Can the expression “oldie but goodie” apply to movies? It’s true that movies made decades ago did not have the same sky-high budgets or special effects as today’s films. But remember that the essence of a quality movie is in its story, and good storytelling never goes out of style. Here’s a list of the top movies that were released prior to 1960 (listed in no particular order):
1. Gone with the Wind (1939)
This film was adapted from Margaret Mitchell’s novel “Gone with the Wind” (1936). The epic film is set in America’s South during the Civil War. This story chronicles how the Civil War affected the lives of White Southerners. “Gone with the Wind” won an astounding 10 Academy Awards, which set a record that wasasted for two decades.
2. Wizard of Oz (1939)
This musical-fantasy movie is based on the children’s novel of the same title. The film includes several stars, including Judy Garland. It has become renamed for its storytelling, its utilization of Technicolor, and its special effects. The film has become one of the most famous of all time, and is included on several top 100 film lists.
3. Citizen Kane (1941)
This quintessential classic film starred, and was directed by Orson Welles. The story chronicles the life of Charles Foster Kane. Although Kane is initially intent on serving the public, he later becomes obsessed with obtaining power. The film is mainly narrated through the use of flashbacks. Many critics consider “Citizen Kane” to be the greatest film of all time.
4. Casablanca (1942)
This film has some of the most memorable one-liners in film history, including “Play it again, Sam” and “Here’s looking at you, kid.” The movie stars Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, and is set in World War II. “Casablanca” focuses on the dilemma of Rock Blaine, played by Bogart. He must choose between love and virtue. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and won three.
5. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Although set during Christmas, you can enjoy this film during any day of the year. The film was directed and produced by Frank Capra, and stars James Steward. Stewart, who plays the character George Bailey, is a man who pending suicide is halted by his guardian angel-Clarence. Clarence shows George how he has affected other people, as well as his community.
6. All about Eve (1950)
It’s difficult for anyone to ignore a film that was nominated for 14 Academy Awards (it would actually be six). The movie is based on a short story. “All about Eve” stars Bette Davis. It chronicles one Broadway star’s rise to stardom, resulting in her receiving a prestigious award.
7. Singin ‘in the Rain (1952)
This comedy-musical film stared Gene Kelley (who was also the co-director). It’s has unquestionably become one of the most popular and critically-acclaimed musicals of all time. The film is about films, and chronicles Hollywood’s transition from silent films, to “talkies.”
8. Rear Window (1954)
Alfred Hitchcock directed this suspense film. The story features Jimmy Steward, who plays a photographer. While recovering from a broken leg, the photographer observes signs that one of his neighbors may have murdered his wife. Many movie critics argument that this was Hitchcock’s best film.
9. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Set during World War II, the film is based on the novel of the same name. The story is based on the experiences of British prisoners of war, in a Japanese prison camp. All of the prisoners are required to participate in the construction of a bride over the River Kwai. The film won seven Academy Awards, including the one for Best Picture.
10. Some Like It Hot (1959)
This comedy film stars Marilyn Monroe in one of her most famous roles. The movie is about a pair of struggling musicians who witness a massacre in 1929. They flee Chicago, in order to save their lives. The men decide to disguise themselves as females, so they can play in an all-female musical band. The American Film Institute listed this film as the greatest American comedy film ever.
So there you have it! These are some of the top films that have withstood the test of time. They prove that quality filmmaking produces quality films that can last for eons.