When the ten best black and white films come to many people’s minds, they instinctively think of old, boring movies made decades ago in the first half of last century. But as this list of movies proves, not everything black and white is either old or boring.
- "Schindler’s List" (1994). The youngest of the best black and white films, “Schindler’s List” premiered in 1994 to rave reviews. Steven Spielberg’s opus to Oskar Schindler and his attempts at saving his factory workers from certain death won a boatload of Oscars. It remains one of the best films about the Holocaust.
- "Touch of Evil" (1958). This gem of a black and white film was helmed by the legendary and ahead-of-his-time Orson Welles. Charlton Heston as a Mexican character might not hold up quite as well, but this movie is still one of the best noir thrillers of all time.
- "Night of the Living Dead" (1968). A classic black and white film from 1968, well after color had been established in TV and films. Director and producer George Romero didn’t have a big enough budget to shoot with color, and while it makes the movie appear older than it really is, it is also a major contributor to the stark, eerie mood of the film.
- "M" (1931). Some call it an example of German Expressionism. Others simply call it good cinema. Whatever your opinion, “M” is a standout thriller from way, WAY back in the dawn of motion pictures. A legendary black and white film, “M” features excellent direction from Fritz Lang and a compelling performance from Peter Lorre.
- "Psycho" (1960). Movie aficionados might claim “Vertigo” to be Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest cinematic triumph. For many moviegoers, however, it’s “Psycho”, Hitchcock’s ode to repressed sexuality and Oedipal complexes. Forget the big budget slashers mass-produced on Hollywood’s assembly line. “Psycho”, a movie from 50 years ago, still beats them all.
- "Double Indemnity" (1944). Few pictures, whether black and white films, color, new or old, were as tightly and slickly made as “Double Indemnity”. It offers everything noir fans have come to love in the genre without scaring away mainstream fans. One of the best movies from the noir era and beyond.
- "The Maltese Falcon" (1941). “Maltese Falcon” has captured audiences young and old with its taut mystery and twisty plot turns. Based on a novel by Dashiell Hammett, Humphrey Bogart’s performance as the legendary Sam Spade is considered to be one of the finest of his career.
- "Anatomy of a Murder" (1959). Think a three-hour movie that takes place mostly in a courtroom would be a snoozefest? Think again. “Anatomy” provided the template for how courtroom dramas should be done, solidifying its place as a movie to remember and one of the best black and white films of all time. Little-known fact: So outraged by the movie was Jimmy Stewart’s father that he encouraged the public not to see it, despite his son playing the lead role.
- "Casablanca" (1942). When it comes time for film buffs to argue which is the best film of all time, “Casablanca” tends to near the top of a lot of lists. This wartime black and white film features a standout performance from Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
- "Citizen Kane" (1941). Nearly universally hailed as the best movie of all time, let alone the best black and white film, “Citizen Kane” changed the way movies were made. Orson Welles brought his experience in theater and radio to bear in the still-infant talking pictures industry and created a masterpiece in the process. Despite its lofty position atop most critics’ all-time lists, “Citizen Kane” was snubbed in eight of the nine Academy Award nominations it received, winning only for Best Original Screenplay.
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