40 must-watch movies to consider yourself a film buff

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The Red Shoes (1948)

Nearly everything the Archers — the production company run by directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger — ever did is worth watching. I figured I should probably pick one, so I went with The Red Shoes.

This 1948 drama tells the story of Victoria Paige (the spellbinding Moira Shearer) ,who gets the chance of a lifetime when she’s elevated to become a prima ballerina. If you’ve ever read the story of The Red Shoes, you’ll know it’s about a woman so enamored with dancing in her red shoes that she goes a little….mad. The Red Shoes was the inspiration for Black Swan, so you’ll probably want to seek it out always.

What Powell and Pressburger did with this feature is not just tell a tale of obsession, and the various ways it manifests in life, but they also did some fantastic work with color photography. Nearly every single frame in this movie is utterly beautiful. Make no mistake: watch this on the biggest, best TV you have available, so you can take in all the fine detailing. Moira Shearer was an actual ballet dancer and only starred in a few features before returning to the stage, but she’s so watchable both in toe shoes and out of them.

Her bright eyes and flaming red hair create a woman who is literally out-of-this-world, driven to perfection in a beautiful roundelay of emotions.

Where to Watch It: Stream it now on FilmStruck, or rent via Amazon.