20. Seconds (1966)
> Directed by: John Frankenheimer
> Starring: Rock Hudson, Frank Campanella, John Randolph
> Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
> Avg. critic rating: 8.2/10
Like “Seven Days in May,” “Seconds” was directed by the prolific John Frankenheimer. The movie originally bombed at the box office but has been critically praised in years since. In 2015, the movie was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress
19. The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
> Directed by: Vincente Minnelli
> Starring: Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Walter Pidgeon
> Genre: Drama, Romance
> Avg. critic rating: 7.9/10
Vincente Minnelli, who made some of the greatest musicals of all time (“An American in Paris” and “Gigi”), shifted genres in this cynical film about a ruthless movie producer (Kirk Douglas) who takes no prisoners on his way up the ranks in Hollywood. The supporting cast includes Barry Sullivan and Dick Powell. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 96% freshness rating.
18. Imitation of Life (1959)
> Directed by: Douglas Sirk
> Starring: Lana Turner, John Gavin, Sandra Dee
> Genre: Drama
> Avg. critic rating: 7.7/10
This remake of 1934’s “Imitation of Life” is heavy on melodrama and racial themes. Although it was not embraced by critics upon its original release, it was added to the National Film Registry in 2015.
17. Lonely Are the Brave (1962)
> Directed by: David Miller
> Starring: Kirk Douglas, Gena Rowlands, Walter Matthau
> Genre: Drama, Western
> Avg. critic rating: 8.4/10
“Lonely Are the Brave,” an iconoclastic Western written by the once-blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo, stars Kirk Douglas as a cowboy who breaks into a jail to see a friend and is pursued to the Mexican border by the authorities. The film prefigured the anti-hero film sentiment of the later 1960s and dealt with issues such as individual freedom versus authority, sanctuary for illegal immigrants, and the increasing militarization of law-enforcement agencies.
16. The Pawnbroker (1964)
> Directed by: Sidney Lumet
> Starring: Rod Steiger, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Brock Peters
> Genre: Drama
> Avg. critic rating: 8.1/10
Director Sidney Lumet was famous for depicting characters grappling with moral and emotional torment in films such as “12 Angry Men,” and “The Pawnbroker” is one of his best. The motion picture stars Rod Steiger as a pawn shop owner in Harlem embittered by the loss of his family in the Holocaust and walls himself off from humanity.