Favorite Contrib Modules

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Power Modules:

CCK Add custom fields to any node
Views Make lists of nodes (or fields of nodes), formated how you need

Almost every site needs:

ImageCache Automatically change and resize images (like from an ImageField) so a large image doesn't break your pretty layout.
ImageField Provides an image upload field for CCK.
Global Redirect One Path-One Page--No Nasty 404s
Pathauto Automatically creates "clean-url" paths for every node created

Modules that scratch that itch:

Administration menu Provides a theme-independent administration interface (aka. "navigation", "back-end") for Drupal.
Backup and Migrate Simplifies the task of backing up and restoring your Drupal database or copying your database from one Drupal site to another
Content Profile Implement user profiles with cck fields.
Date A flexible date/time field type for the cck
Devel I've you're doing any module development, this is on the required list. Also Includes the Theme Developer utility which is awesome when you're trying to find the name of theme functions and template files
Drush A command line shell and Unix scripting interface for Drupal, a veritable Command Line Swiss Army knife
Feature Feature module creates feature modules... Configure a site locally, export and upload views, fields, etc. as a “feature module” to a live live site.
FileField Provides a universal file upload field for CCK. It is a robust alternative to core's Upload module
Fivestar Adds a clean, attractive voting widget
FlashVideo Turnkey Flash Video solution
Migrate Migrate an old website to a new Drupal website with relative ease.
Nice Menus Drop down (or out) expandable menus
Scheduler Adds scheduling of (un)published like Joomla has
TinyTinyMCE WYSIWYG editor (needs the TinyMCE freeware to install with it)
Ubercart E-Commerce Goodness
Webform Easily create complex forms, including better "Contact Us" forms.

Improving the Client's front-end interface:

WYSIWYG Adds WYSIWYG editing to content. Works best with TinyMCE for W3C compliant XHTML.
WYSIWYG Filter Replacement for the core Drupal HTML filter to allow inline styles from TinyMCE. A bit tricky to configure, but worth the trouble.
Better Formats Set default input format per role and per content type.
Override Node Options Allows you to grant Published/Sticky and other node options without granting the full administrative Node Access permission.
View Unpublished Works with Override Node Options to allow users to view their own unpublished content without full admin access.

Multi-Language Support:

i18n Provides content translation -nodes and taxonomy-, interface translation for anonymous users - with the locale module- and browser language detection.
languageicons Provides icons for language links, both for the Language switcher block and (optionally) for node links.
languageinterface Provides a means to switch the language of the interface.
translation_overview Provides a table listing the site's nodes and showing what's been translated into each language. It also lets you assign priorities for translating nodes into the various languages.
translation_table Provides an interface for quick translation of taxonomies and menus.