When you’re stuck inside on a rainy day
1 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971, Warner, G)
Sing along with poor little Charlie Bucket and bizarro chocolatier Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder); gloat at the well-deserved punishment of a medley of kids so nasty they make the Menendez brothers look like the Von Trapps; and savor another Hershey’s kiss as you hunker down with this video equivalent of an overstuffed comforter.
2 Star Wars/The Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi”] (1977/80/83, FoxVideo, PG)
There will have to be a really long rainstorm, but watching this trilogy in one day will make you realize that George Lucas’ sci-fi saga is Homer’s Odyssey, Virgil’s Aeneid, and Milton’s Paradise Lost all rolled into one…topped off with a big, hairy Wookiee.
3 Lawrence of Arabia (1962, Columbia TriStar, PG)
You’ll want to get the letterboxed version of this epic to check out David Lean’s breathtaking desert landscapes. It may be pouring outside, but one look at this Peter O’Toole scorcher and you’ll be reaching forthe iced tea and Bain de Soleil.
4 Jaws (1975, MCA/Universal, PG)
The big fish alone makes this quite a catch. But Steven Spielberg’s maritime munchfest starring Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw is also one of the all-time best (and bloodiest) male-bonding movies.
5 The Ten Commandments (1956, Paramount, G)
Cecil B. DeMille’s gripping yet hammy biblical epic is more than just a Passover TV perennial; it’s the perfect rainy-day indulgence, what with the shameless overacting of stars Charlton Heston, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, and Yul Brynner.
6 Planet of the Apes (1968, FoxVideo, PG)
There’s no such thing as too much Chuck Heston on a stormy day. This simian sociology lesson spawned four sequels, but go straight to the irony-soaked original to scratch that silly-monkey-makeup itch.
7 Deep Cover (1992, New Line, R)
Seen GoodFellas and The French Connection one too many times? For a fresh blast of urban adrenaline, check out this intense Laurence Fishburne-Jeff Goldblum action sleeper about an undercover cop who gets way too involved in the drug trade. And, no, that’s not thunder — it’s firepower.
8 Rear Window (1954, MCA/Universal, PG)
If cabin fever is the ailment, this Hitchcock classic (with James Stewart and Grace Kelly) is the cure. Stewart winningly plays a laid-up photographer who believes he may have witnessed a neighbor’s murder from his apartment window — the perfect incentive for you to pull down the shades and put away the binoculars.
9 Misery (1991, Columbia TriStar, R)
You’ve been home all day watching movies. Time for Rob Reiner’s film version of Stephen King’s novel about a bedridden author and his insane No. 1 fan — the best reason to get out of the sack…pronto!
10 The Seventh Seal (1956, Video Dimensions, unrated)
No one knows inclement weather like the Swedes. That’s why Ingmar Bergman’s brooding tale of a medieval knight’s struggle with the black death will make you realize there’s at least one person in the world more miserable than you are.
By Jason Cochran, Steve Daly, Glenn Kenny, Lois Alter Mark, Chris Nashawaty, Tim Purtell, Michael Sauter, and J.R. Taylor