1964 • 90 minutes • 1.75:1 • United States
Spine: #18 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, iTunes
The setup is pure pulp: A former prostitute (a crackerjack Constance Towers) relocates to a buttoned-down suburb, determined to fit in with mainstream society.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1949 • 104 minutes • 1.33:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #64 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Collector’s Sets
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1953 • 80 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #224 Edition: DVD
In Sam Fuller’s hardboiled classic, a petty crook and an unsuspecting woman find themselves on the run from Communists in a precarious gambit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1949 • 94 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #273 Edition: DVD
Thieves’ Highway vividly depicts the perilous world of “long-haul boys,” who drive by night to bring their goods to the markets of America’s cities. Richard Conte stars as ex-G.I. Nick Garcos, a tyro trucker bent on satisfaction from the man responsible for crippling his father.
1950 • 95 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #274 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray
Two-bit hustler Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) longs for “a life of ease and plenty.” Trailed by an inglorious history of go-nowhere schemes, he tries to hatch a lucrative plan with a famous wrestler.
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.
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.
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.