I used to collect films, and I was surprised how often I’d stumble across a good movie I'd never heard of. Film lovers, post your gems for people today who might not have checked them out. Tell us a little about the film, stars, why it is good, etc. My contributions: 1. "Paths of Glory." I watched this Stanley Kubrick movie one day because Kirk Douglas was in it. It is a black and white ‘50s film based on a true incident that happened in the French army in WWI, where an ambitious general orders men to attack in a hopeless situation, and so is really ordering men to commit suicide. When the men refuse, the French general staff decides three men from that unit are to be executed for cowardice, chosen by drawing straws. Douglas is the commanding officer of the unit, and his ethical angst, commitment to duty, and the resulting tension with his superior officers is numbing drama. 2. "The Duelists." Fashioned after Joseph Conrad's "The Duel" it is another film supposedly based on a true incident. It has Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine as French officers who fight duel after duel during the Napoleonic wars (Keitel is a major jerk, claiming he's been insulted over nothing). The on-location photography is beautiful. 3. “Samurai I, II, & III.” An awesome epic, a Japanese equivalent of “Gone with the Wind,” that reveals much about Japanese culture. One of my all-time favorites. The description of the three-part six hour movie can be read at: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/630296931X/ref=ase_harapanmediatech/002-8615036-0608043 4. “Gettysburg.” A 271 minute Turner network production that recreates the battle of Gettysburg in exact detail. Great photography, with genuine muzzle loaders used in battles. The smoke and noise while opposing troops shoot at each other mere yards away, along with the in-depth war strategies, make this one of the best ever TV movies. Martin Sheen plays General Lee, and Jeff Daniels is a professor turned Union officer who executes an obscure military maneuver to win a major skirmish. Other stars include Sam Elliot, Tom Beringer and Richard Jordan in a moving performance as General Armistead. 5. “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Okay, I know this is a strange one. However, Tim Burton’s stop-action animation is one of the most creative works I’ve ever seen. When my wife likes a movie, she will watch it over and over, so I’ve been obliged to watch this movie many times. After maybe 20 viewings (the latest last Halloween), I can still say I’ve never watched the film when I didn’t see something I’d missed seeing in previous viewings. It seems like every second is packed with innovative stuff. I love the music too, with Danny Elfman creating an almost opera-like score. The three ghouls singing “Something’s up with Jack, something’s up with Jack” the morning after he’s been analyzing the chemistry of tree ornaments to figure out the meaning of Christmas is so good! 6. “The Civil War.” The “Elegant Universe” not withstanding, I still think Shelby Foote’s 12 hour film may be one of the best documentaries ever made. The narration in his southern drawl and humble-voiced delivery, the reading actual letters of servicemen, and the use of background music of the old South recreates the tragedy very realistically. When the 12 hours were done, I was disappointed there wasn’t more. 7. “Beauty and the Beast.” French director Jean Cocteau’s classic in black and white recreates a sense of mystery and fantasy like no other film I’ve ever seen. 8. “Henry Fonda films.” This is obviously not a movie, but I wanted to suggest checking him out because he tended to sign on for some of the most intense drama ever made. His roles in “Twelve Angry Men,” “The Oxbow Incident,” My Darling Clementine,” “The Grapes of Wrath,” “The Wrong Man,” “Fort Apache,” “Failsafe” (keep your heart medicine handy), “The Boston Strangler,” and “Midway,” prove him to be one of the all-time greatest dramatic actors. 9. “The Potemkin.” A silent movie and true story, it is a stunningly gripping recreation (by Russians) of a part of the 1905 Russian Revolution when sailors on the warship Potemkin have to decide which side to support in the revolution. The scene on the Odessa Steps is mind blowing. The Russians really know how to do drama, you’ll never forget it. 10. “Buster Keaton’s works.” His physical humor is amazing (all his early stuff is silent). No stuntman does his stunts, so what you see is him performing truly life-threatening feats, such as dropping several stories through window awnings and trusting they will sufficiently retard his momentum to allow him to survive. His daring along with his deadpan look makes him hilarious.