The 39 Steps
Prototypical Hitchcock innocent-man-on-the-run thriller—it could be the Hitchcock I’m still most partial to.
Seven Samurai goes without saying. But Stray Dog is the best Japanese film noir I know, with two powerhouse stars: Takashi Shimura and Toshiro Mifune.
When we reopened Film Forum in a new theater, in 1990, this is the one I chose as the opening attraction for the repertory screen. One viewing will explain why.
Trouble in Paradise
“I’ve been to Paris, France and Paris, Paramount. I prefer Paris, Paramount,” Ernst Lubitsch once famously remarked. This is Lubitsch and Paris, Paramount, at their absolute peak.
The 400 Blows
Watch this and Breathless together and you’ll understand what the big deal about the new wave was.
À nous la liberté
As delightful as any other film of the early thirties. Their influence on sound films in general, and musicals in particular, is underestimated.
Big Deal on Madonna Street
Divorce Italian Style
La crema della crema of Italian comedies. Honorable mention: Fellini’s The White Sheik.
The most perfect literary adaptation ever (can anyone come up with a better one?).
The Honeymoon Killers
Very little of what’s called “independent” today really is. The Honeymoon Killers is a real independent; made on a shoestring, this is the most chilling movie of its decade.
Night and the City
A quintessential film noir by a master of the genre. In style and theme, it resembles a later favorite of mine, Sweet Smell of Success.
Julia Cafritz’s Top 10
At the beginning of Julia Cafritz’s senior year of high school, she saw Peter Weir’s The Last Wave and decided to drop out of high school, skip college, move to Australia, marry Mr. Weir and devote her life to filmmaking. Her parents said no. Two…
Leanne Shapton’s Top 10
An artist, art director, illustrator, and publisher based in New York City, Leanne Shapton designed the covers of the Criterion releases Kicking and Screaming and Cría cuervos . . . , and is the author of Was She Pretty?