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The Best Classical Hollywood Movies Ever Made

“What are the best Classic Hollywood Movies?” We looked at 165 of the top Classic Hollywood films, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 17 films, all appearing on 3 or more “Best Classic Hollywood” movie lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The remaining 125+ movies, as well as the sources we used, are in alphabetical order on the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



Top 17 Best Classic Hollywood Movies Ever Made



17 .) 12 Angry Men (1957) directed by Sidney Lumet

	12 Angry Men (1957)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • List Challenges
  • Taste Of Cinema

The defense and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young Spanish-American is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. What begins as an open and shut case soon becomes a mini-drama of each of the jurors’ prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other.



16 .) An American in Paris (1951) directed by Vincente Minnelli

	An American in Paris (1951)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Den Of Geek
  • IMDB
  • Marie Claire

Jerry Mulligan is an exuberant American expatriate in Paris trying to make a reputation as a painter. His friend Adam is a struggling concert pianist who’s a long time associate of a famous French singer, Henri Baurel. A lonely society woman, Milo Roberts, takes Jerry under her wing and supports him, but is interested in more than his art.



15 .) City Lights (1931) directed by Charles Chaplin

	City Lights (1931)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • List Challenges
  • Taste Of Cinema

City Lights is the first silent film that Charlie Chaplin directed after he established himself with sound accompanied films. The film is about a penniless man who falls in love with a flower girl.



14 .) Double Indemnity (1944) directed by Billy Wilder

	Double Indemnity (1944)

Lists It Appears On:

  • GG Magazines
  • List Challenges
  • Taste Of Cinema

A rich woman and a calculating insurance agent plot to kill her unsuspecting husband after he signs a double indemnity policy. Against a backdrop of distinctly Californian settings, the partners in crime plan the perfect murder to collect the insurance, which pays double if the death is accidental.



13 .) High Noon (1952) directed by Fred Zinnemann

	High Noon (1952)

Lists It Appears On:

  • GG Magazines
  • IMDB
  • List Challenges

Will Kane, the sheriff of a small town in New Mexico, learns a notorious outlaw he put in jail has been freed, and will be arriving on the noon train. Knowing the outlaw and his gang are coming to kill him, Kane is determined to stand his ground, so he gathers a posse from among the local townspeople.



12 .) Jezebel (1938) directed by William Wyler

	Jezebel (1938)

Lists It Appears On:

  • GG Magazines
  • IMDB
  • NY Times

In 1850s Louisiana, the willfulness of a tempestuous Southern belle threatens to destroy all who care for her.



11 .) Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) directed by Vincente Minnelli

	Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Den Of Geek
  • GG Magazines
  • Marie Claire

In the year before the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair, the four Smith daughters learn lessons of life and love, even as they prepare for a reluctant move to New York.



10 .) Some Like It Hot (1959) directed by Billy Wilder

	Some Like It Hot (1959)

Lists It Appears On:

  • GG Magazines
  • IMDB
  • Taste Of Cinema

Two musicians witness a mob hit and struggle to find a way out of the city before they are found by the gangsters. Their only opportunity is to join an all-girl band as they leave on a tour. To make their getaway they must first disguise themselves as women, then keep their identities secret and deal with the problems this brings – such as an attractive bandmate and a very determined suitor.



9 .) Sunset Boulevard (1950) directed by Billy Wilder

	Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Lists It Appears On:

  • GG Magazines
  • IMDB
  • Taste Of Cinema

A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.



8 .) The Big Sleep (1946) directed by Howard Hawks

	The Big Sleep (1946)

Lists It Appears On:

  • GG Magazines
  • IMDB
  • List Challenges

Private Investigator Philip Marlowe is hired by wealthy General Sternwood regarding a matter involving his youngest daughter Carmen. Before the complex case is over, Marlowe sees murder, blackmail, deception, and what might be love.



7 .) The Wizard of Oz (1939) directed by Victor Fleming

	The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Den Of Geek
  • IMDB
  • Taste Of Cinema

Young Dorothy finds herself in a magical world where she makes friends with a lion, a scarecrow and a tin man as they make their way along the yellow brick road to talk with the Wizard and ask for the things they miss most in their lives. The Wicked Witch of the West is the only thing that could stop them.



6 .) Witness for the Prosecution (1957) directed by Billy Wilder

	Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Lists It Appears On:

  • GG Magazines
  • IMDB
  • NY Times

When Leonard Vole is arrested for the sensational murder of a rich, middle-aged widow, the famous Sir Wilfrid Robarts agrees to appear on his behalf. Sir Wilfrid, recovering from a near-fatal heart attack, is supposed to be on a diet of bland, civil suits—but the lure of the criminal courts is too much for him, especially when the case is so difficult.



5 .) All About Eve (1950) directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

	All About Eve (1950)

Lists It Appears On:

  • GG Magazines
  • IMDB
  • List Challenges
  • Taste Of Cinema

From the moment she glimpses her idol at the stage door, Eve Harrington is determined to take the reins of power away from the great actress Margo Channing. Eve maneuvers her way into Margo’s Broadway role, becomes a sensation and even causes turmoil in the lives of Margo’s director boyfriend, her playwright and his wife. Only the cynical drama critic sees through Eve, admiring her audacity and perfect pattern of deceit.



4 .) Bringing Up Baby (1938) directed by Howard Hawks

	Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • List Challenges
  • Marie Claire
  • Taste Of Cinema

David Huxley is waiting to get a bone he needs for his museum collection. Through a series of strange circumstances, he meets Susan Vance, and the duo have a series of misadventures which include a leopard called Baby.



3 .) Gone with the Wind (1939) directed by Victor Fleming

	Gone with the Wind (1939)

Lists It Appears On:

  • GG Magazines
  • IMDB
  • List Challenges
  • Taste Of Cinema

The spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner is forced to use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of poverty, following Maj. Gen. William Sherman’s destructive “March to the Sea,” during the American Civil War.



2 .) Casablanca (1942) directed by Michael Curtiz

	Casablanca (1942)

Lists It Appears On:

  • GG Magazines
  • IMDB
  • List Challenges
  • Marie Claire
  • Taste Of Cinema

In Casablanca, Morocco in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications.



1 .) Singin’ in the Rain (1952) directed by Stanley Donen

	Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Den Of Geek
  • GG Magazines
  • IMDB
  • Marie Claire
  • Taste Of Cinema

In 1927 Hollywood, a silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.




The 125+ Additional Best Classic Hollywood Films



# Movies Directors Lists
18 A Star Is Born (1954) George Cukor GG Magazines
IMDB
19 A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) Elia Kazan IMDB
Taste Of Cinema
20 Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) Frank Capra IMDB
List Challenges
21 Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)   List Challenges
Marie Claire
22 Charade (1963)   List Challenges
Marie Claire
23 Citizen Kane (1941)   List Challenges
Taste Of Cinema
24 Dinner at Eight (1933)   GG Magazines
List Challenges
25 From Here to Eternity (1953)   GG Magazines
List Challenges
26 Giant (1956) George Stevens IMDB
NY Times
27 Gigi (1958)   Den Of Geek
Marie Claire
28 His Girl Friday (1940)   Marie Claire
Taste Of Cinema
29 It Happened One Night (1934)   Marie Claire
Taste Of Cinema
30 It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) Frank Capra IMDB
Taste Of Cinema
31 Johnny Guitar (1954) Nicholas Ray IMDB
NY Times
32 On the Waterfront (1954) Elia Kazan IMDB
Taste Of Cinema
33 Psycho (1960) Alfred Hitchcock IMDB
Taste Of Cinema
34 Rear Window (1954) Alfred Hitchcock IMDB
Taste Of Cinema
35 The African Queen (1951) John Huston IMDB
List Challenges
36
The Best Years of our Lives (1946)
  List Challenges
Taste Of Cinema
37 The Big Heat (1953)   List Challenges
NY Times
38 The Great Dictator (1940) Charles Chaplin IMDB
Taste Of Cinema
39 The Maltese Falcon (1941) John Huston IMDB
Taste Of Cinema
40 The Philadelphia Story (1940)   Marie Claire
Taste Of Cinema
41 The Women (1939) George Cukor GG Magazines
IMDB
42 Vertigo (1958) Alfred Hitchcock GG Magazines
IMDB
43 White Heat (1949) Raoul Walsh GG Magazines
IMDB
44 3:10 to Yuma (1957) Delmer Daves IMDB
45 A Letter to Three Wives’ (1949)   NY Times
46 A Room With a View (1985)   Marie Claire
47 A Tale of Two Cities (1935)   Marie Claire
48 Ace in the Hole (1951)   List Challenges
49 All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)   Taste Of Cinema
50 An Affair to Remember (1957)   Marie Claire
51 Anatomy of a Murder (1959) Otto Preminger IMDB
52 And Then There Were None (1945) René Clair IMDB
53 Angels With Dirty Faces (1938)   List Challenges
54 Animal Crackers (1930) Victor Heerman IMDB
55 Anna Christie (I) (1930) Clarence Brown IMDB
56 Baby Boom (1987)   Marie Claire
57 Baby Face’ (1933)   NY Times
58 Ball Of Fire   GG Magazines
59 Ben-Hur (1959)   Taste Of Cinema
60 Brief Encounter (1945) David Lean IMDB
61 Broadcast News (1987)   Marie Claire
62 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) Richard Brooks IMDB
63 Clash by Night’ (1952)   NY Times
64 Coming to America (1988)   Marie Claire
65 Dark Passage (1947)   List Challenges
66 Days of Wine and Roses (1962)   List Challenges
67 Desk Set (1957)   Marie Claire
68 Detour (1945)   List Challenges
69 Dial M for Murder (1954)   List Challenges
70
Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
  List Challenges
71 Dracula (1931)   List Challenges
72 Duck Soup (1933)   List Challenges
73 Fallen Angel (1945)   List Challenges
74 Frankenstein (1931)   List Challenges
75 Fury (1936) Fritz Lang IMDB
76 Gaslight’ (1944)   NY Times
77 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)   List Challenges
78 Gilda (1946)   List Challenges
79 Grand Hotel   GG Magazines
80 Grease (1978)   Marie Claire
81 Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (1967)   Marie Claire
82 Harold and Maude (1971)   Marie Claire
83 High Sierra   GG Magazines
84 Holiday’ (1938)   NY Times
85 How to Steal a Million (1966)   Marie Claire
86 Humoresque   GG Magazines
87 Imitation of Life’ (1959)   NY Times
88 Inherit the Wind (1960) Stanley Kramer IMDB
89 It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963) Stanley Kramer IMDB
90 Key Largo   GG Magazines
91 King Kong (1933)   Taste Of Cinema
92 Kings Row (1942) Sam Wood IMDB
93 Love Me Or Leave Me   GG Magazines
94 Lust for Life (1956)   Art Net
95 Mary Poppins (1964)   Den Of Geek
96 Meet John Doe   GG Magazines
97 Modern Times (1936) Charles Chaplin IMDB
98 Moonstruck (1987)   Marie Claire
99 Moulin Rouge (1952)   Art Net
100 Mr Skeffington   GG Magazines
101 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) Frank Capra IMDB
102 My Fair Lady (1964)   Marie Claire
103 Night Of The Hunter   GG Magazines
104 Notorious   GG Magazines
105 Now, Voyager’ (1942)   NY Times
106 Of Human Bondage   GG Magazines
107 One, Two, Three (1961) Billy Wilder IMDB
108 Rebecca (1940) Alfred Hitchcock IMDB
109 Rebel Without a Cause (1955) Nicholas Ray IMDB
110 Rembrandt (1936)   Art Net
111 Roman Holiday (1953)   Marie Claire
112 Romancing the Stone (1984)   Marie Claire
113 Romeo and Juliet (1968)   Marie Claire
114 Say Anything… (1989)   Marie Claire
115
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
  Den Of Geek
116 Shadow of a Doubt (1943) Alfred Hitchcock IMDB
117 She’s Gotta Have It (1986)   Marie Claire
118 Sixteen Candles (1984)   Marie Claire
119 Sorry Wrong Number   GG Magazines
120 Splash (1984)   Marie Claire
121 Splendor in the Grass (1961) Elia Kazan IMDB
122 Strangers on a Train (1951) Alfred Hitchcock IMDB
123 Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) Joseph L. Mankiewicz IMDB
124 Swing Time (1936)   Den Of Geek
125 That Hamilton Woman   GG Magazines
126
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
  Taste Of Cinema
127 The Affairs of Cellini (1934)   Art Net
128 The Apartment (1960)   List Challenges
129 The Asphalt Jungle (1950)   List Challenges
130 The Awful Truth (1937)   List Challenges
131 The Band Wagon (1953)   Den Of Geek
132 The Bank Dick (1940)   List Challenges
133 The Big Combo (1955)   List Challenges
134 The Blue Dahlia (1946)   List Challenges
135
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  List Challenges
136 The General (1926)   List Challenges
137 The Gold Rush (1925)   List Challenges
138 The Goodbye Girl (1977)   Marie Claire
139 The Hard Way   GG Magazines
140 The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) Mark Robson IMDB
141 The Life Of Emile Zola   GG Magazines
142 The Man Who Knew Too Much   GG Magazines
143 The Miracle Worker (1962) Arthur Penn IMDB
144 The Moon and Sixpence (1942)   Art Net
145 The Night of the Hunter (1955)   Taste Of Cinema
146 The Princess Bride (1987)   Marie Claire
147 The Searchers (1956)   Taste Of Cinema
148
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
  Marie Claire
149
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers’ (1946)
  NY Times
150 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) John Huston IMDB
151 The Way We Were (1973)   Marie Claire
152 Titanic   GG Magazines
153 To Be or Not to Be (1942)   Taste Of Cinema
154 To Have And Have Not   GG Magazines
155 To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Robert Mulligan IMDB
156 Tootsie (1982)   Marie Claire
157 Top Hat (1935)   Den Of Geek
158 Touch of Evil (1958) Orson Welles IMDB
159 Treasure Of Sierra Madre   GG Magazines
160 West Side Story (1961)   Marie Claire
161 When Harry Met Sally (1989)   Marie Claire
162 White Christmas (1954)   Den Of Geek
163 Wizard Of Oz   GG Magazines
164 Wuthering Heights   GG Magazines
165 Yankee Doodle Dandy   GG Magazines


8 Best Classic Hollywood Film Sources/Lists



Source Article
Art Net 5 Classic Hollywood Movies That Sculpted Our Image of Artists as
Den Of Geek Best 11 Classic Movie Musicals
GG Magazines Top 40 Hollywood classics – GQ Films
IMDB Best Classical Hollywood cinema
List Challenges Essential Classic Hollywood Films
Marie Claire 40 Best Classic Movies of All Time
NY Times Stream These Old Hollywood Dramas With a Strong Female Lead
Taste Of Cinema 30 Cinematic Masterpieces Made in The Golden Age of Hollywood

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