10 Best Old Hollywood Movies

Thursday, January 20 by Audrey Johnson

The 10 best old Hollywood movies tell stories of love, anger, hatred and fear. Although set in different time periods, each of these films touch an unusual topic with an accuracy that even today has critics applauding.

  1. "Shawshank Redemption." The story of what it takes to survive when life doesn’t seem worth living anymore, "Shawshank Redemption" is one of the best Hollywood movies. While not too old, the movie touches on human fear, love and growth, and how sometimes a person just has to do whatever’s necessary to save himself.
  2. "Casablanca." Set during World War II, "Casablanca" follows a broken-hearted man faced with the difficult decision of following his heart or acting honorably. The film’s impact is visible in the plots and themes of many other movies and is the most often pointed to explanation of why it is one of the best Hollywood films.
  3. "Gone With the Wind." The first film ever shot in color, "Gone With the Wind" is an American classic. Portraying the South during the Civil War and its aftermath, the movie demonstrates how easy it is for a person to lose themselves in their ambition. "Gone With the Wind" is one the best old Hollywood movies.
  4. "It’s A Wonderful Life." No other movie can make viewers so sad and so happy as quickly as "It’s A Wonderful Life." Poignant at any time of the year, but particularly during the holidays, this movie answers the question of what would happen if we never existed. Touching on almost every level of emotion, the movie is one of the best movies of all time.
  5. "Rebel Without A Cause." This film depicts American youth as reckless and uncaring, but not with a vindictive tint. Set in the 1950’s, "Rebel Without A Cause" portrays the youth of the time’s struggle to find their purpose within a stringent society that would prefer to confine youngsters to a certain role. Considered one of James Dean’s finest films, Rebel Without A Cause is one of the best Hollywood movies.
  6. "Ben-Hur." The most expensive movie of its time, Ben-Hur also wins the record for having the most extras in a single scene. The film tells the tale of a man seeking revenge for a friend’s betrayal. Perhaps the most well-known scene is the chariot race. For its action and intricacy, Ben-Hur is one of the greatest old Hollywood movies.
  7. "To Kill a Mockingbird." This legal thriller touches on racism, violence, courage and moral virtue. Developed from the novel of the same name, "To Kill a Mockingbird" follows a white man as he defends a black man against accusations of rape. The poignancy of the film’s depiction of racism was intensified by the film being released during the 1960s.
  8. "His Girl Friday." This movie is largely held to be the first goofy comedy film and to have served as the basis for future comedy movies. Staring Cary Grant, His Girl Friday follows a woman as she decides between her heart and her career. The fast pace and dialogue in this movie make it one of the best old Hollywood films.
  9. "Wuthering Heights." Considered the epitome of romance, "Wuthering Heights" follows a highly-born woman as she decides between two men: one wealthy and one poor. The movie is lauded as showing the restrictions society places on individuals due to their economic background. For depicting the unbreakable bonds of true-love, "Wuthering Heights" is a great old Hollywood movie.
  10. "North by Northwest." No list of the best old Hollywood movies would be complete without a Hitchcock movie, and "North by Northwest" is considered one of the director’s best. The movie tells the thrilling story of a wealthy man’s adventures when mistakenly believed to be a spy. With non-stop action and great stunts, "North by Northwest" is one of the best Hollywood movies.
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