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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1955 • 118 minutes • 1.33:1 • France
Spine: #115 Editions: Dual Format Blu-ray/DVD, Collector’s Sets
After making such American noir classics as Brute Force and The Naked City, the blacklisted director Jules Dassin went to Paris and embarked on his masterpiece: a twisting, turning tale of four ex-cons who hatch one last glorious robbery in the City of Light.
1960 • 131 minutes • 1.66:1 • France
Spine: #129 Edition: DVD
In a Paris prison cell, five inmates use every ounce of their tenacity and ingenuity in an elaborate attempt to tunnel to freedom. Based on the novel by José Giovanni, Jacques Becker’s Le trou (The Hole) balances lyrical humanism with a tense, unshakable air of imminent danger.
1967 • 105 minutes • 1.85:1 • France
Spine: #306 Editions: DVD, iTunes
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.
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.
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.
1960 • 81 minutes • 2.35:1 • France
Spine: #315 Editions: DVD, iTunes
Part thriller, part comedy, part tragedy, Shoot the Piano Player relates the adventures of mild-mannered piano player Charlie (Charles Aznavour) as he stumbles into the criminal underworld and a whirlwind love affair.
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.
1954 • 96 minutes • 1.33:1 • France
Spine: #271 Editions: DVD, Collector’s Sets
Having pulled off the heist of a lifetime, Max looks forward to spending his remaining days relaxing with his beautiful young girlfriend. But when Max’s hapless partner lets word of the loot slip to loose-lipped, two-timing Josy (Jeanne Moreau), Max is reluctantly drawn back into the underworld.
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.
1966 • 82 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #39 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, 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 • 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.
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.
1979 • 140 minutes • 1.66:1 • Japan
Spine: #384 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, iTunes
Director Shohei Imamura turns this fact-based story—about the seventy-eight-day killing spree of a remorseless man from a devoutly Catholic family—into a cold, perverse, and at times diabolically funny examination of the primitive coexisting with the modern.
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.
1949 • 122 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #233 Editions: DVD, Collector’s Sets
When a pickpocket steals a rookie detective’s gun on a hot, crowded bus, the cop goes undercover in a desperate attempt to right the wrong. Kurosawa’s thrilling noir probes the squalid world of postwar Japan and the nature of the criminal mind.
1963 • 92 minutes • 2.35:1 • Japan
Spine: #268 Edition: DVD
When a mysterious stranger muscles into two rival yakuza gangs, Tokyo’s underworld explodes with violence. Youth of the Beast was a breakthrough for director Seijun Suzuki, introducing the flamboyant colors, hallucinatory images, and striking compositions that would become his trademark.