21. The Thing
Although you'll need a shower and psychotherapy after watching it, The Thing is a great film foe many reasons. Tarantino mimicked the the speech patterns and male interplay for Reservoir Dogs and all sorts of people ripped off the foul mouthed one liners which pepper the dialogue ("I don't want to spend the rest of the winter tied to this fucking couch!"). There is some very dubious science in this film but most people simply remember the Thing itself: probably the most revolting of all creatures shown on film and not one to watch if you're having a haemorrhoidectomy in the near future.
22. Tenue de Soiree (France 1988)
Mousy couple Michel Blanc and Miou Miou have their lives changed by charismatic criminal Gerard Depardieu. Filthy, funny, amoral (directed by Bertrand Blier, so no surprises there) and with great, sweary vernacular subtitles. One of the greatest opening sequences ever.
23. The Godfather (US 1972)
No explanation required. A masterpiece that unfortunately inspired generations of plazzy gangsters from Little Italy to Crocky.
24. Annie Hall (US 1977)
Comedian Alvy Singer traces the rise and fall of his relationship with the eponymous Annie. The film's non linear narrative tries to make sense of the complications and twisting logic of love. A brilliant film that gets better with repeated viewings. Carol Kane's in it as well. Hurrah!
25. Bicycle Thieves (Italy 1946)
When you see the shit that's been served up as entertainment since Star Wars* created the rollercoaster/franchise movie or even worse the ego movie created to keep some tosser in the public eye/make money/create a stronger power base (what is the point of Lethal Weapon 3, Beverly Hills Cop 4, Men in Black 2 etc?), it's refreshing to see a real artist at work. De Sica's talent for eliciting brilliant performances from ordinary people and examining the human condition is the antithesis of the Burger King style shitty films mentioned above.
A film that is good for the soul.
*Unfair. Cannot be compared to the others mentioned. Mind you: Return of the Jedi?
26. Seven (US 1995)
A film about sin. Good performances all round, but Spacey steals the honours as usual with a controlled and unforgettable performance as serial killer with a mission John Doe. Great direction, scary photography and a genuine sense of dread. The final, almost subliminal vision of Gwyneth Paltrow stayed with me until I got to the pub over the road from the cinema.
27. The Omega Man (US 1971)
Richard Matheson's late 50s sci-fi/vampire novel is one of my favourite books but to tell the truth I only found out about it because of this film. In the film version the vampires have been replaced by post germ warfare mutants who are besieging Robert Neville/Charlton Heston's high rise home. Some aspects of the film are dreadful (Heston might as well have had a black stunt double for all of the verisimilitude displayed here) but there's a rich vein of potent imagery (and blindingly obvious symbolism) and it's got Anthony Zerbe in it.
Top notch pulp fiction.
28. Don't Look Now (GB 1973)
Is there anyone who grew up in my era who didn't see this for the first time on BBC 2 in their living room with their parents? And is there anyone who didn't die a thousand times during the eight hour Julie Christie/Sutherland shagging scene?
Is Nicholas Roeg a truly great director or does he piss around too much for arty effect?
29. Amelie (France 2001)
A young French woman's unselfish philanthropy makes the world a better place.
At turns inventive, funny and occasionally twee. A modern film in the classic French tradition of Godard and Truffaut.
30. Eraserhead (US 1976)
A brilliant film, but maybe one that precludes numerous viewings. The scary, nightmare world of David Lynch. A film that suggests meanings through almost impenetrable imagery and guaranteed to annoy the people you hate most. An intellectual touchstone and very, very horrible.