1965 • 99 minutes • 1.33:1 • France
Spine: #25 Edition: DVD
Eddie Constantine stars as intergalactic hero Lemmy Caution, on a mission to kill the inventor of fascist computer Alpha 60, in Jean-Luc Godard’s irreverent, cockeyed fusion of science fiction, pulp characters, and surrealist poetry.
1969 • 145 minutes • 1.85:1 • France
Spine: #385 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Collector’s Sets
Atmospheric and gripping, Army of Shadows is Melville’s most personal film, featuring Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, and the incomparable Simone Signoret as intrepid underground fighters who must grapple with their conception of honor in their battle against Hitler’s regime.
1960 • 150 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #319 Editions: DVD, Collector’s Sets
A young executive hunts down his father’s killer in director Akira Kurosawa’s scathing The Bad Sleep Well. Continuing his legendary collaboration with actor Toshiro Mifune, Kurosawa combines elements of Hamlet and American film noir to chilling effect.
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.
1967 • 91 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #38 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, 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.
1960 • 90 minutes • 1.33:1 • France
Spine: #408 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, iTunes
With its lack of polish, surplus of attitude, anything-goes crime narrative, and effervescent young stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, Breathless helped launch the French New Wave and ensured that cinema would never be the same.
1947 • 98 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #383 Editions: DVD, iTunes
As hard-hitting as its title, Brute Force was the first of Jules Dassin’s forays into the crime genre, a prison melodrama that takes a critical look at American society as well, starring Burt Lancaster.
1970 • 140 minutes • 1.85:1 • France
Spine: #218 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray
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.
1960 • 108 minutes • 1.66:1 • France
Spine: #434 Edition: DVD
A character study of a career criminal at the end of his rope, this rugged noir from Claude Sautet is a thrilling highlight of sixties French cinema, starring Lino Ventura and Jean-Paul Belmondo.
1981 • 128 minutes • 1.66:1 • France
Spine: #106 Edition: DVD
An inspired rendering of Jim Thompson’s pulp novel Pop. 1280, Bertrand Tavernier’s Coup de torchon (Clean Slate) deftly transplants the story of an inept police chief turned heartless killer and his scrappy mistress from the American South to French West Africa.
1966 • 144 minutes • 1.66:1 • France
Spine: #448 Editions: DVD, iTunes
With his customary restraint and ruthless attention to detail, director Jean-Pierre Melville follows the parallel tracks of French underworld criminal Gu (Lino Ventura), escaped from prison and roped into one last robbery, and the suave inspector, Blot (Paul Meurisse), relentlessly seeking him.
1955 • 117 minutes • 1.33:1 • France
Spine: #35 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray
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.
1962 • 109 minutes • 1.66:1 • France
Spine: #447 Edition: DVD
A stone-faced Jean-Paul Belmondo stars as enigmatic gangster Silien, who may or may not be responsible for squealing on Faugel, just released from the slammer and already involved in what should have been a simple heist. Le doulos is one of the filmmaker’s most gripping crime dramas.
1948 • 98 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #413 Editions: DVD, Collector’s Sets
In this powerful early noir from the great Akira Kurosawa, Toshiro Mifune bursts onto the screen as a volatile, tubercular criminal who strikes up an unlikely relationship with Takashi Shimura’s jaded physician.
Lars von Trier
1984 • 104 minutes • 1.85:1 • Denmark
Spine: #80 Edition: DVD
Lars von Trier’s stunning debut film, influenced equally by Hitchcock and science fiction, is the story of Fisher, an exiled ex-cop who returns to his old beat to catch a serial killer with a taste for young girls.
1958 • 92 minutes • 1.66:1 • France
Spine: #335 Editions: DVD, iTunes
A touchstone of the careers of both its star and director, Louis Malle’s debut feature, Elevator to the Gallows, starring Jeanne Moreau, is a richly atmospheric thriller of murder and mistaken identity unfolding over one restless Parisian night.
Lars von Trier
1991 • 107 minutes • 2.35:1 • Denmark
Spine: #454 Edition: DVD
Lars von Trier’s hypnotic Europa is a fever dream in which American pacifist Leopold Kessler stumbles into a job as a sleeping-car conductor for the Zentropa railways in a Kafkaesque 1945 postwar Frankfurt. Europa is one of the great Danish filmmaker’s weirdest and most wonderful works.
1973 • 102 minutes • 1.85:1 • United States
Spine: #475 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray
In one of the best performances of his legendary career, Robert Mitchum plays small-time gunrunner Eddie “Fingers” Coyle in an adaptation by Peter Yates of George V. Higgins’s acclaimed novel The Friends of Eddie Coyle.
1963 • 143 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #24 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Collector’s Sets, iTunes
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.
1984 • 98 minutes • 1.77:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #469 Edition: DVD
Terence Stamp is Willie, a gangster’s henchman turned “supergrass” (informer) trying to live in peaceful hiding in a Spanish village. Sun-dappled bliss turns to nerve-racking suspense, however, when two hit men—played by John Hurt and Tim Roth—come a-calling to bring Willie back for execution.
1991 • 101 minutes • 1.85:1 • United States
Spine: #486 Edition: DVD
In this nightmarish urban odyssey, inner-city police detective Bobby Gold (Joe Mantegna), is following the murder of an elderly Jewish candy-shop owner, which leads him down a path of obscure encounters and clues, as well as a profound reckoning with his own self and identity.
1997 • 97 minutes • 1.85:1 • Norway
Spine: #47 Editions: Dual Format Blu-ray/DVD, DVD, iTunes
The success of Erik Skjoldbjærg’s chilling procedural anticipated the international hunger for Scandinavian noirs and serial- killer fictions, and the film features one of Skarsgård’s greatest performances.
1976 • 135 minutes • 1.85:1 • United States
Spine: #254 Editions: DVD, Collector’s Sets, iTunes
John Cassavetes engages with film noir in his own inimitable style with The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Ben Gazzara brilliantly portrays a gentleman’s club owner, Cosmo Vitelli, desperately committed to maintaining a facade of suave gentility despite the seediness of his environment.
1979 • 114 minutes • 1.77:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #26 Edition: DVD
Bob Hoskins, in his breakthrough film role, stars as a London racketeer fast losing control of his gangland empire; Helen Mirren shines as his classy moll.
1986 • 104 minutes • 1.77:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #107 Edition: DVD
Bob Hoskins (who snagged an Oscar nomination for his performance) plays George, a small-time loser employed as a chauffeur to an enigmatic, high-class call girl in writer-director Neil Jordan’s brilliant, noir-infused love story.