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Synopsis

For 38 years, Duncan Shepherd served as the film critic for the weekly newspaper The San Diego Reader. Shepherd was a disciple of Manny Farber, a man Roger Ebert once called "the great iconoclast of American film criticism." Like Farber, Shepherd sought to assist moviegoers "in seeing what was in front of their faces, to wean them from Plot, Story, What Happens Next, and to disabuse them of the absurd notion that a film is all of a piece, all on a level, quantifiable, rankable, fileable." Instead of simply describing a film's attributes, he took hold of it like Jacob wrestling the angel, and sought to see it face to face. The Five-Star Reviews collects those relatively few films that merited his highest indicator of priority, from 1924's The Last Laugh to 2009's A Serious Man.

84 films in all. Each one is hyperlinked to the table of contents for convenient browsing:

A—B—C
The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe | Alice in the Cities | Alphaville | Anatomy of a Murder | Beauty and the Beast | Bell, Book, and Candle | The Big Clock | The Bride of Frankenstein | The Bridges of Madison County | Cold Heaven | Contempt | Curse of the Cat People | Curse of the Demon
D—E—F
The Damned | Day of Wrath | Days and Nights in the Forest | Death in Venice | Dersu Uzala | Diary of a Chambermaid | Diary of a Country Priest | Dodes' ka-den | The Driver | East of Eden | The Exterminating Angel | Eyes without a Face | Fados | Fargo | The Fire Within | 
G—H—I—J—K--L
Goodbye South, Goodbye | The Hidden Fortress | High and Low | I Vitelloni | Je T'Aime, Je T'Aime | Kings of the Road | Kiss Me Deadly | La Guerre Est Finie | The Last Laugh | Last Year at Marienbad | L'Avventura | Le Samourai | Les Maitres-Fous (The Witch-Doctors) | The Long Day Closes | 
M—N—O--P
Mado | The Magnificent Ambersons | The Makioka Sisters | A Man and a Woman | The Merry Widow | Mirage | Muriel | Mystic River | Nazarin | Niagara | Nightmare Alley | The Night of the Shooting Stars | Olympia | Ordet | Out of the Past | Pather Panchali | Peter Ibbetson | The Portrait of a Lady | Providence | 
R—S—T
Repulsion | Rocco and His Brothers | The Scent of Green Papaya | Second Breath | Second Chance | A Serious Man | Sherlock Jr. | The Silence | Spirit of the Beehive | Stevie | The Thing | Touchez Pas au Grisbi | Trouble in Paradise | 
U—V—W—Y
Ulzana's Raid | Un Chien Andalou | Under the Sun of Satan | Vampyr | Vidas Secas (Barren Lives) | Walkabout | Wild Child | Wild Strawberries | The World of Apu | Yojimbo

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