1. Life Is Sweet. Mike Leigh's blissful comedy is not only the funniest movie I've seen all year but also the most touching. A model of ensemble acting.
2. Black Robe. Bruce Beresford and Brian Moore's adaptation of Moore's novel about Jesuit missionaries among the North American tribes in 1634 is a grave and spellbinding epic. It's easily the best of the slew of recent films about racial/cultural confrontations.
3. Bugsy. Warren Beatty's best performance since "Shampoo" highlights this bracing, free-wheeling gangster movie, directed with tact and intelligence by Barry Levinson.
4. Mister Johnson. Bruce Beresford's beautifully crafted adaptation of Joyce Cary's novel was seen by too few people when it was released last March. A rarity among "socially conscious" films, it reflects the full tragedy of colonialism without strong-arming the audience.
5. Open Doors. A neglected, intellectually complex Italian film about the Fascist period featuring a formidable performance by the great Gian Maria Volonte, one of his very best.
6. L.A. Story. Steve Martin's candied ode to L.A. nuttiness is a sprightly romantic fantasia that captures more of the pop spirit of the city than almost any other movie.
7. Boyz N the Hood. A startling, uneven, powerful debut from director John Singleton that justifies the rage, and hope, that went into its making. Excellent work from the rapper Ice Cube.
8. Europa, Europa. Agnieszka Holland's fascinating and gruesomely funny movie about a Jewish boy who, in order to survive, impersonates a Hitler Youth during World War II. The film does justice to the story, which would be unbelievable if it were not true.
9. The Prince of Tides. Hokey and cliched in places but more often sensitive and delicately nuanced, with a great cast headed by Nick Nolte, in his best screen performance ever.
10. Soapdish. A very funny goof about the soap opera world, the kind of film where the cast, a tiptop crew headed by Kevin Kline and Sally Field, appears to be having the time of their lives.