40. Atlantic City (1981) Directed by Louis Malle, written by the playwright John Guare, and starring Burt Lancaster in his last great part, this about aging gangsters and their molls. “You shoulda seen the Atlantic Ocean in my day, kid,” Lancaster muses. Also features Susan Sarandon, Malle's then-wife, who does memorable things with lemons in this picture.
39. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) Newman and Redford in a William Goldman script, with the lovely Katharine Ross as the teacher they both love. One of the first antihero Westerns, as our protagonists are not only the bad guys, likable as they are, but they run away from a fight – all the way to Latin America. We like em anyway, setting up an inevitable (and moving) conclusion. Redford became a star and the rest is history...
38. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) Much more effective, in my opinion, than the McCarthy-era original, and incredibly tense. A masterpiece of paranoia, directed by Philip Kauffman, featuring Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams, as well as excellent support from Leonard Nimoy (brilliantly cast) and a young Jeff Goldblum. Famously horrific ending.
37. Habla con Ella (2002) Pedro Almodovar’s films take points of view previously unseen or marginalized in cinema and brings them to the forefront. So it is with this film, which ends up being an oddball love story, difficult to describe.
36. The Third Man (1943) A noir classic featuring Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles again, with direction from Carol Reed. Despite not appearing in at least the first two reels, Welles dominates the proceedings.
35. Double Indemnity (1944) The only film I know of in which an insurance investigator is the hero, in the unlikely form of Edward G. Robinson. Billy Wilder cast Fred MacMurray as the bad guy – to great effect – and relied upon the great Barbara Stanwyck as the very definition of femme fatale. Hugely entertaining, with a classic final line. A must.
34. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1979) Richard Dreyfus gets his hands dirty, Francois Truffaut plays an amazingly humane scientist, and Steven Spielberg indulges his blonde girl fantasy. Dazzling, perfectly crafted picture, which also has some conspiratorial juice within.
33. Blowup (1968) As a metaphor for the aftermath of the JFK assassination, Antonioni’s depiction of a fashion photographer (played by David Hemmings) who may have witnessed a murder stayed faithful to the theme, if not the incident, of Jorge Cortazar’s short story.
32. His Girl Friday (1940) In my opinion, much better than Bringing Up Baby, this fast-talking farce still works brilliantly today. Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, and an actor that looks a lot like Ralph Bellamy are a triangle for the ages, as this story has lost none of its steam over the decades. Hilarious, pointed, and clockwork in its effectiveness, this is one of Hawks’s best films.
31. JFK (1991) People like to criticize some of the things Oliver Stone got wrong in this picture, as inevitably some of the details are not quite right. They are all minor and relatively unimportant compared to what he did get absolutely dead on. The dense material is handled brilliantly in Stone’s montage style, and the cast could not be more spectacular. Kevin Costner has a weight (Stone invoked Gary Cooper, and that is exactly right) that carries a controversial narrative to its startling confusion. A great film.
This is Joe Green's blog.