The plot: Harry Stoner (Jack Lemmon) has tried everything to save his sinking L.A. apparel business. He's cooked the books against the advice of accountant Phil Greene (Jack Gilford). He's hired prostitutes for his clients. But on this day, he and Phil take in a matinee with an arsonist to discuss torching their San Diego warehouse to collect the insurance money.
Why it's worthy: Lemmon won his second Oscar for this pitch-perfect portrayal of a businessman at the end of his tether in an economy that looks very familiar today. Stoner doesn't recognize the world around him, a world vastly different from the ones his fellow GIs fought and died for in World War II. He gains little insight from Myra (Laurie Heineman), the flower child with whom he shares a countercultural night in Malibu, Calif. Cornered, he makes a fateful decision.
"The government has a word for survival," he tells Phil. "It's called fraud."
"It's arson, Harry! Arson!" Phil pleads.
Harry replies, "It's the same accommodations."
Set notes: Stoner's speech to kick off a fashion show, in which his mind slowly replaces the tony audience with his dead Army buddies, is unforgettable.