Some all-time classic movies were released during the black-and-white era. You will no doubt see some of them on this list. Many movies back then were made in black and white because that is what was available, but some chose to do it as an artistic choice. A popular forum debated their 25 favorite black-and-white movies, and we have them for you here.
1. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
A nuclear holocaust is imminent after an American general orders a bombing strike on the Soviet Union. What he doesn’t realize is that this attack could trigger Russia’s ultimate weapon, a Doomsday machine that could blow up the planet.
2. Young Frankenstein (1974)
This is the tale of a young neurosurgeon inheriting a castle from his grandfather, Dr. Victor von Frankenstein. Initially, he wants to avoid having anything to do with his grandfather’s work. However, he changes his mind once he looks at some research. He then decides to try and carry on where his grandfather left off.
3. Casablanca (1942)
During World War II, some European citizens fled Germany and tried to get to the United States. Rick Blaine, an exiled American, runs the most popular place in Casablanca, somewhere these refugees must go before they can get to America. Rick runs into someone he knows one day and then needs to decide whether he will help them escape the country.
4. Schindler’s List (1993)
Oskar Schindler is a man who looked to strike it rich in Poland during World War II. That didn’t happen though as he put a group of people’s safety and overall well-being over anything else. He saved approximately 1,100 Jewish people from persecution by turning his factory into a refuge for those who needed it.
5. Raging Bull (1980)
This is a story about what made one person champion inside the boxing ring is the reason his personal life fell apart. He would suffer from bouts of jealousy and paranoia whenever his wife would pay attention to another gentleman. This would lead to both emotional and physical abuse.
6. La haine (1995)
This movie follows three young men in the French suburbs one day after a violent riot. It is a story about racial tension during that time and the oppressive police force in that area. It is also a tale of revenge as one of the characters, Vinz, vows to kill a cop if his friend dies from injuries he sustained while in police custody.
7. Rashomon (1950)
A brutal crime is recounted through the eyes of three people and a ghost. It is a bit of a mystery as no one seems to know who was responsible, and several others claim responsibility. There are a lot of different versions of the story out there, including one where the ghost of the person who was killed claims he took his own life. Eventually, a discovery is made which reveals the good and the bad in the world.
8. Persona (1966)
This film is about a nurse at a psychiatric hospital who forms a powerful bond with one of her patients. This nurse, Alma, has a patient named Elisabet who is mute and in a near catatonic state. She does everything she can to try and reach her patient. However, as she gets to know her patient more and more, Alma notices that she is transforming a bit to be just like Elisabet.
9. Eraserhead (1977)
A factory worker is on vacation when he receives some news that will change his life. He finds out that he is the father of a baby who is deformed in some way. He then has to move in with his girlfriend, and adjusting to parenthood almost drives him to insanity.
10. Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)
A “Metal Fetishist” ends up getting killed one night when a car hits him. The vehicle’s driver then discovers that his body is being overtaken with some disease that apparently is turning his body into scrap metal.
11. The Elephant Man (1980)
Joseph Merrick has several physical deformities, earning him the nickname “The Elephant Man.” He is presented as a circus sideshow freak in a circus. Dr. Treves sees him one day and tries to bring him into the hospital. While there the doctor discovers that Joseph is articulate and quite intelligent. As news spreads and Merrick’s fame increases, there is the question of whether or not he is still being exploited, just in a kinder fashion.
12. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
George Bailey is an individual who always puts others ahead of himself. He wanted to travel and see the world, but he knew Mr. Potter would take over the city if he ever did. When a mistake is made on Christmas Eve, and it looks like Bailey’s business might collapse, he wonders what it would be like for everyone if he was no longer around. His guardian angel then shows him exactly what it would be like if George had never been born.
13. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
During the Great Depression an Oklahoman family is forced to abandon their farm in the Dust Bowl. They hope to make it to California to start a new life. Once they reach their destination though, they find out it differs from what they expected.
14. The Lighthouse (2019)
This is a story that takes place in the 1890s. It is about two lighthouse keepers trying to maintain their sanity on a remote island in New England. They endure incredible hardships with the isolation and alcohol fueling their march towards insanity.
15. The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
A local farmer is killed, and three suspects could have done it. A local posse forms to track down the culprits. The suspects are eventually tracked down and a good portion of the mob wants swift justice and to eliminate those three men on the spot. A small part of that posse, though, wants everything to go through the proper legal channels to determine whether or not the suspects are actually guilty.
16. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Atticus Finch is a lawyer in a small town in Alabama. A woman has been sexually assaulted, and his job is to defend the man accused of this heinous crime. The man accused of this crime has a different skin color than the woman, which helps to further ignite racial tensions. While trying to defend his client, Atticus is also trying to teach his children about prejudice and how it is wrong to treat someone differently based solely on their skin color.
17. The Tale of Zatoichi (1962)
A blind masseur becomes a mercenary swordsman in this tale. He is also a gambler and wins big at a dice game in a yakuza-controlled village. Two rival gangs are about to engage in conflict, and the two bosses select who will fight for them. One is Zatoichi, and the other is an ex-samurai named Zatonoichi.
18. Carnival of Souls (1962)
A drag race occurs one night, resulting in one of the cars driving off a bridge and into the river below. Mary somehow survives and becomes desensitized to everything after the incident. She tries to start over in a new city by accepting a job as a church organist. It isn’t long before she begins having visions, and other things start taking place that make her seem crazy to the outside world. She thinks the visions have something to do with an abandoned carnival outside of town and is drawn there.
19. Repulsion (1965)
Carol Ledux appears to be a quiet individual unless it is about one of the few issues she is passionate about. One such issue is she disapproves of her sister’s boyfriend and gets annoyed when she can hear them at night. She has an obsessive personality, which only worsens when she is left alone and contemplates her own solitude. This leads to her deteriorating mental state, which begins to affect everybody.
20. Roma (2018)
This movie is about a year in the life of a maid in Mexico City in the 1970s. Over that period, some good and some bad things take place. Cleo, the family’s maid, and Sofia, her employer, witness both sides of life, from love and a new life that comes from death. They are also constantly trying to find the good in whatever situation they are in.
21. Yojimbo (1961)
A samurai visits a rural Japanese town in the nineteenth century. Once he finds out what is going on and how two gangs are vying for control of the territory, he does what he can to pit them against one another. Things don’t go as planned after some people get killed, and he is forced to retreat. Later though, he finds out about an abduction and must return to the town to deal with it.
22. Breathless (1960)
A criminal, Michel Poiccard, decides to steal a car but doesn’t get away clean as a police officer begins to chase him. He quickly eliminates the officer pursuing him, which means he now has the whole force after him. He meets an American journalism student. He wants her to run away with him to Italy, oblivious that the authorities might close in on him.
23. A Field in England (2013)
During the Civil War, a group of people decided they don’t want to be there and tried to escape through an overgrown field. During their escape attempt, they are captured and forced to search that field that supposedly has some hidden treasure.
24. Metropolis (1927)
This film tells the tale of a Utopian society where its wealthy residents don’t have a care in the world. One day one of the citizens sees a beautiful woman with a group of children. He loses track of them and does what he can to find her. What he finds changes his views forever as he realizes an underground world of workers is making that Utopian society function and very few people know about it. He wants to help those workers get a better life, but trying to do so has consequences.
25. Seven Samurai (1954)
A veteran samurai has fallen onto some hard times recently. He hears about a village that needs some protection. Hence, he gathers a small group of other samurai to try and teach the villagers how to defend themselves. The villagers provide the samurai with food and lodging as payment. The odds are certainly against them as these samurai warriors prepare these ordinary people for an upcoming battle.