The 25 best Cannes Film Festival movies you actually want to watch

6. Mulholland Drive (2001)

The movie: David Lynch's amnesiac thriller is just divine. Its murder-mystery story twists and turns around Hollywood hopeful Betty, who plans to make her dreams come true by becoming a serious actress. Throw in an amnesiac in the shower, shady mafia men, a hitman... ah, the list of strange, compelling characters goes on and on for Lynch's masterpiece. Bottom line is, Betty's in for one hell of a ride.   

Why you want to see it:  Betty's persona switch midway through - along with the belly-flopped plot - showcases Naomi Watts utterly phenomenal performance. It's astonishing that she didn't win the Oscar that year.  

5. Taxi Driver (1976)

The movie: One of the most-celebrated 'isolated loner' movies to define a generation. Taxi Driver is (arguably) the crowning achievement of Martin Scorsese's career, with both he and Robert De Niro - as the troubled cabbie Travis Bickle - inspiring young filmmakers and actors everywhere to go method. It's haunting, often very funny, and quite simply a masterpiece. 

Why you want to see it: If you've heard the line "You talkin' to me?" and not known where it's from - it's Taxi Driver. Watching that clip on its own is terrific, but it comes alive when you see it in the movie.  

4. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

The movie: Horror and fantasy maestro Guillermo del Toro's fairytale homage wowed in 2006 with its unflinching violence and creeping terror that pops out of every frame. This story of a young girl's experiences in a post-Civil War Spain is beautifully shot and packs a punch at its unexpected ending.

Why you want to see it: Scary and heart-breaking - this is how you do fantasy right - by making us care. And that's exactly what the Cannes audience thought; they gave it a long standing ovation. And I mean long. The audience were on their feet clapping for 22 minutes. 

3. Drive (2011)

The movie: After a burgeoning European film career, Nicolas Winding Refn took the leap to big Hollywood movies with Drive. His first collaboration with Ryan Gosling - whose practically dialogue-free role is one of the actor's most iconic - is his best ever. Gosling plays a stunt driver who winds up moonlighting by helping out crooks as their getaway guy.

Why you want to see it: Like Quentin Tarantino-esque violence? Well, imagine that, except way, way more stylised with buckets more blood, gore and bad language. It's grrrreat.  

2. Pulp Fiction (1994)

The movie: Quentin Tarantino's second film totally takes apart how we normally watch movies, flitting between three different storylines all of which are told out of order. There's Vince and Jules, the two criminals who shoot the shit about trivial day-to-day stuff; Mia Wallace, the gangster's girlfriend with a nasty drug habit; and Butch Coolidge the boxer who makes crappy decisions. Tarantino attracted an A-list cast to bring it to life and cinema has never been the same since.   

Why you want to see it: If you've reached this point in life and you've not seen Pulp Fiction, then you probably want to see it so you don't feel left out of the cultural conversation. 

1. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

The movie: Normally when a film's production is reported as 'rocky' and it gets its release date pushed back, everyone fears the worst. Then there's Mad Max: Fury Road. A decades-late sequel that totally blew everyone away, it's a hyper-kinetic assault that won over fans and critics, most of whom declared it a game-changer for the action genre.  

Why you want to see it: Oh, why wouldn't you want to see it? Director George Miller shatters expectations of your standard actioner, making a road movie to nowhere that never ever lets up. Phenomenal set pieces, sky-high explosions, superb characters, and Charlize Theron kickin' ass.  

Alex Avard

I'm GamesRadar's Features Writer, which makes me responsible for gracing the internet with as many of my words as possible, including reviews, previews, interviews, and more. Lucky internet!