1. The Exterminating Angel Directed by Luis Bunuel
Written by Bunuel and Luis Alcoriza, from a play by Jose Bergamin
This was the first Bunuel film I ever saw. A dozen or so later, it's still my favorite.
2. The Music Man Directed by Morton DaCosta
Written by Marion Hargrove, from a play by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey
A real movie musical, completely liberated from its stage origins, with a sophisticated score and an enjoyable anti-bluenose streak.
3. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Directed by Robert Aldrich
Written by Lukas Heller, from a novel by Henry Farrell
"You mean, all this time we could've been friends?"
4. Knife in the Water Directed by Roman Polanski
Written by Polanski, Jakub Goldberg, and Jerzy Skolimowski
Polanski's first feature. Very tense.
5. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence Directed by John Ford
Written by James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck, from a story by Dorothy M. Johnson
Unravels one legend, helps invent another.
6. The Manchurian Candidate Directed by John Frankenheimer
Written by George Axelrod, from a novel by Richard Condon
My memory's a little hazy and I might be getting the chronology confused, but I'm pretty sure I went to a revival screening of this hyper-paranoid thriller on my first date, back in high school. Make of that what you will.
7. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Directed by Robert Enrico
Written by Enrico, from a story by Ambrose Bierce
One of two templates for Siesta, Jacob's Ladder, Lulu on the Bridge, Abre Los Ojos, The Sixth Sense, Vanilla Sky, and Donnie Darko.
8. Carnival of Souls Directed by Herk Harvey
Written by John Clifford
The other template.
9. Lawrence of Arabia Directed by David Lean
Written by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson
After Woman of the Dunes, this is probably the best movie ever made about sand.
10. Lolita Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Written by Kubrick, from a novel by Vladimir Nabokov
Officially, the screenplay is by Nabokov, but the shooting script bore little resemblance to the novelist's self-adaptation. It is, at any rate, a fine black comedy, with especially amusing performances by Peter Sellers, James Mason, and Shelley Winters.