What is your movie IQ? | EW.com


What is your movie IQ?

What is your movie IQ? -- See how you stack up by noting how many of these classic films you've seen

Time for the big question: Just how high is your movie IQ? You’ll find a primer on the 60 films every cinema-literate person must have seen, based on a poll of the country’s leading film critics and scholars. In addition, there are quiz questions designed to test your knowledge of movies, stretch your memory, and surprise you. So sharpen your No. 2 pencils, get ready to sharpen your cinema wits and look for the Scoring Guide at the end of the quiz.

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
Anyone who thinks high adventure began and ended with Indiana Jones has to see this, the quintessential Hollywood action movie. It’s a rousingly high-spirited, quicksilver swashbuckler that makes the storybook triumph of good over evil almost embarrassingly irresistible. The movie takes its zippy, delighted tone from Errol Flynn, who never lets the noble business of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor interfere with the good time he’s obviously having. Points: 3

All About Eve (1950)
This is the shining example of the role language can play in a predominantly visual medium. Writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz was a master of wordplay: Strings of fine irony cascade from characters who are as brilliant and hard as diamonds in this six-Oscar winner. Bette Davis hits a bitch-goddess peak as Margo Channing, the actress who’ll put up with any neurosis as long as she isn’t bored. Points: 3

Annie Hall (1977)
The ultimate feel-good movie for a generation of self-doubting urban romantics, Annie Hall traces the love affair of a neurotic New York Jewish comedian and a luminously spacey WASP. Director Woody Allen turned the fumblings of contemporary courtship into a new mating dance: For the first time, the search for love became more romantic than finding it. The only Allen film to win an Oscar for Best Picture, it remains his best crowd pleaser. Points: 2

Behind the Green Door (1972)
Ever since Behind the Green Door and the ”porno chic” it helped inspire, hardcore sex films have been semi-acceptable for mainstream men and women to watch. Deep Throat, which was released the same year, may have gotten more attention, but Marilyn Chambers, the Ivory Snow girl with the filthy grin, was the ultimate good girl gone bad, and her acrobatic cavortings established an aesthetic of depravity that rules most of the porn movies now stocked by video stores. Points: 2

The Birth of a Nation (1915)
With this astonishing epic, director D.W. Griffith invented the cinema as we know it, almost singlehandedly transforming movies into a narrative art form. The Birth of a Nation presents the Civil War and its aftermath as a lavish Dickensian sprawl, a fusion of 19th-century melodrama and 20th-century speed and movement. Box-office records indicate that the film was seen by far more people than any of today’s blockbusters. If the controversy surrounding Griffith’s pro-Ku Klux Klan stance has never faded, that’s partly because the climax is so thrilling it almost gets you rooting for the Klan. Points: 4

Blue Velvet (1986)
David Lynch’s hypnotic masterpiece was the most notorious movie since Last Tango in Paris, and it had a similar effect: Lured by the shock value, audiences discovered an explosive mixture of subversion and artistry. A Hardy Boys mystery refashioned into a cruel parable of erotic awakening, Blue Velvet is, at heart, a love story, the tale of an amateur sleuth attempting to reconcile his darkest fantasies with his purest yearnings. Points: 3

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
With this film, more graphically violent than any before it, director Arthur Penn at once thrilled and shocked audiences. He jolted the classic gangster movie with a dose of contemporary fatalism, fusing breakneck storytelling energy with graphic spasms of blood and death. As Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway created a new style of existential glamour. The film’s scrambling of tones — slapstick, caper-movie suspense, redneck psychodrama — set the stage for further cinematic mayhem. Points: 3

Breathless (1959)
Jean-Luc Godard’s debut sent the French New Wave crashing on shores around the world and revolutionized movies so completely that someone seeing the film today may wonder what the fuss was about: Petty-hood antiheroes are now commonplace, and you see jump cuts in any TV commercial. But in 1959, when mainstream filmmaking was mired in a stodgy middle age, Breathless was an anarchic, offhand rock through the window. The story is still a burst of streetwise energy, from the first shot of Jean-Paul Belmondo’s Bogie-wannabe to the final, stunningly casual scenes of betrayal and gun-down. Points: 4

Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Hollywood rarely let its hair down with such demented grace as in the great screwball comedies of the ’30s; this one’s been imitated but never equaled. Stuffy paleontologist Cary Grant loses a rare dinosaur bone, his clothes, his self-respect, and his mind (well, almost), but he gets scatterbrained heiress Katharine Hepburn in return. Directed with lickety-split timing by Howard Hawks, Baby can actually give you cramps from laughing, and the two stars are so physically beautiful romping around an enchanted midnight Connecticut that watching them is like seeing gods at play. Points: 4

Casablanca (1942)
The dream factory’s emblematically perfect product. So what if they filmed it as pages of the script came in, or if, when Bogie nodded to the band to play ”La Marseillaise,” he had no idea why he was supposed to be nodding. Everything in Michael Curtiz’s wartime melodrama clicks — Bogart’s weary cynicism, Ingrid Bergman’s dazed beauty, the inspired supporting cast, the air of noble self-pity so tough it’s almost tangible — and it proves what a wondrously soulful machine the Hollywood studio system could be. No one can understand American notions of romance without having seen this movie. Points: 2

Chinatown (1974)
By bringing pitch-black East European fatalism to the private-eye genre, Roman Polanski’s witty and bleak Chinatown threw aside promises of good times and looked the devil in the eye. The devil is John Huston’s Noah Cross, a folksy embodiment of all-American evil. Trying to bring him down is Jack Nicholson’s J.J. Gittes, a wise-guy detective hamstrung by his moral sense. The sourest film of a sour decade, this still feels like one of the truest. Points: 2

Citizen Kane (1941)
The greatest one-man show in movie history, Orson Welles’ kinetic account of the rise and fall of a newspaper magnate brought a new consciousness to movies: In its storytelling bravado, its metaphorical vastness, and its brilliant technique, it helped establish the cinema as a playground for artists. The story of the Hearst-like Charles Foster Kane is a mythic saga of self-destructive ambition, one that foreshadowed the careers of Americans as diverse as Howard Hughes, Elvis Presley, and, ultimately, Welles himself. Points: 3

A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Just as the peace-and-love generation was winding down, Stanley Kubrick unleashed Anthony Burgess’ 1962 novel as a movie about a joyously vicious young punk (Malcolm McDowell) who loves Beethoven, rape, and ultraviolence, not necessarily in that order. At the time, such brutal, almost clinical nihilism seemed like pure science fiction, but A Clockwork Orange has turned out to be startlingly prophetic. Points: 3

Dirty Harry (1971)
Clint Eastwood pioneered a new cinema of brutality with this sensationally effective thriller about a San Francisco street cop whose tight-lipped rage seemed to embody the anger of a public that felt beset by unpunished crime. Celebrated as the prototypical urban Western, this is also the first movie in which a tough guy’s monosyllabic challenge (”Do you feel lucky? Well, punk, do ya?”) becomes a source of sadistic comedy. Points: 2

Do the Right Thing (1989)
Too early to judge if this is one of the great must-sees? Then name one other movie that shows the cracks driven so deeply into our society by the Reagan years. Spike Lee’s teeming, funny, clear-eyed street scene pulls no punches and dares to take sides — the real source of its controversy. It is one of the few 1980s movies that even tries to matter, and Lee’s kaleidoscopic style spins with heart, rage, and imagination. Points: 2