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The 100 Most Essential Films According to The Alamo Drafthouse

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List making has been around for awhile. Some scholars have even speculated that list-making may have existed before the Internet, though of course Buzzfeed has 5 reasons why that’s just a hoax. But in our current listicle-centered world, how do you know which lists are the good lists? Allow me to enlighten you: the ones that come from the fine folks at the Alamo Drafthouse are the good lists.

As you may well know, the Alamo Drafthouse is an Austin-based chain of movie theaters currently expanding around the country, bringing their signature programming and famed no-talking policy to movie lovers everywhere. If movies are a religion then the Alamo is church. And what’s church without a few lists, right Martin Luther?

Perhaps equal parts inspired by and in opposition to famous film lists like the annual Sight & Sound polls, the AFI 100, and perhaps the IMDb bottom 100, Tim and the programming team for the Alamo decided to come up with their own list of 100 films. Maybe they wouldn’t be the 100 best films, or the 100 most well-known films, but dammit they’d be 100 fun films that the Alamo staff love. And thus was born the Alamo 100.

Tim along with programmers, R.J. LaForce, Greg MacLennan, Sarah Pitre, Joe Ziemba and Tommy Swenson each submitted a list of their most cherished films, all 100 of them. Then through mysterious mathematical algorithms known only to Stephen Hawking and Neil deGrasse Tyson, a single list of 100 films was assimilated.


The list is impressive, an overview of cinema from the mainstream to the fringes, from Chaplin to Step Up 2: The Streets. Classics like Casablanca and City Lights sit side by side with cult films like Brazil and Bottle Rocket. Romantic comedies like You’ve Got Mail stare in awe at Jess Franco’s sleaze-filled Succubus. The Dark Knight can duke it out with Danger Diabolik while singing the soundtrack to Streets of Fire.

While there’s no specific plan for when and where, the Alamo will begin playing films from its list at locations across the country. They even had little buttons made to commemorate each screening. You can check out the full list as well as the lists that each programmer submitted at the Alamo 100 website.

Check for screening information and showtimes.