General Question

Siren's avatar

What old movies would you suggest watching, and what is/are your favorite black/white movie(s)?

Asked by Siren (3414points) January 22nd, 2009

I’m gaining a greater appreciation for the plots and scripts from the days of the black and white movies. I have a few favorites, including Alfred Hitchcock and other film-noir genres. If you have some favorites of your own you would like to suggest, and, if you feel like it, why you liked the movie please post your comment. Also, I’ll include foreign films (with subtitles) in this question too.

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64 Answers

AstroChuck's avatar

The Loved One.
Great movie.

augustlan's avatar

The Maltese Falcon
12 Angry Men
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Quiet Man (not black and white, but worth seeing)

Siren's avatar

Thanks for the suggestions. I have never watched the Maltese Falcon in its entirety yet.

Bluefreedom's avatar

Young Frankenstein
To Kill A Mockingbird
Citizen Kane

amanderveen's avatar

Gaslight – very dark, with a superb performance by Ingrid Bergman
Rear Window – suspenseful and subtle – classic example of Hitchcock’s artistry with film
North By Northwest
An Affair to Remember (but then I’m partial to Cary Grant)
To Kill a Mockingbird
Twelve Angry Men
Heck, there are just so any fabulous old films, I hardly know which to list…. :o)

Siren's avatar

@Bluefreedom: Still more I haven’t watched. Wait, I saw Young Frankenstein! Isn’t that an 80s movie?

@Amandverveen: Gasllight is definitely one of my favorites. I like all your choices too.

I should write these all down!

augustlan's avatar

Also not black and white, but fits in with your Hitchcock fondness: Wait Until Dark

Siren's avatar

@augustian: Thanks. I checked out your link….looks pretty good (scary too).

amanderveen's avatar

If you’re really into old films, you should check out channels like Turner Classic Movies.

Oh, I just thought of another – La Ciociara (aka Two Women) – brilliant performance by Sophia Loren.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

Two great black/white films that I would recommend are Paper Moon and Miracle Worker.

Tatum O’Neale is a MILF

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Another vote for 12 angry men and of course It’s a wonderful life… i’m sorry.. it’s a classic.. i love it.

amanderveen's avatar

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

amanderveen's avatar

Actually, IMDB has a pretty extensive list that you can look at by year or genre – just check out this page.

tennesseejac's avatar

i dig the twisted stuff like:

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Night of the Living Dead

Introverted_Leo's avatar

His Girl Friday is pretty good, in B&W. It’s about a newspaper editor and his ace reporter, who happens to be his ex-wife, whom he’s (of course) still very much in love with. The humor was so fast-paced. I loved it. ^_^

You can watch the whole thing on YouTube, if you wanted to. Or just watch a few minutes to see if you’ll like it or not.

tennesseejac's avatar

that newer movie
Good Night, and Good Luck
has some great dialogue

Aethelwine's avatar

Plan 9 from Outer Space, or any other Bela Lugosi movie

Wine3213's avatar

Old horror movies (Old Legosi movies)
Old Vincent Price movies.

Jamspoon's avatar

I’ve seen a lot of these flicks people have mentioned, many being pretty phenomenal, but to throw in something not yet mentioned, I just watched “The Bicycle Thief” and it was fantastic.

It’s an Italian film from 1948. It has an apparently simple plot about a father and son, but the simplicity really allows for you as the viewer to more completely empathize with the characters rather than get caught up in too many details or overacted melodrama.

MacBean's avatar

Off the top of my head, some of my favorites that haven’t been listed:

M (1931) – I think Peter Lorre is pretty amazing.
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) – Tim Burton HAS to be a fan of this film.
Freaks (1932) – “One of us! One of us!”
Dracula (1931) – Tod Browning before Freaks shocked the world and made it difficult for him to work.
Frankenstein (1931) – I love James Whale.
The Wolf Man (1941) – I’m biased here, being mildly werewolf-obsessed.
King Kong (1933) – Time and technology will never produce a fight scene that I love even a fraction as much as I love the one between King Kong and the tyrannosaurus.
Scarface (1932) – Seriously, forget the Pacino flick. Brian De Palma can kiss my butt. Watch this instead.
The Old Dark House (1932) – SO funny.

Mmmmmmm, pre-Code film… Yum. (Well, The Wolf Man isn’t pre-Code, but it’s still great.)

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Now, Voyager
The Bad Seed
Bringing Up Baby
The Philadelphia Story
Strangers On a Train
Arsenic and Old Lace
My Name is Nobody

Maverick's avatar

Dr. Strangelove – for the past 8 years it’s been un-nervingly relevant.

Introverted_Leo's avatar

Strangelove was awesome.

“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here; this is the War Room!”

mij's avatar

Not sure how old it is?
Take a look at ” Cinema Paradiso. ”
And if your feeling frisky watch ” The Hairdressers Husband ”
And have a laugh with Peter Sellers in the ” Pink Panther ”

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Pink Panther movies are great. This is just so funny!

Brome's avatar

Forbidden Planet
The Night of the Hunter
The Unknown

steelmarket's avatar

Citizen Kane
Fail Safe
Twelve Angry Men
Cape Fear
The Philadelphia Story
It Happened One Night
The Thin Man (series)
Charlie Chan series
Tarzan series (go Johnny W)

And, for some great 50s/60s B&W SF:
The Blob
It Came from Beneath the Sea
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
Earth vs The Flying Saucers
Destination Moon
The Day the Earth Stood Still
This Island Earth

Les's avatar

Sort of an unheard movie, but try to find Gambit with Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. It is one of my all time favorites.

kevbo's avatar

Double Indemnity is another classic.

aprilsimnel's avatar

On The Waterfront – “I coulda been a contendah! Instead of a bum. Which is what I am.”
It’s A Wonderful Life – “And Happy New Year to you. In JAIL!
All About Eve – ” Miss Caswell is an actress. A graduate of Copacabana School of Dramatic Arts.”
The Maltese Falcon – “I hope they don’t hang you, Precious, by that sweet neck.”

steelmarket's avatar

Some Like It Hot – “Just keep telling yourself, you’re a boy, you’re a boy!”

aprilsimnel's avatar

The Bicycle Thief is a great movie.

kruger_d's avatar

Antonia’s Line-foreign, touching, quirky, wonderful
Babette’s Feast-foreign,great story, great food
Key Largo-Bogie and Bacall, need I say more?
African Queen-the Great Kate as feisty as ever
Roman Holiday-Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn
Rope-Hitchcock, Jimmy Stewart, the entire movie is one shot except for splice between the two reels, cool.
The Old Man and the Sea

flameboi's avatar

Celebrity, is not old, but it is in black and white

Siren's avatar

Wow…some seriously great suggestions! Thanks everyone

@amanderveen: I’ve also seen La Ciociara. It was a good movie with many themes. Thanks. And yes, I used to watch them on Turner Classic Movies, until my cable package no longer included that channel (boohoo!). I do believe that station is what started my interest (and appreciation of) older movies.

@tennesseejac and @Maverick: Yes, I remember Dr. Strangelove. I think I will rent it this weekend. Thanks for recalling that one!

@mij: More Peter Sellers. I own two of the Pink Panthers myself, and every year sit down for a good laugh (need to pick up the third one – I don’t have the first).

@AlfredaPrufrock: Ha ha! Thanks for the clip. I am a big fan of the actor.

@Jamspoon: Thanks for the international movie suggestion. I will look that up too.

@steelmarket: I have Some Like It Hot – it’s a keeper :) Thanks for suggesting it.

You guys (and gals) are great! Thanks so much for all the suggestions (and reminising..spelling right?). I’m going to make a list of all these movies.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Its not old, but its black and white, Clerks :)

Blondesjon's avatar

Not black and white, but Cool Hand Luke is one of the finest films ever made. To stay within the parameters of the question:

Alls Quiet on the Western Front

Ed Wood

Night of the Living Dead

My Girl Friday

any our gang shorts

Siren's avatar

@uberbatman: Never heard of Clerks. Will keep it in mind. Thanks!

@Blondesjon: Good suggestions. Alls Quiet on the Western Front is a cool movie. I also recommend it, especially to war-movie buffs. Ed Wood was hilarious, but it came out a few years ago, right?

Were you referring to the “Little Rascals” movies when you wrote “our gang” shorts? Just curious.

Blondesjon's avatar

@SirenEd Wood may be more recent but I believe it retains the banter and flavor of movies from that era extremely well.

Analogy- The Little Rascals is to Our Gang as Charlie Brown is to Peanuts.

alls quiet on the western front is my favorite anti war movie :)

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Siren oh man! never heard of clerks? put that at the top of your comedies to watch list

Siren's avatar

@Blondesjon: I agree about Ed Wood. Good call. And, understood regarding the leetaall rascaals :)

@uberbatman: Shall do, my good man. Shall do.

vindice's avatar

I don’t think it’s been mentioned:

Out of the Past

Jeruba's avatar

Have You Seen…? by David Thomson is a fabulous checklist, even though it is (as the subtitle says) “a personal introduction to 1000 films” and not a 1000-best or a must-see list. This was on my Christmas list, and I am now using it as a guide and a reference as I work my way through the NetFlix library.

My own top-10 list includes Fellini’s La Strada (1954) and the 1950 Cyrano de Bergerac with Jose Ferrer.

aprilsimnel's avatar

::smacks forehead::

Pandora’s Box
The Public Enemy (The famous grapefruit-smashing scene is in this picture.)
The Magnificent Ambersons
Dinner At Eight
The Private Life of Henry VIII
The 39 Steps
Yankee Doodle Dandy

See here for a list of films that were made before the Hollywood Production Code came into effect in 1934. Whoaaaa, Nelly! You’ll never think of your (great-) grandparents the same way again.

And for a great history lesson on the evolution of early “sound on film” processes, look at this Eddie Cantor 1923 (!!!) short. It’s a little vaudeville, but there’s nothing wrong with a little vaudeville, right?

No, I wasn’t a film major! Not at all! ;)

mij's avatar

Ed Wood and 39 Steps, good call…
Another favourite is Night on Earth, Helmut is one funny dude…
Also The Big Lebowski, Fargo, and Three Burials…

Introverted_Leo's avatar

Ooo, I thought of another one: Alfred Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent (1940). Another movie about a journalist: “On the eve of WW2, a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London” ( Apparently the end monologue to America over the radio is a classic, amongst other scenes. (I was on a kick watching movies about journalists from this time for a while…) But I’m sure you have plenty on your list to watch now. :)

Siren's avatar

@aprilsimnel and mij: Thanks for the suggestions.
@Introverted_Leo: Thanks for the details on the movie – I appreciate it. Sounds very intriguing. Going on my list.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

some like it hot, breakfast at tiffany’s, dracula
i’m positive that there are more, but those are my top 3

kevinhardy's avatar

dracula 1931 great flick
noseratur clasic, never forget it

filmfann's avatar

More I didn’t see listed:

The Best Years of Our Lives
The Seventh Seal
A Letter to Three Wives
It’s a Wonderful Life
The Seven Samurai
I Am Fugitive From A Chain Gang
City Lights
Safety Last
The Navigator
The Kid
The Circus
I Was A Male War Bride

Aethelwine's avatar

@filmfann Good list. Welcome to fluther!

Thank you for searching for past questions. Many of us do appreciate that. :D

Siren's avatar

@filmfann: “I Was A Male War Bride” sounds like a comedy. Can you tell me the actors in it?

Siren's avatar

Cool. Thanks MacBean.

belakyre's avatar

2012, it made me laugh so hard that coke went out of my nose in the cinema. On December 22nd, 2012, I will wake up and laugh at all those people out there who believe in this outright fallacy.

Ghost_in_the_system's avatar

Bedlam-Boris Karloff Lionel Barrymore’s Dr. Jekyll& Mr. Hyde

rovdog's avatar

In no order… those which a quick scan didn’t seem to have but I apologize if I repeat

Hiroshima Mon Amor
Pather Panchali
Tokyo Story
Sullivan’s Travels
Winter Light
Through a Glass Darkly
The Hustler
Touch of Evil
The Killing
Band of Outsiders
The 400 Blows
On The Waterfront
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

sure I can think of some more… but these are some favorites…

Siren's avatar

@Belakyre: I was interested in black and white older films, but thanks for the heads up on that movie. I think I also will be relieved when 2012 rolls around and there is no earthquake.

@Ghost_in_the_system: Cool, thanks
@rovdog: Lots of interesting movies. Thanks.

Berserker's avatar

Nosferatu and Night of the Living Dead are pretty epic.


My favs of all time “Tokyo Story” (1953) and “Late Spring” (1949).

Fairylover78's avatar

Oh, please don’t leave out the Silent Film Era!! It is so worth it!! Noone should ever go without seeing atleast a couple of Buster Keaton’s films… but there are others, non comedy wise that are very good as well. I enjoyed Metropolis quite a bit! Checkout this site, they have some great classics and quite alot of Buster’s stuff as well ;)
Can sometimes find great oldies on Netflix as well. You’d be surprised by how many you will enjoy even if you haven’t heard of them before. ( The General and Steamboat Bill Jr. are 2 of Keatons best, he acted and directed in his films and did all of his own stunts, amazing dude. He’s like 1920’s Jackie Chan ;)

JenniferP's avatar

I liked Father of The Bride (the original) and the spinoff (forget the name).

WMFlight's avatar

The Haunting
The Innocents
To Kill a Mocking Bird
The Ghost and Mrs Muir
The Night of the Hunter
East of Eden
The Winslow Boy
The Day the Earth Stood Still
The Thing From Another World
The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
The Bittter Tea of General Yen

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