How Many of these 25 Brain Teasers Can You Solve?

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1. THE POLE-CLIMBING SLOTH

A slippery sloth climbs six feet up a utility pole during the day, then slides back down five feet during the night. If the pole is 30 feet high and the sloth starts from the ground (zero feet), how many days does it take the sloth to reach the top of the pole?

Answer: 25 days. The math here boils down to a net gain of one foot per day, along with a threshold (24 feet at the beginning of a day) that must be attained so that the sloth can get to the 30-foot mark within a given day. After 24 days and 24 nights, the sloth is 24 feet up. On that 25th day, the sloth scrambles up six feet, attaining the 30-foot top of the pole. Left to the reader is a motivation for the sloth to attempt this feat in the first place. Perhaps there is something tasty atop the pole?

(Adapted from a brain teaser by Carl Proujan.)

2. THE PIRATE RIDDLE

A group of five pirates have to divide up their bounty of 100 coins, as described in the video below. The captain gets to propose a distribution plan, and all five of the pirates vote "yarr" or "nay" on the proposal. If a majority votes "nay," the captain walks the plank. The pirates are arranged in order, and vote in that order: the captain, Bart, Charlotte, Daniel, and Eliza. If a majority vote "nay" and the captain walks the plank, the captain's hat goes to Bart, and the process repeats down the line, with a series of proposals, votes, and other acceptance or plank-walking.

How can the captain stay alive, while getting as much gold as possible? (In other words, what is the optimal amount of gold the captain should offer to each pirate, himself included, in his proposal?) Watch the video below for all the rules.

Answer: The captain should propose that he keep 98 coins, distribute one coin each to Charlotte and Eliza, and offer nothing to Bart and Daniel. Bart and Daniel will vote nay, but Charlotte and Eliza have done the math and vote yarr, knowing that the alternative would get them even less booty.

3. THE HIKER'S DILEMMA

A hiker comes across an intersection where three roads cross. He looks for the sign indicating the direction to his destination city. He finds that the pole carrying three city names and arrows pointing to them has fallen. He picks it up, considers it, and pops it back into place, pointing out the correct direction for his destination. How did he do it?

Answer: He knew which city he had just come from. He pointed that arrow back toward his origin point, which oriented the signs properly for his destination and a third city.

(Adapted from a brain teaser by Jan Weaver.)

4. THE PASSCODE RIDDLE

In the video below, the rules of this riddle are laid out. Here's a snippet: Three team members are imprisoned, and one is allowed the opportunity to escape by facing a challenge. Given perfect logical skills, how can the remaining two team members listen in on what the chosen team member does, and infer the three-digit passcode to get them out?

Answer: The passcode is 2-2-9, for hallway 13.

5. COUNTING BILLS

I had a wad of money in my pocket. I gave half away and of what remained, I spent half. Then, I lost five dollars. That left me with just five bucks. How much money did I start with?

Answer: 40 dollars.

(Adapted from a brain teaser by Charles Booth-Jones.)

6. THE AIRPLANE FUEL RIDDLE

Professor Fukanō plans to circumnavigate the world in his new airplane, as shown in the video below. But the plane's fuel tank doesn't hold enough for the trip—in fact, it holds only enough for half the trip. Fukanō has two identical support planes, piloted by his assistants Fugori and Orokana. The planes can transfer fuel in midair, and they must all take off from and land at the same airport on the equator.

How can the three cooperate and share fuel so that Fukanō gets all the way around the world and nobody crashes? (Check the video for more details.)

Answer: All three planes took off at noon, flying west, fully loaded with fuel (180 kiloliters each). At 12:45, each plane has 135 kl remaining. Orokana gives 45 kl to each of the other two planes, then heads back to the airport. At 14:15, Fugori gives another 45 kl to the professor, then heads back to the airport. At 15:00, Orokana flies east, effectively flying toward the professor around the globe. At precisely 16:30, Orokana gives him 45 kl and flips around, now flying alongside the professor. Meanwhile, Fugori takes off and heads for the pair. He meets them at 17:15 and transfers 45 kl to each plane. All three planes now have 45 kl and make it back to the airport.

7. THE HAYSTACK PROBLEM

A farmer has a field with six haystacks in one corner, a third as many in another corner, twice as many in a third corner, and five in the fourth corner. While piling the hay together in the center of the field, the farmer let one of the stacks get scattered all over the field by the wind. How many haystacks did the farmer end up with?

Answer: Just one. The farmer had piled them all up the middle, remember? 

(Adapted from a brain teaser by Jan Weaver.)

8. THE THREE ALIENS RIDDLE

In this video riddle, you have crashed landed on a planet with three alien overlords named Tee, Eff, and Arr. There are also three artifacts on the planet, each matching a single alien. To appease the aliens, you need to match up the artifacts with the aliens—but you don't know which alien is which.

You are allowed to ask three yes-or-no questions, each addressed to any one alien. You can choose to ask the same alien multiple questions, but you don't have to.

It gets more complex, though, and this wickedly tricky riddle is best explained (both its problem and its solution) by watching the video above.

9. THE FARMER'S WILL

One day, a farmer decided to do some estate planning. He sought to apportion his farmland among his three daughters. He had twin daughters, as well as a younger daughter. His land formed a 9-acre square. He wanted the eldest daughters to get equally sized pieces of land, and the younger daughter to get a smaller piece. How can he divide up the land to accomplish this goal?

Three square illustrations.
Three possible solutions.
Chris Higgins

Answer: Shown above are three possible solutions. In each, the box marked 1 is a perfect square for one twin, and the two sections marked 2 combine to make a square of the same size for the second twin. The area marked 3 is a small perfect square for the youngest child.

(Adapted from a brain teaser by Jan Weaver.)

10. COINS

In my hand I have two American coins that are currently minted. Together, they total 55 cents. One isn't a nickel. What are the coins?

Answer: A nickel and a 50-cent piece. (Lately the U.S. 50-cent piece features John F. Kennedy.)

(Adapted from a brain teaser by Jan Weaver.)

11. THE BRIDGE RIDDLE

A student, a lab assistant, a janitor, and an old man need to cross a bridge to avoid being eaten by zombies, as shown in the video below. The student can cross the bridge in one minute, the lab assistant takes two minutes, the janitor takes five minutes, and the professor takes 10 minutes. The group only has one lantern, which needs to be carried on any trip across. The zombies arrive in 17 minutes, and the bridge can only hold two people at a time. How can you get across in the time allotted, so you can cut the rope bridge and prevent the zombies from stepping on the bridge and/or eating your brains? (See the video for more details!)

Answer: The student and lab assistant go together first, and the student returns, putting three minutes total on the clock. Then, the professor and the janitor take the lantern and cross together, taking 10 minutes, putting the total clock at 13 minutes. The lab assistant grabs the lantern, crosses in two minutes, then the student and lab assistant cross together just in the nick of time—a total of 17 minutes.

12. LITTLE NANCY ETTICOAT

Here's a nursery rhyme riddle:

Little Nancy Etticoat
In her white petticoat
With a red nose—
The longer she stands
The shorter she grows

Given this rhyme, what is "she?"

Answer: A candle.

(Adapted from a brain teaser by J. Michael Shannon.)

13. THE GREEN-EYED LOGIC PUZZLE

In the green-eyed logic puzzle, there is an island of 100 perfectly logical prisoners who have green eyes—but they don't know that. They have been trapped on the island since birth, have never seen a mirror, and have never discussed their eye color.

On the island, green-eyed people are allowed to leave, but only if they go alone, at night, to a guard booth, where the guard will examine eye color and either let the person go (green eyes) or throw them in the volcano (non-green eyes). The people don't know their own eye color; they can never discuss or learn their own eye color; they can only leave at night; and they are given only a single hint when someone from the outside visits the island. That's a tough life!

One day, a visitor comes to the island. The visitor tells the prisoners: "At least one of you has green eyes." On the 100th morning after, all the prisoners are gone, all having asked to leave on the night before. How did they figure it out?

Watch the video for a visual explanation of the puzzle and its solution.

Answer: Each person can't be sure whether they have green eyes. They can only deduce this fact by observing the behavior of the other members of the group. If each person looks at the group and sees 99 others with green eyes, then logically speaking, they must wait 100 nights to give the others opportunities to stay or leave (and for each to make that calculation independently). By the 100th night, using inductive reasoning, the entire group has offered every person in the group an opportunity to leave, and can figure that it's safe to go.

14. THE NUMBER ROW

The numbers one through 10, below, are listed in an order. What is the rule that causes them to be in this order?

8 5 4 9 1 7 6 10 3 2

Answer: The numbers are ordered alphabetically, based on their English spelling: eight, five, four, nine, one, seven, six, ten, three, two.

(Adapted from a brain teaser by Carl Proujan.)

15. THE COUNTERFEIT COIN PUZZLE

In the video below, you must find a single counterfeit coin among a dozen candidates. You're allowed the use of a marker (to make notes on the coins, which doesn't change their weight), and just three uses of a balance scale. How can you find the one counterfeit—which is slightly lighter or heavier than the legitimate coins—among the set?

Answer: First, divide the coins into three equal piles of four. Put one pile on each side of the balance scale. If the sides balance (let's call this Case 1), all eight of those coins are real and the fake must be in the other pile of four. Mark the legitimate coins with a zero (circle) using your marker, take three of them, and weigh against three of the remaining unmarked coins. If they balance, the remaining unmarked coin is counterfeit. If they don't, make a different mark (the video above suggests a plus sign for heavier, minus for lighter) on the three new coins on the scale. Test two of these coins on the scale (one on each side)—if they have plus marks, the heavier of those tested will be the fake. If they have minus marks, the lighter is the fake. (If they balance, the coin not tested is the fake.) For Case 2, check out the video.

16. THE ESCALATOR RUNNER

Each step of an escalator is 8 inches taller than the previous step. The total vertical height of the escalator is 20 feet. The escalator moves upward one half step per second. If I step on the lowest step at the moment it is level with the lower floor, and run up at a rate of one step per second, how many steps do I take to reach the upper floor? (Note: Do not include the steps taken to step on and off the escalator.)

Answer: 20 steps. To understand the math, take a period of two seconds. Within that two seconds, I run up two steps on my own power, and the escalator lifts me the height of an extra step, for a total of three steps—this could also be expressed as 3 times 8 inches, or two feet. Therefore, over 20 seconds I reach the upper floor having taken 20 steps.

(Adapted from a brain teaser by Carl Proujan.)

17. A RIVER CROSSING PUZZLE

In the video riddle below, three lions and three wildebeest are stranded on the east bank of a river and need to reach the west. A raft is available, which can carry a maximum of two animals at a time and needs at least one animal onboard to row it across. If the lions ever outnumber the wildebeest on either side of the river (including the animals in the boat if it's on that side), the lions will eat the wildebeest.

Given these rules, how can all the animals make the crossing and survive?

Answer: There are two optimal solutions. Let's take one solution first. In the first crossing, one of each animal goes from east to west. In the second crossing, one wildebeest returns from west to east. Then on the third crossing, two lions cross from east to west. One lion returns (west to east). On crossing five, two wildebeest cross from east to west. On crossing six, one lion and one wildebeest return from west to east. On crossing seven, two wildebeest go from east to west. Now all three wildebeest are on the west bank, and the sole lion on the west bank rafts back to the east. From there (crossings eight through eleven), lions simply ferry back and forth, until all the animals make it.

For the other solution, consult the video.

18. THE THREE WATCHES

I am marooned on an island with three watches, all of which were set to the correct time before I got stuck here. One watch is broken and doesn't run at all. One runs slow, losing one minute every day. The final watch runs fast, gaining one minute every day.

After being marooned for a moment, I begin to worry about timekeeping. Which watch is most likely to show the correct time if I glance at the watches at any particular moment? Which would be least likely to show the correct time?

Answer: We know that the stopped watch must tell the correct time twice a day—every 12 hours. The watch that loses one minute per day will not show the correct time until 720 days into its cycle of time loss (60 minutes in an hour times 12 hours), when it will momentarily be exactly 12 hours behind schedule. Similarly, the watch that gains one minute a day is also wrong until 720 days after its journey into incorrectness, when it will be 12 hours ahead of schedule. Because of this, the watch that doesn't run at all is most likely to show the correct time. The other two are equally likely to be incorrect.

(Adapted from a brain teaser by Carl Proujan.)

19. EINSTEIN'S RIDDLE

In this riddle, erroneously attributed to Albert Einstein, you're presented with a series of facts and must deduce one fact that's not presented. In the case of the video below, a fish has been kidnapped. There are five identical-looking houses in a row (numbered one through five), and one of them contains the fish.

Watch the video for the various bits of information about the occupants of each house, the rules for deducing new information, and figure out where that fish is hiding! (Note: You really need to watch the video to understand this one, and the list of clues is helpful too.)

Answer: The fish is in House 4, where the German lives.

20. MONKEY MATH

Three castaways and a monkey are marooned together on a tropical island. They spend a day collecting a large pile of bananas, numbering between 50 and 100. The castaways agree that the next morning the three of them will divide up the bananas equally among them.

During the night, one of the castaways wakes up. He fears that the others might cheat him, so he takes his one-third share and hides it. Since there is one banana more than a quantity which could be divided equally into thirds, he gives the extra banana to the monkey and goes back to sleep.

Later in the night, a second castaway awakes and repeats the same behavior, plagued by the same fear. Again, he takes one-third of the bananas in the pile and again the quantity is one greater than would allow an even split into thirds, so he hands the extra banana to the monkey and hides his share.

Still later, the final castaway gets up and repeats the exact same procedure, unaware that the other two have already done it. Yet again, he takes a third of the bananas and ends up with one extra, which he gives to the monkey. The monkey is most pleased.

When the castaways meet in the morning to divide the banana loot, they all see that the pile has shrunk considerably, but say nothing—they're each afraid of admitting their nighttime banana thievery. They divide the remaining bananas three ways, and end up with one extra for the monkey.

Given all this, how many bananas were there in the original pile? (Note: There are no fractional bananas in this problem. We are always dealing with whole bananas.)

Answer: 79. Note that if the pile were bigger, the next possible number that would meet the criteria above would be 160—but that's outside the scope listed in the second sentence ("between 50 and 100") of the puzzle.

(Adapted from a brain teaser by Carl Proujan.)

21. THE VIRUS RIDDLE

In the video below, a virus has gotten loose in a lab. The lab is a single story building, built as a 4x4 grid of rooms, for a total of 16 rooms—15 of which are contaminated. (The entrance room is still safe.) There's an entrance at the northwest corner and an exit at the southeast corner. Only the entrance and exit rooms are connected to the outside. Each room is connected to its adjacent rooms by airlocks. Once you enter a contaminated room, you must pull a self-destruct switch, which destroys the room and the virus within it—as soon as you leave for the next room. You cannot re-enter a room after its switch has been activated.

If you enter via the entrance room and exit via the exit room, how can you be sure to decontaminate the entire lab? What route can you take? See the video for a great visual explanation of the problem and the solution.

Answer: The key lies in the entrance room, which is not contaminated and which you may therefore re-enter after exiting it. If you enter that room, move one room to the east (or the south) and decontaminate it, then re-enter the entrance room and destroy it on your way to the next room. From there, your path becomes clear—you actually have four options to complete the path, which are shown in the video above. (Sketching this one on paper is an easy way to see the routes.)

22. THE IN-LAW CONUNDRUM

According to puzzle book author Carl Proujan, this one was a favorite of author Lewis Carroll.

The prime minister is planning a dinner party, but he wants it to be small. He doesn't like crowds. He plans to invite his father's brother-in-law, his brother's father-in-law, his father-in-law's brother, and his brother-in-law's father.

If the relationships in the prime minister's family happened to be arranged in the most optimal manner, what would be the minimum possible number of guests be at the party? Note that we should assume that cousin marriages are permitted.

Answer: One. It is possible, through some complex paths in the prime minister's family, to get the guest list down to one person. Here's what must be true: The PM's mother has two brothers. Let's call them brother 1 and brother 2. The PM also has a brother who married the daughter of brother 1, a cousin. The PM also has a sister who married the son of brother 1. The host himself is married to the daughter of brother 2. Because of all this, brother 1 is the PM's father's brother-in-law, the PM's brother's father-in-law, the PM's father-in-law's brother, and the PM's brother-in-law's father. Brother 1 is the sole guest at the party.

(Adapted from a brain teaser by Carl Proujan.)

23. THE PRISONER BOXES RIDDLE

In the video, ten band members have had their musical instruments randomly placed in boxes marked with pictures of musical instruments. Those pictures may or may not match up with the contents.

Each member gets five shots at opening boxes, trying to find their own instrument. Then, they must close the boxes. They're not allowed to communicate about what they find. If the entire band fails to find their instruments, they'll all be fired. The odds of them randomly guessing their way through this is one in 1024. But the drummer has an idea that will radically increase their odds of success, to more than 35 percent. What's his idea?

Answer: The drummer told everyone to first open the box with the picture of their instrument. If their instrument is inside, they're done. If not, the band member observes what instrument is found, then opens the box with that instrument's picture on it—and so forth. Watch the video for more on why this works mathematically.

24. S-N-O-W-I-N-G

One snowy morning, Jane awoke to find that her bedroom window was misty with condensation. She drew the word "SNOWING" on it with her finger. Then she crossed out the letter N, turning it into another English word: "SOWING." She continued this way, removing one letter at a time, until there was just one letter remaining, which is itself a word. What words did Jane make, and in what order?

Answer: Snowing, sowing, owing, wing, win, in, I.

(Adapted from a brain teaser by Martin Gardner.)

25. THE MYSTERY STAMPS

While on vacation on the island of Bima, I visited the post office to send some packages home. The currency on Bima is called the pim, and the postmaster told me that he only had stamps of five different values, though these values are not printed on the stamps. Instead, the stamps have colors.

The stamps were black, red, green, violet, and yellow, in descending order of value. (Thus the black stamps had the highest denomination and yellow the lowest.)

One package required 100 pims worth of stamps, and the postmaster handed me nine stamps: five black stamps, one green stamp, and three violet stamps.

The other two packages required 50 pims worth each; for those, the postmaster handed me two different sets of nine stamps. One set comprised one black stamp and two each of the other colors. The other set was five green stamps, and one each of the other colors.

What would be the smallest number of stamps needed to mail a 50-pim package, and what colors would they be?

Answer: Two black stamps, one red stamp, one green stamp, and one yellow stamp. (It may help to write out the stamp formulas given above using the various b, r, g, v, and y. Because we know that b > r > g > v > y, and we have three described cases, we can do some algebra to arrive at values for each stamp. Black stamps are worth 18 pim, red are worth 9, green are worth 4, violet are worth 2, and yellow are worth 1.)

(Adapted from a brain teaser by Victor Bryant and Ronald Postill.)

Sources: Brain Teasers by Jan Weaver; Brain Teasers & Mind Benders by Charles Booth-Jones; Riddles and More Riddles by J. Michael Shannon; Brain Teasers Galore: Puzzles, Quizzes, and Crosswords from Science World Magazine, edited by Carl Proujan; The Arrow Book of Brain Teasers by Martin Gardner; The Sunday Times Book of Brain Teasers, edited by Victor Bryant and Ronald Postill.

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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