Raymond Chandler is one of my favorite writers, Howard Hawks is one of my favorite directors, and Humphrey Bogart is one of my favorite actors so how could I not love THE BIG SLEEP?
It's a convoluted story-- the mystery doesn't make much sense, in fact someone once asked Chandler who killed one of the characters in the story and he said he had no idea-- but if you look at it from an artistic viewpoint that's how real life mysteries are-- things are never wrapped up tightly-- you don't always get to the bottom of everything and in this case, like life, you just hang on and enjoy the ride.
Bogart is Philip Marlowe, a private eye who is hired by General Sternwood, a weak old millionaire, to look into the blackmailing of one of his daughters. Along the way Marlowe meets a variety of oddball characters and manages to spout some great dialogue along the way.
This was the first film released after Bogart's successful teaming with Lauren Bacall who he had starred with in 1944's TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT (Soon to appear on this list), during filming the married Bogart fell in love with the much younger Bacall. The film itself was originally set to be released in 1945 but much of it was reshot when the returns came in for TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT upping the banter between Bogie and Bacall and giving her more screen time. When it was released they were Mr and Mrs Bogart.
I've seen both versions and the 1946 version is vastly superior to the '45.
It's a winner all around.