The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
The second film by Orson Welles, about a wealthy Midwestern family that
disintegrates under the wheels of progress, is a masterpiece. Beautifully
shot and acted with the legendary controversy still surrounding the
happy ending stuck on by the studio against Welles' wishes.
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Considered by many critics to be one of the greatest detective films
ever made, Huston was only 29 years old when he helmed this classic.
He also wrote the screenplay which was based on the Dashiel Hammett
novel and revolves around Sam Spade's (Bogart) complicated search for
a priceless statuette.
The Manchurian Candidate (1961)
Rumored to have been secretly banned and buried after its completion,
this film is just getting its due. The political thriller revolves around
a Korean war officer who believes that he and his platoon were used
in a secret communist plot involving brainwashing techniques and assassination.
Full of gripping twists and turns.
Often hilarious, often poignant, story of a middle-aged writer who's
desperately trying to move into more serious writing. His life is further
complicated by his inability to choose between two women, one his own
age, the other a high school senior.
A group of surgeons and nurses at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in
Korea combat the psychological damage the war is doing to them by throwing
endless parties and playing bizarre practical jokes.
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Gritty story about a young Texan who arrives in New York City with dreams
of becoming a gigolo. Hanging in the 42nd Street district he's befriended
by a sleazy con man who works as his 'manager' and both are dragged
to the depths of life. The only X-rated film ever to win a Best Picture
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
A jolly old man who's hired as the Santa Claus for the Macy's Thanksgiving
Day parade feels he's perfect for the job since he is, in fact, the
real Kris Kringle. He tries to spread his holiday cheer and no one takes
him seriously, including a little girl (Wood) who needs to see a miracle
to truly believe in him.
Modern Times (1936)
A factory worker is driven to the edge of sanity by his monotonous job,
his slave driving boss, and the oncoming technological revolution. A
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Stewart plays an innocent young man who is picked to stand in for an
ill Senator. Once in Washington, he is besieged by corrupt politicians
and forced to take a stand. Some classic screen moments result.
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
Unforgettable picture about a needed rebellion, led by Gable, against
a truly despicable sadistic Captain Bligh (Laughton). Not to be missed.
My Fair Lady (1964)
Professor Henry Higgins makes a bet with a friend that he can turn a
lowly, unrefined flower girl into a sophisticated, elite woman. Audrey
Hepburn plays the female in question. Lushly produced. Terrific tunes
include 'I Could Have Danced All Night' and 'Wouldn't It Be Lovely.'
North By Northwest (1959)
Grant plays a New York ad executive who is mistaken for a spy and must
run for his life. As if that's not a big enough problem, he's then framed
for murder. Pic contains one of Hitchcock's most famous scenes. Grant
getting frantically chased by a machine-gun firing crop duster through
a corn field. Considered by many to be Hitchcock's best picture.
On The Waterfront (1954)
Marlon Brando gives one of his most famous performances as the brother
of a corrupt mob lawyer who gets reluctantly caught up in union violence,
greed, and deceit. Powerful, gripping drama.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Incredible story of a man convicted of statutory rape who chooses an
asylum over prison, and then must call on all his emotional resources
to stay sane inside insanity. One of the best films ever made, with
endless classic scenes.
Ordinary People (1980)
Sutherland and Moore play parents whose one son dies in a swimming accident
and whose other son fights a guilt-ridden suicidal desire. Their struggle
in this emotional battlefield is heartfelt, moving, and extremely powerful.
Steve McQueen portrays Henri Charriere, a man whose spirit cannot be
broken as he relentlessly breaks out of prison after prison until he
arrives at 'escape-proof' Devil's Island, where he attempts his most
daring attempt for freedom.
Paths of Glory (1957)
Engrossing pic based on the true story of a French officer who strategized
an absurd attack which failed miserably. Unable to accept his mistake,
he picked out three soldiers, blamed them for the disaster, and had
them tried for execution. Kirk Douglas plays an officer who is aware
of the whole ugly affair and tries to stop it. One of the best war films
The military career of controversial General George S. Patton is brought
to the screen with stunning results. Patton, a brilliant strategist,
won battle after battle but lost a large amount of men. Scott won the
Oscar but refused it. Written by Francis Ford Coppola.
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Classic comedy with Hepburn playing a once-married socialite who plans
to do it again but is interrupted by her suave ex-husband (Grant) and
a goofy reporter (Stewart). One of the all-time great romantic comedies.
A woman running from the law checks in at the Bates Motel, meets the
mentally disturbed owner, and never checks out. Considered by many to
be the greatest horror film ever made.
Raging Bull (1980)
Robert De Niro gives one of his greatest performances as fighter Jake
LaMotta in this brilliant biography of a man whose only true emotional
outlet was fighting. Beautifully photographed in rich black and white,
and containing some of the most intense fight scenes ever filmed.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Archaeologist Indiana Jones' search for the Ark of The Covenant brings
him up against runaway boulders, seas of snakes, evil swordsman, and
more in this fast-paced action/adventure flick from legend Steven Spielberg.
Rear Window (1954)
A photographer who's laid up with a broken leg passes the time sitting
at his window watching his neighbors. When he witnesses what he believes
to be a man killing his wife, he decides to try to catch the fiend himself.
Tense script, excellent direction, occasional Hitchcockian gallows humor.
Room with a View (1986)
A young lady, soon to be a victim of an arranged marriage, meets a free-thinking
passionate man who changes her life forever. A beautiful cinematic achievement
brought to the screen by the same people who made Howards End.
The Searchers (1956)
An ex-soldier spends five grueling years looking for his niece, who
was kidnapped by Comanche Indians. As his journey becomes more and more
involved, the viewer is not sure whether his reason for trying to find
the girl is to help her or hurt her.
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Uncle Charlie travels to California to visit some relatives. All's well
until his niece comes to the realization that he's the notorious serial
killer, the 'Merry Widow Murderer.' Hitchcock's own favorite.
A drifter who was once a great gunfighter comes to the rescue of a poor
family who are being manhandled by a wealthy, corrupt land baron and
his hired strong arm. Jack Palance gives a devilishly perfect performance
as the bank-rolled bad man.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Incredibly suspenseful story about a female FBI agent trying to track
down a horrific mass murderer with the help of an imprisoned legendary
serial killer known as Hannibal 'The Cannibal' Lecter. (He earned his
nickname from turning his victims into meals.) Anthony Hopkins' incredible
performance turned the twisted character into a cult figure.
Singin' In The Rain (1952)
A satire on the panic that gripped Tinseltown when the motion-picture
industry changed from silent films to sound. Contains one of the most
famous scenes ever filmed, Gene Kelly singing and dancing around lightposts
in the rain. One of the all-time top musicals. Songs include the title
track and 'All I Do Is Dream Of You'.
Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Classic fairy tale became the first animated feature ever made and Disney
was given a special Oscar: one large statue and seven little ones. The
beautiful Snow White, the evil Queen, the Prince, and the seven little
guys are all present in this marvelous adaptation of the famous story.
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis play a couple of musicians who unwittingly
become witnesses to the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Afraid
of being 'eliminated,' they dress as women and become members of an
all-girl band on its way to Florida. Marilyn Monroe also stars in this
much acclaimed pic.
The Sound of Music (1965)
Music, comedy, and drama are woven perfectly into this beautiful film
about a young lady who takes a job as governess for a large family,
falls in love with the widowed father, and helps the family escape from
Austria before the Nazi invasion.
A stagecoach is threatened to be set upon by a group of murderous Indians.
The passengers, strangers with nothing in common except the impending
doom, must band together. Brought 'The Ringo Kid' character to the world,
and the first teaming of Wayne and Ford.
Star Wars (1977)
Luke Skywalker and his band of space soldiers battle Darth Vader and
the ruthless members of the Galactic Empire in one of the highest grossing
sci-fi films of all time. Oddly enough, it's also one of the only science
fiction films ever nominated for Best Picture. Filled with spectacular
The Sting (1973)
Redford and Newman are a magical team in this witty pic about two con
men who take on a seemingly unbeatable mark in 1930s Chicago.
Sullivan's Travels (1941)
Preston Sturges' satire on a Hollywood director who is sick of making
mindless comedies and dreams of producing a socially-aware masterpiece.
In order to really get into it, he hits the road with only a few cents
in his pocket to travel as a hobo and learn how the other half lives.
Taxi Driver (1976)
Insomniac Travis Bickle takes a job in NYC driving a cab 'anytime, anywhere.'
His travels open up his eyes to the underworld of the city, pushes his
mind to places it's never been and, after developing a sympathetic relationship
with a 13 year-old prostitute, ultimately leads to extreme violence.
An all-time classic.
Terms of Endearment (1983)
Debra Winger plays a wife and young mother of two who learns she has
irreversible cancer. The film follows the effects of the disease on
her family and friends with a simple yet stunningly realistic style.
One of the most powerful films of the '80s.
The Third Man (1949)
Cotten plays an American writer who travels to post WWII Vienna for
a job promised by his friend, Harry Lime. Once in Vienna, he learns
that Lime is dead, or is he? Cotten needs to find out. Welles has the
role of Lime, a black market drug dealer of the sleaziest nature. The
underground sewer scene at the end of the film is considered by some
to be a masterpiece.
Top Hat (1935)
Fred Astaire is trying to win the affections of Ginger Rogers but she's
under the impression he's already taken by a friend. Probably Ginger
and Fred's best pic. Songs include 'Cheek to Cheek.'
Touch Of Evil (1958)
An incredibly eerie and moody story about a lawman (Welles) who's tracking
down some thugs that murdered a wealthy crime lord, using a load of
dynamite. Heston plays a Mexican government official who, against the
lawman's wishes, gets involved in the investigation that's taking place
in a seedy border town. Considered by some critics to be a technical
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Two drifters take a job with a construction boss and meet an old-time
gold prospector. The three take their earnings and head into the hills
to mine for a fortune. They're doing quite well until a band of Mexicans,
a new 'partner,' and greed cause the plan to unravel. A classic which
many critics feel is one of the best films ever made.
12 Angry Men (1957)
If you're into courtroom drama, this is a great film to see. Eleven
members of a jury are sure a young boy murdered his father. One member
(Henry Fonda) thinks they've jumped to their conclusion and are convicting
an innocent youth. A battle ensues.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Man, from prehistoric times to a futuristic space age, is eerily defined
in this sci-fi classic. A trip to Jupiter turns grim when the main computer,
HAL 9000, gets a mind of its own. Stunning images and imaginative script
create an unforgettable viewing experience.
Stewart plays a detective whose fear of heights leads to a fatal accident
of a partner and, possibly, the girl he is following. A while later,
he meets the girl's double and a chain of bizarre, frightening events
begin. Considered a masterpiece.
West Side Story (1961)
Two New York gangs fight and sing amidst the fighting and singing of
young lovers Tony and Maria. Four star pic all the way around.
The Wild Bunch (1969)
William Holden plays the leader of an aging band of outlaws who are
on the run from the law. But they're soon to meet a Mexican general
and a brutal experience they'll never forget. One of the best films
ever made and instrumental in its introduction of slow motion violence.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The mother of all family films about a girl whisked away during a tornado
to the land of Oz populated by munchkins. She's told that if she wants
to get back home, she must follow the Yellow Brick Road and see the
wizard. Filled with classic scenes, like the army of flying monkeys,
and the trees that come alive. Also crammed with great tunes including
'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' and 'If I Only Had a Brain.'
Wuthering Heights (1939)
The mesmerizing moody story of ill-fated love on the Yorkshire Moors
is brought to the screen in stupendous fashion. Critically hailed.
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
Lavishly produced bio of early show biz icon George M. Cohan, from his
first efforts at a song-writing career through his heyday as the King
of Broadway. Cagney shines in title role. Tunes include title cut and
'Give My Regards to Broadway.'