25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must Watch

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Everybody loves movies, this list is for all those  Photo/Cinematographer readers out there!

We have compiled a list of 25 movies with some boasting camera work. The cinematography in any movie should enhance the sense of the movie along with the  feel which the characters are able to produce on screen. The same applies to Photography.Try watching these movies, we might move some steps ahead!

We are still updating the list for next article. Please list your favorite movies in comment section. You can check our previous article about movies here.

 

Barry Lyndon (1975)

A War Drama. Cinematography by John Alcott. An Irish Drama set in mid 17th Century, Great Battle Sequences and Pleasing Country sides.

“There was no sets involved all shot in the actual locations, and no Diffusion used at all for all those landscape shots. Those Candle light scenes were shot using Zeiss 50mm f/0.7 made by NASA.” - John Alcott

Barry Lyndon (1975)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

Schindler’s List (1993)

A War Drama. Cinematography by Janusz Kaminski. Biography of Oskar Schindler, a German Businessman, Contains Great Pre / Post WWII Scenes. The Film was shot in Black and white.

“I wanted to give a timeless feel to it, so the viewer wouldnt be aware when it was shot” - Janusz Kaminski

Schindler's List (1993)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

Amelie (2001)

A Romantic Comedy. Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel. Story of a Shy waitress, who tries changing the lives of others, which also helps her discover Love.

“I love to Play with the Color palatte, shadow-heavy, Scarce but harsh light, great translucent color quality.” - Bruno Delbonnel

Amelie- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

Fiddler on the Roof (1971)

A Musical Drama. Cinematography by Oswald Morris. Story set in Russia moves around a Poor Milkman and his two daughters.

“To get a Earthy Color Palette, we shot it through a Brown Pantyhose, and stretched it using a Rubber band over the Lens” - Oswald Morris

Fiddler on the Roof (1971)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

A Passage to India (1984)

A Travel Drama. Cinematography by Ernest Day. Story set in during the British Reign in India, where a Couple from England visit Rural India.

“The scent of India felt all over.”

A Passage to India (1984)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

Titanic (1997)

A Romantic Drama. Cinematography by Russel Carpenter. A love story between Jack and Rose in their Maiden Ship Voyage.

“He (Cameron) wants everything and everything in a best way as good as you can give it to him” - Russel Carpenter

Titanic (1997)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

Frida (2002)

A Biography Drama. Cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto. A Biography depicting the Private life of Mexican Surreal Painter Frida Kahlo.

“Julie (Director) was telling me about moving the light instead of camera, as she was describing me a crew-member was moving the Chandelier, the light was glorious, we shot that..” - Rodrigo

Frida (2002)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

A Very Long Engagement (2004)

A Romantic War Drama. Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel. Tells us the Young girl’s Desperate search for her Fiance during the times of first World War.

“I am not extremely technical, i lock things in the very initial stage so i think about the light not about the technique” - Bruno

A Very Long Engagement (2004)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

The Fall (2006)

A Fictional Drama. Cinematography by Colin Watkinson. A series of fictional incidents narrated by the bedridden hero to a small girl.

“Great Locations with some Great camera work”

The Fall (2006)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

Kannathil Muthamittal (2002)

A Family Drama. Cinematography by Ravi k.Chandran. A Beautiful story of a srilankan child adopted by Indian-Tamil Parents.

“On working with Mani Ratnam (Director) we gel so well, he treats me like his Brother” - Ravi K.Chandran

Kannathil Muthamittal (2002)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

The Painted Veil (2006)

A Romantic Drama. Cinematography by Stuart Dryburgh. A tense relationship between a Biologist and his wife in China.

“We didnt want to build a set in china, we looked for a untouched native part in china” - John Curran (Director)

The Painted Veil (2006)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

A Biography Drama. Cinematography by Eric Gautier. The Screenplay of this movie is based on Che guevera’s travelogue!

“Covering the regions of South America,this film’s Cinematography serves as an advertisement for the Entire Continent” - Daily Telegraph

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

Amadeus (1984)

A Musical Drama. Cinematography by Miroslav Ondříček. A Biography on Amadeus Mozart. The film shot in Prague, Vienna. Mozart’s high pitch laughter in this film is prime factor in his mannerism.

Amadeus (1984)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

The Passion of the Christ (2004)

A thriller. Cinematography by Caleb Deschanel. Depicts the last 12 hours of Jesus Christ before ending in resurrection.

“The Script was exceptional, i have always been fascinated by religion,rituals,ceremony and the Imagery.” - Caleb Deschanel

The Passion of the Christ (2004)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

Iruvar (1997)

A Political Drama. Cinematography by Santosh Sivan. A Fictional Biography on M.G.Ramachandran and Karunanidhi, Friendship, Politics and more.

“Iruvar is the most challenging film i have worked on, those complex camera moves, huge canvas.” – Santosh Sivan

Iruvar (1997)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

An Epic Drama. Cinematography by F.A.Young. This film is considered to be one on the most influential films made, it shows the Experience of Lawrence a British Soldier’s experience in World War I F.A.Young has been voted to be one among the top 10 in most influential Cinematographers by International Cinematographers Guild.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

Inception (2010)

A Fictional Drama. Cinematography by Wally Pfister. This film is about Implanting one’s idea into the target’s subconscious state of mind.

“To aid audience recognition of dream level’s i have given distinct look to each dream level.” - Wally Pfister

Inception (2010) - 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

Black Hawk Down (2001)

A War Drama. Cinematography by Slawomir Idziak. Directed by Ridley Scott, this film depicts the American raid to capture Somalian Warlord (Osman Ali).

“Many aspects about me in the film are Wrong” - Osman Ali to BBC Radio

Black Hawk Down (2001) - 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

A War Drama. Cinematography by Janusz Kaminski. Critically acclaimed for remaking the Omaha beach assault in the first 30minutes.

“I set the shutter timing to 45-90 degrees instead of the usual 180, to give a crispiness and a realistic feel to those explosions and soldier’s movement” - Janusz Kaminski

Saving Private Ryan (1998)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

The English Patient (1996)

A War Drama. Cinematography by John Seale. This film is a about biography of a critically burnt man(English patient) and his flashbacks into his life.

“We were confused whether to go anamorphic or 1:85, then was convinced with 1:85 Because its a movie about people in desert not about a desert with people” - John Seale

The English Patient (1996)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

The Green Mile (1999)

A Fictional Drama. Cinematography by David Tattersall. A Biography of Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) as a Death-row corrections Officer. Originally Tom was there to play the older Paul role, but then he didn’t fit in.

The Green Mile (1999)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

The Three Colors Trilogy

A Romantic Drama / Thriller. Cinematography by Edward Klosinski / Piotr Sobocinski / Slawomir Idziak. All three directed by Kieślowski, they portrait human emotions in various shades of colors. Blue, White and Red are the colors of French Flag from left to right!

The Three Colors Trilogy- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

Red  |  Blue  |  White

 

Rashomon (1950)

A Crime Drama. Cinematography by Kazuo Miyagawa. One of the Greatest films of Akira Kurosawa, involves a series of stories and they all unite in climax.

“I have used Mirror to reflect natural light since it was too weak and We had to tint the water with black ink because the lenses couldnt capture rain with pure water” - Kazuo Miyagawa

Rashomon (1950)- 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

Braveheart (1995)

A Historical Drama. Cinematography by John Toll. Directed by the Great Mel Gibson its about life of an Scottish Warrior. Inspired from the Big screen epics from his childhood gibson made this movie.

“If i can feel the hand of a Cinematographer, then that is not my way of natural Inclination” - John Toll

Braveheart (1995) - 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

Out of Africa (1985)

A War Drama. Cinematography by David Watkin. A Beautiful Drama loosely based on the autibiography by Isak Dinesan.

“Those Wide Panorama’s, nostalgic and warm interiors were not my style of work” - David Watkin

Out of Africa (1985) - 25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must See

 

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Rating: 4.4/5 (50 votes cast)
25 Movies Every Photographer / Cinematographer Must Watch, 4.4 out of 5 based on 50 ratings

 

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Comments

  1. Johnmorris says:

    Always love what you bring us! a great collection of movies!

  2. Nimitha Mathew says:

    wow.. awesome and amazing list of movies. Great work.

  3. Matthew Redlich says:

    Great list guys..love it.

  4. Peter Lee says:

    I got a few suggestions of my own for the cinematographers and cinematic photographers out there.

    2046, In the Mood For Love, Crack, King’s Speech, The Assassination of Jesse James, Memory of A Geshia, The Hand (short film), The Spirit, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy….

  5. Carl says:

    Blade Runner. It was a game changer.

  6. Bob says:

    Really? No Primer?

  7. gaffer9 says:

    I am shocked that Citizen Kane isn’t on this list at ALL! That movie was one of the most innovative films in history – Orson Wells was a genius.

  8. rebeccazg says:

    Tarkovsky
    Kubrick
    Wong Kar Wei

  9. David says:

    I would include Children of Men. Not only is the cinematography beautiful, but those 3-5 minute continuous shots are amazing.

  10. b says:

    Motorcycle Diaries, really?!?! Most everything else are excellent choices. Che lying his ass off as he did his whole life and Hollywood believing it….can’t believe that could happen….;)

  11. g says:

    NO RAGING BULL?????? ridiculous.

  12. Mike says:

    What about Se7en ?? and no Coen brothers film?

  13. timH says:

    I would agree with some choices but Titanic!please,its just an overdressed bad disaster MOVIE,not a piece of cinema,and how come nothing by david lynch or cronenberg.

  14. Dan says:

    I second cohen brother’s…o’ brother where art thou.
    Others…
    – The Cook, The Theif, His Wife and Her Lover, Director: Peter Greenaway
    – Bladerunner with Harrison Ford (not the Wesley Snipes movie!)

  15. Roby Kurian says:

    Surprising list..!!
    I mean, how can one even think of a list like this with out considering the works of Sven Nykvist, Néstor Almendros or Vittorio Storaro…or any films by Tarkovski and Terrence Malick? What about films by Kurosawa like Dreams and Ran?

  16. Derek Winchester says:

    The Girl with the Pearl Earring

  17. Mark Romine says:

    So glad that Citizen Cane is not on this list, such an overrated movie. There I said it. :) Where’s Dr Zhivago and I agree about The Girl with the Pearl Earring

  18. Great list, very interesting especially the one on the Manifesto which sparked something. Thanks for the good advices.

  19. Alani says:

    hey there, i liked you blog, it is kinda good. keep up the work.http://www.kitsucesso.com

  20. Rajdeep Pandit says:

    I am surprised to see no “Pather Panchali” by Satyajit Ray.

  21. gireesh menon says:

    Finally somebody included 2 Indian movies, great:-)but missed some good movies also…

  22. Douglas Hart says:

    Not a single film shot by Gordon Willis or Vittorio Storaro or Vilmos Zsigmond or Greg Toland? I hope they are in the NEXT 25!

  23. what a rubbish list this.

  24. Tanmay says:

    What? No Royal Tenenbaums, Atonement, Citizen Kane, Once Upon A Time in the West, Bringing Out The Dead, Rope, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, The Age of Innocence, The Thin Red Line, Children of Men, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pan’s Labyrinth, Volver, Gomorrah, Oldboy, In the Mood For Love, City of God, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, …..BARAKA!?…KOYAANISQATSI?!?

    • Karin Müller says:

      koyaanisqatsi !!!! ❤️

    • Rebecca Bracamontes says:

      You are right Tanmay. I think these movies are just for starters. The ones you mentioned are for advances cinematographers

      • Tanmay says:

        I wouldn’t look at it as something for beginners or advanced photographers. Even the above list contains most good advanced examples, but you can’t ignore the other range of films that experimented differently or started a trend in cinematography.

  25. Tanmay says:

    And how can this list be complete without great names such as Roger Deakins, Sven Nykvist, Gordon Willis, Gregg Toland, Conrad L Hall, Ron Fricke, Christopher Doyle, Zhao Xiaoding, Jack Cardiff.

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