34. Throne of Blood (1957) Dir. Akira Kurosawa, 109 mins.
The film transposes the plot of William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth from Medieval Scotland to feudal Japan, with stylistic elements drawn from Noh drama. As with the play, the film tells the story of a warrior who assassinates his sovereign at the urging of his ambitious wife.
33. All About Eve (1950) Dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 138 mins.
The film stars Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a highly regarded but ageing Broadway star. Anne Baxter plays Eve Harrington, an ambitious young fan who insinuates herself into Channing’s life, ultimately threatening Channing’s career and her personal relationships.
32. The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959) Dir. Masaki Kobayashi, 208 mins.
Drawing from his own experiences, Kobayashi weaves the tale of a Japanese pacifist, trying to get by as best he can during World War II. Buy
31. On the Waterfront (1954) Dir. Elia Kazan, 108 mins.
The film focuses on union violence and corruption amongst longshoremen on the waterfronts of Hoboken, New Jersey. Marlon Brando makes a huge impact as a dockworker and once promising boxer whose brother is the right hand man of a mob connected union boss.
30. The Life of Oharu (1952) Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi, 148 mins.
The Life of Oharu is a fictional black and white historical film starring Kinuyo Tanaka as Oharu, a one-time concubine of a daimyō (and mother of a later daimyō) who struggles to escape the stigma of having been forced into prostitution by her father. Watch
29. North by Northwest (1959) Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 136 mins.
North by Northwest is a tale of mistaken identity, with an innocent man (Cary Grant) pursued across the United States by agents of a mysterious organisation trying to prevent him from blocking their plan to smuggle out microfilm that contains government secrets. Watch
28. Los Olvidados (1950) Dir. Luis Bunuel, 85 mins.
The story concerns a gang of juvenile delinquents, whose sole redeeming quality is their apparent devotion to one another. Watch
27. La Strada (1954) Dir. Federico Fellini, 108 mins.
The film that first brought Fellini international fame and began his break with neo-realism, follows a naive young woman, Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina), who is bought from her impoverished mother by a brutish circus strongman, Zampanò (Anthony Quinn) to be his wife and partner. She loyally endures his coldness and foul abusive behaviour while he takes her with him to perform across a bleak Italian countryside. Inspired by the writer/director’s own circus background, the production had many problems, including insecure finance, casting issues, delays and Fellini suffering a nervous breakdown. However, despite this and a harsh critical reaction on release, the film is now recognised for its simple, yet strikingly original narrative, the breakthrough performance of Fellini’s wife and muse, Masina and for its great influence on Italian cinema such as the filmmaker’s own future masterpieces, La Dolce Vita (1960), 8 1/2 (1963) and Amarcord (1974). More…
26. Hiroshima mon amour (1959) Dir. Alain Resnais, 90 mins.
An extramarital affair between a Japanese architect and a French film maker recalls the horrors of the atomic bomb and the prospects for world peace.
25. Nights of Cabiria (1957) Dir. Federico Fellini, 117 mins.
Based on a story by Fellini, the film is about a prostitute in Rome who searches for true love in vain.
24. Night and Fog (1956) Dir. Alain Resnais, 32 mins.
The documentary features the abandoned grounds of Auschwitz and Majdanek while describing the lives of prisoners in the camps.
23. The World of Apu (1959) Dir. Satyajit Ray, 105 mins.
It is the third part of The Apu Trilogy, about the childhood and early adulthood of a young Bengali named Apu in the early twentieth century Indian subcontinent.
22. A Man Escaped (1956) Dir. Robert Bresson, 99 mins.
It is based on the memoirs of André Devigny, a member of the French Resistance held in Montluc prison by the occupying Germans during World War II.
21. Sansho the Bailiff (1954) Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi, 124 mins.
Based on a short story of the same name by Mori Ōgai, it follows two aristocratic children who are sold into slavery. Watch