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1. Naked (1993)

16 | 132 min | Comedy, Drama

84 Metascore

Parallel tales of two sexually obsessed men, one hurting and annoying women physically and mentally, one wandering around the city talking to strangers and experiencing dimensions of life.

Director: Mike Leigh | Stars: David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge, Greg Cruttwell

Votes: 29,086 | Gross: $1.77M

Naked represented a shift in Mike Leigh's work away from piercing studies of domestic mundanities into something far more edgier. David Thewlis is Johnny, an over-educated, unemployed drifter who comes to London fleeing the family of a woman he sexually assaulted in Manchester. He stays with an ex-girlfriend, sleeps with her roommate and generally expounds his caustic worldviews to anyone who listens. Naked sees Leigh getting to grips not only with a different subculture – underground London – but also with moviemaking, Dick Pope's cinematography full of tracking shots and interesting lighting strategies that felt new in Leigh's work. What doesn't surprise is the strength in depth of the performances: Thewlis is terrific as Johnny - bitter, articulate, deeply unpleasant, always compelling. If you've only ever seen him in Harry Potter, rectify this now.

2. Heathers (1988)

103 min | Comedy

72 Metascore

In order to get out of the snobby clique that is destroying her good-girl reputation, an intelligent teen teams up with a dark sociopath in a plot to kill the cool kids.

Director: Michael Lehmann | Stars: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk

Votes: 75,036 | Gross: $1.11M

3. Ed Wood (1994)

MG6 | 127 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

70 Metascore

Ambitious but troubled movie director Edward D. Wood Jr. tries his best to fulfill his dreams, despite his lack of talent.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette

Votes: 154,995 | Gross: $5.89M

4. In the Bedroom (2001)

16 | 130 min | Crime, Drama

86 Metascore

A New England couple's college-aged son dates an older woman who has two small children and an unwelcome ex-husband.

Director: Todd Field | Stars: Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek, Nick Stahl, Marisa Tomei

Votes: 34,947 | Gross: $35.93M

5. 3 Women (1977)

124 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

71 Metascore

Two roommates/physical therapists, one a vain woman and the other a mysterious teenager, share a bizarre relationship.

Director: Robert Altman | Stars: Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Janice Rule, Robert Fortier

Votes: 11,711

6. The Evil Dead (1981)

16 | 85 min | Horror

71 Metascore

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Betsy Baker

Votes: 165,485 | Gross: $2.40M

7. Pâfekuto burû (1997)

R | 81 min | Animation, Horror, Mystery

A retired pop singer turned actress' sense of reality is shaken when she is stalked by an obsessed fan and seemingly a ghost of her past.

Director: Satoshi Kon | Stars: Junko Iwao, Rica Matsumoto, Shinpachi Tsuji, Masaaki Ôkura

Votes: 40,791 | Gross: $0.44M

8. Black Narcissus (1947)

18 | 101 min | Drama

After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: Deborah Kerr, David Farrar, Flora Robson, Jenny Laird

Votes: 18,540

The Archers' critically-acclaimed gothic melodrama sees Deborah Kerr play Sister Clodagh, a young nun sent with four other sisters to establish a convent in an abandoned Himalayan palace. At this point, things start to go wrong. Very wrong. Like, nun-going-crazy-with-jealousy-and-putting-on-unnunly-amounts-of-eyeliner wrong. Essentially a psychological drama, Black Narcissus's emotional resonance in a nun-deprived modern world may be somewhat lessened, but there's no denying its influence amongst modern directors. Scorsese, for one, cites it as one of his favorite films. Then there's the striking cinematography from Jack Cardiff, a true great of British cinema. The gleaming photography is especially astonishing when you consider that, despite being set in Darjeeling, the film was almost entirely shot at Pinewood Studios. It's no wonder then that Cardiff and art director Alfred Junge both won Oscars for their work. It remains one of the finest Technicolor productions of all time.

9. White Heat (1949)

114 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A psychopathic criminal with a mother complex makes a daring break from prison and leads his old gang in a chemical plant payroll heist. Shortly after the plan takes place, events take a crazy turn.

Director: Raoul Walsh | Stars: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien, Margaret Wycherly

Votes: 23,847

10. Wait Until Dark (1967)

12 | 108 min | Horror, Thriller

81 Metascore

A recently blinded woman is terrorized by a trio of thugs while they search for a heroin-stuffed doll they believe is in her apartment.

Director: Terence Young | Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna, Efrem Zimbalist Jr.

Votes: 24,239 | Gross: $17.55M

Horror directors entered an epic game of one-ups-manship in the 60's, and horror lovers reaped the rewards; Alfred Hitchcock personally purchased and destroyed as many copies of the Psycho novel to hide the twist, William Castle literally electrified his audience in The Tingler, and here, Terrance Young had theaters showing Wait Until Dark dim their lights to the lowest legal limit to heighten claustrophobia. Bond director Terrance Young's adaptation of Frederick Knott's play about three men who terrorize a blind woman who may or may not have a doll stuffed with cocaine (not a euphemism) had only one noteworthy change from stage-to-screen. He set it in a basement. Add Alan Arkin in a role that brilliantly blends evil and camp, the gall to put Audrey Hepburn in distress, turned the lights down so low you can barely see what's happening, up the claustrophobia factor to an 11, and you have tension so unnerving you can scarcely breathe. Think it sounds more like suspense than horror? The most famous jump-scare in cinema history would beg to differ.

11. Life of Brian (1979)

12 | 94 min | Comedy

75 Metascore

Born on the original Christmas in the stable next door to Jesus, Brian of Nazareth spends his life being mistaken for a messiah.

Director: Terry Jones | Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam

Votes: 324,173 | Gross: $20.05M

Most of us know by now the origins of Python's second proper movie - at a press conference, Eric Idle laughingly suggested that their next project would be "Jesus Christ: Lust For Glory". What they eventually came up with was much better – an unrivaled satire on religion, and quite possibly the funniest movie ever made. Trouble was, no-one in the film business had the balls to make it. From its opening sequence it's evident that this is going to be Python of the highest standard, but it's the cohesion of the story that makes this all work so well. In sending up not Christ but all of the petty, political, opportunist zealots around him, the troupe had finally found in their subject an idea ripe for ridicule large enough to accommodate their rapid gag rate and breadth of style. Of course Brian isn't the Messiah, but you try telling them - and the financiers – that. And the rest is history. The creation of Handmade Films. Uproar. Outrage. Censorship. Genius.

12. Spartacus (1960)

197 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

87 Metascore

The slave Spartacus leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton

Votes: 110,752 | Gross: $30.00M

The epic battle sequences are nothing compared to the battles fought behind the scenes of Spartacus. Stanley Kubrick was brought on as director after Kirk Douglas had a major falling out with the original director, only for Kubrick and Douglas to have an equally tumultuous work experience. Add in a screenplay written by Dalton Trumbo whom was blacklisted by Hollywood for suspected "leftist sympathies," and it's a wonder this film was made at all, let alone a revered classic. Kubrick was not given control of the script, meaning some of his signature "Kubrickiness" isn't there, but the remarkable modern violence and understated style prevents Spartacus from falling into the usual self-important period drama clichés, and mixes comedy and tragedy into something thrilling and heart-wrenching all at once. Every element of Spartacus, from Dalton Trumbo’s script to Alex North’s score, Kubrick’s direction, and a stellar cast that included Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, and Peter Ustinov was assembled with top-shelf ingredients. At over three hours, this tale of a Roman slave rebellion is a certified good old-fashioned Hollywood epic, and it includes one of modern film’s most oft-quoted scenes to boot

13. Lola rennt (1998)

16 | 81 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

77 Metascore

After a botched money delivery, Lola has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks.

Director: Tom Tykwer | Stars: Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup, Nina Petri

Votes: 176,352 | Gross: $7.27M

"Every second of every day you're faced with a decision that can change your life." Lame copy aside, the idea that Germany couldn't make a decent action film is robustly disproved Run Lola Run, the most deliriously paced film on this list, possibly ever. On the face of it, it's a very simple premise: one woman called Lola must find 100,000 DM in 20 minutes to save the life of her absent-minded, drug-dealing boyfriend who's left that sum on the subway and whose boss is about to rock up to collect. Combining a lo-fi aesthetic with Hollywood-worthy thrills, Tom Twyker created an extended short, repeated three times as Lola tries again and again to get it right. With an average shot length of 2.7 seconds, it's as fast-paced as you'd expect, full of likable characters, and perfectly balances arthouse sensibilities with multiplex action to create one of the most enjoyable movies ever to come from Germany. Such is the frenetic pacing of the camera and script, it's perhaps best to watch the English dubbed version to prevent eye strain...

14. Secrets and Lies (1996)

AL | 136 min | Drama

91 Metascore

A successful black woman discovers that her birth mother is a underprivileged white woman, but the woman denies it. As emotions run high, everyone's secrets are exposed.

Director: Mike Leigh | Stars: Timothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn, Phyllis Logan, Claire Rushbrook

Votes: 32,922 | Gross: $13.42M

Like many of Mike Leigh's films, Secrets And Lies was only loosely scripted, with the cast then improvising the rest. The central idea is all Leigh's - in this case, an adopted, middle-class black woman discovers her real mother is white and working class, throwing both their lives into an emotional maelstrom - but for the most part, the lines are the actors' own. That didn't stop the Academy nominating Leigh for Best Screenplay (as well as Best Director and Best Picture, on top of nods for Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Brenda Blethyn) - and nor should it have. Leigh's unorthodox directing technique may not be Hollywood's way doing things, but when the result is as touching and hilarious as Secrets And Lies, it doesn't much matter. Sure, no golden bald men ended up in Leigh's hands, but plenty of BAFTAs did, as well as the Palme d'Or, making it comfortably the biggest critical success of his career.

15. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

16 | 127 min | Horror, Thriller

71 Metascore

Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger, Gaylen Ross

Votes: 101,430 | Gross: $5.10M

Remember the time Dario Argento and George Romero collaborated on the sequel to Night of the Living Dead and made the greatest Zombie movie ever? Picking up almost right where it's predecessor left off, Dawn of the Dead sees four survivors escape their primarily undead town and end up taking shelter in a shopping mall. It's here where the social satire of Romero and the nightmarish atmosphere of Argento comes into play, and makes is clear Dawn of the Dead isn't going to be a typical flesh-tearing outing. Holing up our hero's in a consumer's paradise isn't exactly the most subtle metaphor for American greed, but who has time for subtle when the blue-skinned undead are running amok? Some claimed Romero used too much of the already bloated runtime on the social commentary, but these moments prove so intriguing, that the occasional extreme zombie violence is almost anti-climatic. The subtext again is clear; the zombies are the least of our problems in a world driven by violence and greed.

16. Brick (2005)

16 | 110 min | Action, Crime, Drama

72 Metascore

A teenage loner pushes his way into the underworld of a high school crime ring to investigate the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend.

Director: Rian Johnson | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lukas Haas, Emilie de Ravin, Meagan Good

Votes: 93,433 | Gross: $2.06M

An homage to noir, as well as a middle-finger to over-privileged youth, Brick is an old-school gumshoe noir that takes place in a high school setting, with none of the self-conscious irony that the setup implies. Brick heralded the arrival of writer/director Rian Johnson as a force to be reckoned with, and proved that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was ready to take on serious dramatic roles. After Brandon Frye receives a cryptic phone call from his ex-girlfriend, she disappears, only to be found murdered in a drainpipe. Brendan's relentless investigative efforts send him on a downward spiraling journey of crime-rings, femme-fatales, double-crossings and, yes, murder. With its clever use of light, quick-witted dialogue, great performances, unique camerawork and unquestionable coolness, Brick wringed every last atom out of its mediocre budget and upstaged movies worth four times as much.

17. Suspiria (1977)

98 min | Horror

79 Metascore

An American newcomer to a prestigious German ballet academy comes to realize that the school is a front for something sinister amid a series of grisly murders.

Director: Dario Argento | Stars: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bosé

Votes: 62,783

From Mario Bava to Lucio Fulci, Italy has done a nice line in horror films that are drenched in neon-red gore and covered in lashings of ominous atmosphere, all without making the blindest bit of sense. But it's Dario Argento's bizarre masterpiece, about a young girl stumbling upon a coven of witches, that stands head, shoulders and pointy nose above the rest. It's a nightmarish coloring book at 48 fps, with such stunning visuals, contrasted with such intentional avoidance of common sense that the brain can't make sense of what the eyes are seeing. Truly terrifying, augmented by an unforgettable score by Argento's own band, Goblin, and filled with the sort of insane set-pieces for which Argento is famous, Suspiria has all of his Gothic flamboyance on display in this operatic horror, draping his bodily carnage in the gloss of art

18. Charade (1963)

14 | 113 min | Comedy, Mystery, Romance

Romance and suspense ensue in Paris as a woman is pursued by several men who want a fortune her murdered husband had stolen. Whom can she trust?

Director: Stanley Donen | Stars: Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, James Coburn

Votes: 58,247 | Gross: $13.47M

19. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

12 | 138 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

90 Metascore

Roy Neary, an electric lineman, watches how his quiet and ordinary daily life turns upside down after a close encounter with a UFO.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon

Votes: 163,122 | Gross: $132.09M

Spielberg, fresh of the monumental success of Jaws, took a substantial risk and tackled a supersaturated genre no one took seriously; Science Fiction. By the late 1970s, Hollywood had cranked out so many alien invasion movies that film-goers had started taking it for granted that flying saucers in the sky meant we were all in a lot of trouble. Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind took this notion, turned it on its head, and gave us one of our most enduring all-time sci-fi classics. Written and directed by Spielberg about a man mysteriously drawn to a location after a supernatural encounter, Close Encounters not only celebrated a universally human curiosity for the unknown, but has a brilliant buildup to one of the most iconic third acts in history. In Spielberg's vision, our extraterrestrial guests meant us no harm; they were merely curious, and their presence, rather than being a harbinger of doom, signaled our collective evolution and hinted at our limitless possibilities.

20. Il conformista (1970)

12 | 113 min | Drama

100 Metascore

A weak-willed Italian man becomes a fascist flunky who goes abroad to arrange the assassination of his old teacher, now a political dissident.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci | Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Gastone Moschin, Enzo Tarascio

Votes: 22,347

In retrospect, it’s quite amazing that Spotlight won Best Picture at the Oscars in 2016. There are no extended crying scenes in this film; no grandly-delivered elegies on the cost of war; no carefully-choreographed fight scenes; no explosions. There are certainly no CGI bears. The most dramatic thing that happens is when Mark Ruffalo dashes off to get some documents photocopied. This is a film driven purely by the simplicity of its story – a story of journalists exposing a scandal in the Catholic Church – and a straightforward sense of moral justice. It’s a small, unshowy, angry film, which – like its heroes – just diligently gets on with the job at hand. Spotlight gracefully handles the lurid details of its fact-based story while resisting the temptation to lionize its heroes, resulting in a drama that honors the audience as well as its real-life subjects.

21. Spotlight (I) (2015)

6 | 129 min | Crime, Drama, History

93 Metascore

The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.

Director: Tom McCarthy | Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber

Votes: 345,167 | Gross: $45.06M

22. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

16 | 91 min | Horror

76 Metascore

The monstrous spirit of a slain janitor seeks revenge by invading the dreams of teenagers whose parents were responsible for his untimely death.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, John Saxon

Votes: 179,731 | Gross: $25.50M

There have been, at time of writing, nine entries in the Nightmare On Elm Street series, including a reboot, a crossover, and a sequel rather prematurely titled The Final Nightmare. None quite compare to Wes Craven’s remarkable original. Taut, witty, and nightmarish, Elm Street stands out on the map during a decade hardly short of horror hits, and, in Freddy Krueger, presented the most terrifying boogeyman in a turtleneck. Freddy Krueger was always going to be an iconic villain, although nobody quite realized the extent to which he'd dominate the '80s. He became a stand-up comedian in the sequels, but here, in Wes Craven's original Nightmare, he's much talked about but little seen and Robert Englund makes him properly frightening. Craven doesn't quite nail nightmare-logic in the way David Lynch does, but the first Elm Street still manages some extraordinary imagery: the rubber-wall loom over the bed, the marshmallow stairs, Amanda Wyss smeared across a ceiling. It's the stuff horror legends are made of

23. Mystic River (2003)

16 | 138 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

84 Metascore

The lives of three men who were childhood friends are shattered when one of them has a family tragedy.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Emmy Rossum

Votes: 380,363 | Gross: $90.14M

Tonality has been the weak-link in most of Eastwood's films from this millennium, but with a Hedgeland script based off Lehane source material and a powerful cast, almost by proxy, Eastwood made his most tonal film to date. Albeit an over-looked dark horse amongst his exceptional resume. 2003's Mystic River reunites three estranged childhood friends after the daughter of one is found murdered in a well. Sean Devine investigates the murder of the girl whose father, Jimmy Markum, is not only a local gangster, but one of Devine's closest childhood friends. Complicating matters even further is the nagging suspicion that the crime may have been committed by Dave Boyle, who is also Jimmy's brother-in-law. It comes across as a Days of our Lives take on noir, but few authors can spin literary gold out of pulp as reliably as Lehane, and with Eastwood's flinty direction providing a solid foundation for his stellar cast, Mystic River is a rare thing; a tense, twisty, high-quality, honest-to-goodness mystery.

24. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

104 min | Comedy, Drama

77 Metascore

An ophthalmologist's mistress threatens to reveal their affair to his wife while a married documentary filmmaker is infatuated with another woman.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Martin Landau, Woody Allen, Bill Bernstein, Claire Bloom

Votes: 49,130 | Gross: $18.25M

Our favorite neurotic little elf bounced back from a series of stinkers and picked up a pair of Academy Award nominations for Crimes and Misdemeanors, which found him writing, directing, and starring alongside Martin Landau in a rather pensive drama that interweaves the stories of an adulterous ophthalmologist and a struggling filmmaker for whom love and romance are fraught with difficulty. A long, long way from the early, funny ones, this is the high-water mark of Woody Allen's slightly later, really quite serious phase, tackling all kinds of darkly-tinged themes in a movie that tiptoes close to straight-up thriller terrain. It's Hitchcock meets Woody Allen, with all of Allen's trademarks; once again marrying the dissection of urban Manhattan's inhabitants with an arsenal of lampooning dialogue. Shifting the mood from dark to comedic to social satire with seamless aplomb, Crimes and Misdemeanors is a sophisticated, ambitious, dark meditation on murder and guilt that still manages to be uproariously funny.

25. Amores perros (2000)

16 | 154 min | Drama, Thriller

83 Metascore

A horrific car accident connects three stories, each involving characters dealing with loss, regret, and life's harsh realities, all in the name of love.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu | Stars: Emilio Echevarría, Gael García Bernal, Goya Toledo, Álvaro Guerrero

Votes: 202,667 | Gross: $5.38M

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's debut and his first entry into his so called "Trilogy of Death" (21 Grams and Babel followed) is a brutally commanding, red raw, multi-stranded drama about a horrific car accident that brings together a hobo turned hitman-for-hire, a model whose career is marred by her injuries and a young delinquent who moonlights as a dogfighter so he can save up to run off with his sister-in-law. Death, violence, desperation and Mexico's seedy underbelly is a major theme here, so don't expect any silver-linings. On the surface, Amores Perros is a desolate film that revels in going to war with your comfort zone, and while most of the time the bleakness does threaten to overwhelm the film, under the vileness belies a captivating character study about the domino-effect of our actions that hooks you like an aircraft's arrestor wire. Just don't expect to feel good after watching it. Hence the English translation of the title.

26. The Terminator (1984)

16 | 107 min | Action, Sci-Fi

84 Metascore

A seemingly indestructible android is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Paul Winfield

Votes: 707,776 | Gross: $38.40M

Only John Connor can overcome the monster machines who have nearly exterminated humanity in the future, so the cybernetic baddies send an unstoppable robot back in time to kill his mother before he is born. The Terminator is the great sci-fi-horror-action film, wedding ideas from old Outer Limits episodes and Philip K. Dick stories to the relentless, rollercoaster pacing of Halloween. Arnold Schwarzenegger became a screen icon in this version of his classic role, wiping out discos full of dancers or police stations full of cops in a single-minded search for Sarah Connor and gradually losing human shape to appear as a Stan Winston robo-skeleton. The Terminator hit huge and gave us two '80s icons in one: the larger-than-life Arnold Schwarzenegger, with his catchphrase, his rippling muscles and his extensive, explosive ordnance. And the steely-grinned, red-eyed nightmare from the future, which until the fiery final act lurked beneath that sculpted physique.



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