MONSIEUR VERDOUX (1947)

This “comedy of murders” starring Charlie Chaplin as a serial killer was a scandalous flop in the US but has since been re-evaluated.

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946)

The ultimate feel-good movie, or harrowing exercise in existential angst? Possibly both.

REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955)

James Dean’s most famous role, in the movie that kind of invented being a teenager.