Movies: All-Time Greatest, Nos. 75-51
75. Touch of Evil (1958)
Directed by Orson Welles
Set in a squalid Mexican border town, Welles' most fully realized film after Citizen Kane is a yarn of kidnapping and murder that was so shockingly dark for its time (and we don't just mean the gorgeous chiaroscuro photography) that its studio cut it to ribbons. Completely restored, it now looks like the missing link between film noir and David Lynch.
74. The Hurt Locker (2009)
73. Cabaret (1972)
72. The 400 Blows (1959)
71. American Graffiti (1973)
Directed by George Lucas
Before he took us to a galaxy far, far away, Lucas more or less invented nostalgia culture with this loving tribute to the last days of greasers, drive-in diners, and cruising up and down Main Street in classic American cars. For a movie full of iconic moments, it's a breathtakingly fluid and spontaneous rock & roll comedy (with a who's who of future big stars). It's set just as the '50s youthquake was winding down, but the key to its wistful melancholy is that it's really about the changes coming around the corner that no one could see.
70. L'Avventura (1960)
Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
Antonioni's immortal tale of aristocratic ennui is a kind of anti-thriller about the search for a woman who vanishes mysteriously during a day trip...and never returns.
69. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
A pitch-black comedy about the threat of nuclear annihilation that only gets funnier — and blacker — as the decades go by, Kubrick's satire is shot like a documentary and laced with an almost psychotic sense of danger. Peter Sellers plays three different roles, all brilliantly.
68. GoodFellas (1990)
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Scorsese's crackerjack gangster drama, starring Ray Liotta as an up-and-coming mobster, is a showcase for the filmmaker's famous virtuosity, from his perfectionist craftsmanship (check out that restaurant tracking shot!) to his kid-from-city-streets feel for Italian-American blood bonds. The film's highlight performance is the one by Joe (''I amuse you?'') Pesci.
67. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
66. The Shining (1980)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Kubrick turns Stephen King's domestic ghost story about a kid who sees visions of his father's hidden malevolence into a gothic horror movie as dislocatingly odd as it is scary. Just because Jack Nicholson's marvelously controlled nutjob performance (''Heeeere's Johnny!'') is drop-dead funny doesn't mean it's not also seriously terrifying.
65. Last Tango in Paris (1973)
Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci
Bertolucci's landmark of screen eroticism has become famous for its emotionally naked sex scenes, but Marlon Brando, in one of his greatest performances, also makes the film into a searing tragedy of midlife despair.
64. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
63. Network (1976)
Directed by Sidney Lumet
In the '70s, Paddy Chayefsky's biting vision of where TV and celebrity were headed seemed like an over-the-top satire. It now looks like one of the most prophetic movies ever, as Peter Finch's mad truth-teller single-handedly invents reality TV. The movie foresaw how even authentic populist anger could turn itself into entertainment.
62. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
61. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
60. Top Hat (1935)
59. All the President's Men (1976)
Directed by Alan J. Pakula
The ultimate newspaper film, this dramatization of how Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncovered the Watergate scandal is a true-life testament to the fervor — and obsessive, midnight-oil dedication — that fuels the fourth estate.
58. The Seventh Seal (1957)
57. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
56. Schindler's List (1993)
55. Frankenstein (1931)
54. Breathless (1960)
53. Star Wars — Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Directed by Irvin Kershner
Cloud City! The AT-AT Walkers! The sage of the Dagobah system, Yoda! The deepening relationships among darkening characters! For those reasons and so many more, this centerpiece in the first Star Wars trilogy remains the jewel in the intergalactic crown.
52. Titanic (1997)
Directed by James Cameron
The one disaster movie that's also a work of art, Cameron's magnificent epic moves us with a youthful love story made memorable by tragedy. The sinking of the Titanic unfolds in real time, which only heightens the film's everlasting romantic grandeur.
51. A Hard Day's Night (1964)
Directed by Richard Lester
A jukebox rock fable that's really one of the great screen musicals, with the young Beatles snarking and cavorting like gods at play.