15 movies you must see more than once

According to legend (which is at least “substantially true,” according to people who knew her) film critic Pauline Kael saw the film only once. Even though she loved a movie, she didn’t watch it again. She saw something, she wrote about it, she moved on to the next topic.

Kael was a great writer and critic, but if you ask me, that’s no way to live – or watch movies.

Besides the fact that it’s simply a pleasure to return to a movie you love again and again, in some cases, favorites actually demand multiple viewings, whether to fully appreciate the film’s nuances or buried themes, or simply because it contains a shocking twist that changes the entire meaning of the story and gives a second viewing a completely different flavor.

Below, we’ve chronologically listed some films that are greatly improved by multiple viewings. Also: A full third of the list was released between the years 1999 and 2001. Is that a coincidence, or did something happen in those years that inspired a wave of densely plotted films? (My personal guess: the advent of DVD—along with its easy ability to rewind, skip forward, go frame by frame, and own a copy of a film forever—inspired some directors to indulge their passion for complex narratives that reward ultra-attentive repeat viewership.)

Here are 15 movies that not only warrant multiple viewings — they practically demand them.

Movies you have to watch more than once

These movies are so good and so complex that a single view just isn’t enough. (There may be some minor spoilers below, but we’ll do our best to avoid anything major.)

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