My Best of Pre1949

My favourite films of the period
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
M (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt. (117 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
 
2.
The Big Sleep (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love. (114 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks
 
3.
The Great Dictator (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel's regime. (125 mins.)
Director: Charles Chaplin
 
4.
Angel on My Shoulder (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
The Devil arranges for a deceased gangster to return to Earth as a well-respected judge to make up for his previous life. (100 mins.)
Director: Archie Mayo
 
5.
The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Tells how King Henry VIII came to marry five more times after his divorce from his first wife. (97 mins.)
Director: Alexander Korda
 
6.
Henry V (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In the midst of the Hundred Years' War in 1415, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France. (137 mins.)
 
7.
The Set-Up (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Over-the-hill boxer Bill 'Stoker' Thompson insists he can still win, though his sexy wife Julie pleads with him to quit... (73 mins.)
Director: Robert Wise
 
8.
The Raven (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
French village doctor becomes target of poison-pen letters sent to village leaders, accusing him of affairs and practicing abortion. (92 mins.)
 
9.
L'Atalante (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Newly married couple Juliette and a ship captain Jean struggle through marriage as they travel on the L'atalante along with the captain's first mate Le père Jules and a cabin boy. (89 mins.)
Director: Jean Vigo
 
10.
Brute Force (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
At a tough penitentiary, prisoner Joe Collins plans to rebel against Captain Munsey, the power-mad chief guard. (98 mins.)
Director: Jules Dassin
 
11.
All the King's Men (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The rise and fall of a corrupt politician, who makes his friends richer and retains power by dint of a populist appeal. (110 mins.)
Director: Robert Rossen
 
12.
The Palm Beach Story (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
An inventor needs cash to develop his big idea. His wife, who loves him, decides to raise it for him by divorcing him and marrying a millionaire. (88 mins.)
Director: Preston Sturges
 
13.
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Longfellow Deeds, a simple-hearted Vermont tuba player, inherits a fortune and has to contend with opportunist city slickers. (115 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
 
14.
Duel in the Sun (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Beautiful half-breed Pearl Chavez becomes the ward of her dead father's first love and finds herself torn between her sons, one good and the other bad. (129 mins.)
Director: King Vidor
 
15.
Ninotchka (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A stern Russian woman sent to Paris on official business finds herself attracted to a man who represents everything she is supposed to detest. (110 mins.)
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
 
16.
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
While traveling in continental Europe, a rich young playgirl realizes that an elderly lady seems to have disappeared from the train. (96 mins.)
 
17.
Black Narcissus (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings. (100 mins.)
 
18.
The Thin Man (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Former detective Nick Charles and his wealthy wife Nora investigate a murder case, mostly for the fun of it. (91 mins.)
Director: W.S. Van Dyke
 
19.
White Heat (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A psychopathic criminal with a mother complex makes a daring break from prison and leads his old gang in a chemical plant payroll heist. Shortly after the plan takes place, events take a crazy turn (114 mins.)
Director: Raoul Walsh
 
20.
Brighton Rock (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Pinkie Brown is a small-town hoodlum whose gang runs a protection racket based at Brighton race course... (92 mins.)
Director: John Boulting
 
21.
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Midshipman Roger Byam joins Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian aboard the HMS Bounty for a voyage to Tahiti... (132 mins.)
Director: Frank Lloyd
 
22.
Rome, Open City (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
During the Nazi occupation of Rome in 1944, resistance leader Giorgio Manfredi is chased by Nazis and he seeks refuge and escape. (103 mins.)
 
23.
The Rules of the Game (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II, as the rich and their poor servants meet up at a French chateau. (110 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
 
24.
Three Strangers (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Three strangers, each with a serious problem in their lives, share a sweepstakes ticket which they wished upon together before a Chinese idol. (92 mins.)
Director: Jean Negulesco
 
25.
'I Know Where I'm Going!' (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Joan Webster is an ambitious and stubborn middle-class English woman determined to move forward since her childhood... (91 mins.)
 
26.
The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
When a posse catches up three men suspected of killing a local farmer, some of them become strongly divided on whether or not to lynch the men. (75 mins.)
 
27.
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family. (118 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
 
28.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down. (129 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
 
29.
Earth (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In the peaceful countryside, Vassily opposes the rich kulaks over the coming of collective farming. (75 mins.)
 
30.
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I. (136 mins.)
Director: Lewis Milestone
 
31.
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A young woman discovers her visiting "Uncle Charlie" may not be the man he seems to be. (108 mins.)
 
32.
The Verdict (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
After an innocent man is executed in a case he was responsible for, a Scotland Yard superintendent finds himself investigating the murder of his key witness. (86 mins.)
Director: Don Siegel
 
33.
High Wall (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
After a brain-damaged man confesses to murder and is committed, Dr. Ann Lorrison tries to prove his innocence. (99 mins.)
 
34.
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
While trying to secure a $1 million donation for his museum, a befuddled paleontologist is pursued by a flighty and often irritating heiress and her pet leopard, Baby. (102 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks
 
35.
The Wind (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A frail young woman from the east moves in with her cousin in the west, where she causes tension within the family and is slowly driven mad. (95 mins.)
Director: Victor Seastrom
 
36.
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A chronicle of the trial of Jeanne d'Arc on charges of heresy, and the efforts of her ecclesiastical jurists to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions. (110 mins.)
Director: Carl Th. Dreyer
 
37.
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A distant poor relative of the Duke of D'Ascoyne plots to inherit the title by murdering the eight other heirs who stand ahead of him in the line of succession. (106 mins.)
Director: Robert Hamer
 
38.
Laura (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating. (88 mins.)
Director: Otto Preminger
 
39.
Battleship Potemkin (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A dramatized account of a great Russian naval mutiny and a resulting street demonstration which brought on a police massacre. (75 mins.)
Director: S.M. Eisenstein
 
40.
Out of the Past (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames. (97 mins.)
 
41.
Shockproof (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Jenny Marsh, still dangerously attractive after 5 years in prison for killing a man in defense of her shady lover Harry... (79 mins.)
Director: Douglas Sirk
 
42.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home. (102 mins.)
Director: Victor Fleming
 
43.
Metropolis (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences. (153 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
 
44.
The Third Man (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime. (104 mins.)
Director: Carol Reed
 
45.
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Fred Dobbs and Bob Curtin, two Americans searching for work in Mexico, convince an old prospector to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains. (126 mins.)
Director: John Huston
 
46.
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette. (100 mins.)
Director: John Huston
 
47.
It Happened One Night (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A spoiled heiress, running away from her family, is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story. (105 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
 
48.
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
An aged teacher and former headmaster of a boarding school recalls his career and his personal life over the decades. (114 mins.)
Director: Sam Wood
 
49.
The Last Command (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A former Imperial Russian general and cousin of the Czar ends up in Hollywood as an extra in a movie directed by a former revolutionary. (88 mins.)
 
50.
To Be or Not to Be (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
During the Nazi occupation of Poland, an acting troupe becomes embroiled in a Polish soldier's efforts to track down a German spy. (99 mins.)
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
 
51.
The Gay Divorcee (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Mimi Glossop wants a divorce so her Aunt Hortense hires a professional to play the correspondent in apparent infidelity... (107 mins.)
Director: Mark Sandrich
 
52.
Mildred Pierce (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A hard-working mother inches towards disaster as she divorces her husband and starts a successful restaurant business to support her spoiled daughter. (111 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
53.
Stairway to Heaven (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court. (104 mins.)
 
54.
Carnival in Flanders (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Tells the story of the Spanish invasion of Flanders (110 mins.)
Director: Jacques Feyder
 
55.
La Grande Illusion (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
During the first World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from. (114 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
 
56.
The Man Who Laughs (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
When a proud noble refuses to kiss the hand of the despotic King James in 1690, he is cruelly executed and his son surgically disfigured. (110 mins.)
Director: Paul Leni
 
57.
The Fallen Idol (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A butler working in a foreign embassy in London falls under suspicion when his wife accidentally falls to her death, the only witness being an impressionable young boy. (95 mins.)
Director: Carol Reed
 
58.
Hamlet (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Prince Hamlet struggles over whether or not he should kill his uncle, whom he suspects has murdered his father, the former king. (155 mins.)
 
59.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Dr. Jekyll faces horrible consequences when he lets his dark side run wild with a potion that transforms him into the animalistic Mr. Hyde. (98 mins.)
 
60.
Quai des Orfèvres (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Jenny Lamour wants to succeed in music hall. Her husband and accompanist is Maurice Martineau, a nice but jealous guy... (106 mins.)
Director: H. G. Clouzot
 
61.
The Lady Eve (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A trio of classy card sharps targets the socially awkward heir to brewery millions for his money, till one of them falls in love with him. (94 mins.)
Director: Preston Sturges
 
62.
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Theseus, Duke of Athens, is going to marry Hyppolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Demetrius is engaged with Hermia... (133 mins.)