Greatest Black and White Movies of all time

Before there was color, filmmakers learned their craft using black and white film stocks and gave us some of cinema's finest moments on celluloid.
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
Citizen Kane (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance. (119 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
“ With the help of the Mercury Theater cast, Gregg Toland, Bernard Herrmann, and Herman J. Mankiewicz, Orson Welles crafted one of the most unusual stories ever presented on the silver screen. ” - cinemabon
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed. (170 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
“ Director William Wyler and Producer Samuel Goldwyn made perhaps one of the greatest films about the repercussions of war on its participants - especially the wounded, both physicially and psychologically. No student of film history should miss the symbolism rampant throughout. ” - cinemabon
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. (113 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
“ Jean Renoir's hauting look at the human condition during what was called the war to end all wars. ” - cinemabon
Schindler's List (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans. (195 mins.)
“ While war seems to be man's most profitable enterprise, it is also his most damaging - the human spirit and to life. World War II saw the most lives lost than nearly all the wars put together with this story at its core. ” - cinemabon
Paths of Glory (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses the soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them. (88 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ Patriotism was once defined as the last refuge of a scoundrel, a word that becomes more clearly defined in this incredible effort by director Stanley Kubrick. ” - cinemabon
Psycho (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother. (109 mins.)
“ Clearly, Hitchcock made many valuable contributions to the art of cinema, but none stands out the way this small movie does with its close examination of the insane mass murderer. ” - cinemabon
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice. (129 mins.)
Director: Robert Mulligan
“ Both book and film were poignant in their day and true today - there is no justice if your skin is dark. Director Robert Mulligan brought Harper Lee's words to the screen in stark realism. ” - cinemabon
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
“ Human folly and greed is best expressed in man's pursuit of gold and riches, only to have most dreams dashed by a bit of realism. John Huston's powerful story is also a display of tour de force acting on every level. ” - cinemabon
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A screenwriter is hired to rework a faded silent film star's script only to find himself developing a dangerous relationship. (110 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
“ Human vanity and pride often blind people to the truth of reality. Billy Wilder looked in the soul of those who would cling to fame and fortune only to have it all end as ashes in their mouths. ” - cinemabon
La Strada (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A care-free girl is sold to a traveling entertainer, consequently enduring physical and emotional pain along the way. (108 mins.)
“ Not all of humanity is made up of the famous, the rich, the powerful, or the most dynamic. Most people are quite ordinary but whose stories are nonetheless, still significant. Fellini saw power in the poor, the downtrodden, and the weak. ” - cinemabon
Casablanca (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
In Casablanca in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate encounters a former lover, with unforeseen complications. (102 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
“ Like it or not this film is probably the most watched and most loved black and white movie ever made - "Here's looking at you!" ” - cinemabon
Lost Horizon (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A plane crash delivers a group of people to the secluded land of Shangri-La -- but is it the miraculous utopia it appears to be? (97 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
“ Of all Frank Capra's efforts, this film has the largest most profound heart at its core with the best effort in his career by Ronald Coleman as the everyman in search of his Shangri-la. ” - cinemabon
All About Eve (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An ingenue insinuates herself into the company of an established but aging stage actress and her circle of theater friends. (138 mins.)
“ The backstabbing world of the theater only mimics life as this all-star cast gives outstanding performances in the most Oscar-nominated film of all time with a most profound and perfunctual ending. ” - cinemabon
Rashomon (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view. (88 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
“ By delivering a story so down to earth, Kurosowa comes to epitomize the true art of Japanese cinema in any age. This film represents his first great breakthrough of many to come. ” - cinemabon
Manhattan (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The life of a divorced television writer dating a teenage girl is further complicated when he falls in love with his best friend's mistress. (96 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
“ Thanks to the incredible photography of Gordon Willis, this Woody Allen comedy becomes elevated to cinema classic place as the most icon look at New York City ever photographed for the movies. The story isn't so bad either. ” - cinemabon
Hobson's Choice (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Henry Hobson is a successful bootmaker, a widower and a tyrannical father of three daughters. The girls each want to leave their father by getting married, but Henry refuses because marriage traditions require him to pay out settlements. (108 mins.)
Director: David Lean
“ A glimmer of what was to come from one of the greatest directors of all time, David Lean. This comedy has more profundity than most dramas with brilliant performances all around by a relatively unknown cast of supporting players. Of course, Laughton is at his best. ” - cinemabon
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A former prisoner of war is brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy. (126 mins.)
“ Complex and fantastic, this film shows a range to Frank Sinatra that only John Frankenheimer could bring out. The weird and the wonderful converge in some excellent acting styles that placed dear sweet Angela Lansbury in the crosshairs of a villain. ” - cinemabon
Sullivan's Travels (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A director of escapist films goes on the road as a hobo to learn about life, which gives him a rude awakening. (90 mins.)
Director: Preston Sturges
“ Humorous but sad look at what makes us laugh at a time when America was in the middle of a depression. This is one of Preston Sturges greatest efforts at making black and white art... "with a little sex." ” - cinemabon
The Sea Hawk (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Geoffrey Thorpe, a buccaneer, is hired by Queen Elizabeth I to nag the Spanish Armada. The Armada is waiting for the attack on England and Thorpe surprises them with attacks on their galleons where he shows his skills on the sword. (127 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
“ If you had to add a commercial film with a swashbuckling hero then it might as well be this one (or The Mark of Zorro). Errol Flynn is at the height of his prowess as he swings on ropes into the hearts of women all over America, before the scandal that ruined his life forever after. ” - cinemabon
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A poor Midwest family is forced off their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression. (129 mins.)
Director: John Ford
“ John Ford's poignant look at how serious the Great Depression was and how it effected an entire generation that grew up knowing the worth of a penny. Bitterly sad but beautifully told. ” - cinemabon
The Song of Bernadette (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
In 1858 France, Bernadette, an adolescent peasant girl, has a vision of "a beautiful lady" in the city dump... (156 mins.)
Director: Henry King
“ "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not, no explanation is possible." So goes the introduction to Franz Werfel's incredible novel based on the fact that he promised to tell her story after the village hid him from the Nazi's during their occupation. He did and it is all on screen with Jennifer Jones in the Oscar winning role. ” - cinemabon
The Miracle Worker (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The story of Anne Sullivan's struggle to teach the blind and deaf Helen Keller how to communicate. (106 mins.)
Director: Arthur Penn
“ From the start of her life, Helen Keller had no chance to survive, no chance to succeed and definitely no chance to ever become known. Annie Sullivan changed all that. This is their beginning. ” - cinemabon
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 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
“ Alec Guiness, like his contemporary, Peter Sellers, was a master at performing different roles. This comedic film shows how many times he can go down as the numerous victims of this hillarious plot to gain riches by succession. ” - cinemabon
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically try to stop. (95 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ No film ever effected a generation that worried about atomic annihilation more than this one did. Kubrick took something as serious as mutually assured destruction and made us laugh at our own absurdities. ” - cinemabon
The Seventh Seal (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague. (96 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
“ Ignmar Bergman gave us "Smiles of a summer night," "Wild Strawberries," and this iconic film that starred a man who has survived through the decades as the greatest character actor of all time - Max Von Sydow. ” - cinemabon
The Razor's Edge (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
An adventuresome young man goes off to find himself and loses his socialite fiancée in the process. But when he returns 10 years later, she will stop at nothing to get him back, even though she is already married. (145 mins.)
Director: Edmund Goulding
“ He was a man in search of enlightenment and found human frailty all along the way. Perhaps the greatest role of his lifetime, Tyrone Power seeks what every man wants to know - "Is this all there is?" ” - cinemabon
I Remember Mama (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
The ups and downs of a Norwegian immigrant family, circa 1910. (134 mins.)
Director: George Stevens
“ Fresh from the war, George Stevens wanted to make a simple film about family life and gave us a look at human nature in all its glory as kindness and generosity of spirit. Irene Dunne is the mama that we all wish we had - understanding to a fault. ” - cinemabon
Inherit the Wind (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Based on a real-life case in 1925, two great lawyers argue the case for and against a science teacher accused of the crime of teaching evolution. (128 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kramer
“ For all of our intelligence, it is the fear in man that holds him back and pushes him ever closer to that abyss of ignorance. Religion versus science in a heads on battle that shows how much we can hate each other over the simplest of things. ” - cinemabon
Random Harvest (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An amnesiac World War I veteran falls in love with a music hall star, only to suffer an accident which restores his original memories but erases his post-war life. (126 mins.)
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
“ What list would be complete without one good tear-jerking romance story about a man who forgets his past only to have it haunt him his entire life. Perhaps the greatest romance story of all time. ” - cinemabon
Modern Times (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman. (87 mins.)
Director: Charlie Chaplin
“ No one could make you laugh harder or cry with equal precision as Charles Chaplin. His genius at the art of cinema gave inspiration to every generation of comedic filmmaker who followed him. ” - cinemabon
12 Angry Men (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
A jury holdout attempts to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence. (96 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
“ Sidney Lumet brings the teleplay to the big screen in an actor's tour de force with the era's finest talent. Not only will you want to see this film in the dead of winter (lots of sweating), but share with an adolescent in the family. The course of justice is often twisted to favor the wealthy and good looking while it unfairly punishes those with few resources. ” - cinemabon
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In 15th century France, a gypsy girl is framed for murder by the infatuated Chief Justice, and only the deformed bellringer of Notre Dame Cathedral can save her. (117 mins.)
“ William Dieterle's masterpiece of a deformed man who falls in love with Maureen O'hara. But who wouldn't!? The film is a great mix of pathos, comedy, and murder mystery with an incredible cast. "Would that my heart be made of stone like these." ” - cinemabon
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Disturbed Blanche DuBois moves in with her sister in New Orleans and is tormented by her brutish brother-in-law while her reality crumbles around her. (122 mins.)
Director: Elia Kazan
“ From Broadway to the silver screen comes an emotional masterpiece that gave us the greatest actor of the 20th Century - Marlon Brando. Vivian Leigh and Karl Malden help make this film an acting tour de force. "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers..." Blanche DuBois. ” - cinemabon
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
“ Only two films in cinema history have taken the big five - actor, actress, director, writing, and picture. This and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" were the only ones. Frank Capra's film of the poor little rich girl who learns her lesson is one for the ages. ” - cinemabon
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed. (130 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
“ All but forgotten by the 1960's, revival houses in Los Angeles resurrected this film classic. Many called Capra's movies, Capra-corn; but the lessons in this Christmas tale are timeless ones. Bring the tissues. ” - cinemabon
The Apartment (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A man tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue. (125 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
“ Billy Wilder's films, along with Hitchcock and Kubrick could dominate this category. Wilder penned some of the best black and white films of all time. This one of a junior executive who sells his soul to get ahead is one of Jack Lemmon's best performances. ” - cinemabon
A Christmas Carol (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
An old bitter miser is given a chance for redemption when he is haunted by three ghosts on Christmas Eve... (86 mins.)
“ Christmas was declared dead by the London press. Upset over the lack of celebration, Dickens penned this fable that has stood the test of time. When Dicken's great niece visited the set in England, she said Alistair Sims is who her uncle had in mind for Scrooge. While not received well during its initial American run; this version has become the quintessential version of Christmas spirit. ” - cinemabon
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
On the eve of World War II, a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London. (120 mins.)
“ The films of Alfred Hitchcock could dominate this category - Rebecca, Suspicion, Strangers on a Train - were good movies. Having studied Hitch for over forty years, I confess to having my favorites. I will post the other fave below. ” - cinemabon
Sabotage (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A Scotland Yard undercover detective is on the trail of a saboteur who is part of a plot to set off a bomb in London. But when the detective's cover is blown, the plot begins to unravel. (76 mins.)
“ Hitchcock so infuriated London filmgoers that they shouted at the screen during the premiere, trying to warn the girl about the bomb. This film gave him the title, "Master of Suspense" and for good reason. ” - cinemabon
Some Like It Hot (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
When two male musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in. (121 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
“ Thanks to the feedback on this list, I will correct a gross oversight on my part. This is pure genius on the part of Billy Wilder and one of the greatest comedic films of all time. The last line in the movie is one for the ages. ” - cinemabon
The Heiress (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A young naive woman falls for a handsome young man who her emotionally abusive father suspects is a fortune hunter. (115 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
“ William Wyler demanded perfection from his actors and he almost always got it. His pictures have garnered more Academy Awards and award nominations than any director in the history of film. The vivacious Olivia de Havilland (still alive and living in Paris!) pours her heart out in this part and deserved the Oscar for Best Actress. ” - cinemabon
Now, Voyager (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A frumpy spinster blossoms under therapy and becomes an elegant, independent woman. (117 mins.)
Director: Irving Rapper
“ Davis made the ultimate transition from mousy introvert into glamorous filmstar before our eyes. For that, she received one of her ten nominations for Best Actress. The film is a joy to watch for me and one of my guilty pleasures - if it's on, I stop what I'm doing and watch a master at work. ” - cinemabon
Blonde Venus (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A cabaret singer takes up with a millionaire to pay for her gravely ill husband's operation. (93 mins.)
“ Dietrich made several films with Josef van Sternberg but Blonde Venus stood out with its "Hot Voodoo" number being one of the sexiest striptease moments in cinema history and I doubt it's ever been topped. ” - cinemabon
The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Fascinated by gorgeous Mrs. Bannister, seaman Michael O'Hara joins a bizarre yachting cruise, and ends up mired in a complex murder plot. (87 mins.)
“ Orson Welles made several great contributions to the art of filmmaking. His first film is the number one on this list. It's fitting that this movie should be the last word. Shot for shot, this is one you study in film school to see how its done. ” - cinemabon
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
“ First outing for director Huston is a grand slam home run. This movie lifted Bogart out of a sluggish career and established that movies are "the stuff that dreams are made of..." ” - cinemabon
Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In 1948, an American court in occupied Germany tries four Nazi judges for war crimes. (186 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kramer
“ A great cast sheds light on the subject of Post-WWII Germany and the trials that glossed over the horrible atrocities enacted upon the Jews, POW's, and others who didn't fit the Third Reich mold. Spencer Tracy in one of his last roles is outstanding as the voice of reason. ” - cinemabon
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
At the turn of the century in a Welsh mining village, the Morgans, he stern, she gentle, raise coal-mining sons and hope their youngest will find a better life. (118 mins.)
Director: John Ford
“ Best Picture of 1941 (the movie that beat Citizen Kane), John Ford directs this tale of coal miners banding together for improved conditions. A great cast in a rather schmaltzy telling but still worthy of this list. ” - cinemabon
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A British family struggles to survive the first months of World War II. (134 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
“ William Wyler was not above schmaltz either in this heartfelt telling of loss during the air war over Great Britain. A couple sends their son off to certain death and must learn to survive as Germany creeps closer to victory over England. Shot prior to Pearl Harbor, the film brought home a powerful emotional message and won Greer Garson Best Actress and the film Best Picture Oscars. ” - cinemabon
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies. (138 mins.)
“ Stylized, cut for a fast pace, Fellini left his mark on cinema with this his eighth outing and hence the title. The film created two terms in the art of cinema: avante garde and paparazzi (named after the nosy photographer). Marcello Masrioianni became a household name in the 1960's as the director in search of "meaning." ” - cinemabon
Seven Samurai (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves. (207 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
“ The basis for "The Magnificent Seven" Kurosawa presents the tale of seven Samurai who defend a village from bandits and end up finding a moral purpose to their lives. One of the greatest Japanese movies ever made and a testament to one brilliant director. ” - cinemabon
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
“ Carol Reed helms one of the most quizzical and mysterious films of the 1940's starring the irascible Orson Welles as Harry Lime. Joseph Cotton in one of his best roles tries to bring his friend to justice and Welles quotes one of the best lines in cinema history. ” - cinemabon
Great Expectations (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A humble orphan suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor. (118 mins.)
Director: David Lean
“ David Lean demonstrates his brilliance as a director in one of his last "small" pictures in this late Dicken's classic of boy turned societal sophisticate by a mistaken patron. Nearly every scene in this film is so meticulously lit, it should be a cinematographer's guide. ” - cinemabon
Jane Eyre (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
After a harsh childhood, orphan Jane Eyre is hired by Edward Rochester, the brooding lord of a mysterious manor house, to care for his young daughter. (97 mins.)
“ Joan Fontaine - in perhaps her finest role - plays the timid governess whose involvement in the tragic turn of fates make Bronte's novel come to life. Directed by Robert Stevenson (who later became the go-to Disney director for such films as Kidnapped, Darby O'Gill and Mary Poppins) this version is my personal favorite and one who is a fan of this list (thank you very much). ” - cinemabon
Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A veteran British barrister must defend his client in a murder trial that has surprise after surprise. (116 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
“ Marlene Dietrich is the wronged German wife in this classic whodunnit by expert filmmaker Billy Wilder. Tyrone Power in one of his last films before his tragic early death. Elsa Lancaster rounds out the cast acting beside her husband Charles Laughton. ” - cinemabon
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A corrupt young man somehow keeps his youthful beauty, but a special painting gradually reveals his inner ugliness to all. (110 mins.)
Director: Albert Lewin
“ This haunting tale by Oscar Wilde made Hurd Hatfield a star and cursed him for the remainder of his career. He would be forever linked with a role so powerful it left an indelible imprint on audience's minds. Angela Lansbury as his first victim is so beguiling in role as ingenue. ” - cinemabon
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In 1900, a young widow finds her seaside cottage is haunted...and forms a unique relationship with the ghost. (104 mins.)
“ A soaring score by Bernard Herrmann and great performances by stars Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison make this film directed by Joseph Mankiewitz a memorable one. "Ah always did prefer sea captains, M'lady." ” - cinemabon
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
“ There are times when sentiment is most appropriate. Robert Donat - in his finest role - plays the humble prep-school professor and lives a dull monotonous life... until she comes along and gives Mr. Chippings a new outlook on life. ” - cinemabon
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
“ Chock full of "Capra corn" this tribute to the workings of Washington D.C. seems hopelessly outdated in this world of jaded politicians who would think of nothing less than to stab one another in the back. At one time, such a thing would be sacrilegious. A political life that could have been, Mr. Smith embodies all the good and promise of a Washington gone wrong and may never return. ” - cinemabon
Destry Rides Again (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
When a tough western town needs taming, the mild-mannered son of a hard-nosed sheriff gets the job. (94 mins.)
Director: George Marshall
“ Perhaps one of the finest westerns of all time if John Ford hadn't made Liberty Valance. Destry has all the elements that make for a heroic story of the west. ” - cinemabon
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A senator, who became famous for killing a notorious outlaw, returns for the funeral of an old friend and tells the truth about his deed. (123 mins.)
Director: John Ford
“ Funny to see James Stewart in such humbling roles as Destry and this film. However, he is countered by the greatest western hero of them all - John Wayne. In this "look back" we discover that true heroes are not always recognized for their contribution until it is too late. ” - cinemabon
Double Indemnity (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator's suspicions. (107 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
“ Another Billy Wilder film, this time what many consider to be the defining moment for Film Noir (literally dark cinema). Wilder shot using dark rooms lit with sunlight coming through venetian blinds, casting stripe shadows on the set and characters. In the post war era, this use of shadow came to be known as Film Noir. Though the acting is hammy (Fred MacMurray is way over the top with his "baby" bit) and the dialogue stinted, the sensuality implied in this film broke new censorship ground. Wilder's direction is outstanding. ” - cinemabon
The Last Picture Show (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In 1951, a group of high schoolers come of age in a bleak, isolated, atrophied West Texas town that is slowly dying, both culturally and economically. (118 mins.)
“ Peter Bogdanovich's contribution to the art of cinema comes to full fruition in this outstanding black and white film that gave us Jeff Bridges and Cybill Shepard along with a story filled with stark images. ” - cinemabon
The Killers (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Hit men kill an unresisting victim, and investigator Reardon uncovers his past involvement with beautiful, deadly Kitty Collins. (97 mins.)
Director: Robert Siodmak
“ As much as Billy Wilder did with "Double Indemnity" director Robert Siodmak gives us a film that helped define the term "film noir" with its snappy dialogue and retro storyline. Who could be more sultry than Ava Gardner lit with shadow. ” - cinemabon
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.)
“ In addition to "The Killers" and "Double Indemnity" this movie is one that helped define the Film Noir movement that swept the industry after World War II. Perhaps the finest work Jacques Tourneur ever produced in his lexicon, full of what we now call cliches were new and captivating for their time. ” - cinemabon
The Artist (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A silent movie star meets a young dancer, but the arrival of talking pictures sends their careers in opposite directions. (100 mins.)
“ Excellent artistic interpretation of Silent Era/A Star is Born reversal. Leave it to the French to define American cinema. ” - cinemabon
On the Waterfront (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses. (108 mins.)
Director: Elia Kazan
“ What a cast! Where do you start? While I'm not a fan of Eli Kazan, Brando could read the phone book and I'd be happy. Steiger is equally up to the acting cast here. Add in a Leonard Bernstein score and you've got a great film all around. ” - cinemabon
Born Yesterday (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A tycoon hires a tutor to teach his lover proper etiquette. (103 mins.)
Director: George Cukor
“ George Cukor takes a Broadway personality like Judy Holliday and makes her an overnight star. With an Oscar winning performance that is a must see for any generation, Holliday nails it. ” - cinemabon
All the King's Men (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 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
“ The ugly life of politics is nothing new. Broderick Crawford cements his place in cinema history with the role of a lifetime. ” - cinemabon
Strangers on a Train (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A psychotic socialite confronts a pro tennis star with a theory on how two complete strangers can get away with murder - a theory that he plans to implement. (101 mins.)
“ So many people have requested this twisted psycho-drama, I feel obligated to add it. Hitchcock loved talent but loathed certain actors off the set. Farley Granger was one of them. However, Granger fit his "slightly odd" profile so perfectly for his "Leopold and Loeb" film ("Rope"), he hired the actor a second time. Considering today's criminal climate, this movie has regained a new generation of admirers and should be on the list. ” - cinemabon
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
“ This Howard Hawks movie contains so many laughs, some consider it one of the greatest comedies every made. One particular scene gave rise to the expression "gay" which many in New York took another way and gave birth to a movement. Gay here means frivolous fun and this movie is a barrel of laughs from start to finish. ” - cinemabon
Bicycle Thieves (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In post-war Italy, a working-class man's bicycle is stolen. He and his son set out to find it. (89 mins.)
“ Post World War II Europe is a dark place for a young boy. DeSica's film brings the story of survival to the forefront and enlightens the world. Originally titled, "The Bicycle Thief" the title was changed due to copyright infringement. ” - cinemabon
The 400 Blows (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Moving story of a young boy who, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime. (99 mins.)
“ Part of the New Wave cinema to emerge in the late 1950's from directors like Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard; many scenes in the film were unscripted and ad libbed. ” - cinemabon
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery. (92 mins.)
“ The first feature film directed by Charles Laughton (he tried unsuccessfully to make "I, Claudius"); Robert Mitchum stars in this dark psychological thriller based on the true story of murderer Harry Powers. ” - cinemabon
Raging Bull (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
An emotionally self-destructive boxer's journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside it. (129 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
“ Scorsese got robbed but DeNiro gave us one of the greatest acting roles of all time - Best Actor Oscar hands down. ” - cinemabon
Touch of Evil (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town. (95 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
“ The film opens with the greatest tracking shot of all time - Welles out "suspenses" Hitchcock in when will the bomb go off and will it kill the stars! This movie has some low points and some periods of confusion but also contains some rare gems to make this list. ” - cinemabon
Oliver Twist (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
An orphan named Oliver Twist meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. From there, he joins a household of boys who are trained to steal for their master. (116 mins.)
Director: David Lean
“ I'm a huge David Lean fan and when he started out, he made small films like this movie and "Great Expectations." Lean is one of those storytellers whose films stand up under repeated viewings. He had an on again, off again love/hate relationship with Alec Guinness, finally getting him the Oscar in "Bridge over the River Kwai." ” - cinemabon
Stagecoach (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process. (96 mins.)
Director: John Ford
“ Not one of John Ford's greatest movies but certainly one of his most popular. John Wayne's first starring role. He went on to make twenty-three more movies with Ford with whom he regarded as one of his closest friends. ” - cinemabon
Gunga Din (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In 19th century India, three British soldiers and a native waterbearer must stop a secret mass revival of the murderous Thuggee cult before it can rampage across the land. (117 mins.)
Director: George Stevens
“ George Steven's directs the irascible trio of Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as they stumble their way into an ambush and help prevent massive casualties. Sam Jaffe plays the title role of Rudyard Kipling's novel. William Faulkner contributed to the screenplay. ” - cinemabon