From 1950 to 1959 there were TONS of great movies released. I love the movies from the 50’s and to try and break down a list of my top 10 favorites was very difficult, but I have the list and ready to go. But, before I give you my favorite films, and actors and actresses of the decade I want to share some of my other favorites. My best of the rest.
30. Sunset Boulevard (1950): Gloria Swanson, a star of silent films became a legend of Sound films with her protrayl of Norma Desmond. Her lines; “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small”, and “I’m ready for my close-up” are two of the most famous lines ever uttered on film.
29. African Queen (1951): This is the complicated tale of two opposites who develop an implausible love affair as they travel together downriver in Africa around the start of World War I. It also paired two unlikely stars, Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. It was also the first color film for the two leads and for director Huston.
28. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) “Stella!” Immortal words from an immortal star Marlon Brando in one of the finest adaptations of Tennesse Williams.
27. Singing in the Rain (1952) Gene Kelly never looked, acted or danced better.
26. From Here to Eternity (1953) Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr, on the beach, with the water coming up over their bodies. One of the most erotic scenes in movie history. Not to mention a great classic film.
25. Shane (1953) Alan Ladd in the most successful Western of the 1950s.
24. Rear Window (1954) Hitchcock at his macabre best with one of the most intriguing visual studies of obsessive human curiosity and voyeurism.
23. Seven Year Itch (1955) Marilyn Monroe, Billy Wilder, a street grate and a fan. The rest is history.
22. East of Eden (1955) The re-telling of the biblical Cain and Abel story. This is the only film with James Dean that was released prior to his untimely death.
21. Jailhouse Rock (1957) One of what would become a slew of Elvis Presley films, however he actually acted in. A true 1950’s rock and roll movie.
20. The Bridge Over the River Kwai (1957) The film was the number one box-office success of the year (the highest grossing film) and it won critical acclaim as well – eight Academy Award nominations and seven Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor (Alec Guinness), Best Director, Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Pierre Boulle), Best Cinematography, Best Score, and Best Film Editing. One of the greatest WWII movies ever made.
19. 12 Angry Men (1957) a diverse group of twelve male jurors who are uncomfortably brought together to deliberate after hearing the ‘facts’ in a seemingly open-and-shut murder trial case. The Jurors; Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Lee J. Cobb, E. G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Edward Binns, Jack Warden, Henry Fonda, Joseph Sweeney, Ed Begley, George Voskovec, & Robert Webber.
18. Vertigo (1958) At the time of the film’s release, it was not a box-office hit, but has since been regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. The work is a mesmerizing romantic suspense/thriller with James Stewart and Kim Novack.
17. The Blob (1958) Steve McQueen’s film debut, and the film that epitomises the rest of the many B-Movies made in the 1950’s.
16. Ben-Hur (1959) The fifties was the decade for Charleton Heston and epic movies. 1950’s version of Russell Crowe only better. And to think he almost didn’t get this role as it was turned down first by Burt Lancaster, Rock Hudson and Paul Newman. The film went on to win 11 of the 12 Academy Award nominations it received.
15. Diary of Anne Frank (1959) Shelly Winters as her best. A now classic film that is shown in Jr. and Sr. High Schools across the nation.
14. North by Northwest (1959) By far one of the most entertaining movies ever made by the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock.
13. Sleeping Beauty (1959) Walt Disney classic that endures still today.
12. Some Like it Hot (1959) Dubbed as one of the best comedies to ever grace the screen. Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis brought together by Billy Wilder.
11. Suddenly Last Summer (1959) Katherine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift in a dark, unsettling story that leaves you wanting more.
Those are not even the tip of the iceberg of the great movies that the innocent decade of the 1950’s gave us. Some day I will have to sit down and work on a top 100 films of the 1950’s but for now these are 20 of my favorites. Next up are my top 10 favorite films of the 1950’s