12 Angry MenSidney Lumet  
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12 Angry Men, by Sidney Lumet, may be the most radical big-screen courtroom drama in cinema history. A behind-closed-doors look at the American legal system as riveting as it is spare, the iconic adaptation of Reginald Rose’s teleplay stars Henry Fonda as the initially dissenting member of a jury of white men ready to pass judgment on a Puerto Rican teenager charged with murdering his father. What results is a saga of epic proportions that plays out in real time over ninety minutes in one sweltering room. Lumet’s electrifying snapshot of 1950s America on the verge of change is one of the great feature-film debuts.

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Alambrista!Robert M. Young  
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In Alambrista!, a farmworker sneaks across the border from Mexico into California in an effort to make money to send to his family back home. It is a story that happens every day, told here in an uncompromising, groundbreaking work of realism from American independent filmmaker Robert M. Young (Dominick and Eugene). Vivid and spare where other films about illegal immigration might sentimentalize, Young's take on the subject is equal parts intimate character study and gripping road movie, a political work that never loses sight of the complex man at its center. Alambrista!, winner of the Cannes Film Festival s inaugural Camera d'Or in 1978, remains one of the best films ever made on this perennially relevant topic.

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Alexander NevskySergei Eisenstein, Dmitri Vasilyev  
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Sergei Eisenstein, long regarded as a pioneer of film art, changed cinematic strategies halfway through his career. Upon returning from Hollywood and Mexico in the late 1930s, he left behind the densely edited style of celebrated silents like Battleship Potemkin and October, turning instead to historical sources, contradictory audiovisuals, and theatrical sets for his grandiose yet subversive sound-era work. This trio of rousing action epics reveals a deeply unsettling portrait of the Soviet Union under Stalin, and provided battle-scene blueprints for filmmaking giants from Laurence Olivier in Henry V to Akira Kurosawa in Seven Samurai.

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All That Heaven AllowsDouglas Sirk  
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Friends and family want a rich widow to end her romance with a tree surgeon about 15 years her junior.

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Ashes and DiamondsAndrzej Wajda  
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A Polish partisan assassinates the wrong man at the end of World War II. Directed by Andrzej Wadja.

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An Autumn AfternoonYasujiro Ozu  
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The final film from Yasujiro Ozu (Tokyo Story) was also his last masterpiece, a gently heartbreaking story about a man’s dignifed resignation to life’s shifting currents and society’s modernization. Though widower Shuhei (frequent Ozu leading man Chishu Ryu) has been living comfortably for years with his grown daughter, a series of events leads him to accept and encourage her marriage and departure from their home. As elegantly composed and achingly tender as any of the Japanese master’s films, An Autumn Afternoon is one of cinema’s fondest farewells.

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Ballad of a SoldierGrigori Chukhrai  
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Russian soldier Alyosha Skvortsov is granted a visit with his mother after he singlehandedly fends off two enemy tanks. As he journeys home, Alyosha encounters the devastation of his war-torn country, witnesses glimmers of hope among the people, and falls in love. With its poetic visual imagery, Grigori Chukhrai's Ballad of a Soldier is an unconventional meditation on the effects of war, and a milestone in Russian cinema.

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The Big ChillLawrence Kasdan  
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BIG CHILL (BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO/1983/WS 1.85/3 DISC) PB DRAMA

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The BridgeBernhard Wicki  
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Seven drafted German schoolboys die defending a worthless bridge against Allied tanks.

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