The Friends of Eddie Coyle
This is a superb and uncompromising adaptation of George V. Higgins’s bleak masterpiece of low-level criminality—and possibly Robert Mitchum’s finest performance.
Eyes Without a Face
Georges Franju’s eerie, face-transplant melodrama has stuck in my memory since the first time I saw it as a freaked-out kid on late-night TV.
The Battle of Algiers
The film that politicized me overnight. It’s riveting, multidimensional agitprop with a compelling documentary feel—still relevant and still the best of its kind.
Kiss Me Deadly
Easily the ugliest, greasiest, darkest, and most influential noir of its day. Love it.
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
Nagisa Oshima will probably be remembered best for his groundbreaking and beautiful hardcore film In the Realm of the Senses, but this is a wonderful one. Breathtakingly shot, with a fantastic, memorable score, and great performances by David Bowie, Tom Conti, and “Beat” Takeshi Kitano.
Withnail and I
One of the funniest goddamn films ever made—with an amazing performance by the brilliant Richard E. Grant.
Army of Shadows
A hard, unflinching look at what it was like to resist during wartime France. Personally, I prefer Bob le flambeur, but any Melville is good Melville. And this is very, very good.
House of Games
Mamet’s best film. Joe Mantegna’s best film. A suspense film about the big con. With a tight, delightfully convoluted script, great dialogue—and Ricky Jay!
It’s simply one of the best films ever made—and it perfectly conveys everything you need to know about film. The scene of the convicts watching cartoons is a timeless, classic, and life-enriching moment.
William Friedkin’s Top 10
“I discovered Criterion in the late eighties with the laserdisc of Citizen Kane, which I still watch,” writes director William Friedkin, whose films include The French Connection, The Exorcist, Sorcerer, and 2011’s Killer Joe.
Richard Ayoade’s Top 10
The British comedian, actor, writer, and director Richard Ayoade is best known for his starring role on the UK television series The IT Crowd and his successful directorial debut Submarine, which was released in the U.S. in 2011.