1. Casablanca
    I almost wish it were obscure just so I could choose it without suspicion. The definition of what a movie can be. The best lines, the best characters, the best situation. The best balance of coolness and warmth. Plus my favorite male performance of all time from Bogart. @richardabate will back me up here.
  2. Roman Holiday
    Saw it recently. Loved it. Light, smart, a funny and romantic situation told with a very modern, minimal economy and wit.
  3. Die Hard
    This is considered a classic by now, yes? Not simply a contrarian pro-pop culture choice? The most excellent, thrilling, gratifying, simple yet layered action screenplay ever written, and perfectly acted and filmed.
  4. Lolita (Kubrick)
    I resisted watching this for years out of loyalty to the book, which felt to me unfilmmable. But the brilliance of Kubrick was in making some moves that were unnervingly perfect in their fidelity to the book - namely, casting, with the possible and surprisingly irrelevant exception of Lolita herself - and others that were siblings only of inspiration (structure, emphasis on Peter Sellers' Quilty). Captures how funny the book is.
  5. The Wizard of Oz
    If we were told one movie was going to be erased from the hard drive of our memory, we would panic the most to hear it was The Wizard of Oz. American mythology.