once upon a time in hollywood

The Best Movies About Movies

Here are some of our favorite movies that happen to be themselves about movies!

We all love movies, that’s why you’re here… at least, we assume. Maybe you just like reading, or technology or something. But if the former is the case, then join us in getting a little bit meta today as we dive into a concept most are familiar with, but few discuss: movies about movies. We’re talking (in no particular order) about some of the most notable pictures that celebrate that which they are, the nature of the art, moviemaking. Picture up, slate in frame, let’s roll.

the fall guy
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

The Fall Guy

Having just released to widespread acclaim from all parties, The Fall Guy is the perfect kickstart to this list. The film is all about the production of a fictional film within it, told from the perspective of a stunt double (Ryan Gosling) and the director of said fictional film (Emily Blunt). The ludicrous, action-packed ride presents oodles of homages to cinema’s bejeweled history, all the while making a new case for itself as a part of that legacy. David Leitch clearly has a deep love for the craft, and The Fall Guy is a brilliant lens through which to celebrate that. For more thoughts on this film specifically, you can dig into our full thoughts in our review.

once upon a time in hollywood
Image Credit: Sony Pictures

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Going back just a few years to 2019, Quentin Tarantino’s arguably underrated Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood is one of his finest works, and a pure love letter to the golden age of filmmaking as we know it. Set in Los Angeles in 1969, it chronicles a fiction/non-fiction hybrid tale of made-up entertainment and real-life loss. Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie head a ridiculously talented cast, and by the end of the near-three hour runtime, you’ll be dying to pick up a camera and film something (and maybe make some mac and cheese, too).

tropic thunder
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Tropic Thunder

Tropic Thunder undoubtedly has a reputation that precedes it, though the film has survived as an undeniable force in the mainstream cinematic mind since its 2008 release for good reason. If you weren’t already aware, the film is about a messy cast of actors being thrown into a live jungle during the shooting of a war film, because the director wants to push the realism and capture their doings with hidden cameras. Of course, it isn’t that simple, and the crew end up in a real-life warzone. This one is less on the nose than the previous two in terms of the behind-the-scenes filmmaking process, but it’s just as much dedicated to the best proclivities of action-cinema history.

The humor is hammy, the characters exaggerated into oblivion, and the narrative cleverly woven between intrigue and insanity. With a cast like Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Ben Stiller, and Tom Cruise, it would’ve been hard to go wrong, but Tropic Thunder goes the extra mile in nailing pretty much every element it aims for. A classic comedy of the modern age, no doubt, and a triumphant celebration of the cinematic process.

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures


Hugo has developed a reputation for being one of the more forgettable Martin Scorsese pictures, likely because of how tame it is in comparison to most of his work, but that may not be the right angle. Hugo can best be viewed as a thank-you letter from Scorsese to cinema; it’s whimsical, fleeting, and terribly heartfelt. Scorsese’s unmistakable tact is still felt here in the sweeping movements and meticulous character development, and it really feels like a movie for all moviegoers. Peering into the past of cinema whilst also promising a hopeful future, Hugo is the antidote for those turning away from the cinematic experience. Movies exist in the depths of our soul, and this film reminds you of that with a swift punch to the gut and plenty of tugs on the tear ducts.

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures


This may be a bit of a curveball, but Scream is absolutely a tribute to moviemaking, among a bevy of more obvious things. Aside from the funhouse final act in which the killer is shown navigating the premises via live feed, wherein Wes Craven manages to both nod to and subvert numerous movie tropes we’ve all come to know and appreciate, the entire thing is famously unorthodox and referential. Time and time again, Craven navigates the most well known aspects of the horror genre, pulling what works for his concept and good-heartedly poking fun at what doesn’t. The film acknowledges what you expect it to be and becomes exactly that which you’d never even imagined; it was truly lightning in a bottle, too, as it spawned a whole new genre of similar subversive horror films that never managed to come close to topping the original’s perfect understanding of all things movies. Wes Craven was a master of movies, and Scream showed exactly why.

Of course, these five are far from the only movies about movies, they’re just our current favorites. Since the beginning, cinema has been rich with self-aware artistry that evolves the art well beyond the boundaries of normality, and it will continue to as long as hungry creatives are given a camera. Feel free to share your thoughts about our list in the comments below, or slide over to social media and drop your own! We’ll see you at the movies… or, perhaps, in them.

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