In the cinematic canon, there are a few films that routinely make it onto lists of the best movies of all time. While these films are unarguably well made, many of them are also tragically unwatchable. Because of this, many "cinematic masterpieces" have garnered devout followings of people who've never finished watching them.
Every decade houses a few classic movies people lie about seeing, and many of these films are supposedly highly influential. However, it's totally possible to enjoy the products of a three-hour snoozefest's influence without devoting one eighth of your day to slogging through the source material.
It's time for cinema buffs to recognize that it’s okay to have not seen all of the most important movies of the last 100 years. Everyone lies about having seen some movies, and that's totally fine. The same can be said about books, video games, and pretty much all other respected art forms. Many of these movies have managed to stay in the public's memory thanks to prolific parodies and particularly memorable lines. If somebody at a party says they'll make you an offer you can't refuse, that doesn't necessarily mean they've sat through The Godfather.
You know what type of films everyone pretends to love? Surrealist Italian meta-comedies about directors who don't know how to make movies. 8 1/2 is an easy movie to pretend to have watched, as you'll be hard-pressed to find someone who has sat through it. Come to think of it, has anyone actually ever seen a Fellini movie? Did Fellini even make movies? Is Fellini real?
No one has seen the 1927 Fritz Lang classic about robot people and a city of subterranean workers or something. At best, cinema nerds might hang a poster of the automaton from the film on their dorm wall, but if you ask them to tell you the narrative arc of the movie, they'll be left speechless. Clocking in at two hours and 33 minutes, the film is silent, black and white, and super hard to follow.
Actors: Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich, Theodor Loos, Heinrich George, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, + more
Initial Release: 1927
Directed by: Fritz Lang
If there's one thing that Stanley Kubrick is good at, it's making movies that are technical masterpieces, but that no one ever actually watches. Barry Lyndon came out in 1975, and follows an 18th century miscreant who climbs the social ladder and becomes respectible. Now you know why no one has ever watched this movie.
Actors: Ryan O'Neal, Leonard Rossiter, Hardy Krüger, Marisa Berenson, Steven Berkoff, + more
Initial Release: 1975
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
#63 on The Best '70s Movies
Citizen Kane is taught in every entry-level film class, yet it's somehow managed to go unwatched by everyone who was born after 1980. When the film was released in 1941, it featured some pretty progressive editing techniques, such as dissolve transitions, but all of its cinematic contribution are now pretty commonplace.
While the plot is also hailed as amazingly engaging for its time, the film drags on for two hours, and focuses on the uncompelling tribulations of a money-hungry CEO who is arrogant, and frankly rather despicable. To top it off, you've probably already had the final twist spoiled for you, as The Simpsons has parodied the film seven times (just in case you don't remember, this is the movie where Rosebud is the name of the sled).
Actors: Orson Welles, Alan Ladd, Agnes Moorehead, Joseph Cotten, Arthur O'Connell, + more
Initial Release: 1941
Directed by: Orson Welles