1. Dr. Strangelove Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Written by Kubrick, Peter George, and Terry Southern, from a novel by George
Hollywood's most clear-eyed vision of the arms race.
2. Woman in the Dunes Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara
Written by Kobo Abe, from his novel
Beautiful and spooky. Even better than the book.
3. Diary of a Chambermaid Directed by Luis Bunuel
Written by Bunuel and Jean-Claude Carriere, from a novel by Octave Mirbeau
Sex, crime, fascism -- the story is much older than Bunuel's version, but he makes it his own.
4. Kwaidan Directed by Masaki Kobayashi
Written by Yoko Mizuki, from a book by Lafcadio Hearn
Four Japanese ghost stories. The first is mediocre, but the rest are riveting -- especially "Hoichi the Earless," which feels like an epic medieval poem but bears no resemblance to Hollywood's "epics" at all.
5. The World of Henry Orient Directed by George Roy Hill
Written by Nora and Nunnally Johnson, from Nora's novel
Two children make a magical dérive through New York, then are initiated into adulthood. Angela Lansbury plays the bitchiest mom this side of The Manchurian Candidate.
6. Onibaba Written and Directed by Kaneto Shindo
One of the great horror movies.
7. A Shot in the Dark Directed by Blake Edwards
Written by Edwards and William Peter Blatty, from plays by Marcel Achard and Harry Kurnitz
The best of the Pink Panther series.
8. The Americanization of Emily Directed by Arthur Hiller
Written by Paddy Chayefsky, from a novel by William Bradford Huie
Reminds me a bit of Stalag 17, except it has the courage of its convictions. Relentlessly funny, relentlessly anti-heroic.
9. A Fistful of Dollars Directed by Sergio Leone
Written by Leone, Víctor Andrés Catena, and Jaime Comas, from a story by Dashiell Hammett
Hammett told this tale first, in his great novel Red Harvest. Then Akira Kurosawa made a superior samurai film of it, and then Leone and Clint Eastwood moved it to the Old West. Each time, there's something almost anarchist about the way the protagonist plays two powerful forces against each other -- someday someone should remake it with Bugs Bunny in the lead.
10. Kiss Me, Stupid Directed by Billy Wilder
Written by Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond, from a play by Anna Bonacci
Wilder's most underrated movie has a lot of things going for it, but the best is Dean Martin's self-lacerating performance as "Dino," the oversexed and amoral crooner.