The Friends of Eddie Coyle
This is a superb and uncompromising adaptation of George V. Higgins’s bleak masterpiece of low-level criminality—and possibly Robert Mitchum’s finest performance.
Eyes Without a Face
Georges Franju’s eerie, face-transplant melodrama has stuck in my memory since the first time I saw it as a freaked-out kid on late-night TV.
The Battle of Algiers
The film that politicized me overnight. It’s riveting, multidimensional agitprop with a compelling documentary feel—still relevant and still the best of its kind.
Wong Kar Wai
I could watch the work of Wong Kar-wai (and the brilliant cinematographer Christopher Doyle) all day long. I don’t have to understand what’s going on . . . I don’t care. Beautiful people, photographed beautifully. His films are the best, most romantic out there.
Kiss Me Deadly
Easily the ugliest, greasiest, darkest, and most influential noir of its day. Love it.
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
Nagisa Oshima will probably be remembered best for his groundbreaking and beautiful hardcore film In the Realm of the Senses, but this is a wonderful one. Breathtakingly shot, with a fantastic, memorable score, and great performances by David Bowie, Tom Conti, and “Beat” Takeshi Kitano.
Withnail and I
One of the funniest goddamn films ever made—with an amazing performance by the brilliant Richard E. Grant.
Army of Shadows
A hard, unflinching look at what it was like to resist during wartime France. Personally, I prefer Bob le flambeur, but any Melville is good Melville. And this is very, very good.
House of Games
Mamet’s best film. Joe Mantegna’s best film. A suspense film about the big con. With a tight, delightfully convoluted script, great dialogue—and Ricky Jay!
It’s simply one of the best films ever made—and it perfectly conveys everything you need to know about film. The scene of the convicts watching cartoons is a timeless, classic, and life-enriching moment.
Jon Dieringer’s Top 10
The founder of the website Screen Slate picks a selection of favorites, including an ’80s indie gem, shockers ranging from Eraserhead to Canoa, and two films that capture the “twilit feeling of childhood.”