The Best Movies of the 1950s

by Akira_Chimera | created - 16 Mar 2011 | updated - 7 hours ago | Public

Here they are. The movies I consider to be the absolute best motion pictures of the 1950s.

Feel free to comment on my choice of movies.

PS: The movies are sorted by year and not necessarily by my preference. This list is by no means complete as I will add new worthwhile films as I stumble across them.

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1. The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Passed | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A major heist goes off as planned, until bad luck and double crosses cause everything to unravel.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore

Votes: 22,065

2. The Gunfighter (1950)

Not Rated | 85 min | Western

94 Metascore

Notorious gunfighter Jimmy Ringo rides into town to find his true love, who doesn't want to see him. He hasn't come looking for trouble, but trouble finds him around every corner.

Director: Henry King | Stars: Gregory Peck, Helen Westcott, Millard Mitchell, Jean Parker

Votes: 8,466

3. The Sound of Fury (1950)

Approved | 91 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A man who is down on his luck falls in with a criminal.

Director: Cy Endfield | Stars: Frank Lovejoy, Kathleen Ryan, Richard Carlson, Lloyd Bridges

Votes: 938

4. Sunset Blvd. (1950)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Film-Noir

A screenwriter develops a dangerous relationship with a faded film star determined to make a triumphant return.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson

Votes: 182,904

5. The Damned Don't Cry (1950)

Approved | 103 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A New York socialite climbs the ladder of success man by man until a life among rich gangsters gives her what she thought she always wanted.

Director: Vincent Sherman | Stars: Joan Crawford, David Brian, Steve Cochran, Kent Smith

Votes: 2,110 | Gross: $1.54M

6. All About Eve (1950)

Passed | 138 min | Drama

98 Metascore

An ingénue insinuates herself into the lives of an established but aging stage actress and her circle of theater friends.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz | Stars: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm

Votes: 111,103 | Gross: $0.01M

7. Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950)

Not Rated | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Det. Sgt. Mark Dixon wants to be something his old man wasn't: a guy on the right side of the law. But Dixon's vicious nature will get the better of him.

Director: Otto Preminger | Stars: Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Gary Merrill, Bert Freed

Votes: 7,011

8. Night and the City (1950)

Not Rated | 96 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery

A small-time grifter and nightclub tout takes advantage of some fortuitous circumstances and tries to become a big-time player as a wrestling promoter.

Director: Jules Dassin | Stars: Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, Googie Withers, Hugh Marlowe

Votes: 10,738 | Gross: $3.60M

9. Panic in the Streets (1950)

Approved | 96 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A doctor and a policeman in New Orleans have only 48 hours to locate a killer infected with pneumonic plague.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Richard Widmark, Paul Douglas, Barbara Bel Geddes, Jack Palance

Votes: 6,448

10. Madeleine (1950)

Approved | 101 min | Crime, Drama

The middle-class family of a young woman cannot understand why she delays in marrying a respectable young man. They know nothing about her long-standing affair with a Frenchman.

Director: David Lean | Stars: Ann Todd, Norman Wooland, Ivan Desny, Leslie Banks

Votes: 1,306

11. So Long at the Fair (1950)

Not Rated | 86 min | Drama, Mystery

Vicky Barton visits Paris with her brother Johnny, only to discover the following morning he has gone missing, and the hotel staff have no recollection of his presence.

Directors: Antony Darnborough, Terence Fisher | Stars: Jean Simmons, Dirk Bogarde, David Tomlinson, Marcel Poncin

Votes: 1,410

12. Gone to Earth (1950)

Not Rated | 82 min | Drama, Romance

A beautiful, superstitious, animal-loving Gypsy is hotly desired by a fox-hunting squire even after she marries a clergyman.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: Jennifer Jones, David Farrar, Cyril Cusack, Sybil Thorndike

Votes: 916

13. Rashomon (1950)

Not Rated | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

98 Metascore

The rape of a bride and the murder of her samurai husband are recalled from the perspectives of a bandit, the bride, the samurai's ghost and a woodcutter.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 137,992 | Gross: $0.10M

14. Father of the Bride (1950)

Not Rated | 92 min | Comedy, Romance

The father of a young woman deals with the emotional pain of her getting married, along with the financial and organizational trouble of arranging the wedding.

Director: Vincente Minnelli | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett, Elizabeth Taylor, Don Taylor

Votes: 9,331

15. Cinderella (1950)

G | 74 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

85 Metascore

When Cinderella's cruel stepmother prevents her from attending the Royal Ball, she gets some unexpected help from the lovable mice Gus and Jaq, and from her Fairy Godmother.

Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske | Stars: Ilene Woods, James MacDonald, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton

Votes: 133,940 | Gross: $85.00M

16. Treasure Island (1950)

PG | 96 min | Adventure, Family

The treasure seeking adventures of young Jim Hawkins and pirate captain Long John Silver.

Director: Byron Haskin | Stars: Bobby Driscoll, Robert Newton, Basil Sydney, Walter Fitzgerald

Votes: 6,118

17. Strangers on a Train (1951)

PG | 101 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller

88 Metascore

A psychopath forces a tennis star to comply with his theory that two strangers can get away with murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman, Leo G. Carroll

Votes: 115,729 | Gross: $7.63M

18. Tomorrow Is Another Day (1951)

90 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

An ex-convict and a woman fall in love, after she shoots her police Lt. boyfriend dead in self defense, and falsely leads him to believe that he did the shooting.

Director: Felix E. Feist | Stars: Ruth Roman, Steve Cochran, Lurene Tuttle, Ray Teal

Votes: 831

19. The Tall Target (1951)

Approved | 78 min | Adventure, Crime, Drama

A New York City detective, traveling by train between New York and Baltimore, tries to foil an on-board plot to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln before he reaches Baltimore to give a major pre-Inauguration speech in 1861.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: Dick Powell, Paula Raymond, Adolphe Menjou, Marshall Thompson

Votes: 1,469

20. Ace in the Hole (1951)

Not Rated | 111 min | Drama, Film-Noir

72 Metascore

A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur, Porter Hall

Votes: 24,952 | Gross: $3.97M

21. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

PG | 122 min | Drama

96 Metascore

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.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden

Votes: 92,690 | Gross: $8.00M

22. A Place in the Sun (1951)

Passed | 122 min | Drama, Romance

76 Metascore

A poor boy gets a job working for his rich uncle and ends up falling in love with two women.

Director: George Stevens | Stars: Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Shelley Winters, Anne Revere

Votes: 18,383

23. The River (1951)

Not Rated | 99 min | Drama, Romance

Three adolescent girls growing up in Bengal, India, learn their lessons in life after falling for an older American soldier.

Director: Jean Renoir | Stars: Patricia Walters, Nora Swinburne, Esmond Knight, Arthur Shields

Votes: 5,110

24. The Browning Version (1951)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama

Forced to retire from an English public school, an unpopular professor must confront his failure as a teacher and husband.

Director: Anthony Asquith | Stars: Michael Redgrave, Jean Kent, Nigel Patrick, Wilfrid Hyde-White

Votes: 4,014

25. Outcast of the Islands (1951)

Not Rated | 93 min | Drama, Adventure

A man occupies a position of trust with a merchant in an East Asian port. He's sacked when he's caught stealing, but he pretends to commit suicide, and a Captain he befriended agrees to take him to a secret trading post.

Director: Carol Reed | Stars: Ralph Richardson, Trevor Howard, Robert Morley, Wendy Hiller

Votes: 779

26. The Red Inn (1951)

Not Rated | 98 min | Comedy, Crime

A group of travelers, including a monk, stay in a lonely inn in the mountains. The host confesses the monk his habit of serving a soporific soup to the guests, to rob their possessions and ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Autant-Lara | Stars: Fernandel, Françoise Rosay, Marie-Claire Olivia, Jean-Roger Caussimon

Votes: 1,199

27. The Sniper (1952)

Approved | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A sniper kills young brunettes as the police attempt to grapple with the psychology of the unknown assailant.

Director: Edward Dmytryk | Stars: Arthur Franz, Adolphe Menjou, Gerald Mohr, Marie Windsor

Votes: 2,428

28. On Dangerous Ground (1951)

Approved | 82 min | Drama, Film-Noir

Rough city cop Jim Wilson is disciplined by his captain and is sent upstate, to a snowy mountain town, to help the local sheriff solve a murder case.

Directors: Nicholas Ray, Ida Lupino | Stars: Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan, Ward Bond, Charles Kemper

Votes: 5,680

29. Pool of London (1951)

Approved | 85 min | Crime, Drama

When their ship docks the crew disembark as usual to pick up their lives in postwar London. For one of them his petty smuggling turns more serious when he finds himself caught up with a robbery in the City.

Director: Basil Dearden | Stars: Bonar Colleano, Susan Shaw, Renée Asherson, Earl Cameron

Votes: 487

30. Scandal Sheet (1952)

Passed | 82 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

The editor of an exploitation newspaper commits a murder and assigns his protégé to investigate hoping to divert attention away from himself.

Director: Phil Karlson | Stars: John Derek, Donna Reed, Broderick Crawford, Rosemary DeCamp

Votes: 1,733

31. Park Row (1952)

Approved | 83 min | Drama, Thriller

The Globe is a small, but visionary newspaper started by Phineas Mitchell, an editor recently fired by The Star. The two newspapers become enemies, and the Star's ruthless heiress Charity Hackett decides to eliminate the competition.

Director: Samuel Fuller | Stars: Gene Evans, Mary Welch, Bela Kovacs, Herbert Heyes

Votes: 1,291

32. High Noon (1952)

PG | 85 min | Drama, Thriller, Western

89 Metascore

A town Marshal, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone at high noon when the gang leader, an outlaw he sent up years ago, arrives on the noon train.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges

Votes: 91,481 | Gross: $9.45M

33. Singin' in the Rain (1952)

G | 103 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

99 Metascore

A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.

Directors: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly | Stars: Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen

Votes: 200,663 | Gross: $8.82M

34. Carrie (1952)

Approved | 118 min | Drama, Romance

A young girl from a provincial town learns the bitter reality of a big city and great love.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Jennifer Jones, Miriam Hopkins, Eddie Albert

Votes: 1,959

35. The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

Passed | 118 min | Drama, Romance

An unscrupulous movie producer uses an actress, a director and a writer to achieve success.

Director: Vincente Minnelli | Stars: Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Walter Pidgeon, Dick Powell

Votes: 11,873

36. Deadline - U.S.A. (1952)

Passed | 87 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

With his newspaper about to be sold, crusading editor Ed Hutcheson tries to complete an exposé on gangster Rienzi.

Director: Richard Brooks | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ethel Barrymore, Kim Hunter, Ed Begley

Votes: 2,713

37. 5 Fingers (1952)

Approved | 108 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller

During WWII the valet to the British Ambassador to Ankara sells British secrets to the Germans while trying to romance a refugee Polish countess.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz | Stars: James Mason, Danielle Darrieux, Michael Rennie, Walter Hampden

Votes: 3,887

38. Sudden Fear (1952)

Approved | 110 min | Film-Noir, Thriller

After an ambitious actor insinuates himself into the life of a wealthy middle-aged playwright and marries her, he plots with his mistress to murder her.

Director: David Miller | Stars: Joan Crawford, Jack Palance, Gloria Grahame, Bruce Bennett

Votes: 4,473

39. Come Back, Little Sheba (1952)

Approved | 99 min | Drama, Romance

An emotionally remote recovering alcoholic and his dowdy, unambitious wife face a personal crisis when they take in an attractive lodger.

Director: Daniel Mann | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Shirley Booth, Terry Moore, Richard Jaeckel

Votes: 4,090

40. Limelight (1952)

G | 137 min | Drama, Music, Romance

A fading comedian and a suicidally despondent ballet dancer must look to each other to find meaning and hope in their lives.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Claire Bloom, Nigel Bruce, Buster Keaton

Votes: 16,413 | Gross: $1.00M

41. Room for One More (1952)

Approved | 98 min | Comedy

A fairly well-to-do family takes in two troubled orphans.

Director: Norman Taurog | Stars: Cary Grant, Betsy Drake, Lurene Tuttle, Randy Stuart

Votes: 1,750

42. The Big Heat (1953)

Not Rated | 89 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller

Tough cop Dave Bannion takes on a politically powerful crime syndicate.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando, Alexander Scourby

Votes: 21,118

43. The War of the Worlds (1953)

G | 85 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

78 Metascore

A small town in California is attacked by Martians, beginning a worldwide invasion.

Director: Byron Haskin | Stars: Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Les Tremayne, Robert Cornthwaite

Votes: 30,092 | Gross: $4.36M

44. Beat the Devil (1953)

Approved | 89 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

On their way to Africa are a group of rogues who hope to get rich there, and a seemingly innocent British couple. They meet and things happen...

Director: John Huston | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida, Robert Morley

Votes: 7,534

45. The Wages of Fear (1953)

Not Rated | 131 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

In a decrepit South American village, four men are hired to transport an urgent nitroglycerine shipment without the equipment that would make it safe.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot | Stars: Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter van Eyck, Folco Lulli

Votes: 49,103

46. The Man Between (1953)

Not Rated | 100 min | Drama, Thriller

In post-World War II Berlin, the British Susanne Mallison travels to Berlin to visit her older brother Martin Mallison, a military man who married German Bettina Mallison. The naive Susanne... See full summary »

Director: Carol Reed | Stars: James Mason, Claire Bloom, Hildegard Knef, Geoffrey Toone

Votes: 1,406

47. Houdini (1953)

Approved | 106 min | Biography, Drama

The spectacular but tragically short career of magician and illusionist Harry Houdini whose tricks defied explanation and safety.

Director: George Marshall | Stars: Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Torin Thatcher, Angela Clarke

Votes: 2,755

48. Sawdust and Tinsel (1953)

Not Rated | 93 min | Drama

The complicated relationships between a circus ringmaster, his estranged wife and his lover.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Åke Grönberg, Harriet Andersson, Hasse Ekman, Anders Ek

Votes: 5,399

49. On the Waterfront (1954)

Not Rated | 108 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

8.1