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Added by The Mighty Celestial on 8 Dec 2009 07:41
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40 From 50: My Favorite Films From The 1950's

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I like this movie.
That's right.
I said it.

While I initially dimissed this king of kings of all crappy movies because of it's reputation, I have since then actually developed an affection towards this film.
it's probably lives up to it's rep as the worst movie ever made,
but it's not without it's charm.
There are plenty of bad movies out there that are just bad & then that's it. No more to add.
But this film,
there's an instinctual level to it,
in which it feels like that there came a day when all the film-gods gathered together & decided to inspire a woman's cashmere sweater wearing b-film (okay, okay.....d-film....& that's being generous) "director" to make a movie that's so bad, it can almost remind us that a big part the concept of filmmaking is to just have fun. To "escape" into the process of making a movie as much as in the viewing.

Okay, maybe not everyone will get any kind of positive response from watching this trainwreck of falling backdrops & bad acting (really bad acting), but you don't even have to watch it. Just knowing that it's there is enough. As a reminder that we can not have a day without a night. We cannot have the good without the bad.
We cannot have an Apocalypse Now without a Plan 9 From Outer Space.
To reminds us just how good movies can be if some of 'em can be this bad.

And to it's credit, considering the time it was made,
some of the effects are kinda amazing.
I mean, I don't know how they did it, but they actually made some of the props in this film look like they were made out of actual cardboard.
And this was before CGI.
Like way before.

The Mighty Celestial's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 253 Average listal rating (158 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.3
Them! (1954)

Atomic radiation.
The process of mutation.
The desert.
You do the math.
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I know that this is considered a classic,
but TBH, I still found it somewhat outdated. Even compared to the other movies from this period.
This is why even though I thought it was good film focusing on the teenage angst of the day, it doesn't make it as high on my list as it would on other more notable Best Of The 50's films lists.

Not that my standard of what's good or isn't good is something that I would advise anyone to pay any attention to.
I mean, I'm the guy who use to think that when it came to high class cinema-effects,
old skool stop-motion was the sh#t.
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.... remember back when stop-motion motion effects was the sh#t?

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People who added this item 345 Average listal rating (231 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.4

During the height of McCarthyism and the Red Scare,
comes yet another science fiction film taking advantage of the fear inducing attitude scoring across the country at this time.
A big red mass that keeps getting bigger and bigger, terrorizes a small American town, swallowing up innocent denizens of democracy.....
get the symbolism?
Or is that stretching a metaphor farther than what an extended slimy flesh-disintegrating tentacle can reach?

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Back in the 1930's & early 40's, it was the power trio of Frankie, Wolfie & Drackie that made the Universal Monsters so universal. But by the late mid 50's, it seemed that this "Triumvirate of Terror" had lost all bankability at the box office.
That is, until Hammer Film Productions decided to take a crack at it.
And with their distinctive brand of visceral storytelling & Gothic cinema, they sparked up a lightning strike that forever forged their name into the history of horror & showed that the curse of Dr. Frankenstein's creepy creation was indeed, very much alive.

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It might become obvious from this list, that when it comes to 2-D animated films, I'm not that big of a fan of Disney. While I don't hate 'em, the musical numbers combined with the saccharine quality that usually accompanies them usually makes it difficult for me to sit thru these kinds of films to their entirety. I tend to prefer a little more bite or edge to my cartooninized cinematic-fare.
Sleeping Beauty is a bit of an exception because of the memory I have associated with it.
I remember watching this movie as a very young child, and the kickassery of the animation, particulary of the Witch & her dragon, is what caused my little mouth, probably for the first time ever, to uttered the words
"Holy sh#t....!".

Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 131 Average listal rating (75 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 5
I gotta be honest with you guys....
the main reason this female version of The Colossal Man is on this list is b'cuz after watching this movie as a little kid,
I used to fantasize about having a 50 Ft. woman attack our hometown just so's I could have an excuse to look up her dress without getting in trouble.

Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 29 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 4.3
One of the reasons that the 50's were one of my favorite eras for movies is because it was during this period that they made a buncha films that I included on My Favorite Giant Monster Movies list.

Okay, okay,
you might think that technically, this isn't so much a giant monster movie,
as it is a giant man movie.
But, imagine, if you will, what you would see when looking up a 60 foot tall bald man in diapers. Now, hold that picture in your head for a while,
& then tell me that you're not splitting hairs.

Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 63 Average listal rating (33 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 4.9
Hey, if you've ever wondered what a teenage werewolf looks like upside down, in a jumpsuit and wearing over-sized wax teeth,
then this is the film for you.

Before he made a name for himself in hit television shows such as Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven, Michael Landon was just a teenager tryin' ta "make it in pictures". And one of his first film roles was in this horror high school flick, where he learns that when you're a teenager, having a few blemishes, some extra hair in places that didn't have hair before, and a rebellious nature, are to be expected.
The same too is expected if you're a werewolf.

And even though this 50's classic is still filled with it's fair share of angst ridden camp that is typical of this era, I still find it's campiness much more digestible than the more updated teen-howler, similar-themed Teen Wolf (with all due respect to Mr. J. Fox, of course).
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 516 Average listal rating (327 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.6
Almost a decade after the country buckled under the very first atomic attack in the history of the world, Japan presents a cautionary tale about the dangerous consequences of atomic energy.

I'm sure that many of today's kids would look at this movie and wonder what the heck is it that the generations before them saw in this big ol' rubbery, radiation blasting, clumsy-looking dino-phenomena.
the only way I can explain it is by saying that,
even with the scars of WW2 still visible and the lack of big budgetry in their film industry, Japanese cinema knew how to make do with what they had. And it was this can-do/make-do attitude that helped them to make a big footprint in the arena of 50's colossal creatures genre that was raging in film at the time. And it's what also helped to give Godzilla the long standing reputation as the King of all Kaiju Monsters.

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If there's one thing that can strike fear into the very core of any man, it's the idea that a part of his body is shrinking. The only thing worse would be that every part of his body is shrinking.
And the only thing worse than that would be that every part of his shrunken body was on the menu of a house spider in the basement that he had to run down to in order to hide from the cat after it made the attempt at making him its din-din.
It's a pretty common fear amongst men, actually.
I think that's why they made it into a movie. It's a fear we all can relate too.
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People who added this item 375 Average listal rating (243 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.2
The film adaptation of Captain Nemo and his legendary underwater ship, the Nautilus, finally comes to shore in a very fitting manner, as the very first film ever to be shot in Cinescope.

Personally, for me, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a movie that if it were just any sci-fi movie, would still be one the best sci-fi movies of it's time. But the fact that it was made by Disney, and comprising some of the typical "Disney conventions" (which I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of), makes it an even remarkable achievement for a classical pre-steam punk thriller.
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When a song and dance duo forlorn for love meet up with a couple of sisters who are trying to make it big in the business, they combine their talents in the effort of providing the Yuletide Season with a white Christmas. Not to mention making some "beautiful music" as an added holiday bonus.

While I know everyone else likes to compare this film to Holiday Inn & proclaim it as it's superior,
for me, I like this White Christmas better. Not only b'cuz this one focuses more on Christmas than HI (Inn's theme is more about all the holidays than it is about Xmas), but also, I always had a soft spot for Rosemary Clooney, particularly back when she was at the height of her stardom.
Would've loved to have seen her in more films, but I'll settle for how great she looks in this one.
Besides, what's a 50's movies list without at least one old-fashioned cornball Christmas flick in it....?
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 170 Average listal rating (121 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.8
Okay, I admit it,
I am one of those who was sorely disappointed by the first Mummy movie back in 1932 just because there was hardly any mummy in it. I guess, that as a big fan of the Universal Monster series, I expected to see what the other staples of that franchise had given audiences, which were heavy doses of the creatures whose names dominated the movie title.
It wasn't until Hammer Studios, came out their version of the bandaged bogey-man, during their monster's Renaissance, that we finally got to see a quality film wherein the Mumster gets to shamble around with a proper fair share of "screamtime".

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Back when William Shakespeare first wrote "The Tempest", would the most celebrated writer in the literary world have ever imagined that it would some day be adapted onto the big screen as a futuristic science fiction tale featuring one of the most iconic robots in entertainment history?
As Hamlet once said, ""That it should come to this!". - (Act I, Scene II).
And yeah, I know that I probably should've used a quote from The Tempest instead, but the only one I can remember from that story is the famous "We are such stuff as dreams are made on, rounded with a little sleep".
And I can't figure out how to use that sentence in a way that applies to this movie.
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People who added this item 539 Average listal rating (306 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.1
Audrey Hepburn falls in love with a man old enough to be her dad.

.... again.

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People who added this item 63 Average listal rating (45 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.7
Okay, when I'm online (like I am right now), I'm a HUGE comicbook/movie/sci-fi nerd.
But when I'm just hanging out in the real world, I'm just a regular guy getting by.
And as long as I can help it, ne'er will those two worlds collide.
It's rough enough trying to get a date as a regular guy let alone as an internet nerd.

Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 1181 Average listal rating (692 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.1
As anyone who knows anything about the art of moving pictures knows,
you can't have a favorite films of the 50's list without mentioning the name of celebrated french director Francois Truffaut.
And as anyone who knows anything about french cinema knows, you can't have any list that includes Francois Truffaut's name without mentioning The 400 Blows.
A journey through the mindset of a misunderstood and so-called troubled youth, Blows is considered by many movie experts, buffs and connoisseurs and one of the major defining moments of the French New Wave movement.

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I think I vaguely remember the day way back when the Earth stood still.
Wasn't that the day that nothing moved?
Or am I thinking about Labor Day?
My memory gets kinda fuzzy when it comes to the McCarthyism Red scare sci-fi era.

this is a film where the aliens do come in peace,
but they also come with a warning.
We humans need to behave.
Or if we don't,
the aliens are likely to give us a spanking. On a galactic level.
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A group of scientists go out on a South American expedition in search of a missing link to help them fill in the void of evolution.
However, once they find it,
the no longer missing link begins on his own quest, in search of a mate to help fill in the void within his heart.
Or maybe his dorsal-finned butt is just horny.
Either way,
the female crew member of this expedition ends up getting wet & screaming alot.

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In the so-called "War Of The Worlds", the aliens in question are not only winning, they are displaying the power to totally wipe us out. I mean, they are completely ripping the planet Earth a new @ss.
But just when it seems like all hope is lost for our defeated species, a savior is revealed. In the form of our bacteria. Looks like these giant tripod riding raiders have an immune system that would make a bubble boy's seem like an iron-clad defense system. Yep. The aliens literally catch their death of a cold.
Turns out that, all the while they were cutting us down with their sophisticated disintegration rays, all we had to do was to sneeze on 'em.
"... aah....
... aah....
... aAH-CHOOO..!!!!!!

Take that, ya blasted Martians!!"
Germ warfare in it's purest form.
"Oh, and if you greenblooded bastards want some more of this,
bring it!
Cuz I feel a fart coming on with all yo' names on it!"

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A keen sharp look into Hollywood's world of illusionary beauty when narrated through the voice of a dead man.

Even though there were films that came before this one that touched on the not-so-glitzy side to stardom, SB features a story that fearlessly dives headfirst into the subject matter. It glaringly shows how anyone who deeply immerses themselves into the lifestyle of the "Eat-'em-up/spit-'em-out" attitude of the movie world can eventually find their mental state on a road that leads into distorted version of "La-La Land". Thus concluding that, even on a swanky street like Sunset Boulevard, can be found the face of a far flung faded star whose disillusionary dreams will never truly make them ready for their close-up.
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As the title of this movie suggests,
dial M for murder,
but 911 for any and all other emergencies.

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Mild-mannered Egyptian prince-turned-shepherd Moses turns into a divine emissary for the Big Guy In The Sky when he is irradiated by the energies of a mystical burning bush & developes super-powers ( such as transmutation & sea-parting abilities) to help him wage war against the evils of tyrannical slavery from the hands of the dastardly Monarch of Mayhem known as Ramsesses the Second.

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Back during my college days, I took a film critique class for a general class credit that I needed. At one point during the course, we had to watch a series of movies, each depicting different versions of "Taming Of The Shrew". And let me tell you, that was a long week for me.
After that, our class was assigned to watch Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. Since this was yet another film that was based on yet another classic stage play, I was prepared for yet another torturous viewing of over-dramatic "thespian theatrics".
Yet, once the young and illustrious Liz Taylor walked onto the screen, I was mesmerized. Until CoaHTR, I had almost forgotten what a ravishing beauty she was back when she was in her prime.

It was enough to make me revisit the film later, and eventually, enjoy the overall quality of the movie, despite the fact that much of the play's original themes have been revised to the point that would make the back-hair of most Tennessee Williams purists defensively stand on end.

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A great classic science fiction horror combo that thrills by channeling it's chills through the use of the fears that we tend to hold most as a general populace. The fear that we and our brethren are not we seem to be.
And rarely does the black and white look of the time capture this cultural sub-genre fear of the unknown and magnify it so that even today, Invasion makes the viewer feel the sparseness of trust that was running amok during this era of red scares and McCarthyisms.
At the time, this movie made you look at your neighbor with a questioning look of " Are you my friend, a Pinko or a pod?"
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People who added this item 402 Average listal rating (249 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8
A great WW II movie with an "escape from prison" flair, and a bit of stalag espionage thrown in for good measure.
An excellent production from Billy Wilder (one of my favorite directors/writers of film from this time) and stars William Holden, perfectly cast in a role as an indifferent, advantageous prisoner of war trying his best to make the most of his limited situation and at the same time, keep his nose out of the inevitable trouble that usually results when one goes about not choosing sides or doing his bit for the cause.

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After a series of Oscar nominations, the Brando train of new-style method acting continues in On The Waterfront, with what could probably be Marlon's 2nd. most famous role after Streetcar.
This time, instead of an abusive working class husband in the sweaty French Quarter of New Orleans, Brando's brings his down-to-earth gritty charisma to the role of a working class longshoreman working on the chilly, mob-fronted docks of Hoboken.

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People who added this item 1025 Average listal rating (620 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7
When it comes to romance films, the name that tends to come more than any other on my limited list, is that of Audrey Hepburn.
For me, no one else can seem to ever capture that glass slipper quality that she has that can help me to suspend my belief far enough to enter the unbelievability of most romance films for me.
Sabrina is a "modern" Cinderella story that, IMO, on paper can seem as very typical in terms of it's plot, yet rises above that level mostly through the strength & presence of it's actors.
Sabrina is an entertaining & engaging escapist film about beautiful people having beautiful people problems.
A colorful tale told in vivid black & white.

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People who added this item 2648 Average listal rating (1779 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 8.5
A psychological mystery thriller that stands out on it's own not just because of it's distinctive formula (particularly for it's time), but also because of Hitchcock's ability to make the most of it's "limited" theme. The story of a man who can't walk, is stuck in his apartment, but with good observational instincts, honed by his job, that all end up putting him in a situation where his immobility makes for a simple, yet in Hitch's hands, an excellent plot device that incrementally builds & builds on it's suspense towards it's finale.

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In this entry, it's the famous play by Tennesse Williams adapted onto the big screen, featuring an in-his-prime Marlon Brando. Watching Streetcar, even today, it's easy to see how the character of Stanley Kowalski is the one that became the role that made Brando famous.
His portrayal has the actor shuffling the landscape of method acting styles (more specifically, the styles up to that time) with a result that seems to burn up the screen. It's a performance that, in the end, can only be described as "stellah".

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Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn in a "gritty" riverboat "journey movie" set along an East African river during WW II, and portraying two individuals, each with a mindset on a completely different side of the spectrum.
However, after confronting a series of obstacles during their quest, they begin the process of developing a relationship, which soon, allows the old romance adage of opposites attracting, to start to take affect. Eventually, the two people from two different worlds end up coming together, first for a common cause, and then for each other.

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Cary Grant gets chased across America by villainous spies, government agents, & the most dastardly of 'em all, a crop-duster!
In the same manner that Psycho made me start taking baths in order to avoid the "someone-sneaking-up-on-me" factor that is the natural result of shower curtains,
this movie made me always choose to live in dwellings within a crowded city instead out in the open country farmland, in order to avoid any chance of ever having to cross paths with any of these air-borne single engined bi-planal horrors.

Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 239 Average listal rating (136 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.7
Marty (1955)
Marty Piletti is a simple man. And he leads a simple life.
He works a job as a butcher, he helps take care of his mother, he hangs out at the local cafe with his simple buddies on the weekend.
The only problem is, Marty lives during a time when being an unmarried man in his thirties is considered not normal. And even though he tries to live contently with the resignation of his bachelorhood, he does begin to feel from others the pressure that he should go out and find himself a beautiful bride.
However, when he finally meets someone who sparks his romantic interests, she doesn't exactly fall within the boundaries of what everyone else thinks of as physical beauty.
So now this simple man Marty must make the complicated decision between the amatory palpitations of his heart and the parochial expectations of others.

A small movie that, even though it may tend to hit you with it's easy point over the head like a hammer at times,
features engagingly warm and down to earth performances by Earnest Borgnine and crew.
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Audrey Hepburn's American film debut as a European princess who, overstressed by the demands of her royal duties, decides to unwind by going "slumming" about all over Rome. And not once throughout the entire journey, does she fail to exude the radiant beauty that not only contributed to forever mark her place in film history, but also, that epitomizes the phrase "Lighting up the screen".
Therefore, as a result, I find that, even with it's well-written script, direction, supporting cast and chemistry,
at least 80% of the success of this movie's depiction of romance still belongs to Hepburn's presence alone.

Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 729 Average listal rating (477 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8
Real time in the Old West.
A simple tale of suspense building tension, as a newly wed marshal must make a decision between a new life by flying the Coop, or staying and standing as a "lone star" until the strike of twelve, in a town that has turned its back against him.

Personally, for me, High Noon is one of those films that falls under the category of being based more on sentimental value than anything else As a kid, I was never really much of a fan of western shoot 'em ups, especially those that were made before I was born. But the way the story in this one kept me glued to the screen, to see how it would all pan out, made Noon probably the first black and white cowboy flick that I really enjoyed.

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People who added this item 2004 Average listal rating (1116 ratings) 8.6 IMDB Rating 8.7

Considered Akira Kurosawa's most accomplished work, Seven Samurai is a black and white classic whose story has inspired many a film afterwards, most notably (and one of my favorites) the Magnificent Seven.
It's a story of the Old East, which coincidentally enough, runs themes which will eventually become staples in movies dealing with the Old West.
Here, the heroes are truly heroes, but each is shown as a distinctive individual, with human traits and flaws that allow for the empty space to be felt whenever a warrior falls. Particularly, when a warrior falls in a battle that, in the end, can never truly be won.

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Being a movie from the late 50's, with it's screwball comedy centering on the now-over-used theme of cross dressing men, you'd think that Some Like It Hot would've gone cold by now.
And yet, in large part due to Billy Wilder's sharp-edged yet still slapstick script, it hasn't.
And let's not forget that adding fuel to fire, as always, is Marilyn Monroe. Even through modern eyes, the way she seems to always melt perfectly into her dress throughout the entire film is still an important contribution to the movie's enduring high heat factor.

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People who added this item 2339 Average listal rating (1444 ratings) 8.7 IMDB Rating 8.9

12 Angry Men is such a good courtroom drama, that for me, it simply blows the majority of every other film in this genre out of the water (okay, technically this isn't really a "courtroom" drama because the entire film happens in the jury-room. But let's face it, the plot's purpose is one that leads into the most important part of the courtroom process, the verdict).
The combination of a tight script with a solid ensemble cast (oh, and lets not forget a big screen directorial debut for Sidney Lumet) make for a tense, compelling movie that even though it keeps 99% it's entire length within one room, a viewer can't help but to be spellbound.

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My top 30 favorite movies between the years 1950-1959.

4 love stories (Some Like It Hot, Marty, Funny Face, Sabrina), 8 typical 50's sci/fi/horror thrillers (Blob, Teenage Werewolf, a Colossal man and woman, The Creature, the Mummy, Earth Standing Still, & the comparable Plan 9), 10 Commandents, not to mention 12 Angry Men.
It all adds up to abuncha films that are well within the movie tastes buds of this mighty Celestial, yo.

Updated Entries:
On The Beach

Lady and the Tramp

The Killing

Films from this period that I have not seen but am interested in seeing:

- The Bridge on the River Kwai
- East of Eden
- Vertigo
- Rio Bravo
- The Searchers
- From Here to Eternity
- The Seventh Seal
- Touch Of Evil
- Diabolique
- Ben-Hur
- Ikiru
- Kiss Me Deadly
- The King And I
- The Asphalt Jungle
- The Big Heat
- Harvey
- A Star Is Born
- Ladykillers
- A Place In The Sun

Lists from other time periods:
The 20's:
Of all time:

Other lists by The Mighty Celestial:

My Top 25 Female Movie Bad-Asses www.listal.com/list/my-top-10-female

10 Movies That Feature A Dancin' Travolta In 'Em www.listal.com/list/my-list-9158

Yep. When It Comes To Comicbook Movies .... www.listal.com/list/yep-am-huge-comicbook

WAATAAAH!! My Top 10 Favorite Martial Arts Flix! www.listal.com/list/my-list-thecelestial

My Top 80 Favorite Sci-Fi Films Of All Time www.listal.com/list/my-top-75-favorites-science

Can't We Be Dysfunctional Like A Normal Family?

My Top Favorite Romantic Comedies

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