1954 turned out to be a pretty strong year for me. Featuring a nice range of prestige, camp and fun. This list is one of those years I'd take all picks with me to somewhere forever to watch.
On the Best Picture front
WINNER - On The Waterfront
The Caine Mutiny
The Country Girl
Seven Brides For Seven Brothers
Three Coins In The Fountain
6 picks for 6 movies
Creature From The Black Lagoon
A beautifully photographed film, and the last capper on the "classic" monsters era from Universal. You'll find pieces of everything from Jaws to Friday The 13th in this film. It did have two crappy sequels, but this monster never has really made a comeback at all. And he's a really awesome one at that. With Universal's planned "Monsters as Superheroes" refresh, will the Gill-Man see an modernized update?
Dial 'M' For Murder
The master dabbled in 3-D and showed everyone how its done, utilizing the sense of depth to fill out the picture rather than gimmicks coming at the screen. Hitchcock also uses his unique style of suspense, where you're worried that the villain character is going to be caught and seeming are against the "good guys" from accomplishing their job. An absolute classic.
Watch the original Japanese version of the film. That's Godzilla. Not the Raymond Burr "Americans don't like to read subtitles, so here ya go" version. What you'll surprisingly find here is a really good movie. Most would be expecting the campy Toho stuff, but that's not what you get from this and its sequel.
On The Waterfront
Man, this is one of the most epic dramas of all time. It features one of film history's best performances from one of its greatest actors giving one of the best monologues of all time. This is a really great story, too. Its a film firing on all cylinders, from its acting, writing, cinematography and direction. A perfect film that still holds up and stands tall. That's hard to come by.
Another double Hitchcock year and we're given another masterpiece. This is a film that has been lovingly studied, borrowed from, redone and been cherished so much over the years. Its an absolutely fantastic experience and one that I think may be set in a distinct time and place but works as a timeless exercise in a film-going experience. Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart work fantastically off of each other and Raymond Burr is plenty menacing. Did I mention I love this series because I get to talk about Hitchcock so much?
I haven't watched this one in a long while, but I really enjoy the wide array of characters on display coming together to protect this town. There's some good humor here too. Kurosawa once again is a trendsetter with his craftsmanship in technique, story, character and choreography. Stuff that would influence so many later on.