Films in 2021 Review

The past year in movie-watching, fortunately, offered more exciting viewing experiences instead of just seeing almost everything at home, as I had in 2020. While I did still watch hundreds of movies on my couch, I was able to see dozens of films on the big screen. That included my return to the New York Film Festival back in October, in which I was lucky to spend more than a week there watching some of the best movies of the year along with a few of the people who made them. And with my recent move to Los Angeles, I squeezed in several movie theater trips in the last month of 2021, now that I have even more options to choose from between repertory screenings and new releases. I’m hoping to attend even more great screenings in L.A. and elsewhere in 2022 (crossing my fingers the TCM Classic Film Festival really does return in person as planned at the moment), but regardless of whether or not I can safely see films in theaters, I am grateful to have TCM and the Criterion Channel to keep me entertained at home (along with numerous other streaming services). I’m still playing a bit of catch-up on the past year’s new releases as we head deeper into awards season, so I haven’t fully moved into the new year yet. So with that said, let’s take a glance back at my 2021 in film, where I’ll break down my viewing habits and list all the new releases I saw and the movies I revisited. You can take a look at all the movies I watched for the first time on my Letterboxd here, or go through my monthly entries here.

New-to-Me: 648

Re-Watched: 198*

*There were 2 movies that I watched twice in 2021, so I didn’t count them again in the grand total.

Total: 848*

*4 of my re-watches were also films I discovered in 2021, so they weren’t counted again in the grand total.

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1910s – 1
  • 1920s – 9
  • 1930s – 67
  • 1940s – 82
  • 1950s – 96
  • 1960s – 87
  • 1970s – 78
  • 1980s – 69
  • 1990s – 47
  • 2000s – 24
  • 2010s – 24
  • 2020s – 60

List of Films I Saw in Theaters (in italics marks a re-watch):

  1. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)
  2. A Quiet Place Part II
  3. In the Heights
  4. The Birdcage (1996)
  5. Zola
  6. Black Widow
  7. The Green Knight
  8. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  9. Citizen Kane (1941)
  10. The Power of the Dog
  11. The French Dispatch
  12. The Piano (1993)
  13. C’mon C’mon
  14. Passing
  15. Petite Maman
  16. Parallel Mothers
  17. The Lost Daughter
  18. The Tragedy of Macbeth
  19. No Time to Die
  20. Bergman Island
  21. The Last Duel
  22. Dune
  23. Last Night in Soho
  24. Eternals
  25. Spencer
  26. Belfast
  27. House of Gucci
  28. Licorice Pizza*
  29. West Side Story
  30. Spider-Man: No Way Home
  31. Red Rocket
  32. Drive My Car
  33. Nightmare Alley
  34. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  35. The Apartment (1960)
  36. Flee

*watched twice in theaters

Except for the movies with the year of release included, most of what I saw in theaters were new releases (so the West Side Story and Nightmare Alley that I saw on the big screen were indeed the 2021 adaptations).

List of New Releases I Saw (ordered by release date):

  1. The White Tiger
  2. The Dig
  3. Judas and the Black Messiah
  4. To All the Boys: Always and Forever
  5. The United States vs. Billie Holiday
  6. Raya and the Last Dragon
  7. The Méliès Mystery
  8. A Quiet Place Part II*
  9. In the Heights
  10. Luca
  11. Zola*
  12. No Sudden Move
  13. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  14. Black Widow
  15. The Green Knight
  16. Annette
  17. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  18. Titane
  19. No Time to Die
  20. Bergman Island
  21. The Last Duel
  22. The French Dispatch
  23. Dune
  24. Last Night in Soho
  25. Spencer
  26. Eternals
  27. Passing
  28. Belfast
  29. C’mon C’mon
  30. King Richard
  31. tick, tick…BOOM!
  32. Drive My Car
  33. House of Gucci
  34. Licorice Pizza
  35. The Power of the Dog
  36. Red Rocket
  37. West Side Story
  38. Nightmare Alley
  39. Spider-Man: No Way Home
  40. The Lost Daughter
  41. Flee**
  42. Parallel Mothers**
  43. The Tragedy of Macbeth**
  44. Petite Maman**

*first screened in 2020
**wide release in 2022

List of Re-Watched Films:

  1. The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (1945)
  2. These Glamour Girls (1939)
  3. The Smiling Lieutenant (1931)
  4. Trouble in Paradise (1932)
  5. Design for Living (1933)
  6. It Should Happen to You (1954)
  7. The Glass Key (1942)
  8. Vacation from Marriage (1945)
  9. Murder by Death (1976)
  10. Clue (1985)
  11. The Mark of Zorro (1940)
  12. Down Argentine Way (1940)
  13. Witness to Murder (1954)
  14. Indiscreet (1958)
  15. A Face in the Crowd (1957)
  16. The Richest Girl in the World (1934)
  17. These Three (1936)
  18. Ordinary People (1980)
  19. Le cercle rouge (1970)
  20. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)**
  21. Born to Kill (1947)
  22. The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)
  23. Dark Victory (1939)
  24. Local Hero (1983)
  25. The Killers (1964)
  26. Sounder (1972)
  27. A Man Called Adam (1966)
  28. The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
  29. A Raisin in the Sun (1961)
  30. Beginners (2010)
  31. The Insider (1999)
  32. The Sound of Music (1965)
  33. Adam’s Rib (1949)
  34. His Kind of Woman (1951)
  35. The Killer Tha Stalked New York (1950)
  36. Slightly Dangerous (1943)
  37. The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
  38. Moonrise (1948)
  39. The Princess Bride (1987)
  40. Malcolm X (1992)
  41. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959)
  42. Romance on the High Seas (1948)
  43. My Dream Is Yours (1949)
  44. Killer’s Kiss (1955)
  45. Calamity Jane (1953)
  46. On Moonlight Bay (1951)
  47. By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953)
  48. Paris, Texas (1984)
  49. Volver (2006)
  50. The Third Man (1949)
  51. Pillow Talk (1959)
  52. Lover Come Back (1961)
  53. Send Me No Flowers (1964)
  54. Barefoot in the Park (1967)
  55. Angels in the Outfield (1994)
  56. Pépé le moko (1937)
  57. That Touch of Mink (1962)
  58. The Thrill of It All (1963)
  59. Almost Famous (2000)
  60. Carol (2015)
  61. An Education (2009)
  62. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
  63. Bells Are Ringing (1960)
  64. Accident (1967)
  65. Imitation of Life (1959)
  66. A Life of Her Own (1950)
  67. Uptight (1968)
  68. Nebraska (2013)
  69. The Truman Show (1998)
  70. Z (1969)
  71. Crossfire (1947)
  72. Muriel’s Wedding (1994)
  73. West Side Story (1961)
  74. Plan 9 from Outer Space (1957)*
  75. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
  76. They Won’t Believe Me (1947)
  77. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
  78. Unfaithfully Yours (1948)
  79. Touch of Evil (1958)
  80. History Is Made at Night (1937)
  81. The Heartbreak Kid (1972)
  82. A New Leaf (1971)
  83. Mikey and Nicky (1976)
  84. Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)
  85. The Brothers Rico (1957)
  86. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  87. Act of Violence (1948)
  88. Battleground (1949)
  89. Possessed (1947)
  90. Paris Blues (1961)
  91. How to Steal a Million (1966)
  92. Topkapi (1964)
  93. Saboteur (1942)
  94. The Blue Gardenia (1953)
  95. Moon Over Miami (1941)
  96. Designing Woman (1957)
  97. The Servant (1963)
  98. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
  99. The Celluloid Closet (1995)
  100. Harper (1966)
  101. Point Blank (1967)
  102. Guilty Bystander (1950)
  103. Obsession (1976)
  104. Viva Las Vegas (1964)
  105. Get Carter (1971)
  106. The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)
  107. Chinatown (1974)
  108. Easy Living (1937)
  109. Midnight (1939)
  110. The Bribe (1949)
  111. Body Heat (1981)
  112. Jailhouse Rock (1957)
  113. Blood Simple (1984)
  114. Night Moves (1975)
  115. Cutter’s Way (1981)
  116. Cause for Alarm! (1951)
  117. No Man of Her Own (1950)
  118. To Each His Own (1946)
  119. Blade Runner (1982)
  120. Mona Lisa (1986)**
  121. Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1959)
  122. Thrill of a Romance (1945)
  123. Darling (1965)
  124. A Little Romance (1979)
  125. Sunday in New York (1963)
  126. The Long, Hot Summer (1958)
  127. La piscine (1969)
  128. The Omen (1976)
  129. Phffft (1954)
  130. The Marrying Kind (1952)
  131. The Razor’s Edge (1946)
  132. H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941)
  133. Blood and Sand (1941)
  134. Hugo (2011)
  135. The Hot Rock (1972)*
  136. The Joker Is Wild (1957)
  137. Breathless (1960)
  138. Pierrot le fou (1965)
  139. That Man from Rio (1964)
  140. Bonjour tristesse (1958)
  141. The Sundowners (1960)
  142. Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
  143. The Night of the Iguana (1964)
  144. The End of the Affair (1955)
  145. Tea and Sympathy (1956)
  146. Show Boat (1936)
  147. In the Mood for Love (2000)
  148. All About My Mother (1999)
  149. Black Narcissus (1947)
  150. Human Desire (1954)
  151. Citizen Kane (1941)
  152. A Woman Is a Woman (1961)
  153. Throne of Blood (1957)
  154. After Hours (1985)
  155. The Long Goodbye (1973)
  156. Moulin Rouge! (2001)
  157. An Affair to Remember (1957)
  158. The Piano (1993)
  159. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
  160. The War of the Worlds (1953)
  161. The Birds (1963)
  162. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
  163. The Bad Seed (1956)
  164. The Dark Past (1948)
  165. Poltergeist (1982)
  166. Frankenstein (1931)
  167. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  168. Doctor X (1932)*
  169. The Innocents (1961)
  170. The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
  171. Cat People (1942)
  172. The Leopard Man (1943)
  173. Psycho (1960)
  174. Blow Out (1981)
  175. Nightmare Alley (1947)
  176. Blue Velvet (1986)
  177. Mulholland Dr. (2001)
  178. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
  179. Pickup on South Street (1953)
  180. Panic in the Streets (1950)
  181. Boomerang! (1947)
  182. Laura (1944)
  183. I Wake Up Screaming (1941)
  184. Out of the Past (1947)
  185. The Big Steal (1949)
  186. Thief (1981)
  187. The French Connection (1971)
  188. Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)
  189. Inherent Vice (2014)
  190. Johnny O’Clock (1947)
  191. Niagara (1953)
  192. Black Widow (1954)
  193. Tight Spot (1955)
  194. Vertigo (1958)
  195. Blast of Silence (1961)
  196. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  197. The Apartment (1960)
  198. Licorice Pizza (2021)*
  199. The Lady Eve (1941)
  200. All About Eve (1950)

*also a first-time watch in 2021
**re-watched twice in 2021

Overall, I didn’t watch quite as many movies in 2021 as I did in 2020… but it’s still quite a lot, to say the least! I imagine the frequency of my movie-watching will go down this year, but I guess you never really know how the next 12 months will shake out. Either way, I hope everyone has a happy and safe new year filled with great films!

2 thoughts on “Films in 2021 Review

  1. I’ve seen NONE of the films in your theatrical and new release lists, but that re-watch list is another story…I count 106 from your list of 200! A whole mess of good noirs in there, and a bunch in a row (178-185) that you must’ve watched during a noir week (or day) on TV, which would’ve been great fun.

    But one question: what was the occasion that had you watching ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space’ again? Was it a screening somewhere, or just the urge to watch it (I’ve seen it multiple times, but should probably visit it again for a review).

    • Both occasions that I watched Plan 9 from Outer Space was on TCM; first time was for a night of bad movies, and the second time was during its virtual film festival (which was preceded by an entertaining virtual table read with comedians).

      And yeah, obviously I’m always here for some noir! That bunch I saw in a row was part of a couple of collections streaming on the Criterion Channel, spread out over a few days during “Noirvember”.

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