April 23, 2024

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Memorable movies with numbers in their titles

11 min read
Screenshot:  Clockwise from top left: Ocean’s Eleven by Warner Bros.; Sixteen Candles by Universal Pictures; 21 Jump Street by Columbia Pictures; The Sixth Sense by Buena Vista Pictures

Screenshot: Clockwise from top left: Ocean’s Eleven by Warner Bros.; Sixteen Candles by Universal Pictures; 21 Jump Street by Columbia Pictures; The Sixth Sense by Buena Vista Pictures

Upon first glance, the title 65 doesn’t really tell you anything about the movie. That is until you see the trailer, when it’s revealed that “65″ signifies the millions of years that spaceship pilot Adam Driver has traveled through time before landing on prehistoric Earth, when our planet was home to dinosaurs.

Instead of celebrating the film’s release with a sensical ranking of the best time-travel movies or essential Adam Driver performances, The A.V. Club is taking a swerve to instead celebrate movies with numbers in their titles. We invite you to check your mind at the door, like you would before seeing a movie about a time traveler who finds himself shooting at a T. rex, and then check out these numerically blessed titles.

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0. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

ZERO DARK THIRTY – Official US Trailer – In Theaters 12/19

“Zero” is the exact amount of oxygen you will have left after experiencing Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow’s excellent, boots-on-the-ground thriller Zero Dark Thirty, based on the real events that led U.S. forces straight to Osama bin Laden’s doorstep. Jessica Chastain, in a star-making turn, plays Maya, a dogged CIA operative who struggles for nearly a decade to hunt down the terrorist responsible for September 11 by navigating bureaucratic red tape and ethically compromised intelligence-gathering. “Thirty” is the number of times your heart will skip a beat while watching Seal Team Six’s suspenseful raid on bin Laden’s compound.

Honorable mention: Less Than Zero

1. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) Official Trailer #1 – Jack Nicholson Movie HD

If one (see what we did there?) is just gonna randomly call out movies with the number “one” in the title, then they better pick a good film to write about or, in the case of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, a great film. This award-winning classic from director Milos Forman, based on the novel by Ken Kesey, is a dramedy bolstered by Oscar-winning performances from stars Jack Nicholson and the late Louise Fletcher. Nicholson plays McMurphy, an unpredictable and rebellious new addition to a mental institution who becomes the biggest thorn in the side of stone-cold Nurse Ratchet (Fletcher). The movie works so well, you’ll forgive it for when the plot takes a few trite turns too many on its way to one of cinema’s most tragic (and infamous) endings.

Honorable mention: One False Move, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, It Happened One Night, Air Force One

2. Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Official Trailer | Throwback Trailer

Why didn’t we consider movies with Roman numeral twos in their titles, like Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, you may ask? Good question. Maybe because we really just wanted an excuse to pile more praise upon director Guy Ritchie’s breakthrough film. Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels is a twisted, black comedy crime caper that brilliantly showcases Ritchie’s unique visual style and affection for charming disreputable types. The late-’90s hit also marks the mainstream debut of future action-movie hero Jason Statham.

Honorable mention: 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Two Jakes

3. Three Kings (1999)

Three Kings – Original Theatrical Trailer

1999 was a landmark year for Hollywood filmmaking, which included this underrated war drama-comedy starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube. Three Kings finds Clooney’s Archie Gates and his ragtag group of jaded U.S. soldiers turned fortune seekers on the hunt for Saddam Hussein’s gold during the first Desert Storm. What they find, other than stacks of bullion, is something they didn’t know they were really looking for: a shot at redemption in the middle of a war that rarely affords opportunities to do the right thing.

Honorable mention: Three Men And A Baby, Three Amigos!, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

4. Four Weddings And A Funeral (1994)

Four Weddings and a Funeral – Original Trailer

Not just the best rom-com with the number “four” in the title, Four Weddings And A Funeral is also one of the best romantic comedies ever—thanks in large part to Richard Curtis’ endlessly quotable script and Hugh Grant’s ridiculously charming performance. The onscreen chemistry between Grant and Andie MacDowell makes for one of the genre’s all-time great romantic pairings.

Honorable mention: The Four Musketeers, Four Rooms, and The Four Seasons

5. Five Easy Pieces (1970)

Five Easy Pieces (1970) ORIGINAL TRAILER [HD 1080p]

It’s like we figuratively threw a dart at a board boasting nothing but movies with the number five in the title. At least we landed on a truly worthwhile film: Five Easy Pieces. Directed by Bob Rafelson, and starring Jack Nicholson and Lois Smith, Pieces tells the story of an ornery roughneck named Bobby (Nicholson) struggling with his current station in life while tethered to his privileged youth as a piano prodigy. His father’s poor health sparks a return to his family home where he uses the frayed parts of his past to help forge a better future. Here’s a few more numbers for you: Five Easy Pieces earned five Golden Globe nominations and four Academy Award nominations.

Honorable mention: Fast Five, The Fifth Element, Slaughterhouse-Five, Five Fingers Of Death

6. The Sixth Sense (1999)

The Sixth Sense (1999) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

One of the biggest hits of 1999, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense is one of the best summer movies ever made—as well as one of the most rewatchable. It’s a solid, emotionally gripping supernatural drama with one hell of a twist ending that, for better or worse, has defined the film’s legacy. Even without that unforgettable climax, The Sixth Sense would still be a compelling showcase of Hollywood blockbuster craft at its finest.

Honorable mention: Six Degrees Of Separation

7. Se7en (1995)

Se7en (1995) Official Trailer – Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman Movie HD

There is life before, and life after, watching David Fincher’s landmark serial-killer thriller Se7en, about a murderer’s quest to use the seven deadly sins in ways that would make the Devil blush. Detectives Mills and Sommerset (Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, respectively) are the unfortunate souls charged with investigating these heinous crimes, which ultimately make tragic victims out of these beleaguered heroes.

Honorable mention: The Magnificent Seven, Seven Samurai, and The Seven Year Itch

8. 8 Mile (2002)

8 Mile Official Trailer #1 – (2002) HD

Eminem’s big-screen debut in this Oscar-winning film is nothing short of exceptional. Directed by the late Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential), 8 Mile does for aspiring musicians and rappers what Rocky did for wannabe boxers on the wrong side of the tracks. It’s a gritty and grounded exploration of how hard life pushes back against the pursuit of a dream—and what it sometimes costs when family and friends make it even harder for us to achieve it. The Academy Award-winning original song “Lose Yourself” is still catchy AF.

Honorable mention: The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension, 8mm, Eight Men Out, The Hateful Eight

9. District 9 (2009)

District 9 – Official Trailer (HD)

District 9, director Neill Blomkamp’s feature directorial debut, with a significant behind-the-scenes assist from Peter Jackson, is one of sci-fi’s best original movies. It’s also Blomkamp’s finest feature, thanks to District 9’s somewhat timeless story about refugees, aliens, and identity. Here’s hoping that the long-rumored sequel one day becomes a reality.

Honorable mention: 9 To 5, Nine Months

10. The Ten Commandments (1956)

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS | Official Trailer | Paramount Movies

Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, a remake of his 1923 silent biblical epic, is still the standard bearer when it comes to movies centered on the Greatest Story Ever Told. Charlton Heston anchors this Easter staple with his gripping performance as Moses, and DeMille and his practical-effects craftsman fill nearly every frame of this masterpiece with anamorphic splendor.

Honorable mention: Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, Starter For 10, 10, 10 Things I Hate About You

11. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Ocean’s Eleven (2001) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

The idea behind this modern classic was a great one, to remake the original Rat Pack-led Ocean’s Eleven, but with the biggest stars of the early 2000s, in a Las Vegas that hardly resembles the 1960s version that was a playground for Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. The stroke of genius was hiring Steven Soderbergh to orchestrate the reboot. Using every trick in his considerable filmmaking arsenal, Soderbergh achieves the cinematic equivalent of pure polish. When he’s not helping steer the ensemble’s breezy, wonderful performances, he’s accompanying them with stylistic and visual flourishes that elevate the material without the director feeling above any of it. Watching the movie, with David Holmes’ jazzy electronic score, is like being invited to the greatest party ever and then being told the most ingenious story about a casino that got robbed. It still towers.

12. 12 Angry Men (1957)

12 ANGRY MEN (1957) | Official Trailer | MGM

Director Sidney Lumet’s slow-burn courtroom drama 12 Angry Men chronicles the moral and ethical pressure cooker environment of the jury room as the titular men debate the verdict of a difficult case. The only thing harder for the jurors than agreeing on a ruling is dealing with all the conflicted and revealing feelings that surround their heated discussion. The impeccable ensemble cast is headlined by acting legends Henry Fonda, E.G. Marshall, and Jack Warden.

Honorable mention: 12 Years A Slave, 12 Monkeys

13. Friday the 13th (2009)

Friday the 13th (2009) Teaser Trailer

Purists can stick with the 1980 original Friday the 13th, but don’t sleep on the underrated 2009 Friday the 13th reboot that dials up the R-rated kills to 11 as Jason Voorhees returns to the big screen for the first time since 2003’s Freddy Vs. Jason. Supernatural’s Jared Padalecki stars as Clay, who is determined to search for his missing sister near and around Jason’s hunting grounds: Camp Crystal Lake. Lots of slasher movie gore and some truly inventive scares ensue.

Honorable mention: 13 Going On 13, Apollo 13, Thirteen Days, Assault On Precinct 13

14. 1408 (2007)

1408 (2007) Original Trailer [FHD]

Technically, this movie’s title is One Thousand Four Hundred And Eight, but you’re more likely to survive a night in the titular haunted hotel room than figure out the method to our numerical madness. Madness is exactly what is in store for a skeptical supernatural writer (John Cusack) who books one very horrifying night in Room 1408. Based on a Stephen King short story, 1408 is an underrated (and chilling) entry in the King cinematic canon.

15. 15 Minutes (2001)

15 Minutes – Original Theatrical Trailer

This movie couldn’t be more early 2000s unless it was directed by Smash Mouth. Robert De Niro and Ed Burns (remember him?!) play a New York City detective and fire marshal, respectively, who team up to stop a pair of attention-seeking criminals who videotape their crimes. 15 Minutes’ conceit is worthy of exploring in a feature film, but the execution here falls somewhere between hackneyed and unwatchable. If you’re going to tune in, De Niro and Burns’ chemistry almost justifies the time spent.

Honorable mention: The 15:17 To Paris

16. Sixteen Candles (1984)

Sixteen Candles Official Trailer #1 – Molly Ringwald Movie (1984) HD

Written and directed by the late John Hughes, the king of ’80s teen comedies flexes more of his dramatic muscles in this 1984 classic that helped make Molly Ringwald a star. With her 16th birthday overshadowed by her older sister’s pending nuptials, Samantha (Ringwald) spends her special day pining for a stoic stud (Michael Schoeffling) while politely fending off the advances of geeky Ted (Anthony Michael Hall). How Sam reconciles her high school mini-crisis with the angst surrounding her Sweet Sixteen plans is why Sixteen Candles continues to endure.

Honorable mention: 16 Blocks

17. Stalag 17 (1953)

Stalag 17 (1953) Trailer | William Holden | Don Taylor

One of the greatest World War II movies ever made, Stalag 17 takes place in 1944 at a German POW camp where two American prisoners turn up dead after trying to escape the compound. It falls on Sgt. Sefton (William Holden) to find out who killed these two men, even as his fellow inmates’ suspicious eyes look toward him as the culprit. Seventy years after its release, this all-timer from writer-director Billy Wilder still holds up.

Honorable mention: The Edge Of Seventeen and 17 Again

18. 18 1/2 (2021)

18½ | OFFICIAL TRAILER

A tonally uneven Watergate comedy-thriller, 18 1/2 centers on a White House transcriber (Willa Fitzgerald) who struggles to weather the fallout that comes with leaking the 18-and-a-half minute gap in Nixon’s White House tapes to the press. The movie’s brisk pace and accomplished performances make up for director and cowriter Dan Mirvish’s less-than-steady handling of the material.

Honorable mention: 18 Again

19. K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)

K-19: The Widowmaker (2002) Official Trailer # 1 – Harrison Ford HD

Harrison Ford’s questionable Russian accent aside, K-19: The Widowmaker is an old-school, Cold War-set submarine drama based on real events surrounding radioactive complications with the titular sub’s nuclear reactor. The Russian government at the time suppressed knowledge of the submarine’s tragic emergency situation, fearful that it would escalate already-uneasy tensions with the West, so director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Christopher Kyle take some generous liberties with the story. The filmmakers still honor the historical context of those Russian naval officers who found a way to rise above the political fray while fighting for their lives hundreds of feet below sea level.

20. 20 Feet From Stardom (2013)

Twenty Feet From Stardom Official Trailer #1 (2013) – Music Documentary HD

20 Feet From Stardom is ironically one of the last decade’s unsung great docs, as it centers on the compelling behind-the-scenes experiences of famous backup singers. This exceptional film doesn’t shy away from the path these singers try to carve for themselves in an industry that favors those who perform center stage. At the 86th Academy Awards, 20 Feet and its subjects got their time in the spotlight, however—the movie won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

Honorable mention: 20th Century Women

21. 21 Jump Street (2012)

21 JUMP STREET [2012] – Red Band Trailer

Writer-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s unique takes on ideas that, on paper, should never work as movies have become their brand as filmmakers. A load-bearing column of their success is their adaptation of the dated ’80s TV show 21 Jump Street into an action-comedy hit. Starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, the mismatched duo of cops partner up to go undercover as high school students on a mission to stop a drug dealer in this endlessly quotable and rewatchable comedy.

Honorable mention: 21 Grams

1,000,000. One Million Years B.C. (1966)

One Million Years BC / Original Theatrical Trailer (1966)

Just like this article, One Million Years B.C. is one of those “just go with it” kinda exercises where you leave your intellect at the door and try to have a good time with it. The late Raquel Welch’s iconic turn in this British adventure-fantasy about dinosaurs and early man living together is the best thing this cult fave has going for it.

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