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100 best movies under 100 minutes

  • 100 best movies under 100 minutes

    Movie magic condenses days and weeks, sometimes years and decades, into an average length of around two hours. The best movies obscure the audience's sense of the actual time going by while they sit in a dark theater or watch at home. Often, those minutes fade as the moviegoer gets caught up in the temporal world on the screen. Great short movies, those under 100 minutes, are especially terrific at making every frame and minute count. According to data reported by Business Insider, between 1950 and 2013 the average movie length hovered just above or below 110 minutes. Notably, critically acclaimed films, Oscar winners, and big budget epics tend to be much longer than the norm. Stacker’s list of the best short films is filled with surprises that seem longer than they are such as Wes Anderson’s sprawling “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and the Coen brothers’ suspenseful thriller “Fargo.”

    Short films still show up as blockbusters and award nominees. Some of the biggest franchise-launchers of all time like “The Lion King” and “Toy Story” are short movies. Similarly, masterpieces of international cinema like “Persona” and “Rashomon” have running times under 90 minutes. Some of the shortest films on our list are just over an hour—the animated classic “Dumbo” and the Marx Brothers’ comedy “Duck Soup.” The classic Western, “High Noon,” clocks in at 85 minutes, close to the real time length of events that countdown to the climactic shoot-out.

    Stacker compiled data on all movies under 100 minutes to come up with a Stacker score—a weighted index split evenly between IMDb and Metacritic scores. To qualify, the film had to be 99 minutes or less, have an IMDb user rating and Metascore, and have at least 2,000 votes. Ties were broken by Metascore and further ties were broken by IMDb user rating. Put together in early July 2020, our list offers short movies with original plot twists, dizzying suspense, and hypnotic intrigue. Click ahead for the best movies under 100 minutes to watch next.

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  • #100. Timbuktu (2014)

    - Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
    - Stacker score: 88
    - Metascore: 92
    - IMDb user rating: 7.1
    - Runtime: 96 min

    Sharia law goes into effect in Timbuktu, Mali, and the local villagers must contend with a harsh new regime. Malian director Abderrahmane Sissako’s acclaimed film uses a spare, direct style to examine the terrors that invade everyday life under extreme rules that don’t allow music or sports. The story centers on a cattleman and his family caught up in a simple conflict that leads to a series of devastating consequences.

  • #99. The Little Mermaid (1989)

    - Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
    - Stacker score: 89
    - Metascore: 88
    - IMDb user rating: 7.6
    - Runtime: 83 min

    Disney’s animated mega-hit gives the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale a glamorous and cheerful revamp complete with a new plotline and requisite happy ending. Lively animation accompanies a peppy soundtrack, including the Oscar-winning original score and sing-a-long favorites such as “Under the Sea” and “Part of Your World.” Pat Carroll gave voice to the throaty villainous Ursula in a memorable performance.

  • #98. Trainspotting (1996)

    - Director: Danny Boyle
    - Stacker score: 89
    - Metascore: 83
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 93 min

    Ewan McGregor, in an early-career film role, plays a heroin addict, Renton, who narrates his drug-fueled adventures as he tries to come clean in Edinburgh, Scotland. Director Danny Boyle infuses the film with a kinetic energy and an original, vivid style that uses freeze frames, sped up footage, and colorful, arresting compositions to tell the story.

  • #97. The Double Life of Véronique (1991)

    - Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
    - Stacker score: 89
    - Metascore: 86
    - IMDb user rating: 7.8
    - Runtime: 98 min

    Krzysztof Kieslowski’s dreamy drama follows two women, Véronique and Veronika, each played by the same actress, Irène Jacob. One woman is a music teacher in France, while the other is a singer in Poland. Their lives don’t intersect overtly, but the two are connected in symbolic ways in what’s considered a trance-like revelry about identity and borders.

  • #96. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

    - Director: Jacques Demy
    - Stacker score: 89
    - Metascore: 86
    - IMDb user rating: 7.8
    - Runtime: 91 min

    Bright colors adorn the French city of Cherbourg, the boutique umbrellas of the title, and the costumes and sets in this romantic musical. Catherine Deneuve stars as a teenage shop worker entangled with a man who ships off to war in Algiers. Every word occurs in song (Deneuve and other actors are dubbed) in a bittersweet story that asks how love can survive social pressures.

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  • #95. The Awful Truth (1937)

    - Director: Leo McCarey
    - Stacker score: 89
    - Metascore: 87
    - IMDb user rating: 7.7
    - Runtime: 90 min

    “The Awful Truth” is a screwball comedy about a jealous couple who divorce because they’re so suspicious of one another. They’re each desperate to destroy the other’s romantic prospects as their love-hate antics go down to the wire until their divorce decree becomes final. Cary Grant stars with Irene Dunne, who received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role as the sassy heroine.

  • #94. Taxi (2015)

    - Director: Jafar Panahi
    - Stacker score: 89
    - Metascore: 91
    - IMDb user rating: 7.3
    - Runtime: 82 min

    Award-winning Iranian director Jafar Panahi creates a work of brilliant and audacious defiance with “Taxi.” Under house arrest and banned from filmmaking for 20 years due to the dissent in his previous works, Panahi poses as a taxi driver with his dashboard-mounted camera disguised as a security device. As he films interactions with fellow Iranians, “Taxi” is both exuberant and terrifying as a brave act of resistance.

  • #93. The Invisible Man (1933)

    - Director: James Whale
    - Stacker score: 89
    - Metascore: 87
    - IMDb user rating: 7.7
    - Runtime: 71 min

    Remarkably ghoulish special effects portray the missing anti-hero in Universal’s classic horror hit, “The Invisible Man.” Claude Rains, in his debut sound film role, stars as a crazed scientist who’s developed a drug that renders him invisible—insanity is a side effect. The film is both chilling, as the man uses his power for deadly mischief, and funny with wry sight gags and the humor of the power-mad.

  • #92. Bambi (1942)

    - Directors: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, David Hand, Graham Heid, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Norman Wright, Arthur Davis (uncredited), Clyde Geronimi (uncredited)
    - Stacker score: 89
    - Metascore: 91
    - IMDb user rating: 7.3
    - Runtime: 70 min

    The young prince, Bambi, contends with “Man” in this beautiful Disney animation classic about a young deer who learns from his father about dangers in the woods. The animated forest setting shows vibrant movement and gorgeous tableaus depicting nature and the creatures who dwell there. Highlights include the bright orange tones that rage as a forest fire, as well as the peaceful pond where Bambi first sees his reflection and future mate.

  • #91. Love Affair (1939)

    - Director: Leo McCarey
    - Stacker score: 89
    - Metascore: 91
    - IMDb user rating: 7.3
    - Runtime: 88 min

    Leo McCarey directed both “Love Affair” in 1939 and its famous remake “An Affair to Remember” in 1957. The story centers on two people who, because they’re engaged to others, delay a romance for six months when they agree to meet atop the Empire State Building—but a devastating accident thwarts their rendezvous. Warren Beatty and Annette Bening play the ill-fated couple in the 1994 remake.

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