Movies are a complicated mix of light, music, special effects, plot twists and quirky story lines. It’s hard to tell what exactly makes a movie truly superb, but one thing we know for sure – it doesn’t hurt if a movie looks visually stunning. In fact, some movies are made in such a beautiful way, that we forgive them any kind of flaws they might have. It’s not all about the visuals, but when the movie’s beautiful, it becomes a kind of picture perfect art in itself that’s not caught in one moment, but is moving constantly from one frame to another. Here are 10 movies with truly stunning visuals.
Shot in the world famous Hermitage Museum, this movie presents to the viewer footage that is mesmerizing, dreamy and incredibly beautiful. The location looks simply jaw-dropping and the characters are clad in brilliant costumes that altogether create an unforgettable mood. Cinematographer Tilman Büttner used impeccable lighting and special camera movements to depict marvelously composed scenes.
It’s been decades since we’ve stepped into the era of colored movies, yet some directors still feel nostalgic about the good old magic of the black-and-white palette. Manhattan is a remarkable love letter to the city created by Woody Allen in 1979. He managed to create a timeless depiction of New York that is classy, spectacular, and bears a significant hint of noire. Woody Allen didn’t like how the movie turned out and tried to cancel its release, but fortunately for us he wasn’t successful. This movie is truly gorgeous!
The black-and-white movie legacy is too rich to be ignored. It’s hard to pick one, two or even five favorites, but Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane is definitely among the most spectacular motion pictures every created. This movie explores the life and work of Charles Foster Kane, whose character was based on Chicago tycoons and William Randolph Hearst, a newspaper magnate. It is the first movie directed by Orson Welles where he basically used every technique that he thought was impressive. And it worked!
2001: A Space Odyssey
Space has always mesmerized directors, inspiring them to create some of the most memorable and visually stunning movies of all time. Every frame of Stanley Kubrick’s Space Odyssey is intricately designed and thought through, including the magical neon stargate sequence. This movie can be characterized by striking symmetrical compositions and a tendency towards central framing.
It’s hard to make one pick out of all masterpieces created by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, but The Conformist is definitely among his most prominent works. Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, the movie depicts the drama of a sole man trying to build some kind of relationship with the Fascist regime, and failing to do so. Magnificent work with light shows characters barred behind shadows as if they were inside a cage, and numerous grotesque and surreal elements only add to the brutal beauty of the movie.
Human imagination has no limits and some directors like to explore it to the maximum. Tarsem Singh’s The Fall is a mad mix of a small girl’s imagination and an injured stuntman’s fantastic story. The fairytale-like premise of the movie gives the director full freedom to experiment as much as he wants and just show off. The movie was shot for over 4 years in various parts of 28 countries. This is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece!
Asian directors have proven themselves to be real magicians when it comes to cinematography. Zhang Yimou managed to create a movie that is visually stunning no matter where you decide to press the ‘stop’ button. It’s elegant in its simplicity and use of color which helps to tell one story from three different perspectives. Whether you are into impeccably orchestrated fight scenes, gorgeous costumes, or stunning nature views – this movie has it all!
Lawrence of Arabia
Mid-century epics have certainly made a difference in the film industry, bringing unprecedented grandeur and picturesque sceneries to the screens. This masterpiece of filmmaking is a stunning historical drama, a biopic and one of the most beautiful depictions of a dessert ever captured on film. David Lean created truly breathtaking imagery using the widescreen format that captured the scenic dessert views perfectly.
The Tree of Life
Terrence Malick is known for the lyrical beauty of his work and it’s hard to pick only one film from all the masterpieces he’s created. Yet Tree Of Life is one of his most mysterious-looking and visually mesmerizing works that combines natural light, emotional scenes and truly majestic music. He also created a spectacular supernova without using any special effects whatsoever – only dye, paint, milk and a variety of other substances.
Samsara offers its viewers a visual perfection that is devoid of a coherent backstory or plot like life itself. Here you will hear no words or dialogues, only the peaceful and calming sounds of musical instruments. Created by the director of Baraka and Chronos, Samsara is probably the purest out of all three. It was shot in more than 100 locations all over the world and it took 5 years to finish this motion picture.