(1955)4.5Richard GilliamMarty derives its greatness from Paddy Chayefsky's superb screenplay, which examines the reasons why people needlessly consign themselves to lives of sterile loneliness. The film makes the audience feel the ennui that surrounds Marty (Ernest Borgnine), from his mother's smothering love to the banality of his friends and his job. In one of the screen's great moments of heroism, Marty breaks free of his self-chosen prison and accepts the emotional risk of seeking happiness. There are few closing words more frightening and more hopeful than in the climactic moment when Marty picks up the phone, dials the number of the woman he has met, and says, "Hello, Clara." An oddity among Best Picture Oscar winners in that it was based on a TV drama, Marty transcends its era and speaks to the most basic needs for love and companionship.