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Twenty Films That Get Better After Two Views


A film doesn't always require a second watch. But in the case of the following, you will find yourselves drawn to repeat those journeys.

20 Movies That Get Better on the Second Watch
Paramount Pictures / Buena Vista Pictures Distribution / Warner Bros. Pictures / Roadshow Entertainment

Think of the last time you watched a movie that you had seen before. Most of the time, you go on that adventure again because you simply like the film, which is OK. Such passion is cause for celebration. But think again, what drove you to select that particular film? Most importantly, what did you get out of that experience?

There are several reasons why you would go over a film again. Usually, it has to do with details that you failed to observe the first time. Or it could be that the film's too complex to understand in one sitting, so you need to go through it again. In any case, only a handful of times does a film get better after a rewatch. The following consists of that handful, a compilation of films that get better after a second, and, why not, a third watch.

Boogie Nights (1997)

Boogie Nights
Boogie Nights

Release Date
October 7, 1997

Director
Paul Thomas Anderson

Cast
Luis Guzman, burt reynolds, Julianne Moore, Rico Bueno, John C. Reilly, Nicole Ari Parker

Rating
R

Main Genre
Drama

Boogie Nights is a modern drama masterpiece. It tells the story of a whiz kid in the '70s adult film scene who had a talent no one else had. We don't have to tell you what Dirk Diggler's ability was. The film also navigates through the fall of the industry when home video, and less artistic approaches were being considered. This one gets better because of the epic element of director Paul Thomas Anderson's approach. Besides, if you need more reasons to watch Boogie Nights again, the drug bust scene should be enough.

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The Godfather (1972)

the godfather
The Godfather

Release Date
March 14, 1972

Director
Francis Ford Coppola

Cast
Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden

Rating
R

Main Genre
Crime

There's no questioning why you should see one of the best films ever made, over and over. The Godfather is Francis Ford Coppola's extraordinary crime film about the Corleone family trying to survive a mutiny. Young Michael is forced to take over after his father, Vito, gets shot and whose life hangs by a thread. For the young war veteran, it won't be easy to follow in the crime boss' footsteps, but the inherent family spirit will ultimately flood his senses, force him to change his conservative ways, and lead him to become an ideal leader for a dynasty of crime and traditional family values.

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The Shining (1980)

The Shining
The Shining

Release Date
May 23, 1980

Director
Stanley Kubrick

Cast
Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers, Barry Nelson, Philip Stone

Rating
R

Main Genre
Horror

Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is widely regarded as one of the best horror films ever made, and probably the best in the paranormal subsection of scary movies. Adapted from the Stephen King novel, the film tells the story of a family who get hired as caretakers in a huge hotel closing for the winter. The isolation will be too heavy for Jack Torrance, who will fall under the spell of spirits that are still lurking around the hallways, and who show up every now and then to influence the living into committing bloody murder.

Many mysteries surround the production of the film, and aside from what's already known, the theories can be easily explored rewatch after rewatch. Yes, even the ones featured in Room 237, the documentary about conspiracy theories surrounding The Shining.

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Vertigo (1958)

Vertigo
Vertigo

Release Date
May 28, 1958

Director
Alfred Hitchcock

Cast
James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore, Henry Jones, Raymond Bailey

Rating
PG

Main Genre
Mystery

Alfred Hitchcock’s career isn’t exactly famous for inviting people to watch the master of suspense’s films over and over. However, let’s get real. If you’re aiming to become a filmmaker, his catalog is the only film school you’ll ever need. Rewatches are mandatory.

Vertigo features Hitch at the prime of his career, having studios follow his instructions while being able to fulfill visions that today, seem impossible from a production point of view. The story is about a retired detective who gets hired to investigate a woman who he becomes obsessed with, therefore, making him fall into a spiral of (sexy) deceit.

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Taxi Driver (1976)

Taxi Driver
Taxi Driver

Release Date
February 9, 1976

Director
Martin Scorsese

Cast
Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel, Leonard Harris, Peter Boyle

Rating
R

Main Genre
Crime

Taxi Driver, by Martin Scorsese, is a harrowing journey into the twisted mind of a broken man. A war veteran whose only chance at success in life is to overcome his inner demons and fears. However, Travis Bickle loses his battles early on, making the film a ticking time bomb. When it goes off, it’s too late for everybody, even regular society, which failed at observing the effects of trauma.

A notable masterpiece told by an iconic storyteller, Taxi Driver feels like a film lesson from beginning to end, featuring a fantastic script by Hollywood legend Paul Schrader.

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Interstellar (2014)

interstellar
Interstellar

Release Date
November 5, 2014

Director
Christopher Nolan

Cast
Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Bill Irwin, Casey Affleck

Rating
PG-13

Main Genre
Sci-Fi

Interstellar is one of a couple of Christopher Nolan’s movies to be featured on the list. This isn’t a coincidence. Nolan’s body of work requires to be rewatched to be understood and deeply appreciated.

At first, Interstellar may seem overwhelming for viewers. The sci-fi epic is pure science fiction bliss, featuring incredible visuals, special effects, and sound design. Nevertheless, during a second watch, you will be able to better observe its story based on human resilience and love, its unique approach to themes like time and relativity, and yes, you will understand it a little bit more. Everyone knows Nolan’s films tend to be kind of complex, and Interstellar isn’t the exception.

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Midsommar (2019)

midsommar
Midsommar

Release Date
July 3, 2019

Director
Ari Aster

Cast
Florence Pugh, Will Poulter, William Jackson Harper, Jack Reynor, Julia Ragnarsson, Björn Andrésen

Rating
R

Main Genre
Horror

Films by Ari Aster aren’t exactly rewatchable because, in some part, they’re highly effective out of shock value. And that doesn’t work when you know what will happen.

Nevertheless, Midsommar is a great example of a film that goes beyond a first look and analysis. The story of Dani entering a world that will get rid of trauma by submitting her boyfriend and his friends to folk traditions of horrific nature, will be expanded after you catch it a second time and notice how this could have been prevented. However, was it necessary to prevent it? Was this always Dani’s fate? We can’t see her smile proving anything else when she realizes karma is actually a thing.

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The Prestige (2006)

the prestige
The Prestige

Release Date
October 19, 2006

Director
Christopher Nolan

Cast
Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Piper Perabo, Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson

Rating
PG-13

Main Genre
Drama

The Prestige by Christopher Nolan is definitely one of his best films, and probably his most underrated. The frame story is that of a clash between two magicians who try to outperform one another at the peak of their careers. The problem is that sometimes success comes at a price. A deadly one.

Featuring great performances, and a fantastic subplot involving Nikola Tesla, The Prestige is a brilliant story told by one of Hollywood’s unique filmmakers who truly understands the craft, and that sometimes you don’t need huge set pieces to cause an impact. Sometimes, you just have to look in the right place, and yes, sometimes it takes two times to see what’s worth seeing.

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Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

mad max 4
Mad Max: Fury Road

Release Date
May 13, 2015

Director
George Miller

Cast
Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Josh Helman, Nathan Jones

Rating
R

Main Genre
Action

George Miller’s return to a gasoline-obsessed wasteland is the best film he’s ever made. Mad Max: Fury Road is an action epic that’s best experienced in the theater. More than once.

The stunts, the visuals, the drama. Everything builds up to a compelling story about a rebellion taking place when a tyrannical boss decides to reproduce himself as some sign of dominion over the world. However, his wives rebel, and they are joined by a female hero, and that will leave you wanting for more. There are many reasons to watch this over and over, but Miller’s peculiar style will probably feel like too much at first and will force you to take a breath occasionally, forcing you to miss some details.

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Beetlejuice (1988)

beetlejuice
Beetlejuice

Release Date
March 30, 1988

Director
Tim Burton

Cast
Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Annie McEnroe, Maurice Page, Hugo Stanger, Michael Keaton

Rating
PG

Main Genre
Comedy

Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice is one of those films belonging to a generation that spewed out movies that wouldn’t get made today. It’s original, raunchy, scary, and almost magnetic. If you’re an '80s kid, then you probably feel a similar drive as others to revisit the film frequently, and see if you can catch more details.

It tells the story of a couple who perish in an accident and decide they don’t want to leave our realm just yet. For that, they hire a bio-exorcist keen on installing Hell on Earth. Or at least marrying a teenager. If you haven’t seen this one, you will have many questions after it, but just think if they’re worth answering.

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Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

Everything Everywhere All at Once
Everything Everywhere All at Once

An Chinese immigrant is swept up in an insane adventure, where she alone can save the world. Stephanie Hsu, Jenny Slate, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Michaelle Yeoh star.

Release Date
March 25, 2022

Director
Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert

Cast
Jenny Slate, Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis, Stephanie Hsu

Rating
Rated R for some violence, sexual material, and language

The sole reason why Everything Everywhere All at Once gets better after a second time you watch it, it’s because you will probably see more of the worlds the Daniels created for the film. The multiple Academy Award winner is a collection of details and ideas, that the modern filmmakers found a way to insert into a film. Regardless, they can’t be fully appreciated on a single showing.

It tells the story of a woman traveling between multiverses to find her mundane life is more important than she thought. This is a great example of modern cinema utilizing an innovative concept to tell an engaging and relevant story.

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There Will Be Blood (2007)

There Will Be Blood
There Will Be Blood

Release Date
December 28, 2007

Director
Paul Thomas Anderson

Cast
Daniel Day-Lewis, Martin Stringer, Matthew Braden Stringer, Jacob Stringer, Joseph Mussey, Barry Del Sherman

Rating
R

Main Genre
Drama

Another Paul Thomas Anderson film on the list. Only this time, it’s probably his best film. There Will Be Blood is a modern masterpiece that reflects the boundaries of ambition and greed during the birth of a capitalism model that’s inherently associated with modern society. After all, what would you do if only a man stood between you and absolute success?

The film is about Daniel Plainview, an oil tycoon used to his own ways, when a young preacher challenges him to re-study them and contemplate the possibility that he may have to jump towards more extreme actions to complete his journey. It features one of cinema’s greatest performances in the hands of a Daniel Day-Lewis, giving audiences plenty reasons to see it again and improve their experience.

Stream on Paramount+

Coherence (2013)

Emily Baldoni and Maury Sterling as the lead characters in Coherence
Oscilloscope Laboratories

Coherence tells the story of attendees at a dinner party, whose gathering during an eclipse turns into an existential celebration that features time travel, doppelgängers, and hidden intentions. We won’t take the time to explain what happens, because you need to determine that for yourself. And yes, you will need more than a few watches in order to understand what’s really going on. Hopefully.

This very underrated science fiction film features unknown actors, a solid storyline, and the best attempt at the genre’s rules in indie film history. It goes great on a double bill with another indie sci-fi gem called Primer.

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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey

Release Date
April 2, 1968

Director
Stanley Kubrick

Cast
Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter, Leonard Rossiter, Margaret Tyzack

Rating
G

Main Genre
Adventure

2001: A Space Odyssey is Stanley Kubrick’s attempt at sci-fi by telling his version of evolution, the human encounter with technology, and the basis of our perception of everything that’s spiritual. Beyond religion, beyond science, beyond the explainable.

The classic genre film is considered to be the best science fiction film ever made, and we won’t disagree with that. It should be seen by everyone at some point in their lives, more than once, in order to fully appreciate what it’s all about. Just please consider that it shares a horror element with the rest of Kubrick’s catalog of films, regardless of what you may think about his ability to tackle various genres.

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Arrival (2016)

Arrival
Arrival

Release Date
November 10, 2016

Director
Denis Villeneuve

Cast
Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark O'Brien, Tzi Ma

Rating
PG-13

Main Genre
Sci-Fi

Another sci-fi epic that gets better a couple of times after you rewatch it and fully digest its theme about the fundamentals of time, and how it shouldn’t be seen as something linear. Arrival is Denis Villeneuve’s alien film about huge spaceships harboring beings that we learn to communicate with, that teach us a thing or two about humanity that sometimes we decide not to address.

It’s not that the film gets better. It’s actually fascinating to revisit and understand what the huge monsters were trying to communicate to us all that time. It’s one of the best sci-fi films to be made in recent history.

Stream on Netflix

WALL-E (2008)

Wall-e
WALL-E

Release Date
June 22, 2008

Director
Andrew Stanton

Cast
Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard, MacInTalk, John Ratzenberger

Rating
G

Main Genre
Animation

Disney and Pixar’s WALL-E is a beautiful animated film that tells the story of a tiny robot whose sentient abilities get stronger as he comes in contact with the remnants of society. WALL-E is a trash-collecting wonder machine fascinated with Hollywood musicals, plants, and fire. Want to guess what happens when he meets the robot of his dreams? It just gets better, funnier, and more important with each rewatch.

This one is more relevant to our current times than we actually think, and aside from its funny depiction of future humans, we don’t see why it also can’t be a cautionary tale about the way we should live.

Stream on Disney+

Eraserhead (1977)

Jack Nance as confused Henry Spencer in Eraserhead
Libra Films

You will probably find yourself rewatching David Lynch’s Eraserhead more than a couple of times. Like most, you will try to come up with an explanation of what the film actually is. Let us do you a favor: that’s not the way to go.

Instead of trying to give some reason to this fable about a new father, take some time to indulge in the small details of Lynch’s insanely interesting story. Yes, it’s about fatherhood, but that seems like a lazy explanation for it. This is all about unsettling visuals, an invasive soundscape, and the mystery that only gets deeper (and more engaging) after you decide to revisit it.

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The Matrix (1999)

the matrix
The Matrix

Release Date
March 30, 1999

Director
Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

Cast
Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Gloria Foster, Joe Pantoliano

Rating
R

Main Genre
Action

The Matrix is a convoluted film that, fortunately, makes sense in the end. Aside from all the mumbo-jumbo about technology, there’s a compelling story here about our fall as humans, and machines taking over in a dark futuristic world where we are the rats in the sewers, and they are the hunters that breed us.

The action and science fiction epic features state-of-the-art special effects that still look great and are flawless, and a slick consideration of our idealist perception that puts the virtual simulator Second Life to shame. An instant genre classic that’s today more important than ever, because of our current relationship with artificial intelligence.

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Inception (2010)

inception
Inception

Release Date
July 15, 2010

Director
Christopher Nolan

Cast
Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Elliot Page, Tom Hardy

Rating
PG-13

Main Genre
Action

Once again, the genre master Christopher Nolan doing what he does best: sharpening up his skills to portray worlds that, up to that moment, seemed impossible in the far reaches of our imagination. In Inception, the theme is literally navigating through your dreams, and for understanding this, you will need a couple more rewatches and, why not, a notebook to scribble down your theories. You won't be alone, only a decade had to pass for Nolan to kind of explain what happens in the end.

Nolan doesn’t merely stand and contemplate his concept. He builds a dramatic story about a group of criminals who use this technology to steal and plant thoughts. However, if you get killed in your dreams, the worst thing that can happen is your mind believing this. Think of that disorienting haze you go through after some naps. Imagine staying like that for the rest of your existence.

Rent on Prime Video

Shutter Island (2010)

shutter island
Shutter Island

Release Date
February 14, 2010

Director
Martin Scorsese

Cast
Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max Von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer

Rating
R

Main Genre
Drama

Scorsese is back for Shutter Island, his psychological thriller with enough disturbing imagery for people to confuse it with horror. It’s okay if you do. Horror is exactly what a character’s journey is all about, and we won’t say more because it’s better if you go blind into this one.

​​​​​​​

In the film, two US marshals visit an asylum on a remote island to investigate a patient’s disappearance under strange circumstances. What’s really happening is reason enough to drive you to press “play” again and try to solve the impossible riddle that is the film. It features one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s best performances to date.

Rent on Prime Video

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