The following is a list of my favorite Black & White films (in alphabetical order). Most of these films can be called "Film Noir", but not all of them. I have enjoyed all these films very much and I'm very happy to recommend them to you all. I find it quite amazing that I generally enjoy these films as much or more so than most modern films. Given these films represent the cream of the crop of B&W films, it's not surprising that people may enjoy them more than modern movies with big budgets. Many people feel that all the technical components of modern films (such as CGI) tend to detract from the value of the story. I'm not sure about that. But I do know that I can often lose myself in the 1940s or 1950s and I just feel "swept away" in the past.
For each of these films, I will try to include a link to the IMDB data base as well as the IMDB rating. I have found the IMDB rating to be a good way to judge how good (and by "good" I mean entertaining) a film is. The average rating is 7.0. If a film is rated between 7.0 and 8.0, it's likely an entertaining film. If it's rated 8.0 or higher, it's likely a very entertaining film. All the following movies were shot in Black & White.
I would like to invite you all to make any comments you like about these films and to post your own favorite B&W films. I sincerely hope you will enjoy these films.
. 5 Fingers 1952 Rated 7.8 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044314
I love James Mason and this is one of his best films. During WW2 the valet to the British Ambassador to Ankara sells British secrets to the Germans while trying to romance a refugee Polish countess. James Mason, Danielle Darrieux, Michael Rennie
. 12 Angry Men 1957 Rated 8.9 https://www.google.com/search?q=imdb+12+angry+men&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
A jury holdout attempts to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence. Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam
. 711 Ocean Drive 1950 Rated 6.9 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042176
An electronics expert creates a huge bookie broadcast system for his crime boss, and takes over operations when his boss is murdered. His greed leads him on a deadly destructive path. Edmond O'Brien, Joanne Dru, Otto Kruger
. Anatomy of a Murder 1959 Rated 8.1 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052561
Lee Remick is unbelievable sexy in this film. In a murder trial, the defendant says he suffered temporary insanity after the victim raped his wife. What is the truth, and will he win his case? James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara
. Caged 1950 Rated 8.9 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042296
Excellent film about a womens' prison. A naive nineteen year old widow becomes coarsened and cynical when she is sent to a woman's prison and is exposed to hardened criminals and sadistic guards. Eleanor Parker, Agnes Moorehead, Ellen Corby
. Detective Story 1951 Rated 7.6 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043465
On one day in the 21st Precinct squad room, assorted characters form a backdrop for the troubles of hard-nosed Detective Jim McLeod.
Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker, William Bendix
. Dr Strangelove 1964 Rated 8.5 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057012
An insane general triggers a nuclear holocaust while politicians & generals frantically try to stop it. Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden
. Executive Action 1973 Rated 6.7 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070046
Rogue intelligence agents, right-wing politicians, greedy capitalists, and free-lance assassins plot and carry out the JFK assassination in this speculative agitprop.
Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Will Geer
. Impact 1949 Rated 7.0 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041503
A unfaithful wife plots with her lover to kill her husband, but the lover is accidentally killed instead. The husband stays in hiding, and lets his wife be charged with conspiracy. Brian Donlevy, Ella Raines, Charles Coburn
. In Harm's Way 1965 Rated 7.4 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059309
A naval officer reprimanded after Pearl Harbor is later promoted to rear admiral and gets a second chance to prove himself against the Japanese.
John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal
. Kansas City Confidential 1952 Rated 7.4 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044789
An ex-con trying to go straight is framed for a million dollar armored car robbery and must go to Mexico in order to unmask the real culprits.
John Payne, Coleen Gray, Preston Foster
. Lady In The Lake 1947 Rated 6.6 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039545
IMHO, this film is very under-rated. It never got the kind of reviews it deserved. The lady editor of a crime magazine hires Philip Marlowe to find the wife of her boss. The private detective soon finds himself involved in murder. Robert Montgomery, Audrey Totter, Lloyd Nolan
. Out Of The Past 1947 Rated 8.1 https://www.google.com/search?q=Out+Of+T+Past+1947&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames. Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas
Please note this film is similar to "The Killers", but IMO, "The Killers" is definitely more enjoyable than "Out of The Past".
. Mystery Street 1950 Rated 7.8 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042771
A small town cop is helped by a professor when the remains of a pregnant woman turn up on a beach. Ricardo Montalban, Sally Forrest, Bruce Bennett
. Schindler's List 1993 Rated 8.9 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108052
In German-occupied Poland during WW 2, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans. Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley
. Scrooge 1951 Rated 8.1 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044008
An old bitter miser is given a chance for redemption when he is haunted by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. Alastair Sim, Jack Warner, Kathleen Harrison
. Stalag 17 1953 Rated 8.1 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046359
Wonderful movie. Possibly one of the best top ten of them all. When two escaping American WW 2 prisoners are killed, the German POW camp barracks black marketeer, J.J. Sefton, is suspected of being an informer.
William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger
. The Americanization Of Emily 1964 Rated 7.4 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057840
An American naval officer's talent for living the good life in wartime is challenged when he falls in love and is sent on a dangerous mission.
James Garner, Julie Andrews, Melvyn Douglas
. The Apartment 1960 Rated 8.3 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053604
A man tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue.
Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray
. The Asphalt Jungle 1950 Rated 7.9 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042208
A major heist goes off as planned, until bad luck and double crosses cause everything to unravel. Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen
. The Best Years of Our Lives 1946 Rated 8.1 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046359
This film won the Oscar for Best Film in 1946. It's somewhat dated now. Probably only enjoyable for people who are interested in WW2 films. Three WW 2 veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed. Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy
. The Big Steal 1949 Rated 7.1 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041178
An army lieutenant accused of robbery pursues the real thief on a frantic chase through Mexico aided by the thief's fiancee. Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, William Bendix
. The Dark Corner 1946 Rated 7.1 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038453
Excellent film. Very, very enjoyable. You won't hardly recognize Lucille Ball. She plays a dramatic role and she is nothing like the character she plays in, "I Love Lucy". Secretary tries to help her boss, who is framed for a murder. Lucille Ball, Clifton Webb, William Bendix
. The Desert Fox 1951 Rated 7.0 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043461
The story of the final years of the respected WW 2 German general, Erwin Rommel. James Mason, Cedric Hardwicke, Jessica Tandy
. The Killers 1946 Rated 7.8 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038669
This film is about an insurance agent who investigates a killing that involves a beautiful but deadly woman. Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner & Edmond O'Brien.
. The Killing 1956 Rated 8.0 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049406
Well worth seeing. This film is about a daring daylight robbery at a race track. It was one of director's Stanley Kubrick earliest films.
Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards.
. The Lady Eve 1941 Rated 8.0 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033804
A magnificent comedy / love story. If you enjoy Preston Sturges films, you will almost certainly love this one. A trio of classy card sharps targets a socially awkward heir to brewery millions for his money, until one of them falls in love with him. Directed by Preston Sturges.
Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn
. The Longest Day 1962 Rated 7.8 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056197
The events of D-Day, told on a grand scale from both the Allied and German points of view. John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Richard Burton
. The Maltese Falcon 1941 Rated 8.1 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033870
A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.
Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George
. The Man Who Wasn't There 2001 Rated 7.6 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0243133
Most people never saw this film. But it's really worth taking the time to see it. A laconic, chain-smoking barber blackmails his wife's boss and lover for money to invest in dry cleaning, but his plan goes terribly wrong. Billy Bob Thornton, Frances McDormand, Michael Badalucco
. The Naked City 1948 Rated 7.7 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0040636
New York City film noir about two detectives investigating the death of an attractive young woman. The apparent suicide turns out to be murder.
Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, Dorothy Hart
. The Seventh Victim 1943 Rated 6.9 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036341
A woman in search of her missing sister uncovers a Satanic cult in New York's Greenwich Village, and finds that they may have something to do with her sibling's random disappearance. Kim Hunter, Tom Conway, Jean Brooks
. The Treasure of Sierra Madre 1948 Rated 8.3 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0040897
IMHO, this was Bogart's best film. Fred Dobbs and Bob Curtin, two Americans searching for work in Mexico, convince an old prospector to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains. Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt
. To Kill A Mockingbird 1962 Rated 8.3 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056592
This film is 55 years old but still relevant today and still enjoyable. Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice. Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton
. Westward The Women 1951 Rated 7.6 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044205
A trail guide escorts a group of women from Chicago to California to marry men that have recently began settling there. Robert Taylor, Denise Darcel, Hope Emerson
. White Heat 1949 Rated 8.2 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042041
A great gangster movie. One of the best. A psychopathic criminal with a mother complex makes a daring break from prison and leads his old gang in a chemical plant payroll heist. Shortly after the plan takes place, events take a crazy turn. James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien
. Witness For The Prosecution 1957 Rated 8.4 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051201
A veteran British barrister must defend his client in a murder trial that has surprise after surprise. Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton
. Young Frankenstein 1974 Rated 8.1 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072431
An American grandson of the infamous scientist, struggling to prove that he is not as insane as people believe, is invited to Transylvania, where he discovers the process that reanimates a dead body. Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman
. Some Like it Hot 1959 Rated 8.3 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053291/
When two male musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.
Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon
. To Have & Have Not 1944 Rated 8.0 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037382
During WW 2, American expatriate Harry Morgan helps transport a French Resistance leader and his beautiful wife to Martinique while romancing a sensuous lounge singer. Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Walter Brennan