You Only Live Once (1937)

“There’s a lot more good in Eddie Taylor than most people think.” Synopsis: A recently released ex-con (Henry Fonda) marries his loyal sweetheart (Sylvia Sidney) and tries to go straight, but is foiled by a society that permanently rejects him. Soon he’s back in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, and begins to lose […]

Big Carnival, The / Ace in the Hole (1951)

“I don’t make things happen — all I do is write about ’em!” Synopsis: A fame-hungry journalist (Kirk Douglas) seizes an opportunity to cover a story about a man (Richard Benedict) trapped in a New Mexico mine. While Benedict’s parents (John Berkes and Frances Dominguez) pray and worry, his cynical wife (Jan Sterling) earns money […]

To Be or Not to Be (1942)

“So they call me ‘Concentration Camp Ehrhardt’?” Synopsis: As Hitler ravages Europe, a famous Polish actor (Jack Benny) and his wife (Carole Lombard) are forced to switch their troupe’s play from a Nazi-satire to “Hamlet”. Benny is distressed when a handsome fighter pilot (Robert Stack) gets up from the audience at the start of his […]

12 Angry Men (1957)

“He’s a common, ignorant slob. He don’t even speak good English.” Synopsis: A jury forman (Martin Balsam) assumes that deliberations on the murder trial of a Puerto Rican teenager will go smoothly and quickly, and most of the 12 men are eager to simply go home. But a dissenting “not guilty” voter (Henry Fonda) — […]

King and I, The (1956)

“There is no barbarian worse than a weak king.” Synopsis: In the mid-1800s, a widow (Deborah Kerr) moves to Siam to become a schoolteacher in the palace of the king (Yul Brynner), who has dozens of young children and many wives. While she struggles to adapt and help the king learn “scientific ways”, the king’s […]

Third Man, The (1949)

“I’ve done things that would have been unthinkable before the war.” Synopsis: A pulp western novelist named Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) arrives in occupied post-war Vienna ready to work for his friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles), but soon learns Lime has recently been killed. While attending Lime’s funeral, Martins meets his grieving lover (Alida Valli), […]

Citizen Kane (1941)

“That’s all he really wanted out of life, was love.” Synopsis: After the death of an infamously self-absorbed newspaper tycoon named Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles), a magazine editor (Philip Van Zandt) sends a reporter (William Alland) to investigate the meaning of Kane’s final word (“Rosebud”) by viewing newsreels and interviewing various key players in […]

Brief Encounter (1945)

“Nothing lasts, really — neither happiness nor despair. Not even life lasts very long.” Synopsis: A married woman (Celia Johnson) falls unexpectedly in love with a married doctor (Trevor Howard) she meets at a train station — but how long can their furtive romance last before they’re either found out or consumed with guilt? Genres: […]

West Side Story (1961)

“When do you kids stop? You make this world lousy.” Synopsis: At a community dance in New York City, a Puerto Rican girl named Maria (Natalie Wood) falls in love with the former gangleader (Richard Beymer) of the Jets, currently helmed by Riff (Russ Tamlyn). The Jets are about to rumble with the Sharks, led […]

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

“E.T… phone… home.” Synopsis: A 10-year-old boy (Henry Thomas) enlists the help of his younger sister (Drew Barrymore) and older brother (Robert MacNaughton) in preventing their distracted mother (Dee Wallace) from learning about the existence of a short, odd-looking alien longing to go back home. Genres: Aliens Friendship Homecoming Science Fiction Steven Spielberg Films Response […]