If you’re looking for the best 50s movies, we’ve got you covered.
6. A Streetcar Named Desire, 1951 (HBO Max)
The movie adaptation of the 1947 play won four Academy Awards including Best Actress (Vivien Leigh), Best Supporting Actress (Kim Hunter), and Best Support Actor (Karl Malden). Marlon Brando was nominated for Best Actor, but Humphrey Bogart won for The African Queen.
5. Strangers on a Train, 1951 (Rent or Buy)
Strangers on a Train won an Academy Award for cinematography and is widely regarded as one of Alfred Hitchcock’s top five movies. In it, two strangers agree to solve the other’s problem, via murder. What unfolds is a tense thriller, as one reneges on their half of the deal.
4. East of Eden, 1955 (Rent or Buy)
East of Eden stars Julie Harris, Raymond Massey, and a young James Dean, in his first major screen role. Set in 1917, it tells the story of a young man desperate for his religious father’s attention, while dealing with the jealousy he feels towards his brother, who he believes his father loves more.
3. Rebel Without a Cause, 1955 (HBO Max)
Rebel Without a Cause also stars James Dean and premiered one month after his death. The movie is about middle-class teenagers with issues and is considered by the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry as culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant.
2. Giant, 1956 (Rent or Buy)
Giant is a movie charting a family’s growing division in Texas, during changing and challenging times. The movie was nominated for nine Oscars, winning only one for Best Director (George Stevens). The Library of Congress’s National Film Registry also holds Giant as one of its prestigious films, and this was James Dean’s final role.
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1. The Searchers, 1956 (Rent or Buy)
The Searchers is set during the Texas–Indian Wars and stars John Wayne as an aging veteran desperately seeking his abducted niece. The movie ranked #12 on the American Film Institute’s 2007 list of the 100 greatest American movies of all time.