The Best Movies Released Before 1970

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A group of us tried to come up with a short list of exemplary pre-1970 movies. The goal was a maximum of 20. I couldn’t winnow mine down below 25, and even making that number was painful. They are presented here in no particular order. And before you start smacking me around for omitting one of your faves, I did the best I could.


1.) Citizen Kane (1941)

Starring: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Everett Sloane

Screenplay by: Herman J. Mankiewicz & Orson Welles

Directed by: Orson Welles

2.) Animal Crackers (1930)

Starring: The Four Marx Brothers

Screenplay by: Morrie Ryskind

Directedby: Victor Heerman

3.) Hamlet (1948)

Starring: Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, John Laurie

Written by: William Shakespeare (Adaption by Laurence Olivier)

Directedby: Laurence Olivier

4.) Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Starring: Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Omar Sharif

Screenplay by: Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson

Directedby: David Lean

5.) Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Starring: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden

Screenplay by: Stanley Kubrick and Terry Southern

Directedby: Stanley Kubrick

6.) The Hustler (1961)

Starring: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott

Screenplay by: Sydney Carroll and Robert Rossen

Directedby: Robert Rossen

7.) Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Starring: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson

Screenplay by: Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, and D.M. Marshman Jr.

Directedby: Billy Wilder

8.) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Starring: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis

Screenplay by: Ernest Lehman

Directedby: Mike Nichols

9.) The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)

Starring: Monty Woolley, Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, Billie Burke

Screenplay by: Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein

Directedby: William Keighley

10.) In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Starring: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant

Screenplay by: Stirling Silliphant

Directedby: Norman Jewison

11.) On the Waterfront (1954)

Starring: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Eva Marie Saint

Screenplay by: Bud Schulberg

Directedby: Elia Kazan

12) Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (1953)

Starring: Jacques Tati, Nathalie Pascaud, Micheline Rolla

Screenplay by: Henri Marquet and Jacques Tati

Directedby: Jacques Tati

13.) The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt

Screenplay by: John Huston

Directedby: John Huston

14.) Inherit the Wind (1960)

Starring: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly, Dick York

Screenplay by: Nedrick Young and Harold Jacob Smith

Directedby: Stanley Kramer

15.) Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Starring: Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Josephine Hull, Jean Adair

Screenplay by: Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein

Directedby: Frank Capra

16.) Frankenstein (1931)

Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff, John Boles

Screenplay by: Garrett Fort and Francis Edward                                                                                                               Faragoh

Directedby: James Whale

17.) Marty (1955)

Starring:  Ernest Borgnine, Betsy Blair, Esther Minciotti

Screenplay by: Paddy Chayefsky

Directedby: Delbert Mann

18.) Some Like It Hot (1959)

Starring: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft

Screenplay by: Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

Directed by: Billy Wilder

19.) Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

Starring: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono, Wesley Addy

Screenplay by: Henry Farrell

Directedby: Robert Aldrich

20.) Psycho (1960)

Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin

Screenplay by: Joseph Stefano

Directedby: Alfred Hitchcock

21.) All About Eve (1950)

Starring: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm

Screenplay by: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Directedby: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

22.) The Great Dictator (1940)

Starring: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie

Screenplay by: Charles Chaplin

Directed by: Charles Chaplin

23.) It Happened One Night (1934)

Starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns

Screenplay by: Robert Riskin

Directedby: Frank Capra

24.) Singin’ In the Rain (1952)

Starring: Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen

Screenplay by: Betty Comden and Adolph Green

Directedby: Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly

25.) Mildred Pierce (1945)

Starring: Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden

Screenplay by: Ranald MacDougall

Directed by: Michael Curtiz

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