10. The Big Heat (1953)
> Starring: Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando
> Directed by: Fritz Lang
> Runtime: 89 min
> Available on: Vudu, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Amazon Video, Criterion Channel, Microsoft Store, FandangoNOW, Crackle, DIRECTV
“The Big Heat,” Fritz Lang’s tautly directed film, is about a policeman (Glenn Ford) conducting an investigation into the death of a corrupt cop that leads him into conflict with organized crime. Dan Druker of the Chicago Reader called the movie “brutal, atmospheric, and exciting.” The 89-minute thriller has a perfect Freshness rating among 29 critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 90% approval score among audiences. The movie is noteworthy for an early-career appearance by Lee Marvin as a gangland enforcer.
9. High Noon (1952)
> Starring: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell
> Directed by: Fred Zinnemann
> Runtime: 85 min
> Available on: Apple iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, YouTube, DIRECTV, Starz, Microsoft Store
Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly top the cast of Fred Zinnemann’s classic about a lone lawman who stands up to a gang of outlaws despite his new bride’s pleas — based on her worldview — to avoid the confrontation. Cooper’s Oscar-winning portrayal of Marshal Will Kane was ranked as the fifth-greatest cinematic hero by the American Film Institute in 1998. Critic Willliam Brogdon of Variety said Zinnemann “carefully and deliberately makes the most of the mood cast by the threat of impending violence.” Little wonder that the 85-minute film holds a 96% Freshness rating among Rotten Tomatoes critics and an 89% approval rating from audiences.
8. Airplane! (1980)
> Starring: Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Leslie Nielsen
> Directed by: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker
> Runtime: 88 min
> Available on: Vudu, Apple iTunes, YouTube, Google Play Movies, Microsoft Store, Amazon Video, AMC on Demand, DIRECTV, Redbox, FandangoNOW
“Airplane!” is a goofy sendup of disaster films directed by Jim Abrahams and David and Jerry Zucker that contains numerous memorable quotes and sight gags. The film’s humor is accentuated by the inspired casting of macho actors like Robert Stack and Lloyd Bridges as well as basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in comedic roles. Richard Schickel of Time magazine called the 88-minute laughfest “a splendidly tacky, totally tasteless, completely insignificant flight.” Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it a Freshness rating of 97%, and audiences gave it an 89% approval score.
7. When We Were Kings (1996)
> Starring: Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Don King
> Directed by: Leon Gast
> Runtime: 88 min
> Available on: DIRECTV, Max Go, Cinemax Amazon Channel
“When We Were Kings” is an absorbing film from Leon Gast about the 1974 heavyweight championship boxing fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman that took place in Zaire, famously dubbed, “The Rumble in the Jungle.” David Ansen of Newsweek said, “Both a tribute to Ali and an evocation of a bygone era, it’s about the transformative moment when black America, flexing its newborn pride, encountered black Africa.” The 88-minute film has a 98% Freshness rating among Rotten Tomatoes critics and a 94% score from audiences.
6. The Killing (1956)
> Starring: Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards
> Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
> Runtime: 84 min
> Available on: Google Play Movies, YouTube, Amazon Video, Apple iTunes
Stanley Kubrick wrote and directed this story about a criminal (Sterling Hayden) who gets together a gang to rob a racetrack. Among the more recognizable crime-film actors in this movie are Ted de Corsia, Elisha Cook Jr., and Joe Sawyer. This early effort of Kubrick, who would go on to be one of cinema’s greatest directors, runs for just 84 minutes. It has a 98% Freshness rating among Rotten Tomatoes critics, equaling the highest rating of any Kubrick film on Rotten Tomatoes, and it holds an 8.0 out of 10 rating among IMDb users.