Greatest Films of the 1950s
Greatest Films of the 1950s


Greatest Films of the 1950s
1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953 | 1954 | 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1959

1953

The Band Wagon (1953), 111 minutes, D: Vincente Minnelli
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Beat the Devil (1953, US/UK/It.), 100 minutes, D: John Huston
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The Big Heat (1953), 89 minutes, D: Fritz Lang
A dark, very brutal and violent, classic, expressionistic film noir/melodrama and gangster film that explores the seamy underworld of American organized crime. Following the suicide of a guilt-stricken, supposedly-honest fellow cop, homicide Sgt. Dave Bannion (Glenn Ford) is determined to discover the truth. A car bomb meant for him accidentally kills his wife Katie (Jocelyn Brando). Suspended from duty on the force, he tenaciously avenges the mob's murder of his wife, confronting the city crime ring to uncover the truth. A hard-hitting showdown is destined with ruthless, meglomaniacal kingpin Mike Lagana (Alexander Scourby), aided by a sadistic, psychotic thug Vince Stone (Lee Marvin). One of the film's most celebrated scenes is the coffee-scalding scene - an enraged Stone hurls his boiling coffee into the face of his moll girlfriend Debby Marsh (Gloria Grahame) - in retribution, she courageously aids Bannion's search for the culprits and returns the coffee-scalding favor to Vince.

From Here to Eternity (1953), 118 minutes, D: Fred Zinnemann
Based on James Jones' best-selling, hard-hitting novel of on-duty/off-duty military life among recruits in the pre-Pearl Harbor era of 1941 - on the eve of WWII. A Best Picture-winner - a combination romance, combat and melodramatic film set at the Schofield Barracks Army base on Oahu. Sensitive bugler Pvt. Robert E. Lee "Prew" Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) is dealt harsh treatment when he stubbornly refuses to fight for the company's boxing team. The bored company commander's wife Karen Holmes (Deborah Kerr) engages in a torrid affair with the good-guy Sgt. Milton Warden (Burt Lancaster) - their embrace in the pounding surf is indelibly imprinted in cinematic history. Pruitt falls in love with a nightclub "hostess" (prostitute) Alma (Lorene) (Donna Reed). Meanwhile, Prew's Italian friend Angelo Maggio (Frank Sinatra) is tormented by sadistic stockade Sgt. "Fatso" Judson (Ernest Borgnine).

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), 91 minutes, D: Howard Hawks
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House of Wax (1953), 90 minutes, D: Andre de Toth
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Madame De... (1953, Fr./It.) (aka The Earrings of Madame De...), 105 minutes, D: Max Ophuls
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Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1953, Fr.) (aka Les Vacances De M. Hulot), 114 minutes, D: Jacques Tati
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The Naked Spur (1953), 93 minutes, D: Anthony Mann
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Niagara (1953), 89 minutes, D: Henry Hathaway
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Pickup on South Street (1953), 80 minutes, D: Samuel Fuller
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The Robe (1953), 135 minutes, D: Henry Koster
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Roman Holiday (1953), 118 minutes, D: William Wyler
An Oscar-winning story from Hollywood Ten blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was fronted by Ian McLellan Hunter. The delightful, old-fashioned, dramatic, fairy-tale courtship film, a variation of Capra's It Happened One Night, was shot on location and contains the first major starring role of the much-beloved Audrey Hepburn. A modern-day Princess (Audrey Hepburn) is quickly bored with ceremonial protocol during an official visit to Rome. After slipping away from her attendants and entourage, she goes 'incognito' and encounters an American newspaperman Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) who sees an opportunity for an exclusive scoop. However, romance blossoms between them during their 'common people' adventures throughout the city, as they are pursued by the journalist's photographer friend Irving (Eddie Albert) who takes candids. The newspaperman's intentions change when he realizes he's falling in love.

Shane (1953), 117 minutes, D: George Stevens
A classic adult Western based on the novel by Jack Schaefer, about a lone, handsome gunfighter Shane (Alan Ladd), who drifts into a beautiful 19th century Wyoming valley. As a hired hand for the pioneer homesteading Starrett family, Marion (Jean Arthur) and Joe (Van Heflin), Shane is goaded into valiantly defending them and other farmers from vicious threats made by ruthless cattle ranch baron Ryker (Emile Meyer), and hired, black-outfitted gunslinger Wilson (Jack Palance). The family's young son Joey (Brandon de Wilde) worships the heroics and bravery of Shane, and is heartbroken when the nomadic loner rides off at the film's conclusion.

Stalag 17 (1953), 120 minutes, D: Billy Wilder
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Tokyo Story (1953, Jp.) (aka Tokyo Monogatari), 136 minutes, D: Yasujiro Ozu
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Ugetsu Monogatari (1953, Jp.) (aka Tales of Ugetsu), 94 minutes, D: Kenji Mizoguchi
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The Wages of Fear (1953, Fr./It.) (aka Le Salaire De La Peur), 141 minutes, D: Henri-Georges Clouzot
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War of the Worlds (1953), 85 minutes, D: Byron Haskin
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The Wild One (1953), 79 minutes, D: Laslo Benedek
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