1937 • 114 minutes • 1.33:1 • France
Spine: #1 Editions: DVD, Collector’s Sets
Jean Renoir’s antiwar masterpiece Grand Illusion, hailed as one of the greatest films ever made, stars Jean Gabin and Pierre Fresnay as French soldiers held in a World War I German prison camp.
1954 • 207 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #2 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Collector’s Sets, iTunes
In Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai), sixteenth-century villagers hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This thrilling three-hour ride is one of the most beloved movie epics of all time.
1938 • 96 minutes • 1.33:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #3 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Collector’s Sets, iTunes
In Alfred Hitchcock’s most quick-witted and devilish comic thriller, a young woman finds herself drawn into a complex web of mystery and high adventure while traveling across Europe by train. The Lady Vanishes remains one of the master filmmaker’s purest delights.
1973 • 123 minutes • 1.85:1 • Italy
Spine: #4 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, iTunes
Federico Fellini satirizes his youth in this carnivalesque portrait of provincial Italy in the fascist period. The Academy Award–winning Amarcord remains one of cinema’s enduring treasures.
1959 • 99 minutes • 2.35:1 • France
Spine: #5 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Collector’s Sets, iTunes
Told through the eyes of François Truffaut’s cinematic counterpart, Antoine Doinel, The 400 Blows sensitively re-creates the trials of Truffaut’s own childhood, unsentimentally portraying aloof parents, oppressive teachers, and petty crime.
1946 • 93 minutes • 1.33:1 • France
Spine: #6 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Collector’s Sets, iTunes
The spectacular visions of enchantment, desire, and death in Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) have become timeless icons of cinematic wonder.
Roy Ward Baker
1958 • 123 minutes • 1.66:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #7 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, iTunes
On April 14, 1912, just before midnight, the “unsinkable” Titanic struck an iceberg. In less than three hours, it had plunged to the bottom of the sea. This is cinema’s subtlest and best dramatization of this monumental twentieth-century catastrophe.
1989 • 110 minutes • 1.85:1 • Hong Kong
Spine: #8 Edition: DVD
Chow Yun-fat stars as a killer with a conscience in John Woo’s exquisite dissection of morals in a corrupt society. Replete with balletic, slow-motion gun battles on the streets of Hong Kong, The Killer mixes genres from both the East and the West.
1992 • 126 minutes • 1.85:1 • Hong Kong
Spine: #9 Edition: DVD
Chow Yun-fat is jaded detective “Tequila” Yuen in John Woo’s dizzying odyssey through the world of Hong Kong Triads, undercover agents, and frenzied police raids; the brilliant, passionate Hard Boiled is violence as poetry, rendered by a master.
1971 • 100 minutes • 1.78:1 • Australia
Spine: #10 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, iTunes
A young sister and brother are abandoned in the harsh Australian outback and must learn to cope in the natural world, without their usual comforts, in this hypnotic masterpiece from Nicolas Roeg.
1957 • 96 minutes • 1.33:1 • Sweden
Spine: #11 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, Collector’s Sets, iTunes
Much studied, imitated, even parodied, but never outdone, Bergman’s stunning allegory of man’s search for meaning was one of the benchmark foreign imports of America’s 1950s art house heyday, pushing cinema’s boundaries and ushering in a new era of moviegoing.
1984 • 82 minutes • 1.78:1 • United States
Spine: #12 Edition: DVD
Following the ill-fated American comeback tour of an aging heavy-metal group, Rob Reiner’s cult phenomenon (and first “rockumentary”) This Is Spinal Tap has joined the ranks of the greatest comedies ever made.
1991 • 118 minutes • 1.85:1 • United States
Spine: #13 Edition: DVD
Anthony Hopkins’s Hannibal Lecter matches wits with Jodie Foster’s heroic FBI agent Clarice Starling in Jonathan Demme’s taut psychological thriller.
1954 • 93 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #14 Editions: Collector’s Sets, iTunes
In the first part of the epic Samurai Trilogy, Toshiro Mifune thunders onto the screen as the iconic title character.
1955 • 103 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #15 Editions: Collector’s Sets, iTunes
Toshiro Mifune furiously embodies swordsman Musashi Miyamoto as he comes into his own in the action-packed middle section of the Samurai Trilogy.
1956 • 104 minutes • 1.33:1 • Japan
Spine: #16 Editions: Collector’s Sets, iTunes
A disillusioned Musashi Miyamoto (Toshiro Mifune) has turned his back on the samurai life, becoming a farmer in a remote village, while his nemesis Kojiro (Koji Tsuruta) now works for the shogun.
Pier Paolo Pasolini
1976 • 116 minutes • 1.85:1 • Italy
Spine: #17 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray
Pier Paolo Pasolini’s notorious transposition of the Marquis de Sade’s eighteenth-century opus of torture and degradation to Fascist Italy in 1944 remains one of the most passionately debated films of all time,
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 • 101 minutes • 1.75:1 • United States
Spine: #19 Editions: DVD, Blu-Ray, iTunes
Seeking a Pulitzer Prize, reporter Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck) has himself committed to a mental hospital to investigate a murder. As he closes in on the killer, insanity closes in on him. Sam Fuller’s Shock Corridor masterfully charts the uneasy terrain between sanity and madness.
1986 • 111 minutes • 1.75:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #20 Edition: DVD
Director Alex Cox balances a bleak evocation of star-crossed love with surreal humor and genuine tenderness in this portrait of the brief, intense attachment of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen.
1988 • 115 minutes • 1.66:1 • United States
Spine: #21 Edition: DVD
Jeremy Irons gives a tour-de-force performance as identical twin gynecologists—suave Elliot and sensitive Beverly, bipolar sides of one personality—who descend into a whirlpool of sexual confusion, drugs, and madness in David Cronenberg’s chilling tale.
1955 • 100 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #22 Editions: DVD, Collector’s Sets, iTunes
In David Lean’s visually enchanting Summertime, Katharine Hepburn plays a lonely American spinster whose dream of romance finally becomes a bittersweet reality when she meets a handsome—but married—Italian man while vacationing in Venice.
1987 • 103 minutes • 1.66:1 • United States
Spine: #23 Edition: DVD
A grown-up superhero fantasy come to vivid, bloody life, Paul Verhoeven’s special effects-laden cult phenomenon features a resurrected hero (Peter Weller) in a new, supercharged cyborg body, struggling to reclaim his memory and avenge his own death.
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.