Ever wonder why Mockingbird rides so high in all-time favourite movie lists? Well, for a start, Gregory Peck was born to play Atticus Finch, the liberal-minded lawyer fighting bigotry and racism in a small '30s Alabama town. Then there's Horton Foote's script - skillfully filleting Harper Lee's classic novel - and Robert Mulligan's direction, capturing all the sweaty nightmarish shadows of hot Southern nights. Not to mention Elmer Bernstein's score, the film's standout support performance from Mary Badham as Finch's tomboy daughter Scout and Robert Duvall's stunning screen debut as the simple-minded Boo Radley.
Enough reasons. Okay, it's all a bit preachy and self-congratulatory, but still damn near impossible to resist.