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Best black and white films of all time

  • #80. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 61,345
    Director(s): John Ford
    Featuring: James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles, Lee Marvin
    Runtime: 123 min.

    One among many collaborations between director John Ford and actor John Wayne, this western drama takes place in the town of Shinbone. That's where Senator Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart) once famously shot a ruthless outlaw known as Liberty Valance. Or did he?

  • #79. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 79,148
    Director(s): John Ford
    Featuring: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Charley Grapewin
    Runtime: 129 min.

    Grainy black and white footage brings the Depression era to life in this acclaimed adaptation of John Steinbeck's famous novel. It centers on the Joads, a poor family who move from Oklahoma to California after being forced off their land. Upon their arrival, the Joads realize that California is not the paradise they hoped it would be.  

  • #78. Persepolis (2007)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 80,501
    Director(s): Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi
    Featuring: Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Gena Rowlands, Danielle Darrieux
    Runtime: 96 min.

    Employing brilliant black and white animation with touches of color, this biographical drama takes place during and after the Iranian Revolution of 1979. At the heart of the story is a precocious girl named Marji, whose world is shattered by the new tyrannical regime. When she attends a boarding school in Vienna, Marji discovers an entirely new culture that's no easier to bear.

  • #77. It Happened One Night (1934)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 82,757
    Director(s): Frank Capra
    Featuring: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns
    Runtime: 105 min.

    Director Frank Capra is more or less synonymous with feel-good cinema, and this screwball comedy duly abides. Upon fleeing from her new husband, a spoiled heiress (Claudette Colbert) crosses paths with a shameless out-of-work reporter (Clark Gable). What follows is one of the most iconic road trip movies of all time, with the record-setting Academy Awards to show for it.

  • #76. Persona (1966)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 84,039
    Director(s): Ingmar Bergman
    Featuring: Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Margaretha Krook, Gunnar Björnstrand
    Runtime: 83 min.

    Exploring themes of identity, duality, and insanity, this surrealist drama opens with one of the most unforgettable sequences ever filmed in black and white. As the relationship between a nurse and her mute patient unfolds, the two women seemingly merge into one. Bergman's film would later inspire David Lynch's seminal masterpiece “Mulholland Drive.”

  • #75. The 400 Blows (1959)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 89,709
    Director(s): François Truffaut
    Featuring: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, Claire Maurier, Guy Decomble
    Runtime: 99 min.

    This 1959 classic from François Truffaut helped launch the French New Wave movement. It follows a troubled boy named Antoine Doinel as he delves into a life of petty crime after being neglected by his parents. Both the film and the broader movement dramatically influenced a slate of Hollywood directors, paving the way for new modes of artistic expression.

  • #74. 8½ (1963)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 97,437
    Director(s): Federico Fellini
    Featuring: Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimée, Claudia Cardinale, Sandra Milo
    Runtime: 138 min.

    Chronicling the misadventures of an overstressed director, "La Dolce Vita" weaves reality, memory, and fantasy together in a vivid tapestry. Everyone from Woody Allen to Terry Gilliam has cited this film as an influence on their work.

  • #73. Rebecca (1940)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 108,432
    Director(s): Alfred Hitchcock
    Featuring: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson
    Runtime: 130 min.

    Master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock has a bevy of black and white masterpieces to his name, including this award-winning romantic thriller. The movie finds a newlywed bride (Joan Fontaine) playing second fiddle to her husband's (Laurence Olivier) deceased wife, Rebecca. While trying to get out from under Rebecca's shadow, the bride discovers a dangerous secret.

  • #72. Roman Holiday

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 115,501
    Director(s): William Wyler
    Featuring: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert, Hartley Power
    Runtime: 118 min.

    Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn gallivant around Rome in this celebrated romantic comedy, in which they play a American news reporter and royal princess, respectively. What starts as a relationship built on deception becomes something far more genuine as the chemistry builds.

  • #71. La Haine (1995)

    IMDb user rating: 8.1
    Votes: 128,892
    Director(s): Mathieu Kassovitz
    Featuring: Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé, Saïd Taghmaoui, Abdel Ahmed Ghili
    Runtime: 98 min.

    Presented in gritty black and white, this intense drama follows three ethnically diverse men on the heels of a racially motivated riot. The action unravels over the course of 24 hours and takes place in the lower-income suburbs of Paris. When one of the men (Vincent Cassel) finds a policeman's handgun, the stakes reach a tipping point.