4. The Candidate Directed by Michael Ritchie
Written by Jeremy Larner
Every time I flip by this on TV, I wind up watching it to the end.
5. Frenzy Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Anthony Shaffer, from a novel by Arthur La Bern
Hitch's most modern movie -- this is the second-to-last film he made, and the first with any nudity or genuinely graphic violence -- is also remarkably traditional, a straightforward thriller starring one of his most familiar characters: the innocent man wrongly accused.
6. Sleuth Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Written by Anthony Shaffer, from his play
Witty, suspenseful, perfectly crafted.
7. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Directed by Luis Bunuel
Written by Bunuel and Jean-Claude Carrière
Cinema's greatest surrealist having fun.
8. Cries and Whispers Written and Directed by Ingmar Bergman
One of the most painful and depressing films I've ever seen. Part of me thinks it should be much higher in this list. Another part doesn't want to include it at all.
9. Play it Again, Sam Directed by Herbert Ross
Written by Woody Allen, from his play
Remember when Woody was young enough that you could hope he gets the girl without creeping yourself out?
10. The Heartbreak Kid Directed by Elaine May
Written by Neil Simon, from a story by Bruce Jay Friedman
For once in his mostly regrettable career, Neil Simon shows some fangs -- or maybe I should credit Elaine May for refusing to soften the story's edges. Either way, this comedy is exquisitely cruel.