1. East of Eden Directed by Elia Kazan Written by Paul Osborn, from a novel by John Steinbeck
The best movie James Dean ever made. Kazan's best picture, too.
2. Diabolique Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot Written by Clouzot, Jerome Geronimi, Frederic Grendel, and Rene Masson, from a novel by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac
The Hitchcockian thriller that inspired Columbo and, less happily, a terrible remake with Sharon Stone.
3. The Trouble with Harry Directed by Alfred Hitchcock Written by John Michael Hayes, from a novel by Jack Trevor Story
The most underrated movie in Hitchcock's canon. It's also the most appealing portrait of rural life I've ever seen, which surely says more about me than it says about the picture.
4. Smiles of a Summer Night Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman
At first glance the phrase "life-affirming Bergman comedy" looks about as plausible as "Pauly Shore's four-hour Shakespearean drama." But that -- the Bergman comedy, not the Shore epic -- is exactly what this is.
5. The Night of the Hunter Directed by Charles Laughton Written by James Agee, from a novel by Davis Grubb
"Ah, little lad, you're staring at my fingers. Would you like me to tell you the little story of right-hand/left-hand?"
6. Pather Panchali Directed by Satyajit Ray Written by Ray and Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, from a novel by Bandyopadhyay
I saw this one in a film class when I was 18. N.B.: I think I was the only one who liked it.
7. One Froggy Evening Directed by Chuck Jones Written by Michael Maltese
This feels like folklore, doesn't it? The legend of the singing frog?
8. Night and Fog Directed by Alain Resnais Written by Jean Cayrol
There's such a glut of Holocaust movies out there, and so many of them are essentially trite, that it's a relief to watch a documentary that really engages what happened and what it means to remember it.
9. The Man from Laramie Directed by Anthony Mann Written by Philip Yordan and Frank Burt, from a story by Thomas T. Flynn
Lear in the old west.
10. Ordet Directed by Carl Dreyer Written by Kaj Munk
A rarity: a religious movie that emerges from deep faith, not greeting-card sentimentality.