My good friend at http://the3rdreel.blogspot.com/ has created his top five list of movies where narration actually works and in detication to narrated cinema, I too have done the same. Check it out.
5. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The narration in this film is pretty much just used in its basic form here. The opening few scenes of this movie are quick flashbacks narrated by the elf Galadriel that are intended to give the background story of the ring before the film actually jumps into the story.
4. Forrest Gump
This movie is pretty much just Forrest Gump telling his life story to random strangers who sit down next to him at the bus stop and that is exactly why his narration works in this film. Gump doesn't go through his entire life, he skips around to the important memories and that isn't something you can just put up on a screen without letting the audience know what is going on. Hank's narration is the glue that hold it all together.
3. Fight Club
This story is told from the point of view of our main character, played by Edward Norton (who is labeled as "The Narrator" on Imdb). The narration that Norton gives in this film is clever and it allows the audience to connect more deeply with Norton. This movie definitely would not have been as good as it is without the beautifully-depressing insight from Norton.
2. American History X
It shouldn't be a big suprise to find that the next film on my list is another Edward Norton film, who I am sure is next in line for the throne of King of Narrators (he is still waiting for Morgan Freeman to keel over). This film is about the redemption of Norton's character and the prison stories he tells his younger brother his in hopes that his younger brother doesn't follow the same path. Yet the overall story is narrated by the younger brother in the form of a paper he is supposed to write for his "history" class. Sound confusing? That's because it is. Go watch it.
1. Stranger Than Fiction
Lastly we have what I consider to be the greatest use of narration in a movie to date. Why is the narration in this movie so great you ask? Because the whole premise of this film is thatthe main character's life is being narrated. So when the disembodied voice threatens to kill him by the end of the story, Harold has to find the narrator and stop her before it's too late. This narration is smart because it does what a good narration should do, it describes what Harold is feeling and thinking and without the voice, we wouldn't know as much about Harold. The narrator makes the audience feel sympathetic towards Harold both by telling us he is going to die early on and by revealing just how lonely Harold actually is.
Honorable Mentions include: Double Indemnity, The Shawshank Redemption, and, March of the Penguins (because without Morgan Freeman, that movie would just be penguins).