Classic Movies: Most Popular Articles
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While many of Hollywood's screen couples were famed for their off-screen romances, Myrna Loy and William
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ever since the advent of sound with
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.'
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 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.
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.
'Casablanca' is the movie on just about every
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.
'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.
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.
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.
Though it began in the late-1960s, New Hollywood came to the forefront of Hollywood and introduced a
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.
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.
In a thirty-year career, Clark Gable's masculine presence and dimpled grin enlivened 67 films, many of
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.
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.
An actor celebrated for his strength and authority, Gregory Peck starred in numerous classic movies and was one of Hollywood’s most iconic stars.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hearthrob Tyrone Power was the epitome of the classic movie matinee idol. Here are six movies starring one classic film's gorgeous Hollywood hunks.
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.
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.
African-American contributions to the world of cinema continue to grow. Here are 7 lesser-known, but influential classic movies featuring African Americans.
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.
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.
Part 3 of 3. Rounding out this month's Blu-ray releases are a classic courtroom drama and a somewhat controversial take on Sherlock Holmes both directed by Billy Wilder; a romantic weepy starring Barbara Stanwyck; an underrated character drama that earned David Niven a Best Actor Academy Award; and one of the most defining movies of the early 1980s.
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.
Whether you like monsters or ghosts or even aliens from another planet, there’s nothing quite like watching old scary movies. While some of these classic films seem rather tame or even laughable by today’s standards, they still manage to pack a terrifying punch. Here are just a few of some of the best horror movies from classic Hollywood and beyond.
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.
'The Great Dictator' was silent film star Charlie Chaplin's first
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nearly 30 years after his death, Alfred Hitchcock remains the dominant force in suspenseful filmmaking.
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.
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.'
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The Great Dictator ; the funny, sophisticated Philadelphia Story ; and the dust-bowl epic The Grapes
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.
'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 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.
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.
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.
Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins and Stephen Boyd star in a magnificent, thrilling story of the Roman Empire and the birth of Christ.
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.
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.
Synonymous with swashbuckling adventure, Errol Flynn was a large than life persona who became an overnight star, only to be typecast as a sword-wielding rogue for the remainder his career. During his peak, however, Flynn was one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars and became a legend after delivering the quintessential portrayal of Robin Hood. Despite his image for dashing heroics, Flynn branched out beyond costume adventure to star in everything from Westerns and historical dramas to sports-themed biopics and war movies. Here are eight classic movies starring Errol Flynn.
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.
Another month, another slew of great classic movies being released on Blu-ray. Among those making the transfer to the popular format in May are a great satire about journalism that turned out to be Billy Wilder’s first financial flop; George Cukor’s sophisticated comedy starring Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, and Rosalind Russell; Mel Brooks’ great Western spoof starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder; and an underrated murder mystery starring the master of horror Bela Lugosi. Whether one is an avid collector or just an occasional buyer, all these films make for worth additions to anyone’s Blu-ray shelf.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A former theater actor turned director, Otto Preminger quickly made a name for himself outside the studio system by directing a number of classic movies containing controversial material that challenged the authority of Hollywood's restrictive production code. Whether film noir, musicals or courtroom dramas, Preminger used taboo subjects like sexuality and drug use to make several challenging films that hold up even today. Though he was the victim of his own excessive ambitions later in his career, Preminger remained one of classic Hollywood's most significant directors.
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.
A thrilling Hitchcock suspense film, 'Rear Window' features witty dialog, clever camera angles and a still-fresh take on the war between the sexes.
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.
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.
Here are all ten Academy Award winners for Best Actor of the 1950s, with some of the finest dramatic performances of the Golden Era.
An alphabetical list of classic movies reviewed on this site and their star ratings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the most accomplished actresses to never receive an Oscar nomination, Irish-born Maureen O’Hara was the star of a number of great movies, several of which starred friend John Wayne. O'Hara was also a favored actress for director John Ford and together with Wayne the trio made everything from Westerns to romantic comedies set in Ireland. With fiery red hair and an on-screen presence to match, O'Hara exuded both charm and sexuality in becoming one of the more popular actresses of the 1940s and 1950s.
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.
With a long history of making romantic films, Hollywood is more than capable of setting the mood for those who don’t want to go out to a crowded restaurant and pay for an overpriced meal, but still want to spend some quality time with their significant other. Some here are fun and light, while others require a box of tissues to be on hand. But all are classic movies that have stood the test of time.
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.
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.
Part 1 of 3. This month a ton of great classics will be released on Blu-ray, including a great World War II comedy starring Cary Grant; a small town comedy featuring Gary Cooper; a long forgotten fish out of water comedy starring radio humorist Harry Morgan; an unrelenting crime thriller starring Lee Marvin; and a romantic comedy featuring Anny Blyth as a mermaid.
'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.
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.
The Best Picture Oscar winners of the 1960s show Hollywood throwing off old constraints and tackling serious issues of race, sex and societal issues.
Virtually peerless in natural talent and professional accomplishment, actor Spencer Tracy had an unparalleled career that spanned four decades.
A versatile actor comfortable in just about any genre, Glenn Ford excelled at playing Everyman characters trapped in extraordinary circumstances. Though noted for tough guy roles in Westerns and film noir, Ford also excelled in comedies, character dramas, and social issue movies. Ford reached the height of his popularity in the late-1950s and managed to stay relevant two decades later. Here are five of Glenn Ford's very best films.
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.
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.
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.
Part 2 of 3. Continuing the Blu-ray releases for this month are a special effects-laden adaptation of H.G. Wells' most popular story; a classic fish out of water comedy that delivered Judy Holliday the Oscar for Best Actress; a simple, but extraordinary character drama that turned Ernest Borgnine into a star; the sci-fi horror flick that put David Cronenberg on the map; and a tale of crime and redemption from French New Wave master Robert Bresson.
'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.
'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 American epic, 'Gone with the Wind' is the epitome of a star-studded Hollywood blockbuster based on a best-selling novel.
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 he had a far more prolific collaboration with John Wayne director John Ford also enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Henry Fonda. Spanning seven films over two decades, their collaboration produced some of the greatest Westerns, biographies, and literary adaptations ever made. They even made a great comedy adapted from Fonda’s Tony-winning stage production, but the two came to literal blows on set and abruptly ended what could have gone down as one of the most productive actor-director duos in Hollywood history.
One of classic Hollywood’s most charismatic leading men, Cary Grant developed a carefree onscreen persona that made him a huge box office star even though it belied his humble and rather troubled youth. Grant was one of the era’s most sought after performers and was one of Alfred Hitchcock's few favored actors. Though he never won an Oscar, Grant ranks high as one of the greatest actors of the silver screen.
Tony Curtis made dozens of films during a long, successful career. Among the most sought-after leading men of his day, he had a special talent for playing a good-looking rake and a scoundrel. Here are six great films among the many classic movies in which he starred.
A handsome devil with a cleft chin and a great cinematic profile, Kirk Douglas' career has spanned decades, and his biography is littered with big names and big events from Hollywood. he's played heroes and villains, warriors and scoundrels, always projecting a strong, masculine presence. Read about his life and work.
With an elegant and quietly commanding personality, Sidney Poitier became the first African-American to win Best Actor at the Academy Awards.
While there are more films about World War II, there are several great movies from the classic era that were made about the war to end all wars. Because World War I is often viewed today as tragic and unnecessary, more movies about it have taken on a decidedly antiwar tone, which is in sharp contrast to flag-waving pictures about its predecessor that came out in the 1940s and ‘50s. This sharper tone has resulted in some rather intense movies that showcase war in a more realistic light while seemingly presaging the dark, cynical mood following the Vietnam War. Though fewer movies about the war are made these days, World War I remains a period of fascination for filmmakers and moviegoers alike.
Part one of two. This month's Blu-ray releases include one of Jerry Lewis' most memorable films; a popular small-town drama starring a who's who of future stars; a splashy musical directed by Vincente Minnelli; a little-known spy thriller starring Burt Lancaster; and a dark psychological thriller featuring Clint Eastwood.
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.
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.
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.
One of the great actresses of the early classic era, Norma Shearer was a pioneering talent who broke the mold during the carefree pre-Code days before settling into a string of prestige films that made her the Queen of MGM.
Meow! The classic movie about an aging Broadway star (Bette Davis) and the scheming young wannabe (Anne Baxter) who wants to take over the star's career and her life. 'All About Eve' earned the 1950 Best Oscar.
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.
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.
Known for his sweeping historical epics, David Lean directed some of the grandest movies Hollywood has ever known and possessed a technical command few were able to master. Lean's blockbusters of the late 1950s and 1960s made an indelible mark on cinema and won the director two Academy Awards. While few may remember his name, Lean’s iconic movies and the powerful images they conjure remain infused in our collective psyche.