American Silent Film: Silent Films | Silent Comedy

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The Best Films of All Time - by Michael Grost

This is the 100th anniversary of the movies. In 1895 the Lumière brothers first publicly projected a film in Paris. It was a roughly 45 second long documentary, showing the workers leaving the brothers' factory. Today films are being downloaded on the Internet. Over the years filmmakers have made films about the movies themselves. To celebrate the anniversary, here are some of my favorites. Many of the entries contain other recommended films by the same director. The list starts off with Classical Hollywood films (1916 - 1972). It then moves to foreign language films, and then finally to post 1972 Hollywood films, many of which are comedies: the genre modern Hollywood does best.

Some caveats: it is very difficult to see many foreign films in the USA. Despite talk of the "Information Superhighway", such works are simply unobtainable. For example, I have been able to see very few pre-1950 Japanese films. The non-distribution of current foreign films is a scandal. For a sample of what we are missing, see Film Comment's poll of the Top 150 Foreign Films of the 1990's Unreleased in the US. I have managed to see only around a dozen of the films on this list. Readers will also want to check out critic Jonathan Rosenbaum's Top 100 American Movies.

A Year by Year version of this list is available: Favorite Films: 1907 - present.

For Television see: Best TV Shows and Best TV Commercials.

See also lists of Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and High Technology Films, Best Mystery Movies.

American Silent Films

The Cry of the Children (George Nichols, 1912)

From the Submerged (Theodore Wharton, 1912)

The Exploits of Elaine: The Life Current (Louis J. Gasnier, George B. Seitz, Leopold Wharton, Theodore Wharton, 1915)

The Evidence of the Film (Lawrence Marston, Edwin Thanhouser, 1913)

Who Pays?: Toil and Tyranny (Harry Harvey, 1915)

Alias Jimmy Valentine (Maurice Tourneur, 1915) Figures de cire / Wax Figures, The Wishing Ring, A Girl's Folly, The Blue Bird, The County Fair, Lorna Doone

Hypocrites (Lois Weber, 1915) Suspense, The Blot

A Fool There Was (Frank Powell, 1915)

Young Romance (George Melford, 1915)

The Hazards of Helen: The Escape on the Fast Freight (Helen Holmes, Leo Maloney, 1915)

The Hazards of Helen: Chapter 26 (1915) Engaging episode of a silent serial.

Alice in Wonderland (W.W. Young, 1915)

Intolerance (D.W. Griffith, 1916) Powerful look at the tragedies caused by religious fanatics through the ages. More relevant today than ever, unfortunately.

Way Down East (D.W. Griffith, 1920) America; Corner in Wheat; The Curtain Pole; The Voice of the Violin; The Sealed Room; Ramona; The House With Closed Shutters; The Fugitive; The New York Hat; A Girl and Her Trust; The Musketeers of Pig Alley; The Mothering Heart

Isn't Life Wonderful (D.W. Griffith, 1924): A young couple copes with life in post W.W.I Germany.

Tom Sawyer (William Desmond Taylor, 1917) The Soul of Youth

The Married Virgin (Joseph Maxwell, 1918)

Daddy-Long-Legs (Marshall Neilan, 1919)

The Grim Game (Irvin Willat, 1919)

Within Our Gates (Oscar Micheaux, 1920)

The Mark of Zorro (Fred Niblo, 1920) The original Zorro movie. Blood and Sand, Ben-Hur, The Temptress, The Mysterious Lady

Miss Lulu Bett (William de Mille, 1921)

Outside the Law (Tod Browning, 1921) London After Midnight (the stills restoration), Dracula

The Ace of Hearts (Wallace Worsley, 1921)

Camille (Ray C. Smallwood, 1921) Love story with Nazimova and Rudolph Valentino; superb avant-garde sets.

Robin Hood (Allan Dwan, 1922) Dwan was at his commercial peak in the 1920's: the party in The Great Gatsby was modeled after one thrown by Dwan.

Woman They Almost Lynched (Allan Dwan, 1953) The Poisoned Flume, The Distant Relative, Cupid Through Padlocks, He Comes Up Smiling (surviving fragment), Chances, Man to Man, Black Sheep, Suez, The Gorilla, Young People, Trail of the Vigilantes, Around the World, Abroad with Two Yanks, Brewster's Millions, Driftwood, Calendar Girl, The Inside Story, Belle Le Grand, Silver Lode, Escape to Burma, Tennessee's Partner, Slightly Scarlet, It's Always Sunday. High Air

The Toll of the Sea (Chester M. Franklin, 1922) Love story set in China, shot in spectacular two-color Technicolor. The first feature film in color.

The Young Rajah (Phil Rosen, 1922) Step by Step

Beau Brummel (Harry Beaumont, 1923) Our Dancing Daughters

Scaramouche (Rex Ingram, 1923) The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; The Prisoner of Zenda

Greed (Erich von Stroheim, 1924) Blind Husbands, Foolish Wives, The Merry Widow, The Wedding March, Queen Kelly

The Rag Man (Edward F. Cline, 1925)

Labor's Reward (no director credited, 1925)

The Big Parade (King Vidor, 1925)

Show People (King Vidor, 1928) deals with a slapstick comedy actress who forgets her roots after success. La Bohème, Street Scene, The Fountainhead, Lightning Strikes Twice

The Flag (Arthur Maude, 1927)

West Point (Edward Sedgwick, 1927) Spring Fever, Murder in the Fleet

Across to Singapore (William Nigh, 1928) Boy of the Streets

Silent Comedy

La Course des sergents de ville / The Policemen's Little Run (Ferdinand Zecca, 1906)

Princess Nicotine or The Smoke Fairy (J. Stuart Blackton, 1909) Trick comedy short, full of still entertaining special effects.

The Man in The Silk Hat (Maud Linder) Compilation of delightful scenes from the comedies of Max Linder (mainly 1910 - 1914).

Her Crowning Glory (Larry Trimble, 1911) Comedy short with John Bunny, and Flora Finch as the sympathetic woman who hopes to marry him. I strongly identified with the heroine here, and her disastrous problems made me laugh in ways I hadn't experienced before.

Algie the Miner (Alice Guy, 1912) The Making of an American Citizen, Falling Leaves, The Ocean Waif

Onésime horloger (Jean Durand, 1912)

Tillie's Punctured Romance (Mack Sennett, 1914). Early comedy feature, full of fun. Shorts: The Grocery Clerk's Romance, Barney Oldfield's Race for a Life

The Knockout (Charles Avery, 1914)

Pool Sharks (Edwin Middleton, 1915)

Coney Island (Roscoe Arbuckle, 1917) The Garage, The Red Mill.

Down on the Farm (Ray Grey, F. Richard Jones, Erle C. Kenton, 1920)

Neighbors (1920). Other outstanding Buster Keaton short films: The High Sign, One Week, Hard Luck, Cops, The Haunted House, The Scarecrow, The Frozen North, The Electric House.

Our Hospitality (Buster Keaton, Jack Blystone, 1923).

Sherlock, Jr. (Buster Keaton, 1924). Movie projectionist Buster Keaton falls asleep and dreams his way into the mystery movie he is showing. Keaton's comedies show great visual imagination. The Navigator, Go West, Seven Chances, Battling Butler, The General, College, Steamboat Bill, Jr.

The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925) Chaplin plays a prospector. The scene where a starving Chaplin, trapped in his frozen cabin, boils and eats his shoe is famous. Outstanding short films: Burlesque on Carmen, One A.M., The Pawnshop, The Rink, The Cure, Easy Street, Sunnyside, The Idle Class, Pay Day, The Pilgrim

The Great Dictator (Charlie Chaplin, 1940) Chaplin's anti-Hitler satire, and his first film with dialogue. The Kid, City Lights, Modern Times

Never Weaken (1921) Harold Lloyd made a large number of really good short films. Among the best: Young Mr. Jazz, Captain's Kidd's Kids, From Hand to Mouth, His Royal Slyness, An Eastern Westerner, Number, Please?, Now or Never, Among Those Present

High and Dizzy (1920) Harold Lloyd's chair gets caught up by a crane on a tall building. Other Lloyd films in which he dangles from high buildings: Safety Last, Feet First (the skyscraper finale is a gem, the rest of this film is slow moving)

Girl Shy (Fred Newmeyer, Sam Taylor, 1924) Lloyd plays a naive country boy who finds true love in the city. Has a much imitated chase finale, when he tries to get to church in time to rescue his girlfriend. Other good Lloyd features: The Freshman, For Heaven's Sake, Mad Wednesday

The Kid Brother (Ted Wilde, 1927) Loose Ankles

The Busher (Jerome Storm, 1919)

Souls for Sale (Rupert Hughes, 1923)

Family Life (Robert P. Kerr, 1924) Zany comedy short about a family, and their moves to various homes.

Peg o' the Mounted (Alfred J. Goulding, 1924)

The Clinging Vine (Paul Sloane, 1926)

Hands Up! (Clarence Badger, 1926) Raymond Griffith is a traveling magician out West. Delightful. Also: It.

The Strong Man (Frank Capra, 1926) Harry Langdon plays a veteran who goes to work as a stage Strong Man's assistant.

Play Safe (Joseph Henabery, 1927) Monty Banks comedy, with finale in a factory and on a train. Full of stunts and thrills.

The Battle of the Century (Clyde Bruckman, 1927) Laurel and Hardy short, with a giant pie fight.

Westerns

Note: The Great Train Robbery (Edwin S. Porter, 1903) Jack and the Beanstalk (1902), Life of an American Fireman, Dream of a Rarebit Fiend (1906).

The Sergeant (Francis Boggs, 1910)

Mexican Filibusters (Kenean Buel, 1911)

The Better Man (Rollin S. Sturgeon, 1912)

Broncho Billy and the Schoolmistress (Gilbert M. Anderson, 1912)

Salomy Jane (Lucius Henderson, William Nigh, 1914)

Last of the Line (Jay Hunt, 1914)

Ammunition Smuggling on the Mexican Border (no director credited, 1914)

Hell's Hinges (William S. Hart, Charles Swickard, 1916)

Legal Advice (Tom Mix, 1916)

The Covered Wagon (James Cruze, 1923) The Mating Call

Tumbleweeds (King Baggott, 1925) Beautifully photographed Western.

3 Bad Men (John Ford, 1926) Just Pals, The Blue Eagle, Four Sons, Hangman's House, Born Reckless, Up the River, Air Mail, Pilgrimage, The Lost Patrol, The Prisoner of Shark Island, Wee Willie Winkie, Stagecoach, Young Mr. Lincoln, The Grapes of Wrath, How Green Was My Valley, They Were Expendable, My Darling Clementine, Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Wagon Master, Rio Grande, When Willie Comes Marching Home, The Quiet Man, Mogambo, The Long Gray Line, The Searchers, The Rising of the Moon, The Last Hurrah, The Horse Soldiers, Sergeant Rutledge, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Donovan's Reef, Cheyenne Autumn, 7 Women

The Great K&A Train Robbery (Lewis Seiler, 1926) Enthusiastic Tom Mix Western, in which he battles a gang of train robbers. Tom Mix had been a real cowboy, and was the best rider of all screen Western stars. Flight Angels, Molly and Me

Massacre (Alan Crosland, 1934)

The Phantom Empire (Otto Brower and B. Reeves Eason, 1935) Western-science fiction serial.

Scarlet River (Otto Brower, 1933) Interesting Western set on a movie location shooting a Western movie.

California Frontier (Elmer Clifton, 1938)

The Naked Spur (Anthony Mann, 1953) The Bamboo Blonde, Desperate, Railroaded!, T-Men, Raw Deal, He Walked By Night, The Black Book/Reign of Terror, Border Incident, Side Street, Winchester 73, Devil's Doorway, The Man from Laramie, The Tin Star, Man of the West, Cimarron, The Heroes of Telemark, A Dandy in Aspic

Seven Men from Now (Budd Boetticher, 1956) One Mysterious Night, Behind Locked Doors, Horizons West, Seminole, The Man From the Alamo, Wings of the Hawk, The Tall T, Decision at Sundown, Buchanan Rides Alone, Ride Lonesome, Westbound, The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond. Television: Public Defender: Think No Evil, The Count of Monte Cristo: The Affair of the Three Napoleons, Maverick The War of the Silver Kings, Maverick: Point Blank, Maverick: According to Hoyle, The Rifleman: Stopover

They Died With Their Boots On (Raoul Walsh, 1941) Other Walsh adventure films: What Price Glory, The Big Trail, They Drive by Night, Manpower, Desperate Journey, Background to Danger, Silver River, Along the Great Divide, Captain Horatio Hornblower, The World in His Arms, Sea Devils, Gun Fury, A Lion Is in the Streets, Saskatchewan, Battle Cry, The Revolt of Mamie Stover, Band of Angels, The Naked and the Dead, Esther and the King, A Distant Trumpet

Glory Alley (Raoul Walsh, 1952) Other Walsh musicals: Going Hollywood, Every Night at Eight, Artists and Models, College Swing, The Man I Love

Sailor's Luck (Raoul Walsh, 1933) Other Walsh comedies: What Price Glory, Gentleman Jim, The Horn Blows at Midnight, Cheyenne, The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw, Marines, Lets Go!

White Heat (Raoul Walsh, 1949) Other Walsh gangster films: Regeneration, The Roaring Twenties, High Sierra

Reprisal! (George Sherman, 1956) Overland Stage Raiders; Black Bart; Dawn at Socorro; Chief Crazy Horse, Comanche; The Hard Man; Rawhide: Incident of the Dog Days. Crime & mystery films: A Scream in the Dark; Mystery Broadcast; Crime Doctor's Courage; Naked City: Dust Devil on a Quiet Street.

Zorro's Fighting Legion (John English, William Witney, 1939)

Riders in the Sky (John English, 1949) The Virginian: A Killer in Town.

Spoilers of the Plains (William Witney, 1951) Wagon Train: The Stagecoach Story; The Virginian: Big Image... Little Man, A Man of the People.

Wells Fargo Days (Mack V. Wright, 1944)

The Plainsman and the Lady (Joseph Kane, 1946) Public Cowboy No. 1, Gold Mine in the Sky, Colorado, In Old Sacramento, The Last Bandit, Cheyenne: Big Ghost Basin, Laramie: Mountain Men, Among the Missing.

Cheyenne Takes Over (Ray Taylor, 1947) West to Glory; Stage to Mesa City; The Tioga Kid

The Rough, Tough West (Ray Nazarro, 1952) Hoedown

Target (Stuart Gilmore, 1952)

The Redhead from Wyoming (Lee Sholem, 1953) Many TV episodes.

The Proud Ones (Robert D. Webb, 1956)

Star in the Dust (Charles F. Haas, 1956)

Fury at Gunsight Pass (Fred F. Sears, 1956)

Joe Dakota (Richard Bartlett, 1957) Wagon Train episodes.

Tomahawk Trail (Lesley Selander, 1957) Blackmail (1947).

The Wild and the Innocent (Jack Sher, 1959) Four Girls in Town

Ride the High Country (Sam Peckinpah, 1962) The Westerner: Brown / The Courtship of Libby / The Painting; The Ballad of Cable Hogue, Junior Bonner, The Osterman Weekend

Gunfight at Comanche Creek (Frank McDonald, 1963) Wyatt Earp: Episodes.

Cat Ballou (Elliot Silverstein, 1965)

Ride the Whirlwind (Monte Hellman, 1966) The Beast From Haunted Cave, The Shooting, Two Lane Blacktop

The Ride to Hangman's Tree (Alan Rafkin, 1967)

Support Your Local Gunfighter (Burt Kennedy, 1971) The Money Trap, Hannie Caulder, The Train Robbers

Ishi: The Last of His Tribe (Robert Ellis Miller, 1978) Her Life as a Man

Dances With Wolves (Kevin Costner, 1990)

Unbowed (Nanci Rossov, 1999)

German Expressionism and Film Noir

Fury (Fritz Lang, 1936) The Spiders Part I: The Golden Sea; Der Müde Tod, Dr. Mabuse Der Spieler, Siegfried, Metropolis, Spione/Spies, Frau in Mond / Woman in the Moon, M, Testament of Dr. Mabuse

The Big Heat (Fritz Lang, 1953) You and Me, Man Hunt, Ministry of Fear, Woman in the Window, Scarlet Street, Secret Beyond the Door, House by the River, Clash By Night, Rancho Notorious, The Blue Gardenia, Moonfleet, While the City Sleeps, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse

Sunrise (Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, 1927) Schloss Vogelöd, Nosferatu, Phantom, Der Letzte Mann / The Last Laugh, Tartuffe.

Anders als die Andern §175 / Different from the Others (Paragraph 175) (Richard Oswald, 1919)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1920)

Geheimnisse einer Seele / Secrets of a Soul (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1926)

Piccadilly (E. A. Dupont, 1929)

The Bat (Roland West, 1926) The Monster, The Bat Whispers

The Man Who Knew Too Much (Alfred Hitchcock, 1956) The Lodger, Easy Virtue, Champagne, Number 17, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The 39 Steps, Sabotage, Young and Innocent, The Lady Vanishes, Foreign Correspondent, Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt, Spellbound, Rope, Stage Fright, Strangers on a Train, I Confess, Rear Window, The Trouble With Harry, Vertigo, North By Northwest, Psycho, The Birds, Marnie, Torn Curtain, Topaz, Family Plot. TV shows: Breakdown, Arthur, The Horseplayer.

The Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale 1935) The Old Dark House, The Invisible Man, Remember Last Night?, The Great Garrick

Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941) Too Much Johnson, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Fountain of Youth

The Lady From Shanghai (Orson Welles, 1948) Other good mysteries by Welles: Journey into Fear, The Stranger, Mr. Arkadin, Touch of Evil

The Immortal Story (Orson Welles, 1969) Perhaps the most beautiful color film ever made. See also below under Shakespeare films. It's All True, Around the World with Orson Welles, Vienna.

The Patient in Room 18 (Bobby Connolly, Crane Wilbur, 1938)

Tear Gas Squad (Terry Morse, 1940) Smashing the Money Ring, A Fugitive from Justice

The Get-Away (Edward Buzzell, 1941)

Phantom Lady (Robert Siodmak, 1944) The Spiral Staircase, The Killers, Criss Cross, The File on Thelma Jordon

Detour (Edgar G. Ulmer, 1946) Paranoid classic about a hitchhiker who encounters every sort of terrifying problem. The Black Cat, American Matchmaker, Tomorrow We Live, Girls in Chains, Isle of Forgotten Sins / Monsoon, Jive Junction, Strange Illusion, Her Sister's Secret, Carnegie Hall, Ruthless, The Pirates of Capri, The Man From Planet X, St. Benny the Dip, Murder Is My Beat, Daughter of Dr. Jekyll, Beyond the Time Barrier

The Locket (John Brahm, 1946)

Dead Reckoning (John Cromwell, 1947) Son of Fury, The Racket

Crack-Up (Irving Reis, 1946) Hitler's Children

Shadow of a Woman (Joseph Santley, 1946)

The Naked City (Jules Dassin, 1948)

Homicide (Felix Jacoves, 1949)

Niagara (Henry Hathaway, 1953) The Dark Corner; Call Northside 777; Diplomatic Courier; 23 Paces to Baker Street; The Bottom of the Bottle

The Street With No Name (William Keighley, 1948) No Time for Comedy

Panic in the Streets (Elia Kazan, 1950) Gentleman's Agreement, Wild River

Woman on the Run (Norman Foster, 1950) Journey into Fear (with Orson Welles)

The Tattooed Stranger (Edward Montagne, 1950)

Mystery Street (John Sturges, 1950) The Girl in White; The Scarlet Coat; Last Train from Gun Hill

No Questions Asked (Harold F. Kress, 1951)

Code Two (Fred M. Wilcox, 1953) Forbidden Planet

Tomorrow Is Another Day (Felix E. Feist, 1951) The Man Behind the Gun. Shorts: Take a Cue

The Glass Wall (Maxwell Shane, 1953)

Vice Squad (Arnold Laven, 1953) Down Three Dark Streets, The Rifleman: The Women

City That Never Sleeps (John H. Auer, 1953)

Suddenly (Lewis Allen, 1954)

The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)

China Gate (Samuel Fuller, 1957) I Shot Jesse James, The Baron of Arizona, The Steel Helmet, Park Row, Run of The Arrow, The Crimson Kimono, Underworld USA, Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street

Shock Corridor (Samuel Fuller, 1963) The Naked Kiss

Bunny Lake Is Missing (Otto Preminger, 1965) Laura, A Royal Scandal, Fallen Angel, Daisy Kenyon, Whirlpool, Where the Sidewalk Ends, River of No Return, The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell, The Man With the Golden Arm, Advise and Consent, The Cardinal, Such Good Friends

The Phenix City Story (Phil Karlson, 1955) Live Wires, Bowery Bombshell, The Texas Rangers, Scandal Sheet, Kansas City Confidential, 99 River Street, They Rode West, Tight Spot, Gunman's Walk, The Scarface Mob, Hell to Eternity

The Lawless (Joseph Losey, 1950) A Gun in His Hand, Time Without Pity, Boom!, A Doll's House

Crime Wave (André de Toth, 1954) Passport to Suez, Slattery's Hurricane, Man in the Saddle, Carson City, Springfield Rifle, Riding Shotgun, The Two-Headed Spy, Day of the Outlaw

Experiment Perilous (Jacques Tourneur, 1944) Nick Carter, Master Detective; I Walked With a Zombie, Canyon Passage, Out of the Past, Berlin Express, Stars in My Crown, The Flame and the Arrow, Appointment in Honduras, Stranger on Horseback, Wichita, Great Day in the Morning, Nightfall, Night of the Demon; The Fearmakers. Short films: The Magic Alphabet, The Romance of Radium, The Grand Bounce, The Jonker Diamond, Harnessed Rhythm, Killer-Dog. Television: General Electric Theater: Into the Night; Cool and Lam; The Barbara Stanwyck Show: The Miraculous Journey of Tadpole Chan, Dragon by the Tail, Frightened Doll; T.H.E. Cat: The Ring of Anasis.

Private Hell 36 (Don Siegel, 1954) Star in the Night, Riot in Cell Block 11, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Madigan, The Black Windmill, Jinxed

A Kiss Before Dying (Gerd Oswald, 1956) Oswald directed many of the best episodes of The Outer Limits TV series. Fury at Showdown, 80 Steps to Jonah

Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, 1955) World for Ransom; The Garment Jungle; Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte; The Longest Yard; The Frisco Kid

Homicidal (William Castle, 1961) Truly bizarre little thriller whose plot is always taking unexpected turns. When Strangers Marry / Betrayed; Mark of the Whistler; Voice of the Whistler; Crime Doctor's Warning; Conquest of Cochise; Battle of Rogue River; Masterson of Kansas; House on Haunted Hill; The Night Walker; Straight-Jacket

Follow Me Quietly (Richard Fleischer, 1949) This hour long B movie about the hunt for a serial killer is a triumph of direction, photography and storytelling. Much less gruesome than modern serial killer stories. Bodyguard, Armored Car Robbery, The Narrow Margin, Violent Saturday, Fantastic Voyage, Soylent Green.

Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950) is a drama about a decayed silent movie queen, who lives in a Hollywood mansion with her director-turned-butler Max, played by real life great director Erich von Stroheim. Wilder's sort of thematic sequel, Fedora.

Witness For the Prosecution (Billy Wilder, 1958). The best courtroom drama ever made. Charles Laughton is fabulously articulate and dramatic as the defense attorney; all by itself, the scene where is calls witness Marlene Dietrich a liar is worth the price of admission. Other plays: Stalag 17.

Avanti! (Billy Wilder, 1972). One of the best of the comedies in which Wilder specialized later. Sabrina, One, Two, Three, The Fortune Cookie

The Big Combo (Joseph H. Lewis, 1955) The Spy Ring, Border Wolves, The Last Stand, Blazing Six Shooters, The Man from Tumbleweeds, The Return of Wild Bill, That Gang of Mine, Pride of the Bowery, Invisible Ghost, The Silver Bullet, Boss of Hangtown Mesa, Bombs Over Burma, The Falcon in San Francisco, My Name is Julia Ross, So Dark the Night, The Swordsman, The Return of October, The Undercover Man, Gun Crazy, A Lady Without Passport, Cry of the Hunted, Man On A Bus, A Lawless Street, The Halliday Brand, Terror in a Texas Town, The Fat Man, The Rifleman: episodes, Daniel Boone: Pompey, The Big Valley: Night of the Wolf

Musicals

Good Numbers in Early Sound Musicals: Spring Is Here (John Francis Dillon, 1930)

42nd Street (Choreographer: Busby Berkeley, 1933) Whoopee!, Golddiggers of 1933, Footlight Parade, Dames, The Gang's All Here, Small Town Girl, Jumbo

The Red Shadow (Roy Mack, 1932) This is a 20 minute version of "The Desert Song". Roy Mack was a prolific director of short musical films in the 1930's. Many are as good as the famous feature length musicals of the era. Artistic Temper, Mirrors.

Diplomaniacs (William A. Seiter, 1933) Why Be Good?, Roberta, Three Blind Mice, You Were Never Lovelier

Old Man Rhythm (Edward Ludwig, 1935)

Swingtime (George Stevens, 1936) The best of all Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies. A Damsel in Distress, which has Fred Astaire, George Burns and Gracie Allen, both of whom can really dance, much to my surprise. Has gem of dance sequence at amusement park.

That Girl From Paris (Leigh Jason, 1936)

Something To Sing About (Victor Schertzinger, 1937) He also did the excellent Grace Moore opera film, One Night of Love (1934). Redskin, The Woman Between, The Fleet's In

Carefree (Mark Sandrich, 1938) A Woman Rebels

Alexander's Ragtime Band (Henry King, 1938) Remember the Day, Love Is a Many Splendored Thing

The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939) The Mollycoddle, Mantrap, The Wet Parade

Little Nellie Kelly (Norman Taurog, 1940) Broadway Melody of 1940; That Midnight Kiss; Rich, Young and Pretty; It Happened at the World's Fair; Palm Springs Weekend

Springtime in the Rockies (Irving Cummings, 1942) The Story of Alexander Graham Bell, Lillian Russell, My Gal Sal

Hello, Frisco, Hello (H. Bruce Humberstone, 1943) The Dragon Murder Case, I Wake Up Screaming, Sun Valley Serenade, She's Working Her Way Through College, The Desert Song

The Jolson Story (Alfred E. Green, 1946) Union Depot.

Something in the Wind (Irving Pichel, 1947) The Man I Married, And Now Tomorrow

It's A Great Feeling (David Butler, 1949) Butler did many "backstage" looks at show business. Sunnyside Up, Pigskin Parade, Playmates, They Got Me Covered, Shine On Harvest Moon, Tea For Two, Calamity Jane

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (Roy Rowland, 1953) Unique fantasy musical, written by Dr. Seuss. Also: Two Weeks With Love.

Call Me Madam (Walter Lang, 1953)

Bells Are Ringing (Vincente Minnelli, 1960) Cabin in the Sky, Meet Me in St. Louis, Ziegfeld Follies, The Clock, Yolanda and the Thief, Undercurrent, The Pirate, Father's Little Dividend, An American in Paris, Lovely to Look At, The Band Wagon, The Long, Long Trailer, Brigadoon, The Cobweb, Tea and Sympathy, Designing Woman, Gigi, The Reluctant Debutante, Some Came Running, Home from the Hill, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Sandpiper, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, A Matter of Time

The Unsinkable Molly Brown (Charles Walters, 1964) Good News, Easter Parade, The Glass Slipper, Billy Rose's Jumbo

Singin' in the Rain (Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen 1952) is a musical comedy about the transition to talkies. On the Town; It's Always Fair Weather

Deep in My Heart (Stanley Donen, 1954) Funny Face, The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, Indiscreet, Charade

I Love Melvin (Don Weis, 1953) Just This Once; Billie; Burke's Law episodes

The Benny Goodman Story (Valentine Davies, 1955) Davies also wrote the story for Miracle on 34th Street.

Untamed Youth (Howard W. Koch, 1957)

Merry Andrew (Michael Kidd, 1958)

Hollywood Sound Films: Drama

Dishonored (Josef von Sternberg, 1931) Perhaps the best of Sternberg's seven films with Marlene Dietrich. This tale casts Dietrich as a glamorous Mata Hari like spy in World War I. When facing the firing squad at the end of the movie, Dietrich insists on being dressed to the nines: as she puts it, I want to die in the uniform in which I served my country. Sternberg had few equals in the ability to treat film as a visual spectacle. Other Dietrich films by Sternberg: The Blue Angel, Morocco, Shanghai Express, Blonde Venus, The Scarlet Empress, The Devil Is a Woman.

Thunderbolt (Josef von Sternberg, 1929) Sternberg was the pioneer of the gangster movie, and this emotional drama about a gang leader on death row shows Sternberg's ability to light a slow fire under his audience. Made in the first year of sound films, and one of the best of the early talkies, the film acts as if the world of sound had been discovered for the first time, with brilliant, unusual speech rhythms, unique pacing, and emotion charged black spirituals on the sound track. Underworld, The Last Command, The Docks of New York, An American Tragedy, The Shanghai Gesture, Macao.

The Wild Party (Dorothy Arzner, 1929) Nana

Weary River (Frank Lloyd, 1929) The Divine Lady, Berkeley Square

The Voice of the City (Willard Mack, 1929)

Man's Castle (Frank Borzage, 1932) Borzage was one of the screen's best directors of romances. Little known fact: Borzage and Raoul Walsh were friends when they worked at Fox in the early 30's. The Pitch O'Chance, Until They Get Me, Lazybones, 7th Heaven, Lucky Star, A Farewell to Arms, Stranded, Green Light, History Is Made at Night, Big City, The Shining Hour, The Mortal Storm, Stagedoor Canteen. Screen Director's Playhouse: Day Is Done, The Day I Met Caruso.

Cleopatra (Cecil B. De Mille, 1934) Spectacle film about the famous Egyptian Queen (Claudette Colbert) and her fights with the Roman Empire. Short compared with modern epics (an hour and a half), fast paced, and filled with eye-popping visual detail. People sometimes chortle over De Mille's sugar coating of history, but the fact remains, that if more films like this were made today, Americans would not be so ignorant about history. The Golden Chance, Don't Change Your Husband, Why Change Your Wife?, the silent version of The Ten Commandments, The Buccaneer, The Story of Dr. Wassell.

We Live Again (Rouben Mamoulian, 1934) Love Me Tonight, Golden Boy, The Mark of Zorro, Summer Holiday, Silk Stockings

Parnell (John M. Stahl, 1937) Imitation of Life, Keys of the Kingdom, Leave Her to Heaven

Internes Can't Take Money (Alfred Santell, 1937)

The Hollywood Stadium Mystery (David Howard, 1938) Dude Cowboy

Within the Law (Gustav Machaty, 1939)

Intruder in the Dust (Clarence Brown, 1949) The Eagle, Possessed, Looking Forward, Chained, The Rains Came, Angels in the Outfield, When in Rome

Let Us Be Gay (Robert Z. Leonard, 1930) Leonard's best films seem to be gentle, upbeat combinations of sophisticated comedy and drama. His characters are remarkably refined and genteel. Many of his films seem to involve romantic duels between men and women. His characters also often struggle against injustice, often being victimized by more powerful people. Delicious Little Devil, Dancing Lady, After Office Hours, Pride and Prejudice, Stand by for Action, In the Good Old Summertime

The Guilty Generation (Rowland V. Lee, 1931)

Shopworn (Nick Grinde, 1932) Public Wedding

A Night To Remember (Richard Wallace, 1943) The Masquerader

Bengal Brigade (Laslo Benedek, 1954) The Wild One

Bigger Than Life (Nicholas Ray, 1956) They Live By Night, Born to be Bad, On Dangerous Ground, Johnny Guitar

Giant (George Stevens, 1956) The Boyfriends, Annie Oakley, The Talk of the Town, The More the Merrier, I Remember Mama. See also under Musicals.

Little Fugitive (Morris Engel, Ruth Orkin, Ray Ashley, 1953)

Elephant Walk (William Dieterle, 1954) The Devil's in Love; From Headquarters

The Purple Plain (Robert Parrish, 1955) Cry Danger

Storm Center (Daniel Taradash, 1956)

The Young Lions (Edward Dmytryk, 1958) Broken Lance

Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967) Mickey One, The Chase, Little Big Man, Dead of Winter

Take Me To Town (Douglas Sirk, 1953) A kind hearted saloon singer (Ann Sheridan) marries a preacher in this Western comedy-drama, and brings new liveliness to his family and congregation. Gracefully made, as are most of Sirk's films. A Scandal in Paris; Sleep, My Love; Slightly French; Has Anybody Seen My Gal; Meet Me at the Fair

All I Desire (Douglas Sirk, 1953) Sign of the Pagan, All That Heaven Allows, Tarnished Angels, A Time to Love and a Time to Die

The Conspirators (Jean Negulesco, 1944) Hedy Lamarr stars in this spy story. Most notable for the beauty of its photography (by Arthur Edeson) and production values. You might want to turn off the volume and just watch the succession of beautiful images silent. Woman's World

Dark Victory (Edmund Goulding, 1939) The Great Lie, The Razor's Edge

Now, Voyager (Irving Rapper, 1942)

The Adventures of Don Juan (Vincent Sherman, 1948) The Man Who Talked Too Much, Old Acquaintance, Mr. Skeffington, Backfire

High Wall (Curtis Bernhardt, 1947) Million Dollar Baby, My Reputation

Scaramouche (George Sidney, 1952) Hollywood Hobbies, A Ticklish Affair

Picnic (Joshua Logan, 1955)

Captain Blood (Michael Curtiz, 1935) Female, Dodge City, The Unsuspected, The Man in the Net

Strange Lady in Town (Mervyn LeRoy, 1955) Little Caesar, Heat Lightning, The King and the Chorus Girl, Fools for Scandal, The Devil at 4 O'Clock

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (Nunnally Johnson, 1956)

The Nickel Ride (Robert Mulligan, 1974) Fear Strikes Out; The Defender; The Great Impostor; Come September; To Kill a Mockingbird; Love With the Proper Stranger; Baby the Rain Must Fall; Same Time, Next Year; Kiss Me Goodbye; The Man in the Moon

Sunrise at Campobello (Vincent J. Donehue, 1960) Peter Pan

A Raisin in the Sun (Daniel Petrie, 1961)

Lilies of the Field (Ralph Nelson, 1963) Cinderella, Father Goose, Charly

Hollywood Comedy

Madame Dubarry (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920). Lubitsch got his start directing historical epics, which combined spectacle with saucy looks at the personal lives of famous men and women. Das Fidele Gefängnis / The Merry Jail; I Don't Want To Be a Man; The Oyster Princess; The Doll; the silent version of Lady Windemere's Fan; The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg; Eternal Love

The Shop Around the Corner (Ernst Lubitsch, 1940). The Love Parade, Monte Carlo, The Smiling Lieutenant, Trouble in Paradise, Design For Living, The Merry Widow, Angel, Ninotchka, To Be Or Not To Be

Scarface (Howard Hawks 1932) The Dawn Patrol, The Crowd Roars, The Barbary Coast, Come and Get It, Land of the Pharaohs

His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks 1940) Paid to Love, A Girl in Every Port, Twentieth Century, Ball of Fire, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Man's Favorite Sport?

Hatari! (Howard Hawks 1962) Red River, Rio Bravo, El Dorado, Rio Lobo

Bed of Roses (Gregory La Cava, 1932) Womanhandled, Smart Woman, Symphony of Six Million, The Half Naked Truth, What Every Woman Knows, My Man Godfrey, Fifth Avenue Girl, Living In a Big Way

Lady Killer (Roy Del Ruth, 1933) The dynamic James Cagney plays a small time hood who winds up in Hollywood. Packs a vast amount of plot twists in a short running time. Life of the Party, The Maltese Falcon, The Little Giant, Kid Millions, Thanks a Million, On the Avenue, Broadway Melody of 1938, My Lucky Star; Broadway Rhythm; The West Point Story; On Moonlight Bay; Starlift; Stop, You're Killing Me; The Alligator People

The Mystery of Mr. X (Edgar Selwyn, 1934) Turn Back the Clock

The Cocoanuts (Robert Florey, Joseph Santley, 1929)

Horse Feathers (Norman Z. MacLeod, 1932) Monkey Business, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

A Night at the Opera (Sam Wood, 1935) Beyond the Rocks; So This Is College; Huddle; The Devil and Miss Jones

A Night in Casablanca (Archie Mayo, 1946)

Lady For a Day (Frank Capra, 1933) Platinum Blonde, The Miracle Woman, American Madness, Forbidden, It Happened One Night, You Can't Take It With You

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Frank Capra, 1939) Capra's political film, about an idealistic young senator (Jimmy Stewart) and his fight with a crooked political machine. Meet John Doe, It's a Wonderful Life, Pocketful of Miracles

Hide-Out (W.S. Van Dyke, 1934) The Lady of the Dugout, White Shadows in the South Seas, Penthouse. Nelson Eddy - Jeanette MacDonald movies: Naughty Marietta, Sweethearts and the MacDonald San Francisco

The Good Humor Man (Lloyd Bacon, 1950) Miss Pinkerton, The Irish in Us, Three Cheers for the Irish, Footsteps in the Dark, I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now, It Happens Every Spring

Search for Beauty (Erle C. Kenton, 1934)

The Traveling Saleslady (Ray Enright, 1935) Sing Me a Love Song, Trail Street

Stand-In (Tay Garnett, 1937) Slave Ship, The Joy Of Living, Seven Sinners, The Valley of Decision, The Postman Always Rings Twice

Double Wedding (Richard Thorpe, 1937) Zany screwball fun with the team of William Powell and Myrna Loy, better known for their Thin Man detective movies. Murder on the Campus; Above Suspicion; Her Highness and the Bellboy; The Great Caruso; The Prisoner of Zenda; Athena

Spring Madness (S. Sylvan Simon, 1938)

Good Girls Go to Paris (Alexander Hall, 1939)

Destry Rides Again (George Marshall, 1939) Life Begins at Forty, Hold That Coed, Valley of the Sun, True To Life, Perils of Pauline, The Mating Game

Q Planes (Tim Whelan, 1939) Higher and Higher

The Invisible Woman (A. Edward Sutherland, 1941) International House

Princess O'Rourke (Norman Krasna, 1943)

Travels With My Aunt (George Cukor, 1972) Tarnished Lady, Our Betters, The Philadelphia Story, Gaslight, A Double Life, Pat and Mike, It Should Happen to You, A Star Is Born, Bhowani Junction, Let's Make Love, My Fair Lady, The Blue Bird

Golden Earrings (Mitchell Leisen, 1947) The Eagle and The Hawk, Murder at the Vanities, Artists and Models Abroad, Midnight, The Lady Is Willing, To Each His Own, The Mating Season

Sullivan's Travels (Preston Sturges, 1942) is a comedy about a film director who wants to make a film about the Depression. Sturges was Hollywood's most gifted satirist. The Great McGinty, Christmas in July, The Palm Beach Story, The Great Moment, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, Hail the Conquering Hero, Mad Wednesday

Going My Way (Leo McCarey, 1944) Duck Soup, Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)

Christmas in Connecticut (Peter Godfrey, 1945)

Good Morning, Miss Dove (Henry Koster, 1955) First Love, It Started With Eve, Music for the Millions

The Law and the Lady (Edwin H. Knopf, 1951)

As Young as You Feel (Harmon Jones, 1951)

Lover Come Back (Delbert Mann, 1961)

Caprice (Frank Tashlin, 1967) Son of Paleface, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, The Geisha Boy, Cinderfella, It's Only Money, The Disorderly Orderly, The Glass Bottom Boat. Tashlin also scripted The Good Humor Man.

Pollyanna (David Swift, 1960)

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (Stanley Kramer, 1963) Inherit the Wind

The Brass Bottle (Harry Keller, 1964) Tammy Tell Me True

A Shot in the Dark (Blake Edwards, 1964) Return of the Pink Panther, Son of the Pink Panther

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (Blake Edwards, 1966) Bring Your Smile Along, High Time, The Great Race, Darling Lili

Victor Victoria (Blake Edwards, 1982) Blind Date, Switch. The semi-autobiographical films: S.O.B., That's Life!

The Trouble With Angels (Ida Lupino, 1966)

RKO and B Movies

Shooting Straight (George Archainbaud, 1930) Framed, The Silver Horde, The Penguin Pool Murder, The Lost Squadron, Three Who Loved, Keep Em Rolling, Hunt the Man Down, Last of the Pony Riders, Gene Autry TV episodes

Lovin' the Ladies (Melville Brown, 1930)

The Runaway Bride (Donald Crisp, 1930)

Hell's Highway (Roland Brown, 1932)

Emergency Call (Edward L. Cahn, 1933) Radio Patrol; Bad Guy; Destination: Murder; Creature with the Atom Brain; It! The Terror from Beyond Space, The Police Dog Story; You Have to Run Fast

Midshipman Jack (Christy Cabanne, 1933) You Can't Beat Love

Bombay Mail (Edward L. Marin, 1934)

The Silver Streak (Thomas Atkins, 1934) A nice early train movie.

Grand Old Girl (John Robertson, 1935) The Phantom of Paris

Murder in the Big House (B. Reeves Eason, 1942)

The Witness Chair (George Nicholls, Jr., 1936)

Wanted: Jane Turner (Edward Killy, 1936)

The Plot Thickens (Ben Holmes, 1936) There Goes My Girl, Maid's Night Out, The Saint in New York

Two in the Dark (Benjamin Stoloff, 1936) Palooka, To Beat the Band, The Lady and the Mob. The Mysterious Doctor

The Man Who Found Himself (Lew Landers, 1937) They Wanted to Marry, Crashing Hollywood, Double Danger, Sky Giant, Conspiracy, Alias Boston Blackie, Murder in Times Square, Cowboy Canteen, The Power of the Whistler, Under the Tonto Rim, The Magic Carpet

Music For Madame (John Blystone, 1937) Opera film with tenor Nino Martini. Blystone was Buster Keaton's codirector on Our Hospitality.

The Mad Miss Manton (Leigh Jason, 1937)

Play Girl (Frank Woodruff, 1940) Lady Scarface

The Falcon's Brother (Stanley Logan, 1942)

The Falcon's Adventure (William Berke, 1946)

Air Hawks (Albert S. Rogell, 1935)

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (William Clemens, 1939) Nancy Drew, Reporter

Gallant Sons (George B. Seitz, 1940) The Vanishing American, Shadow of Doubt

The Lone Wolf Strikes (Sidney Salkow, 1940)

The Last Alarm (William West, 1940)

The Case of the Black Parrot (Noel M. Smith, 1941)

Calling Dr. Gillespie (Harold S. Bucquet, 1942)

Detective Kitty O'Day (William Beaudine, 1944)

Animation

Mobilier fidèle / The Automatic Moving Company (Émile Cohl, 1910) Cohl was the pioneer of the animated film.

Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend: The Pet, The Flying House (Winsor McCay, 1921) Gertie the Dinosaur

Mutt and Jeff: On Strike (Charles Bowers, 1920)

Night on Bald Mountain (Alexander Alexeieff, Clare Parker, 1933)

Gulliver's Travels (Dave Fleischer, 1939)

Fantasia (Ben Sharpsteen, 1940)

The Dover Boys at Pimento University (Chuck Jones, 1942) Prest-O, Change-O; Duck Amuck, What's Opera, Doc

Paradise (Ishu Patel, 1984)

Beauty and the Beast (Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise, 1991)

Pocahontas (Mike Gabriel, Eric Goldberg, 1995)

Shrek (Andew Adamson, Vicky Jenson, 2001)

Classical Baby (Amy Schatz, 2005)

Ratatouille (Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava, 2007)

I Met the Walrus (Josh Raskin, 2007)

Madame Tutli-Putli (Chris Lavis & Maciek Szczerbowski, 2007)

The Numberlys (William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg, 2013)

The LEGO Movie (Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, 2014)

Hollywood's Last Generation of Classical Filmmaking

The Third Voice (Hubert Cornfield, 1960) The Lure of the Swamp, The Night of the Following Day

The Pit and the Pendulum (Roger Corman, 1961) War of the Satellites, The Little Shop of Horrors, The Raven, Von Richthofen and Brown

The Explosive Generation (Buzz Kulik, 1961)

Night Tide (Curtis Harrington, 1960) Queen of Blood, Games. Short films: Picnic, On the Edge, The Assignation, The Wormwood Star, The Four Elements, Usher. Harrington is a major filmmaker with a remarkable visual style.

How Awful About Allan (Curtis Harrington, 1970) The Cat Creature, The Dead Don't Die, Vegas: Kill Dan Tanna, Wonder Woman: A Date with Doomsday, Darkroom: Make-Up, The Twilight Zone: Voices in the Earth

Who Slew Auntie Roo? (Curtis Harrington, 1972) What's the Matter With Helen?, Mata Hari

Sounder (Martin Ritt, 1972) The Long, Hot Summer; The Black Orchid; Norma Rae

In Search of the Castaways (Robert Stevenson, 1962) Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks

The Moon-Spinners (James Neilson, 1964) The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin; Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow

Hot Rod Girl (Leslie H. Martinson, 1956) For Those Who Think Young, Batman. Many TV episodes.

The Delicate Delinquent (Don McGuire, 1957)

The Nutty Professor (Jerry Lewis, 1963) The Bellboy, The Ladies Man, Three on a Couch

Seven Days in May (John Frankenheimer, 1964)

Doctor, You've Got to be Kidding (Peter Tewksbury, 1967) The Trouble with Girls (And How to Get Into It)

To Sir, With Love (James M. Clavell, 1967)

The Money Jungle (Francis D. Lyons, 1968)

Eye of the Cat (David Lowell Rich, 1969)

What's Up, Doc? (Peter Bogdanovich, 1972) Paper Moon, At Long Last Love, Illegally Yours

Daisy Miller (Peter Bogdanovich, 1974) Nickelodeon, Saint Jack, To Sir With Love II

Mask (Peter Bogdanovich, 1985) Targets

The Adventures of Nick Carter (Paul Krasny, 1972) TV episodes.

The Sting (George Roy Hill, 1973) Period of Adjustment, Thoroughly Modern Millie

Heat (Paul Morrisey, 1972) Trash

A Woman Under the Influence (John Cassavetes, 1974) Gloria. Johnny Staccato: Murder for Credit, Night of Jeopardy.

French Films

Les Vampires (Louis Feuillade, 1915) Classic crime thriller. Judex. Short films:

La course aux potirons / The Pumpkin Race (Romeo Bosetti, 1908)

L'Enfant de Paris / The Child of Paris (Léonce Perret, 1913) Le mystère des roches de Kador / The Mystery of the Rocks of Kador

La Folie du Docteur Tube (Abel Gance, 1915)

Le Brasier ardent / The Burning Crucible (Ivan Mosjoukine, 1923)

La Glace à trois faces (Jean Epstein, 1927) Le Tempestaire

Le Million (René Clair, 1931) Paris qui dort, Entr'acte, Sous les toits de Paris, à Nous la liberté, I Married a Witch

L'Atalante (Jean Vigo, 1934)

La Kermesse héroique (Jacques Feyder, 1935) Crainquebille, Gribiche, Les Nouveaux messieurs / The New Gentlemen, The Kiss, Anna Christie

Le Ciel est à vous (Jean Grémillon, 1944) Remorques, Lumière d'été

La Nuit fantastique (Marcel L'Herbier, 1942) L'Inhumaine; Feu Mathias Pascal / The Late Mathias Pascal

The Children of Paradise (Marcel Carné, 1945) Drôle de drame, Quai des brumes / Port of Shadows, Le Jour se lève

Beauty and the Beast (Jean Cocteau, 1946) The Blood of a Poet, Orpheus, La Villa Santo-Sospir

Letter From an Unknown Woman (Max Ophuls, 1948) Touching romantic drama about a woman, and her unrequited love for a concert pianist. Shows Ophuls' emotional sensitivity, and his ability to depict feelings of love on screen. Ophuls' constantly moving camera is visually fascinating, as one delicate composition succeeds after another, and the tracking creates a thrilling visual experience. Werther, The Exile, Caught, The Reckless Moment, La Ronde, Madame de..., Lola Montès.

Diary of a Country Priest (Robert Bresson, 1950) Un Condamné à mort s'est échappé / A Man Escaped; Pickpocket; Procès de Jeanne d'Arc / The Trial of Joan of Arc; Une Femme douce; Lancelot du lac

Paris Does Strange Things (Jean Renoir, 1956): A Polish noblewoman delights everyone in 1900 Paris. La Chienne, Boudu sauvé des eaux, Toni, Grand Illusion, The Rules of the Game, Swamp Water, The Southerner, The Woman on the Beach, The River, The Golden Coach, French Can Can, La Caporal épinglé / The Elusive Corporal

Le Trou (Jacques Becker, 1960) Ali Baba

Le Ballon rouge / The Red Balloon (Albert Lamorisse, 1956) Crin blanc: Le cheval sauvage / White Mane

Plein Soleil/Purple Noon (René Clément, 1960)

Monsieur Hulot's Holiday (Jacques Tati, 1953) Family fun at a French resort. Mon Oncle, Playtime, Trafic.

Classe tous risques (Claude Sautet, 1960)

Le Samouraï (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967) Deux hommes dans Manhattan / Two Men in Manhattan; Léon Morin, Priest; Le Cercle rouge; Un Flic

Providence (Alain Resnais, 1977) Nuit et brouillard, Toute la mémoire du monde, Le chant du styrène, Hiroshima mon amour, L'Année dernière à Marienbad / Last Year at Marienbad, Muriel, Je t'aime, je t'aime, Stavisky, Mon oncle d'Amérique, Pas sur la bouche / Not on the Lips

Cléo de 5 à 7 (Agnès Varda, 1962) Du côté de la côte; Sans toit ni loi / Vagabond; Jacquot de Nantes; Les Cent et une nuits de Simon Cinéma / The Hundred and One Nights; L'Univers de Jacques Demy / The World of Jacques Demy; Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse / The Gleaners and I; Deux ans après / Two Year Later, Le Lion volatile, Les Plages d'Agnès / The Beaches of Agnès

Les Parapluies de Cherbourg / The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Jacques Demy, 1964) La Baie des anges / Bay of Angels

Band of Outsiders (Jean-Luc Godard, 1964) Breathless, A Woman Is a Woman, Contempt, Pierrot le Fou, Made in U.S.A., Weekend

Fahrenheit 451 (François Truffaut, 1966) The Bride Wore Black, La Nuit américaine / Day For Night

Zazie dans le métro (Louis Malle, 1960) L'Ascenseur pour l'échafaud / Elevator to the Gallows; Le Voleur; Au revoir les enfants

Belle de jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967) Las Hurdes / Land Without Bread, Simon of the Desert, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

The Champagne Murders (Claude Chabrol, 1967) Ten Days Wonder, Masques

Z (Constantin Costa-Gavras, 1969) Compartiment tueurs / The Sleeping Car Murders, L'Aveu / The Confession, Missing

Nathalie Granger (Marguerite Duras, 1972)

Le Chagrin et la pitié / The Sorrow and the Pity (Marcel Ophuls, 1971)

La Planète sauvage / Fantastic Planet (René Laloux, 1973)

Tendre poulet / Dear Detective (Philippe De Broca, 1977) L'Homme de Rio / That Man from Rio

Loulou (Maurice Pialat, 1980)

Diva (Jean-Jacques Beineix, 1982) IP5: L'île aux pachydermes

Les Ripoux / My New Partner (Claude Zidi, 1985)

Cyrano de Bergerac (Jean-Paul Rappenau, 1990) Le Hussard sur la toit / The Horseman on the Roof; Bon Voyage

Black Dju (Pol Cruchten, 1996)

Les Voleurs / Thieves (André Téchiné, 1996) Les Roseaux sauvages / Wild Reeds, Alice et Martin

Chacun cherche son chat / When the Cat's Away (Cédric Klapisch, 1996)

Ma Vie en rose (Alain Berliner, 1997) The Wall

Sucre amer / Bitter Sugar (Christian Lara, 1997)

Sicilia! (Jean-Marie Straub, Danièlle Huillet, 1999) Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach

Beau Travail (Claire Denis, 1999)

Le Placard / The Closet (Francis Veber, 2000)

Samia (Philippe Faucon, 2000)

Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001)

Le Pacte des loups / The Brotherhood of the Wolf (Christophe Gans, 2001)

L'Homme du train / The Man on the Train (Patrice Leconte, 2002) La Veuve de St. Pierre / The Widow of St. Pierre; Mon meilleur ami / My Best Friend

Les Choristes (Christophe Barratier, 2004) Faubourg 36 / Paris 36

Joyeux Noël (Christian Carion, 2005)

Italian Films

Nerone / Nero, or the Fall of Rome (Luigi Maggi, 1909)

L'Inferno (Giuseppe de Liguoro, Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan, 1911)

La Corona di Ferro / The Iron Crown (Alessandro Blasetti, 1941)

Death in Venice (Luchino Visconti, 1971) Le notte bianchi / White Nights; Il gattopardo / The Leopard; The Damned

The Taking of Power by Louis XIV (Roberto Rossellini, 1966) Rossellini was the father of the neorealism movement. This film shows his logical style. (I would love to see his Blaise Pascal, a biography of the man who built the first calculating machines - note from 1993, since seen!). Paisà, L'amore: Il miracolo, Stromboli, Francesco giullare di Dio, Europe '51, Journey to Italy, India Matri Bhumi, Socrates, The Age of the Medici.

The Clowns (Federico Fellini, 1971) is an exuberant documentary about circus clowns. It shows to the max the spectacular, surrealistic style that is known as Felliniesque. Variety Lights, The White Shiek, La Strada, Il Bidone, 8 1/2, Toby Dammit, Satyricon, Ginger and Fred, Intervista.

L'Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960) is a haunting drama about a disappearance. Cronaca di un amore / Story of a Love Affair, I vinti / The Vanquished, Il Grido, La Notte, L'Eclisse / The Eclipse, Il deserto rosso / The Red Desert, Il provino / The Screen Test. Antonioni's English language dramas Blowup, Zabriskie Point, The Passenger. Beyond the Clouds. Documentary shorts: Gente del Po; N.U.; Sette canne, un vestito / Seven Reeds, One Suit; L'amorosa menzogna.

Roma città libera (Marcello Pagliero, 1946)

Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) After the Fox

Big Deal on Madonna Street (Mario Monicelli, 1958) Comedy about some inept crooks. I Compagni / The Organizer: rich film portrait of an 1890 strike.

The Gospel According to St. Matthew (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1966)

The Tree of Wooden Clogs (Ermanno Olmi, 1978) is a miniseries about poor farmers in 19th Century Lombardy. It is the best film of the 1970's. Il posto, I findanzati.

Divorce - Italian Style (Pietro Germi, 1961)

La decima vittima / The Tenth Victim (Elio Petri, 1965)

The Spider's Stratagem (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970) is a mystery; its dazzling color photography of the Italian countryside is like taking a trip to Italy. Beseiged.

The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly (Sergio Leone, 1967) is the best Spaghetti Western. A Fistful of Dollars.

Allegro Non Troppo (Bruno Bozzetto, 1976) is an inventively bizarre animated film comedy set to classical music.

La Nuit de Varennes (Ettore Scola, 1982)

Good Morning, Babylon (Taviani Brothers, 1987). Two Italian brothers emigrate to America, where they design the sets for D.W. Griffith's silent movie masterpiece, Intolerance (1916). The Night of the Shooting Stars.

Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore, 1988) is the story of a poor little boy and his love for the movies. It is very touching and emotionally involving. The Star Maker, Malena.

The Station (Sergio Rubini, 1990)

Mediterraneo (Gabriel Salvatores, 1991) is a warm hearted comedy about some Italian soldiers who go native. Some modern Italian films have been big successes in America.

Lamerica (Gianni Amelio, 1994) Grim but well made look at poverty in post-Communist Albania. The Keys of the House.

Life Is Beautiful (Roberto Benigni, 1998) Johnny Stecchino

La Finestra di fronte / Facing Windows (Ferzan Ozpetek, 2003)

Japanese Films

The Life of Oharu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1952) The greatest of Japanese filmmakers. Sisters of the Gion, The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum, The 47 Ronin, Ugetsu, A Geisha / Gion Festival Music, Sansho the Baliff, Chikamatsu Monogatari, Empress Yang Kei Fei, Street of Shame

Twenty-Four Eyes (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1954): Follows 12 Japanese students and their teacher from first grade to adulthood. Starts out in the 1930's, and moves on to the World War II era. Probably the best "inside" picture of traditional Japanese life on film; recommended for people who want to learn more about that country. Although there are no war scenes in the movie, the film delivers a devastating indictment of Japanese militarism of the era, and war in general. Morning for the Osone Family.

Golden Demon (Koji Shima, 1953) This is not a horror movie; the golden demon of the title is money, excessive love of which almost destroys a young couple's happiness.

Late Chrysanthemums (Mikio Naruse, 1954) Apart From You. While Mikio Naruse made 87 films between 1930 and 1967, his work seems hardly to have made any impression in the Western World. This is to be lamented, for he was clearly a magnificent filmmaker. His subject matter is remote from the tastes of contemporary audiences. Naruse grew up in poverty, and his characters are poor and often aging women struggling to get by in Japan. His stories are completely lacking in violence, action or glamour. What they do have is a marvelous storytelling ability. His visual style alternates between beautifully composed looks at Tokyo streets, to interior scenes where his characters have dramatic encounters with family, loved ones and friends.

Kagemusha (Akira Kurosawa, 1981) Sanshiro Sugata, The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail, Stray Dog, Scandal, The Idiot, Ikiru, The Seven Samurai, High and Low, Dreams, Rhapsody in August

An Autumn Afternoon (Yasujiro Ozu, 1962) I Was Born, But..., There Was a Father, Record of a Tenement Gentleman, Late Spring, Early Summer, Tokyo Story, Equinox Flower

The Masseurs and a Woman (Hiroshi Shimizu, 1938) Ornamental Hairpin

Godzilla (Ishiro Honda, 1954)

I Will Buy You (Masaki Kobayashi, 1956) Kwaidan: The Woman in the Snow

Pale Flower (Shinoda Masahiro, 1964) Double Suicide

Tokyo Drifter (Seijun Suzuki, 1966) Delirious gangster film, with great compositions, color design. Take Aim at the Police Van

A Colt Is My Passport (Takashi Nomura, 1967)

The Makioka Sisters (Kon Ichikawa, 1983)

A Taxing Woman (Juzo Itami, 1987) A female Japanese tax agent fights a "duel" with a crooked businessman. Both the heroine and the villain have remarkable quantities of energy, ingenuity and enthusiasm for their work. Thoroughly satirical look at modern Japanese life, with an enormous amount of inside information about business, government, and crime. The Funeral.

Heaven and Earth (Haruki Kadokawa, 1990) Spectacular drama of medieval battles, choreographed to make ingenious color patterns on the screen.

Only Yesterday (Isao Takahata, 1991)

The Mystery of Rampo (Kazuyoshi Okuyama, 1994) Avant-garde fantasy in the tradition of Cocteau and Resnais' Providence. Beautifully shot.

Village of Dreams (Yoichi Higashi, 1995) Look at two eight year old boys and their childhood in a small village.

Dr. Akagi (Shohei Imamura, 1998) The Eel; Warm Water Under a Red Bridge; September 11: The Snake

Rajio no jikan / Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald (Koki Mitani, 1997)

Chinese Films

Raise the Red Lantern (Zhang Yimou, 1991) One of six films Zhang made with actress Gong Li, in each of which she plays a gutsy woman who takes on the patriarchy that has always run China. The Story of Qiu Ju.

The Wedding Banquet (Ang Lee, 1993) Sense and Sensibility, Brokeback Mountain.

Chungking Express (Wong Kar-wai, 1994) Days of Being Wild, Fallen Angels, In the Mood for Love, 2046, My Blueberry Nights. Avant-garde director in the tradition of France's New Wave of the 1960's. Creative camera work.

East Palace, West Palace (Zhang Yuan, 1996)

The Hole / Last Dance (Tsai Ming-liang, 1997)

Suzhou River (Lou Ye, 2000) Beautifully photographed, New Wave influenced mystery story. Rich cityscapes of Shanghai's river district recall Godard's Le Petit soldat and Varda's Cléo de 5 à 7; the complex storytelling Resnais.

Platform (Jia Zhang-ke, 2000)

Millenium Mambo (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 2001) The Puppetmaster; Café Lumière

Zhou Yu's Train (Sun Zhou, 2002)

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (Dai Sijie, 2002)

Springtime (Erica Liu, 2013)

South-East Asia

The Scent of Green Papaya (Tran Anh Hung, 1993) The Vertical Ray of the Sun

Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004)

South Asia

Charulata (Satyajit Ray, 1964): gentle portrait of an Indian woman. Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956), Jalsaghar/The Music Room (1957), The Big City (1963), Kapurush/The Coward (1965), The Chess Players (1977), Joi Baba Felunath (1978), An Enemy of the People (1989), The Stranger (1991).

Phörpa / The Cup (Khyentse Norbu, 1999)

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (Ashutosh Gowariker, 2001) Fine Indian musical, with an idealistic script, good characters and acting, and delightful musical numbers.

Matir Moina / The Clay Bird (Tareque Masud, 2002)

Osama (Siddiq Barmak, 2003)

Krrish (Rajesh Roshan, 2006)

Iran

The House Is Black (Forough Farrokhzad, 1962)

A Time for Drunken Horses (Bahman Ghobadi, 2000) Marooned in Iraq

Offside (Jafar Panahi, 2006)

Gabbeh (Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1996) Marriage of the Blessed; Once Upon a Time, Cinema; Images of the Khajar Dynasty; A Moment of Innocence; Kandahar

The Apple (Samira Makhmalbaf, 1998) At Five in the Afternoon

The Day I Became a Woman (Marziyeh Meshkini, 2000)

Arabic

Destiny (Youssef Chahine, 1997) Alexandria...Why?

A Summer at La Goulette (Férid Boughedir, 1995)

Caramel (Nadine Labaki, 2007)

Israel

The Red Toy (Dani Rosenberg, 2004)

Walk on Water (Eytan Fox, 2004)

Scandinavia

Himmelskibet / A Trip to Mars (Holger-Madsen, 1918)

The Outlaw and His Wife (Victor Sjöström, 1918) The Wind

Erotikon (Mauritz Stiller, 1920) Sir Arne's Treasure

The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928) The Parson's Widow, Michael, The Master of the House, Vampyr, Day of Wrath, They Caught the Ferry, Gertrud

Babette's Feast (Gabriel Axel, 1987)

House of Angels (Colin Nutley, 1992)

Elling (Petter Næss, 2001)

Nye scener fra Amerika / New Scenes From America (Jørgen Leth, 2002)

Der er en yndig mand / This Charming Man (Martin Strange-Hansen, 2002)

Reconstruction (Christoffer Boe, 2003)

Casanova (Lasse Hallström, 2005) The Hundred-Foot Journey

Germany

Welt am Draht / World on a Wire (Part 1) (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1973)

Rosalie Goes Shopping (Percy Adlon, 1990) Sugarbaby, Salmonberries, Koenig's Sphere

Maybe, Maybe Not (Sonke Wortmann, 1994)

Lola Rennt / Run, Lola, Run (Tom Tykwer, 1998) Paris, je t'aime

Aimée & Jaguar (Max Färberböck, 1998)

Nirgendwo in Afrika / Nowhere in Africa (Caroline Link, 2001)

Invincible (Werner Herzog, 2001)

Rosenstrasse (Margarethe von Trotta, 2003)

Männer wie wir / Guys and Balls (Sherry Hormann, 2004)

Sophie Scholl: The Last Days (Marc Rothemund, 2005)

Poland

Eroica (Andrzej Munk, 1958)

The Black Cross (Aleksander Ford, 1960)

Man of Marble (Andrzej Wajda, 1976) In 1950's Poland, a stone worker is cited as a model worker. Man of Iron (1980 sequel) His steel worker son takes part in Solidarity. Shot live during the events it depicts. Ashes and Diamonds. Wajda's work reflects Italian Neorealism.

A Year of the Quiet Sun (Krzysztof Zanussi, 1984)

Torrents of Spring (Jerzy Skolimowski, 1989)

Europa Europa (Agnieska Holland, 1990)

The Big Animal (Jerzy Stuhr, 2000)

Eastern Europe

Daisies (Vera Chytilová, 1966)

Ucho / The Ear (Karel Kachyna, 1970)

WR: Mysteries of the Organism (Dusan Makavejev, 1971) Satirical documentary on the relationship between sex and politics. The funniest anti-Communist film ever made. Man Is Not a Bird, Montenegro, The Coca Cola Kid

Kolya (Jan Sverák, 1995) Dark Blue World

Werckmeister Harmonies (Béla Tarr, 2000) Damnation

Kurpe / The Shoe (Laila Pakalnina, 1998)

Gori vatra / Fuse (Pjer Zalica, 2003)

Kontroll (Nimród Antal, 2003)

The Singing Revolution (James Tusty, Maureen Castle Tusty, 2006)

Russian and Soviet Films

Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) Glumov's Diary; Romance Sentimentale; Qué viva Mexico!; Alexander Nevsky; Ivan the Terrible

By the Law (Lev Kuleshov, 1926) The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks

Bed and Sofa (Abram Room, 1927)

The House on Trubnaya (Boris Barnet, 1928)

The Man With a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1928) Stride, Soviet!

Salt For Svanetia (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1929)

The Color of Pomegranates (Sergei Paradjanov, 1969) Beautiful avant-garde look at Armenian culture. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors; Hagop Hovnatanian (1965); Ashik Kerib (1988).

Nostalghia (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1983) Solaris

Russian Ark (Alexander Sokurov, 2002) Patience Labor, Father and Son, Alexandra

Sonata for Viola: Dmitri Shostakovich (Semyon Aranovich, Alexander Sokurov, 1981)

The Cuckoo (Alexander Rogozhkin, 2002)

Koktebel / Roads to Koktebel (Boris Khlebnikov, Alexei Popogrebsky, 2003)

The Return (Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2003) Warning: this is a mystery movie without a solution. Well directed.

Spain, Portugal and Latin America

Quilombo (Carlos Diegues, 1984) Escaped slaves build their own nation in 16th Century Brazil. A triumph of visual style.

Man Facing Southeast (Eliseo Subiela, 1986): an unearthly stranger shows up in Buenos Aires, claiming to be from another planet.

Miss Mary (Maria Luisa Bemberg, 1987)

Ay, Carmela! (Carlos Saura, 1990) Flamenco, Tango, Goya

Law of Desire (Pedro Almodóvar, 1987) Dark Habits, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, High Heels, Volver

The Chambermaid on the Titanic (Bigas Luna, 1997) Brilliant piece of storytelling, with many unexpected developments.

Solas (Benito Zambrano, 1999) Emotionally involving story of a poor woman in Seville, Spain and her problems.

Porto da Minha Infância / Oporto of My Childhood (Manoel de Oliveira, 2001) Douro, Faina Fluvial / Labor on the Douro River, The Strange Case of Angelica

Other Foreign Language Films

Character (Mike van Diem, 1997)

Moolaadé (Ousmane Sembène, 2004)

The British Isles and Commonwealth

The Ghost Train (Walter Forde, 1941)

Green for Danger (Sidney Gilliat, 1946)

Miranda (Ken Annakin, 1948)

The Red Shoes (Michael Powell, 1948) Contraband, A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus

The Importance of Being Earnest (Anthony Asquith, 1952) The V.I.P.s

Spaceways (Terence Fisher, 1953) Blackout / Murder by Proxy

Trouble in Store (John Paddy Carstairs, 1953)

The Runaway Bus (Val Guest, 1954) Jigsaw

Heat Wave (Ken Hughes, 1954)

The One That Got Away (Roy Ward Baker, 1957)

Carry On Sergeant (Gerald Thomas, 1958)

Hotel Paradiso (Peter Glenville, 1966) Summer and Smoke, The Comedians

Scream of Fear (Seth Holt, 1961)

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Tony Richardson, 1962) Tom Jones

Murder Ahoy (George Pollock, 1964) Murder, She Said

The Wrong Box (Bryan Forbes, 1966) The Stepford Wives

The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom (Joe McGrath, 1968)

Savage Messiah (Ken Russell, 1972) Antonio Gaudi, Elgar, Song of Summer, Women in Love, The Boyfriend, Mahler, Lisztomania, Clouds of Glory

Gumshoe (Stephen Frears, 1972) Dangerous Liaisons, Hero

The Nine Tailors (Raymond Menmuir, 1974)

Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975) Four girls mysteriously disappear in the Australian Outback, a disappearance that is never explained by the film. Extraordinarily atmospheric film that hints at supernatural explanations (e.g., the girls have gone away to be the brides of pagan deities).

The Year of Living Dangerously (Peter Weir, 1982) Film about the start of the terrible events in Indonesia in 1965. Extraordinary performances, especially by Linda Hunt as photographer Billy Kwan. One of the best films ever made about the problems of the poor and world hunger. Although nothing supernatural happens in the tale, film has remarkable supernatural atmosphere.

The Man Who Fell to Earth (Nicholas Roeg, 1976)

The 39 Steps (Don Sharp, 1978)

Testament of Youth (Moira Armstrong, 1979)

Breaking Away (Peter Yates, 1979) The Hot Rock, Suspect, The House on Carroll Street, The Year of the Comet

Why Didn't They Ask Evans? (Tony Wharmby, John Davies, 1980)

Flickers (Cyril Coke, 1980) British TV miniseries about the early days of the British film industry, and the attempt of two outsiders, a poor Cockney (Bob Hoskins) and a middle class businesswoman (Frances De La Tour) to run their own production company. Characterizations so rich they seem four dimensional, and brilliant acting by the entire troupe, especially the two leads. Comic, upbeat, and definitely not about the sort of upper class twits that show up on too much British TV. Will Violet ever stop talking? Script by Roy Clarke.

Flash Gordon (Michael Hodges, 1980) Croupier

Heartaches (Don Shebib, 1981)

Chariots of Fire (Hugh Hudson, 1981) Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes

Condorman (Charles Jarrott, 1981) The Boy in Blue

Separate Tables (John Schlesinger, 1983) Cold Comfort Farm

The Draughtsman's Contract (Peter Greenaway, 1982)

The Lords of Discipline (Franc Roddam, 1983)

Repo Man (Alex Cox, 1984)

The Shooting Party (Alan Bridges, 1984)

Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986)

Antigone (Don Taylor, 1986)

Nazi Hunter: The Beate Klarsfeld Story (Michael Lindsay-Hogg, 1986)

I've Heard the Mermaids Singing (Patricia Rozema, 1987) Mansfield Park

Ground Zero (Michael Pattinson, Bruce Miles, 1987)

84 Charing Cross Road (David Hugh Jones, 1987)

Earth Girls Are Easy (Julien Temple, 1989) Temple has made many classic music videos.

Memphis Belle (Michael Caton-Jones. 1990)

Hear My Song (Peter Chelsom, 1991) An Irish promoter tries to lure a singer to his club. A gentle film about the power of music. Shall We Dance

The Krays (Peter Medak 1991) Zorro, The Gay Blade; The Seven Dancing Princesses

The Crying Game (Neil Jordan, 1992)

Thunderheart (Michael Apted, 1992) Enigma, Amazing Grace

Orlando (Sally Potter, 1993)

M. Butterfly (David Cronenberg, 1993)

Desperate Remedies (Stewart Main, Peter Wells, 1993) The Mighty Civic

Princess Caraboo (Michael Austin, 1994)

A Man of No Importance (Suri Krishnamma, 1994)

The Shadow (Russell Mulcahy, 1994) Mulcahy is an important music video director.

The Madness of King George (Nicholas Hytner, 1994) The Object of My Affection

Four Weddings and a Funeral (Mike Newell, 1994)

The Sum of Us (Kevin Dowling, Geoff Burton, 1995)

Persuasion (Roger Michell, 1995)

The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill, But Who Came Down A Mountain (Christopher Monger, 1995)

Hackers (Iain Softley, 1995)

The Awakening (George Bloomfield, 1995)

The Disappearance of Kevin Johnson (Francis Megahy, 1996) Livin' the Life / Real Life

Wilde (Brian Gilbert, 1997) Vice Versa

The Full Monty (Peter Cattaneo, 1997)

Shakespeare in Love (John Madden, 1998)

Relative Values (Eric Styles, 2000)

Billy Elliot (Stephen Daldry, 2000)

The Heart of the World (Guy Maddin, 2000) The Dead Father; Cowards Bend the Knee; My Dad Is 100 Years Old

The Parole Officer (John Duigan, 2001)

Unconditional Love (P. J. Hogan, 2002)

A Touch of Pink (Ian Iqbal Rashid, 2003)

Slings and Arrows: Season One (Peter Wellington, 2003)

Prom Queen: The Marc Hall Story (John L'écuyer, 2004)

Bride and Prejudice (Gurinder Chadha, 2004) Bend It Like Beckham; Paris, je t'aime

Hotel Rwanda (Terry George, 2004)

The 39 Steps (James Hawes, 2008)

Upstairs Downstairs: Season 1 (Euros Lyn, Saul Metzstein, 2010)

Shakespeare Films

Macbeth (Orson Welles, 1947) Welles' version of the Shakespeare tragedy. His Othello is visually outstanding, but it suffers from poor sound recording. Chimes at Midnight. We Work Again (with The Voodoo Macbeth).

King Lear (Peter Brook, Andrew McCullough, 1953) Starring Orson Welles.

Julius Caesar (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1953) Dragonwyck; No Way Out; All About Eve; Suddenly, Last Summer; Carol for Another Christmas

Prince of Players (Phillip Dunne, 1955)

Romeo and Juliet (Franco Zeffirelli, 1968) Hamlet (1990). Tea with Mussolini

King Richard the Second (David Giles, 1978)

The Taming of the Shrew (Richard Monette, 1989)

Much Ado About Nothing (Kenneth Branagh, 1993) Henry V, As You Like It

Othello (Oliver Parker, 1995)

Stage Plays

See also my list: Best TV Shows: Drama Anthologies.

Uncle Vanya (Stuart Burge, 1963)

The Glass Menagerie (Michael Elliott, 1966)

An Enemy of the People (Paul Bogart, 1966)

The Andersonville Trial (George C. Scott, 1970)

Suddenly, Last Summer (Richard Eyre, 1992)

Dance Films

The Flute of Krishna (Martha Graham, Rouben Mamoulian?, 1926)

Spanish Fiesta (Jean Negulesco, 1942): dance short with the Ballets Russes. The Gay Parisian.

Romeo and Juliet (Paul Czinner, 1966) Prokofiev ballet, danced by Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev.

Goddess Dancers of Cambodia (Merrill Brockway, Faubion Bowers, 1971): unforgettably beautiful documentary about the traditional dance troupe.

The Magic of Dance (Patricia Foy, 1979) BBC documentary series, hosted by Dame Margot Fonteyn, that explores the many forms of European classical dance.

The Rite of Spring (Thomas Grimm, Judy Kinberg, 1987)

Le Spectre de la rose (2009) (with Mathias Heymann)

New York City Ballet in Paris / New York City Ballet Symphony in C (Vincent Bataillon, 2016) Four ballets choreographed by George Balanchine.

The Colbys: Deceptions (Curtis Harrington, 1986). This drama has:

Opera Films

Katerina Izmailova (Mikhail Shapiro, 1966)

L'Incoronazione di Poppea (Peter Hall, 1984)

Julius Caesar (John Michael Phillips, 1984)

The Mikado (Norman Campbell, Brian MacDonald, 1984)

Agrippina (Thomas Olofsson, 1985)

The Makropulos Affair (Lotfi Mansouri, 1989)

Le nozze di Figaro / The Marriage of Figaro (Olivier Mille, Jean-Louis Thamin, 1993)

Street Scene (José Montes-Baquer, 1994)

La Cenerentola (Joan Font, Xavi Bové, 2008) Spectacular, non-realistic staging, with bright color. Act One and Act Two.

Moby-Dick (Frank Zamacona, Leonard Foglia, 2013) A new opera composed by Jake Heggie, libretto by Gene Scheer.

Silent Night (Eric Simonson, 2013) A new opera composed by Kevin Puts, libretto by Mark Campbell.

The Companion (Walker Lewis, 2014) A new opera composed by Robert Paterson, libretto by David Cote. Video.

Kyle Guglielmo clips:

Yoopera! (Suzanne Jurva, Erin Smith, 2014) Documentary about the production of a new opera "Rockland" composed by Jukka Linkola, libretto by Jussi Tapola.

Rossini: La donna del lago (Barbara Willis Sweete, 2015)

Stage Musicals

Annie Get Your Gun (Clark Jones, Jack Sydow, 1967) I saw this superb film as a kid. Currently it is lost, with scholars looking for a print.

The World of Kurt Weill (Marc Daniels, 1967)

Oklahoma! (Terrence Mann, David Stern, Paul Mauceri, 2011) A spectacular recreation of the original 1943 stage version. Act One and Act Two.

Hairspray Live! (Kenny Leon, Alex Rudzinski, 2016)

Anything Goes: Musical Numbers from Stage Versions:

Musical Numbers:

Musicals: Hollywood Since 1970

Please also see my A Guide to 1980's Music Video Directors and Best Musical TV Commercials.

1776 (Peter H. Hunt, 1972) Life on the Mississippi, Bus Stop

Grease 2 (Patricia Birch, 1982)

Eddie and the Cruisers (Martin Davidson, 1983) Long Gone

The Pirates of Penzance (Wilford Leach, 1983)

Streets of Fire (Walter Hill, 1984) 48HRS, Southern Comfort

Footloose (Herbert Ross, 1984) The Secret of My Success

Rappin (Joel Silberg, 1985) Breakin, Lambada

Off Beat (Michael Dinner, 1986) Curse of the Corn People

Back to the Beach (Lyndall Hobbs, 1987)

La Bamba (Luis Valdez, 1987)

Aria (ten directors, 1987)

The In Crowd (Mark Rosenthal, 1988)

Sing (Richard Baskin, 1989) The finale of this film is good; what leads up to it is poor.

Shangri-La Plaza (Nick Castle, 1990) See also: Science Fiction.

Strictly Ballroom (Baz Luhrmann, 1992) La Bohème, Moulin Rouge!, The Great Gatsby

Sister Act (Emile Ardolino, 1992)

That Thing You Do! (Tom Hanks, 1996)

Songcatcher (Maggie Greenwald, 2000)

Rock Star (Steven Herek, 2001)

Camp (Todd Graff, 2003)

De-Lovely (Irwin Winkler, 2004) The Net

Take the Lead (Liz Friedlander, 2006)

High School Musical (Kenny Ortega, 2006)

Dreamgirls (Bill Condon, 2006) See also: Drama.

Hairspray (Adam Shankman, 2007)

A Capella Science (Tim Blais). Self-made videos mix science with a cappella music:

Science Fiction

See also more detailed list of Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and High Technology Films.

Things to Come (William Cameron Menzies, 1936)

Batman and Robin: Batman Takes Over (Spencer Gordon Bennet, 1949)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (Robert Wise, 1951) Born to Kill, The Set-Up

Them! (Gordon Douglas, 1954) The Falcon in Hollywood, Dick Tracy vs. Cueball, Sincerely Yours, Yellowstone Kelly

This Island Earth (Joseph M. Newman, 1955) Respect the Law, 711 Ocean Drive, Red Skies of Montana, Dangerous Crossing, The Lawbreakers, The George Raft Story, Twenty Plus Two

The Mole People (Virgil Vogel, 1956)

The Incredible Shrinking Man (Jack Arnold, 1957) 3D versions of: It Came From Outer Space, Revenge of the Creature. High School Confidential!, Bachelor in Paradise

The 27th Day (William Asher, 1957)

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (Nathan Juran, 1958)

The Time Machine (George Pal, 1960)

The Power (Byron Haskin, 1968) Too Late for Tears; The Naked Jungle; Robinson Crusoe on Mars

Planet of the Apes (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1968) Studio One: Twelve Angry Men, The Best Man

2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) Barry Lyndon. Documentary shorts: Day of the Fight, Flying Padre.

The Savage Bees (Bruce Geller, 1976)

Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977) American Graffiti; Star Wars: Episode III - The Revenge of the Sith

Superman (Richard Donner, 1978)

Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982) Someone To Watch Over Me, The Martian

Metalstorm (Charles Band, 1982) Trancers

Tron (Steve Lisberger, 1982)

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The Eighth Dimension (W.D. Richter, 1984) Late For Dinner

Dreamscape (Joseph Ruben, 1984) True Believer, The Stepfather, Return to Paradise, The Forgotten

The Last Starfighter (Nick Castle, 1984) See also: Musicals.

Pee Wee's Big Adventure (Tim Burton, 1985) Edward Scissorhands

Twins (Ivan Reitman, 1988) Dave, Kindergarten Cop, Junior, My Super Ex-Girlfriend

Arena (Peter Manoogian, 1988)

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (Joe Johnston 1989) The Rocketeer

Peacemaker (Kevin S. Tenney, 1990)

Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (Simon Wincer, 1991) The Girl Who Spelled Freedom

Universal Soldier (Roland Emmerich, 1992) Moon 44, Stargate

Encino Man (Les Mayfield, 1992) A China Odyssey

Wing Commander (Chris Roberts, 1998)

Dark City (Alex Proyas, 1998) I, Robot

Murdercycle (Tom Callaway, 1999)

Paycheck (John Woo, 2003)

Primer (Shane Carruth, 2004)

Homecoming (Joe Dante, 2005)

Fantastic Four (Tim Story, 2005) Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

The Last Mimzy (Bob Shaye, 2007)

Speed Racer (Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski, 2008)

Beautiful Dreamer (David Gaddie, 2016)

Fantasy

See also more detailed list of Best Fantasy Films.

Something Wicked This Way Comes (Jack Clayton, 1983) The Great Gatsby

Mannequin (Michael Gottlieb, 1987)

Field of Dreams (Phil Alden Robinson, 1989) Sneakers

Longtime Companion (Norman René, 1989) Prelude to a Kiss

Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993) Caddyshack

Love Bites (Malcolm Marmorstein, 1993)

The Santa Clause (John Pasquin, 1994) Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous

The Flintstones (Brian Levant, 1994) Jingle All the Way

George of the Jungle (Sam Weisman, 1997)

Pleasantville (Gary Ross, 1998)

Elf (Jon Favreau, 2003)

A Boyfriend for Christmas (Kevin Connor, 2004) Santa Jr.

Ella Enchanted (Tommy O'Haver, 2004)

Charlotte's Web (Gary Winick, 2006)

The Night Before the Night Before Christmas (James Orr, 2010) Mr. Destiny

The Santa Suit (Robert Vaughn. 2010)

Comedy

A New Leaf (Elaine May, 1971)

Silent Movie (Mel Brooks, 1976)

The Cheap Detective (Robert Moore, 1978)

The Prizefighter (Michael Preece, 1979)

Melvin and Howard (Jonathan Demme, 1980) Citizen's Band, Who Am I This Time?, Swing Shift, Something Wild, Swimming to Cambodia, Married to the Mob, Philadelphia

Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen (Clive Donner, 1981) Outstanding slapstick film: Jerry Lewis was not the only filmmaker working in slapstick mode. Plus horseback chase scene cut to Herold's "Zampa Overture". Beautiful mise-en-scene and visual style.

Say Yes (Larry Yust, 1982)

My Favorite Year (Richard Benjamin, 1982) Comedy, which like the Dick Van Dyke Show, takes us backstage at the old Sid Caesar - Imogene Coca Your Show of Shows. Among the best of Benjamin's movies are two films whose young protagonists discover themselves, almost by accident, to be living under false pretenses and phony identities: Little Nikita, Mrs. Winterbourne.

Eating Raoul (Paul Bartel, 1982) Scenes From the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills

Waltz Across Texas (Ernest Day, 1982)

D.C. Cab (Joel Schumacher, 1983) The Client, Batman Forever, A Time To Kill

Johnny Dangerously (Amy Heckerling, 1984) Clueless

American Dreamer (Rick Rosenthal, 1984)

Odd Jobs (Mark Story, 1984)

Back To School (Alan Metter, 1986) Girls Just Want To Have Fun.

Police Academy II (Jerry Paris, 1986) The Feminist and the Fuzz

Jumpin' Jack Flash (Penny Marshall, 1986) A League of Their Own

Outrageous Fortune (Arthur Hiller, 1987) Teachers, Taking Care of Business

Heartbreak Hotel (Chris Columbus, 1988) Mrs. Doubtfire

Big Business (Jim Abrahams, 1988) Jane Austen's Mafia!

The Naked Gun (David Zucker, 1988) The Naked Gun 2 1/2

Disorganized Crime (Jim Kouf, 1989)

Major League (David S. Ward, 1989) Major League II. Ward wrote the script for The Sting.

Ask Me Again (Deborah Reinesch, 1989)

Sibling Rivalry (Carl Reiner, 1990) Reiner wrote many of the classic episodes of the original Dick Van Dyke Show. The Jerk; Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

Honeymoon Academy (Eugene Quintano, 1990) National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon I. Quintano also scripted Making the Grade.

Jury Duty (Michael Schultz, 1990) The Spirit

Don't Tell Her It's Me (Malcolm Mowbray, 1990)

Ghost (Jerry Zucker, 1990) Top Secret! (with Jim Abrahams and David Zucker)

Flashback (Franco Amurri, 1990)

True Identity (Charles Lane, 1991)

Jersey Girl (David Burton Morris, 1992) Hometown Boy Makes Good

Brain Donors (Dennis Dugan, 1992) Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, Karroll's Christmas, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

Honeymoon in Vegas (Andrew Bergman, 1992)

The Beverly Hillbillies (Penelope Spheeris, 1993) Wayne's World

Guarding Tess (Hugh Wilson, 1994) Blast From the Past, Dudley Do-Right

Ace Ventura, Pet Detective (Tom Shadyac, 1994)

The Mask (Charles Russell, 1994) Eraser

Dumb and Dumber (Peter Farrelly, 1994) Stuck On You

Tommy Boy (Peter Segal, 1995)

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (Beeban Kidron, 1995)

While You Were Sleeping (Jon Turteltaub, 1995)

Emma (Douglas McGrath, 1996)

Trial and Error (Jonathan Lynn, 1997) My Cousin Vinnie

Picture Perfect (Glenn Gordon Caron, 1997)

In & Out (Frank Oz, 1997)

Merry Christmas, George Bailey (Matthew Diamond, 1997) Undercover Bridesmaid

The Wedding Singer (Frank Coraci, 1998) The Waterboy

Ever After (Andy Tennant, 1998)

Forces of Nature (Bronwen Hughes, 1999) White Collar pilot (84 minute version).

Happy, Texas (Mark Illsley, 1999)

Hit and Runway (Christopher Livingston, 1999)

Three to Tango (Damon Santostefano, 1999)

Man of the Century (Adam Abraham, 1999)

Miss Congeniality (Donald Petrie, 2000) Richie Rich; The Associate

Shanghai Noon (Tom Dey, 2000)

All Over the Guy (Julie Davis, 2001)

Zoolander (Ben Stiller, 2001)

Shanghai Knights (David Dobkin, 2003)

Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! (Robert Luketic, 2004)

I (Heart) Huckabees (David O. Russell, 2004)

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (Garry Marshall, 2004)

Guess Who (Kevin Rodney Sullivan, 2005)

Adam & Steve (Craig Chester, 2005)

Recruiting (James Noel Hoban, Bobby Roger Poirer, 2005)

Available Men (David Dean Bottrell, 2006)

Chalk (Mike Akel, 2006)

Firehouse Dog (Todd Holland, 2007)

The Jane Austen Book Club (Robin Swicord, 2007)

Fixing Pete (Michael Grossman, 2011)

The Makeover (John Gray, 2013)

Signed, Sealed, Delivered (Scott Smith, 2013)

Along Came a Nanny (Michael Scott, 2014)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)

Thrillers and Action

Serpico (Sidney Lumet, 1973) Prince of the City, Power, Guilty as Sin, Night Falls on Manhattan

The Gangster Chronicles (Richard C. Sarafian, 1981)

Nighthawks (Bruce Malmuth, 1981) Hard To Kill

Romancing the Stone (Robert Zemeckis, 1982) Contact

Cloak and Dagger (Richard Franklin, 1984)

Dangerously Close (Albert Pyun, 1986) Radioactive Dreams

Choke Canyon (Chuck Bail, 1986)

Out of Bounds (Richard Tuggle, 1986)

Blue City (Michelle Manning, 1986)

American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (Sam Firstenberg, 1987) Avenging Force

The Rosary Murders (Fred Walton, 1987)

The Untouchables (Brian De Palma, 1987) Get To Know Your Rabbit

Die Hard (John McTiernan, 1988) The Hunt For Red October, The 13th Warrior

Fourth Story (Ivan Passer, 1990)

Born to Ride (Graham Baker, 1991)

Empire City (Mark Rosner, 1991)

The Last of the Mohicans (Michael Mann, 1992) L.A. Takedown

Molly and Gina (Paul Leder, 1993)

Body Shot (Dmitri Logothetis, 1993)

Posse (Mario Van Peebles, 1993) Gang in Blue

The Pelican Brief (Alan J. Pakula, 1993)

A Clear and Present Danger (Philip Noyce, 1994)

Speed (Jan DeBont, 1994)

Chameleon (Michael Pavone, 1995)

Fair Game (Andrew Sipes, 1995)

Bullet to Beijing (George Mihalka, 1995)

Tornado! (Noel Nosseck, 1996)

Air Force One (Wolfgang Petersen, 1997)

The Peacemaker (Mimi Leder, 1997)

Red Corner (Jon Avnet, 1997) Fried Green Tomatoes

Psycho (Gus Van Sant, 1998)

The Skulls (Rob Cohen, 2000) The Rat Pack, The Fast and the Furious

Spy Kids (Robert Rodriguez, 2001)

The Elite (Terry Cunningham, 2001)

Daredevil (Mark Steven Johnson, 2003)

Torque (Joseph Kahn, 2004)

Assault on Precinct 13 (Jean-François Richet, 2005)

The Legend of Zorro (Martin Campbell, 2005) Green Lantern

The Illusionist (Neal Burger, 2006)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Anthony and Joe Russo, 2014)

Drama

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (Fiedler Cook, 1979)

Three Women (Robert Altman, 1977) MASH, Nashville, Gosford Park, Tanner on Tanner

The Moderns (Alan Rudolph, 1988)

Oxford Blues (Robert Boris, 1984)

A Room With a View (James Ivory, 1985) The Europeans, Heat and Dust, Maurice, Jefferson in Paris, A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries, The Golden Bowl, The White Countess

Mr. North (Danny Huston, 1988) The Dead

Don't Cry, Its Only Thunder (Peter Werner, 1982) No Man's Land

Tex (Tim Hunter, 1982)

Places in the Heart (Robert Benton, 1984)

An Early Frost (John Erman, 1985)

Parting Glances (Bill Sherwood, 1986)

Slam Dance (Wayne Wang, 1987) Chan Is Missing, Smoke, Blue in the Face, Maid in Manhattan, Because of Winn-Dixie

Stand and Deliver (Ramon Menendez, 1987)

The Accidental Tourist (Lawrence Kasdan 1988) Silverado

Dream Breakers (Stuart Millar, 1989) When the Legends Die

Platoon (Oliver Stone, 1986) Born on the Fourth of July, The Doors

Gaby (Luis Mandoki, 1987) Born Yesterday

Chameleon Street (Wendell B. Harris Jr., 1989)

Metropolitan (Whit Stillman, 1990)

Boyz n the Hood (John Singleton, 1991)

Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash, 1991) The Rosa Parks Story

Separate But Equal (George Stevens, Jr., 1991) George Stevens: From D-Day to Berlin

Zebrahead (Anthony Drazan, 1992)

Swing Kids (Thomas Carter, 1993)

Foreign Student (Eva Sereny, 1994)

A Walk in the Clouds (Alfonso Arau, 1995)

Living in Oblivion (Tom Di Cillo, 1995). Everything possible goes wrong on the set of an ultra-cheap, low budget art film in this dark comedy.

Ghosts of Mississippi (Rob Reiner, 1996) A Few Good Men, The American President, Alex and Emma

Amistad (Steven Spielberg, 1997) Catch Me If You Can

Dangerous Beauty (Marshall Herskovitz, 1997)

Kundun (Martin Scorsese, 1997)

Cousin Bette (Des McAnuff, 1997)

Great Expectations (Alfonso Cuarón, 1998)

Gods and Monsters (Bill Condon, 1998) Kinsey. See also: Musicals.

New Rose Hotel (Abel Ferrara, 1998)

The Winslow Boy (David Mamet, 1999)

Boys Don't Cry (Kimberly Peirce, 1999)

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (Jim Jarmusch, 1999) Mystery Train; Night On Earth; Coffee and Cigarettes; Broken Flowers; Paterson

Before Night Falls (Julian Schnabel, 2000)

The Color of Friendship (Kevin Hooks, 2000)

Joe and Max (Steve James, 2002)

Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, 2002)

Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property (Charles Burnett, 2003) Nightjohn; Selma, Lord, Selma

All the Ships at Sea (Dan Sallitt, 2004)

Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius (Rowdy Herrington, 2004)

The Dying Gaul (Craig Lucas, 2005)

Good Night, and Good Luck (George Clooney, 2005)

Ocean of Pearls (Sarab Neelam, 2008)

Class (David S. Cass, 2010)

The Help (Tate Taylor, 2011)

Second Chances (Ernie Barbarash, 2013)

The Normal Heart (Ryan Murphy, 2014)

Debbie Macomber's Dashing Through the Snow (Kristoffer Tabori, 2015)

The Big Short (Adam McKay, 2015)

Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015)

Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi, 2016)

Teen Films

Corvette Summer (Matthew Robbins, 1978) The Legend of Billie Jean

Porky's (Bob Clark, 1981) Porky's II

Valley Girl (Martha Coolidge, 1983) Real Genius, pilot for Sledge Hammer, The Prince and Me

Tuff Turf (Fritz Kiersch, 1985) Into The Sun

The Heavenly Kid (Cary Medoway, 1985)

Just One of The Guys (Lisa Gottlieb, 1985)

Vision Quest (Harold Becker, 1985) Malice

Modern Girls (Jerry Kramer, 1986)

Pretty in Pink (Howard Deutch, 1986)

Student Exchange (Mollie Miller, 1987)

Campus Man (Ron Casden, 1987)

Hairspray (John Waters, 1988) Pink Flamingos, Polyester, Crybaby, Pecker, Cecil B. Demented

Johnny Be Good (Bud Smith, 1988)

Shag (Zelda Barron, 1988)

California Casanova (Nathaniel Christian, 1989)

Catch Me If You Can (Stephen Sommers, 1990)

If Looks Could Kill (William Dear, 1991)

Mystery Date (Jonathan Wacks, 1991)

She's All That (Robert Iscove, 1999)

Never Been Kissed (Raja Gosnell, 1999)

The Prince and the Surfer (Gregory Gieras, Arye Gross, 1999)

Chasing Liberty (Andy Cadiff, 2004)

Experimental Films

Le Retour à la raison (Man Ray, 1923) Emak-Bakia, L'étoile de mer, Les Mystères du Château du Dé

Ballet méchanique (Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy, 1924) Murphy made some good Hollywood films: The Night Is Young.

The Love of Zero (Robert Florey, William Cameron Menzies, 1927)

The Life and Death of 9413: A Hollywood Extra (Robert Florey, Slavko Vorkapich, 1928)

The Fall of the House of Usher (Melville Webber, James Sibley Watson, 1928) Lot in Sodom

Autumn Fire (Herman G. Weinberg, 1931)

Le Mort du cerf (Dimitri Kirsanoff, 1951)

Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren, 1943) At Land, A Study in Choreography for Camera

In the Street (Helen Levitt, Helen Loeb, James Agee, 1944)

Visual Variations on Noguchi (Marie Menken, 1945) Glimpse of the Garden

The Potted Psalm (Sidney Peterson, James Broughton, 1946) The Lead Shoes (Peterson, 1949)

House of Cards (Joseph Vogel, 1947)

Fireworks (Kenneth Anger, 1947) Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, Eaux d'Artifice, Scorpio Rising, Kustom Kar Kommandos

Christmas, USA (Gregory Markopoulos, 1949) Twice a Man

The Uncomfortable Man (Kent Munson, Theodore Huff, 1948)

Image in the Snow (Willard Maas, 1952)

The Wonder Ring (Stan Brakhage, 1955) Desistfilm, Cat's Cradle, Window Water Baby Moving, Dog Star Man, Eye Myth, Deus Ex, The Wold Shadow, The Riddle of Lumen, Commingled Containers. See also "Abstract Films" for Brakhage's work in that category.

Recreation I (Robert Breer, 1957) A Man and His Dog Out for Air, Blazes

Orchard Street (Ken Jacobs, 1956)

The Flower Thief (Ron Rice, 1960) Chumlum

George Dumpson's Place (Ed Emshwiller, 1961 - 1963)

Flaming Creatures (Jack Smith, 1963) Scotch Tape

Sins of the Fleshapoids (Mike Kuchar, 1965) The Secret of Wendel Samson; The Craven Sluck

Snowblind (Hollis Frampton, 1968)

OffOn (Scott Bartlett, 1968)

S:tream:S S:ection S:ection:S S:ectioned (Paul J. Sharits, 1968 - 1970)

Our Lady of the Sphere (Larry Jordan, 1969)

Bleu Shut (Robert Nelson, 1970) Oh Dem Watermelons, The Awful Backlash

Quick Billy (Bruce Baillie, 1971) Here I Am, Castro Street, All My Life

Necrology (Standish Lawder, 1971)

Battery Film (Franklin Backus, Richard Protovin, 1985)

Turner (M. M. Serra, 1987)

Scenes From the Life of Andy Warhol (Jonas Mekas, 1990) Notes on the Circus

Intestinal Fortitude (Colin Barton, 1991)

Lost Book Found (Jem Cohen, 1996) Amber City, Museum Hours

Raw Images from the Optic Cross (Karl Nussbaum, 1998)

Big Monday (Michael T. Rehfield, 1998) Remarkable feature film, shot in one long take, as characters move through streets and buildings of Manhattan. Times Square by 50

In the Mirror of Maya Deren (Martina Kudlacek, 2002)

Der Klang des Meeres (Wolfgang Lehmann, Telemach Wiesinger, 2004)

Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Film (Pip Chodorov, 2012)

Abstract Films

Rhythmus 21 (Hans Richter, 1921) Vormittagsspuk / Ghosts Before Breakfast

Symphonie Diagonale (Viking Eggeling, 1924)

Light Rhythms (Francis Bruguière, Oswell Blakeston, 1930)

Ein Lichtspiel: Schwarz-Weiss-Grau (László Moholy-Nagy, 1930) Unused special effects for Things to Come. See also the Architecture Documentaries section.

A Colour Box (Len Lye, 1935) Rainbow Dance, Trade Tattoo, Colour Flight, Swinging the Lambeth Walk, Free Radicals

Tarantella (Mary Ellen Bute, 1940)

Composition 1 (Themis) (Dwinell Grant, 1940) Contrathemis

An American March (Oskar Fischinger, 1941) Circles, Komposition in Blau / Composition in Blue, Allegretto / Radio Dynamics, Motion Painting No. 1

1941 (Francis Lee, 1941)

Early Abstractions (Harry Smith, 1946-1957)

Begone Dull Care (Norman McLaren, Evelyn Lambart, 1949)

Come Closer (Hy Hirsch, 1952)

Catalog (John Whitney, 1961) Celery Stalks at Midnight, Permutations, Arabesque

Lapis (James Whitney, 1963-1966) Yantra

Samadhi (Jordan Belson, 1967) Allures, Light, Fountain of Dreams, Epilogue. Belson also made special effects for The Right Stuff.

Peyote Queen (Storm De Hirsch, 1965)

Midweekend (Caroline Avery, 1985)

Untitled (For Marilyn) (Stan Brakhage, 1992) Night Music, The Dante Quartet, Rage Net, Glaze of Cathexis, Stellar, Study in Color and Black and White, From: First Hymn to the Night - Novalis, The Dark Tower, Water for Maya, Lovesong

Zwerk (Bart Vegter, 2004)

Civil Rights and Equality: Documentaries

See also my lists: On to Washington (no director credited, 1913) Video.

We Work Again (no director credited, 1937)

A Time for Burning (William C. Jersey, 1967)

The Times of Harvey Milk (Robert Epstein, 1984) Howl

Before Stonewall (Robert Rosenberg, John Scagliotti, Greta Schiller, 1984)

Eyes on the Prize (Henry Hampton, 1987, 1990)

Paris Is Burning (Jennie Livingston, 1990)

The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (Aviva Kempner, 2000)

Daddy and Papa (Johnny Symons, 2002)

February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four (Rebecca Cerese, Daniel Blake Smith, 2003)

Paper Clips (Elliot Berlin, Joe Fab, 2004)

I Like Mike: Jay Spears (Matthew Herrier, 2004) Video.

For the Bible Tells Me So (Daniel G. Karslake, 2007)

Out in the Silence (Joe Wilson, Dean Hamer, 2009)

Freedom Riders (Stanley Nelson, 2011) Freedom Summer

First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Liberty (Lee Groberg, 2012)

An American Mosque (David Washburn, 2012)

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (Henry Louis Gates Jr, Sabin Streeter, Jamila Wignot, Phil Bertelsen, Leslie Asako Gladsjo, 2013)

Spies of Mississippi (Dawn Porter, 2014)

The Caged Bird: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price (James Greeson, 2015)

Children of Giant (Hector Galán, 2015)

PBS NewsHour:

Labor, Poverty and Inequality: Documentaries

Electric Edwardians (Sagar Mitchell, James Kenyon, 1901-1906) Compilation of short films from the North of England.

Mardi Gras: Made in China (David Redmon, 2005)

Triangle Fire (Jamila Wignot, 2011)

Triangle: Remembering the Fire (Daphne Pinkerson, 2011)

Poor Kids (Jezza Neumann, 2012)

Bill Moyers Essay: The United States of Inequality (Julia Conley, Lauren Feeney, Cameron Hickey, 2013)

The Graduates/Los Graduados (Bernardo Ruiz, Pamela Aguilar, Katia Maguire, 2013)

America by the Numbers: Pass or Fail in Cambodia Town (Leslie Asako Gladsjo, 2014)

America by the Numbers: Surviving Year One (Billy Shebar, Charlotte Mangin, 2014)

Yoopera! (Suzanne Jurva, Erin Smith, 2014)

The Rule (Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno, Jerome Bongiorno, 2015)

The Raising of America: The Signature Hour (Christine Herbes-Sommers, 2015)

A Hug From Paul Ryan (Don Argott, Sheena M. Joyce, 2016)

PBS NewsHour:

Cooperatives

Please also see my list of Cooperatives and Worker-owned Businesses in mystery fiction and science fiction.

Shift Change (Melissa Young, Mark Dworkin, 2012) About cooperatives and worker-owned businesses. Video Excerpt.

PBS NewsHour:

Art Documentaries

How the Cowboy Makes His Lariat (no director credited, 1917)

The Tribal Eye (David Attenborough, 1976) See also nature films.

Dale Chihuly: Glass Master (Vicki Dunakin, 1987)

Jasper Johns: Ideas in Paint (Rick Tejada-Flores, 1989)

901: After 45 Years of Working (Eames Demetrios, 1990) About the Office (design studio) of Charles and Ray Eames.

Isamu Noguchi: Stones and Paper (Hiro Narita, 1997)

American Visions (John Bush, Julia Cave, James Kent, Christopher Spencer, David Wilcock, 1997)

The Impressionists (Bruce Alfred, 2001) Biographical film about the French Impressionist painters.

Herb Alpert: Music for Your Eyes (Tom Neff, 2002) A look at musician Herb Alpert's abstract paintings and sculptures.

Frazetta: Painting with Fire (Lance Laspina, 2003) Portrait of the artist Frank Frazetta.

The Saffron Gates (Philip Schopper, 2005)

The Rape of Europa (Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen, Nichole Newnham, 2006)

Virginia Lee Burton: A Sense of Place (Christine Lundberg, Rawn Fulton, 2007)

This Is US: Scott Weaver (John Gregg, 2010)

Herblock: The Black & The White (Michael Stevens, 2013)

Humble Beauty: Skid Row Artists (Letitia Popa Schwartz, Judith Vogelsang, 2013)

Texas Southern University Murals ( 2013)

Detroit Performs: Pete Coe (Jim Graessle, 2014)

Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning (Dyanna Taylor, 2014)

What Was Ours (Mat Hames, 2016)

PBS NewsHour:

Fashion Documentaries

Unzipped (Douglas Keeve, 1995)

Jack Taylor of Beverly Hills (Cecile Leroy Beaulieu, 2007)

Iris (Albert Maysles, 2014)

Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning: Documentaries

Deschutes Driftwood (Robert C. Bruce, 1916)

Lake Tahoe, Land of the Sky (no director credited, 1916)

Manhatta (Paul Strand, Charles Sheeler, 1921)

Hollywood the Unusual (William Taylor, circa 1927) The zany, exotic architecture of Los Angeles.

The New Architecture and the London Zoo (László Moholy-Nagy, 1936). See also the Abstract Films section.

Antonio Gaudi (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1985) Documentary about the Barcelona architect.

Frank Lloyd Wright (Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, 1998)

Los Angeles Plays Itself (Thom Andersen, 2003) In depth look at how Los Angeles and its architecture is portrayed in movies.

Loos Ornamental (Heinz Emigholz, 2008) About architect Adolf Loos.

The Olmsted Legacy: America's Urban Parks (Rebecca Messner, 2011)

The Grove (Andy Abrahams Wilson, 2011) About the National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco.

10 Buildings That Changed America (Dan Protess, 2013) 10 That Changed America (2016).

Elevated Thinking: The High Line in New York City (Marc Doyle, Chesney Blankenstein Doyle, 2014)

Time Scanners: Machu Picchu (Tom Stubberfield, 2014)

Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future (Peter Rosen, 2016)

PBS NewsHour:

Travel and City Symphonies: Documentaries

Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge (Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince, 1888) Roundhay Garden Scene

Lumière Brothers' First Films (Louis Lumière, 1895 - 1897) Compilation of 85 of the Brothers' best short films, each 50 seconds long.

Rien que les heures (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1926)

The Man With a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1928) Stride, Soviet!

Hong Kong: "The Hub of the Orient" (James A. FitzPatrick, 1937) Stockholm: Pride of Sweden, Ancient Egypt, Paris on Parade, Cairo, City of Contrast; Glimpses of Argentina, Historic Maryland, West Point on the Hudson, Colorful North Carolina, A Day in Death Valley, Where Time Stands Still, Merida and Campeche, Around the World in California, Glimpses of New Scotland, Night Life in Chicago, Calling on Michigan, Playlands of Michigan, Quebec in Summertime, Mighty Manhattan, New York's Wonder City, Life on the Thames, Egypt Speaks, In the Valley of the Rhine. FitzPatrick did many short travelogues, often in brilliant color.

Film History

1925 Studio Tour (Unknown director, 1925) A look at the MGM Studio

Okay for Sound (Unknown director, 1946)

Before the Nickelodeon: The Cinema of Edwin S. Porter (Charles Musser, 1982)

Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood (Kevin Brownlow, David Gill, 1996)

James Dean: Forever Young (Michael J. Sheridan, 2005)

Ernst Lubitsch in Berlin (Robert Fischer, 2006)

Silent Britain (David Thompson, 2006)

House of Harrington (Tyler Hubby, Jeffrey Schwarz, 2008) About the great filmmaker Curtis Harrington.

PBS NewsHour:

Nature Documentaries

Miss Goodall and the Wild Chimpanzees (Marshall Flaum, 1965)

The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau: The Night of the Squid (1970), Octopus, Octopus (1971), The Incredible March of the Spiny Lobsters (1976).

Otto, Zoo Gorilla (Dugan Rosalini, 1977)

Life on Earth (David Attenborough, 1979)

Fungi: The Rotten World About Us (Barry Paine, 1980) Remarkable look at fungi and mushrooms, made for Oxford Scientific Films.

The Nature of Things: Island of the Moon (Rudolf Kovanic, Nancy Archibald, 1981) Madagascar and its animals, including giant lemurs like the Indri.

The Nature of Things: Professor Bonner and the Slime Molds (John Bonner, 1987)

Out in Nature: Homosexual Behavior in the Animal Kingdom (Stéphane Alexandresco, Bertrand Loyer, Jessica Menendez, 2001)

Creatures of Light (Chad Cohen, 2016)

Lemurs:

PBS NewsHour:

Climate, Weather and Environment Documentaries

The Plow That Broke the Plains (Pare Lorentz, 1936) The River

An Inconvenient Truth (Davis Guggenheim, 2006) Global Warming

Who Killed the Electric Car? (Chris Paine, 2006)

When Weather Changed History: Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 (Karl Gustave, 2008)

Deadliest Space Weather: Mars (Gabriel Rotello, 2013)

Deadliest Space Weather: Fastest Winds in the Solar System (Darryl Rehr, 2013) (About winds on Neptune.)

America's First Forest: Carl Schenck and the Asheville Experiment (Paul Bonesteel, 2015)

PBS NewsHour:

PBS NewsHour on Forest Fires:

Food Production and Waste

Sunshine Gatherers (George E. Stone, 1921)

PBS NewsHour:

PBS NewsHour on Food Waste:

Science Documentaries

Interior New York Subway, 14th Street to 42nd Street (G.W. Bitzer, 1905) Dazzlingly photographed short film, showing a ride on the newly completed subway. A highly unusual optical experience, often more like a film abstraction than a representational movie. The series Westinghouse Works (1904) contains some episodes with an overhead traveling shot through what was reportedly the world's largest factory. These include episodes "Panoramic View Aisle B." (my favorite), "Panorama of Machine Co. Aisle", "Panorama View Street Car Motor Room". Bitzer's documentaries are among the most important early films. Impossible Convicts (1905). From Leadville to Aspen (1906) traveling shots from a country train.

H2O (Ralph Steiner, 1929) Mechanical Principles, The City

Auto-Lite on Parade (J. Cullen Landis, 1940) Visually spectacular look at manufacturing machinery, followed by a delightful animated parade of parts.

Give Us the Earth! (Gunther von Fritsch, 1947) This Is the Bowery

Doroga k Zvezdam / Road to the Stars (Pavel Klushantsev, 1957) Pioneer documentary on space travel.

Powers of Ten (Charles and Ray Eames, 1968) Blacktop, The Expanding Airport, Toccata for Toy Trains, IBM at the Fair, Tops (two films, 1957, 1969), The Black Ships, SX-70, Atlas. Also book: A Computer Perspective.

Turbo-Encabulator (Bud Haggart, Dave Rondot, 1977)

Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey (Steven M. Martin, 1993) A look at the great inventor and electronic music pioneer.

Julia Robinson and Hilbert's Tenth Problem (George Paul Csicsery, 2008) Video Excerpt.

Aurora - Fackeln am Firmament / Aurora - Fire in the Sky (Ivo Filatsch, 2012)

Making Stuff Faster (Michael Bicks, Vincent Liota, Anna Lee Strachan, 2013) Video.

Making Stuff Wilder (Daniel McCabe, 2013) (Innovative robots that imitate nature.) Search for the Super Battery (2017).

The Great Math Mystery (Daniel McCabe, Richard Reisz, 2015)

Women in Chemistry: Lessons from Life and the Laboratory (Glenn Holsten, 2013) Fascinating look at eight women chemists.

Divine Discontent: Charles Proteus Steinmetz (Paul Frederick, Bruce Carlin, 2014)

Invisible Universe Revealed (Peter Yost, 2015) About the Hubble telescope.

PBS NewsHour:

Information, Libraries, Preserving Knowledge and Education: Documentaries

Toute la mémoire du monde (Alain Resnais, 1956)

Decade for Decision (Jay Bonafield, 1957) The urban universities of the USA, and the role they play in education, technology and the economy. Fascinating and inspiring.

We Are Still Here (Sterlin Harjo, Matt Leach, 2011) Preserving the Yuchi language. Video.

Schools That Change Communities (Bob Gliner, 2013)

PBS NewsHour:

Religion and Spirituality: Documentaries

The Long Search (Ronald Eyre, 1977)

Say Amen, Somebody (George T. Nierenberg, 1982)

Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 1983) Anima Mundi

Baraka (Ron Fricke, 1992)

The Asian & Abrahamic Religions: A Divine Encounter in America (Gerald Krell, Meyer Odze, Adam Krell, 2010)

Documentaries

Demolishing and Building Up of the Star Theater (Frederick S. Armitage, 1901)

The Police Force of New York City (no director credited, 1910)

Regen / Rain (Joris Ivens, Mannus Franken, 1929) De Brug / The Bridge

An Aimless Walk (Alexander Hammid, 1930)

Listen to Britain (Humphrey Jennings, Stewart McAllister, 1942)

We Never Sleep (Larry O'Reilly, 1956) Fortune Seekers

Primary (Robert Drew, 1960)

God Respects Us When We Work But Loves Us When We Dance (Les Blank, 1968)

Talking to Americans (Geoff D'Eon, 2001)

Être et avoir / To Be and To Have (Nicholas Philibert, 2002)

Hard Corps (David Malver, 2002) A look at drum corps.

Fahrenheit 9/11 (Michael Moore, 2004) Roger & Me

Uncovered: The War on Iraq (Robert Greenwald, 2004) Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers

No End in Sight (Charles Ferguson, 2007)

Ron Howard's Call to Action (Jake Szymanski, 2008)

Hot Coffee (Susan Saladoff, 2011)

The Mysterious Lost State of Franklin (Buck Kahler, 2011)

Som Sabadell (no director credited, 2012)

PBS NewsHour:

PBS NewsHour on NATO: PBS NewsHour on Trade: