54. The Wild Bunch (1969)
There’s never really been another director quite like Sam Peckinpah. He was the precursor to men like John Woo and Michael Bay, but what those two lack in subtlety (especially in Bay’s case) Peckinpah more than made up for in spades. He could direct a thriller, action, or western film like nobody else, but in-between those intense set pieces, during the down time, is where he would work his magic. Despite suffering horribly from alcoholism (or perhaps, because of) Peckinpah was able to find those moments for his characters where their true humanity shone through and brought this to the audience’s attention. He knew what it was like to be an insufferable man who just wants to do good. And by the time he died, he left behind him a catalogue of films that proves he did just that.
53. High Noon (1952)
“The Wild Bunch” and “High Noon” are polar opposites. One is cerebral, drawn out and extremely violent. The other is tight, thrilling, and incredibly well acted. It’s hard to say just which one is the better picture, but both are two of the greatest westerns ever made. “High Noon” is one of the most thrilling experiences that you will ever have watching movie, which is saying a lot for a film that is basically about a Sheriff going around his town and trying to see if people will stand with him when the baddies roll in. It’s an excellent study of humanity. Who has it, and who doesn’t.
52. Psycho (1960)
I might not be including a lot of famous movies by a lot of famous directors on this list, but it’d be pretty hard for me to warrant the exclusion of a film by Alfred Hitchcock. Equally as hard for me was to pick just one picture of his to put on this list as a representative of the whole, because that’s what I’m doing here. So many of Hitchcock’s great films are equally as good one another that to pick just one as the best is virtually impossible. I’ve chosen to go with “Psycho” because I think it represents everything that Hitchcock did so well; horror, comedy, and pulling one over on the audience. But you could just as easily swipe this film out for others like “Rear Window”, “North by Northwest”, “Vertigo”, or “Shadow of a Doubt”. In other words, if you’ve never seen a Hitchcock movie, see one now.
51. Ed Wood (1994)
It’s pretty hard to find somebody who lived a more ironic life than Ed Wood. He wanted more than anything to be known for his skill in filmmaking, and instead he is remembered (and loved) for his absolute lack of skill in that department. Tim Burton is a fantastic director, and nobody works better with him than Johnny Depp. Working together the two have made many memorable films (“Sleepy Hollow” almost made this list) but none so much as “Ed Wood”. It’s laugh out loud funny and also extremely heart breaking. Plus, it’s filmed beautifully in black and white.
50. The Princess Bride (1987)
The best children’s film ever made. Also one of the funniest films ever made. It’s the only fairy tale I can think of that is 100% cinematic, and it has more quotable dialogue than even ‘The Godfather”.