Your All-Time Favorite Black & White Movies

There are many fabulous B&W movies and one of the best things about them is they are virtually unknown by modern audiences. So, I hope that you will find some movies in this thread that you will truly enjoy.

I’ve thought of a few diff ways to organize this thread. I could ask people to each post the name of just one of their favorite B&W films. Or I could ask people to post as many as they feel like.

But if I did that, some lunatic (like myself for instance) would then post a list with a hundred titles and then everyone would just ignore that post and ignore the rest of the thread.

So, I’d like to ask you to post a maximum of three names of your most favorite B&W films. Then give someone else a chance to post theirs and then you can come back and post three more if you like.

I hope that will work out OK. I will start with my three most favorite B&W films of all time:

  1. The Treasure of Sierra Madre 1948 - IMO, Humphrey Bogart’s finest performance ever - directed by Walter Huston and IMO, this is also his finest film,

  2. White Heat 1949 - Gangster Film starring James Cagney - one of the best gangster films ever made.

  3. Sabrina 1954 - they can’t all be crime stories - this one’s a love story starring Bogart and Audrey Hepburn - an unlikely pair but IMO,
    it’s the director (Billy Wilder) who made this such a great film - directed by Billy Wilder and IMO, it is his masterpiece.

Duck Soup
Scarface (the Paul Muni version)

It Happened One Night
It’s a Wonderful Life

I have a hard time thinking of black and white movies as a genre, you know? There’s decades worth of movies there, from the very early silent film shorts to Kevin Smith’s “Clerks,” which have nothing in common except for the fact that they’re in black and white.

That said…

  1. Buster Keaton’s “Steamboat Bill”
  2. Fellini’s “The Nights of Cabiria”
  3. Billy Wilder’s “A Foreign Affair”

Schindler’s List

A Streetcar Named Desire
Stalag 17
Citizen Kane

Bringing up Baby

His Girl Friday
Ace in the Hole

The first three that come to mind are Casablanca, Some Like It Hot, and The Dam Busters. But there are many, many others. War movies in particular (WWII and earlier). Gangster movies, too.

Young Frankenstein

Schindlers List

Out of the Past

Bride of Frankenstein
Citizen Kane
Schindler’s List

Citizen Kane
The Third Man
In Cold Blood
The Elephant Man
The Killers

King Kong
The Maltese Falcon
The Seven Samurai
Young Frankenstein
Stalag 17
A Night at the Opera
The Day the Earth Stood Still
The General
(Buster Keaton)
The Thief of Baghdad (Douglas Fairbanks silent version)
Twelve Angry Men
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Bride of Frankenstein
Hold That Ghost
(Abbott and Costello)
Naughty Nineties (Abbott and Costello again, if only for the “Who’s on First” routine)
Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin)
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
The Thing
Paths of Glory
Dr. Strangelove
The Train

I was just going to post Out of the Past. But here are three more:

  1. T Asphalt Jungle 1950 - a great crime movie - stars Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern & Marilyn Monroe

  2. T Naked City 1948 - a great cops & robbers film

  3. Impact 1949 - a little known love story - well … love and murder - but it’s one of my favorites ever - stars Brian Donlevy & Ella Raines

Just a brief note to CalMeacham,

I see you posted “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms”.

If you liked that, I’d like to recommend another film to you:

It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955). I think it will surely please you. I think it’s one of the first movies to ever use stop-action animation to produce a truly terrifying moster. Maybe you remember it?

**Double Indemnity

Sunset Boulevard

Young Fronkensteen**

I certainly do. It’s by Ray Harryhausen, who made The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. But Beast was earlier. It is, in fact, the ur-1950s Monster Film, the first one to feature the Giant Creature Awakened somehow by Nuclear Weapons that threatens to destroy the City, but our Scientist Hero and Beautiful Assistant have One Chance to stop it, and succeed.

You can say it’s a hackneyed plot, but this is the first time it was used (before Them!, before Godzilla), so it wasn’t a cliche yet. It’s also the first time Harryhausen used his Dynamation/Dynarama/Reality Sandwich technique, which he was to use ever after (including It Came from Beneth the Sea) as a way of doing the kind of forced perspective/glass painting/rear projection shots that previously had rerquired an army of effects technicians, bujt to do it on the cheap. Truly a ground-breaking movie, much imitated. In fact, the 1998 version of Godzilla shamelessly ripped off its plot, without even a “Thank You”.
I grew up on these by the way I think I’ve seen all the 1950s Giant Monster flicks, most of them countless times. I own copies of Beast and It Came from Beneath the Sea.

  1. Caged 1950 - Women in Prison - Best Film Ever Made on this Subject - Eleanor Parker proves to be a fabulous actor - amazing!

  2. T Miracle Worker 1962 - Anne Bancroft - very inspirational film - it’s about the teacher who got Helen Keller to realize she could communicate even tho she was deaf & dumb.

  3. 5 Fingers 1952 - James Mason - wonderful spy movie - I love James Mason.

Paul Muni helped define the term “movie star”.

I hope you will check out one of his best films, “I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)”.

It’s an amazing film considering that it was made in 1932. It’s still “gripping” today.

The Manchurian Candidate
The Bicycle Thief