“You’ve got to get mad!!”

Look, I like Rocky — it’s an entertaining flick, with more grit than you probably remember, but there is no way it should have beat this lacerating dark comedy for Best Picture at the Oscars.

I’m sure back in 1976 a lot of this film probably seemed outlandish, which makes it even sadder and stranger how many of its predictions came true.

The great Sidney Lumet puts a cast for the ages through their paces, burrowing deep to expose corruption and bile lingering below the surface in TV news.

In the end, you can’t look away.


The Bridge on the River Kwai

For Queen and country.

Winner of seven Oscars, including Best Picture, this remains a true pinnacle of World War II cinema.

Years before he became a Jedi master, Alec Guinness is a British Lieutenant Colonel, kind of a pompous prick, in command of a group of POWs held in a prison camp in Burma.

Eventually he leads the work on construction of a bridge for his Japanese captors, taking pride in the building job.

When said bridge is marked for detonation by a band of outsiders led by William Holden, things get dicey, leading to an explosive, and haunting, finale.

Sunset Blvd.

It burns like acid.

Billy Wilder torched Hollywood, and all its failed dreams and forgotten stars, in this lacerating film noir.

The twisted story of a man recounting his final days while floating dead in a swimming pool, one more anonymous wannabe laid low by flying too close to the sun in search of Tinseltown dreams, it still crackles 70 years after its debut.

William Holden is the writer who thinks he knows things about things he doesn’t, while Gloria Swanson snaps and bites as a shark disguised as a faded diva.

The water will run red before this one ends.

The Wild Bunch

Let the bullets fly.

Raining down hot lead, the anti-heroes at the heart of this blood-spattered Western exit in style, shooting their way into the sunset.

Notorious in its day for its crackling violence (and lack of anyone wearing a white hat), it still has a sizable impact, even if it doesn’t make viewers clutch their pearls as hard now.

Look past the blood squibs and bullet holes, and you get a beautifully melancholy tale of men who’ve outlived their time.

The old ways are fading, but they’ll be damned if they don’t go out in a blaze of glory.