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Allen’s Movie Recommendations

My producer, Allen Estrin, began his professional life as a film historian (The Hollywood Professionals: Capra, Cukor and Brown, AS Barnes, New York). He now teaches screenwriting at the American Film Institute. His wife, Susan, has seen more movies and knows them better than anyone I know. Together, they have put together a film list of must-see American films. It has my seal of approval. As a matter of fact, I use it often.

1930s

KING KONG (1933) Horror
Starring Bruce Cabot, Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong
Directed by Merian C Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack
This is the famous early horror classic about a giant ape with a weakness for a beautiful blonde.
IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) Romantic Comedy. Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
Directed by Frank Capra
Frank Capra directed this droll multiple Oscar-winner about a down-to-earth newspaper reporter and a runaway heiress.
MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY Adventure. Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Clark Gable, Charles Laughton, Franchot Tone
Directed by Frank Lloyd
The classic true story of the most famous mutiny at sea is a fascinating adventure tale.
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (1935) / A DAY AT THE RACES (1937) / DUCK SOUP (1933) Comedy.
Starring The Marx Brothers
Their 3 funniest movies; take your pick or watch them all; they’re hilarious.
TOP HAT (1935) / SWING TIME (1936)
Starring Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers
The two best films of the best dance team in film history, filled with great music.
Top Hat songs: Cheek to Cheek; Isn’t It a Lovely Day; Top Hat, White Tie & Tails.
Swing Time songs: A Fine Romance; Pick Yourself Up; The Way You Look Tonight.
FURY (1936)
Starring Spencer Tracy, Sylvia Sidney, Walter Abel
Directed by Fritz Lang
Potent tale of group hysteria, small-town vigilantes, and the innocent man they very nearly murder. Spencer Tracy’s performance is outstanding.
THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937) Romantic Comedy
Starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne
Directed by Leo McCarey
This is a funny, racy comedy about a bickering divorcing couple who suspect each other of infidelity and divorce, but find they still love each other.
CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS (1937) Coming-of-Age Adventure
Starring Spencer Tracy, Freddie Bartholomew, Lionel Barrymore Directed by Victor Fleming A spoiled, lonely rich boy, neglected by his father, falls off a cruise ship and is rescued by a group of fishermen. Forced to spend the fishing season on their work boat, the boy forms a strong bond with a Portuguese fisherman, and learns their values. Spencer Tracy won an Academy Award for his performance in this wonderful film for the whole family.
LOST HORIZON (1937) Adventure/Drama
Starring Ronald Colman, Jane Wyatt, Sam Jaffe Directed by Frank Capra Frank Capra directed this tale of a small band of plane crash survivors, including a world-weary international diplomat, who are taken to an idyllic remote village in Tibet called Shangri-La. Exceptionally beautiful black and white cinematography.
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937) Animated
The first animated feature film ever made is also one of the best – but scary for 7/under.
THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938) Adventure
Starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Claude Raines, Basil Rathbone
Directed by Michael Curtiz
One of the truly great adventure tales, this film has great dialogue, exhilarating action and one of the greatest musical scores of all time (by Wolfgang Korngold). It’s also great fun for all ages.
BRINGING UP BABY (1938) Screwball Comedy
Starring Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn
Directed by Howard Hawks
This is the zany story of a paleontologist whose intercostal clavicle (for a dinosaur exhibit) is swiped by a ditzy heiress’s terrier. Before he can retrieve his specimen, he must help the heiress transport a leopard named Baby to her eccentric aunt. A wonderful screwball comedy.
GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) Romantic Epic. Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Clark Cable, Vivien Leigh, Thomas Mitchell, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland
Directed by Victor Fleming
A romantic epic set during the Civil War. Probably the single most famous Hollywood film ever made.
GUNGA DIN (1939) Adventure
Starring Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Victor McLaglen, Sam Jaffe
Directed by George Stevens
A rousing adventure set in colonial India, as 3 British soldiers/comrades and an Indian water boy searching for gold stumble on a murderous Thugee cult.
MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939) Drama
Starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold
Directed by Frank Capra
Young, idealistic Senator fights against Washington corruption and betrayal by his mentor.
NINOTCHKA (1939) Romantic Comedy
Starring Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
A humorless Russian agent comes to Paris in search of three defecting comrades and learns about romance from a charming playboy.
THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) Fantasy
Starring Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Frank Morgan
Directed by Victor Fleming
This beloved film is probably the most famous fantasy film ever produced.

1940s

HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (1941) Drama. Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Donald Crisp, Maureen O’Hara, Walter Pidgeon, Roddy McDowell
Directed by John Ford
This is a heartwarming story about a close-knit Welsh coal-mining family, their triumphs and tragedies.
THE LADY EVE (1941) Screwball Comedy.
Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn, Eugene Pallette
Directed by Preston Sturges
A con artist and his daughter target a clumsy, eccentric heir as their next mark – until the girl falls in love with him. When the heir jilts her, she concocts a unique revenge.
THE MALTESE FALCON (1941) Crime Drama
Starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre
Directed by John Huston
Dashiell Hammett’s classic tale of a hard-boiled private eye caught up in the search for a priceless statuette –”the stuff dreams are made of.”
SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS (1941) Comedy-Drama.
Directed by Preston Sturges
Starring Joel McCrea, Veronic Lake
Directed by Preston Sturges
A successful film director, known for his comedies, decides to learn first hand about poverty so he can direct an “important” movie. Along the way, he meets a beautiful blonde waif and really does learn about life – though not in the way he imagined.
THE LADY EVE (1941) Screwball Comedy.
Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn, Eugene Pallette
BAMBI (1942) Animated.
One of the most beautiful of all animated films, with memorable characters, this is the classic tale of Bambi, “prince of the forest,” and his friends, Thumper and Flower. It’s too scary for young children.
CASABLANCA (1942) Romantic Drama. Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Paul Henreid
Directed by Michael Curtiz
One of the most satisfying romantic dramas ever made, this is the tale of Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), a disillusioned nightclub owner who refuses to take sides in WWII Casablanca. Then his former love shows up in desperate need of Rick’s help on behalf of her resistance leader husband.
NOW, VOYAGER (1942) Romantic Drama
Starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains
Directed by Irving Rapper
A timid, unattractive young woman, almost broken by her cold, domineering mother, blossoms under the encouragement of a psychiatrist and the love of a man married to a woman with characteristics similar to those of her mother.
THE ROAD TO MOROCCO (1942) Comedy
Starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope Dorothy Lamour
Directed by David Butler
Nonsense, fun and romance in Morocco.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1942) Comedy
Starring Jack Benny, Carole Lombard, Robert Stack, Felix Bressart
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
The hammy star of Polish theatrical troupe becomes involved in espionage when the Nazis close down his show.
YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942) Musical Comedy/Biography
Starring James Cagney, Walter Huston, Joan Leslie
Directed by Michael Curtiz
This joyous bio of song-and-dance man George M. Cohan, with a knock-out Oscar-winning performance by Cagney, is probably the most unabashedly patriotic American film.
SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943) Thriller
Starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotton, Hume Cronyn, MacDonald Carey
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
A young woman begins to suspect that her beloved uncle is actually the “Merry Widow” murderer.
DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) Film Noir
Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Edward G. Robinson
Directed by Billy Wilder
A seductive housewife persuades an insurance investigator to help her murder her husband, and his partner begins to suspect the scheme.
GOING MY WAY (1944) Comedy-Drama Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald, Frank McHugh
Directed by Leo McCarey
The heartwarming story of a crusty old parish priest and the younger priest he thinks is his assistant -–but who has actually been sent to replace him. Has a sentimental but unforgettable ending.
LAURA (1944) Film Noir/Mystery
Starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price
Directed by Otto Preminger
A detective investigating the murder of a beautiful fashion designer begins to fall in love with her portrait; then the investigation takes an even more bizarre turn. Clever script with witty dialogue and an unforgettable character: radio personality Waldo Lydecker, who “writes with a quill dipped in venom.”
MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944) Musical Comedy-Drama
Starring Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Lucille Bremer, Mary Astor
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
This charming story of a turn-of-the-century family eagerly awaiting the World’s Fair also takes a look at the dark side of childhood. Wonderful songs, and a great performance by child actress O’Brien, who won a special Academy Award for this film.
A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN (1945) Family Drama/Coming-of-Age
Starring Peggy Ann Garner, Dorothy McGuire, James Dunn, Lloyd Nolan, Joan Blondell
Directed by Elia Kazan
This is the moving story of a bright young adolescent who idolizes her gentle, alcoholic father, a charming dreamer, but must also learn to value her hard-working but stern mother. It’s a lovely film.
THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946) Drama Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Frederic March, Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright, Harold Russell
Directed by William Wyler
Three former servicemen return home after World War II and must readjust to civilian life: one with the loss of his hands; one with a faithless wife; and one with a supportive wife and family.
GILDA (1946) Film Noir
Starring Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready
Directed by Charles Vidor
A wealthy South American casino owner hires a man to keep an eye on his wife, knowing full well that the man is her former lover. Singing “Put the Blame on Mame,” Rita Hayworth personifies sexy stardom.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) Comedy-Drama
Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Henry Travers,Thomas Mitchell, Lionel Barrymore
Directed by Frank Capra
This is Frank Capra’s wonderful, beloved film about a desperate man on the brink of suicide, believing he’s a failure. Then an inexperienced angel shows him what the world would have been like had he never been born in order to demonstrate the enormous effect one life can have on others.
NOTORIOUS (1946) Suspense/Thriller
Starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Sophisticated romance and espionage dominate this tale of post-War II South America, as a beautiful woman marries a Nazi spy to get information for her U.S. agent lover.
THE YEARLING (1946) Family Drama/Coming-of-Age
Starring Gregory Peck, Claude Jarman, Jr., Jane Wyman
Directed by Clarence Brown
The young son of an impoverished rural Florida couple adopts an orphaned fawn as his pet, and learns about responsibility and values as he leaves the carefree innocence of childhood behind. Funny, sad and unforgettable.
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947) Family Comedy/Drama
Starring Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, Natalie Wood
Directed by George Seaton
A department store Santa claims to be the real thing and wins over two skeptics: a pecocious 6-year-old girl and her mother.
I REMEMBER MAMA (1948) Family Comedy/Drama
Starring Irene Dunne, Barbara Bel Geddes, Oscar Homolka
Directed by George Stevens
This warm, detailed portrait of a Norwegian immigrant family living in turn-of-the-century San Francisco is the best possible kind of family film.
RED RIVER (1948) Western
Starring John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru, Walter Brennan
Directed by Howard Hawks
When a young cowboy rebels against his tyrannical guardian during a cattle drive and usurps the herd to get it to market, the guardian vows to kill him at the end of the trail. This is a terrific Western.
THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE (1948) Drama
Starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt
Directed by John Huston
Three prospectors form an unlikely alliance to mine for gold in the Sierra Madres; greed and human nature gradually undermine their partnership. An unsavory group of Mexican bandits are responsible for the immortal line: “Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”
ADAM’S RIB (1948) Romantic Comedy
Starring Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Judy Holliday, Tom Ewell, David Wayne
Directed by George Cukor
This is the all-time best battle-of-the-sexes film. Married attorneys find themselves on opposite sides of the courtroom during an attempted murder trial. Whether there really are any differences between men & women, the manipulation of the law for an agenda, and the essential nature of marriage are major themes in this clever, funny film.
INTRUDER IN THE DUST (1949) Social Drama
Starring David Brian, Juano Hernandez, Claude Jarman, Jr., Elizabeth Patterson
Directed by Clarence Brown
A black man is accused of murder in a small Southern town, and an elderly white woman and a teenage boy work together to keep him from being lynched and to unmask the real killer. Based on the novel by William Faulkner.
A LETTER TO THREE WIVES (1949) Comedy/Drama
Starring Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern, Kirk Douglas
Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Three friends each get a letter from the town flirt saying she’s run off with one of their husbands. While they wait to find out which of them is the big loser, they review their marriages in flashback. This is a very clever, witty film, with Kirk Douglas particularly memorable as one of the husbands.
THE THIRD MAN (1949) Thriller
Starring Joseph Cotton, Orson Welles, Valli, Trevor Howard
Directed by Carol Reed
In post-War Vienna for his friend Harry Lime’s funeral, a writer of pulp Westerns discovers that he really didn’t know Harry as well as he’d thought. Clever, satisfying mystery-thriller with a great score of zither music.
WHITE HEAT (1949) Crime Drama
Starring James Cagney, Edmund O’Brien, Virginia Mayo
Directed by Raoul Walsh
A psychopathic, mother-obsessed hoodlum plans a new job, not knowing the FBI has infiltrated his gang. This tough, tense gangster movie has a classic ending and a powerhouse performance by Cagney.

1950s

ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) Drama Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, Gary Merrill, Celeste Holm, George Sanders
Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
A conniving young actress insinuates herself into the life of the reigning queen of the theatre, then schemes and manipulates to get the star’s next juicy part for herself. Witty, cynical, well-acted and fun.
SUNSET BLVD. (1950) Drama
Starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Nancy Olson
Directed by Billy Wilder
A down-on-his-luck screenwriter stumbles into the mausoleum-like mansion of an aging silent film star and gradually becomes her kept lover, with disastrous consequences. It’s a brilliant, bitter portrait of selling out to Hollywood; great performances.
THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1951) Adventure
Starring Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn
Directed by John Huston
A gin-soaked skipper ferries a spinster missionary down river in Africa during World War I, dodging Germans and battling each other along the way.
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951) Science Fiction
Starring Michael Rennie, Patricia O’Neal, Sam Jaffe, Hugh Marlowe
Directed by Robert Wise
A spaceship lands in Washington, D.C., with a suave alien (Klattu) and a menacing robot on board. Impatient with the petty international politics that prevent him from delivering his message to all Earth, Klattu creates an ingenious demonstration of power to get their attention. Intelligent science fiction.
A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951) Drama
Starring Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift, Shelly Winters
Directed by George Stevens
An ambitious man falls in love with beautiful socialite and considers murdering his pregnant, lower-class former girlfriend. Elizabeth Taylor is breathtakingly beautiful in this film.
STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951) Suspense/Thriller
Starring Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
A traveling tennis pro meets a disturbed stranger by chance; the man proposes that they “trade murders – criss cross, no motive,” and proceeds to commit a murder on the tennis pro’s behalf, determined to have him return the “favor.”
THE QUIET MAN (1952) Romantic Comedy
Starring John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Victor McLaglen, Barry Fitzgerald
Directed by John Ford
A mysterious American returns to his family village in Ireland and woos a feisty Irish lass despite her brother’s objections. A delightful, endearing, and decidedly un-PC film.
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952) Musical Comedy
Starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor, Jean Hagen
Directed by Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
A silent screen romantic duo struggles to make the transition from silent film to talkies by making a musical – only she has a voice like broken glass. Lots of fun, great songs.
THE BAND WAGON (1953) Musical Comedy
Starring Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Jack Buchanan, Oscar Levant, Nanette Fabray
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
A washed-up film star agrees to star in a simple but charming stage musical – until a famous British director turns it into a pretentious adaptation of “Faust.” This is a funny satire with great musical numbers, including a dandy musical spoof of Mickey Spillane thrillers.
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953) War Drama Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed
Directed by Fred Zinnemann
This hard-hitting adaptation of James Jones’ novel of life in Pearl Harbor just before the Japanese attack won 8 Academy Awards.
SHANE (1953) Western
Starring Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon de Wilde, Jack Palance
Directed by George Stevens
Alan Ladd stars in this mythic tale of a gunfighter trying to leave his past behind by becoming a hired hand to a homesteading family. Instead, he is forced into action by a ruthless cattle baron and his hired gun. The characters and relationships are multi-layered and the performances are wonderfully understated.
STALAG 17 (1953) War Drama
Starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Peter Graves
Directed by Billy Wilder
William Holden won an Oscar as a cynical, nearly amoral sergeant suspected of being a Nazi spy in this classic prison camp drama.
REAR WINDOW (1954) Suspense Thriller
Starring James Stewart, Grace Kelley, Raymond Burr, Thelma Ritter
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Confined to a wheelchair with a broken leg, a bored photographer spies on his neighbors with binoculars and witnesses a possible murder. A ravishingly beautiful Grace Kelly (as his girlfriend) helps him investigate.
ON THE WATERFRONT (1954) Social Drama Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Marlon Brando, Rod Steiger, Eva Marie Saint, Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden
Directed by Elia Kazan
A troubled dock worker reluctantly confronts union corruption in this hard-hitting, well-acted drama. This is Brando at the peak of his talents.
LADY AND THE TRAMP (1955) Animated
Both adults and children love this charming tale of the relationship between a pedigreed spaniel and a footloose mutt. The memorable musical numbers include a song by Peggy Lee and a wonderful musical number with two diabolical Siamese cats.
IT’S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER (1955) Musical
Starring Gene Kelly, Dan Daily, Cyd Charisse, Michael Kidd, Delores Gray
Directed by Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
Three close WWII buddies vow to meet again in 10 years, but when the big reunion comes, they find they don’t much like each other – or themselves. Darker than most musicals, but this film is also funny and fun. Cyd Charisse is an absolute knockout; Gene Kelly does a spectacular tap dance routine on roller skates.
MARTY (1955) Romantic Comedy-Drama Academy Award. Best Film
Starring Ernest Borgnine, Betsy Drake
Directed by Delbert Mann
A lonely Bronx butcher unexpectedly finds romance with a plain schoolteacher, but is discouraged from pursuing the relationship by family and friends. It’s a very insightful story about two ordinary people.
PICNIC (1955) Drama
Starring William Holden, Kim Novack, Rosalind Russell, Cliff Robertson
Directed by Joshua Logan
A drifter disrupts a small town when he visits his old college buddy and winds up stealing his pal’s beautiful girlfriend. Complex portrait of Middle America; very well acted, with a steamy dance scene at the picnic.
FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956) Science Fiction
Starring Leslie Nielsen, Anne Francis, Walter Pidgeon, Earl Holliman
Directed by Fred M. Wilcox
Ambitious, intelligent science fiction, part Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,’ part Jungian psychology, all vastly entertaining. Checking on a remote space colony, a team discovers only two survivors. The other colonists are long dead, killed by an unseen force – which soon resumes activity. Great for both adults and kids over 10.
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956) Thriller/Science Fiction
Starring Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates
Directed by Don Siegel
This is the chilling tale of a small California town whose residents are gradually being replaced with emotionless alien duplicates – literal “pod people.”
THE KING AND I (1956) Musical Comedy/Drama
Starring Yul Brynner, Deborah Kerr, Rita Moreno
Directed by Walter Lang
This is one of Rogers and Hammersteins’ best musicals, with a fabulous score and an electrifying performance by Yul Brynner. A British widow with a young son becomes the governess to the children of the King of Siam. (The story actually has the audacity to believe East can also learn from West, and that Western values can be a positive influence!)
THE SEARCHERS (1956) Western
Starring John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Natalie Wood, Ward Bond
Directed by John Ford
This classic Western has inspired every great film director from the 1960s-80s.
A man becomes obsessed with searching for the Indian band that wiped out his brother’s family and kidnapped his young niece. It’s also notable for a terrific performance from John Wayne.
AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (1957) Romantic Drama
Starring Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, Richard Denning
Directed by Leo McCarey
This beloved love story is the film that inspired Sleepless in Seattle. It’s one of the very best “chick flicks.”
THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957) War Epic Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Alec Guiness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa
Directed by David Lean
An iron-willed British Army colonel in a Japanese POW camp becomes so determined to demonstrate British superiority by building a bridge for the Japanese that he fails to recognize the bridge’s strategic importance – with appalling consequences.
SOMETHING OF VALUE (1957) Drama
Starring Rock Hudson, Sidney Poitier, Wendy Hiller, Juano Hernandez
Directed by Richard Brooks
Memorable drama set in British colonial Africa about two lifelong friends, one white, one black, caught up on opposite sides of the violence in the Mau Mau uprising. It’s an effective drama of about race relations in Africa. Sidney Poitier and Juano Hernandez give terrific performances.
12 ANGRY MEN (1957) Courtroom Drama
Starring Henry Fonda, Martin Balsam, Jack Warden, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley
Directed by Sidney Lumet
12 jurors debate the evidence in a murder trial in this riveting drama.
SEPARATE TABLES (1958) Drama
Starring Deborah Kerr, Rita Hayworth, David Niven, Wendy Hiller, Burt Lancaster
Directed by Delbert Mann
David Niven and Wendy Hiller won Academy Awards for their performances in this tale of the relationships among guests at a small British resort hotel. It’s a sensitive exploration of loneliness and human frailties.
THE LONG HOT SUMMER (1958) Romantic Drama/Southern Drama
Starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Orson Welles, Angela Lansbury, Lee Remick
Directed by Martin Ritt
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward fell in love during the making of this film, and the screen fairly crackles with their romantic chemistry. A drifter insinuates his way into the home of the county’s wealthiest, most powerful citizen, disrupting the entire town. Orson Welles is also memorable as the vulgar, domineering patriarch.
BEN HUR (1959) Historical Epic Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Hugh Griffith, Haya Harareet
Directed by William Wyler
A Jewish prince is betrayed by his friend, a Roman soldier, and sold into slavery. He later exacts revenge when fate helps him rise to the top of Roman society. The famous chariot race is still amazing.
NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) Suspense Thriller
Starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Leo G. Carroll
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
An advertising executive becomes embroiled in a complicated plot of intrigue, espionage and romance. There’s a dandy climax atop Mt. Rushmore.
SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) Comedy
Starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe, Joe E. Brown, George Raft
Directed by Billy Wilder
Very funny comedy about two musicians, witnesses to the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, who disguise themselves as women and travel to Florida with an all-girl band to escape from the mob. Marilyn Monroe is delectable as the band’s singer, Sugar; Tony Curtis does a wonderful deadpan takeoff on Cary Grant.

1960s

THE APARTMENT (1960) Romantic Comedy/Drama Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray
Directed by Billy Wilder
An ambitious executive “lends” his apartment to married company executives for them to use with their girlfriends in order to improve his prospects at the firm. Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine are outstanding.
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (1960) Romantic Comedy
Starring Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia O’Neal, Buddy Ebsen
Directed by Blake Edwards
Audrey Hepburn is irresistible in this portrait of an eccentric, free-spirited girl in N.Y. and her relationship with the young writer who lives in the apartment above her.
WEST SIDE STORY (1961) Musical Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, George Chakiris, Rita Moreno, Russ Tamblyn
Directed by Robert Wise
A musical adaptation of “Romeo & Juliet” with N.Y. street gangs, the film has exciting musical numbers, great choreography by Jerome Robbins and memorable performances, especially by Rita Moreno and George Chakiris (both Academy Award winners for this film).
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) Epic Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn
Directed by David Lean
A fascinating portrait of an enigmatic man: British adventurer T.E. Lawrence, who led the Arabs during WWI. It’s especially noteworthy for its magnificent cinematography and charismatic performance by Peter O’Toole.
THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962) Psychological Thriller
Starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh
Directed by John Frankheimer
In this intense thriller set just after the Korean War, a captured American officer has been “brainwashed” by the Communists to assassinate any target, and an Army intelligence officer must find a way to prevent the murder of the unknown victim. Angela Lansbury is chilling as the brainwashed officer’s Machiavellian mother.
CHARADE (1963) Comedy-Thriller
Starring Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy
Directed by Stanley Donen
This very clever comedy-thriller about a woman whose estranged husband was murdered, and was part of a group who buried gold bullion at the end of WW II, is fabulous fun. Now the American government, the husband’s former partners-in-crime and a mysterious debonair stranger are all convinced the confused widow has the stolen loot in her possession.
FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (1963)
Starring Sean Connery, Robert Shaw, Daniela Bianchi, Lotte Lenya
Directed by Terence Young
The best of the Bond films, with Robert Shaw and Lotte Lenya standouts as the villains.
THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963) War Drama
Starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Coburn
Directed by John Sturges
Based on a true story, this is a fascinating, energizing drama about resourceful British and American POWs planning and executing a massive escape from a Nazi prison camp. McQueen’s motorcycle escape/chase is a classic.
THE PINK PANTHER (1963) Comedy
Starring Peter Sellers, David Niven, Capucine, Robert Wagner, Claudia Cardinale
Directed by Blake Edwards
In this delightful, racy caper comedy, a debonair jewel thief constantly outwits a bumbling detective – with the help of the unsuspecting detective’s wife.
TOM JONES (1963) Historical Comedy Academy Award, Best Picture
Starring Albert Finney, Hugh Griffith, Susannah York
Directed by Tony Richardson
The bawdy adventures of a young rake in 18th-century England.
DR. STRANGELOVE (1964) Comedy/Satire
Starring Peter Sellers, Sterling Hayden, George C. Scott, Slim Pickens, Keenan Wynn
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Peter Sellers plays three different characters in this outrageous black comedy about nuclear escalation between the U.S. and the Soviets.
MY FAIR LADY (1964) Musical Academy Award, Best Picture
Starring Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway, Wilfred Hyde-White
Directed by George Cukor
Lerner and Lowe’s unforgettable musical is about an arrogant linguistics professors who bets he can pass off a Cockney flower girl as a duchess within 6 months.
CAT BALLOU (1965) Western Comedy
Starring Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin, Michael Callan, Dwayne Hickman
Directed by Elliot Silverstein
This is a delightful comedy about a convent-bred girl who sends for a dime-novel gunfighter to protect her father from corrupt cattlemen; the only problem is the real-life gunfighter is now a broken-down alcoholic. Great fun; Lee Marvin won an Oscar as the notorious Kid Shelleen.
DR. ZHIVAGO (1965) Romantic Epic
Starring Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin, Rod Steiger
Directed by David Lean
Beautifully photographed, this is the famous tale of a sensitive doctor/poet and his loves and adventures during WWI and the Bolshevik Revolution.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965) Musical Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Julie Andrews, Chrisopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker
Directed by Robert Wise
Rodgers/Hammerstein’s great musical about a novice nun who becomes governess to the children of a stern Austrian aristocrat, and winds up falling in love with her employer.
A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS (1966) Historical Drama Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Robert Shaw, Susannah York, John Hurt
Directed by Fred Zinnemann
Literate tale of the conflict between Sir Thomas More and Henry VIII, when the King broke with the Pope and the Catholic Church and declared himself to be the new head of the Church of England in order to divorce his wife and marry Anne Boleyn. It’s the story of Moore, a man to whom moral beliefs were more important than his own life.
THE SAND PEBBLES (1966) Rated PG-13/Adventure/Drama
Starring Steve McQueen, Mako, Candace Bergen, Richard Attenborough
Directed by Robert Wise
Emotionally wrenching tale of a sailor on a U.S. gunboat in 1926 China: his romance with an American missionary; his budding friendship with his Chinese assistant in the boiler room; his shipmate’s ill-fated marriage to a Chinese girl; and the boat’s confrontations with Chinese Communists (hampered by a directive not to engage the enemy.) Mako is outstanding as the engine room coolie, but all the performances are great. Packs an emotional wallop; has very violent content, but essential to story.
BEDAZZLED (1967) Comedy
Starring Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Eleanor Bron, Raquel Welch
Directed by Stanley Donen
A British short order cook trades his soul to Lucifer in exchange for a series of wishes to help him win the girl of his dreams, but none of the wishes work out quite as he had planned.
THE GRADUATE (1967) Rated PG/Comedy
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katherine Ross, William Daniels
Directed by Mike Nichols
An aimless college graduate embarks on an affair with the wife of his father’s best friend, and then falls in love with her daughter.
THE PRODUCERS (1967) Rated PG/Comedy
Starring Zero Mostel Gene Wilder, Kenneth Mars
Directed by Mel Brooks
Hilarious comedy about a down-on-his-luck producer and a neurotic accountant who attempt to produce the worst musical ever to play Broadway: “Springtime for Hitler.”
TWO FOR THE ROAD (1967) Rated PG/Romantic Comedy Drama
Starring Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney, William Daniels, Eleanor Bron
Directed by Stanley Donen
This is a bittersweet exploration of a married couple, seen through a series of road trips across Europe, from early courtship until a crisis point after several years of marriage. It’s a funny, insightful and poignant look at marriage.
FUNNY GIRL (1968) Musical Comedy/Biography
Starring Barbra Streisand, Omar Sharif, Kay Medford, Walter Pidgeon
Directed by William Wyler
Barbra Streisand became an instant star with her performance as entertainer Fanny Brice.
ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968) Rated R/Horror-Thriller
Starring Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sydney Blackmer
Directed by Roman Polanski
A young wife begins to suspect that her elderly neighbors are involved in a cult with designs on her unborn baby. This spooky horror film plays on two primal fears: a pregnant woman’s fear that something is wrong with her unborn baby, and a wife’s fear that her husband is betraying her trust.
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) Science Fiction
Starring Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood
Directed by Stanley Lubrick
Stanley Kubrick’s space epic, from the dawn of man until the exploration of Jupiter and the evolution of “the star child,” was a watershed film event.
THE WILD BUNCH (1969) Rated R/Western
Starring William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Ben Johnson, Warren Oates
Directed by Sam Peckinpah
A gang of morally moronic bank robbers attempts a robbery that turns disastrous, and head out for Mexico with a posse of lowlife bounty hunters on their trail. Then they become involved with a despotic Mexican general for one last score. This violent Western explores the nature of violence, and how violence begets violence, with chilling, and sometimes exhilarating results. A great but very violent and disturbing film.

1970s

M*A*S*H (1970) Rated R/War Comedy
Starring Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt, Robert Duvall
Directed by Robert Altman
This irreverent comedy about a mobile surgical unit during the Korean War is much better than the long-running TV series.
PATTON (1970) Rated PG/War Drama/Biography Academy Award, Best Film
Starring George C. Scott, Karl Malden
Directed by Franklin Schaffner
Superbly written and beautifully acted biography of the difficult, eccentric and often brilliant WWII general.
McCABE AND MRS. MILLER (1971) Rated R/Western Romance
Starring Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Rene Auberjoinois, Keith Carradine
Directed by Robert Altman
A richly-textured film about an ambitious small-time operator and the strong-willed madam who becomes his partner in the turn-of-the-century West.
CABARET (1972) Rated PG/Musical Drama
Starring Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Joel Grey
Directed by Bob Fosse
Bob Fosse’s brilliantly stylized look at a naïve Brit in Germany just before the Nazi regime came to power, and his relationship with a charismatic cabaret singer.
THE GODFATHER (1972) Rated R/Crime Epic Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Taken along with its sequel, this is probably the finest American film ever made, an in-depth look at a Mafia family and the war hero son who gradually loses his soul to the family business.
SOUNDER (1972) Rated G/Family Drama
Starring Paul Winfield, Cicely Tyson, Kevin Hooks
Directed by Martin Ritt
A black sharecropping family faces hardships during the Depression in this beautifully acted story.
WHAT’S UP, DOC? (1972) Rated G/Comedy
Starring Barbra Streisand, Ryan O’Neal, Madeline Kahn, Austin Pendleton
Directed by Peter Bogdanovich
This funny, zany follows a befuddled musicologist and the kooky girl who plagues him while he competes for a prestigious fellowship.
AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973) Rated PG/Comedy
Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul LeMat, Harrison Ford
Directed by George Lucas
A tremendously influential comedy, the film follows a group of teens having one last fling on the eve of their departure for college.
THE STING (1973) Rated PG/Period Comedy/Drama Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Charles Durning, Robert Shaw
Directed by George Roy Hill
A group of small-time grifters pull one giant con to get back at the wealthy gangster responsible for their buddy’s death. This very clever, well-written story won 7 Academy Awards.
CHINATOWN (1974) Rated R/Mystery
Starring Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston
Directed by Roman Polanski
Jack Nicholson’s best film is still this complicated tale of intrigue, betrayal and ambition in 1930s Los Angeles. It’s beautifully scripted by Robert Towne.
THE CONVERSATION (1974) Rated PG/Drama
Starring Gene Hackman, Allen Garfield, Frederic Forrest, Cindy Williams, John Cazale
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
The best American film ever made about paranoia. A professional wire tapper overhears a conversation about a murder; as he investigates the tape, his life crumbles around him.
A great, but very grim film.
THE GODFATHER PART II (1974) Rated R/Crime Epic Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Robert DeNiro, John Cazale
This is the equally brilliant sequel to The Godfather, detailing how the past influences the present.
JAWS (1975) Rated PG/Thriller
Starring Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Loraine Gary
Directed by Steven Spielberg
A great white shark terrorizes Amity, N.J. in the film that made Spielberg a superstar director.
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING (1975) Rated PG/Adventure
Starring Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer, Saeed Jaffrey
Directed by John Huston
Based on Rudyard Kipling’s tale, this is the story of two British adventurers in search of fortune in remote Turkistan, where one of them is mistaken for the god-like descendant of Alexander the Great.
NASHVILLE (1975) Rated R/Musical Drama
Starring Keith Carradine, Ronnee Blakely, Lily Tomlin, Henry Gibson, Ned Beatty, Scott Glenn, Barbara Harris
Directed by Robert Altman
This is a multi-layered exploration of society, politics and male-female relationships, focusing on a diverse group of people involved in or drifting through the Nashville music scene during a political campaign.
SHAMPOO (1975) Rated R/Romantic Comedy/Drama
Starring Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn, Jack Warden, Lee Grant
Directed by Hal Ashby
This sexy bittersweet satire of sexual mores revolves around a hairdresser who does more for his clients than just style their hair. Very racy; suitable only for adults.
ROCKY (1976) Rated PG/Comedy/Drama/Romance Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Burgess Meredith, Carl Weathers
Directed by John Avildsen
This is a well-scripted, warm-hearted tale of a small-time boxer determined to prove he can go the distance.
ANNIE HALL (1977) Romantic Comedy Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Paul Simon
Directed by Woody Allen
Woody Allen made a star of Diane Keaton in this comedy about romantic relationships.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977) Rated PG/Science Fiction
Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Francois Truffaut, Cary Guffey
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Spieliberg’s optimistic look at the arrival of alien life on Earth is seen mostly through the eyes of a few ordinary people. The film imparts a sense of wonder to the unknown.
STAR WARS (1977)/THE EMPIRE STRICKS BACK/RETURN OF THE JEDI
All Rated PG/Science Fiction
Starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Alec Guiness
Directed by George Lucas
George Lucas’ original space opera trilogy is great fun.
ALIEN (1979) Rated R/Science Fiction
Starring Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Yaphet Kotto, John Hurt, Ian Holm
Directed by Ridley Scott
This visually stunning, scary science fiction is about the discovery of a vicious, nearly indestructible alien life form that terrorizes a remote mining vessel in space.
ALL THAT JAZZ (1979) Rated R/Musical Drama
Starring Roy Scheider, Ann Reinking, Jessica Lange, Ben Vereen
Directed by Bob Fosse
Bob Fosse directed this kinetic semi-autobiographical musical about the physical and romantic crises of a Broadway choreographer-director as he stages a new show. Stunning musical numbers, but has nudity and sexual situations. Strictly for adults.
APOCALYPSE NOW (1979) Rated R/War Epic
Starring Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Laurence Fishburne
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
This is an ambitious, mesmerizing, almost hallucinatory film about a burnt-out captain’s journey down river on a secret U.S. mission during the Viet Nam War to assassinate a renegade American colonel. Try to see the original version without the additional footage. Contains graphic violence and language.

1980s

ORDINARY PEOPLE (1980) Rated R/Family Drama Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Timothy Hutton, Judd Hirsch
Directed by Robert Redford
A cold, distant mother, a bewildered father and their teenage son try to salvage their family after the son’s attempted suicide in the wake of his older brother’s accidental death. Perhaps the best film ever made about repressed, emotionally distant people.
CHARIOTS OF FIRE (1981) Rated PG/Historical Sports Drama
Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Ben Cross, Ian Charlesonm Nigel Havers, Ian Holm, Alice Krige
Directed by Hugh Hudson
This is a wonderful, inspiring true story about two men — a driven British Jew and a devout Scottish Missionary — who competed for England in the 1924 Olympics.
GALLIPOLI (1981) Rated PG/WWI Drama
Starring Mark Lee, Mel Gibson, Bill Kerr
Directed by Peter Weir
Mel Gibson gained international attention in this moving film about two Australian friends who join the Army to fight in WWI, and then face the disastrous battle of Gallipoli. Beautifully directed and acted; a haunting film.
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) Rated PG/Adventure
Starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, John Rhys-Davies, Paul Freeman
Directed by Steven Spielberg
An exhilarating tongue-in-cheek adventure about an unorthodox archeologist who heads halfway around the world in search of the Ark of the Covenant to find it before the Nazis can.
THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981) Rated R/Science Fiction-Action Thriller
Starring Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Vernon Wells, Mike Preston
Directed by George Miller
In this post-apocalyptic action adventure a disillusioned loner regains some purpose in his life when he helps a small encampment of civilized survivors who are under siege by a violent gang of futuristic punks. This film forever changed the style of action films; along with Aliens and Die Hard, it’s the best of the action genre.
E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982) Rated PG/Science Fiction/Fantasy
Starring Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace Stone, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote
Directed by Steven Spielberg
A young boy in suburban Los Angeles finds a new best friend — a lost traveler from a distant planet.
TOOTSIE (1982) Rated PG/Comedy
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Charles Durning, Bill Murray
Directed by Sydney Pollack
Dustin Hoffman stars in this very funny comedy about a difficult out-of-work actor who poses as a middle-aged woman to get a job on a soap opera, and falls in love with his sexy co-star (Jessica Lange).
TERMS OF ENDEARMENT (1983) Rated PG/Drama Academy Award, Best Film
Starring Shirley MacLaine, Deborah Winger, Jeff Daniels, Jack Nicholson
Directed by James L. Brooks
Based on the novel by Larry McMurtry, this is the bittersweet tale of a quirky mother-daughter relationship.
AMADEUS (1984) Rated PG/Historical Drama Academy Award, Best Film
(There is also an R-Rated Director’s version)
Starring Murray F. Abramson, Tom Hulce, Jeffrey Jones
Directed by Milos Forman
Winner of eight Academy Awards, this superb film imagines a rivalry between Salieri and Mozart, with Salieri tormented by his own mediocrity in contrast to Mozart’s genius.
PLACES IN THE HEART (1984) Rated PG/Depression-Era Drama
Starring Sally Field, Danny Glover, John Malkovich, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan
Sally Field won an Academy Award for her terrific performance as a Depression-era widow desperately trying to keep her family together by working the family farm. Danny Glover and John Malkovich are both particularly memorable. Robert Benton also won and Academy Award for his Best Original Screenplay.
THE TERMINATOR (1984) Rated R/Science Fiction/Thriller
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, Paul Winfield
Directed by James Cameron
Arnold Schwarzenegger became a star with his performance as a relentless cyborg from the future intent on murdering an unsuspecting woman to keep her from having the son who will defeat the cyborgs in the future.
WITNESS (1985) Rated R/Romantic Drama/Thriller
Starring Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Lukas Haas, Danny Glover
Directed by Peter Weir
An honorable Philadelphia cop hides out among the Amish while he tries to unravel a corrupt police conspiracy involving a murder witnessed by a young Amish boy.
MURPHY’S ROMANCE (1985) Rated PG-13/Romantic Comedy
Starring Sally Field, James Garner, Brian Kerwin, Corey Haims
Directed by Martin Ritt
This is an utterly charming and wise comedy about a divorcee with a pre-teen son who gets a fresh start in Arizona with the help of the local pharmacist – and the hindrance of her ex-husband.
ALIENS (1986) Rated R/Science Fiction Thriller
Starring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, Lance Henrikson
Directed by James Cameron
Intense sequel to Alien finds survivor Ripley joining a Marine squadron on the search-and-rescue operation of a small colony besieged by the vicious aliens. It has both amazing action and emotional depth. One of the very best action films (but very intense).
FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF (1986) Rated PG-13/Comedy
Starring Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones
Directed by John Hughes
John Hughes (“Home Alone”) wrote and directed this engaging comedy about a resourceful teen who cons his two best friends into skipping school and spending the day in Chicago.
HANNAH AND HER SISTERS (1986) Rated PG-13/Romantic Comedy/Drama
Starring Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, Diane Wiest, Michael Caine, Woody Allen
Directed by Woody Allen
Woody Allen won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay with this complex story of the romantic entanglements and changing fortunes of three sisters. Michael Caine (Best Supporting Actor) and Dianne Wiest (Best Supporting Actress) also won Oscars.
THE MISSION (1986) Rated PG/Historical Drama
Starring Jeremy Irons, Robert DeNiro, Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn
Directed by Roland Joffe
Robert DeNiro and Jeremy Irons co-star as two very different priests in this powerful drama about the effects, good and bad, of a Catholic mission on a small South American tribe in the late18th century.
HOPE AND GLORY (1987) Rated PG-13/Comedy/Drama
Starring Sarah Miles, David Hayman, Ian Bannen, Sammi Davis, Derrick O’Connor
Directed by John Boorman
John Boorman creates a loving memoir of childhood in WWII England, when the innocence of youth could experience air raids and bombings as rollicking good fun. It’s a unique film, funny, poignant, and very entertaining.
MOONSTRUCK (1987) Rated PG/Romantic Comedy
Starring Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis, Danny Aiello, Vincent Gardenia
Directed by Norman Jewison
Cher won a Academy Award as Best Actress in this endearing comedy about a widow who falls in love with her fiance’s younger brother. The film also won Oscars for Best Supporting Actress (Olympia Dukakis) and Best Original Screenplay (John Patrick Shanley).
DANGEROUS LIASONS (1988) Rated R/Historical Drama
Starring Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michele Pfeiffer
Directed by Stephen Frears
A tale of the seductiveness of evil and the power of goodness in 18th-century France, as a manipulative countess challenges her former lover to seduce the virtuous wife of a nobleman, with unexpected tragic consequences.
DIE HARD (1988) Rated R/Action-Thriller
Starring Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson
Directed by John McTiernan
Terrorist thieves take over a Century City office building at Christmas; a resourceful N.Y. cop uses guerilla tactics to undermine their plans. One of the top action films in recent years, but quite violent.
A FISH CALLED WANDA (1988) Rated R/Comedy
Starring John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin
Directed by Charles Crichton, John Cleese
Very funny comedy about a gang of jewel thieves, a heist, and a straight-laced barrister. Kevin Kline won an Oscar as the flamboyant, psychotic Otto.
CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS (1989) Rated PG-13/Comedy/Drama
Starring Martin Landau, Anjelica Huston, Jerry Orbach, Alan Alda, Mia Farrow, Woody Allen, Sam Waterston, Claire Bloom
Directed by Woody Allen
Written and directed by Woody Allen, this is a profound comedy/drama about good, evil, the consequences of one’s actions and the meaning of life.
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