25 Movies People Had To Re-watch To Fully Understand

Published 6 months ago

Some movies don’t seem to make sense while you’re watching them. Nevertheless, they keep you hooked until finally at the end, all is revealed and you feel a mini brain-gasp when you finally piece it all together and it makes sense. 

Recently, the community members of r/movies got together to talk about which epic movies they only “got” after watching the entire thing or sometimes even ‘rewatching’ the movie. From the famous Matrix series to the classic Fight Club movie, folks shared the greatest movies that were ever made under these conditions as you can see in the gallery below. 

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#1 Blade Runner, though I was around 14/15 when I first saw it mid 80s and 18 the second time. That second viewing was almost for me a “wake up” moment in my life, it just blew me away, Roy’s character blazed put of the screen to me and it was probably the first time I ever truly contempled death.

Image source: sevristh1138, The Ladd Company

#2 Memento. I’ve seen it like 5 times, watched explanation videos, read deep dives, but my mind will not perceive it correctly.

Image source: against417, Summit Entertainment


Image source: TroubledMang, Buena Vista Pictures

6th sense.


It’s an entirely different movie and beautifully sad on 2nd viewing.


Image source: callmemacready, Warner Bros. Pictures

The Shining.


Oh man, lot of hidden things going on in this movie which is what makes it so amazing.

Highly suggest watching some YouTube breakdowns, especially about Danny and the bears.


Image source: Ohnoherewego13, Sony Pictures

L4yer Cake. It took me two tries to truly understand the movie. Once I did, it became a favorite.


This is a good one. I remember watching this with my parents. At the end my brother, father, and I were puzzled. Then my mom, who had been knitting the whole time broke it down and explained it to us.


Image source: perry79605, Python (Monty) Pictures

I first watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail when I was 9 or 10, but I remember for some reason having this preconceived notion in my head that historical movies, particularly those set in medieval times, were only supposed to be serious dramas. (I also didn’t know what Monty Python was.)

So I couldn’t understand why this movie about knights had scenes of guys comically getting their limbs chopped off or getting crushed by Trojan rabbits, and I couldn’t finish it.

A few years later I rewatched it, knowing it was meant to be a comedy, and it remains one of my favorite movies of all time.


Image source: jedipiper, Warner Bros

The Matrix.


I was like 11 or 12 when i first watched the matrix and i mostly viewed it as a super cool action movie. I dont even think i knew what the matrix was at the time.


I was 13 when it in was released in theaters. I just thought it was so cool. Knowing what I know now, it’s amazing how they were able to leave so many clues in plain sight that a lot of people probably didn’t see coming. I love it even more now that it is more relatable.


Image source: OneMoreGuitar, FilmNation Entertainment

Arrival totally baffled me the first time I saw it and proceeded to blow my mind the 2nd time when I caught on to the timeline sequencing. Fantastic movie!


I recently rewatched Arrival. I’m not sure what I was doing the first time I watched it. I remembered a lot of the scenes and some of the basics about what was going on but either I completely forgot the main point of the entire movie, I wasn’t paying close enough attention, or maybe I just didn’t get it through my thick skull for some reason. I decided to rewatch it last week and I couldn’t believe what I had missed and it’s now one of my favorite movies.


Image source: Grenuille, A24

Everything, Everywhere, All at Once. The first viewing I was distracted marveling at the oddness and the acting. The second viewing I was able to properly take in the story and I ADORE the movie.


I love all the obvious stuff that is pointing the themes out but I was too mesmerized to take in the first time.

The Grandfather in particular is my fav character in the movie, his stunned face at the end when confronted with reality is priceless.

And my fav scene:

“I’m gonna get you” as a rock…

Incredible film.

#11 Trainspotting. First watch was at a friends. Watched it again like the next day with subtitles and realized I almost got the plot completely wrong because the accents were too heavy for me

Image source: Anjunabeast, Channel Four Films


Image source: Original_Series_717, Atlas Entertainment

12 Monkeys.


There are so many layers to this movie. One of the mind bending things is whether or not the person in the next cell is real at all, another time traveler, just a crazy guy, or possibly an alternate version of the main character.


Image source: Single-Mountain-1079, Warner Bros

The prestige gets better with every re-watch.


Which in itself is incredible. Usually any movie with a massive twist that is core to it doesn’t really do well on repeat viewings. You know the twist so the buildup is meaningless. This movie is structured so beautifully and acted so perfectly you can’t turn away. What you pick up on repeat viewings is astounding.


Image source: MovieMike007, Stanley Kubrick Productions

I was ten when I first saw Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ and it was definitely not the right age for me to get what was going on. Years later on a second viewing, I fell in love with it.


I was also a kid (very into space and scifi) and I clearly remember being very enthralled by the idea of understanding what was going on, and less so by what was actually going on. I grasped the broad strokes but I could tell so much of the detail was lost on me, and I was so excited to eventually understand it. Really rewarding to watch it again (and again) as I got older and understand it more and more.


Image source: SModfan, Working Title Films

A kinda different one than the ones said so far: The Big Lebowski. I had assumed because of how much people talk about it that the story would be bursting with over the top comedy, and it left me pretty confused. It wasn’t until subsequent viewings I realized how subtly infused every single line in the movie is. Now when I watch it I find myself quoting nearly the entire movie.


This is a good one. There are some over-the-top scenes but there are plenty of subtle bits that you appreciate more with additional watches. Like “this aggression will not stand” quote. The first time around I missed that he stole the line from Bush.

Not exactly subtle but I f**king love when The Dude sees Jackie Treehorn scribbling something on a piece of paper and thinks he’s found a clue. For a second you think The Dude is onto something, only to find that it’s just a doodle of a guy with a big d**k. But what really gets me, is a couple scenes later when he’s picked up by the cops. They empty The Dude’s pockets only to find a supermarket loyalty card and the doodle of the guy with the big d**k.


Image source: Ok_Needleworker_9537, Miramax Films

Master & Commander.


I hate that this movie wasn’t successful enough for an immediate sequel. There’s nothing else like it. Maybe Greyhound if you consider it modern.


Image source: mutherwulf, Phoenix Pictures

Shutter Island.


I came here to add to shutter Island. It benefits from an immediate rewatch. There are so many layers and wonderful nuances. For example, anytime during the movie that water is present, the main character is not experiencing true reality. In other words if there’s water dripping, or it’s raining, or scenes where it’s raining from bottom to top, those are untrue. But the moments of clear lucidity, without water, Are generally true (because of the importance of water in the main character’s trauma). Just one small nugget. There are a lot more that again benefit from Rewatching. And anyone that says they called the twist a few minutes in, certainly did not catch all those little nuances on the first watch.


Image source: slade51, Warner Bros. Pictures

Inception: worth rewatching to catch intricacies that I missed.


Pretty satisfying on rewatch especially when you see all the emotional manipulation leading into that Inception scene. You get to appreciate Tom Hardy’s character more and more. He truly was the creative one, the mvp. Love how the numbers in the safe was planted in each level.


Image source: cooperkab, Miramax Film Corporation

Pulp Fiction. On the second watch it was easier to put events in order and see how they connected. The first watch it all seemed like a big jumble.


I felt exactly the same. It’s a weird one, because unlike other films I didn’t fully understand the first time, once you piece the story together it is not complicated at all

#20 Interstellar. The multidimensional part was getting too complex to follow the first time around. The second time I was able to process it.

Image source: TaiChiShifu, Paramount Pictures


Image source: Seahearn4, Warner Bros. Pictures

My first thought was Training Day, but it took more than 2 viewings. I couldn’t even pay attention enough to know that Alonzo was doing all that to pay a debt to Russian gangsters. But Denzel was so electric in it, I watched it for him.

Now, I think of it as an allegory for where you, the audience member, would decide to give up your future in the face of all the things he puts Ethan Hawke through. And also how easily bad people can use the system against young people with aspirations.


Image source: oMadRyan, 20th Century Fox

Fight club. Took me more watches than any other movie to actually understand it. Might be one of the most misunderstood movies, especially online. Definitely worth a rewatch if you don’t understand the purpose of the commentary and what each character represents to the protagonist.


I also think fight club is a movie like shutter island, where “knowing what you know” makes the second watch that much better.


Image source: Macaroni_Incident, Paramount Vantage

No Country for Old Men, I’m actually still a bit confused.


My takeaway from the movie was acceptance of what we cannot control.


Image source: Kaitality, 20th Century Studios

Donnie Darko. Upon a second watch, I finally understood the premise of the movie. Still a classic.


This more than any other example I can think of showed me the power of editing in making a story work and why it must be a really hard part of filmmaking. The original is so weird and because I as the viewer believe understanding is just around the corner, I stay with it. The director’s cut has too much exposition but resolves more conventionally satisfyingly because I actually sort of know what’s going on.

The shift with “Blade Runner” I don’t think is as stark. I got the director’s cut of “The Counselor” and am curious to see if that really weird movie gets better with more/different footage.

If the director’s cut was considered the “real” one, I don’t think film geeks would love the “Donnie Darko” so much.


Image source: gottapeenow2, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

Honestly Fargo. First time thought it was boring and weird. Second time totally got it, thought it was awesome and weird.


I’m lucky I watched Fargo only a few years ago (after having seen a review of the editing on YT). I don’t think I would have appreciated the movie anywhere near as much if I’d seen it earlier in my life. The Coen brothers are so, subtle.







Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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entertainment, movies, rewatch, TV show, twisted movies
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