In about 5 days I’ll be leaving the 1940’s and entering the 1950’s. This clearly means I’ll be looking for some film recommendations! I already have a list that I’ve made to work off of. Problem is, as always, it is far too long to feasibly work my way through. So I’ll need help narrowing down which films I should make a point not to miss. I will admit there are a handful of these I have as absolutes already. But I still want an idea of what I simply ‘must’ see out of these.

I am also taking recommendations not on this list, which can be done in the comments section or in the space for ‘Other’. If it is not on this list, there is a chance I have seen it. Even so, please comment with other picks! For a reference point, I’ve seen around 150 films from the 1950’s altogether.

Be sure to comment and/or participate in the poll! There’s so much to see but I can only stay with this decade for roughly a month!


15 thoughts on “Poll: 1950’s Film Recommendations

  1. I haven’t seen the majority of the ones you have listed, as I’m shamefully uneducated on 50’s cinema, but definitely check out Good Morning, it’s delightful. I just watched The Fly recently and it was better than I’d expected it to be. You’ve probably seen The Wages of Fear, but if you haven’t, I strongly recommend it.

  2. Great poll. Many of my favourite films of the 50s are on it, thankfully, such as Ordet and Smiles of a Summer Night. I’ll recommend a few other titles you’ve probably seen: Night and Fog (the best film of that decade, in my opinion), Diary of a Country Priest, Summer Interlude, Sawdust and Tinsel, Umberto D and Ace in the Hole.

  3. I’m going to just dump my favorite 50s movies here, at least the ones I don’t know if other people would argue for! Gojira, Paths of Glory, Sweet Smell of Success, Elevator to the Gallows, Kiss Me Deadly, Forbidden Planet, Horror of Dracula, and Seven Up.

  4. DEFINITELY see Ordet. I need to rewatch it myself but I keep assuming Criterion will wise up and upgrade some Dreyer to Blu-Ray. It’s an absolute masterpiece. Likewise, A Man Escaped is one of those films you can’t not see. Until I saw L’Argent it was my favorite Bresson. The Big Heat is also great, probably the best American Lang film. There’s also, of course, Lang’s Indian Epic, made just before the decade’s end back in Germany.

    Party Girl isn’t a priority, but my GOD the visuals. I watched every (or nearly every) Ray film for a blogathon last year and pretty much my review for PG was a few paragraphs and then a sea of screen grabs.

    Couple of other possibilities (some of which I haven’t seen):
    Late Chrysanthemums
    Anything by Frank Tashlin (I need to see these myself)
    Anything by Sam Fuller, esp. Park Row

    1. Thanks Jake! Ordet will likely be the first film I watch from whatever the final list ends up being. I feel I need to rectify not having seen it as soon as possible. Same goes for A Man Escaped. I haven’t seen L’Argent! I’ve seen 4 Bresson films but not those 2. L’Argent will certainly be on the 80’s list, a decade along with the 60’s and 70’s that I feel extremely overwhelmed by!

  5. Critical opinion is slowly swelling around the notion that the 1950s were the best decade in the history of film, and even given that you’ve clearly seen many of the bona fide classics, this list is a perfect compendium to argue that case.

    I made a list of my 100 favorite movies, and hesitated not at all in putting PARTY GIRL on it. I agree with Jake insofar as it’ll never make a list of the two or three greatest Nick Ray films, but it is undoubtedly my favorite, and one of the greatest arguments for the classic definition of the auteur.

    Similarly, THE TARNISHED ANGELS is my favorite Sirk (though I have a lot of catching up to do in that regard), in no small part for the unbelievably gorgeous black-and-white CinemaScope photography. Breathtaking at every turn. I think it was the film that really turned me on melodrama.

    EARLY SUMMER I saw very recently for the first time, and immediately became my favorite Ozu (of the admitted few I’ve seen). It contains everything about his films I’ve ever heard commended, from the humor to the sadness to the patience to, man, just everything.

    CASQUE D’OR I also saw quite recently, and fell deeply for. Insistently romantic in the face of gritty reality.

    NIGHTS OF CABIRIA really is one of the undisputed classics of foreign cinema, and belongs at the top of any must-see list.

    THE GIRL CAN’T HELP IT is so, so, so awesome. At once an admonishment and the greatest affirmation of rock-n-roll.

    SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT, well…Bergman doing comedy. And better than most who try their whole lives.

    THE BAND WAGON is one of the greatest musicals, hands down.

    Also, not on your list, but if you haven’t seen Joshua Logan’s PICNIC, I cannot possibly recommend it highly enough.


    1. Thanks Scott! I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me cutting this massive list I’ve come up with into a digestible chunk. I’ve seen my fair share of 50’s film, but I’ve definitely got a long way to go, as this list proves. I am thoroughly embarrassed by not having seen Nights of Cabiria by this point as well as a handful of others on the list. Thanks for your picks and reasons; it will definitely help. Party Girl is definitely one that will be making the final cut; rest assured! : )

  6. I think I have only seen 3 films on your list of films to see. That did not stop me from suggesting you check out Night of the Hunter. I imagine you have seen it already but I just rewatched it last week and was once again blown away.

  7. I placed my official vote for House on Haunted Hill. It’s one of my FAVORITE Vincent Price films.
    I also feverishly recommend Nights of Cabiria.

  8. I haven’t seen a lot of these, but you’ve got one of my favorite noirs on the list — The Big Heat. I’d also give must-see nods to Bus Stop (one of Marilyn’s best, for my money), The Prowler, The Hitch-hiker, and Odds Against Tomorrow.

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