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Best black and white films of all time

  • #90. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 44,025
    Director(s): Robert Aldrich
    Featuring: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono, Wesley Addy
    Runtime: 134 min.

    The recent FX show “Feud” sparked a renewed interest in this legendary horror flick. The film stars Joan Crawford and Bette Davis as once-famous siblings who are now engaged in a bitter rivalry that turns more and more demented as the story progresses, mirroring the actresses' real-life discord.


     

  • #89. The Battle of Algiers (1966)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 46,327
    Director(s): Gillo Pontecorvo
    Featuring: Brahim Hadjadj, Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi, Tommaso Neri
    Runtime: 121 min.

    Based on a true story, this war drama depicts the Algerian Revolution from both the French and Algerian perspectives. Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo's documentary-like film is considered one of the most influential political movies of all time.

  • #88. The Wages of Fear (1953)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 47,017
    Director(s): Henri-Georges Clouzot
    Featuring: Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter van Eyck, Folco Lulli
    Runtime: 131 min.

    This 1953 French thriller follows four desperate men as they transport a shipment of nitroglycerine through Latin America without proper safety equipment. In addition to its brutal action sequences, the work explores a range of anti-capitalist themes. Both this film and the book upon which it was based would later inspire the 1977 remake “Sorcerer.”

  • #87. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 48,415
    Director(s): Robert Wiene
    Featuring: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover
    Runtime: 67 min.

    One of the most famous German expressionist films ever made, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” emanates with creepy atmosphere and avant-garde style. It centers on a crazy hypnotist and his somnambulist companion, who enact a murder and a kidnapping in the shadowy village of Holstenwall. Not only is the work often pointed to as one of cinema's first cult classics, it retains a loyal following nearly 100 years after its release.

  • #86. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 52,092
    Director(s): William Wyler
    Featuring: Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Fredric March, Teresa Wright
    Runtime: 170 min.

    Winner of seven Academy Awards (including Best Picture), this timeless drama chronicles the lives of three WWII veterans as they struggle to return to small-town society. Playing the role of Homer Parrish is real-life veteran Harold Russell, who lost both hands in the war.
     

  • #85. La Strada (1954)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 52,197
    Director(s): Federico Fellini
    Featuring: Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Masina, Richard Basehart, Aldo Silvani
    Runtime: 108 min.

    According to most cinephiles, Italian director Federico Fellini truly hit his stride with this 1954 drama. It tells the story of a traveling showman (Anthony Quinn) and his begrudging female captive (Giulietta Masina), who helps with his act. In 1957, it won the inaugural Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.

  • #84. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 52,622
    Director(s): Lewis Milestone
    Featuring: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray, Arnold Lucy
    Runtime: 136 min.

    Based on a popular German novel, this 1930 classic is considered the first major anti-war film of the sound era. When confronted with the brutalities of WWI, young German soldiers become disillusioned with the precepts of battle. The film won two Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
     

  • #83. Diabolique (1955)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 55,111
    Director(s): Henri-Georges Clouzot
    Featuring: Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse, Charles Vanel
    Runtime: 117 min.

    In this gripping French thriller, the wife and the mistress of a cruel school headmaster join forces to murder him. The plot takes a turn for the worse when the headmaster's supposedly dead body goes missing, and people start seeing him around town. Nail-biting suspense ensues.

  • #82. Wings of Desire (1987)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 55,910
    Director(s): Wim Wenders
    Featuring: Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander, Curt Bois
    Runtime: 128 min.

    Guardian angels hover over the city of Berlin in this romantic fantasy from 1987. When one of the angels falls in love with a mortal, he embarks on a quest to become human. Presented in black and white, the arthouse film offers an intimate glimpse of both the angels and the people they observe.  

  • #81. La Dolce Vita (1960)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 57,657
    Director(s): Federico Fellini
    Featuring: Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aimée, Yvonne Furneaux
    Runtime: 174 min.

    “La Dolce Vita," hailed as one of Federico Fellini's finest achievements, follows an amorous journalist (Marcello Mastroianni) and his well-heeled companions on various hedonistic adventures throughout Rome. Not only does the title endure in the cultural lexicon, but the words “paparazzi” and “Felliniesque” are likewise indebted to this singular work.  

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