A couple of weeks ago, at Murderati, writer David Corbett revisited a scholarly panel discussion held at the recent St. Louis Bouchercon. The topic was best crime films of all time. At the Tipping My Fedora blog, there are the results of a huge undertaking: A list of the “Top 101 Film and TV Mysteries.” Both are well worth reading. As you might expect there isn’t 100 percent agreement. I’ve been playing with various “top” lists over the years and thought I’d throw my lists into the mix.
With apologies to Herman Cain, I’ve come up with three lists of nine. But first, some caveats. My list is biased. It is based on my relatively late in-life-arrival on the crime fiction scene, a general lack of awareness of foreign crime films, and an inexplicable disinterest in movies made before 1940. The other point to be made is that this is a list of what I think are the “best” crime movies, not necessarily a list of “my favorite” films. And while best and favorite are still only opinions, I believe there is a difference. If it were a list of my favorites, the list would look a little different. For me “best” means that they are something beyond just damned good. They break new ground or exemplify a complete and perhaps overwhelming mastery of the form they chose. I love the American-made Alfred Hitchcock movies, for example, but, in my opinion, many of the ones I really like, are seriously flawed, which brings me to this: I know making lists like these is no way to make friends. Here they are, anyway.