1993 • 187 minutes • 2.35:1 • United States
Spine: #265 Edition: DVD
Epic in scale yet meticulously observed, maverick director Robert Altman’s Short Cuts interweaves the lives of twenty-two characters struggling to find solace and meaning in contemporary Los Angeles.
1977 • 124 minutes • 2.35:1 • United States
Spine: #230 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray
In a dusty California resort rown, a naïve Southern waif finds her role model in a fellow nurse, but her hero-worship evolves into something stranger and more sinister than either could have anticipated. Robert Altman’s dreamlike masterpiece careens from the humorous to the chilling to the surreal.
1988 • 353 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #258 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus
In 1988, renegade filmmaker Robert Altman and Pulitzer Prize–winning Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau created a presidential candidate, ran him alongside the other hopefuls during the primary season, and presented their media campaign as a cross between a soap opera and TV news.
1984 • 90 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #257 Edition: DVD
Based on the original play by Donald Freed and Arnold M. Stone, and starring Philip Baker Hall in a tour de force solo performance, Robert Altman’s Secret Honor is a searing interrogation of the Richard Nixon mystique and an audacious depiction of unchecked paranoia.
A low-key postpunk diary that took four years to complete, Allison Anders’ Border Radio features legendary rocker Chris D. as a singer/songwriter who has stolen loot from a club and gone missing, leaving his wife, a no-nonsense rock journalist, to track him down with the help of his friends.
1968 • 112 minutes • 1.66:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #391 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray
Before Kubrick made his mischief iconic in A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell made a hell of an impression as the insouciant Mick Travis, who, along with his school chums, trumps authority at every turn, finally emerging as a violent savior.
1963 • 134 minutes • 1.66:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #417 Editions: DVD, iTunes
One of the finest British films ever made, this benchmark of “kitchen-sink realism” follows the self-defeating professional and romantic pursuits of a miner turned rugby player eking out an existence in drab Yorkshire, played by an astonishing Richard Harris.
2001 • 110 minutes • 2.35:1 • United States
Spine: #157 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray
Wes Anderson’s hilarious, touching, and brilliantly stylized study of melancholy and redemption centers around a dysfunctional family of geniuses.
1998 • 93 minutes • 2.35:1 • United States
Spine: #65 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray
Tenth grader Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) is Rushmore Academy’s most extracurricular student, and its least scholarly, in Wes Anderson’s dazzling sophomore effort—equal parts coming-of-age story, French New Wave homage, and screwball comedy.
1996 • 91 minutes • 1.85:1 • United States
Spine: #450 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray
Wes Anderson first illustrated his lovingly detailed, slightly surreal cinematic vision (with cowriter Owen Wilson) in this visually witty and warm portrait of three young misfits.
2004 • 118 minutes • 2.35:1 • United States
Spine: #300 Edition: DVD
Internationally famous oceanographer Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) and his crew—Team Zissou—set sail on an expedition to hunt down the mysterious, elusive, possibly nonexistent “jaguar shark” that killed Zissou’s partner in Oscar-nominated writer-director Wes Anderson’s adventure-comedy.
1952 • 95 minutes • 1.33:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #158 Editions: DVD, Collector’s Sets, iTunes
Oscar Wilde’s enduringly hilarious story of two young women who think themselves engaged to the same nonexistent man is given the grand Technicolor treatment. Seldom has a classic stage comedy been so engagingly transferred to the screen.
Cranky Professor Henry Higgins (Leslie Howard) takes a bet that he can turn Cockney guttersnipe Eliza Doolittle (Wendy Hiller) into a “proper lady” in a mere six months in this delightful comedy of bad manners, based on the play by George Bernard Shaw.
1951 • 90 minutes • 1.33:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #294 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus, iTunes
Michael Redgrave gives the performance of his career in Anthony Asquith’s adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s unforgettable play. Redgrave portrays Andrew Crocker-Harris, an embittered, middle-aged schoolmaster who begins to feel that his life has been a failure.
Roy Ward Baker
1958 • 123 minutes • 1.66:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #7 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, iTunes
On April 14, 1912, just before midnight, the “unsinkable” Titanic struck an iceberg. In less than three hours, it had plunged to the bottom of the sea. This is cinema’s subtlest and best dramatization of this monumental twentieth-century catastrophe.
1961 • 77 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #428 Edition: DVD
Swift, brutal, and black-hearted, Allen Baron’s New York City noir Blast of Silence is a sensational surprise, a low-budget, carefully crafted portrait of a hit man on assignment in Manhattan during Christmastime.
1995 • 96 minutes • 1.85:1 • United States
Spine: #349 Edition: DVD
Paralyzed by postgraduation ennui, a group of college friends remain on campus, patching together a community for themselves in order to deny the real-world futures awaiting them, in Academy Award–nominated screenwriter Noah Baumbach’s hilarious and touching directorial debut.
1998 • 153 minutes • 2.35:1 • United States
Spine: #40 Edition: DVD
Bruce Willis and an all-star cast of roughneck oil drillers blast off on a mission to save the planet in Michael Bay’s doomsday space epic.
1996 • 136 minutes • 2.35:1 • United States
Spine: #108 Edition: DVD
A highly decorated, retired U.S. Marine general (Ed Harris) seizes a stockpile of chemical weapons and takes over Alcatraz, with eighty-one tourists as hostages on the San Francisco Bay isle, in Michael Bay’s fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat thriller, also starring Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage.
Spencer G. Bennet
1959 • 72 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #366 Editions: Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus, iTunes
When a nuclear-powered submarine, the Tiger Shark, sets out to investigate a series of mysterious disappearances near the Arctic Circle, its fearless crew finds itself besieged by electrical storms, an Unidentified Floating Saucer, and lots of hairy tentacles.
Prince Ahmad, cast out of Bagdad by the nefarious Jaffar, joins forces with the scrappy thief Abu to win back his royal place and the heart of a princess in Alexander Korda’s The Thief of Bagdad, an eye-popping special-effects pioneer and one of the most spectacular fantasy films ever made.
1987 • 160 minutes • 2.00:1 • China
Spine: #422 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray
Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor, about the life of Emperor Pu Yi, who took the throne at age three, in 1908, before witnessing decades of cultural and political upheaval, won nine Academy Awards, unexpectedly sweeping every category in which it was nominated.
1982 • 95 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #287 Editions: DVD, Hulu Plus, iTunes
Les Blank documents acclaimed German filmmaker Werner Herzog’s ambitious and troubled production of Fitzcarraldo, the story of one man’s attempt to build an opera house deep in the Amazon jungle.
243 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #184 Editions: DVD, Collector’s Sets
Working completely outside the mainstream, the wildly prolific, visionary Stan Brakhage made more than 350 films over a half century. Challenging all taboos in his exploration of “birth, sex, death, and the search for God,” he has turned his camera on explicit lovemaking, childbirth, even autopsy.