film The Best Movies About Movies  

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List Rules Films about filmmaking or that have a show-within-a-show

The best movies about movies are those which capture the magic of film making in an actual film. That's no easy task, but some of the films listed here are indeed a movie within a movie, taking viewers on a wild and sometimes confusing ride. Some of the movies that earned a spot on the list are critically acclaimed films, considered among the best movies of all time, and with good reason. Vote for the movies about movies that you loved the most, vote down any that you didn't like, and rerank this list in any order you want.

Some of the most iconic films in cinema history were actually movies about movies. The classic musical 'Singin' in the Rain' and the brilliant Sunset Boulevard, arguably one of the greatest film noir movies ever made, are great examples. In recent years, two films: 'The Artist' and 'Argo' won Academy Awards for best picture. What do they have in common? They were both movies essentially about movies (though the subject matter was vastly different).

Once you start thinking about it, a lot of major Hollywood films are about making movies. Is it any wonder? Filmmakers know their craft, so why not make a personal movie about the process? Some of the best living directors like Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Christopher Guest have made films about films.

Some of these films are comedies, others are suspenseful, tension-filled nail-biters, but all of the films on this list are, in some way, about the magic of making movies. What is the greatest movie about a movie ever made? That's subjective, though this list offers more than a few excellent choices. It is, however, not complete, so feel free to add your suggestions as well.
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Sunset Boulevard is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Sunset Boulevard William Holden, Buster Keaton, Gloria Swanson Sunset Boulevard—stylized onscreen as SUNSET BLVD.—is a 1950 American film noir directed and co-written by Billy Wilder, and produced and co-written by Charles Brackett. It was named after the boulevard that runs through Los Angeles and Beverly ...more

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Singin' in the Rain is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Singin' in the Rain Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly, Rita Moreno Singin' in the Rain is a 1952 American musical comedy film directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, starring Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds, and choreographed by Kelly and Donen. It offers a lighthearted depiction of Hollywood in ...more

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Ed Wood is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Ed Wood Johnny Depp, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bill Murray Ed Wood is a 1994 American period comedy-drama biopic directed and produced by Tim Burton, and starring Johnny Depp as cult filmmaker Ed Wood. The film concerns the period in Wood's life when he made his best-known films as well as his ...more

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King Kong is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
King Kong Fay Wray, Merian C. Cooper, Bruce Cabot King Kong is a 1933 American fantasy monster/adventure film directed and produced by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. The screenplay by James Ashmore Creelman and Ruth Rose was from an idea conceived by Cooper and Edgar Wallace. It ...more

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The Artist is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
The Artist John Goodman, Malcolm McDowell, James Cromwell The Artist is a 2011 French romantic comedy-drama in the style of a black-and-white silent film. It was written, directed, and co-edited by Michel Hazanavicius, produced by Thomas Langmann and starred Jean Dujardin and Bérénice ...more

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Argo is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Argo Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston Argo is a 2012 American political thriller film directed by Ben Affleck. The film is adapted from U.S. Central Intelligence Agency operative Tony Mendez's book The Master of Disguise and Joshuah Bearman's 2007 Wired article The Great Escape: ...more

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Tropic Thunder is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Tropic Thunder Tom Cruise, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Robert Downey Jr. Tropic Thunder is a 2008 American action satire comedy film written, produced and directed by Ben Stiller.

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Boogie Nights is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Boogie Nights Julianne Moore, Mark Wahlberg, Heather Graham Boogie Nights is a 1997 American drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. It is set in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley and focuses on a young nightclub dishwasher, Eddie Adams, who becomes a popular star of pornographic films, ...more

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8½ is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Claudia Cardinale, Marcello Mastroianni, Barbara Steele 8½ is a 1963 Italian comedy-drama film directed by Federico Fellini. Co-scripted by Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano, and Brunello Rondi, it stars Marcello Mastroianni as Guido Anselmi, a famous Italian film director. Shot in ...more

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Cinema Paradiso is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Cinema Paradiso Brigitte Bardot, John Wayne, Charlie Chaplin Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, internationally released as Cinema Paradiso, is a 1988 Italian drama film written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. The film stars Jacques Perrin, Philippe Noiret, Leopoldo Trieste, Marco Leonardi, Agnese Nano and ...more

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The Player is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
The Player Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, Whoopi Goldberg The Player is a 1992 American satirical film directed by Robert Altman from a screenplay by Michael Tolkin based on his own 1988 novel of the same name. It is the story of Hollywood studio executive Griffin Mill who murders an aspiring ...more

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Hugo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Hugo Jude Law, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee Hugo is a 2011 American 3D historical adventure drama film directed and co-produced by Martin Scorsese and adapted for the screen by John Logan. Based on Brian Selznick's novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret, it is about a boy who lives alone in ...more

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Who Framed Roger Rabbit is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
but chickens double d added Who Framed Roger Rabbit Kathleen Turner, Christopher Lloyd, Bob Hoskins Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a 1988 American live-action/animated fantasy-comedy film directed by Robert Zemeckis. The screenplay by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman is based on Gary K. Wolf's 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, which depicts ...more

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The Bad and the Beautiful is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
CraigAlarm added The Bad and the Beautiful Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, Walter Pidgeon The Bad and the Beautiful is a 1952 MGM melodramatic film that tells the story of a film producer who alienates all around him. It stars Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Walter Pidgeon, Dick Powell, Barry Sullivan, Gloria Grahame and Gilbert Roland. ...more

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Day for Night is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
CraigAlarm added Day for Night Jacqueline Bissett, Graham Greene, François Truffaut La Nuit américaine is a 1973 French film directed by François Truffaut. It stars Jacqueline Bisset and Jean-Pierre Léaud. In French, nuit américaine is a technical process whereby sequences filmed outdoors in ...more

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Adaptation is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Adaptation Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Maggie Gyllenhaal Adaptation. is a 2002 American comedy-drama metafilm directed by Spike Jonze and written by Charlie Kaufman. The film is based on Susan Orlean's non-fiction book The Orchid Thief, with numerous self-referential events added. The film stars ...more

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The Producers is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
EHarrell added The Producers Gene Wilder, Kenneth Mars, Zero Mostel The Producers is a 1968 American satirical dark comedy film written and directed by Mel Brooks. The film is set in the late 1960s and it tells the story of a theatrical producer and an accountant who want to produce a sure-fire Broadway flop. ...more

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Sullivan's Travels is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Sullivan's Travels Veronica Lake, Preston Sturges, Elsa Lanchester Sullivan's Travels is a 1942 American comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges. It is a satire about a movie director, played by Joel McCrea, who longs to make a socially relevant drama, but eventually learns that comedies are his ...more

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Inglourious Basterds is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Inglourious Basterds Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger Inglourious Basterds is a 2009 German-American war black comedy film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Laurent, Michael Fassbender, Eli Roth, and Diane Kruger. The film tells the ...more

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Silent Movie is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Silent Movie Liza Minnelli, Paul Newman, Mel Brooks Silent Movie is a 1976 satirical comedy film co-written, directed by, and starring Mel Brooks, and released by 20th Century Fox on June 17, 1976. The ensemble cast includes Dom DeLuise, Marty Feldman, Bernadette Peters, and Sid Caesar, with ...more

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Get Shorty is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
but chickens double d added Get Shorty John Travolta, John Wayne, Danny DeVito Get Shorty is a 1995 crime-comedy-thriller film based on Elmore Leonard's novel of the same name. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and starring John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, and Danny DeVito, the plot remained true to the book except for ...more

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The Aviator is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
CraigAlarm added The Aviator Kate Beckinsale, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwen Stefani The Aviator is a 2004 American biographical drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, written by John Logan and produced by Michael Mann, Sandy Climan, Graham King, and Charles Evans, Jr.. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, Cate ...more

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The Purple Rose of Cairo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
but chickens double d added The Purple Rose of Cairo Viggo Mortensen, Mia Farrow, Jeff Daniels The Purple Rose of Cairo is a 1985 American romantic fantasy comedy film written and directed by Woody Allen. Inspired by Sherlock, Jr., Hellzapoppin', and Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author, it is the tale of a film character ...more

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Harlow is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
CraigAlarm added Harlow Angela Lansbury, Ginger Rogers, Leslie Nielsen Harlow is a 1965 American biographical film directed by Gordon Douglas about the life of film star Jean Harlow. It stars Carroll Baker in the title role, and Raf Vallone, Red Buttons, Angela Lansbury, Peter Lawford, Martin Balsam, and Leslie ...more

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Super 8 is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
CraigAlarm added Super 8 Elle Fanning, AJ Michalka, Kyle Chandler Super 8 is a 2011 American science fiction horror film written, co-produced, and directed by J. J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg. The film stars Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, and Kyle Chandler and tells the story of a group of young ...more

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Birdman is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Tom Islava added Birdman Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Edward Norton Birdman or, commonly referred to as Birdman, is a 2014 American black comedy-drama film co-written, produced, and directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. It stars Michael Keaton with a supporting cast of Zach Galifianakis, ...more

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Bowfinger is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Bowfinger Robert Downey Jr., Eddie Murphy, Heather Graham Bowfinger is a 1999 American comedy film directed by Frank Oz. It depicts a down-and-out filmmaker in Hollywood attempting to make a film on a small budget with a star who does not know that he is in the film. It was written by Steve Martin, ...more

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Saving Mr. Banks is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
looksharp added Saving Mr. Banks Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Emma Thompson Saving Mr. Banks is a 2013 period drama film directed by John Lee Hancock from a screenplay written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith. Centered on the development of the 1964 Walt Disney Studios film Mary Poppins, the film stars Emma Thompson as ...more

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This Is Spinal Tap is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
but chickens double d added This Is Spinal Tap Billy Crystal, Fran Drescher, Anjelica Huston This Is Spinal Tap is an American 1984 rock music mockumentary written, scored by, and starring Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer. The film portrays the fictional British heavy metal band Spinal Tap. Directed by ...more

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King Kong is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
but chickens double d added King Kong Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody King Kong is a 2005 epic monster film and remake of the 1933 film of the same name. Directed, co-written, and produced by Peter Jackson, it stars Naomi Watts as Ann Darrow, Jack Black as Carl Denham, Adrien Brody as Jack Driscoll and, through ...more

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¡Three Amigos! is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
¡Three Amigos! Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Phil Hartman ¡Three Amigos! is a 1986 American comedy film directed by John Landis and written by Lorne Michaels, Steve Martin, and Randy Newman. The plot is loosely based on Akira Kurosawa's 1954 film Seven Samurai and the subsequent western ...more

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Man with a Movie Camera is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Man with a Movie Camera Man with a Movie Camera is an experimental 1929 silent documentary film, with no story and no actors, by Soviet director Dziga Vertov, edited by his wife Elizaveta Svilova. Vertov's feature film, produced by the film studio VUFKU, presents ...more

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Hitchcock is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
CraigAlarm added Hitchcock Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, Helen Mirren Hitchcock is a 2012 American biographical drama film directed by Sacha Gervasi and based on Stephen Rebello's non-fiction book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. The film was released in selected cities on November 23, 2012, with a ...more

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The Blair Witch Project is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
The Blair Witch Project Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams The Blair Witch Project is a 1999 American found footage horror film written, directed and edited by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez. The film was produced by the Haxan Films production company. The film relates the story of three ...more

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Raging Bull is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Raging Bull Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Martin Scorsese Raging Bull is a 1980 American biographical black-and-white sports drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, produced by Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler and adapted by Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin from Jake LaMotta's memoir Raging Bull: My ...more

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The Muppet Movie is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Tom Islava added The Muppet Movie Steve Martin, Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor The Muppet Movie is a 1979 American-British musical road comedy film and the first of a series of live-action feature films starring Jim Henson's Muppets. Directed by James Frawley, the film's screenplay was written by The Muppet Show writers ...more

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Targets is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
CraigAlarm added Targets Randy Quaid, Boris Karloff, Peter Bogdanovich Targets is a 1968 American thriller, written, produced and directed by Peter Bogdanovich and filmed in color by László Kovács.

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Wag the Dog is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
CraigAlarm added Wag the Dog Kirsten Dunst, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman Wag the Dog is a 1997 black comedy film produced and directed by Barry Levinson. The screenplay by Hilary Henkin and David Mamet was loosely adapted from Larry Beinhart's novel American Hero. The film stars Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro, ...more

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The Bodyguard is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
CraigAlarm added The Bodyguard Whitney Houston, Kevin Costner, Debbie Reynolds The Bodyguard is a 1992 American romantic thriller film directed by Mick Jackson, written by Lawrence Kasdan, and starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. Costner stars as a former Secret Service Agent-turned-bodyguard who is hired to ...more

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The Stunt Man is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
CraigAlarm added The Stunt Man Peter O'Toole, Barbara Hershey, Alex Rocco The Stunt Man is a 1980 American film directed by Richard Rush, starring Peter O'Toole, Steve Railsback, and Barbara Hershey. The movie was adapted by Lawrence B. Marcus and Rush from the novel by Paul Brodeur. It tells the story of a young ...more

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8mm is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
CraigAlarm added 8mm Nicolas Cage, Joaquin Phoenix, James Gandolfini 8mm is a 1999 American-German crime mystery thriller film directed by Joel Schumacher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker. The film stars Nicolas Cage as a private investigator who delves into the world of snuff films. ...more

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L.A. Confidential is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
but chickens double d added L.A. Confidential Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger L.A. Confidential is a 1997 neo-noir crime film based on James Ellroy's 1990 novel of the same title, the third book in his L.A. Quartet series. Like the book, the film tells the story of a group of LAPD officers in the year 1953, and the ...more

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What Just Happened is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
CraigAlarm added What Just Happened Kristen Stewart, Bruce Willis, Robert De Niro What Just Happened is a satirical comedy-drama directed by Barry Levinson and starring Robert De Niro. The supporting cast includes Catherine Keener, Robin Wright Penn, Stanley Tucci, and Sean Penn. What Just Happened is an independent film, ...more

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The Party is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
CraigAlarm added The Party Peter Sellers, Peter Falk, Gavin MacLeod The Party is a 1968 comedy film directed by Blake Edwards, starring Peter Sellers and Claudine Longet. The film has a very loose structure, and essentially serves as a series of set pieces for Sellers's improvisational comedy talents. The ...more

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RKO 281 is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
CraigAlarm added RKO 281 Liev Schreiber, John Malkovich, Melanie Griffith RKO 281 is a 1999 historical drama film directed by Benjamin Ross. It stars Liev Schreiber, James Cromwell, Melanie Griffith, John Malkovich, Roy Scheider and Liam Cunningham. The film depicts the troubled production behind the 1941 film ...more

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The First Wives Club is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
CraigAlarm added The First Wives Club Sarah Jessica Parker, Goldie Hawn, Heather Locklear The First Wives Club is a 1996 comedy film, based on the best-selling 1992 novel of the same name by Olivia Goldsmith. Narrated by Diane Keaton, it stars Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Bette Midler as three divorced women who seek revenge on their ...more

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Real Life is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
CraigAlarm added Real Life Albert Brooks, Harry Shearer, Charles Grodin Real Life is an American comedy film released in 1979. The first feature directed by Albert Brooks, who also co-authored the screenplay, it is a spoof of the 1973 reality television program An American Family and portrays a documentary ...more

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Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Chaplin Robert Downey Jr., Milla Jovovich, Diane Lane Chaplin is a 1992 British-American biographical comedy-drama film about the life of British comedian Charlie Chaplin. It was produced and directed by Richard Attenborough and stars Robert Downey, Jr., Marisa Tomei, Dan Aykroyd, Penelope Ann ...more

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Movie Movie is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
CraigAlarm added Movie Movie Eli Wallach, George Burns, George C. Scott Movie Movie is a 1978 American double bill directed by Stanley Donen. It consists of two films, Dynamite Hands, a boxing ring morality play, and Baxter's Beauties of 1933, a musical comedy, both starring the husband-and-wife team of George C. ...more

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After the Fox is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Movies About Movies
Kassie Lanzarotta added After the Fox Peter Sellers, Britt Ekland, Martin Balsam After the Fox is a 1966 British–Italian comedy film starring Peter Sellers and directed by Vittorio De Sica. The screenplay is in English, by Neil Simon and De Sica's longtime collaborator Cesare Zavattini. Despite its notable credits, the film ...more