Classic Movies: Most Popular Articles
A list of Hitchcock movies that should be on any fan's must-see list. Alfred Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense, made thrillers, spy movies, horror films and mysteries that set modern standards and still delight new audiences.
With deadly charm and cool sophistication, Sean Connery inaugurated British secret agent 007 in 1962 and set forth the framework for other actors who played the role in later movies. He was icy-cold in Dr. No, charmingly witty in Goldfinger and a bit too cheeky in Diamonds Are Forever. No matter what, Connery inhabited the role like no other and remained the prototypical Bond among fans for decades.
Known for his aw-shucks manner and his ability to radiate decency on screen, Jimmy Stewart is an iconic American actor, a classic movie stalwart whose career spanned four decades. Here are nine of the best Jimmy Stewart classic movies.
The western movie is a uniquely American form, playing on the mystique of the U.S. frontier for generations of movie goers. Here are ten classic western movies, from drama to comedies, that tap into the timeless appeal of the Old West.
If you're new to classic films, here's ten great choices to get you started, from a range of genres and stylkes. Try Casablanca, It Happened One Night, To Kill a Mockingbird, Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Dr. Strangelove, Psycho, The Day the Earth Stood Still, or Ben Hur.
With his long face, shadowed eyes and short stature, Humphrey Bogart almost never made it past supporting
Many see it as the most productive year of Hollywood's Golden Age. The great classic movies of 1939, full of drama, comedy, music and magic, have never been equaled in any other single year.
Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy may have seemd an odd match: he, a solid, stolid, Irish type, she an angular East Coast patrician. Nevertheless, they were an extraordinary couple on- and off-screen. Here's a list of the best Hepburn-Tracy movies.
Whether gritty and realistic or slick and campy, spy films have been a favorite genre among filmmakers and audiences. Often set in some international locale, they featured government agents engaged in espionage in secret and at great risk to themselves. Though numerous spy movies were made prior to World War II, notably by Alfred Hitchcock, it wasn’t until the Cold War that the genre exploded in popularity. Some took the Russian threat seriously, while others like James Bond had more of a devil-may-care attitude toward the free world’s sworn enemies. In the 1970s, audiences’ paranoia turned inward in the wake of Watergate, which was best exemplified by the likes of Sydney Pollack and Alan J. Pakula. Regardless of historical influences, spy films have always been escapist entertainment for moviegoers seeking action, thrills, and clear-cut heroes and villains.
They were icy blondes who more often than not caused trouble for their leading men by making them fall hopelessly in love with them. Alfred Hitchcock's leading ladies were sensual, passionate and sometimes criminally dangerous. But most importantly, they were rich and complex, and sometimes served as Hitchcock's outward projection of his ideal woman.
Suave, funny, romantic - Cary Grant's movies show his talents as the leading man to end all leading men. Just about everything he made is worth watching - here's a list of beloved Cary Grant films.
A lumnious legend whose wartime childhood led her to support humanitarian causes throughout her life, Audrey Hepburn was a classic movie star of tremendous beauty and influential style. Here are seven Audrey Hepburn movies that should not be missed.
Ever since the advent of sound with The Jazz Singer (1927), the musical has been a popular genre that
Two legends - director Alfred Hithcock and star Cary Grant - worked together over two decades, producing four classic movies together in a stellar collaboration. All four have a place among the great films of Hollywood's Golden Age.
In the '30s and '40s, the movie-going public couldn't get enough of the 'Thin Man' movies sophistcated sleuths Nick and Nora Charles, played by screen couple William Powell and Myrna Loy. Here's the 'Thin Man' movies list - all six of the classic movies in the popular series.
While historical epics showcased stories set in antiquity, religious epics drew inspiration from the world’s most popular book, The Bible. Whether depicting the Old Testament or the New, biblical epics were always large in scope and featured some of the day’s state-of-the-art special effects. Though Hollywood stopped making large-scale epics in the 1960s due to massive costs, audience interest has never waned and many remain popular viewing on television, particularly around the Easter holiday.
The idea of Marilyn Monroe as the ultimate Hollywood sex kitten has far outlasted the idea of Marilyn Monroe movies, and she made less than 30 during her tragically short career. A star of both comedies and dramas, Marilyn Monroe's movies give fans some insight to her development as an actress.
While many of Hollywood's screen couples were famed for their off-screen romances, Myrna Loy and William
Vampire movies have captivated film-goers from creepy early silent movies to today's big-budget supernatural blockbusters. They're frightening, erotic, and often darkly humorous, and they appeal to something deep in the human psyche. Here are seven classic vampire movies worth a look.
Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins and Stephen Boyd star in a magnificent, thrilling story of the Roman Empire and the birth of Christ.
Born to be a leading man, Charlton Heston played Biblical prophets and princes, tortured artists and worn-down cowboys, policemen and clerics during his long and varied career. Here are seven classic films featuring Charlton Heston, a classic Hollywood hero.
Casablanca . Sometimes it all just comes together â the story, the cast, the dialog, the direction â
With his successful mix of bloody action, suspense, odd comic touches and a new noir sensibility, director Quentin Tarantino acknowledges his debt to these six classic films: a western, a screwball comedy, a film noir, a heist flick, a gangster movie and a horror film played for laughs. These are the classics that influenced his work.
Eight classic movies for children that will keep the adults entertained as well. Wholesome family film adventures with great art, terrific old-school special effects, live animals, singing dancing and merriment - from Mary Poppins to Willy Wonka, from Doctor Doolittle to the Swiss Family Robinson.
A glib, stylish, bittersweet romance that defined Audrey Hepburn's film career, and established an indelible image of American fashion. With George Peppard, Patricia Neal and a truly wretched bit part for Andy Rooney, 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' is still a tasty classic movie dish.
A quick guide to the genres and styles that define classic movies. Film noir, B-movies, epics, sci-fi, biopics, it's all here, along with great examples in every genre.
A luminous actress whose career spanned six decades, Katharine Hepburn started making classic films in the 1930s after starting on the New York stage. Her career had ups and downs, but she made classics throughout her career. Here is a list of must-see Katharine Hepburn movies.
If there was ever a director-actor tandem that defined the Western genre, it was John Ford and John Wayne. Over the course of five decades, Ford and Wayne made over 20 pictures, most of them Westerns and some that stood the test of time as the model for all others to follow. They made other types of films, war movies and even a romantic comedy. Here are seven of their very best.
In Depression-era Alabama, softspoken lawyer Atticus Finch takes on the case of a black man accused of assaulting a white woman. A classic coming-of-age movie from Harper Lee's best-selling novel, 'To Kill a Mockingbird.'
Veering away from darker themes and going for the cute became the hallmark of the classic Disney animated films of the 1950s. Disney's leading ladies - mostly the princesses, but one pup - dominated the decade and kept families flocking the theaters for more Disney fare.
As they loosened its production code in the 1960s, Hollywood focused more on grittier character driven films that finally gave way to the New Hollywood era at the end of the decade. News names like Warren Betty and Jon Voight were breaking through, while Sidney Poitier smashed the color barrier in 1963 with his historic win. Of course, older stars like Burt Lancaster and John Wayne also received their due, making the 1960s one of the most interesting decades in Oscar history.
Director Billy Wilder gave the world terrific movies across the genres of film noir, romantic comedy, social realism and screwball comedy. Here are ten classic Billy Wilder movies you shouldn't miss.
Following Sean Connery's second departure from the Bond franchise, producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman turned to British TV star, Roger Moore, to fill those rather large shoes. But right off the bat, Moore was roundly criticized even before his first Bond film as being too much of a lightweight to play the role. Regardless, Moore spent 12 years playing James Bond - longer than any other actor - and accounted for at least a few of the franchise's best films.
Disney's animated children's movies have dominated the field for decades, and it all began in the 1930s and 1940s, when the studio produced five classic animated feature films. Each groundbreaking and audacious -- Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi -- the classic animated movies that stand as classics still.
One of the finest actors of his generation, Richard Burton delivered a number of high-caliber performances. He was nominated for seven Academy Awards – six for Best Actor and one for Best Supporting Actor – but never won. Still, he was one of the best performers on either side of the Atlantic. Here are nine of his best movies.
Before computer graphics took audiences back to ancient worlds, Hollywood built massive sets and employed a literal cast of thousands. Fearful of the new medium of television, studios staged these films in order to draw people to theaters. It worked for a time, but by the early 1960s these epics proved too costly to make. Studios shied away from making these epics for decades, and it would take computer generated effects for studios to even think about doing such large scale movies again.
James Stewart has long been remembered for his work with Alfred Hitchcock and Frank Capra. But just as famous as 'Rear Window' and 'It's a Wonderful Life' were a series of Westerns he made in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly his image-changing films with Anthony Mann. Though not as identifiable with the genre as John Wayne or Clint Eastwood, Stewart’s Westerns rank among the best work of his career.
Alongside his old friends Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, director Martin Scorsese has made some of Hollywood's most iconic films of the last fifty years. Many of Scorsese's films have influenced countless filmmakers from his generation and beyond. But what movies influenced him as a young moviegoer? Here are eight that have been the source of his greatest inspiration.
Inspiring, heartfelt, patriotic, witty - the hallmarks of director Frank Capra's movies. Here are nine of the very best classic films from a director who brought an idealized vision of small-town America and the common man to the screen.
Made on a tight budget financed by the director himself, 'Psycho' (1960) was a major box office hit that ushered in a new genre of film and ranked high as one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best films. Starring Janet Leigh as the ill-fated Marion Crane and Anthony Perkins as cross-dressing serial killer Norman Bates, 'Psycho' has been the subject of endless fascination and speculation for over five decades.
'Vertigo' is first a dreamlike story of obsession and only second a mystery/suspense film. The classic movie with James Stewart and Kim Novak garnered mixed reviews when it debuted, but is now widely viewed as a Hitchcock masterpiece that bears repeated viewings.
Hollywood in the 1970s was markedly different than the one that existed in the previous three decades. The old studio system was gone thanks to financial struggles and a seismic cultural shift that saw the rise of the youth-oriented counterculture. Hollywood responded by opening the doors wider to more experimentation, resulting in a second golden age known as New Hollywood. Unlike the heroes of movies past, actors played a wide range of loners, iconoclasts and anti-heroes, a reflection of the new focus on gritty realism and the dark underbelly of the American experience.
A sweeping movie about the Old South, the Civil War and the adventures of Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler, 'Gone with the Wind' is the epitome of a star-studded Hollywood blockbuster based on a best-selling novel. A soap opera, a period piece, a costume drama and a Civil War epic all rolled into one of the most famous films of all time.
An actor celebrated both on and off screen for his strength and authority, Gregory Peck starred in numerous classic movies and was one of Hollywood’s most iconic stars. Peck delivered many great performances in his career, starring in thrillers, Westerns, war movies, melodramas and romantic comedies, and became forever identified as the morally upright Atticus Finch. A favorite of audiences for decades, Peck was a commercial star whose creative independence and personal integrity was never questioned.
Sometimes finding a director you like is the best way to find the movies you'll love. Here are six of the finest directors Hollywood has ever known - Billy Wilder, Frank Capra, John Ford, William Wyler, Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston -- aong with suggestions for some of their best classic films.
There’s nothing like a great classic Christmas movie to bring all the holiday memories back with a rush. Cuddle up on the couch with some hot cocoa and mini-marshmallows, and watch one of these great Christmas movies to get in the holiday spirit.
Handsome Tyrone Power showed great range during his career: lovable rogue, matinees idol, swashbuckling hero, darkly conflicted leading man, even an amoral carnival con man. Here's a profile of one of Hollywood's great stars, Tyrone Power.
A subgenre of drama, the melodrama was a popular form where the plot was enhanced and sometimes exaggerated in order to tug at the audience’s heartstrings and maximize their emotional experience. Typically, these films focused on sensational plots revolving around tragedy, loss, and unrequited love, and featured long-suffering protagonists – usually female – trying in vain to overcoming impossible odds. In the wrong hands, the melodrama was campy and over-sentimental, leading to a negative perspective on the genre in contemporary times. But skilled directors like George Cukor, Douglas Sirk, and William Wyler made excellent films and helped make the melodrama one of the more popular genres of the classic era.
An incredible talent whose contralto voice, girl next door look, and undeniable charm turned her into a star, Judy Garland was once hailed by Fred Astaire as one of the greatest entertainers who ever lived. Her starring role in one of Hollywood’s most iconic classic movies turned her into a legend, though by the mid-1940s Garland was struggling mightily from a number of personal travails. Still, she enjoyed enormous success in movies and later on the Broadway stage, though her personal struggles ultimately led to her downfall. Here are six classic movies starring the incomparable Judy Garland.
Many of the great movie monsters got their start in the 1930s, when Hollywood took classic horror novels and made them into black-and-white thrillers. Here's seven iconic monsters from 'The Bride of Frankenstein' to 'King Kong,' the legends who started it all.
The undisputed king of movie mystery and mayhem, director Alfred Hitchcock combined suspense, sex and dark humor to create masterpieces of classic film. One of the most influential directors in movie history, Alfred Hitchcock was often imitated, rarely equaled.
'The Searchers' is a classic American western, with John Wayne searching for a kidnapped niece in a bitter battle with a Comanche tribe across the wild scenery of Utah's Mounument Valley. Thought by many to be the first film to take on the racism underlying the culture clash between Indians and settlers on the frontier.
The Great Dictator is about the violence of war, the corrupting influence of power, decency struggling
Hearthrob Tyrone Power was the epitome of the classic movie matinee idol. Here are six movies starring one classic film's gorgeous Hollywood hunks.
An old staple that has been part of Hollywood since the silent era, Westerns have gone through a dramatic transformation over the years, often to rekindle interest after falling out of public favor. Gone are the stalwart heroes in white hats battling men in black during the 1930s and '40s, and in their place are the brooding antiheroes of the 1960s and '70s. Though few are made in this day and age, Westerns remain one of Hollywood's tried and true genres.
Whether conveying the heroic acts of soldiers or showing the harsh realities of battle, war movies have long been a staple of Hollywood. Everything from the Civil War and World War II to Vietnam and even ancient Roman battles have been depicted in grand fashion on film. Here are nine of the best classic war movies.
Everybody likes a good love story, and the best aren't always found in chick flicks. Adventures, war movies, even films with ghost stories can be very romantic. Here's ten classic movie romances that won't disappoint.
In the 1950s, Hollywood was forced to face changes in the media landscape with the proliferation of television. Needing to lure audiences from the comforts of their own homes and back into the theaters, studios made massive historical epics and spectacular genre films. But moviegoers also wanted character driven fare and they were richly rewarded with some of the finest dramatic performances of the Golden Era.
Hayley Mills was the perfect Disney movie star for the '60s - wholesome, adorable and a great little actress. Her performances in Disney's family friendly classic films were not only completely safe and engaging for kids, they were mostly enjoyable as well. Here are six great examples.
For the first several years of his career, Clint Eastwood struggled as a bit actor bouncing around from one uncredited role to another in movies best left forgotten. But in the mid-1960s, he was cast by Italian director Sergio Leone in a trilogy of Spaghetti Westerns and was vaulted into international superstardom. While this list barely scratches the surface of Eastwood’s esteemed career, it at least gives some idea how he developed from minor character actor to one of the most accomplished Hollywood stars of all time.
In the 1950s, sweeping epics, expensive musicals and dark dramas dominated the Best Picture category at the Oscars, along with one sleeper hit thrown in for good measure. Here are the ten classic movies that won the the top Academy Award in the 1950s - and some of the excellent films they bested.
A film noir classic, 'Sunset Boulevard' is a jaundiced look at the excesses of Hollywood, and a great story about an aging film goddess and her doomed gigolo. Witty, cynical and mesmerizing.
While best remembered for recording a multitude of hits like 'Strangers in the Night', 'My Way' and 'Summer Wind', Frank Sinatra also forged a successful film career that included starring roles in several classics and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Being a best-selling crooner, Sinatra naturally had his start in musicals, but soon displayed considerable acting chops in dramas, action movies and political thrillers.
One of the most popular movie stars of the 1950s and 1960s, Rock Hudson became well-known as a leading man in an array of romantic comedies, particularly opposite close friend Doris Day. But he also displayed considerable acting chops in a number of dramas and earned himself an Academy Award nomination for Best actor in 1956. While he projected the image of an eligible ladies man, Hudson was in fact leading a double life as a closeted gay man whose death from HIV-related illness in 1985 shocked the world. Regardless, he remained a giant star whose popularity continues unabated. Here are seven best movies starring Rock Hudson.
Though the gangster film goes back to the early days of the silent era, it wasn’t until the advent of sound that the genre soared in popularity, when real-life gangsters like Al Capone and Lucky Luciano were at the height of their own notoriety. For better or ill, the public thirsted for seeing charismatic criminals on screen. Hollywood was more than happy to oblige and in the early 1930s churned out several classics like 'Little Caesar' and 'Scarface' that served as the template for all other gangster films to follow – typically a poor immigrant who finds the American Dream in the dark underbelly of capitalism and has a quick rise to the top, only to fall prey to an even faster fall that ended in a violent death. Because of the unrelenting violence and amorality of the central characters, the gangster film contributed to Hollywood’s Production Code, which in part deemed that no criminal deeds go unpunished, no matter how untrue that was in the real world. Over the decades, as the Code was eroded by grittier and more realistic films, the gangster movie was an always popular genre that gave rise to some of cinema’s greatest stars and directors.
Having built a reputation as a genial everyman with stammering folksy charm, James Stewart completely turned his persona upside down when he began a fruitful collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock in 1948. Though they only teamed up for four films, their partnership proved to be one of the most highly regarded actor-director tandems in Hollywood history, even more so than Hitch’s own collaboration with Cary Grant. Here are the four great movies made by James Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock.
Oscars went to big, dramatic performances for Best Actor during the 1960s, but one fine comic turn won the top award, among a few other surprises. See who took home Best Actor Oscars at the Academy Awards during the 1960s.
Few stars have had a career as long and successful as Mickey Rooney's, stretching from the silent movie era through contemporary film. Mickey Rooney's biography is the story of a star who grew up with Hollywood.
Movie buffs can find tons of free classic movies online. The question is, what's worth watching? There's plenty of awful stuff available, but here's seven terrific films you can watch today on your computer screen, all well worth the time.
A thrilling Hitchcock suspense film, 'Rear Window' features witty dialog, clever camera angles and a still-fresh take on the war between the sexes, from amorous newlyweds to a henpecked husband who may have murdered his wife. One of Hitchcock's finest.
Undeniably the most iconic music star of the 20th century, Elvis Presley was also a popular box office star in the 1960s. Here are ten of his best films.
With a career that dates back to the waning days of the silent era, actor Mickey Rooney has had one of the longest running careers in cinema history. Rooney was the child of divorced stage performers who began his career in vaudeville before successfully transitioning to the screen as the mischievous Mickey McGuire. But it was playing the wholesome Andy Hardy in 16 films mostly made in the 1930s and ‘40s that skyrocketed Rooney into superstardom. From 1939-1941, he was Hollywood’s top moneymaking star while earning respect with two Best Actor nominations. After a stint entertaining the troops during World War II, however, Rooney returned to Hollywood and spent the next several decades struggling to regain his popularity. He suffered tragedy and generated controversy, while seeing only periodic glimmers of his former success. Still working well into his senior years, Rooney finally regained respect as an elder statesman of the classic era. Here are seven great films starring Mickey Rooney.
Though known later in life for his political activism and dedication to independent film through his Sundance Film Festival, actor Robert Redford was a major box office star in the 1960s and 1970s. Whether in lighthearted romantic comedies or paranoid thrillers, Redford starred in a string of hits that twice featured collaborations with friend Paul Newman. He was nominated for an Academy Award only once in this period, but that mattered little for Redford whose all-American looks and subtle humor made him one of Hollywood’s top leading men.
Newcomers often won out over established divas to become the Best Actress Oscar winners of the 1950s. In a great decade for movies, meaty dramatic roles for women were hardly in short supply, and some performers made the jump from the stage to the screen.
The Best Picture Oscar winners of the 1960s show Hollywood throwing off old constraints and tackling serious issues of race, sex and societal issues.
Hollywood loves politics. Here are ten classic political movies that explore the use and misuse of power, greed and corruption in politics from Washington to the city streets. Some of these movies about politics are cynical; some are funny; some are uplifting -- and they're all great.
The Great Dictator ; the funny, sophisticated Philadelphia Story ; and the dust-bowl epic The Grapes
Long, lean and lovable, Jimmy Stewart's biography is a classic American story. He played quintessentially American characters in classic movies. Loved by fans, treasured by friends and colleagues, James Stewart's long career earned his place among the greatest stars of Hollywood's Golden Age.
One of the funniest screwball comedies ever, 'Some Like it Hot' is sweet bit of comic fluff with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in drag, hiding out from the mob in an all-girl band, and Marilyn Monroe as a dim-but-luscious singer. 'Some Like it Hot' tops many lists of the best American comic films.
A witty and suspenseful outing set on the streets of Paris, 'Charade' is the only classic movie to pair its two great stars: Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. A clever plot, sparkling dialogue and elegant costumes make this a watchable favorite.
The beloved Christmas classic 'It's A Wonderful Life' is more than a holiday movie. It's an inspiring tale of one man's life and the lives he touches in his little town. A disappointment when it came out, it richly deserves its classic status.
After gaining notoriety on radio, Orson Welles became one of Classic Hollywood’s most pioneering directors. With his very first movie, Welles directed what many consider to be the best film ever made. Active as a director for five decades, Welles made only a handful of films, largely due to his inability to secure financing for his increasingly experimental projects. Still, he remained a highly influential auteur whose techniques changed the course of Hollywood filmmaking.
In recent years, they brought original films of great imagination and visual beauty to the screen - but what classic movies influenced the Coen Brothers' strange blend of crime, noir and comedy? 'The Big Sleep,' naturally, but how about a war movie, a screwball comedy, and a road trip classic? Here are some of the classic films that influenced the Coen brothers.
Marlon Brando was the most celebrated and influential actor of the 20th century. Employing the famed Method style of acting, Brando was a powerful and mesmerizing presence on the screen, but combative and enigmatic behind the cameras. His career spanned across six decades, though his best work came in the 1950s and often in collaboration with director Elia Kazan. His career hit the skids the following decade, though he saw a brief resurgence in the 1970s. He was idolized by fans and copied by numerous actors throughout the decades, from James Dean to Robert De Niro to Leonardo DiCaprio.
Doris Day was a phenomenon both as an actress and as a singer. She was the all-American girl next door who behind the scenes had a rather dark private life. Often paired on screen with Cary Grant and close friend Rock Hudson, Day turned in one winning performance after another and earned an Academy Award nomination for one of the most successful romantic comedies of all time.
A handsome charmer who often played the archetypical American anti-hero, Paul Newman's career stretched over decades. Here are six of Paul Newman's classic movies that showcase his talent.
In a thirty-year career, Clark Gable's masculine presence and dimpled grin enlivened 67 films, many of
The Best Actress Oscar winners of the 1960s were a mixed bunch - a fiery Italian, an elegant Englishwoman, a brash singing newcomer and several classic American actresses as the top of their games in serious dramatic roles. The Academy Awards recognized performances of great scope and breadth in the 1960s.
An alphabetical list of classic movies reviewed on this site and their star ratings.
An intense, masculine presence on screen with more than a hint of mischief in his famed dimples, Clark Gable's biography is the story of a true movie star. The 'King of Movies' was a leading man who started out playing villains, eventually starring with the greatest actresses of his day and rising to iconic status.
In just five short years, Grace Kelly rose from being a bit player to one of the biggest Hollywood stars whose elegance and radiated off the screen in several classic movies, only to give it all up to become the Princess of Monaco. Though her film career was brief, Kelly left an indelible mark on cinema.
A beloved performer who typified the onscreen Everyman, Henry Fonda was the star of many classic movies over the course of six decades. He worked with the top directors of the day and did his best work with John Ford before their falling out in 1955. Despite turning in a number of great performances throughout his career, Fonda was nominated for only two Academy Awards and won in 1981 for his final role. Still, he had an extraordinary career rivaled by few others.
'Mary Poppins' is the kind of classic children's tale that never grows old. One of Disney's most successful films, the story of a magical nanny, studded with catchy tunes and wonderful dance numbers, will keep children spellbound.
The quintessential 1950s brooding teen full of angst and rebellion, James Dean was a promising young star whose tragic death before his career started propelled him into iconic status. Dean was the star of three features films in his short career, but only lived long enough to see one of them released. He received two posthumous Oscar nominations and lived on for generations as a Hollywood legend.
In a golden decade for Hollywood, the Best Actor Oscar winners for the 1940s were a badly mixed bag. Some truly transcendent performances were recognized, and some truly great actors were snubbed. Here's a list of the Best Actors Academy Awards in the '40s.
With his manly good looks, cleft chin and memorable profile, Kirk Douglas was a classic leading man who commanded starring roles for decades. Here are six classic Kirk Douglas movies that show the range of his roles.
A vibrant actor, singer, dancer, director and choreographer, Gene Kelly became synonymous with the movie musical in the 1940s and 1950s. Along with contemporary Fred Astaire, Kelly was classic Hollywood’s most famous song-and-dance man and rode the wave of the musical genre’s height of popularity, only to fade from view by the late 1960s.
One of the longest working actors in film history, Mickey Rooney rode an enormous wave of popularity in the 1930s thanks to his performances as Andy Hardy and his onscreen partnership with friend Judy Garland. With undying optimism and an aw-shucks, can-do persona, Rooney catapulted to superstardom and became Hollywood’s top box office draw for three years running in the early 1940s...
Whether sophisticated in manner or of the slapstick variety, there's always a classic comedy for any taste. The counterpoint to drama, comedies have always been with us no matter what the medium and they always will be. Sometimes they're absurd, other times bitingly satirical, but all are designed to make us laugh. Here are just a few of the very best classic comedies ever made.
At a time when the Western had all but run its course, an Italian director named Sergio Leone came along and resurrected the genre. The stylistic film starred Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach as three desperados in search of a cash box full of money. Allegiances shift, double-crosses ensue and the three resolve their conflict with a violent finale punctuated by Ennio Morricone's classic score.
There are the Golden Globes, the Palme d'Or, the Independent Spirit Awards, the People's Choice - but let's face it, Oscar is the king of them all, and it all started with classic movies Oscars. Here are the Academy's top picks for Hollywood classics.
'Monty Python's Life of Brian' is a merry sendup of old-style Bibilical epics, and a biting satire on religion, politics and fanaticism. Rude, crude and side-splitting funny, it follows the life of Brian of Nazareth, an ordinary guy who is mistaken for the Messiah.
African-American contributions to the world of cinema continue to grow. Here are 7 lesser-known, but influential classic movies featuring African Americans.
What if two 'Strangers on a Train' meet and plan a couple of murders - but only one of them knows it's not an idle joke? Alfred Hitchcock's tense thriller plays it out in a movie with a memorable villain.
If you're looking for thrills and chills, classic horror movies have plenty to offer. While some of the old scary movies may not have the gore or the shock value of newer films, a great story well told can still jolt the bejabbers out of you. Here's nine that should do the trick.
A frothy, stylish romp on the French Riviera with two gorgeous stars and a great director, Alfred Hitchcock's 'To Catch a Thief' puts Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in the witty tale of a reformed jewel thief chasing a copycat burglar.
Classic film noir means dangerous dames, tough guys and gangsters, laconic leading men and dirty deeds. Film noir is an enduring film style that saw its golden age just after World War II. Here are several classic movies in the film noir tradition.
A direct descendant of the film noirs from the 1940s and 1950s, the paranoid thriller was a subgenre that first began to emerge in the 1960s amidst the fear of Communism during the the Cold War. But the paranoid thriller didn’t come into full bloom until the early 1970s when distrust in and fear of our own government was at an all-time high thanks to Watergate, Vietnam and the CIA. While such movies have waned in recent years, the paranoid thrillers made in the 1960s and 1970s remain popular.
While the New Hollywood era started in the late-1960s, the Second Golden Age came into full bloom in the 1970s and delivered some of cinema's greatest films. Arising out of the ashes of the old studio system, the era introduced a new generation of filmmakers - many of whom idolized directors from the classical era - and with them a renaissance of American filmmaking that saw more experimentation with tone, form and subject matter. Of course, with experimentation comes excess and by the early 1980s, the post-classical 1970s gave way to corporatized blockbusters that dominate the market even today. But for a brief period of about 15 years, studios took creative chances on films that have since become New Classics.
The 1960s were certainly a good year for Best Actress thanks to a number of meaty roles delivered by the decade's top leading ladies. Both newcomers and old favorites won, as well as some that came from outside the United States, while in 1968 the Academy had its first-ever tie in the category. Whether playing prostitutes, unorthodox teachers or foul-mouthed drunks, the performances on display in the 1960s were unforgettable.
The 1930s marked the first full decade for Oscar and with it established the beginning of the classic Hollywood era. Silent films were a thing of the past with the transition to talkies in the late 1920s, which gave rise to stars like Paul Muni, Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy. The decade saw some amazing performances, especially from the great Charles Laughton, and had the only tie for the award in Academy history.
A bubbly romantic comedy about a chauffeur's daughter in love with a rich playboy. Audrey Hepburn goes to Paris for polish and comes back to charm William Holden and Humphrey Bogart in 'Sabrina,' a classic movie directed by Billy Wilder.
Known for her sensual beauty and her many marriages, Elizabeth Taylor's movies over a long career show her to be a talented and seasoned actress who earned her status as a major movie star. Here are six of her most memorable films.
A dashing leading man in his youth, William Holden was in his prime during the 1950s with a number of comic and romantic films that were all-time classics. But when he entered the turbulent 1960s, Holden made a number of forgettable films due to contractual obligations that damaged his career. He mounted a comeback toward the end of the decade and enjoyed more critical and commercial success in the 1970s before his career faded again before his death in 1981.
More than another war, World War II has been the source of inspiration for a number great war movies. While there were numerous flag-waving films made during the war, it wasn’t until after the guns had settled that filmmakers began taking a more realistic look at the events of 1939-1945. Slowly but surely, Hollywood turned a jaundiced eye toward the good war and by the late 1970s, a public weary from another difficult war gravitated toward realistic movies that reflected their cynical mood. Whether patriotic or anti-war, there is a great movie about World War II for everyone.
Hitchcock's diverting suspense film sweeps from the sophisticated streets of New York in the '50s to the stone faces of South Dakota's Mount Rushmore. Fast-paced and clever, 'North By Northwest' is classic Hitchcock with star Cary Grant at his urbane best.
'Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb' is the funniest movie ever made about global nuclear destruction. Peter Sellers plays three roles, including the bizarre Dr. Strangelove, in Stanley Kubrick's classic black comedy of Cold War military macho and political blundering. A masterpiece.
Made long before digital special effects, The Day the Earth Stood Still still brings a chill to the spine,
One of the greatest screen actresses of all time, Bette Davis used her iron will to forge a remarkable career that boasted two Academy Awards for Best Actress among 10 nominations. A notorious perfectionist who often clashed with her directors and co-stars, Davis was nonetheless decidedly professional and delivered her best regardless of the project. She suffered numerous setbacks in her life and career, and was often parodied for her distinctive diction and over-the-top affectations. Nevertheless, Davis remained one of classic Hollywood’s greatest and most iconic stars.
'Citizen Kane' was nearly strangled in the crib by its target, William Randolph Hearst, but Orson Welles' masterpiece of film noir survived. Over the years, 'Citizen Kane' has come to be seen as perhaps the finest classic movie ever made.
Though he didn't enter films until his 30s, Burt Lancaster used his strong physical presence and winning charm to become a popular Hollywood star for over four decades. Lancaster built his career in a number of tough guy roles, before trading in his all-American image for more complex dramatic roles in the '50s and '60s. Lancaster displayed his exceptional range across a wide range of genres that included Westerns, film noir, historical dramas, sweeping romances, thrillers and biopics.
Jimmy Stewart was one of the truly great stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, playing quintessentially American roles from small-town heroes to avenging gunmen in the old West. Find resources on Jimmy Stewart here.
Mickey Rooney made some 300 classic movies in a long and successful career from child star to seasoned character actor. Here's a few Mickey Rooney movies that demonstrate the wide range of his talent.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Many stars peak
Few spoofs are as spot-on and funny as 'Young Frankenstein,' Mel Brooks' stylish tribute to the great old monster movies. If you can watch it without laughing out loud, you’re just not human.
Sometimes it's hard to believe, but some of Hollywood's greatest classic movies were box office flops when they were first released in theaters. While they have more than made up for the loss through DVDs and repeated showings on television, there are several all-time greats that you would be surprised to learn were initially dismissed by critics and audiences.
Marilyn Monroe was already a star when she stood on a New York subway grate in a white halter dress in the iconic scene from 'The Seven Year Itch.' Here's a review of the classic movie that gave us one of the most indelible images of the 20th Century.
At once a stunning beauty and an authoritative screen presence, Lauren Bacall graced the silver screen alongside her husband, Humphrey Bogart, to become one of the top actresses of Classic Hollywood. Though she delivered one memorable performance after another, Bacall was rarely showered with awards, and earned her first Academy Award nomination when she was in her 70s. Regardless of the lack of recognition, Bacall was a screen legend with an impressive body of work.
John Huston practically invented the film noir, but he was also a romantic who directed some of the most thrilling adventures in Hollywood history. His collaboration with Humphrey Bogart ranks as one of the greatest director-actor combos ever.
A legendary actress whose effortless charm and waifish beauty captured the viewing public, Audrey Hepburn transcended mere stardom to become a Hollywood icon. One of the most gifted and beautiful actresses of all time, Hepburn cemented her status as a legend by becoming one of the few performers ever to win an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony. Though her success lasted 15 years, Hepburn left an indelible mark and transcended generations as a true Hollywood icon.
The big ape who started it all in 1933 was 'King Kong,' in an early classic movie of great scope and ambition. Follow the adventures of the first 'King Kong' from Skull Island to the Empire State Building, and see how it all began.
One of classic Hollywood's most elegant actresses, Ingrid Bergman possessed an extraordinary amount of talent and glamor that helped make her one of the era's greatest stars. Having emerged from her native Sweden in the late-1930s, Bergman quickly rose to the top with her fresh Nordic beauty and soon became the ideal role model for American woman. She delivered great performances in a number of classics and became one of Alfred Hitchcock's most favored actresses. Though touched by scandal due to her illicit affair with director Roberto Rossellini, Bergman used her undeniable gifts to earn the forgiveness of her fans.
'Sergeant York' is a sharp-shooting pacifist from the backwoods of Tennessee becomes an unlikely war hero in the true story of Sergeant York and his courage in WWI. Gary Cooper stars in this great classic movie as Sergeant York, wrestling with duty to God and country.
The 1953 version of the. H.G. Wells classic 'War of the Worlds' had spectacular special effects for its day, and set the standard for Martian invasion movies. With Gene Barry as the requisite egghead scientist and some nasty Martians.
Hollywood's first decade with sound gave rise to a number of staple genres like the screwball comedy, which featured rapid-fire dialogue laced with wit and whimsy, and lavish musicals. In the 1930s, Oscar rewarded these films with its highest honor. Also in the decade was the first Western to win Best Picture, the first-ever film to win the so-called Big Five awards and the most enduring romantic epic Hollywood has ever known.
Possessing a down-home persona that was quintessentially American, Gary Cooper spent five decades making dozens of classic movies. At his peak, he was a top box office draw who earned five Academy Award nominations and won twice. Cooper died relatively young and still in his prime, but left behind a staggering cinematic legacy filled with extraordinary performances. Here are eight classic movies starring laconic everyman Gary Cooper.
An obsessive perfectionist who methodically worked in virtual reclusion, director Stanley Kubrick was at once widely praised for his technical brilliance and scorned for his film’s lack of emotional depth. He was one of the most influential directors in postwar Hollywood and has been hailed as the source of inspiration for many of Hollywood’s top directors past and present.
With intricate plots, multiple twists and turns, and gritty characters who live on the edge, heist movies have long been a Hollywood staple. Sometimes the thieves suffer the consequences of their actions and sometimes they get away with their crimes, but their carefully hatched plans almost always go awry. Here are nine of the best heist movies from Classic Hollywood.
For over 50 years, Elizabeth Taylor reigned as one of classic Hollywood's great screen actresses. Starting her career as a child performer, she blossomed into a star following her adolescent years and earned four consecutive Academy Award nominations, while becoming a top box office attraction for over a decade.
A larger than life figure who burned bright both on and off screen, Errol Flynn engaged in an adventurous lifestyle behind the scenes that rivaled his dashing performances in some of classic Hollywood’s most iconic movies. Flynn was synonymous with swashbuckling adventure and was singularly identified with the role of Robin Hood. Though he met an ignominious end at a young age, Flynn lived on as one of classic Hollywood’s greatest matinee idols.
A spine-chilling horror movie and a top-notch science fiction adventure, 'Alien' is a master class from director Ridley Scott on how to build suspense and slowly reveal a terrifying creature. Sigourney Weaver stars in the first movie in the successful 'Alien' franchise.
Virtually peerless in natural talent and professional accomplishment, actor Spencer Tracy had an unparalleled career that spanned four decades and amassed nine Academy Award nominations, a record he continues to share with Laurence Olivier. Also noted for his longtime companionship with Katharine Hepburn, Tracy had a difficult life behind the scenes as a alcoholic and philanderer consumed by misplaced guilt over his son's deafness. Regardless of his personal travails, Tracy was a giant among leading men who starred in countless box office hits that remain classics to this day.
The timeless Disney classic adventure movie, the plucky Swiss family Robinson, shipwrecked on a desert island, builds a fabulous tree house, cavorts with exotic animals and battles pirates. A rollicking good time.
Born during the Great Depression, the screwball comedy had a brief, but dynamic life during the 1930s and 1940s. Featuring fast-paced dialogue, clashes between the sexes and social classes, and farcical situations involving romance, the genre
Provocative, crude and hilarious, Mel Brooks' 'Blazing Saddles' is a classic comedy that turns the western movie genre on its head, and takes on racism with daring humor. A side-splitting, raucous spoof like no other.
With summer almost in full swing, it's a good time to take a look at some of the great movies about baseball. Initially a subject shied away from by studios - producer Samuel Goldwyn once said they're box office poison - baseball has given rise to some classic movies. While most baseball movies focus on a particular giant of the game, even fictional ones, there are some that have broken the mold of the standard biopic. Here are seven classic baseball movies for fans and non-fans alike.
Mae West utters her most famous - and most often misquoted line - in 'She Done Him Wrong,' a scandalous melodrama that shot Cary Grant to stardom in 1933. Sexual frankness and racy songs helped spur enduring censorship after the blue-nose backlash to 'She Done Him Wrong.'
Born in Russia and possessing Swiss heritage, Yul Brynner cut his teeth on the stages of Moscow and Paris before arriving in New York, where he began playing his most beloved and identifiable role, the King of Siam. With his trademark shaved head, Brynner became a top box office star in 1956 and was immediately propelled into an unlikely matinee idol. He remained atop the heap throughout the 1960s, but his star began to wane in the 1970s despite continuous work on stage and screen. But all throughout, Brynner triumphed as the King of Siam, playing the role some 4,600 times when all was said and done, even when his health deteriorated in the mid-1980s from lung cancer. A larger than life figure, Yul Brynner has lived on as one of classic Hollywood’s most durable stars.
Whether for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, or Best Director, there has been some winner who could charitably be said to have been less than deserving of the Oscar. Some winners have benefited from weak competition, others were rewarded for the entirety of their careers, and at least one manged to win because of threats to Academy voters. Though a comprehensive list would be exhausting, here are six of the most egregious winners of the Academy Award.
A fast-paced, tightly woven 1935 suspense film by Alfred Hitchcock, 'The 39 Steps' establishes many of the themes that would return in Hitchcock's later work. With clever dialog, darkly comic scenes, and Robert Donat as the dashing hero.