1. The Birds Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Evan Hunter, from the novel by Daphne Du Maurier
Some people think this is Hitchcock's silliest movie. I think it's his scariest.
2. La Jetée Written and Directed by Chris Marker
Terry Gilliam later remade/remixed this as Twelve Monkeys. I like that one too, but it can't match the poetic intensity of the original.
3. The Zapruder Film Directed by Abraham Zapruder
OK, so I'm kidding about this one. Or half-kidding. Give the film some credit: People are still debating it today, which is more than I can say for most relics of the cineaste era.
4. The Great Escape Directed by John Sturges
Written by James Clavell and W.R. Burnett, from the novel by Paul Brickhill
This is what an "action movie" should be.
5. The Servant Directed by Joseph Losey
Written by Harold Pinter, from the novel by Robin Maugham
A pleasant little mindfuck about power, manipulation, and barely sublimated lust.
6. Hud Directed by Martin Ritt
Written by Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr., from the novel by Larry McMurtry
A modern western starring Paul Newman in one of his best roles. As a morality play it's a bit simple for my tastes, but the stark photography and compelling performances more than make up for that.
7. An Actor's Revenge Directed by Kon Ichikawa
Written by Daisuke Itô, Teinosuke Kinugasa, and Natto Wada, from a story by Otokichi Mikami
Probably the best movie I've ever seen about a Japanese female impersonator.
8. The Haunting Directed by Robert Wise
Written by Nelson Gidding, from the novel by Shirley Jackson
How I resented this picture the first time I saw it! The campy beginning relaxed my defenses and let me feel superior to the material, and by the time its superbly crafted chills were jolting me in my seat I was too proud to admit I'd been taken in. Forgive me, Haunting: You're a great horror flick, and I regret ever claiming to dislike you.
9. Moth Light Directed by Stan Brakhage
A film made without a camera.
10. 8 1/2 Directed by Federico Fellini
Written by Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, and Brunello Rondi
Fellini is one of the few directors capable of making self-indulgence interesting. For proof, compare this self-absorbed but compulsively watchable effort to Stardust Memories, the crappy Woody Allen picture it inspired.