Black and white movies might require a little initial adjustment to appreciate. But they also contain some of the best in classic cinema. Ranging from film noir to romantic comedies and a rating scale from the cult classic to academy award-winning drama there is something for any film fan to enjoy.
In no particular order, here are our top ten.
Schindler’s List (1993) and director Steven Speilberg
The most recent ‘classic’ on this list, brought director Steven Spielberg an Academy Award. His simple explanation for why he chose to shoot Schindler’s List in black-and-white?
He’d never seen holocaust footage in color. The choice to shoot in shades of grey adds a historic authenticity to this already true story.
A horror classic that has spawned more iconic images than nearly any other (any film buff will have that eye/drain match cut burnt into their cortex forever), rumor has it that Alfred Hitchcock chose to film Psycho in black and white to minimize the fearsome impact of the famous shower murder scene.
Citizen Kane (1941)
A film lover’s film shown in Intro to Cinema classes around the world, Citizen Kane is not only considered one of the best black and white films of all time but also simply one of the best films ever made, telling a version of the story of real-life publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst via the fictional, rosebud-loving Charles Foster Kane.
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Hollywood has a long history of making movies about itself, and Sunset Boulevard is a shining example of it done correctly, telling a silent-film-era story about the relationship between a screenwriter and a washed-up actress that criticizes the exploitation of Hollywood stars.
Chances are, half of the most iconic lines you can think of from a film come from Casablanca, a romance for the ages set in World War II-era Morocco and starring two of the most famous film stars of the golden era of Hollywood. Here’s looking at you – in black and white – kid.
It Happened One Night (1934)
An example of the screwball comedy genre and director Frank Capra’s greatest strengths, It Happened One Night tells the story of a spoiled socialite and an out-of-work reporter’s road trip adventures. Believe us, there’s a reason why this movie was the first film to win the “Big Five” Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Another of the most iconic black and white movies of all time, Some Like It Hot sees stars Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis at their best, all dressed up as the pinnacle of late-1950s femininity and jiggling their stuff to prove it.
To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
A film fit for the incredibly famous and successful novel that it’s based on, To Kill a Mockingbird tells a story about racism in the Deep South in a way that is faithful to its source material and just as moving a viewing experience as reading the book.
All About Eve (1960)
Starring Bette Davis and her famous eyes, All About Eve tells a timeless story about female jealousy, rivalry, and ambition in the setting of the Broadway stage. The film is full of career-making performances and happens to be the most Oscar-nominated film ever.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Perhaps one of the most successful political comedy satires of all time, Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove is not only known for its laugh-out-loud jokes but also just as much for its biting commentary on the Cold War and fears about a potential nuclear holocaust.