2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
A cinematic piece of art that comments on the sometimes destructive nature of intelligence. From apes, to humans, to computers, each are portrayed as scheming, murderous creatures.
I'd put this film up there with Citizen Kane, another cinematic piece of art that isn't amazing but worth seeing at least once. I've definitely never seen anything like this before, with almost half of the movie containing no dialogue and a good part of it just flashing lights and intense music. Very creative to say the least, and visually stunning especially for it's time.
I didn't get a whole lot out of the movie until I read the summary provided on Wikipedia and made a few more realizations. For instance, the satellite that resembled the bone that was thrown in the air was actually used to control nuclear weapons, an obvious parallel to the apes use of the bone as a weapon. Intelligence brought great advances to both the primitive and futuristic societies but also pain and destruction.
Maybe I could have gotten a little more out of it by first reading Nietzche's essay that supposedly discusses the origin of man entitled Thus Spake Zarathustra, which is also the name of one of the orchestral themes of the movie. In addition, the ending was rather bizarre but seemed to parallel HAL's reverting back to his "childhood." Given the abstract format of the film I'm sure I did not grasp the whole meaning of the film, and due to the fact that Kubrick (the writer) never published the "philosophical and allegorical meaning of the film," any interpretation is pure speculation.
Why can't directors (or whoever's in charge of getting a movie to get a certain MPAA rating) try to give more mature-themed (thought provoking, philosophical, inspirational) movies a 'G' rating instead of thinking that mature audiences will only appreciate films if they have a lot of sex, violence, and profanity?