Singin' in the Rain, 1952
The Ultimate Musical
It's set in the late 1920s, but Gene Kelly's musical about the shift to sound movies is cutting edge to its happy core, bristling with athletic dancing and a smart, knowing script. Ahead of its time, and timeless.
Bride of Frankenstein, 1935
Horror With a Heart
"The Monster Demands a Mate!" the poster screams, but director James Whale has more than savage titillation in mind. In a miraculous performance that penetrates inches of makeup, Boris Karloff's lonely, doomed monster draws not only shrieks of horror, but also tears of compassion.
Lethal Weapon, 1987
Action to the Extreme
As the suicidal cop who literally doesn't care whether he lives or dies, Mel Gibson rewrote the Movie Detective Handbook. Later installments were played for laughs, but in one heart-stopping set piece after another, director Richard Donner doesn't let us catch our breath, not for one second.
Citizen Kane, 1940
The Greatest Movie Ever Made
It tops nearly every list out there, so of course you should see it. But — surprise — in eating your cinematic spinach you'll discover a funny, tragic-yet-triumphant study of a man who tried to buy love and respect, and ended up with the opposite of each, whatever that is.