Ready to find out which movies were popular in the year you were born? Then, we’ve got you covered. Here are two top films from each year in the decade. Enjoy!
1. Sunset Boulevard (1950)
The Billy Wilder-directed classic film noir Sunset Blvd puts spectators in Hollywood’s glamorous yet dangerous world. Norma Desmond, a former silent cinema star, and Joe Gillis, a struggling screenwriter, are the story’s subjects. The movie examines topics like obsession, popularity, and the cost of success while providing an eerie portrait of the shadowier side of the entertainment business.
2. Rashomon (1950)
Directed by Akira Kurosawa, Rashomon is a groundbreaking Japanese film known for its innovative storytelling technique. The movie presents different perspectives of a crime through the eyes of multiple characters, leaving the audience to question the truth. This exploration of subjective reality and human nature continues to be a thought-provoking masterpiece in cinema history.
3. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Elia Kazan’s stunning drama A Streetcar Named Desire, based on Tennessee Williams’ play, is set in New Orleans. The film follows Blanche DuBois as she moves in with her sister, Stella, and her abusive husband, Stanley. The story delves into themes of desire, class struggle, and mental instability, with remarkable performances by Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando.
4. Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Disney’s animated adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s beloved tale takes viewers on a whimsical journey through Wonderland. Filled with colorful characters and imaginative settings, the film follows Alice as she encounters curious creatures and navigates a world of nonsense. The film’s magic and charm have made it a timeless classic for viewers of all ages.
5. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Singin’ in the Rain, directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, is a delightful musical comedy set during the transition from silent to talkies. The movie stars Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor and has spectacular dance moments, charming music, and lighter humor. It celebrates the magic of Hollywood while exploring the challenges performers face during a transformative era in cinema.
6. Affair in Trinidad (1952)
Starring Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford, Affair in Trinidad is a suspenseful film noir set against the backdrop of Trinidad. The movie follows a woman who investigates her husband’s suspicious death and becomes entangled in a web of intrigue and danger. With its captivating plot and charismatic performances, the film blends mystery and romance.
7. Roman Holiday (1953)
Directed by William Wyler, Roman Holiday is a charming romantic comedy that stars Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Hepburn portrays a princess who flees her royal duties and goes on a whirlwind adventure in Rome. The film captures the magic of the city and the blossoming romance between the princess and an American journalist, creating an enduring classic.
8. From Here to Eternity (1953)
Based on James Jones’ novel, From Here to Eternity is a wartime drama directed by Fred Zinnemann. Set in the days leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the film explores the lives and relationships of soldiers stationed in Hawaii. With a stellar cast including Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, and Deborah Kerr, the movie delves into themes of love, duty, and sacrifice.
9. Seven Samurai (1954)
Directed by Akira Kurosawa, Seven Samurai is a legendary Japanese epic that profoundly influenced cinema. Set in feudal Japan, the film follows a group of skilled samurai who are hired to protect a village from bandits. The film is considered a masterpiece of global cinema because of its deep character development and great narrative.
10. On the Waterfront (1954)
On the Waterfront is a somber drama that Elia Kazan directed and stars Marlon Brando. The movie’s main character is a longshoreman who joins the battle against dockside corruption and mob control. The movie’s status as a classic in American cinema has been cemented by Brando’s legendary performance and its examination of morality and redemption.
11. Diabolique (1955)
Diabolique, directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, is a French psychological thriller that keeps spectators on the edge of their seats. The story follows two women who conspire to murder a man, but their plan takes a dark and unexpected turn. The film is celebrated for its suspenseful atmosphere, intricate plot twists, and memorable characters.
12. East of Eden (1955)
Based on John Steinbeck’s novel, East of Eden is directed by Elia Kazan and stars James Dean in his iconic role. The film depicts the interaction of a disturbed young man with his estranged father against the backdrop of a stormy family history. Dean’s intense performance and the exploration of family dynamics contribute to the movie’s lasting impact.
13. Giant (1956)
With Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean in the lead roles, George Stevens’ epic drama Giant spans centuries. The movie explores themes of wealth, racism, and cultural change while following the lives of a Texas cattle ranching family across several decades. Giant is a sweeping movie experience with its vast grandeur and strong performers.
14. The Searchers (1956)
The Searchers, a Western classic directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne, deals with themes of redemption and racial struggle. Wayne’s character embarks on a relentless search for his kidnapped niece, encountering various challenges and moral dilemmas along the way. The film’s breathtaking landscapes and complex characters make it a definitive work in the genre.
15. 12 Angry Men (1957)
Directed by Sidney Lumet, 12 Angry Men is a courtroom drama that takes place almost entirely within the confines of a jury deliberation room. The film follows a jury’s deliberations as they decide the fate of a young man accused of murder. Through intense debates and character interactions, the movie explores prejudice, justice, and the power of critical thinking.
16. Paths of Glory (1957)
The fastening anti-war movie Paths of Glory is directed by Stanley Kubrick and is set in World War I. The Kirk Douglas-led film centers on a squad of soldiers falsely convicted of cowardice and sentenced to a court-martial. The film exposes bureaucracy, the terrible realities of war, and the moral difficulties people in authority face eloquently.
17. Touch of Evil (1958)
Directed by Orson Welles, Touch of Evil is a film noir that showcases Welles’ unique visual style and storytelling techniques. The movie follows a Mexican detective and an American investigator as they unravel a complex murder case along the U.S.-Mexico border. Known for its iconic opening tracking shot, the film immerses viewers in a world of corruption and suspense.
18. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
Based on Tennessee Williams’ play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is directed by Richard Brooks and stars Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. The film delves into the dysfunctional dynamics of a wealthy Southern family as they gather for a birthday celebration. Themes of greed, desire, and suppressed emotions take center stage in this compelling drama.
19. Some Like It Hot (1959)
A timeless comedy starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon, Some Like It Hot was directed by Billy Wilder. The movie centers on two musicians who pose as women to flee the mob and join an all-female band. The comedic classic continues to be a fan favorite thanks to its sharp humor, amusing miscommunications, and legendary performances.
20. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder is a courtroom drama that addresses challenging moral and legal issues. A defense lawyer takes on the case of a man accused of murder in the James Stewart-starring movie. The movie delves into the legal system’s intricacies and the ethics and motivations behind criminal activity.
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