The Maltese Falcon

John Huston

The quintessential noir classic, The Maltese Falcon continues to startle and entertain viewers to this day. Bogart is irresistible as Sam Spade; a tough, cynical private investigator whose wisecracks come quicker than lead from a sawn-off Tommy gun. Featuring a host of notorious but curiously compelling characters, this is a breathlessly exciting film where the characters chase ‘the stuff that dreams are made of’.

Taxi Driver

Martin Scorsese

Scorsese is a living legend and has made some brilliant films that have stood the test of time but this is his crowning masterpiece. The last word on urban alienation, this brooding, visceral classic features Robert De Niro as a man slowly spiralling into insanity. Scorsese’s work from 1973 to 1983 (from Mean Streets to The King Of Comedy) is unparalleled in terms of quality and versatility.

Stalker

Andrei Tarkovsky

One of cinema’s greatest treasures, Stalker is an experience that every man who claims to love films, must go through. An existential odyssey into the very meaning of existence, the almost non-existent plot features the expedition of two men led by a Stalker (a guide) who brings them to the Zone, a place that can fulfill a man’s innermost desires. A speculative, dream-like film with startlingly beautiful images; Stalker is perhaps the most humanistic film in existence.

Yojimbo

Akira Kurosawa

Based loosely on Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest, Yojimbo is one of the most influential action films ever made and undoubtedly, the most entertaining. The story of a lone Samurai who plays both the ends against the middle for largely personal gains, Toshiro Mifune (Kurosawa’s blue-eyed boy) is the personification of perfection here. Little wonder then that the master considered him to be the greatest actor going around. This film tells us why.

Vertigo

Alfred Hitchcock

According to the Sight & Sound poll, this is the greatest film ever made. One can easily see why. This is Hitchcock’s most fascinating and challenging film and offers the highest peak of suspense that the movie world has to offer. James Stewart is stunning as a disillusioned, retired detective with a fear of heights. He is hired to follow another man’s wife. As Leonard Maltin perfectly puts it, ‘to reveal more would be unthinkable.’

Those that almost made it

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb: Stanley Kubrick

The Good,The Bad and The Ugly: Sergio Leone

Apocalypse Now: Francis Ford Coppola

The Long, Good Friday: John Mackenzie

12 Angry Men: Sidney Lumet

Srinivas Prasad is a dental surgeon by profession and a cinephile by choice.