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Considered one of the greatest films ever made, The Rules of the Game (La règle du jeu), by Jean Renoir, is a scathing critique of corrupt French society cloaked in a comedy of manners.
Astonishingly photographed, and featuring unforgettable, cascading scores by Philip Glass, these are immersive sensory experiences that meditate on the havoc humankind’s obsession with technological advancement has wreaked on our world.
Alain Delon plays a master thief, fresh out of prison, who crosses paths with a notorious escapee and an alcoholic ex-cop (Yves Montand). The unlikely trio plot a heist, against impossible odds, until a relentless inspector and their own pasts seal their fates.
A poet dreams of three women—a mechanical performing doll, a bejeweled siren, and the consumptive daughter of a famous composer—all of whom break his heart in different ways. Powell and Pressburger create a phantasmagoric marriage of cinema and opera in this one-of-a-kind classic.
The Small Back Room details the travails of troubled research scientist and military bomb-disposal expert Sammy Rice, who, while struggling with a complex relationship with secretary girlfriend Susan, is hired by the government to advise on a dangerous new German weapon.
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.
In John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln, Henry Fonda gives one of the finest performances of his career, as the young president-to-be, struggling with an incendiary murder case as a novice lawyer. Compassionate and assured, this is an indelible piece of Americana.
Director Jean-Luc Godard’s sly, playful “neorealist musical—that is, a contradiction in terms” finds his signature wit and intellectual acumen applied to the story of an exotic dancer attempting to have a child with her unwilling lover.
Two unemployed actors drown their frustrations in booze, pills, and lighter fluid. When an uncle offers his cottage, they escape the squalor of their flat for a week in the country. Bruce Robinson’s semi-autobiographical cult favorite is intelligent, superbly acted, and hilarious.
Vivre sa vie was a turning point for Jean-Luc Godard and remains one of his most dynamic films, combining brilliant visual design with a tragic character study. Anna Karina plays Nana, a young Parisian who aspires to be an actress but instead ends up a prostitute.
When Max Renn goes looking for edgy new shows for his sleazy cable TV station, he stumbles across the pirate broadcast of a hyperviolent torture show called Videodrome. This is one of David Cronenberg’s most provocative works, fusing social commentary with shocking sex and violence.
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.
Following the ill-fated American comeback tour of an aging heavy-metal group, Rob Reiner’s cult phenomenon (and first “rockumentary”) This Is Spinal Tap has joined the ranks of the greatest comedies ever made.
Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, black-market opportunist Harry Lime—and thus begins this legendary tale of love, deception, and murder.
With its delicate humor and dramatic nonchalance, Jim Jarmusch’s one-of-a-kind minimalist masterpiece, Stranger Than Paradise, forever transformed the landscape of American independent cinema.
In a career-defining performance, Alain Delon plays a contract killer with samurai instincts. A razor-sharp cocktail of 1940s American gangster cinema and 1960s French pop culture, maverick director Jean-Pierre Melville’s masterpiece Le Samouraï defines cool.
Roberto Rossellini is one of the most influential filmmakers of all time. And it was with his trilogy of films made during and after World War II—Rome Open City, Paisan, and Germany Year Zero—that he left his first transformative mark on cinema.
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With Ran, legendary director Akira Kurosawa reimagines Shakespeare’s King Lear as a singular historical epic set in sixteenth-century Japan. Majestic in scope, the film is Kurosawa’s late-life masterpiece, a profound examination of the folly of war.
Pépé le moko is a wanted man: women long for him, rivals hope to destroy him, and the law is breathing down his neck at every turn. On the lam, Pépé is safe from the clutches of the police, until a Parisian playgirl compels him to risk his life. Pépé le moko is a landmark of poetic realism.
Jean Gabin stars as an army deserter looking for another chance to make good on life in Marcel Carné’s stark portrayal of an underworld of lonely souls wrestling with their own destinies. Port of Shadows is a quintessential example of poetic realism from the golden age of French cinema.
A frank exploration of voyeurism and violence, Michael Powell’s extraordinary film is the story of a psychopathic cameraman—his childhood traumas, sexual crises, and murderous revenge as an adult.
Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc, in which Renée Falconetti gives one of the greatest performances ever recorded on film, convinced the world that movies could be art.
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.
One of the first cinematic reflections on the horrors of the Holocaust, Alain Resnais’ documentary Night and Fog (Nuit et Brouillard) contrasts the stillness of the abandoned camps’ quiet, empty buildings with haunting wartime footage.
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Robert Flaherty’s classic film tells the story of Inuit hunter Nanook and his family as they struggle to survive in the harsh conditions of Canada’s Hudson Bay region.
In Louis Malle’s captivating and philosophical My Dinner with André, actor and playwright Wallace Shawn sits down with friend and theater director André Gregory at an Upper West Side restaurant, and the two proceed into a confessional on love, death, money, and all the superstition in between.
Blind faith, virgin birth, crucifixion—nothing is sacred in Monty Python’s epic send-up of ancient times, which draws on the cornball biblical blockbusters of the 1950s to lampoon celebrity culture in any era.
Controversial winner of the International Critics’ Prize at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival, Man Bites Dog stunned audiences worldwide with its unflinching imagery and biting satire of media violence.
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.
Jean-Paul Belmondo delivers a subtly sensual performance in the hot-under-the-collar Léon Morin, Priest, directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. The French superstar plays a devoted man of the cloth who is desired by all the women of a small village in Nazi-occupied France.
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.
Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve star as members of a French theater company living under the German occupation during World War II in François Truffaut’s gripping character study. Equal parts romance, historical tragedy, and even comedy, this is Truffaut’s tribute to art overcoming adversity.
Brazen and bleak, Kiss Me Deadly is a film noir masterwork as well as an essential piece of cold war paranoia, and it features as nervy an ending as has ever been seen in American cinema.
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.
With clarity, subtlety, and a dose of wicked humor, Academy Award–winning director Ang Lee renders Rick Moody’s acclaimed novel of upper-middle-class American malaise as a trenchant, tragic cinematic portrait of lost souls.
In Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s stunningly photographed comedy, Wendy Hiller stars as a headstrong young woman who travels to the remote Scottish Hebrides to marry a rich lord.
David Mamet’s witty tale of a therapist and best-selling author who must confront her own obsessions when she meets an attractive cardsharp is as psychologically acute as it is full of twists and turns, a rich character study told with the cold calculation of a career criminal.
This landmark film, which documents the journeys of two remarkable families, continues to educate and inspire viewers, and it is widely considered one of the great works of American nonfiction cinema.
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Meet Big and Little Edie Beale: mother and daughter, high-society dropouts, and reclusive cousins of Jackie Onassis. The two manage to thrive together amid the decay and disorder of their East Hampton, New York, mansion.
In this tour de force adaptation of Roberto Saviano’s best-selling exposé of Naples’ Mafia underworld, director Matteo Garrone links five disparate tales in which men and children are caught up in a corrupt system that extends from the housing projects to the world of haute couture.
Trickery. Deceit. Magic. In F for Fake, a free-form sort-of documentary by Orson Welles, the legendary filmmaker (and self-described charlatan) gleefully reengages with the central preoccupation of his career: the tenuous lines between illusion and truth, art and lies.
Gary Cooper, Fredric March, and Miriam Hopkins play a trio of Americans in Paris who enter into a very adult “gentleman’s agreement” in this continental pre-Code comedy, freely adapted by Ben Hecht from a play by Noël Coward and directed by Ernst Lubitsch.
America, 1976. The last day of school. Bongs blaze, bell-bottoms ring, and rock and roll rocks. Among the best teen films ever made, Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused eavesdrops on a group of seniors-to-be and incoming freshmen.
Set amid the tumult of World War II, yet with a rhythm as delicate as a lullaby, Powell and Pressburger’s classic follows three modern-day incarnations of Chaucer’s pilgrims waylaid in the English countryside en route to the mythical town of Canterbury and forced to solve a bizarre village crime.
After a chance meeting on a train platform, a married doctor (Trevor Howard) and a suburban housewife (Celia Johnson) enter into a muted but passionate, ultimately doomed, love affair.
Hailed around the world as one of the greatest movies ever made, the Academy Award–winning Bicycle Thieves, directed by Vittorio De Sica, defined an era in cinema.
One of the greatest films about film ever made, Federico Fellini’s 8½ (Otto e mezzo) turns one man’s artistic crisis into a grand epic of the cinema.
A Nazi U-boat crew, headed by the ruthless Eric Portman, is stranded in Canada during the thick of World War II in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s quick-witted wartime thriller, 49th Parallel.
A profoundly felt film about class and conformity in small-town America, All That Heaven Allows is a pinnacle of expressionistic Hollywood melodrama.
The wildly prolific German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder paid homage to his cinematic hero Douglas Sirk with this update of that filmmaker’s 1955 All That Heaven Allows.
This boldly cinematic trio of stories about love and loss from Krzysztof Kieślowski was a defining event of the art-house boom of the 1990s.
This is where it all started. John Ford’s smash hit and enduring masterpiece Stagecoach revolutionized the western, elevating it from B movie to the A-list.
This explosive work about the conflict between the spirit and the flesh is the epitome of the sensuous style of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.
Like the rest of America, Hollywood was ripe for revolution in the late sixties. Cinema attendance was down; what had once worked seemed broken. Enter Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider, and Steve Blauner, who would form form BBS Productions, a company that was also a community.
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One of the most influential political films in history, The Battle of Algiers, by Gillo Pontecorvo, vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s.
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