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Monday, June 17, 2024

If you haven't discovered this yet, a keen knowledge of movies can definitely enhance your college education. Throughout your years of schooling, whether you are a freshman, grad student or anything in between, you will find movies are a staple conversation piece. They bring us together and give us all something in common - or at the very least, give you something to chat about with that cute classmate sitting next to you.

So to help raise your movie IQ, here?s a list, in no particular order, of 50 movies you should see while at UF. These are not necessarily the best movies ever made or 50 movies you should see before you die, but they are movies that should be seen during the tender, college age. They are movies that will be referenced by peers, talked about in film courses, or that can truly be appreciated now that you have reached an appropriate age.

As a result, this is obviously a biased list. There were many more movies that could have been added to the list, but these 50 are the most essential. I can tell you that you will have no regrets if you see all these movies in college.

It may seem like 50 movies is a lot, but think of it this way: There are 52 weeks in a year, so you only need to watch them at the paltry rate of one film a week to finish in a year - which is really quite reasonable, considering you weren't planning on going to class anyhow.

Animal House

I start the list with the quintessential college movie. This movie was revered by your parents and will be revered by you. Both silly and witty, the movie encapsulates what the modern college experience is all about.

Good Will Hunting

Not just a great picture - it also emphasizes the importance of education (you know, why you're here) while highlighting the emotional end of life.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Judd Apatow?s masterpiece. Funny, charming and clever, this movie will be referenced by your peers constantly ("You know how I know you're…").

American History X

You have finally reached a point in your life where you can fully appreciate not only the importance, but also the subtleties of this film. College is the right time to ask yourself the questions this movie poses.

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Wedding Crashers

"Rule No. 76: No excuses, play like a champion!"

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

If you haven?t figured out how to relax and enjoy life at least a little, watch this film - it is practically a survival guide to college.


Perhaps the most perfect screenplay ever written. You have reached an age where you can appreciate the details of the movie, and therefore you should not waste another moment of your life without watching this classic film. At the very least, you'll finally understand what all your film-buff friends are rattling on about.

Forrest Gump

Now that you've had a decent American history education (or if you need a crash course for an exam), you can watch this movie and appreciate its full sweep. Plus it's a great comedy/tear jerker, so it's a great date movie.

Citizen Kane

This is THE classic movie. You need to watch it, if for no other reason than after seeing it, you can argue with your film school buddies about its significance in American cinema.

Schindler's List

An important movie about the Holocaust. It is very mature and very disturbing. You can now truly understand its significance, and you should watch it during these impressionable years.


Perhaps Kevin Smith's greatest movie. It will give you plenty to talk about in the cafeteria for years to come, and a wealth of quotable quotes.

Boondock Saints

A cult classic that is truly a pleasure to watch. If you haven't heard anything about it, that's even better. Check it out; at the very least, the opening theme is amazing.


Due to this movie's absurd nature and Gainesville's proximity to Miami, you really do need to see Tony Montana's escapades in college.

When Harry Met Sally

The classic chick flick, but with more to say. This movie can be watched with friends or on a date and will have a great effect in either case.

The Godfather

Really, this is THE gangster movie, and if you haven't seen if by college, you had better. Otherwise someone is going to make you an offer you can't refuse….

The Graduate

After you graduate, you are still going to be filled with questions. This movie will epitomize them.

The Matrix

A modern, philosophical classic set in a martial arts world. Great special effects and a great story - this movie is one of our generation?s defining films.

The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

College is a time when you will probably become invested in a real relationship (not those petty high-school flings). As a result, you will experience loss, pain and conflicting emotions. This movie will mirror all those feelings and leave you with a better appreciation of their importance.

Star Wars (IV, V and VI)

Seriously, if you haven't seen these movies yet, get to work. They are constantly referenced (and not only by nerds), but are really enjoyable films - even after 20 years.

Top Gun

The classic '80s film. Tom Cruise was still sane, and the F-15's still rocked. Check this movie out. It's fun to watch with friends any night of the week.

Back to the Future

Just pure fun. Robert Zemeckis directed a great movie that deals with time travel while still having both a humorous and dramatic tone.

Steel Magnolias

One of the ultimate chick flicks, but guys and girls alike need to see it to understand the anatomy of these types of movies.

Pulp Fiction

You need to see at least one of Quentin Tarantino's films in college (trust me, it?s the right time), so why not see the best?

Love Actually

One of the best romantic comedies ever produced. It is particularly pertinent around the holiday season. If you are looking for a cheap, fun date, rent this movie.


Not a particularly good movie, but quoted so often that it is necessary to see before graduation.

Die Hard

To understand what an action movie should be, you need to see one of the greatest action movies ever made. Watch it around the holiday season to get the full effect.

Blade Runner

Ridley Scott's tribute to film noir. It covers both the sci-fi and private eye genres at the same time. It's a great film, and it makes for a good reference in several essay topics.

The Shining

At least one horror movie had to make the list - it might as well be one of the most recognized ever made. Stanley Kubrick's version of this classic Stephen King story is disturbing and dark.

The Big Lebowski

White Russians. That is all.

Shaun of the Dead

Turns the whole zombie genre on its head. A perfect parody of any George A. Romero film.


While in college, you need to see at least one film by Kurosawa. His retelling of King Lear fits the bill. Trust me, it is worth watching.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Funny, even to this day. This movie will cause you to view the world in a completely different manner, and that?s a good thing.

Office Space

Before you enter the work force, it's best to understand what it will mean to enter the work force. It will also make you hate the phrase, "Looks like somebody?s got a case of the Mondays."

Euro Trip

Funnier than Road Trip, this movie epitomizes what we all hope to get out of a trip to Europe. Good luck, and do it before the Euro becomes even stronger….

Pirates of the Caribbean

If you haven't seen the first "Pirates" movie yet, do. It has provided inspiration for quotes, decorations and costumes, and it also revived the pirate-themed party, which is truly the best one.


This is the greatest parody film ever made. Mel Brooks shines as both director and actor in this classic spoof of sci-fi movies.

Garden State

When you go home halfway though college, this is what you?re going to experience. Brace yourself.

North by Northwest

You need to see a Hitchcock movie while in college, and this is a quintessential one.

Bowling for Columbine

Michael Moore is an indispensable college conversation piece, so you should see at least one of his films. This one is both entertaining and thought provoking.

Happy Gilmore/Billy Madison

Childish and silly, but both are still worth seeing.

Requiem for a Dream

There are certain things you really shouldn't do, and this movie will scare you out of doing them. See it before someone in college temps you.

American Pie (I, II and III)

Even though they're more geared toward high school, these movies have become staples of American culture.

Total Recall

Such a ridiculously '80s film that it belongs in a category all to itself. Everyone needs to see an '80s Arnold action flick. This is the best, but really any of them will do. It is recommended that you watch this with guys - much more entertaining.

Groundhog Day

Bill Murray's greatest role. This is a funny movie that will ask you to question the important goals of your life at an age when you should be thinking about them.


The first one is still scary, and the second one is fun. For the perfect example of a classic movie and a classic sequel, these movies need to be seen.

Dumb and Dumber

It should be seen if only for the reason that you'll be able to quote it along with everyone else. If you don't get it when someone says, "Kick his ass, sea bass," you?ll look dumb (or dumber, of course).

Evil Dead II/Army of Darkness

Before Sam Raimi became famous for directing Spiderman, he made this oddball set of movies. Campy and low budget, they are entertaining and worth watching in the college setting.


A semi-disturbing introspection into American culture disguised as a comedy. You can't help but laugh at the absurdity of ourselves through this ridiculous character. Hopefully by watching this movie at the college age, you won't be too old to snap out of backward ways.

Fight Club

The paradoxical movie that has defined our generation.


There really is no explanation needed. See this movie. Once you do, you will finally understand what all your friends have been saying for the last few years ("Cool story, Hansel…").

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