My Best Fifties Movies

by David-Grant | created - 14 Jul 2011 | updated - 7 months ago | Public

1950-1959 - a list of my favourite films of the era

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1. Rear Window (1954)

PG | 112 min | Mystery, Thriller

100 Metascore

A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter

Votes: 415,004 | Gross: $36.76M

2. A Man Escaped (1956)

Not Rated | 101 min | Drama

A captured French Resistance fighter during WWII engineers a daunting escape from a Nazi prison in France.

Director: Robert Bresson | Stars: François Leterrier, Charles Le Clainche, Maurice Beerblock, Roland Monod

Votes: 16,851

3. Diabolique (1955)

Not Rated | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

The wife and mistress of a loathed school principal hatch a plan to murder him while having the perfect alibi. They carry out the plan...but then his body disappears.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot | Stars: Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse, Charles Vanel

Votes: 58,514

4. 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: 50,319

5. 12 Angry Men (1957)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama

96 Metascore

A jury holdout attempts to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler

Votes: 636,576 | Gross: $4.36M

6. Seven Samurai (1954)

Not Rated | 207 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

98 Metascore

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Yukiko Shimazaki

Votes: 295,709 | Gross: $0.27M

7. The Seventh Seal (1957)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Fantasy

A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bengt Ekerot, Nils Poppe

Votes: 149,769

8. 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: 117,280 | Gross: $7.63M

9. The Searchers (1956)

Passed | 119 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

94 Metascore

An American Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from the Comanches.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond

Votes: 75,475

10. Kanal (1957)

Not Rated | 91 min | Drama, War

In 1944, during the Warsaw uprising against the Nazis, Polish Lieutenant Zadra and his resistance fighters use Warsaw's sewer system to escape the German encirclement.

Director: Andrzej Wajda | Stars: Teresa Izewska, Tadeusz Janczar, Wienczyslaw Glinski, Tadeusz Gwiazdowski

Votes: 6,162

11. Our Man in Havana (1959)

Not Rated | 111 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Jim Wormold, who is a vacuum cleaner salesman, participates as an Agent in the British Secret Service. But he soon realizes that his plans by lying are going to get him into trouble.

Director: Carol Reed | Stars: Alec Guinness, Maureen O'Hara, Burl Ives, Ernie Kovacs

Votes: 4,507

12. Compulsion (1959)

Approved | 103 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

Two wealthy law-school students go on trial for murder in this version of the Leopold-Loeb case.

Director: Richard Fleischer | Stars: Orson Welles, Dean Stockwell, Diane Varsi, Bradford Dillman

Votes: 5,455

13. Ice Cold in Alex (1958)

Approved | 130 min | Adventure, Drama, War

During World War II in North Africa, a medical field unit must cross the desert in their ambulance in order to reach the British lines in Alexandria.

Director: J. Lee Thompson | Stars: John Mills, Anthony Quayle, Sylvia Syms, Harry Andrews

Votes: 4,699

14. The Harder They Fall (1956)

Passed | 109 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Sport

An ex-sportswriter is hired by a shady fight promoter to promote his latest find, an unknown but easily exploitable rising star from Argentina.

Director: Mark Robson | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Rod Steiger, Jan Sterling, Mike Lane

Votes: 6,547

15. 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: 9,492

16. The Defiant Ones (1958)

Approved | 96 min | Crime, Drama

69 Metascore

Two escaped convicts chained together, white and black, must learn to get along in order to elude capture.

Director: Stanley Kramer | Stars: Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel, Charles McGraw

Votes: 12,493

17. Mon Oncle (1958)

Not Rated | 116 min | Comedy

Monsieur Hulot visits the technology-driven world of his sister, brother-in-law, and nephew, but he can't quite fit into the surroundings.

Director: Jacques Tati | Stars: Jacques Tati, Jean-Pierre Zola, Adrienne Servantie, Lucien Frégis

Votes: 17,354

18. Lust for Life (1956)

Approved | 122 min | Biography, Drama

The life of brilliant but tortured artist Vincent van Gogh.

Directors: Vincente Minnelli, George Cukor | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, James Donald, Pamela Brown

Votes: 9,800

19. Orpheus (1950)

Not Rated | 95 min | Fantasy, Drama, Romance

A poet in love with Death follows his unhappy wife into the underworld.

Director: Jean Cocteau | Stars: Jean Marais, François Périer, María Casares, Marie Déa

Votes: 9,558

20. A Star Is Born (1954)

Passed | 154 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

89 Metascore

A film star helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career on a downward spiral.

Director: George Cukor | Stars: Judy Garland, James Mason, Jack Carson, Charles Bickford

Votes: 14,669 | Gross: $14.93M

21. The Caine Mutiny (1954)

Not Rated | 124 min | Drama, War

63 Metascore

When a U.S. Naval captain shows signs of mental instability that jeopardizes the ship, the first officer relieves him of command and faces court martial for mutiny.

Director: Edward Dmytryk | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, José Ferrer, Van Johnson, Fred MacMurray

Votes: 23,288 | Gross: $21.75M

22. Throne of Blood (1957)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, History

A war-hardened general, egged on by his ambitious wife, works to fulfill a prophecy that he would become lord of Spider's Web Castle.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Minoru Chiaki, Isuzu Yamada, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 41,546

23. Mister Roberts (1955)

Not Rated | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, War

In the waning days of World War II, the United States Navy cargo ship Reluctant and her crew are stationed in the "backwater" areas of the Pacific Ocean. Trouble ensues when the crew members are granted liberty.

Directors: John Ford, Mervyn LeRoy, Joshua Logan | Stars: Henry Fonda, James Cagney, William Powell, Jack Lemmon

Votes: 14,632 | Gross: $21.20M

24. Rififi (1955)

Not Rated | 118 min | Crime, Thriller

97 Metascore

Four men plan a technically perfect crime, but the human element intervenes...

Director: Jules Dassin | Stars: Jean Servais, Carl Möhner, Robert Manuel, Janine Darcey

Votes: 23,894 | Gross: $0.06M

25. Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)

Not Rated | 109 min | Comedy, Romance

In Sweden at the turn of the century, members of the upper class and their servants find themselves in a romantic tangle that they try to work out amidst jealousy and heartbreak.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Ulla Jacobsson, Eva Dahlbeck, Harriet Andersson, Margit Carlqvist

Votes: 11,476

26. Treasure Island (1950)

PG | 96 min | Adventure, Family

89 Metascore

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: 6,369

27. The African Queen (1951)

PG | 105 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

91 Metascore

In WWI Africa, a gin-swilling riverboat captain is persuaded by a strait-laced missionary to use his boat to attack an enemy warship.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Morley, Peter Bull

Votes: 68,238 | Gross: $0.54M

28. Sabrina (1954)

Passed | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

72 Metascore

A playboy becomes interested in the daughter of his family's chauffeur, but it's his more serious brother who would be the better man for her.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden

Votes: 55,379

29. Harvey (1950)

Approved | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

Due to his insistence that he has an invisible six foot-tall rabbit for a best friend, a whimsical middle-aged man is thought by his family to be insane - but he may be wiser than anyone knows.

Director: Henry Koster | Stars: James Stewart, Wallace Ford, William H. Lynn, Victoria Horne

Votes: 51,006

30. Paradise Lagoon (1957)

Approved | 94 min | Comedy

In 1905, Lord Henry Loam, his family and his servants are shipwrecked on a deserted island where the survival of the fittest renders the rigid class system irrelevant.

Director: Lewis Gilbert | Stars: Kenneth More, Diane Cilento, Cecil Parker, Sally Ann Howes

Votes: 1,203

31. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

PG | 120 min | Drama, Thriller

78 Metascore

An American physician and his wife take matters into their own hands after assassins planning to execute a foreign Prime Minister kidnap their son.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, Doris Day, Brenda de Banzie, Bernard Miles

Votes: 53,786 | Gross: $10.25M

32. La Strada (1954)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama

A care-free girl is sold to a traveling entertainer, consequently enduring physical and emotional pain along the way.

Director: Federico Fellini | Stars: Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Masina, Richard Basehart, Aldo Silvani

Votes: 54,676

33. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Not Rated | 80 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

92 Metascore

A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates, King Donovan

Votes: 42,405

34. The King and I (1956)

G | 133 min | Biography, Drama, Musical

72 Metascore

A widow accepts a job as a live-in governess to the King of Siam's children.

Director: Walter Lang | Stars: Yul Brynner, Deborah Kerr, Rita Moreno, Martin Benson

Votes: 22,761 | Gross: $21.30M

35. Night and Fog (1956)

Not Rated | 32 min | Documentary, Short, History

The history of Nazi Germany's death camps of the Final Solution and the hellish world of dehumanization and death contained inside.

Director: Alain Resnais | Stars: Michel Bouquet, Reinhard Heydrich, Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Hitler

Votes: 16,109

36. Some Like It Hot (1959)

Not Rated | 121 min | Comedy, Music, Romance

97 Metascore

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.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft

Votes: 229,133 | Gross: $25.00M

37. Paths of Glory (1957)

Not Rated | 88 min | Drama, War

After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses the soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready

Votes: 163,851

38. Ben-Hur (1959)

G | 212 min | Adventure, Drama, History

90 Metascore

When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd, Haya Harareet

Votes: 207,696 | Gross: $74.70M

39. 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: 94,045 | Gross: $8.00M

40. 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: 92,866 | Gross: $9.45M

41. Touch of Evil (1958)

PG-13 | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

99 Metascore

A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, Janet Leigh, Joseph Calleia

Votes: 94,585 | Gross: $2.24M

42. The Killing (1956)

Not Rated | 84 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Crook Johnny Clay assembles a five man team to plan and execute a daring race-track robbery.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards, Jay C. Flippen

Votes: 76,258

43. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

PG-13 | 111 min | Drama

87 Metascore

A rebellious young man with a troubled past comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies.

Director: Nicholas Ray | Stars: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus

Votes: 78,697

44. The Court Jester (1955)

Approved | 101 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

A hapless carnival performer masquerades as the court jester as part of a plot against an evil ruler who has overthrown the rightful King.

Directors: Melvin Frank, Norman Panama | Stars: Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury

Votes: 10,794

45. Ordet (1955)

Not Rated | 126 min | Drama, Fantasy

Follows the lives of the Borgen family, as they deal with inner conflict, as well as religious conflict with each other, and the rest of the town.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer | Stars: Henrik Malberg, Emil Hass Christensen, Preben Lerdorff Rye, Hanne Aagesen

Votes: 12,847

46. A Place in the Sun (1951)

Passed | 122 min | Drama, Romance

7.8