Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
Forget that onscreen squeezes Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard give technically terrific performances but, curiously, give off few romantic sparks. Or that Truman Capote never considered high-born Hepburn right for the role of amoral hayseed-turned-bohemian glamour gal Holly Golightly--he had modeled the character on Marilyn Monroe. (That was only the beginning of the liberties director Blake Edwards and screenwriter George Axelrod took with Capote's novella.) And the less said about Mickey Rooney's oafish, flagrantly inappropriate turn as Holly's irascible Japanese-American landlord, the better. Instead, focus on the good stuff: Henry Mancini's lilting score, one of the most beautiful in cinema history (and the source of the classic "Moon River"). Or the film's striking hipness and timelessness, and its seemingly boundless capacity to surprise. Hepburn's Holly is a neurotic, Givenchy-clad stunner who's naively frank about everything (like the affections she swaps for "tips for the powder room") except her mysterious, remarkable past; Peppard is Paul, her downstairs neighbor, a struggling writer who's reluctantly subsidized by his married mistress (Patricia Neal). Their relationship heats up, but the messy complexity of emotional intimacy proves to be a danger to them both, leading to a memorable, heart-wrenching climax (involving a cat, of all things) that's impossible to forget.