10 Best Old Time Movies

Friday, March 4 by Tom Gordon

The 10 best old time movies really cover all the genres, from comedies to dramas to Westerns to even a little fantasy. The classic films on this list are mostly in black and white, but they have stood the test of time and can appreciated now for their great storytelling, performances and overall filmmaking excellence. How many of the films on this list of the 10 best old time movies are on your list of Hollywood's best.

  1. "Casablanca." The Oscar-winning Best Picture of 1942 is also one of the best American pictures ever made. It's a perfect movie with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as lost lovers reunited in northern Africa, but with World War II presenting them with much more to contend with than they had during their carefree days back in Paris.
  2. "The African Queen." Bogart again shows why he's a legend and why he nabbed the Oscar for Best Actor. He's back in Africa again, but in this 1952 classic he's a drunken riverboat captain who winds up taking a spinsterish missionary (Katherine Hepburn) down a dangerous river to take on an enemy warship during World War I.
  3. "Citizen Kane." At age 25, Orson Welles made his first movie, which turned out to be a film widely recognized as one of the best motion pictures ever. When you see it again, realize that it was made in 1941 and Welles and his crew were essentially inventing this type of cinematography, lighting, sound and editing style.
  4. "Mister Roberts." This 1955 movie, based on the stage play of the same name, tells the story of a Naval officer (Henry Fonda) trying desperately to get transferred to a ship that's seeing action in World War II, but is constantly rebuffed by his stubborn and hard-hearted captain (James Cagney).
  5. "The Maltese Falcon." One more Bogart classic, this 1941 mystery based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett has Bogart playing private detective Sam Spade and dealing with a suspicious woman and some unusual thieves all in pursuit of a priceless statue.
  6. "His Girl Friday." Maybe the best screwball comedy of them all, this 1940 gem stars Cary Grant as a newspaper editor and Rosalind Russell as his ex-wife and former ace reporter in the middle of a crazy news day. It has some of the fastest and funniest dialogue ever and stands up still as one of great American comedies.
  7. "Sullivan's Travels." Part drama, part drama, part social commentary, this 1941 Preston Sturges film is an intelligent and satiric look at Hollywood and American society in general in the years leading up to World War II. In the film, a successful Hollywood director (Joel McRea) goes on the road to learn about the poor in preparing for his next big social drama.
  8. "The Searchers." John Wayne and director John Ford teamed up to make some great movies, like "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," "The Quiet Man," and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." But 1956's "The Searchers," in which Wayne plays a Civil War vet who sets out to find his niece who was kidnapped by the Comanches, may be their best effort. Wayne's character is flawed, complicated and the movie rises above the usual cliches to become perhaps the finest Western ever filmed.
  9. "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Director Frank Capra and star James Stewart followed their brilliant 1938 collaboration, "You Can't Take it With You," a year later with one of the most inspirational American movies ever made. Stewart plays a young Congressman who won't be bullied by the Washington establishment.
  10. "It's a Wonderful Life." Capra and Stewart team up again in what has become Christmas-time classic. Aside from the performances and the message, what really makes this 1946 classic of the best old time movies is the storytelling and the details that emerge about every character's story.
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COMMENTS

  1. March 4, 2011 2:07 pm

    Alstarship

    I agree with this list but ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ should be number 2 not number 10.