MODERN TIMES (1936)

The final appearance of Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp character somehow remains both funny and relevant.

YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942)

This “jukebox musical” of patriotic Broadway hits showcases James Cagney’s powerhouse performance, but that’s basically the only part of the movie that works for me.

MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939)

If Frank Capra’s particular brand of idealistic American mythmaking feels dated today, that may be more our problem than his.

THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)

A movie that launched legendary careers and an entire classic genre of film, and is also pretty fun in its own right.