1. Brief Encounter
    The ultimate tale of restrained passion and so terribly, terribly British. Best watched on Christmas Eve with a takeaway, the calm before the joyous storm of Christmas Day. For more on the same theme check out David Lean's other film The Passionate Friends.
  2. Witness
    Everything about Peter Weir's film - the storytelling, the direction and cinematography - is pretty much faultless. My only quibble is the barn raising scene: a set piece which goes on a tad too long for my taste. Nevertheless, this is one of Harrison Ford's finest roles as the tough city cop hiding out in an Amish community.
  3. Notting Hill
    Ah, Richard Curtis - the writer/director people love to hate. I've warmed to his films over the years, and Notting Hill is the right side of charming. Sometimes sweet is just what you need.
  4. Any film starring actor and activist Mark Ruffalo.
    Nuff said.
  5. Chariots of Fire
    We arm-twisted our Dad to see this at the pictures. He hadn't been inside a cinema since Paint Your Wagon. ("Why waste money when you can watch it on telly for free?") I know as a kid I enjoyed this true-ish story of two athletes competing in the 1924 Olympics. Its themes of conviction and conscience still resonate very powerfully with me.