Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, dir. Steven Spielberg)

An American archaeologist races the Nazis to locate a fabled Biblical artefact. Still-dazzling homage to adventure serials, cleverly balancing thrills, comedy, action, horror, romance and a love of the movies. Made with skill and passion, with all involved at the top of their respective games. Recommended. Sequels followed.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004, dir. Alfonso Cuaron)

Potter is threatened by a notorious escaped prisoner and ally of the Dark Lord. The third in the sequence is a touch darker, expanding the movie universe away from the quest-based adventures of parts 1 and 2. A step up all around, with confident direction, better effects, and actors maturing into their roles.

Hugo (2011, dir. Martin Scorsese)

A boy lives in a railway station clock. Splendid family adventure, as well as a love letter to early cinema. Scorsese enjoying playing in a new genre and with some fresh cinematic toys, not least the remarkable use of 3D. Hugely recommended.