50 Greatest Films You'll Only Watch Once

Too dark, depressing or drawn-out for an encore

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    • piffle

      Sep 24th 2012, 7:46

      I would have Hard Candy on this list. Everything about that film is designed to make the audience uncomfortable. Even placing aside the viceral horror of the surgery scene, its disturbing how you begin to feel sympathy for a potential paedophile when he really should be the monster of the piece.

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    • dancarmody

      Sep 24th 2012, 7:59

      Requiem for a dream is one of my favourite films! i watch it all the time. As is Tyrannosaur. Apart from that i agree with a lot of the list, especially Salo and Irreversible after my month of watching the most shocking films made.

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    • Hadouken76

      Sep 24th 2012, 8:31

      I have seen Gone with the Wind more than once, as well as Lawrence of Arabia, another 4 hour epic. Audition is one film I won't be returning to, a case of "Ahh what a sweet...OH MY GOD!"

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    • devilsfoxes

      Sep 24th 2012, 9:49

      Enter The Void... not again cos it's disappointing cons outweigh some dizzying height.

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    • ash333

      Sep 24th 2012, 9:55

      I disagree with Schindler's List, American History X and God help me, Happiness, which I do find bleakly hilarious (hopefully) inspite of the central Peodaphille story line

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    • MattMorris

      Sep 24th 2012, 10:00

      Star Wars Episode III

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    • 2Dglasses

      Sep 24th 2012, 10:09

      Dare i suggest 6th Sense or possibly Shutter Island for films you'd never see more than twice? Once not knowing the twist, once with...after that its largely pointless

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    • PearDrops

      Sep 24th 2012, 10:14

      Requiem for a dream, Audition, Lilya 4-ever, They Shoot Horses Don't They.... This list has got it so right.

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    • Gashead

      Sep 24th 2012, 10:46

      I was kind of expecting Oldboy to be on this list...

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    • marc96

      Sep 24th 2012, 12:03

      completely agree with Martyrs, i want it on dvd but cant imagine watching it again no matter how good it is... the kevin bacon film called The Woodsman is one i'd have on the list... although its not a 50 greatest so i can understand why

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    • killertapir

      Sep 24th 2012, 12:10

      I kind of disagree with films like Requiem for Dream, Audition, The Mist and Seventh Seal, because I have watched them multiple times and enjoy them. The there are the films like Antichrist which I disagree with because of the adjective 'great'. I'm not a fan of that film. If you wanted a better Von Trier film, that I'm even less likely to watch again it has to be Dogville. 3 hours of relentless misery. I love it.

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    • karamazovna

      Sep 24th 2012, 12:13

      The Baby of Macon should be on here, as well. Shoot, half of Greenaway's oeuvre should be on here. Agree with all the ones I've seen.

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    • MikeyRix

      Sep 24th 2012, 12:18

      I'd add "Donnie Darko" onto this list. Great film, but all three adjectives apply to it!

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    • FBMStankovic

      Sep 24th 2012, 12:20

      Irreversible is my definitive number 1 on this list, I'm trying to watch it again but I just can't

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    • FBKCooley

      Sep 24th 2012, 12:23

      I agree with "Dead Man Walking" on this list, but for different reasons. It was so heavy-handed and ham-fisted that I couldn't bear to sit through it again. And not once did I feel bad for Sean Penn's character, who not only was guilty, but repented only when he realized that he wasn't going to be allowed to get away with it. Too much liberal agenda for me, and I'm mostly a liberal.

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    • apo1978

      Sep 24th 2012, 12:28

      I fancy seeing Audition again as its been years and I wanna recall how f**cked up it really is. Agree with Martyrs but I would watch it again with a 2nd person this time, just to witness their reactions!

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    • tashharmer

      Sep 24th 2012, 12:33

      I'd beg to differ with Tyrannosaur and Precious. Tyrannosaur is up there with my favourite films and I could watch it again and again. I've seen it 3 or 4 times since getting the DVD and will watch it again at least once sometime. Its so beautiful and moving and the performances are incredible. Precious I have only watched once, but I would watch it again...and I don't remember this baby dropping scene that you say viewers will only remember once they've watched it!

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    • Kellend11

      Sep 24th 2012, 12:38

      Agreeing with @devilsfoxes with Enter The Void. I felt sick after I watched it from the trippy lights and the dizzy music. Its so long as well, I thought it was going to end at one point but it kept on going. And a scene including is.....blllaarrrggghhh

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    • Kellend11

      Sep 24th 2012, 12:39

      Meant to be: a scene including a fetus**

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    • FBJThomas38

      Sep 24th 2012, 12:51

      your right that i won't be watching Battleship Potemkin again but i still loved that film

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    • craigisdead

      Sep 24th 2012, 13:26

      Have seen 'Martyrs' at least 3 times now, mainly to introduce others to what I consider the greatest horror movie of the last decade. I even invested in the blu-ray, I intend to watch it many times more in the future.

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    • BobbyTwoTimes

      Sep 24th 2012, 13:39

      Stopped reading when I saw 'American History X' at number 46. Brilliant film with massive rewatchability purely because of Norton's performance. Talking of 'Drawn Out' aren't these '50 best.....' lists getting a bit like that too?...

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    • Ballalla

      Sep 24th 2012, 13:59

      Hey, watched the Elephant Man yesterday and still loved it. Just like Der Untergang (Downfall) and some of the other films you mentioned I like to watch this again once in a while, so I don't agree with your list. And reducing Battleship Potemkin to the railway station bit? Sigh...

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    • gregbaker

      Sep 24th 2012, 15:46

      Don't agree wit the mist or American history X, could watch both many more times

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    • bomccollow

      Sep 24th 2012, 17:44

      Control The Film: A black and white biopic of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division. His journey is a long, slow spiral, down into depression, plagued by relationship and health problems. Why You'll Only Watch It Once: The film only becomes bleaker and more solemn, with the end leaving you depressed and contemplating suicide.

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    • patrickwells

      Sep 24th 2012, 17:55

      Martyrs is brutal, but it's an outstanding horror film and I've watched it a few times. I'd recommend Irreversible to anyone interested in what cinema can do, though I've only managed to watch that twice. I would have thought A Serbian Film may have made the list or been mentioned here. And what about Threads? *shudder*

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    • MxMagpie

      Sep 24th 2012, 19:13

      Total Film, get some education about trans* issues. Brandon Teena was a boy. End of. If you want to describe him in more depth, he's a transgender boy. Not a girl. Didn't "want" to be a boy, was actually a boy. Got that? Good.

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    • darktower78

      Sep 24th 2012, 19:40

      Passion of the Christ, too brutal to see again.

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    • Hadouken76

      Sep 24th 2012, 19:52

      Oh i dont know, I think Gibson nailed it.

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    • DomCobb

      Sep 24th 2012, 20:43

      Sorry, but the Seventh Seal is insanely re-watchable.

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    • henryjr

      Sep 24th 2012, 22:14

      I love Blue Valentine, and have now watched it thrice. I've also seen Requiem For a Dream twice, pretty heavy stuff, but directed excellently! (NOTE: the composer's name was CLINT MANSELL, perhaps you were thinking of CLIFF MARTINEZ at the time?)

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    • StevePotter

      Sep 24th 2012, 23:37

      @patrick- They didn't put "A Serbian Film" because they're trying to talk about GREAT movies, not utter c**p. Also, why isn't "The Girl Next Door" on this list?

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    • munkeycop

      Sep 25th 2012, 0:42

      I'd have thought that Buried might be on that list. A great film that I never want to see again.

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    • rdpjr

      Sep 25th 2012, 1:57

      I love this list. Most of my favorite films ever are included. Although, shouldn't you include Dogtooth and The White Ribbon here?

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    • jrkinnard

      Sep 25th 2012, 4:35

      Wow.... just... wow. The moral of this article seems to be, "Good movies are only worth seeing once because they might make you sad, uneasy or contemplative." Maybe you should stick to lists like, "20 Best f******o Simulation Scenes in Films Made After the Year 1985."

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      Sep 25th 2012, 5:21

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    • jjsainio

      Sep 25th 2012, 9:43

      The Mist is a great film because the ending...

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    • Bennyj75

      Sep 25th 2012, 12:02

      Second the Oldboy expectation; also, what about "Inside"? As nihilistic as Martyrs, easily....

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    • cleanbreak

      Sep 25th 2012, 14:07

      Well, 'Come and see' is for me, the greatest war film ever made, narowly beating out 'Apocolypse Now' and have seen it on countless occasions. While 'Schindlers List', really? Watch only once? The film is beautiful. From the stunning photography, wonderful performances, to John Williams sound track, the film is a masterpiece and masterpieces need to be seen more than once. One film I would put up there is a little known film called 'Ending Up' with John Mills. I saw it when I was 17 and have never had the guts to see it again, talk about depressing!

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    • Chrmani

      Sep 25th 2012, 14:52

      Hard Candy and We need to talk about Kevin.

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    • moviefactz

      Sep 25th 2012, 20:54

      Haha, I've watched Funny Games about five times in English. I think it says more about the arrogance of the audience that he had to reshoot in English rather than any watchability - it gets better every time you see it because you can look out for the hints about what is coming. Really, it's our own fault that we don't tend to watch foreign language films as a culture.

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    • Howieb

      Sep 25th 2012, 21:48

      Alpha dog

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    • AngryRobo

      Sep 26th 2012, 4:48

      I've seen Seventh Seal at least four or five times and I would argue that it is not only a good film to see more than once, but that it is absolutely necessary to see it more than once in order to realize the full genius of Bergman.

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    • FBJSullivan

      Sep 26th 2012, 11:43

      No Mouchette,Antichrist,white ribbon

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    • dftgfdgghg

      Sep 26th 2012, 14:10

      Wonderful. share a website with you, -- http://mcaf.ee/q1i0h -- Believe you will love it

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    • dangoodfellow

      Sep 27th 2012, 23:36

      Man.Bites.Dog. (shudder) great movie, haven't seen it for about eighteen years, and i'm still too freaked out to see it again.

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    • Bubz01

      Sep 27th 2012, 23:37

      There's some great films on here, and some personal favourites that I've re-watched many times (Blue Valentine, Schindler's List to name a couple). I'd agree with things like Irreversible though. I'd like to mention Snowtown. Genuinely brilliant film, but man was that tough stuff. I'll watch it again at some point I'm sure though, a film that good deserves to be watched again. Films that are on this list for being 'sad' don't really belong imo. There's a lot of stuff on here that I've researched after seeing this list and there's some stuff I really want to watch now and will seek out (Make Way For Tomorrow for example).

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    • Jsilver

      Sep 28th 2012, 11:22

      I can't face Hostel 2 again, but then it's not really a "great" film

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    • kmcryer

      Sep 28th 2012, 15:00

      I disagree about "Schindler's List," probably because it's one of the best pieces of cinema released during my lifetime. I would watch that again over "Titanic" any day of the week! I also disagree with the commenters who mentioned "Hard Candy." I thought it was fascinating and would watch it again in a heartbeat. I was cheering Ellen Page's character on. Of course, I'm sure most men would have a different perspective... One film that I think should be on the list is "The Last King of Scotland." It told a story that I knew nothing about because I was too young to have lived through it, but it wasn't long enough ago that it's taught in history classes yet. Plus, the acting was superb. I can easily see how Forest Whitaker won an Oscar and still think James McAvoy was robbed of a nomination. However, I cannot watch that one again. Two words: meat hooks!

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    • thea150767

      Sep 28th 2012, 16:17

      A few movies I don't agree on....the Blair Witch project I still find watchable...and I have seen both Gone with the Wind and Schindler's list more than once. I could not agree more with Funny Games....that movie completely and utterly p****d me off and you'd have to tie me to a chair to make me watch it again.

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    • FBYBrown

      Sep 28th 2012, 17:03

      Some of the films on your list I've re-watched over and over again (Gone With The Wind, Schindler's List, Blair Witch Project and Requiem For A Dream). I'm surprised that you left 2 films off the list: Saving Private Ryan-The Normandy Invasion scene alone would do it. It is gut-wrenching from begining to end, and the only time that I had seen my (then) boyfriend cry and not hide his tears. A Serbian Film-The most incredibly disturbing horror film I've ever seen, foreign or otherwise. Acts of incredibly pedophillia, necrophillia and rape that just makes you squirm. It was a great horror film and has one of the most messed up endings EVER (Even more than The Mist!) but I admit I felt "unclean" watching it. It was bad enough for me to take a shower afterwards. I doubt if I can go on this ride again.

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    • michaelmcdonald

      Sep 28th 2012, 17:54

      One that is easily forgotten by everyone but me is "Star 80". That movie still effects me when I think about it. I bought it on DVD because I wanted to own it but have yet to take it out of the plastic in over 4 yrs. What really kills me is that people look at Eric Roberts like he is a joke. He shows what an amazing actor he is in this film!

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    • TinEar85

      Sep 29th 2012, 9:54

      I almost flung myself out a window watching Amelie. And I thought Zooey Deschanel was annoyingly quirky.

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    • Smithereens

      Sep 30th 2012, 6:36

      "And I thought Zooey Deschanel was annoyingly quirky"...in what? She most certainly wasn't in Amelie. *confused* I love and have rewatched Schindler's List, Requiem for a Dream and Grave of the Firelies many times, such moving and beautifully made films about great human tragedies. If I would add any films to the list it would probably be C'est arrivé près de chez vous and Eraserhead....I like them and they're both quite funny in an absurd way, but the prospect of watching them again would just make me queasy. The long drawn-out angst and disgust surrounding the "baby" in Eraserhead, uuugh. And C'est arrivé près de chez vous is basically a mock documentary about a serial killer who kills people randomly and lightheartedly, out of boredom. You can't help but thinking when you watch it that there are guys like that out there.

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    • Kubrick1979

      Sep 30th 2012, 13:20

      So glad to see Nil By Mouth getting in ahead of Leaving Las Vegas. Both great films about the horrors of alcoholism. But for me Nil By Mouth is strides ahead of LLV because of it's no nonsense, unpolished approach to this subject. See Gary Oldman's interview.

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    • InvisibleZombie

      Sep 30th 2012, 15:31

      This is a good list to remind me of a few dvds I should sell off because I really won't be re-visiting them again! I don't think I can see "The Machinist" or "Elephant" again. I could see "American History X" again without the curb scene, I can see that in my head when I don't want too, ugh. But "The Elephant Man" and "Sophie's Choice" I can always re-watch.

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    • timboduk

      Sep 30th 2012, 20:30

      Surprised to see Pan's Labyrinth isn't on the list. Definitely a 5-star movie in a year devoid of quality films, but the casual, nasty, and very real violence in the 'Real Life' scenes makes it a tough watch.

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    • Talia

      Oct 1st 2012, 0:57

      'Dancer in the Dark' should be on here. A fascinating movie, but very, very dark. I walked out of the theatre feeling both badly bruised and numb at the same time. It was good, but I don't think I could stand to go through the emotional battering again.

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    • bazman05

      Oct 8th 2012, 23:30

      Have to disagree with "Requiem for a Dream", which I watch at least once a year. As for "Martyrs" that is the biggest load of pretentious bull, which I would put at number 1.

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    • mackers2012

      Oct 20th 2012, 11:20

      i think human centipede should 100% be on this!

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    • marvinnubwaxer

      Nov 22nd 2012, 1:47

      it was too depressing to read all of the list but i assume Atonement was on the list. that film was just perverse.

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    • medusajordan

      Apr 15th 2013, 19:31

      Another Lars Von Trier - Dogville. I was riveted, but I am almost certain I can never watch it again.

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    • michaelgarvey

      Jun 12th 2014, 21:53

      I am surprised, "boy in the striped pajamas" is not on this list. It was an excellent movie and horribly depressing. I could never watch it again, but am glad I did once.

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