Need a coronavirus escape? Here are 100 movies to watch for every cinematic yearning

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You’re stuck inside




, we’re stuck inside, Idris Elba‘s stuck inside, everybody’s stuck inside. And whether working from home or just chilling, it’s good to take a cinematic break when you’re social distancing during the coronavirus crisis.

With movie theaters closed and blockbusters-in-waiting being postponed all the way to next year, it’s a lot for a film fan to take in. (Well, that and avoiding being part of the outbreak.) Thankfully, there are many, many flicks – ranging from the fantastic to the fantastically bad – that offer some escape and comfort in a storm of distressing news.

In other words, we got you.

Here are 100 movies to watch (or perhaps, in some cases, revisit) that are perfect for every mood you might be feeling in the coming days and weeks. (If you don’t have copies of them lying around, search on your favorite streaming service or video on demand.)

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Amy Adams stars as linguistics expert Louise Banks in the sci-fi film "Arrival."

When you need something out of this world

1. “Aliens” (1986): Our queen Sigourney Weaver vs. a cosmic queen is a sci-fi all-timer.

2. “Arrival” (2016): Amy Adams communicates with aliens and at this point we’re envying her hazmat suit.

3. “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982): Honestly, hanging out with E.T. sounds cool until the little guy eats all your Reese’s Pieces.

4. “Independence Day” (1996): Will Smith clocks an outer-space creature in the face, more for invading Earth than eating his Reese’s Pieces.

5. “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014): I am Groot, obviously.



Sigourney Weaver (from left), Alan Rickman, Tim Allen and Tony Shalhoub star as former sci-fi TV stars who find themselves on a hostile alien planet in "Galaxy Quest."

6. “Galaxy Quest” (1999): Like “Star Trek” if it was funny.




7. “Star Trek” (2009): Like “Star Trek” if it was “Star Wars.”

8. “The Martian” (2015): It’s nice to know that Matt Damon’s recipe for Martian poop potatoes is right there if ever needed.

9. “Moon” (2009): You get two Sam Rockwells for the price of one awesomely intriguing lunar mission. What a deal!

10. “Star Wars” (1977): Because who doesn’t want to learn the ways of the Force with Han, Luke, Leia and John Williams’ blasting score?

L.A. is a futuristic, lit-up noir metropolis in Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner."

When you need a change in scenery

11. “Blade Runner” (1982): Is Harrison Ford a robot or not? Feel free to think about that as you immerse yourself in neon noir.

12. “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” (1998): Going on a Vegas acid binge with Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro is indeed a trip.

13. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (2001): Kids going off to a magical school and dealing with seriously dark stuff is somehow not child endangerment.

14. “How to Train Your Dragon” (2010): A Viking boy having a scaly best friend is totally OK, though.

15. “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001): A three-movie, 11-hour trudge through Middle-earth to drop a ring into a volcano needs to start somewhere.

Frodo (Elijah Wood) begins a journey to rid the world of the One Ring in "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."

16. “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015): Ride eternal, shiny and chrome into a splendiferous post-apocalyptic wasteland with Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy.

17. “The Matrix” (1999): You’ll want to choose the red pill because Keanu Reeves’ cyberpunk kung fu is top notch.

18. “The NeverEnding Story” (1984): Come for the flying dragon dog, stay for that cult tune the “Stranger Things” kids sang.

19. “The Princess Bride” (1987): Head to Florin, save Princess Buttercup and, most importantly, have fun storming the castle!

20. “The Wizard of Oz” (1939): Good friends, cool shoes and Midwestern chutzpah are a must along the Yellow Brick Road. (Which has more flying monkeys than Fury Road.)

Steve Martin plays the dad giving his daughter (Kimberly Williams) away in "Father of the Bride."

When you need family bonding time

21. “Back to the Future” (1985): Teenage kid travels back to the 1950s to make sure his parents fall in love and Mom hits on him. That’s some future therapy bills right there.

22. “Father of the Bride” (1991): Steve Martin’s overprotective patriarch is a must-see for the dads with daughters out there.

23. “Frozen” (2013): From wanting to build a snowman to letting it go, Anna and Elsa are a sister act for the ages. (All ages, in fact.)

24. “The Incredibles” (2004): With a bevy of superpowers and dinner-table issues, the Parr clan’s tale is the best Fantastic Four movie ever.

25. “The Godfather” (1972): But don’t forget about the Corleone family, whose business involves betrayal, crime and murder. So that’s less than fantastic, in terms of the law.

Greg Kinnear (from left), Steve Carell, Paul Dano, Toni Collette and Abigail Breslin play the dysfunctional family in "Little Miss Sunshine."

26. “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006): The Hoover family is crazy dysfunctional – and just plain crazy – but man, can they bust up a pretentious kid beauty pageant.

27. “Mary Poppins” (1964): The Banks family is a hot mess when Julie Andrews thankfully flies in on her umbrella.

28. “Meet the Parents” (2000): No one’s in-law circle of trust can compare to Robert De Niro whipping out a lie detector or discussing his nipples.

29. “The Sound of Music” (1965): Even though there are Nazis, there’s plenty to sing about for the tuneful Von Trapps.

30. “Step Brothers” (2008): Sorry, Anna and Elsa, as a sibling duo Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are much more fun in that nunchucking, boat-crashing, man-child way.

Ray Charles (center) cameos alongside Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi in "The Blues Brothers."

When you need a belly laugh

31. “Animal House” (1978): It would never be made in the #MeToo era, but the Deathmobile, the food fight and John Belushi in a toga destroying a guitar still have no college-comedy equal.

32. “The Blues Brothers” (1980): While the guys in the suits and shades get the title love, praise the gods of country and Western for a scene-stealing Carrie Fisher, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles.

33. “Booksmart” (2019): The female-centric standout proves teen travails are just as relatable now as they were when “The Breakfast Club” was in session.

34. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986): Save Ferris! That’s it, that’s all you need to know.

35. “Ghostbusters” (1984): A reminder that things can always be worse – in this case, full torso apparitions, a Sumerian god of destruction and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Bill Murray (left, with Andie McDowell) is a TV weatherman caught in a time loop in "Groundhog Day."

36. “Groundhog Day” (1993): Bill Murray refuses to let a bucktoothed critter upstage him. Respect.

37. “The Hangover” (2009): Mike Tyson singing Phil Collins isn’t even in the top five nuttiest moments in this bachelor-party-gone-wrong classic.

38. “Old School” (2003): Indefinite self-isolation might make one ponder founding their own fraternity in their house. Just don’t go streaking, please.

39. “This Is Spinal Tap” (1984): It’s the rock mockumentary that goes to 11, and the sting remains from “Big Bottom” not snagging an original song Oscar nod.

40. “Young Frankenstein” (1974): A Mel Brooks marathon is guaranteed to lift all spirits but do start with the one starring Gene Wilder as a lovably kooky mad scientist.

Father Merrin (Max von Sydow, left) attempts to rid young Regan (Linda Blair) of a demon in 1973's "The Exorcist."

When you need a good scare

41. “Evil Dead II” (1987): The splatter-fest teaches you the essential lesson that if your hand gets hacked off, attach a chainsaw.




42. “The Exorcist” (1973): The dreadful thought of the devil possessing a young girl is even more unnerving seeing it unfold in front of you.

43. “Get Out” (2017): Good luck ever forgetting the image of Daniel Kaluuya’s teary horror upon realizing he’s in the Sunken Place.

44. “It” (2017): A coming-of-age story first, a clown-laden fright fest second.

45. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984): Slasher villain math: Freddy Krueger > Michael Myers > Jason Voorhees.

Janet Leigh screams for her life in the infamous shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho."

46. “Psycho” (1960): Still an effective deterrent to showering, six decades later.

47. “Se7en” (1995): A splendid smashup of genres (detective, noir, horror) and an eerie exploration of the seven deadly sins, but don’t look in the box, Brad Pitt!

48. “Shaun of the Dead” (2004): If you’re going to watch a freaky outbreak movie in the time of coronavirus, at least make it a seriously funny British joint.

49. “The Shining” (1980): OK, maaaaaaybe not the greatest film to watch in a time of self-isolation.

50. “The Witch” (2015): If a goat named Black Phillip asks you, “Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?” just say no. (You might want to avoid talking goats in general.)

Chadwick Boseman stars as the title Wakandan warrior of Marvel's "Black Panther."

When you need a super-duper hero

51. “Big Trouble in Little China” (1986): Only Kurt Russell could sell being the two-fisted, macho-talking, truck-driving sidekick in his own movie.

52. “Black Panther” (2018): Wakanda – and Chadwick Boseman’s phenomenal royal warrior – forever!

53. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014): A well-crafted, outstanding political thriller in which Chris Evans just happens to be wearing star-spangled tights.

54. “The Dark Knight” (2008): Heath Ledger’s Joker for the absolute win. (Christian Bale’s Batman is all right, too.)

55. “Flash Gordon” (1980): He’ll save every one of us. It’s right there in the song.

The Bride (Uma Thurman) walks tall and carries a sharp sword in "Kill Bill: Volume 1."

56. “The Goonies” (1985): Let’s see Batman or Captain America try to do the Truffle Shuffle.

57. “Kill Bill: Volume 1” (2003): Clad in a Bruce Lee jumpsuit, Uma Thurman’s The Bride marries the look of a fashion icon with supreme sword-swinging vengeance taking out umpteen goons.

58. “Rocky IV” (1985): Sure, Sylvester Stallone’s first “Rocky” was “the good one.” He pretty much has to take on the whole Soviet Union in this one, though!

59. “Superman” (1978): Nobody has ever worn superhero threads – especially those of the iconic big blue boy scout – the same way as Christopher Reeve.

60. “Wonder Woman” (2017): Gal Gadot’s ridiculously powerful Amazon princess learns that humanity is a bunch of warring jerks and helps out anyway.

Dustin Hoffman (left) and Robert Redford play the crusading Washington Post reporters in "All the President's Men."

When you need a history lesson

61. “All the President’s Men” (1976): Whether you see shades of the past now or not, crusading journalists taking on a corrupt administration is simply riveting.

62. “Amadeus” (1984): Mozart could write a mean classical tune, and his rivalry with Salieri here is a symphony of hedonism and drama.

63. “Ed Wood” (1994): Tim Burton turns in a fascinating retro ode to the B-movie filmmaker and angora sweater aficionado.

64. “Hidden Figures” (2016): One way to honor NASA pioneer Katherine Johnson, who died death last month at 101, is to watch Taraji P. Henson in this rousing civil-rights tale.

65. “Lincoln” (2012): Man of many hats Daniel Day Lewis rocks the stovepipe headwear of the 16th president especially well.

Math genius Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) is key to America staying competitive in the Space Race in "Hidden Figures."

66. “RBG” (2018): Worried about the health of 87-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg? This documentary shows the notorious Supreme Court justice is made of the sternest stuff.

67. “The Right Stuff” (1983): More than three wondrous hours detailing the backstory – in epic Hollywood fashion – of our first trip to space.

68. “1776” (1972): Just think of it as the prequel to “Hamilton.”

69. “Spartacus” (1960): Fun fact: Kirk Douglas was leading slave revolts when “Gladiator” Russell Crowe was a preschooler.

70. “Straight Outta Compton” (2015): O’Shea Jackson Jr. plays dad Ice Cube in the N.W.A. biopic that’s a delight even if you aren’t into hip-hop.

Humphrey Bogart (left) and Ingrid Bergman play former lovers in a complicated situation in "Casablanca."

When you need a great movie

71. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969): Find yourself a ride-or-die BFF like Paul Newman and Robert Redford as infamous Old West outlaws. (But don’t do all the robbing.)

72. “Casablanca” (1942): Hey, kids! If you ever wondered why Humphrey Bogart was a thing, watch this.

73. “Chinatown” (1974): Jack Nicholson’s busted face is a signature look for a sublime L.A. film noir.

74. “Citizen Kane” (1941): The greatest film ever made is actually pretty good. The hype is real!

75. “The Departed” (2006): Leo, Jack and Damon in a Boston-set Scorsese mob movie? That’s wicked smaht casting.

76. “Die Hard” (1988): It should be everyone’s goal to have the self-confidence to trudge across broken glass, take on a snarling Eurotrash supervillain and save the day, all on Christmas Eve.

Richard Dreyfuss tries to do something about the pursuing man-eating shark in "Jaws."

77. “Jaws” (1975): The first summer blockbuster is the mack daddy of man-eating shark flicks.

78. “North by Northwest” (1959): Getting embroiled in a case of mistaken identity and getting chased by a crop-dusting plane equals a very bad, no-good day for Cary Grant.

79. “Parasite” (2019): The South Korean movie just won best picture so maybe getting stuck at home is the best time to catch up? (Warning: It might cause paranoia about your basement.)

80. “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981): The perfect action film with an imperfectly flawed, square-jawed protagonist.

Bruce Willis has to nuke an asteroid careening toward Earth in "Armageddon."

When you need a not-so-great movie

81. “Armageddon” (1998): Let the record state that Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck were Space Force before it was cool.

82. “Cobra” (1986): Crime is a disease, Stallone is the cure and this violent extravaganza is a transfusion of guilty pleasure.

83. “Con Air” (1997): Much of Nicolas Cage’s whole career could fill this space, however, only one flick has characters named Diamond Dog, Swamp Thing and Cyrus the Virus.

84. “Highlander” (1986): Ridiculous cheeseball plot, immortal warriors and killer Queen songs strangely go together.

85. “The Last Dragon” (1985): We dare you not be earwormed by DeBarge’s “Rhythm of the Night,” the infectious tune that reflects the overall cult-movie mix of kung fu, romance and ‘80s style.

86. “Mommie Dearest” (1981): Yes, it’s the one with “No more wire hangers!” But there’s much more melodrama throughout the bonkers Joan Crawford biopic as Faye Dunaway gives a masterclass in overacting.

It's all smiles for Christina (Mara Hobel, left) and Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway) until the wire hangers come out in "Mommie Dearest."

87. “Over the Top” (1987): The underdog plot centered on arm wrestling is nonsensical and yet completely rousing. It’s also proof positive that turning your trucker hat around always means business.

88. “Road House” (1989): The one where Patrick Swayze rips a dude’s throat out.

89. “So I Married an Axe Murderer” (1993): Forget “Wayne’s World” and “Austin Powers.” This is Mike Myers’ greatest hit, as a beat poet afraid of commitment and even more fearful of his maybe-a-killer new love.

90. “Xanadu” (1980): The splashy, post-disco pop musical was made to be played on repeat constantly at roller rinks.

Domhnall Gleeson is a time-traveling Brit and Rachel McAdams is his American love in "About Time."

When you need your heart warmed

91. “About Time” (2013): Domhnall Gleeson is a time-traveling dude, Rachel McAdams is his soulmate, and all the feels will be had.

92. “Field of Dreams” (1989): The magnificent baseball film embraces the power of faith, belief and having one last catch with your dad.

93. “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946): Not just for Christmas anymore!

94. “Jojo Rabbit” (2019): Taika Waititi plays Hitler in a satire focusing on human love over learned hate.

95. “Notting Hill” (1999): You, too, will believe a regular schmo could date Julia Roberts.

Rudy Ruettiger (Sean Astin) gets in his final game at Notre Dame in "Rudy."

96. “Rudy” (1993): The best football movie’s most impressive trick is making you believe Sean Astin would survive two seconds on the gridiron.

97. “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012): Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence together are an A-list romantic pairing – he plays a bipolar Eagle fan, she’s an acerbic widow – as well as a sizzling dance couple.

98. “Sing Street” (2016): An Irish teen in the ‘80s forms a band to win over his crush and discovers no woman can truly love a man who listens to Phil Collins. (Sorry, Mike Tyson.)

99. “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994): A memorable jailbird bromance from the mind of Stephen King.

100. “You’ve Got Mail” (1998): The swoon-worthy Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan jam that feels ancient with the AOL email chime yet is oh-so-timeless.

Credit: USATODAY

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