When the Motion Picture Academy looked back at 1967, it gave its Best Picture award to In the Heat of the Night, a police procedural with a civil rights message. It's an enjoyable movie, but I can think of 10 that are better:
1. The President's Analyst Written and directed by Theodore J. Flicker
For fans of Richard Condon and Robert Anton Wilson, and for anyone who has ever cast a suspicious eye at his phone.
2. Bedazzled Directed by Stanley Donen Written by Peter Cook, from a story by Cook and Dudley Moore
No, not the awful remake with Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley. This cult comedy stars the young Cook and Moore, and it feels like a medieval folktale dropped into Swinging London.
3. Le Samouraï Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville Written by Melville and Georges Pellegrin, from a novel by Joan McLeod
The most essential film noir of the '60s.
4. Titicut Follies Directed by Frederick Wiseman with John Marshall
A grotesque glimpse at life inside a total institution.
5. In Cold Blood Directed by Richard Brooks Written by Brooks, from a book by Truman Capote
"I thought Mr. Clutter was a very nice gentleman. I thought so right up to the time I cut his throat."
6. Bonnie and Clyde Directed by Arthur Penn Written by David Newman and Robert Benton
Four decades later, it's hard to tell what all the fuss was about. But it's still a kinetic, engaging picture filled with clever touches that elevate it above its imitators. It also announced the arrival of the New Hollywood, kicking off the most creative decade of American filmmaking since the '40s.
7. The Shooting Directed by Monte Hellman Written by Carole Eastman
The Zapruder film of westerns.
8. Belle de Jour Directed by Luis Buñuel Written by Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carrière, from a novel by Joseph Kessel
The world's most famous fetish film.
9. Point Blank Directed by John Boorman Written by Alexander Jacobs, David Newhouse, and Rafe Newhouse, from a novel by Richard Stark
The French took our film noir and turned it into New Wave, and then movies like this one took their New Wave and made it something American again. Starring the great Lee Marvin as a thief apparently returned from the dead.