40 must-watch movies to consider yourself a film buff

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Laura (1944)

“I shall never forget the night Laura died.” This is all you need to hear within the first ten seconds of Otto Preminger’s 1944 film noir Laura, and you’ll be hooked. Laura is more than just the story of a woman. It’s a look at male dominance, female ambition, homosexuality, and more if you dig below the surface.

But said surface is about a woman — a murdered woman actually. Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) is tasked with finding out who murdered the beautiful Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney). The cast of potential suspects is wide, from the older mentor who sought to control her (deliciously played by Clifton Webb) to her social-climbing fiancé (played by a pre-horror Vincent Price). But what happens when Laura is revealed to be alive and well?

To say any more would spoil the amazing tricks up Preminger and screenwriter Jay Dratler’s sleeve. Laura is a sumptuous looking film with one of the most iconic movie portraits ever, which used to hang in the home of TCM host, Robert Osborne. Tierney as Laura is the most beautiful woman you’ll ever see in your life. And there’s a fantastic subtext involving Andrews’ character and whether Laura is even real. Yes, this is a movie that will leave you thinking long after you turn it off.

Where to Watch It: Rent on Amazon, Google, Vudu, and YouTube.