer outside club grounds is the current Masters champion.

Since 1949, the winner of the Masters Tournament—which is one of the most prestigious competitions in professional golf and is held each year at Augusta—receives one of the club’s famous green jackets as a trophy. One of the most coveted golf memorabilia items for collectors, this thrift store jacket was priced at $5. The journalist snapped it up on the spot. While he later tried to trace the provenance of his purchase, the Augusta National Golf Club refused to help. The tag dates the jacket to the 1950s (but before 1957), and otherwise little is known about the blazer’s origin—the name tag had been cut out.

Soon a British golf journalist named Dominic Pedler had convinced the lucky thrifter to sell him the jacket with “an offer he couldn’t refuse.” Then, over 20 years later, the jacket went up for auction in April 2017, garnering lots of media attention, as well as a final bid of $139,349.

17. A MARY MOSER PAINTING

In 2013, Liz Lockyer stopped into the Royal National Lifeboat Institution charity shop in her hometown of Teignmouth on England’s southern shore. She noticed a still life painting of flowers housed in an ornate gold frame. An artist herself, Lockyer thought the antique frame would be perfect for her own work, so she plunked down £5 (about $6.50) to take home the set. It was only later that she realized the painting was something special when she examined the signature.

The painting was by Mary Moser, a celebrated 18th-century English painter and one of only two female founders of the Royal Academy of Arts. Moser was known for her lush depictions of flowers, and the auction house Christie’s confirmed that Lockyer’s thrift store find was indeed one of Moser’s still lifes. The painting is worth at least £1000 (about $1300). “There was a definite risk I was going to rip out the painting and keep the frame,” Lockyer said. “I’m very glad I didn’t, but it’s one of those things—you had to look at it closely.”

18. PHOTOS BY FAMOUS MID-CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHERS

One day in 2016, Kent Shrewsbury stopped by the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Anaheim, California, with his son, 20-year-old Kenneth Solis. As Shrewsbury wandered the store, Solis went directly to the records. While flipping through the vinyl, he discovered a stack of black-and-white photos between two records. One showed a dog with a giant stick. Another was an artistic nude of a pregnant woman. A third showed a couple dancing. There were 20 others. Solis grabbed the photos and took them over to his dad, who recognized the dancing couple as Marilyn Monroe and her third husband, playwright Arthur Miller. Solis and Shrewsbury purchased the photographs for $23—$1 apiece. Shrewsbury then went about deciphering the signatures on the pictures and Googling the names. That’s when he realized they’d found something more than random antique snaps: the prints seemed to be from famous 20th-century photographers including Eve Arnold, Burk Uzzle, and Elliot Erwitt. The images were gelatin silver prints (a photo process introduced in the 1870s that remained popular with fine art photographers through the 1960s), so maybe they were originals.

A few months later, Shrewsbury took five of the photos to an Antiques Roadshow taping in Palm Springs, where he showed them to appraiser Aimee Pflieger, a photography specialist at Sotheby’s. She authenticated the prints, calling them a “fantastic find.” She estimated the combined value of the five photos as $24,000 to $36,000. Shrewsbury and Solis hope to sell the photos and use a portion of the money to buy Solis a car, with the rest going to Habitat for Humanity of Orange County as a donation.

19. A FRANK WESTON BENSON PAINTING

In 2006, an anonymous donor dropped off a watercolor at a Goodwill store in Portland, Oregon. Employees thought the painting of a couple paddling a canoe looked like an original rather than a print, and its Impressionist style was eye-catching. Goodwill put the painting up for auction on its website with a starting bid of $10, but offers soon spiked when local gallery owner Matthew W. Gerber determined that the watercolor was, in fact, an original work by celebrated American Impressionist Frank Weston Benson.

Benson’s work hangs in museums like the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., and commands prices of as much as $100,000. “Frank Benson is a top-tier impressionist,” Gerber told The Oregonian. “When they put this up, they didn’t have a clue what it was.” A Goodwill spokeswoman suggested that the donor also likely did not know the painting’s value. And that value turned out to be considerable. The winning bid? $165,002.

20. A CHINESE POT

The wooden pot was cracked all over, and its rim and base had been reattached with glue that oozed out and hardened. Sections of the pot were discolored, and it had been donated in a grocery bag alongside various household items. And yet somehow, an employee at St. Peter's Hospice charity shop in Bristol, England, recognized that the pot, which looked very old, might be culturally valuable. In fact, it was a bamboo pot meant for calligraphy brushes that was carved between 1662 and 1722 by the important Chinese artist Gu Jue. Experts believe the pot depicts the poem “The Agreeable Life in a Land of Transcendents” and features the philosopher Lao Tzu sitting on an ox, as well as other figures. The pot generated considerable interest from collectors and ultimately went to a buyer in Hong Kong for £360,000 (about $470,000).

10 Facts About DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story For Its 15th Anniversary

Vince Vaughn stars in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004).
Vince Vaughn stars in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004).
Twentieth Century Fox

June 18, 2004 saw the release of two wildly different films in American cinemas: Steven Spielberg’s The Terminal and a goofy, cameo-filled, wrench-chucking sports comedy called DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story. Guess which one came out on top at the box office? The sleeper hit both saluted and skewered the sports movie genre. It also gave Chuck Norris the chance to enjoy a free helicopter ride.

1. Dodgeball's creator was inspired by the book Fast Food Nation.

DodgeBall writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber considered DodgeBall an homage to some of his favorite flicks, including Revenge of the Nerds (1984), Rocky (1976), and Bull Durham (1988). Another source of inspiration was Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, the nonfiction bestseller about the modern obsession with greasy, ready-made cuisine. Published in 2001, Fast Food Nation sold more than 1.4 million copies within five years. It also left plenty of fingerprints on Thurber’s script.

"I really took a cue from that—there's an absolute love/fear relationship thing in our culture," Thurber told Film Freak Central in 2014. "We're so weight conscious, so image conscious, so youth-oriented—and wrapped up with all that psychosis are these ad images of it being so cool and all-American and sexy to eat McDonald's and drink pop and all that. It pulls people in all sorts of different directions, so I wanted [Ben Stiller’s character] White Goodman to be sitting there with a doughnut and the car battery attached to his nipples … That situation with food, with sports, with so much of our culture. [It’s] already almost too surreal to satirize."

2. The movie's actors went through some rigorous training.

To ready themselves for the movie, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and the rest of the actors ran indoor dodgeball drills at what many of them have since described as a “boot camp.” According to Stiller, this basically consisted of “us at a gym a few times a week playing dodgeball.” While that may not sound too intense, the physicality of these sessions took its toll on the performers. “It’s a game for the young,” Stiller said. “It’s one thing when you’re eight, but when you’re 38, it gets really exhausting. After three or four minutes, you’re fried.” Practicing at his side was Stiller’s wife, Christine Taylor, who plays Kate Veatch of the Average Joe’s squad in DodgeBall.

3. Ben Stiller took Christine Taylor down with a dodgeball ... twice.

As a general rule, it’s never a good idea to hit one’s spouse in the face with a rubber ball while playing any sport, but that’s exactly what Stiller did to Christine Taylor—twice. Blow number one came during the boot camp; the second strike occurred while filming the epic Globo Gym/Average Joe’s showdown. The latter ball was intended to strike Vaughn, who reflexively flinched to get out of the way. In any event, Stiller admits that those two incidents put a temporary damper on the couple’s marital harmony “for like a week, because there’s no way to not get upset with somebody after you’ve done that. It just sent us both back to eighth grade." (Though the couple announced that they were divorcing in 2017, the split has never been made official, and the couple is still regularly seen together—sparking rumors of a reconciliation.)

4. Stiller borrowed much of his character's personality from 1995's Heavyweights.

The fact that Stiller borrowed some of White Goodman’s traits from Tony Perkis, the fanatical fat camp owner he played in 1995’s Heavyweights, won’t surprise anyone who has seen both films. DodgeBall’s White Goodman (as played by Stiller) is a bombastic, egomaniacal fitness guru with some inherited wealth and major insecurities. The same description also applies to Perkis. A lighthearted family comedy, Heavyweights didn’t fare well at the box office, grossing a meager $17.6 million. As such, when Stiller copied a few of Perkis’s mannerisms in DodgeBall, he figured that no one would notice.

"I always thought, ‘Well, nobody ever saw Heavyweights, so I can do this,” Stiller recalled. “But a lot of people saw Heavyweights … Apparently, it shows on the Disney Channel a lot or something.” Regarding the two characters, Stiller has said that Perkis is “definitely a first or second cousin” to Goodman.

5. Justin Long suffered a minor concussion on the set.

Justin Long, who plays Justin in the film, took some hard knocks while making this movie. For starters, a prop wrench made with hard rubber left a nasty cut on his eyebrow when Rip Torn, as Patches O’Houlihan, threw it at his face in one scene. Then, while filming another section of DodgeBall’s training montage, the actor was pelted with enough high-speed balls to render him "slightly concussed."

"They didn’t want me to drive home at the end of the day because I was a little off," Long told Today in 2017. “So next time you’re watching that and laughing, know that you’re laughing at my pain.” Still, the experience wasn’t all bad. According to New York Magazine, Long can often be seen riding a scooter adorned with the words “Average Joe’s,” a gift from Stiller.

6. Hank Azaria and Rip Torn didn't even try to synchronize their Patches O'Houlihan voices.

Early in the film, we get to watch an instructional video about dodgeball (and social Darwinism) hosted by a young Patches O’Houlihan, who is played by Hank Azaria. For the remainder of the film, however, it’s Rip Torn who portrays the seven-time ADAA all-star. You may have noticed that the two actors use very different accents in their respective scenes: Azaria, who joined the cast at Stiller’s invitation, called his performance “essentially a bad Clark Gable impression.” At the time, Torn’s sequences hadn’t been shot yet, leading someone in the crew to pipe up and say “You know, it’d be funny if Rip tries to emulate that voice!” “I was like, ‘Yeah, good luck walking up to Rip Torn and suggesting that he change his vocal quality in any way. Let me know how that goes for you,’” Azaria replied.

7. The Average Joe's team colors are an homage to Hoosiers.

Thurber, a fan of David Anspaugh’s Oscar-nominated Hoosiers (1986), tipped his hat to the Hickory Huskers’ red and yellow uniforms by giving the Average Joe’s squad—led by Vince Vaughn’s Pete LaFleur—an almost identical color scheme. 

8. Chuck Norris was reluctant to make a cameo.

The action star’s only scene was shot in Long Beach, California. Geographically speaking, this was problematic for Norris. “I was in L.A. when they asked me to do the cameo,” Norris told Empire Magazine. “I said no at first because it was a three-hour drive to Long Beach.” Hearing this, Stiller called Norris and begged him to reconsider. “He goes, ‘Chuck, please, you’ve got to do this for me!’” Norris recalled, “My wife said he should send a helicopter for me and that's what happened. I didn't read the screenplay, just did my bit where I stick my thumb up.”

After post-production on DodgeBall wrapped and Norris got around to seeing the finished product, he found himself enjoying most of it. However, there was one little moment in the final credits that really caught him off-guard. “In the end, when Ben’s a big fatty and watching TV, the last line of the whole movie is, 'F***ing Chuck Norris!' My mouth fell open ... I said, 'Holy mackerel!' That was a shock, Ben didn't tell me about that!"

9. One villain was originally supposed to be a robot.

By far the most mysterious player in the Purple Cobras lineup is Fran Stalinovskovichdavidovitchsky, an Eastern European all-star whom Goodman calls “The deadliest woman on earth with a dodgeball.” What’s the secret to her success? Well, in an early version of the screenplay, it’s revealed that Fran is actually a robot in disguise. Thurber ended up dropping the gag, which he considered too ridiculous—even by DodgeBall’s standards. However, when Missi Pyle was cast as Fran, the big twist hadn’t yet been cut.

“Initially, in the first script I read, she was a robot, like a sexy-bodied robot” Pyle explained. The original plan was to slowly pan the camera up over a partly-exposed Robo-Fran—with her metallic face and fake breasts on full display—at some point in the climax.

10. Alan Tudyk weighed in on a fan theory about Steve the Pirate.

In 2012, Redditor Maized made the case Steve the Pirate, Alan Tudyk’s swashbuckling oddball, is actually an “ex-Navy sailor who suffers from PTSD.” As evidence, Maized cited Steve’s tattoos, which bear a striking resemblance to those frequently worn by U.S. Naval recruits. In theory, the Average Joe’s patron uses his pirate persona to cope with his condition.

During a 2016 interview with Screen Crush, Tudyk was asked to offer his thoughts on the theory. With a chuckle, Tudyk replied that it “doesn’t seem like it’s impossible.” Emphasizing that he didn’t wish to “insult Navy sailors who have PTSD,” the actor said he’d consider taking the Redditor’s idea into account if a DodgeBall sequel is ever made.

100 Best Movies to Stream on Netflix Right Now

iStock/South_agency
iStock/South_agency

In the time it takes the average person to choose which movie to watch on Netflix, you probably could have finished watching two. With more than 75,000 different categories—some of them as hyper-specific as "Cerebral Scandinavian Movies" or "Movies Starring Casper Van Dien" (tip: Starship Troopers is never a bad idea)—you could spend months just scrolling through the streaming company's library of offerings. Lucky for you, you don't have to. Because we've done the work for you to come up with 100 fantastic movies that are on Netflix right now, from classic rom-coms to scary-as-hell horror movies. Ready, set, stream.

1. About a Boy (2002)

Comedy and drama blend nicely in this adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel about a self-centered professional (Hugh Grant) who tries picking up single mothers at a parents’ meeting. Instead, he befriends 12-year-old Will (Nicholas Hoult), who teaches him a thing or two about growing up. —Jake Rossen

2. All the President's Men (1976)

Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman are dogged newspaper journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, teaming up to pursue the story of the decade: The Watergate scandal. Their investigation implicated President Richard Nixon in a cover-up and changed the course of history. The film adaptation of Woodward and Bernstein's book earned raves and four Academy Awards, though it lost the Best Picture race that year to Rocky. —JR

3. Apocalypse Now (1979)

Director Francis Ford Coppola and star Martin Sheen suffered a long shoot and ill health—Sheen even endured a heart attack—to deliver this potent drama about a Vietnam military officer (Marlon Brando) slowly losing his mind in Cambodia. It’s widely regarded as Coppola’s best film apart from 1972’s The Godfather, though it wasn’t originally his; George Lucas once intended to direct it. —JR

4. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

When Marvel promised a comic book film of unprecedented scale with Avengers: Infinity War, they were not messing around. This film, one of 2018’s biggest, was the culmination of a decade of planning, casting, and cinematic storytelling all pulled into one massive movie event. It would be impressive for its ambition and scope alone, but it’s also perhaps the best attempt yet to tell a comic book crossover story on the big screen. —Matthew Jackson

5. The Aviator (2004)

Leonardo DiCaprio’s pairings with Martin Scorsese have resulted in a number of critically-praised films, including 2002’s Gangs of New York and 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street. Here he portrays pioneering aviator Howard Hughes, a man whose piloting and entrepreneurial prowess was quickly overshadowed by mental instability. —JR

6. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

Fans of the Coen brothers get a trail mix of stories in this anthology set in the Old West. A gunslinger (Tim Blake Nelson) proves to be a little too arrogant when it comes to his skills; an armless and legless man (Harry Melling) who recites Shakespeare for awed onlookers begins to grow suspicious of his caretaker’s motives; a dog causes unexpected grief while following a wagon train. Knitted together, the six stories total are probably the closest we’ll get to a Coen serialized television series that this feature was once rumored to be. —JR

7. Batman Begins (2005)

Following the tepid response to 1997’s Batman and Robin, the Batman franchise returned to its gritty roots with this story of Bruce Wayne’s arduous training and early activities as Gotham City’s Dark Knight. Opposing his brand of law and order is the Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) and Ra’s al Ghul, a specter from Wayne’s past. Batman Begins spawned a trilogy from Christian Bale and director Christopher Nolan. —JR

8. Beasts of No Nation (2015)

Idris Elba astounds in this harrowing tale of child soldiers kidnapped and exploited by an African paramilitary group. Poignant and unflinching, the story will squeeze your heart until it bursts. —Scott Beggs

9. Black Panther (2018)

The first superhero film to ever earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, Black Panther became not just one of the most successful movies in the history of Marvel Studios in 2018, but a full-blown cultural phenomenon. The film was an instantly quotable, instantly viral sensation, and a year after its release it remains not just an important landmark in the superhero shared universe phenomenon, but a great film that’s unlike anything else in its genre so far. (Though it lost its Best Picture bid, the film did win three of its seven Oscar nominations.) —MJ

10. Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)

Slapped with an NC-17 rating when it was released theatrically, this three-hour-long, coming-of-age drama from France was famous for its graphic, eight-minute lesbian sex scene. But the Cannes jury was (presumably) more impressed by the authentic, vulnerable performances by the two leads, Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos. When it won the Palme d'Or, the jury (headed by Steven Spielberg that year) took the unprecedented step of giving the actresses the award, too, along with the director, Abdellatif Kechiche. —Eric D. Snider

11. Blue Jasmine (2013)

Cate Blanchett delivers an Academy Award-nominated performance as Jasmine, a socialite who’s fallen on hard times and is forced to cohabitate with her less-than-prosperous sister (Sally Hawkins) in this acclaimed exclamation of sisterly bonds and personal reinvention. —JR

12. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

The Great Depression’s most infamous crime pairing is chronicled in this bullet-riddled love story about Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) and Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway), who garner public support for their bank robberies despite their itchy trigger fingers. If you’re in the mood for a double feature, Netflix’s 2019 film, The Highwaymen, takes a different tact, looking over the shoulders of the Texas Rangers (Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson) charged with bringing the couple down. —JR

13. Boyhood (2014)

Boyhood works as a kind of time travel movie, as director Richard Linklater spent 12 years filming the adolescence of a Texan (Ellar Coltrane) from age six to 18. This lengthy production process made it possible for Coltrane to portray the character at various stages, from coming to grips with his parents' divorce as a young child to his high school graduation. In lesser hands, it would be a gimmick. For Linklater, it's a chance to mediate on encroaching independence. —JR

14. Brick (2004)

High school meets noir in director Rian Johnson’s debut. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Brendan, an outcast who gets a frantic phone call from ex-girlfriend Emily (Emile de Ravin) that sends him through a labyrinth of criminals, characters, and hard-boiled confrontations. —JR

15. Brooklyn's Finest (2009)

An ensemble cast (Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, and Wesley Snipes) navigate the temptations and pitfalls inherent in police work in this drama from director Antoine Fuqua. Producer John Langley also created the long-running reality TV series Cops for Fox. —JR

16. Brother's Keeper (1992)

In this haunting documentary, a trio of bothers in rural upstate New York fend off the advances of press and locals who believe the death of their sibling William may have been the result of foul play. What co-directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky discover is something even more disturbing, raising questions of privacy and the sometimes-strangling effects of familial bonds. —JR

17. Cabaret (1972)

Performers in pre-war Berlin cope with the rise of the Nazi regime by losing themselves in their stage performances at the Kit Kat Klub. The musical was a critical and commercial hit, with star Liza Minnelli winning an Academy Award. Thanks to its explicit dialogue, it also won an X rating before being edited and granted an R. —JR

18. Carol (2015)

One part glistening romance, one part social drama with a sour edge. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara transcend as two lovers who find each other because of a pair of lost gloves. —SB

19. Carrie (1976)

Brian De Palma’s adaptation of the Stephen King novel remains one of the best King works to move to the screen, with Sissy Spacek convincingly downtrodden as the high school girl whose meek disposition is seen as weakness by the mean girls. Pushed too far by both her classmates and an overbearing mother, Carrie’s rage takes the form of telekinetic vengeance. —JR

20. City of God (2002)

The lives of Brazil’s criminal class are examined in this moving and often harrowing film from co-directors Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund about a group of friends looking to escape the poverty-stricken favelas of their youth. The striking authenticity comes in part from the performers, most of whom were amateurs who had never before appeared on camera. —JR

21. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Stanley Kubrick’s mesmerizing and dystopian examination of violent street thugs was controversial upon its release for its violence. Today, it’s seen as one of his best and a fascinating mediation on the role of state-sponsored rehabilitation, with Malcolm McDowell’s Alex answering for his recklessness by being brainwashed into a productive citizen. —JR

22. Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Paul Newman’s entry into the prison genre is a classic, with his affable Luke refusing to be cowed by the oppressive guards trying to break his spirit by any means necessary. —JR

23. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

“Wire fu” is on superb display in this Ang Lee film about swordmasters in 18th century China pursuing a mythical weapon. While ostensibly a martial arts tale, Lee uses the physical action to develop the love story between warriors Chow Yun-fat and Michelle Yeoh. Though it’s more substantial than your average action movie, it still manages to deliver an evolution of the graceful, gravity-defying style popularized by The Matrix just a year earlier. (Legendary fight choreographer Yuen Woo-ping worked on both.) —JR

24. The Crow (1994)

Long before superheroes on the big screen became a part of shared universes and billion dollar mega-franchises, The Crow became what is perhaps the ultimate Generation X comic book movie: the story of an aspiring rock star (Brandon Lee) who is murdered by thugs on Devil’s Night, and returns from the dead one year later as a supernatural vigilante to seek his vengeance. Director Alex Proyas’s visuals are gothic perfection, and the film’s soundtrack alone is worth the price of admission. —MJ

25. The Dark Knight (2008)

Still considered by some fans to be the best Batman movie, and even the best superhero movie, ever made, the middle installment of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy still holds up more than a decade after its initial release. Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance as The Joker remains wicked fun, and the film’s car chases are still among the most dizzying practical effects ever pulled off in a superhero flick. —MJ

26. Deliverance (1972)

Burt Reynolds began his streak of 1970s movie superstardom with this deeply disturbing tale of thirtysomethings (Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ronny Cox, and a doomed Ned Beatty) who decide to go rafting in Georgia and find themselves in over their heads with the inhospitable locals. The result is a kind of rural horror film that resonates with the perils of paddling outside of your comfort zone. —JR

27. Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Director David Lean took on yet another epic tale in this story of a physician (Omar Sharif) whose life is disrupted in the wake of the Russian Revolution and whose love for Julie Christie is threatened by political upheaval. Locations in Spain and Canada make for convincing replicas of Moscow. —JR

28. Doubt (2008)

A Roman Catholic school in 1960s Brooklyn is the setting for this tense and terse drama about a nun (Meryl Streep) who begins to suspect a priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) of taking an unusual interest in a young student. Is he guilty of impropriety, or is Streep bristling against him for other reasons? Less a criminal drama and more of a comment on religious institutions, Doubt argues that morality and objectivity are often at odds. —JR

29. The Duchess (2008)

Few people can pull off the role of an 18th century aristocrat as well as Keira Knightley. In this case, she's forced to contend with a cruel and philandering husband (Ralph Fiennes) who makes it clear that his only use for his wife is for her to produce a male heir. But the Duchess knows that two can play at this game, and begins a scandalous (and not-quite-hidden) affair with a rising politician (Dominic Cooper). Come for the compelling period drama, stay for the stunning costumes. —Jennifer M. Wood

30. Dumb and Dumber (1994)

Jim Carrey had a legendary year in 1994, moving from television’s In Living Color to the success of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Mask. He finished the year with this physical, farcical buddy comedy with Jeff Daniels that sees two clueless friends cross the country to pursue Carrey’s crush (Lauren Holly). Carrey is the human equivalent of Silly Putty; Daniels excels in one of the greatest laxative scenes in the history of cinema. —JR

31. East of Eden (1955)

James Dean made so few films that each plays with an urgency, offering what we know is going to be a fleeting glimpse into his talent. In East of Eden, he’s one of two brothers hoping to capture the affections of their farmer father. East of Eden was Dean’s first starring role. He would appear onscreen just twice more, having perished in an auto accident in 1955. —JR

32. Enemy (2013)

Jake Gyllenhaal has an uneasy feeling that his exact double—a man who looks like him but is substantially more successful—is intruding on his own life. The Gyllenhaal collision is the foundation for this psychological thriller from director Denis Villeneuve, who offers no pat answers but an effective undercurrent of dread. —JR

33. Ex Machina (2014)

Alex Garland's quiet—and quietly subversive—robot parable didn't arrive with all the hype of a major studio sci-fi release but still manages to outdo most big-budget android tales. As the enigmatic CEO of a robotics company, Oscar Isaac uses an underling (Domhnall Gleeson) to test his eerily lifelike AI (Alicia Vikander). But Gleeson may be the one who's really being tested. —JR

34. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Johnny Depp is gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in director Terry Gilliam’s filmed psychedelic trip through Las Vegas. Based on Thompson’s book of the same name, the film is a feverish fantasy and likely not for all tastes, though those who don’t mind a meandering narrative will find an enthusiastic performance by Depp and the kind of hallucinatory imagery Gilliam has become known for. —JR

35. The Fifth Element (1997)

Director Luc Besson delivers a sumptuous future in this marvel of production design, with Bruce Willis once again playing an everyman thrust into the middle of a grand-scale conflict. Here, he's a cabbie in the 23rd century who runs afoul of aliens looking to destroy Earth. —JR

36. The Fighter (2010)

Mark Wahlberg and director David O. Russell strip away the conventions of standard boxing movies and deliver a potent blend of pugilism and family drama. As real-life fighter Mickey Ward, Wahlberg tries to juggle his ring aspirations with the emotional challenges presented by his drug-addled half-brother Dicky (Christian Bale). —JR

37. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

Serving as a big-screen coming-out party for Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, and director Judd Apatow, The 40-Year-Old Virgin mixes the best of romantic comedies with the crude humor of ‘80s cult classics like Porky’s. Its raunchy sentimentality won critical acclaim and commercial success, grossing more than $175 million at the box office. —Jay Serafino

38. Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)

The snub-nosed persistence of television journalist Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) in the face of network and government pressure is the subject of this fact-based drama directed by George Clooney. As Murrow reports on a military officer accused of communist ties, he begins to suspect he doesn’t have all the facts, leading to a clash of ethics that would help define television news for decades to come. —JR

39. Good Will Hunting (1997)

Tired of being passed up for substantial roles, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon wrote this Horatio Alger story about a janitor (Damon) whose surly demeanor hides both an impressive intellect and a reservoir of emotional pain. The late Robin Williams won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Damon’s gentle but challenging therapist. —JR

40. Gosford Park (2001)

A British murder mystery with talent to spare, director Robert Altman’s Gosford Park examines the class system in the guise of a whodunit. When Sir William McCordle (Michael Gambon) is found stabbed, everyone from his relatives to his servants are suspects. Screenwriter Julian Fellowes later mined many of the same themes (and actors) for Downton Abbey. —JR

41. The Graduate (1967)

Dustin Hoffman copes with plastics and Mrs. Robinson in this study in unwritten futures from director Mike Nichols. After graduating college, Benjamin Braddock (Hoffman) ponders his next move while coping with the advances of an older woman (Anne Bancroft). It was Hoffman’s first starring role. —JR

42. Gremlins (1984)

Practical puppets steal the show in this story of a young adult (Zach Galligan) who befriends a Mogwai named Gizmo. The fluffy creature is cute, but breaking the rules of his species—getting him wet and feeding him after midnight are prohibited—leads to an outbreak of ferocious relatives. A black comedy about the perils of nonnative species, it spawned a sequel, 1990’s Gremlins 2: The New Batch. —JR

43. Heathers (1988)

High school rom-coms don't get much darker than this cult hit, which sees a mysterious new student (Christian Slater) seduce one of the school's most popular girls (Winona Ryder), then lure her into a murder spree. Croquet, scrunchies, and corn nuts abound. —JMW

44. Hell or High Water (2016)

Taylor Sheridan's Hell or High Water follows two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) who take to bank robberies in an effort to save their family ranch from foreclosure; Jeff Bridges is the drawling, laconic lawman on their tail. —JR

45. Hellboy (2004)

Before he was the Oscar-winning director of The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro tried his hand at a comic book adaptation, and he did it with one of the most Guillermo del Toro-esque superheroes out there: A demon (played wonderful by Ron Perlman) who hunts monsters. Though a reboot hit theaters earlier this year, the original Hellboy is still delightfully pulpy supernatural fun. —MJ

46. Hoosiers (1986)

Gene Hackman stars as a basketball coach in small-town 1950s Indiana looking to start over with a clean slate. His performance in the film manages to take the conventional trappings of the sports underdog genre and bring a multilayered portrait of a man plagued by a past who’s getting one last chance to get it right. —JR

47. Hot Fuzz (2007)

After taking a stab at zombies, Edgar Wright returned to pay homage and send up action movies with his unique style of intricate plotting, quickfire jokes, and explosive puns. —SB

48. Howards End (1992)

James Ivory's adaptation of E.M. Forster's 1910 novel tells the story of free-spirited Londoner Margaret Schlegel (Emma Thompson) who befriends a dying woman, Ruth Wilcox (Vanessa Redgrave), who ends up bequeathing Margaret her beloved country home, Howards End. It's a stroke of luck for Margaret, who is about to be ousted from the home she has leased for years, but the Wilcox family feels that something is amiss. As Ruth's widower attempts to investigate the situation, he finds himself falling under Margaret's spell. —JMW

49. The Hurt Locker (2008)

In 2010, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to be named Best Director for her work on The Hurt Locker, an unrelenting look at the psychology of warfare, as seen through the eyes of an American bomb squad in Iraq. —JLM

50. The Imitation Game (2014)

Benedict Cumberbatch earned his first (and so far only) Oscar nomination for his depiction of genius Alan Turing, who led the team of mathematicians who cracked the Enigma Code during World War II. But the film delves into the personal: When it's discovered that Turing is gay, he's turned from a hero into a criminal. —JMW

51. In Bruges (2008)

Oscar winner Martin McDonagh wrote and directed this dark comedy about two hitmen (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) who are forced to hide out in a tiny Belgian town after a job gone wrong. —JMW

52. Incredibles 2 (2018)

Director Brad Bird took some 14 years to make a sequel to his superhero Pixar hit, but fans considered it worth the wait. While family patriarch Bob Parr, a.k.a. Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) struggles with his role as a stay-at-home dad to three empowered kids, wife Helen tries to win over a government skeptical of superheroes with her actions as Elastigirl. Mind control, double-crosses, and epic disasters follow. —JR

53. The King's Speech (2010)

From laughingstock to maestro of one of Great Britain’s finest public addresses, The King’s Speech tells the true story of King George VI’s triumph over stuttering. The film took home Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (Tom Hooper), Best Actor (Colin Firth), and Best Original Screenplay (David Seidler). —JLM

54. Layer Cake (2004)

Before embarking on a long tenure as James Bond, Daniel Craig starred in this twisty crime feature about a drug dealer who finds that going straight is easier said than done. Tom Hardy and Ben Whishaw appear in supporting roles. —JR

55. Lincoln (2012)

Daniel Day-Lewis gives a powerful, Oscar-winning performance in Lincoln, which recounts the final months of the 16th president’s life as he fights to end war, mend the wounds of a nation, and ensure the abolishment of slavery. —JS

56. The Lobster (2015)

Colin Farrell stars in a black comedy that feels reminiscent of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's work: A slump-shouldered loner (Farrell) has just 45 days to find a life partner before he's turned into an animal. Can he make it work with Rachel Weisz, or is he doomed to a life on all fours? By turns absurd and provocative, The Lobster isn't a conventional date movie, but it might have more to say about relationships than a pile of Nicholas Sparks paperbacks. —JR

57. Locke (2013)

The camera rarely wavers from Tom Hardy in this existential thriller, which takes place entirely in Hardy's vehicle. A construction foreman trying to make sure an important job is executed well, Hardy's Ivan Locke grapples with some surprising news from a mistress and the demands of his family. It's a one-act, one-man play, with Hardy making the repeated act of conversing on his cell phone as tense and compelling as if he were driving with a bomb in the trunk. (Oscar-winner Olivia Colman and Fleabag's Andrew Scott are two of the people whose voices we hear on the other end of the line.)

58. Logan's Run (1976)

Ageism is taken to extremes in this standout 1970s sci-fi film about a man (Michael York) who enforces his society’s mandate to kill anyone over the age of 30. When York has a change of heart, he goes on the run himself. —JR

59. THE MASTER (2012)

Director Paul Thomas Anderson delivers a steady but absorbing tale of a World War II veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls under the spell of a charismatic philosopher (Philip Seymour Hoffman) whose teachings soon become the focus of a cult movement. Both Phoenix and Hoffman were nominated for Academy Awards. Of the films he’s directed, which include 1997’s Boogie Nights and 2004’s There Will Be Blood, Anderson has said The Master is his favorite. —JR

60. THE MATRIX (1999)

The revolutionary sci-fi film can still deliver a "whoa" reaction 20 years after its initial release. Computer programmer Neo (Keanu Reeves) is tabbed to explore the subversive rebellion that knows what the rest of humanity doesn't: that they're living in a simulation. —JR

61. Milk (2008)

Sean Penn won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Harvey Milk, an enigmatic gay rights activist in San Francisco who became the first openly gay individual to be elected to public office in California when he became a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. But not everyone was happy about the progress. —JMW

62. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

The Monty Python team delivers their best-known work, a silly and sharply satirical feature that uses the King Arthur legend as a springboard for sequences that feature brave-but-armless knights and highly aggressive rabbits. Opening to mixed reviews, it’s since become a perennial entry in lists of the best comedies ever made. —JR

63. Moon (2009)

Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) has been alone on a lunar mining mission for three years, but his isolation comes to an end one day when a stranger shows up at his facility—and this mystery man happens to look just like him. —JS

64. Moonlight (2016)

Barry Jenkins’s trailblazing film, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, chronicles the life of Chiron (Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes) as he grows up under the burden of his own and others’ responses to his homosexuality. It’s a stirring portrait anchored by phenomenal performances (including an Oscar-earning turn from Mahershala Ali). —SB

65. National Treasure (2004)

There's something for everyone—history buffs, conspiracy theorists, and Nic Cage enthusiasts—in this adventure about a cryptologist (Cage) who discovers a treasure map on the back of the Declaration of Independence. —JR

66. Network (1976)

A prescient film for its time, Network examines how far television will go to achieve ratings success. Peter Finch won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Howard Beale, the newscaster trying to cling to some semblance of integrity before succumbing to the pressures of the viewers and executives out for blood. Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall co-star. —JR

67. No Country for Old Men (2007)

The Coen brothers returned to the crime roots of their debut film, 1984’s Blood Simple, with this adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel about a downtrodden Texan (Josh Brolin) who makes the mistake of stealing a stash of drug money. Soon, he’s pursued by Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a sociopath who uses a captive bolt pistol intended to stun cattle before being slaughtered. There are few happy endings to go around, though you may find yourself hoping the laconic sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) charged with following the bloody trail is left unscathed. —JR

68. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

Director Sergio Leone earned praise for his crime epic that features Robert De Niro and James Woods as best friends who grow into formidable gangsters in 1930s New York. Though Leone objected to releasing the film in a severely edited 139-minute version in 1984, the Netflix presentation is three hours and 49 minutes, which the late director found acceptable, if not preferable: He once considered a six-hour, two-part edition. —JR

69. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

Following the end of the Spanish Civil War, a young girl (Ivana Baquero) escapes the turmoil of her militant stepfather and ill mother by exploring a hidden labyrinth that houses a variety of strange creatures. Director Guillermo del Toro was praised for his specialty: weaving a fairy tale with sharp edges. —JR

70. The Pianist (2002)

Chronicling the true story of Polish-Jewish pianist Władysław Szpilman (Adrien Brody), The Pianist is widely considered one of the best World War II accounts ever committed to film. As Nazis overrun Warsaw, Szpilman tries to maintain his sanity by clinging to the only thing that makes sense in an increasingly senseless world: His love of music. —JR

71. The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

The legacies of fathers are visited upon their sons in this crime drama starring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper as men on opposite sides of the law. Gosling turns to robbery; Cooper is a cop in pursuit. Their paths intersect and resonate in ways neither they—nor the viewer—could ever anticipate. —JR

72. Poltergeist (1982)

Steven Spielberg produced—and according to Hollywood lore, may have helped direct—this Tobe Hooper film about a suburban family under siege by a paranormal spirit intent on disrupting their lives. Spielberg’s humor and heart is present, but so are some genuinely unsettling scares. Turns out there’s good reason to fear clowns and trees. —JR

73. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Quentin Tarantino’s breakout film sent him into the stratosphere and restored John Travolta’s star. All these years later, it’s still easy to see why. As hitmen Vincent and Jules, Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson roam an indelible pulp landscape of crime bosses, crooked boxers, errant dates, and discover the perils of shooting someone inside a car. —JR

74. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

All four Indiana Jones movies are on Netflix, but the original still stands its ground as the best in the series and one of the finest action movies ever made. Indy (Harrison Ford) pursues the Lost Ark of the Covenant while evading and diverting Nazis chasing the power the Ark is believed to contain. —JR

75. Roma (2018)

Alfonso Cuarón’s tribute to his upbringing in 1970s Mexico City tells the story of a housekeeper (Yalitza Aparicio) watching over the children of her employers after their father runs off with his mistress. Cuarón’s film is a living photograph, an intensely personal story that holds no major surprises aside from the sheer craft it took to make it a reality. —JR

76. Room (2015)

A woman (Brie Larson) is held captive by a deeply disturbed man for seven years. During that time, her son (Jacob Tremblay) has never experienced the outside world. That kind of set-up is usually reserved for thrillers, but Room is not as interested in Larson’s potential escape as much as it is in her courage giving her son sanctuary in an unsafe space. Larson won an Academy Award for the role. —JR

77. Scarface (1983)

Scarface’s place in movie history was cemented by Al Pacino’s manic and downright frightening performance as gangster Tony Montana. But beneath that, there’s a sprawling, ultra-violent crime drama that is a must-see for any fans of the genre. —JS

78. Schindler's List (1993)

Arguably Steven Spielberg’s most personal film, Schindler’s List explores the horrors of the Holocaust through the actions of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who dedicates himself to saving as many Jewish civilians as possible from the fate of the concentration camps. —JS

79. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

A rare adaptation for writer/director Edgar Wright brings Bryan Lee O’Malley’s popular graphic novel series to life. Michael Cera is perfectly cast in the title role as an awkward young man who is determined to win the heart of the woman he loves (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) by literally winning video game style battles against her “Seven Evil Exes.” Wright throws every trick in his book at the screen, and the result is a film you can watch again and again. —MJ

80. Scream (1996)

Wes Craven riffing on Wes Craven, this is the ultra-rare horror film that manages to mock the genre while getting the blood pumping in terror. Come for the slasher brilliance, stay for the 1990s fashion and lack of cell phones. —SB

81. A Serious Man (2009)

Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) is a man whose faith is being tested at home, at work, and all points in between. A Serious Man is equal parts dark comedy and existential drama, and it’s a perfect encapsulation of why the Coen brothers are masters at their craft. —JS

82. She's Gotta Have It (1986)

Spike Lee’s feature directorial debut also sees him playing one of three men under the thumb of Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns). None of them can stand Nola’s gender-reversing approach to casual relationships, and the three hope to goad her into living a monogamous life. Nola, however, wants to pursue happiness on her own terms, not society’s. Lee’s love letter to Brooklyn is still a standout in his filmography, which quickly grew to include 1989’s Do the Right Thing and 1992’s Malcom X. —JR

83. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Serial killer perfection. Jonathan Demme managed to create a incredible thriller, detective yarn, and horror film all in one. Of course, Jodie Foster’s performance as Clarice Starling is a quiet tornado at the dark center of this murder mystery, even if Anthony Hopkins gets to chew more scenery. Did you know it was released on Valentine’s Day? —SB

84. The Sixth Sense (1999)

Built on strong performances by Bruce Willis and a young Haley Joel Osment, The Sixth Sense slowly ramps up the suspense from a simmer to a boil, culminating in one of the most memorable twist endings in all of film. —JS

85. Snowpiercer (2013)

In a dystopian future—in sci-fi, there may not be any other kind—a train carrying cars separated by social class circles the globe. Soon, the have-nots (led by Chris Evans) decide to defy authority and get answers from those in charge. —JR

86. Strangers on a Train (1951)

Criss cross. One of Alfred Hitchcock’s best, this adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel features sociopath Guy Haines (Farley Granger) offering to kill the estranged wife of tennis pro Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker) if Anthony agrees to off his new friend’s overbearing father. What starts as a hypothetical conversation between two passengers on a train ends in murder, mayhem, and twists, all of it anchored by Granger’s performance as the charmingly homicidal Haines. —JR

87. Swiss Army Man (2016)

Vibrant, effervescent, and deeply weird, Paul Dano stars in this musical collage as a depressed loner stranded on an island until he finds a talking, farting corpse played by a very post-Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe. They save one another and, together, attempt to get back to civilization while singing the praises of Jurassic Park. —SB

88. The Terminator (1984)

Arnold Schwarzenegger has made good on his promise to come back in three—soon to be four—sequels and a theme park attraction. But the original The Terminator didn’t have any ambition to become a franchise. It’s a tight, lean thriller about a cyborg (Schwarzenegger) traveling through time to kill the mother of the man who will lead the resistance against the machines. —JR

89. The Third Man (1949)

In 1940s postwar Vienna, Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) looks to meet up with old friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles) to take him up on a job offer. When Lime is reported dead, Martins navigates the seedy underbelly of the town to uncover the truth buried in the rubble of the war. —JR

90. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Netflix will host a handful of Marvel Studios movies before their inevitable movie to the upcoming Disney+ streaming service. Until then, the standout on Netflix remains Thor: Ragnarok, a hybrid comedy-action movie that plays Thor's serious mythology for laughs. It's like a heavy metal album cover come to life, and we meant that in the best possible way. —JR

91. V for Vendetta (2005)

An Orwellian dystopia collides with costumed heroics in this politically fueled adaptation of the graphic novel by famed comic book writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd. —JS

92. Valkyrie (2008)

Tom Cruise took a leap in deciding to portray German officer Claus von Stauffenberg, a man looking sabotage the Nazi regime and assassinate Adolf Hitler. Based on a true story, you can guess he does not succeed, but that doesn’t impede a genuinely suspenseful and well-crafted war sabotage thriller written by Christopher McQuarrie. (Cruise and McQuarrie would later collaborate on the Mission: Impossible franchise.) —JR

93. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

The raunchy teen comedies of the 1980s get spoofed in this dry comedy from David Wain and Michael Showalter. Camp counselors (Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd, Showalter) juggle their crushes with the surreal intrusions of NASA debris and a cook (Christopher Meloni) who takes advice from a talking can of vegetables. The cast reassembled for a Netflix prequel series in 2015 and a sequel series in 2017. —JR

94. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Mike Nichols directs real-life couple Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in this adaptation of the Edward Albee play. Taylor plays Martha, a woman in an unhappy marriage who uses an evening of drinks to air her grievances in front of a younger, much happier couple. The film earned a nomination in virtually every major Academy Award category, with Taylor winning Best Actress for a powerhouse performance that could almost move tectonic plates. —JR

95. The Wild Bunch (1969)

Westerns had never looked quite like The Wild Bunch, a graphic and violent study in the true nature of outlaws from director Sam Peckinpah. Sensing their time coming to an end in 1913 Texas, gunslingers plot to make off with another score before the law—and the march of civilized society—does them in. —JR

96. Winter's Bone (2010)

Jennifer Lawrence’s breakthrough film is nothing flashy. As Ree Dolly, Lawrence is a teen in the Ozarks of Missouri charged with finding her missing father before her family loses their home to foreclosure. Her journey takes her through hostile territories and reveals truths that were best left uncovered. —JR

97. The Witch (2015)

Delicately crafted with an eye toward historical accuracy, this existential horror film focuses on a New England farming family in the wilds of 1630 who believe a witch has cursed them. Anya Taylor-Joy’s standout performance acts as a guide through the possessed-goat-filled insanity. —SB

98. Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

The controversially sensual road movie that put Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna on the international map scored an Oscar nomination for writer/director Alfonso Cuarón. It's hard to believe he followed up this drug-and-sex-filled coming-of-age trip with a Harry Potter movie. —SB

99. Zodiac (2007)

The product of David Fincher’s notorious perfectionism, this deep dive into the unsolved case of a series of brutal crimes in the San Francisco Bay Area explores the depths of humanity’s depravity as well as its capacity for seeking justice. It’s a masterclass in filmmaking with powerful turns from Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey, Jr., and Jake Gyllenhaal. —SB

100. Zombieland (2009)

After a zombie outbreak turns the world into a land of the walking dead, a college student (Jesse Eisenberg) takes up with a traveling band of survivors (Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin) to find a sanctuary. It’s a buddy road-trip movie disguised as a horror film, with Bill Murray making a fleeting but memorable appearance as Bill Murray. —JR

Written by Jake Rossen, Scott Beggs, Matthew Jackson, Jay Serafino, Eric D. Snider, and Jennifer M. Wood.

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