It Happened One Night [1934]

Director Frank Capra (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) took home every Oscar in the book (well, okay, all the major ones) for this seminal 1934 comedy starring Clark Gable as a hard-bitten reporter who stays close to a runaway heiress (Claudette Colbert) rather than lose a good story. Funny and sexy, the film is full of memorable scenes often referred to in other films, such as the "walls of Jericho" (a mere bedcover hung on a line down the middle of a room so opposite-sex roommates can get undressed), and Colbert's famous flash of thigh to stop a speeding car in its tracks. Capra's brisk, urbane brand of wit was a perfect complement to his populist faith in the common man (in this case, Gable's character), and that inspired combination makes this film both a spirited entertainment and an uplifting experience. --Tom Keogh

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