Nobody enjoys a visit to the dentist, but with the release of director John Schlesinger's Marathon Man in 1976, Laurence Olivier set back whatever slim enthusiasm there was for dentistry by patiently drilling into hapless Dustin Hoffman's chompers, taking painstaking care to hit every nerve. What made the scenario especially chilling was that Hoffman had no idea how to answer Olivier's incessent question, "Is it safe?" The mad Dr. Zell, loosely based on the real llife monster of Auschwitz, Josef Mengle, was convinced that Hoffman knew where a fortune in illicit diamonds were being secreted. The scenario recalled a favorite plot device of Alfred Hitchcock: an innocent man is mistaken for someone else and is swept up in a caper that he has virtually no understanding of. He can't cooperate with the villains even if he wants to because he can't answer their questions. Olivier made this sequence unforgettable by playing Zell as a charming, almost avuncular figure who mixes pleasant small talk with abominable torture. The performance earned him an Oscar nomination and probably resulted in an explosion of cavities for baby boomers worldwide.