Ten of the best films, in my opinion:
I could quite easily populate a top ten with just Hitchcock, predominantly, David Lynch and Kubrick films, so I have limited it to two films maximum per director:
1. Notorious: Hitchcock.
Ingrid Bergman plays a lush with a Nazi father, Cary Grant a hardhearted CIA man who 'runs' her. There is a love story, incredibly taut suspense, dark humour and some fantastic performances. A near perfect film.
2. Barry Lyndon: Kubrick.
This is the closest Kubrick came to his imagined Napoleon biopic. The cinematography is sumptuous to look at and the story, Thackeray's, is a bittersweet one.
3. 2001 - a space Odyssey: Kubrick.
I was going to choose Paths of Glory, but this film is almost unequalled in its scope and breadth. The entire evolution of human, artificial, and extraterrestrial intelligence is its plot and it is a marvellous cinematic spectacle with an enigmatic and profound message.
4. Ikiru: Kurosawa
A bureaucrat, after thirty years in the same stultifying job, learns he is dying of stomach Cancer and tries to find purpose in his life. A brilliant central performance, with moments of simple, delicate perfection: Moving, without sentimentality.
5. Jaws: Spielberg
There's a big shark and it's eating people. Terrifying monster movie genius.
6. Mulholland Drive: Lynch
An enigmatic and at times extremely beautiful film about (this is my reading, anyway) the truth and self-delusion. The Hollywood lie, the seedy reality, the unreal and the real. Exquisite.
7: My life as a dog: Hallestrom
A charming film about a young boy and his empathy and identification with the dog, Laika, who was sent into space. Really warm and sad and sweet.
8: Brazil: Gilliam
Dystopian bureaucracy and the yearning for humanity in an industrialised, Orwellian world. It is both funny and very wry, with a very British - yes, Pythonesque - wit.
9: North by Northwest: Hitchcock
Cary Grant again, this time caught up in a web of intrigue. A great romantic thriller.
10: The Elephant Man: Lynch
The film's dark gothic Victoriana looks incredible, and the performances including those from Hopkins and Hurt are brilliant. Overall, an extremely beautiful, emotional and tender experience.