Potential filmmakers and movie fans all agree that certain films stand out for their groundbreaking nature. In the second half of the 20th century, filmmaking grew up and plenty of modern classics were made. Find out the top movies that aspiring filmmakers should watch.

The Godfather 1 and 2 (1973 and 1974)

The depth of characters in “The Godfather” meant that legendary Francis Ford Coppola never had to do big action scenes to get his point across. Based on the book by Mario Puzo, these two movies are a masterclass in tension. The use of lighting to convey suspense has been followed by every film student since. Though many gangster films had been made before and were made after, these two films are a treat for both the film buff and student alike.

Raging Bull (1980)

The “Rocky” films that started in 1976 became popular later for their inspirational message. However, nothing compares to the original boxing movie, “Raging Bull”. Boxing is really just the vehicle used to tell this raw and powerful story. In a stark example of how life imitates art, director Martin Scorsese was actually at a low point and addicted to cocaine before the movie was made. Robert DeNiro visited him in the hospital and told him about the project which would become a career-defining one for them both.

The violence both in and outside the ring is shown to slowly destroy the life of the main character, portrayed by DeNiro. One of the most iconic scenes in the movie is the one where Jake LaMotta accuses his brother of having an affair with his wife. The punches landed on both sides were real, not stunts.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Now he’s widely hailed as one of the best directors of modern times, but when “Reservoir Dogs” was made, Quentin Tarantino was an unknown. The film is not told in the traditional three acts but instead unfolds organically. There’s plenty of blood and gore, and the Tarantino relishes the fact that 33 people walked out when the film was screened. Even horror maestro Wes Craven found the violence to be too much. New filmmakers can be inspired by the fact that Tarantino drew ideas from other films and made them his own. He also showed that breaking convention can be a good thing. Finally, as he did in Reservoir Dogs, he chose good actors and gave them free rein over their performances.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Routinely on the lists of must-see movies, Tarantino made the film classic “Pulp Fiction” two years after his debut. Like the master he is, he made a few simple stories into an outstanding film. Though producers at the time were skeptical, Tarantino persisted in his vision. The concept may have been simple, but the combination of the right, hot, actors, as well as some unforgettable one-liners, has earned this film a spot in movie history. It won a whopping 28 awards.