Classic Movies: Most Popular Articles
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.
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.
Alfred Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense, made thrillers, spy movies, horror films and mysteries that set modern standards and delight new audiences.
The western movie is a uniquely American form, playing on the mystique of the U.S. frontier. Here are ten classics about the Old West.
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.
Actor Jimmy Stewart was known for his aw-shucks manner and his ability to radiate decency.In a film career spanning four decades, here are nine of his best.
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.
Two legends - director Alfred Hithcock and star Cary Grant - worked together over two decades, producing four classic movies together.
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.
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.
Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy may have seemed an odd match, but they were an extraordinary screen couple.Here's a list of their 6 best films together.
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.
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.
There is no shortage of great Christmas films that were made in the classic era, which is why cable networks air then nearly round the clock during the holiday season. Whether dealing with ghosts visiting a miserly Scrooge, an angel trying to show what life would be like without a small town banker, or a nine-year old boy who will risk shooting his eye out for a BB gun, there are plenty of great Christmas movies for everyone. Here are seven the entire family can enjoy.
A list of some of Humphrey Bogart's best movies, from hard-boiled private detectives in classic film noir to the ravings of a paranoid ship captain.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
'Casablanca' is the movie on just about every
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While many of Hollywood's screen couples were famed for their off-screen romances, Myrna Loy and William
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.
Nearly 30 years after his death, Alfred Hitchcock remains the dominant force in suspenseful filmmaking.
One of the most highly regarded actor-director tandems in Hollywood history, here are the four great movies made by James Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock.
Spanning three decades and eight films, most of them in the crime drama genre, the collaboration between actor Robert De Niro and director Martin Scorsese ranks was one of the greatest of all time. The two were brought together by mutual friend, actor Harvey Keitel, and made some of the best films ever made. Here are five of the best films made between Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese.
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.
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.
In the '30s and '40s, the movie-going public couldn't get enough of sleuths Nick and Nora Charles. Here's a list of all six 'Thin Man' movies.
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.
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.
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.
Cary Grant plays an angel come to earth in 'The Bishop's Wife,' a Christmas movie classic. The angel is supposed to be answering the prayers of a beleaguered bishop who wants to build a cathedral, but finds himself a bit distracted by the bishop's beautiful wife.
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.
In Depression-era Alabama, soft-spoken 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.'
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.
She was the ultimate Hollywood bombshell, a sultry siren who sang, danced and flipped her long red hair into becoming a screen legend. On screen, Rita Hayworth was charismatic and oozed sex appeal, but off screen she was admittedly shy and suffered from a series of failed marriages. Though her career eventually faltered, she was one of the top box office draws of the 1940s. There have been numerous unforgettable actresses from the classic era, but there was no one quite like Rita Hayworth.
Ever since the advent of sound with
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While many classic Christmas movies have been released on DVD, only a few have made it to the Blu-ray format. But there are certainly enough to fill anyone's stocking this year. Here are seven classic holiday films that will make someone's Christmas bright.
The 1970s were a dazzling decade for classic movies in America, and the competition for the Best Picture Oscar winners of the decade was fierce. Here's a list of the 1970s winners, along with often-superior movies they bested.
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.
In a thirty-year career, Clark Gable's masculine presence and dimpled grin enlivened 67 films, many of
An actor celebrated for his strength and authority, Gregory Peck starred in numerous classic movies and was one of Hollywood’s most iconic stars.
A timeless classic, 'The Wizard of Oz' has delighted legions of children and adults the world over for decades. Based on a much-loved children's book, the 1939 classic movie has stood the test of time.
'The Great Dictator' was silent film star Charlie Chaplin's first
African-American contributions to the world of cinema continue to grow. Here are 7 lesser-known, but influential classic movies featuring African Americans.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A thrilling Hitchcock suspense film, 'Rear Window' features witty dialog, clever camera angles and a still-fresh take on the war between the sexes.
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.
Al Pacino delivered the best performance of his career in Sidney Lumet's 1975 classic that combined a thrilling real-life bank heist and hostage situation with searing social commentary on police brutality and the three-ring circus mentality of the media. It starred Al Pacino as Sonny Wortzik, a desperate Vietnam War veteran who tries robbing a Chase Manhattan bank in Brooklyn. Pacino earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, Lumet received a nod for Best Director, and the film itself was up for Best Picture.
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.
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.
An incredible talent whose contralto voice and girl next door look turned her into a star, here are 6 classic movies starring the incomparable Judy Garland.
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.
Here are all ten Academy Award winners for Best Actor of the 1950s, with some of the finest dramatic performances of the Golden Era.
Classic movies make great gifts, enjoyed not only by the recipient, and anybody else in the household. So if you don't know what to get Mom for her birthday, or Sis for graduation, here’s a somewhat tongue-in-cheek list of great classic films for every family member.
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.
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.
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.
'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.
The quintessential American epic, 'Gone with the Wind' is the epitome of a star-studded Hollywood blockbuster based on a best-selling novel.
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.
Though largely associated with gangster films, James Cagney was also a comedian, romantic lead and song-and-dance man. Cagney got his start in vaudeville and made his film debut at the start of the talkie era. He had an acrimonious relationship with his home studio, Warner Bros., but over time delivered one quality performance after another and proved himself to be one of Hollywood's most bankable stars.
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.
Gene Wilder was never better than in 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.' His off-kilter turn as a genius candy inventor who teaches a lesson to some very naughty children is a quirky classic children's movie.
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.
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.
While not as highly regarded as other actor-director combos, like Alfred Hitchcock and James Stewart or George Cukor and Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and John Huston collaborated on five films, four of which have stood the test of time as all-time classics. Combining Huston’s dramatic ambition with Bogie’s world-weary persona, their partnership was the stuff dreams were made of, as the two were kindred spirits both on- and off-screen. Bogart won his only Oscar thanks to his work with Huston, while in turn the director won his only Academy Award for Best Director. Here are four great classic movies made by Humphrey Bogart and John Huston.
Though known later in life for his political activism and dedication to independent film, actor Robert Redford was a box office star in the 1960s and 1970s.
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.
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.
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.
The ultimate damsel in distress, Fay Wray was a popular actress who starred opposite top leading men like Gary Cooper, Fredric March, and William Powell, and was vaulted into iconic status as Hollywood's most famous scream queen.
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.'
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.
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.
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.
Hearthrob Tyrone Power was the epitome of the classic movie matinee idol. Here are six movies starring one classic film's gorgeous Hollywood hunks.
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.
Once the high-flying golden boy of New Hollywood following a string of hits in the early 1970s, director Peter Bogdanovich took a mighty fall toward the end of the decade when he allowed his personal dalliances ruin his career. He had a great run in the early 1970s, but by the end of the decade he suffered a string of flops. Bogdanovich managed a brief comeback in the 1980s, only to fade away from view. Here are five great films directed by Peter Bogdanovich.
Whether depicting the Earth being invaded by robots or a futuristic world devastated by some manmade disaster, science fiction has long been a staple of Hollywood. Starting as a speculative genre of what was possible for mankind, science fiction was transformed by Cold War paranoia in the 1950s and became more allegorical of man's deep-rooted fears. Limited filmmaking technology often relegated these to B-movie status until daring filmmakers like Robert Wise and Stanley Kubrick elevated the genre to new heights. By the time George Lucas shattered box office records with his famed space franchise, science fiction had left behind its more allegorical roots as technology appeared to be something of a means to an end, though the genre itself was more popular than ever.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
While there are thousands of movies that have fallen into the public domain, most have been long forgotten or were never on the radar in the first place. But some classic movies that were released by major studios and are still well-known by even casual fans have inexplicably seen their copyrights lapse. For some reason, the copyright owners – whether the studios or some other entity – failed to renew the films’ copyrights after 28 years, making them common property and allowing just about anyone to freely distribute. There are many films that have slipped into the public domain throughout the decades, so here are just a few of the great ones.
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.
The Best Picture Oscar winners of the 1960s show Hollywood throwing off old constraints and tackling serious issues of race, sex and societal issues.
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.
A profile of one of Hollywood’s great stars, Tyrone Power, who was not only handsome but also showed great acting range during his career.
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.
Bette Davis makes a spectacle of herself in 'Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?' transforming herself into a hideous harridan in an over-the-top role as a spoiled former child star, forced to play nursemaid to her crippled sister - played by the equally formidable Joan Crawford. The two divas play out their legendary rivalry in a campy, gothic horror movie.
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.
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.
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.
'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.
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.
An alphabetical list of classic movies reviewed on this site and their star ratings.
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.
Fleming was a powerful force behind the camera, with two of the greatest films of all time, 'Gone With the Wind' and 'The Wizard of Oz.'
A list of early classic movies from the most commercially successful director of all time.
An epic Western that upended Old West mythologies at the same time it recalled them, 'Once Upon a Time in the West' stands alongside some of the best films ever made in the genre. Featuring an all-star cast, the film also turned audience perceptions on their heads by turning heroic everyman Henry Fonda into one of the most ruthless killers ever to appear on screen. Directed by Sergio Leone, the film had a slow meditative pace, epic scope, and striking visuals that elevated a simple revenge story into an extraordinary Western that has influenced countless filmmakers.
One of the funniest screwball comedies ever, 'Some Like it Hot' is sweet bit of comic fluff starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Marilyn Monroe.
A list of great films from the New Hollywood era starring two-time Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman.
Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins and Stephen Boyd star in a magnificent, thrilling story of the Roman Empire and the birth of Christ.
'The African Queen' is the only screen pairing of Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, a rip-roaring adventure movie with a satisfying love story. Director John Huston's sweeping film is set in colonial Africa during World War I. It pits English spinster Hepburn, scruffy Canadian expat Bogart and their plucky little boat, the African Queen, against the Germans.
'Carrie,' the classic that launched a bloody deluge of teen horror films, still packs plenty of suspense, humor, camp, and a few genuine chills.
A sensation both as an actress and as a singer, Doris Day typified the All-American girl next door whose shining virginal persona onscreen belied a private life plagued by abuse and multiple marriages. As an actress, Day delivered exuberant performances in a string of musicals and comedies, ultimately becoming the top box office star in the early 1960s thanks to a trio of collaborations with Rock Hudson. Though she tried subverting her virginal image with the occasional thriller, where she displayed considerable chops as a dramatic actress, Day found her greatest success with fluffy romantic comedies that eventually fell out of favor during the sexual revolution of the mid-1960s. Still, Day was fondly remembered by legions of classic movies decades after she retired and today remains one of the era’s most popular performers. Here is a list of eight fantastic movies starring Doris Day.
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.
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.
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.
One of the most taciturn leading men of any era, Charles Bronson spent years working as supporting player throughout the 1950s and early '60s until finally becoming a star. Known for playing unemotional tough guys more comfortable using violence over words, Bronson became a top box office draw during the turbulent late-1960s and early '70s, when he played hard-nosed vigilantes who took matters into their own hands. Though his starred dimmed in the following decades, Bronson lived on as one of the great action stars of his generation.
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 lovely actress from Hollywood's golden age, Olivia de Havilland brought sensitivity and intelligence to her roles, and her career in movies and television spanned more than 50 years. Her biography is a veritable history of Hollywood.
Virtually peerless in natural talent and professional accomplishment, actor Spencer Tracy had an unparalleled career that spanned four decades.
A pretty school marm, a dastardly villain, a couple of rakish outlaws and a legendary gunslinger round out the western cliches in this great spoof, 'Cat Ballou.' Lee Marvin won an Oscar for his double role in this funny, classic movie.
'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.
Having emerged from the silent era, Hollywood entered into its first full decade of talkie films and with it came some extraordinary pictures made by some of the greatest directors of all time. Names like John Ford, Frank Capra, Victor Fleming and Leo McCarey all rose to prominence and won Oscars for films that have since become masterpieces. Here are all the Academy Award winners for Best Director in the 1930s.
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.
Noted for his many Westerns, particularly the ones he made with frequent collaborator John Ford, John Wayne rose from being a bit player in B-movies in the 1920s to become an American institution. Wayne was an enduring icon of All-American values and rugged individualism who ranked high on the list of screen legends that includes Charlie Chaplin, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart.
With an elegant and quietly commanding personality, Sidney Poitier became the first African-American to win Best Actor at the Academy Awards.
A complex film noir, 'The Big Sleep' features Humphrey Bogart in one of his most layered roles as Phillip Marlowe, and provides a great showcase for the Bogart and real-life love Lauren Bacall. Clever dialogue highlights intelligent, suspenseful mystery in 'The Big Sleep.'
Alfred Hitchcock’s career spanned across six decades and over 50 feature films. The acknowledged “Master of Suspense” practically invented the thriller and was a brilliant technician who deftly blended sex, suspense and humor into the genre.
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.
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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.
'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.
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.
The Great Dictator ; the funny, sophisticated Philadelphia Story ; and the dust-bowl epic The Grapes