1954 • 207 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #2 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus, iTunes
In Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai), sixteenth-century villagers hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This thrilling three-hour ride is one of the most beloved movie epics of all time.
1938 • 96 minutes • 1.33:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #3 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Collector’s Sets, iTunes
In Alfred Hitchcock’s most quick-witted and devilish comic thriller, a young woman finds herself drawn into a complex web of mystery and high adventure while traveling across Europe by train. The Lady Vanishes remains one of the master filmmaker’s purest delights.
1973 • 123 minutes • 1.85:1 • Italy
Spine: #4 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Hulu Plus, iTunes
Federico Fellini satirizes his youth in this carnivalesque portrait of provincial Italy in the fascist period. The Academy Award–winning Amarcord remains one of cinema’s enduring treasures.
1959 • 99 minutes • 2.35:1 • France
Spine: #5 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus, iTunes
François Truffaut sensitively re-creates the trials of his own difficult childhood in The 400 Blows, the film that marked his emergence as one of Europe’s most brilliant auteurs and signaled the beginning of the French New Wave.
1946 • 93 minutes • 1.33:1 • France
Spine: #6 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus, iTunes
The spectacular visions of enchantment, desire, and death in Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) have become timeless icons of cinematic wonder.
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.
1971 • 100 minutes • 1.78:1 • Australia
Spine: #10 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Hulu Plus, iTunes
A young sister and brother are abandoned in the harsh Australian outback and must learn to cope in the natural world, without their usual comforts, in this hypnotic masterpiece from Nicolas Roeg.
1957 • 96 minutes • 1.33:1 • Sweden
Spine: #11 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus, iTunes
Much studied, imitated, even parodied, but never outdone, Bergman’s stunning allegory of man’s search for meaning was one of the benchmark foreign imports of America’s 1950s art house heyday, pushing cinema’s boundaries and ushering in a new era of moviegoing.
Pier Paolo Pasolini
1976 • 116 minutes • 1.85:1 • Italy
Spine: #17 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray
Pier Paolo Pasolini’s notorious transposition of the Marquis de Sade’s eighteenth-century opus of torture and degradation to Fascist Italy in 1944 remains one of the most passionately debated films of all time,
1964 • 90 minutes • 1.75:1 • United States
Spine: #18 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Hulu Plus
The setup is pure pulp: A former prostitute (a crackerjack Constance Towers) relocates to a buttoned-down suburb, determined to fit in with mainstream society.
1963 • 101 minutes • 1.75:1 • United States
Spine: #19 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Hulu Plus
Seeking a Pulitzer Prize, reporter Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck) has himself committed to a mental hospital to investigate a murder. As he closes in on the killer, insanity closes in on him. Sam Fuller’s Shock Corridor masterfully charts the uneasy terrain between sanity and madness.
1963 • 143 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #24 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus
Adapting Ed McBain’s detective novel King’s Ransom, Kurosawa moves effortlessly from compelling race-against-time thriller to exacting social commentary, creating a diabolical treatise on contemporary Japanese society.
1931 • 110 minutes • 1.19:1 • Germany
Spine: #30 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus, iTunes
Peter Lorre stars as serial killer Hans Beckert in Fritz Lang’s harrowing masterwork M, a suspenseful panorama of private madness and public hysteria that to this day remains the blueprint for the psychological thriller.
1955 • 117 minutes • 1.33:1 • France
Spine: #35 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Hulu Plus
Before Psycho, Peeping Tom, and Repulsion, there was Diabolique, a heart-grabbing benchmark in horror filmmaking, featuring outstanding performances by Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, and Paul Meurisse.
1953 • 147 minutes • 1.33:1 • France
Spine: #36 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus, iTunes
Four desperate men sign on for a suicide mission to drive trucks loaded with nitroglycerin over a treacherous mountain route—a white-knuckle ride from France’s legendary master of suspense, Henri-Georges Clouzot.
1967 • 91 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #38 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Hulu Plus, iTunes
When Japanese New Wave bad boy Seijun Suzuki delivered this brutal, hilarious, and visually inspired masterpiece to the executives at his studio, he was promptly fired.
1966 • 82 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #39 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Hulu Plus, iTunes
In this jazzy gangster film, reformed killer Tetsu’s attempt to go straight is thwarted when his former cohorts call him back to Tokyo to help battle a rival gang.
1963 • 90 minutes • 1.37:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #43 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus
In the hands of the renowned experimental theater director Peter Brook, William Golding’s legendary novel about the primitivism lurking beneath civilization becomes a film as raw and ragged as the lost boys at its center.
The Red Shoes, the singular fantasia from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, is cinema’s quintessential backstage drama, as well as one of the most glorious Technicolor feasts ever concocted for the screen.
1959 • 107 minutes • 1.33:1 • France
Spine: #48 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus, iTunes
Winner of both the Academy Award for best foreign-language film and the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, Marcel Camus’ Black Orpheus (Orfeu negro) brings the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to the twentieth-century madness of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
1985 • 142 minutes • 1.78:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #51 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray
In the dystopian masterpiece Brazil, Jonathan Pryce plays a daydreaming everyman who finds himself caught in the soul-crushing gears of a nightmarish bureaucracy.
1961 • 110 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #52 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus, iTunes
To rid a terror-stricken village of corruption, wily masterless samurai Sanjuro (Toshiro Mifune) turns a range war between two evil clans to his own advantage in Akira Kurosawa’s visually stunning and darkly comic Yojimbo.
1962 • 96 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #53 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Collector’s Sets, Hulu Plus, iTunes
In Kurosawa’s sly companion piece to Yojimbo, jaded samurai Sanjuro helps an idealistic group of young warriors weed out their clan’s evil influences, and in the process turns their image of a “proper” samurai on its ear.
1989 • 79 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #54 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Hulu Plus, iTunes
Al Reinert’s visually dazzling documentary For All Mankind is the story of the twenty-four men who traveled to the moon—told in their words, in their voices, using the images of their experiences.
1935 • 86 minutes • 1.33:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #56 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Collector’s Sets, iTunes
A heart-racing spy story by Alfred Hitchcock, The 39 Steps follows Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) as he stumbles upon a conspiracy that thrusts him into a hectic chase across the Scottish moors.