With The Take (2007), The Lincoln Lawyer (2011) and Runner Runner (2013), director Brad Furman has staked out a place in the crime thriller genre, showing off his instincts for crafting tense, atmospheric dramas from formulaic elements.

His new film, The Infiltrator, follows real-life U.S. undercover agent Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston) and his cohorts as they insinuate themselves into Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s inner circle in 1986. Their plan to nab multiple cartel members at once hinges on Mazur’s feigned engagement to his beautiful colleague Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger); their “wedding” will become the setting for this eventual bust. What complicates the mission is—you guessed it—the affection that Mazur comes to feel for his own targets, especially Roberto Alcaino (Benjamin Bratt), and maybe even for Kathy herself. It’s the classic undercover curse, when a spy falls in love with the tale he himself is spinning—the romance of it all.

Liam Daniel / Broad Green Pictures

Diane Kruger and Bryan Cranston in The Infiltrator. Photograph by Liam Daniel, courtesy of Broad Green Pictures

Perhaps that’s why, when we asked Furman to draw up a “top 10 movies” list, he chose to list his 10 favorite romances. Some, like Casablanca and When Harry Met Sally, are classics of the genre; for others, love is the center of a whirlwind of other entanglements: crime, in Dog Day Afternoon, or surviving high school, in Dazed and Confused. In no particular order, here are Furman’s picks. –MM Editors

1. True Romance (1993)

I love everything about this film. This film embodies love at first sight under the unlikeliest of circumstances and demonstrates the great lengths we will go for love. Tony Scott’s use of locations as characters, and the feelings that evokes, are inspiring.

2. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

One of Lumet’s finest. Sonny’s ultimate motivation teaches you everything about self-love.

Dog Day Afternoon. Courtesy of Warner Bros.

3. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Nora Ephron’s writing shows you that the script is everything. I watched this film on repeat as a kid.

4. Clean Shaven (1993)

This is the definition of a man’s love and what he will do to get his daughter back. Lodge Kerrigan taught me the art of sound. Thank you to Soderbergh and the Criterion Collection.

5. Rocky (1976)

The tagline for this film is “a million-to-one shot”—that’s always how I viewed my life. Truly the ultimate love story.

6. The Girl on a Bridge (1999)

I loved this film from the first frame. I melt at the black-and-white images, the stakes of the characters’ daily lives, and the simplicity of purity and truth in friendship and love.

7. Dazed and Confused (1993)

Nostalgia and youth. The perfect day-in-a-life movie, it teaches us how young love, and the innocence of it, never leaves us after we’ve experienced it. I remember the first time I fell in love like it was yesterday.

Dazed and Confused. Courtesy of Gramercy Pictures

8. Fletch (1985)

This one taught me the “art of bullshit.” There’s nothing better than Chevy Chase in his heyday. In the end, it was all about the woman!

9. Casablanca (1942)

Can’t have this list without it.

10. Say Anything (1989)

Cameron Crowe’s first. When the writing is on, it is impeccable. I was captivated by the uniqueness and vulnerability of the character Lloyd Dobler: “I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.” Will never get better than that! MM

Say Anything. Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

The Infiltrator opens in theaters July 13, 2016, courtesy of Broad Green Pictures. Featured image photographed by David Lee.