10 Classic Black And White Movies

Friday, December 3 by George Root

These 10 classic black and white movies bring back memories of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Most of the best black and white movies were made in the 1940s and 1950s, but a few of the entries on the list of ten classic black and white movies were made by more contemporary filmmakers who understand the mood that black and white sets.

  1. "Ed Wood" (1994) This movie was filmed by director Timothy Burton in black and white as an homage to the black and white movies made by Edward D. Wood Jr. Johnny Depp plays failed director Ed Wood who would go on to become one of the most popular bad directors of all time.
  2. "Casablanca" (1942) This movie set out to show the oppression of the Nazi regime during World War II. It helps that it was made while World War II was going on. But beyond its political implications, "Casablanca" (1942) tells a fascinating story. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman bring their characters to life and give them so much dimension that it is impossible to not get entralled by the story.
  3. "Citizen Kane" (1941) It takes a few viewings of "Citizen Kane" (1941) to really understand what Orson Welles is trying to say. But once you get it, the movie really stands out as superb. Welles's writing and acting make this one of the classic black and white movies of all time.
  4. "Touch of Evil" (1958) Orson Welles plays a morbidly obese detective at a time when Welles was not obese and Charlton Heston plays a Mexican police officer without a Spanish accent. This movie is one of the classic black and white movies, more for Welles's performance than Heston's, but the whole movie is interesting to watch.
  5. "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" (1982) This movie never gets the credit it deserves for being as creative as it was. Steve Martin, Carl Reiner and Rachel Ward interact with footage from older black and white movies to create a spoof of 1940s detective films. In most cases, the back and forth between Martin and the 1940s movies is seamless and that is what makes this movie a classic.
  6. "Psycho" (1960) By 1960, most movies were being filmed in color. But Alfred Hitchcock wanted to use black and white to create a terrifying movie. He got the results he was looking for in this entry on to the list of top ten classic black and white movies.
  7. "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) This holiday classic encapsulates everything that was interesting about the 1930s and 1940s into one movie. The days when people still used horse and buggy for transportation, the Great Depression and World War II all play a part in telling this classic tale.
  8. "Dracula" (1931) "Dracula" (1931) was the movie that made Bela Lugosi a star and also assured Lugosi that he would play the Dracula character for the rest of his life. It is one of the great black and white movies of all time and Lugosi's performance is considered one of the best ever filmed.
  9. "The Great Dictator" (1940) Charlie Chaplin was known mostly for his comedic stunts as the Little Tramp. He avoided making a talking film for as long as he could. When the pressure to make a talkie was overwhelming, Chaplin decided to make a statement. When the rest of the world preferred to turn a blind eye to Nazi Germany atrocities, Chaplin pointed them out in "The Great Dictator" (1940). Not only is this Chaplin's first talking film, it is also considered to be one of his best.
  10. "Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror" (1922) One of the very first vampire movies ever made was "Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror" (1922). But the movie was made without the permission of the estate of Bram Stoker, the author of "Dracula." Stoker's widow won an injunction against the movie and all copies were thought to be destroyed. But the movie resurfaced some time later and took its place as one of the classic black and white movies of all time.