Top Ten Favorite Films of the 1950’s

When the swarm of literally tens of thousands of films nesting inside a dedicated movie buff’s head or in a beard-like formation atop of the lower portion of their face reaches critical mass and the buzz becomes too busy to ignore, there’s but one thing to do – not counting inspired uses of a vacuum blower – and that’s compile a Top 100 list.

This particular hive will be organised according to time period – nominating ten beloved films from each of the decades from the 1940’s through to the 2010’s. That will total eighty films, so twenty selections will be included for the 1970’s and 80’s – ‘my‘ decades.

The 1950’s was a decade marked by the post World War 2 boom. The struggle between communism and capitalist systems around the world was in full swing. Politically this time included the assignations of the King of Jordan (1951) and the Presidents of Panama (1955), Nicaragua (1956) and Sri Lanka (1959). The invention of the solar cell and the opening of the world’s first nuclear power plant (in Moscow) took place in this decade.

Academy Award winners for Best Picture during this decade were –

And here are my ten favorite films from this period –

Every frame of these ten films a feast!

Ps. Concise as this list is, naturally there were regrets for the favorite films room couldn’t be found for. Janet Leigh and Tony Curtise’s HOUDINI (1953) was one such film.

The sci-fi/’horror’ classic THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951) was another. An omission of downright atomic proportions was inexplicably somehow not managing to find room for Mickey Rooney’s retro-hilarious THE ATOMIC KID (1954). Still wondering how that oversight happened…

Pss. Wanna see another person’s ‘Best Films of the 50’s’ list? Click HERE

10 thoughts on “Top Ten Favorite Films of the 1950’s

  1. A good list Glen but one you missed and a favourite of mine is “The Wild One” from 1953. A young and dangerous looking Marlon Brando leads a pack of motorbikers terrorizing small town Christian folk in country USA.

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  2. Think the 50s could be my favourite year! Well since I started my film blog and I started discovering so many gems. They really liked to poke the boundaries with a stick.

    Glen you put Seven Brides For Seven Brothers in there!………. Hat a doffed to you sir. Massive favourite of mine. Mum loved Howard Keel so that and oh course Calamity Jane were played all the time.
    Incidentally too, last night I was in War Of The Worlds heaven as a screening of Jeff Wayne’s musical was played for free on YT. Such an event. That double LP was the played over and over as a teen. Still play it at least 3 times a year in full. I was so excited waiting for it to start. Then sang-along as the Martian’s smashed up the place. The ole cronnie virus would get them pretty quick if they came now. lol…

    Out of your ten there’s a few I haven’t yet seen! I know right!! Horror Of Dracula, Houseboat and The Admirable Crichton. BUT the one I’ve had sitting there itching to watch has been Stalag 17. One of those films I know I’m gonna love and want that perfect time to watch. Gonna make sure I watch it before the year is out.

    Plus a John Candy gif. Yes sir brilliant 🙂

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  3. When a grand wizard of filmology the likes of you Mikey speaks – people listen!
    I too remember that double album of War of the Worlds.
    I was first introduced to it by a teacher at school who played it to the class at the end of a school year.
    I remember he had us all relax lying on all backs on the carpeted classroom floor while the story and it’s brilliant narration, sound fx and music played. It really seeped into my twelve year old brain.

    Here’s to ‘Seven Brides’! I wouldn’t say I’m into many musicals but I’ll make a big exception with that little gem. And as to Stalag 17 – what can one say other than ‘great film’ and ‘superb performance by William Holden’. I think I’ll always remember one of his final lines in the movie he says to his fellow ‘war buddies’ (who’ve all given him a hard time for the duration) when he’s about to escape the German prison on war camp. Something along the lines of “And if ever see any of you bums again let’s just pretend we never met”.

    He was a truly charismatic anti-hero in that movie, to be sure.

    I will say, without giving too much away, that the hanging lightbulb shown in the first few seconds of this clip is absolutely integral to the mystery plot thread throughout the film –


  4. Glen, Glen, Glen… “All About Eve” was written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, not Billy Wilder.

    Some interesting choices here, including a couple I haven’t seen. “The Admirable Crichton” looks like it’s right up my alley. But if we’re talking Hitchcock/Stewart combos, it’s got to be “Vertigo” over “Rear Window”. The latter may be the perfect Hitchcock movie, but the former is simply the perfect movie.

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  5. Ooops!

    A little bit of fact-checking on your part Dean has caught me with my boxer shorts down around my ankles!

    I must have crazily figured somewhere along the line Billy Wilder was responsible for so many other classics he probably had a hand in ALL ABOUT EVE (1951) as well.

    For a dedicated cinephile like myself that degree of looseness with facts is a sackable offence! And it’s taken an equally dedicated cinephile with powers even greater than my own to set me straight.

    Thankyou Dean!

    And yeah, every film buff has their favorite Hitchcock film no doubt. Probably my #2 pick for a James Stewart/Alfred Hitchcock collab would be ROPE (1948).


  6. Yes, sorry I had to get all David Stratton on you, Glen, and give you a rap over the knuckles for that rookie mistake. 😉 But it’s an easy mix-up. The two films were both up for the Best Picture Oscar in the same year; both are by superlative writer/directors, absolute masters of cinematic dialogue; and there’s a similarity of theme between the two films: Wilder, in “Sunset Blvd.”, cuts Hollywood off at the knees, while Mankiewicz, in “All About Eve”, cuts Broadway off at the knees.

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