TV

Another five of my top 20 films

8. Jaws Steven Spielberg's pop version of "Moby-Dick"

8. Jaws
Steven Spielberg's pop version of "Moby-Dick" invented the summer blockbuster in 1975, and you can see why: "Jaws" is terrifying, funny, dramatic and just ridiculously entertaining, with career-defining performances from Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss. Next time it's on television, try not watching. It's impossible.
(Credit: Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

We're in the home stretch with this latest installment of my top 20 movies. Once again, these are not the usual critics' picks, which means Francis Ford Coppola is sharing space with Dudley Moore.

 

10.

 

Bedazzled Not the Brendan Fraser remake but the 1967 original, a tour-de-force starring Peter Cook (who wrote it) and Dudley Moore (who scored it) as Satan and his latest dupe run amok in Swinging London. Directed with panache by Stanley Donen ("Singin' in the Rain"), it's a buoyant, barbed satire of class, culture, counterculture and our hopelessly square Creator.

 

9.

 

The Wages of Fear A stunning 1953 action-thriller from Henri-Georges Clouzot, in which desperate truck drivers are paid to haul unstable explosives over rugged jungle terrain. A white-knuckle ride riddled with existential horror -- every pothole becomes a potential abyss -- it was a shocker for its time and remains an electrifying experience.

 

8.

 

Jaws Steven Spielberg's pop version of "Moby-Dick" invented the summer blockbuster in 1975, and you can see why: "Jaws" is terrifying, funny, dramatic and just ridiculously entertaining, with career-defining performances from Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss. Next time it's on television, try not watching. It's impossible.

 

7.

 

Harold and Maude Before Tim Burton, even before Goth, there was this 1971 comedy-drama starring Bud Cort as a hearse-driving youngster who begins dating a lively 79-year-old (an iconic Ruth Gordon). Morbidly funny but brimming with joy, it's the crowning achievement of director Hal Ashby ("Coming Home") and writer Colin Higgins ("9 to 5").

 

6.

 

Apocalypse Now Francis Ford Coppola's extended nightmare about the Vietnam War is so vivid that at times its madness seems catching. Released in 1979 with a riveting cast that includes Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper, it feels like the last word on the 1960s, and may stand as the last truly visionary epic ever made.

 

Readers' picks

 

Newsday readers tell us their favorite movies. (Comments have been edited.)

THE GODFATHER (1972)

It has everything: the family relationships, the violence of the times, the sex and, of course, the acting.

-- Thomas Kavanagh, New Hyde Park


IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946)

Jimmy Stewart gives a tour-de-force performance as George Bailey, a man who puts everyone's needs above his own.

-- Bob Buscavage, Moriches

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