Monochrome Through The Ages

by ThomasStone | created - 18 Aug 2013 | updated - 25 Oct 2017 | Public

Since the standardization of colour film, monochrome has become a rarity in cinema. There are still few films out there that dare to take the bullet, so I decided to make a list. For now I include the films I have seen so far, but always open to suggestions :)

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1. Blancanieves (2012)

PG-13 | 104 min | Drama, Fantasy

82 Metascore

A twist on the Snow White fairy tale that is set in 1920s Seville and centered on a female bullfighter.

Director: Pablo Berger | Stars: Maribel Verdú, Emilio Gavira, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Ángela Molina

Votes: 9,921 | Gross: $0.28M

Modern adaptation of the Snow White tale, set in Catalan Spain.

2. The Artist (I) (2011)

PG-13 | 100 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

89 Metascore

An egomaniacal film star develops a relationship with a young dancer against the backdrop of Hollywood's silent era.

Director: Michel Hazanavicius | Stars: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell

Votes: 220,128 | Gross: $44.67M

Illustrates the "sonic revolution" in cinema.

3. Tetro (2009)

R | 127 min | Drama

65 Metascore

Bennie travels to Buenos Aires to find his long-missing older brother, a once-promising writer who is now a remnant of his former self. Bennie's discovery of his brother's near-finished play might hold the answer to understanding their shared past and renewing their bond.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Vincent Gallo, Alden Ehrenreich, Maribel Verdú, Silvia Pérez

Votes: 12,034 | Gross: $0.52M

Great Coppola movie shot on film, contains a fantastical theatre scene in colour.

4. The White Ribbon (2009)

R | 144 min | Drama, History, Mystery

82 Metascore

Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. Who is responsible?

Director: Michael Haneke | Stars: Christian Friedel, Ernst Jacobi, Leonie Benesch, Ulrich Tukur

Votes: 64,203 | Gross: $2.22M

5. Sin City (2005)

R | 124 min | Crime, Thriller

74 Metascore

A film that explores the dark and miserable town, Basin City, and tells the story of three different people, all caught up in violent corruption.

Directors: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba

Votes: 722,314 | Gross: $74.10M

The only colour present in this film is a weird yellow fella.

6. Pi (1998)

R | 84 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

72 Metascore

A paranoid mathematician searches for a key number that will unlock the universal patterns found in nature.

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman, Pamela Hart

Votes: 162,788 | Gross: $3.22M

7. Clerks (1994)

R | 92 min | Comedy

70 Metascore

A day in the lives of two convenience clerks named Dante and Randal as they annoy customers, discuss movies, and play hockey on the store roof.

Director: Kevin Smith | Stars: Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Lisa Spoonauer

Votes: 204,476 | Gross: $3.15M

A film about nothing, nobody and nowhere.

8. Schindler's List (1993)

R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

94 Metascore

In German-occupied Poland during World War II, industrialist Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall

Votes: 1,123,352 | Gross: $96.90M

Famous Hollywood director Spielberg tries his best to make a great monochrome film, I wish Kubrick made it first.

9. Man Bites Dog (1992)

NC-17 | 95 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

A film crew follows a ruthless thief and heartless killer as he goes about his daily routine. But complications set in when the film crew lose their objectivity and begin lending a hand.

Directors: Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Benoît Poelvoorde | Stars: Benoît Poelvoorde, Jacqueline Poelvoorde-Pappaert, Nelly Pappaert, Hector Pappaert

Votes: 34,112 | Gross: $0.21M

C'est arrivé près de chez vous, Belgian movie.

10. La Vie de Bohème (1992)

Not Rated | 103 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Three struggling artists try to make passable livings in Paris despite knock backs and tragedies.

Director: Aki Kaurismäki | Stars: Matti Pellonpää, Evelyne Didi, André Wilms, Kari Väänänen

Votes: 4,534

11. Begotten (1989)

Unrated | 72 min | Fantasy, Horror

Presented in a surreal, gory and entirely visual manner, Begotten tells of the death of religion, the abuse of nature by Man and a nihilistic outlook on what life ultimately is.

Director: E. Elias Merhige | Stars: Brian Salzberg, Donna Dempsey, Stephen Charles Barry, James Gandia

Votes: 9,239

Cult movie that recites Genesis in an existentialist manner.

12. Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

Not Rated | 67 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

A businessman accidentally kills The Metal Fetishist, who gets his revenge by slowly turning the man into a grotesque hybrid of flesh and rusty metal.

Director: Shin'ya Tsukamoto | Stars: Tomorô Taguchi, Kei Fujiwara, Nobu Kanaoka, Shin'ya Tsukamoto

Votes: 17,608

Japanese cult movie.

13. Black Rain (1989)

Not Rated | 123 min | Drama

The story of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing, based on Masuji Ibuse's novel.

Director: Shôhei Imamura | Stars: Yoshiko Tanaka, Kazuo Kitamura, Etsuko Ichihara, Shôichi Ozawa

Votes: 2,732

14. The Elephant Man (1980)

PG | 124 min | Biography, Drama

77 Metascore

A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous façade, there is revealed a person of kindness, intelligence and sophistication.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud

Votes: 205,098

Words cannot describe this film.

15. Eraserhead (1977)

Not Rated | 89 min | Horror

87 Metascore

Henry Spencer tries to survive his industrial environment, his angry girlfriend, and the unbearable screams of his newly born mutant child.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph, Jeanne Bates

Votes: 93,649 | Gross: $7.00M

David Lynch's debut, he made this film mostly while still being in film school. It explores the fear of fatherhood and the "normal life" that comes with it.

16. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Not Rated | 96 min | Horror

89 Metascore

A ragtag group of Pennsylvanians barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a bloodthirsty, flesh-eating breed of monsters who are ravaging the East Coast of the United States.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman

Votes: 108,385 | Gross: $0.09M

17. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

PG | 95 min | Comedy

97 Metascore

An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a War Room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn

Votes: 424,856 | Gross: $0.28M

18. Onibaba (1964)

Not Rated | 103 min | Drama, Horror

Two women kill samurai and sell their belongings for a living. While one of them is having an affair with their neighbor, the other woman meets a mysterious samurai wearing a bizarre mask.

Director: Kaneto Shindô | Stars: Nobuko Otowa, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Kei Satô, Jûkichi Uno

Votes: 14,192

Japanese movie by Kaneto Shindo.

19. La Jetée (1962)

Not Rated | 28 min | Short, Drama, Romance

The story of a man forced to explore his memories in the wake of World War III's devastation, told through still images.

Director: Chris Marker | Stars: Étienne Becker, Jean Négroni, Hélène Chatelain, Davos Hanich

Votes: 27,175

The film that made 12 Monkeys happen. A different look on time travel, told almost completely with still photos and voice-over.

20. Psycho (1960)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

97 Metascore

A Phoenix secretary embezzles forty thousand dollars 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.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin

Votes: 556,745 | Gross: $32.00M

Do I really need to tell?

21. Eyes Without a Face (1960)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Horror

90 Metascore

A surgeon causes an accident which leaves his daughter disfigured, and goes to extremes to give her a new face.

Director: Georges Franju | Stars: Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli, Juliette Mayniel, Alexandre Rignault

Votes: 23,942 | Gross: $0.05M

22. 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: 148,265

23. 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: 293,029 | Gross: $0.27M

An epic tale of modernization, made by the great Kurosawa.

24. 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: 139,948 | Gross: $0.10M

Tells a trial from every witness' point of view, made by the great Kurosawa.

25. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

89 Metascore

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.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 367,935

26. Spellbound (1945)

Approved | 111 min | Film-Noir, Mystery, Romance

A psychiatrist protects the identity of an amnesia patient accused of murder while attempting to recover his memory.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov, Leo G. Carroll

Votes: 40,274 | Gross: $7.00M

Personal Hitchcock favourite, contains a dream sequence created by Salvador Dalí.

27. Citizen Kane (1941)

PG | 119 min | Drama, Mystery

100 Metascore

Following the death of publishing tycoon, Charles Foster Kane, reporters scramble to uncover the meaning of his final utterance; 'Rosebud'.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead

Votes: 372,769 | Gross: $1.59M

28. I Was Born, But... (1932)

Not Rated | 100 min | Comedy, Drama

91 Metascore

Two young brothers throw a tantrum when they discover that their father isn't the most important man in his workplace.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Tatsuo Saitô, Tomio Aoki, Mitsuko Yoshikawa, Hideo Sugawara

Votes: 4,434

By Yasujiro Ozu, tells a story of brothers who lose their innocence.

29. An Andalusian Dog (1929)

Not Rated | 16 min | Short, Fantasy, Horror

Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí present 17 minutes of bizarre, surreal imagery.

Director: Luis Buñuel | Stars: Pierre Batcheff, Simone Mareuil, Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí

Votes: 43,104

Collaboration between Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí.

30. Metropolis (1927)

Not Rated | 153 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

98 Metascore

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.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge

Votes: 148,829 | Gross: $1.24M

The first full-length science-fiction film ever, clocking in at almost 3 hours, tells the story of... why should I tell, you NEED to watch this film!

31. A Page of Madness (1926)

70 min | Drama, Horror

A man takes a job at an asylum with hopes of freeing his imprisoned wife.

Director: Teinosuke Kinugasa | Stars: Masuo Inoue, Ayako Iijima, Yoshie Nakagawa, Hiroshi Nemoto

Votes: 2,480

aka A Page of Madness. You can watch it on YouTube.

32. Battleship Potemkin (1925)

Not Rated | 66 min | Drama, History, Thriller

In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel's officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre.

Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein | Stars: Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barskiy, Grigoriy Aleksandrov, Ivan Bobrov

Votes: 49,338 | Gross: $0.05M

33. The Kid (1921)

Not Rated | 68 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

The Tramp cares for an abandoned child, but events put that relationship in jeopardy.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Jackie Coogan, Carl Miller

Votes: 102,054 | Gross: $5.45M

34. A Trip to the Moon (1902)

TV-G | 13 min | Short, Action, Adventure

A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the Moon.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Georges Méliès, Victor André, Bleuette Bernon, Brunnet

Votes: 40,200

The first science-fiction film EVER! By the great Georges Meliès

35. Wild Strawberries (1957)

Not Rated | 91 min | Drama, Romance

After living a life marked by coldness, an aging professor is forced to confront the emptiness of his existence.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Victor Sjöström, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand

Votes: 86,947

36. A Night to Remember (1958)

Not Rated | 123 min | Biography, Drama, History

On its maiden voyage in April 1912, the supposedly unsinkable RMS Titanic hits an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean.

Director: Roy Ward Baker | Stars: Kenneth More, Ronald Allen, Robert Ayres, Honor Blackman

Votes: 12,617

37. Godzilla (1954)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

78 Metascore

American nuclear weapons testing results in the creation of a seemingly unstoppable, dinosaur-like beast.

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Takashi Shimura, Akihiko Hirata, Akira Takarada, Momoko Kôchi

Votes: 26,501 | Gross: $2.42M

38. Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)

R | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

65 Metascore

A series of vignettes that all have coffee and cigarettes in common.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Bill Murray, Tom Waits, Roberto Benigni, RZA

Votes: 56,520 | Gross: $1.97M

39. Persona (1966)

Not Rated | 83 min | Drama, Thriller

86 Metascore

A nurse is put in charge of a mute actress and finds that their personae are melding together.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Margaretha Krook, Gunnar Björnstrand

Votes: 90,747

40. Hour of the Wolf (1968)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Horror

While vacationing on a remote Scandanavian island with his younger pregnant wife, an artist has an emotional breakdown while confronting his repressed desires.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Gertrud Fridh, Georg Rydeberg

Votes: 16,619

41. Ikiru (1952)

Not Rated | 143 min | Drama

A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Takashi Shimura, Nobuo Kaneko, Shin'ichi Himori, Haruo Tanaka

Votes: 60,836 | Gross: $0.06M



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