Recently Marc at Go! See! Talk! has started a blog-a-thon called Cool Off With The Classics. This is essentially a Top 10 list of oldies but goldies; only catch here is that they have to be in black and white but they can be American, foreign etc. Essentially, a list of classic film you'd watch to "beat the heat".
I'm extremely late, but here's what I came up with:
Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936) - My favourite Chaplin. An extraordinary achievement.
Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942) - Cinematic perfection.
The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946) - While many proclaim The Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity to be the greatest examples of the film noir of this period, this is my favourite. Bogey and Bacall's risque banter is unforgettable.
It's A Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946) - Another film that warms the heart. It's the perfect Holiday film. Imagine if Jimmy Stewart never existed?
Ladri di Biciclette [Bicycle Thieves] (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) - What else can be said about this film, that hasn't been said before? A masterpiece of Italian Neorealism and endlessly watchable.
Le Salaire de la peur [The Wages of Fear] (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953) - The second half of this film features some of the most heart-pounding suspense ever delivered. A brilliantly constructed thriller that balances effective chills with character development.
Det sjunde inseglet [The Seventh Seal] (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) - Max Von Sydow slowly loses a game of chess with death, but not before leading a young couple and their child away from a ravaging plague, while Ingmar Bergman creates some of the most hauntingly beautiful images ever captured on film.
Paths of Glory (Stanley Kubrick, 1957) - Some days I think this is Kubrick's greatest film. A powerhouse performance from Kurt Douglas, and a most compelling courtroom drama/anti-war film.
12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet, 1957) - A court case, a sweltering juror room (the only one used for the entire film), 11 impatient men who instantly declare the accused innocent - one who wants to talk. Sidney Lumet's debut is a phenomenal feat of filmmaking and every member of the cast is spot on.
Some Like it Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959) - "Well nobody's perfect". Few films are too. This is one of the funniest films I have ever seen - and pretty much a perfect comedy.