The 100 Best Movies Made Between 1946-1960-Part 4: The Masterworks

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As mentioned in my last post, this is the final one in the series on the 100 Best Movies Made Between 1946-1960, in my opinion the best period in moviemaking history as stated in my first post on the subject. This one will now provide what I call The Masterworks of that period. What I mean by Masterworks is that these movies are the most well-known and highly regarded works of that era or any other. In addition, in many cases they represent the crowning achievements of their respective directors, some of the best work by some of the best directors that have ever lived. With this list, however, since most of these titles are well-known or at least should be, there will not be any information provided, just the title along with the year and director. If you’ve seen these films you’ll know why they’re being listed, if you haven’t, see them and you’ll see why. I now present The Masterworks, in very random order:

(1) Sunset Boulevard (1950, Gloria Swanson pictured above) Billy Wilder

(2) Some Like It Hot (1959) Billy Wilder

(3) The Apartment (1960, Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine pictured above) Billy Wilder

(4) The Seven Samurai (1954) Akira Kurosawa

(5) The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1946) John Huston

(6) The Asphalt Jungle (1950) John Huston

(7) The Big Sleep (1946, Bogart and Bacall pictured above) Howard Hawks

(8) Red River (1948) Howard Hawks

(9) The Searchers (1956, John Wayne pictured above) John Ford

(10) Touch of Evil (1958) Orson Welles

(11) Vertigo (1958, James Stewart and Kim Novak pictured above) Alfred Hitchcock

(12) Rear Window (1954) Alfred Hitchcock

(13) Psycho (1960) Alfred Hitchcock

(14) Strangers On a Train (1951, Farley Granger and Robert Walker pictured above) Alfred Hitchcock

(15) North by Northwest (1959, Cary Grant pictured above) Alfred Hitchcock

(16) Notorious (1946, Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman pictured above) Alfred Hitchcock

(17) The Third Man (1949) Carol Reed

(18) All About Eve (1950, Bette Davis and Gary Merrill pictured above) Joseph L. Mankiewicz

(19) The Killers (1946) Robert Siodmak

(20) Tokyo Story (1953, Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara pictured above) Yasujiro Ozu

(21) La Strada (1954) Frederico Fellini

(22) On the Waterfront (1954, Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint pictured above) Elia Kazan

(23) A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) Elia Kazan

(24) Shane (1953, Alan Ladd pictured above) George Stevens

(25) Night of the Hunter (1955) Charles Laughton

(26) Bicycle Thieves (1948) Vittorio De Sica

(27) It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) Frank Capra

(28) Stalag 17 (1953) Billy Wilder

(29) Wild Strawberries (1957) Ingmar Bergman

(30) Black Narcissus (1947) Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

(31) The Red Shoes (1948) Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

(32) The 400 Blows (1959) Francois Truffaut

(33) Paths of Glory (1957, Kirk Douglas and Adolphe Menjou pictured above) Stanley Kubrick

(34) Twelve Angry Men (1957) Sidney Lumet

(35) Anatomy of a Murder (1959) Otto Preminger

(36) High Noon (1952) Fred Zinnemann

(37) From Here to Eternity (1953) Fred Zinnemann

(38) Singin In the Rain (1952, Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds pictured above) Stanley Donen

(39) Rebel Without a Cause (1955, James Dean and Natalie Wood pictured above) Nicholas Ray

(40) Breathless (1959) Jean-Luc Godard

(41) The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) William Wyler

(42) The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) David Lean

(43) Great Expectations (1946) David Lean

(44) Oliver Twist (1948) David Lean

(45) A Star Is Born (1954) George Cukor

These would be The Masterworks, and I’m sure most movie lovers with knowledge of both present and past films would agree with the majority of the choices found here, concluding my list of the 100 Best Movies Made Between 1946-1960. There may be some movies of that era that a few may consider great that are not on these lists. The reason is, though the listings from all the posts can be used as a true guide for any movie fan to discover the gems from that period, it is a personalized list, meaning it reflects what I feel are the best of the era, and, I must say, you’d be hard-pressed to find many much better than these. But if some feel that certain movies not listed should be, by all means add them to what has already been provided, giving more weight to what was stated at the beginning, namely, that those years were indeed the best period of moviemaking in history.

So, in conclusion, if you haven’t seen all of these movies, please use these last few posts as a road map to discovery of true movie greatness. Savor what you find. And Mr. Clooney, if by chance you may be listening (or reading, either way highly doubtful but you never know) maybe what has been presented can move even someone like you or others with a preferred period of great moviemaking in mind to re-consider or even completely change your view based on looking at a seminal period of moviemaking that laid the groundwork for years to follow. Here’s hoping.

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About bjbradford

An avid collector of classic movies for over 20 years ranging from the silent era through the early 1960's, from the justly famous to the unjustly obscure and quite a bit in between.
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