Movies Set In 1950s

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Movies Set In 1950s

Dozens of directors have explored Movies Set In 1950s. We assembled 25 of the best ones.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Shawshank Redemption
★★★★
★★★★
3.7 out of 4 stars

From Frank Darabont, starring Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler
Rated R

The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont, based on the 1982 Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. It tells the story of banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Prison for the murder of his wife and her lover, despite his claims of innocence. During his time at the prison, Andy befriends a fellow inmate, Ellis "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman), and finds himself protected by the guards after the warden begins using him in his money-laundering operation. With the help of his friends, Andy is eventually able to gain his freedom, but not without enduring psychological and physical abuse at the hands of the prison guards. At the same time, the story also explores themes of hope, resilience, and the value of friendship. The film was a critical and commercial success, with many praising the performances of Robbins and Freeman, as well as Darabont's direction, and it received seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.

The Godfather (1972)

The Godfather
★★★★
★★★★
3.7 out of 4 stars

From Francis Ford Coppola, starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton
Rated R

The Godfather is a 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on Mario Puzo's novel of the same name. It stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard Castellano, Robert Duvall, and Diane Keaton. The story follows the aging patriarch Vito Corleone (Brando), a powerful Italian-American Mafia Don, as he tries to maintain and expand his family's criminal empire in 1950s New York City. His youngest son Michael (Pacino) reluctantly joins the family business and soon finds that the power of the family comes at a high cost. The film examines the Corleone family's evolving moral code as they become entangled in rival gangs and political intrigue, and explores issues of loyalty, betrayal, and family.

The Godfather Part II (1974)

The Godfather Part II
★★★★
★★★★
3.6 out of 4 stars

From Francis Ford Coppola, starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton
Rated R

The Godfather Part II is the sequel to the 1972 classic, The Godfather. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the film continues the saga of the Corleone family. In this installment, we follow two parallel storylines: the first follows the rise of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) to the head of the Corleone family, while the second explores the early life of his father, Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro). As Michael consolidates power and makes ruthless decisions, Vito's story tells of how he came to America and how he built his criminal empire. The film also explores themes of violence, power, loyalty, betrayal, ambition, and justice. The Godfather Part II is widely considered to be one of the greatest films ever made and won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump
★★★★
★★★★
3.5 out of 4 stars

From Robert Zemeckis, starring Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field
Rated PG-13

Forrest Gump is a 1994 American comedy-drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Eric Roth. It is based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom, and stars Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, and Sally Field. The story depicts several decades in the life of Forrest Gump, a naïve and slow-witted but good-hearted man from Alabama who witnesses and unwittingly influences several defining historical events in the 20th century United States. Forrest meets a number of historical figures, including Elvis Presley, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and John Lennon. The film focuses on different aspects of Forrest's life and how he manages the challenges that come his way. Forrest experiences the pain of being an outcast in society, falls in love with his childhood friend Jenny, and serves in the military during the Vietnam War, where he earns the Medal of Honor. Despite his naivety, Forrest is able to succeed in life due to his strength of character and sheer determination. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $677 million worldwide during its theatrical run and being the highest-grossing film

Goodfellas (1990)

Goodfellas
★★★★
★★★★
3.5 out of 4 stars

From Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco
Rated R

Goodfellas is a 1990 American crime film directed by Martin Scorsese. It follows the rise and fall of mob associate Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), his friends Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci), and his wife Karen (Lorraine Bracco). The film chronicles their life of crime in the 1950s and 1960s, including their involvement with the Lucchese and Gambino crime families. The story is narrated by Henry, who is eventually arrested for his criminal activities. The film explores themes of loyalty, friendship, greed, and betrayal, and examines the effects of a life of crime on the lives of those involved. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest films of all time, and earned six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.

Back to the Future (1985)

Back to the Future
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Robert Zemeckis, starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover
Rated PG

Back to the Future is a 1985 American science fiction film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale. It stars Michael J. Fox as teenager Marty McFly, who is sent back in time to 1955, where he meets his future parents and becomes his own mother's romantic interest. During his time there, Marty must also find a way to return to 1985. Along the way, he enlists the help of eccentric scientist Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd, and in the process, inadvertently interferes with his parents' first meeting. The film's cultural impact and financial success led to two sequels, Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990), as well as an animated series and a theme park ride.

Psycho (1960)

Psycho
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Alfred Hitchcock, starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin
Rated R

Psycho is a classic horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock that tells the story of Marion Crane, a young woman who impulsively steals $40,000 from her employer and goes on the run. After a series of events, she eventually finds herself at a desolate motel run by the disturbed Norman Bates. As the movie progresses, the audience is taken on a journey of suspense and terror as Norman's true identity and dark secrets are revealed. Ultimately, Marion's confrontation with her pursuers and Norman's psychological unraveling lead to a shocking conclusion.

L.A. Confidential (1997)

L.A. Confidential
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Curtis Hanson, starring Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger
Rated R

L.A. Confidential is a 1997 neo-noir crime film directed by Curtis Hanson. Set in 1950s Los Angeles, the film follows three police officers from the LAPD as they investigate a wide array of crimes, from corruption and blackmail to murder and prostitution. The three police officers – Ed Exley (Guy Pearce), Bud White (Russell Crowe), and Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) – must find a way to work together despite their differing views about justice and morality. As the investigation progresses, layers of deceit and conspiracy are uncovered, culminating in a confrontation between the police and the powerful criminal forces behind the corruption. The film received critical acclaim, earning nine Academy Award nominations, winning two (Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay).

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

A Beautiful Mind
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Ron Howard, starring Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer
Rated PG-13

A Beautiful Mind is a 2001 biographical drama film about the life of Nobel Prize-winning economist and mathematician John Forbes Nash, Jr., played by Russell Crowe. Nash struggles with paranoid schizophrenia and although initially successful in his career, is ultimately forced to work as a janitor in a mental hospital. The film follows Nash's journey as he perseveres through his disorder, aided by his wife Alicia, played by Jennifer Connelly. With the help of close friends and his doctor, Nash slowly learns to overcome his illness, eventually returning to the academic world and becoming a successful professor and theorist at Princeton University. He wins the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1994. The film, directed by Ron Howard, examines the impact of Nash's mental illness on his personal and professional life over several decades. The film is based on a 1998 book about Nash's life, also titled "A Beautiful Mind", written by Sylvia Nasar. It won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress for Connelly.

Shutter Island (2010)

Shutter Island
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley
Rated R

Shutter Island is a psychological thriller set in 1954 and directed by Martin Scorsese. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) are sent to the isolated Shutter Island, home to a mental institution for the criminally insane, to investigate the disappearance of a patient. As the two begin their investigation, increasingly strange and unsettling occurrences begin to occur. Teddy finds himself locked in a struggle between his rational mind and his subconscious as he attempts to solve the mystery of Shutter Island. With a series of mind-bending twists, the film culminates in an unexpected and emotionally charged finale.

Raging Bull (1980)

Raging Bull
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent
Rated R

Raging Bull is a 1980 American biographical sports drama film directed by Martin Scorsese. It stars Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta, an Italian-American middleweight boxer whose self-destructive behavior, both inside and outside the ring, ultimately leads to his downfall. The film follows LaMotta's rise and fall, with a focus on his relationship with his brother Joey (played by Joe Pesci) and his wife, Vickie (played by Cathy Moriarty). It also features a strong supporting performance from Frank Vincent as the mobster Salvy Batts. The film is widely considered one of the greatest films of all time and is noted for its bleak, realistic depiction of LaMotta's decline and the violent nature of boxing.

Stand by Me (1986)

Stand by Me
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Rob Reiner, starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell
Rated R

Stand by Me is a 1986 American coming-of-age film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O'Connell. The film follows four young boys in a small Oregon town who go on a hike to find the dead body of a missing teenager. Along the way, they learn about friendship, the importance of family, and the power of the written word. The film is based on the novella The Body by Stephen King. Stand by Me has become a cult classic, praised for its performances and nostalgia-inducing soundtrack. It is frequently cited as one of the greatest films of all time.

The Iron Giant (1999)

The Iron Giant
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Brad Bird, starring Eli Marienthal, Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Aniston, Vin Diesel
Rated PG

The Iron Giant is a 1999 animated science fiction comedy-drama film directed by Brad Bird. The film is based on the 1968 novel The Iron Man by Ted Hughes and stars Eli Marienthal, Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr., Christopher McDonald, and Vin Diesel as the titular character. The story is set in 1957, in the fictional town of Rockwell, Maine. The Iron Giant, a mysterious alien robot, falls from the sky and quickly befriends a young boy named Hogarth Hughes. Hogarth and the Iron Giant must join forces to battle the U.S. military and a malicious government agent intent on destroying the Giant. Along the way, Hogarth helps the Giant discover his true identity and purpose of his arrival. Together, they come to realize that the Giant is not a dangerous weapon but a gentle and kind-hearted friend. In the end, the Giant makes the ultimate sacrifice to save the town and its people.

Dead Poets Society (1989)

Dead Poets Society
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Peter Weir, starring Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles
Rated PG

Dead Poets Society is a 1989 drama film directed by Peter Weir and starring Robin Williams. Set in 1959 at the fictional elite conservative Vermont boarding school Welton Academy, it tells the story of an English teacher who inspires his students through his teaching of poetry. He encourages the boys to go against the status quo and make their lives extraordinary. The story follows the students as they discover their love of poetry and the power of their own voices, ultimately leading to a powerful climax. Along the way, the students learn valuable lessons about friendship, loyalty, and standing up for what one believes in.

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

My Neighbor Totoro
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Hayao Miyazaki, starring Hitoshi Takagi, Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, Shigesato Itoi
Rated G

My Neighbor Totoro is a family-friendly animated fantasy film directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. It tells the story of two young girls who move with their father to the countryside to be closer to their ailing mother. One day, the girls discover that their new home is inhabited by a family of magical spirits, and befriend the biggest and most mystical of them all: a giant, friendly creature called Totoro. Together, the girls and Totoro embark on magical adventures and explore the wonderful world around them. Along the way, they learn important lessons about friendship, nature, family, and courage.

The Battle of Algiers (1966)

The Battle of Algiers
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Gillo Pontecorvo, starring Brahim Hadjadj, Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi, Samia Kerbash
Rated Not Rated

The Battle of Algiers (1966) is a political thriller directed by Gillo Pontecorvo. The film tells the story of the Algerian people's struggle against French colonial rule in the 1950s. The movie follows the actions of a revolutionary leader, Ali La Pointe, and his guerrilla fighters, who use terrorism and guerrilla warfare to challenge the French army. The film depicts both the Algerian and French sides of the conflict, and shows the brutality and brutality of both sides. In the end, the French withdraw from Algeria, granting the country its independence. The Battle of Algiers is a powerful and influential film that has served as an inspiration for countless liberation struggles around the world.

Big Fish (2003)

Big Fish
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Tim Burton, starring Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange
Rated PG-13

Big Fish is a 2003 fantasy drama directed by Tim Burton. The film follows the story of Edward Bloom, an ageing man with an incredible zest for life and a knack for telling tall tales. His son, Will, is frustrated with his father's fantastic stories and lack of attention, but when Edward becomes ill, Will begins to realize the importance of his father’s tales. Embarking on a journey to unravel the truth behind his father’s stories, Will discovers a life filled with adventure and magical characters. Through his journey, Will learns the power of his father's stories, how they shaped his family, and why they matter. In the end, he discovers the truth behind Edward's stories and learns to appreciate the power of stories and imagination.

Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004)

Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Je-kyu Kang, starring Jang Dong-Gun, Won Bin, Eun-ju Lee, Hyeong-jin Kong
Rated R

Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War is a 2004 South Korean war drama film directed by Je-kyu Kang. It stars Won Bin and Jang Dong-gun as two brothers who are forcibly drafted into the South Korean Army during the Korean War. The film follows the brothers as they cope with the harsh realities of war and their struggles to maintain their brotherly bond. As the war progresses, their relationships with their fellow soldiers and their families are also tested. The film is a powerful exploration of loyalty, family, sacrifice, and the horrors of war.

Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982)

Pink Floyd: The Wall
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Alan Parker, starring Bob Geldof, Christine Hargreaves, James Laurenson, Eleanor David
Rated R

Pink Floyd: The Wall is a 1982 British musical drama film directed by Alan Parker and based on a concept album of the same name by the rock band Pink Floyd. The film follows Pink, a rock star whose increasingly self-destructive lifestyle has separated him from those he loves. As a result, he builds a metaphorical wall around himself, which begins to collapse when he is confronted with memories of his father’s death in World War II and his own personal guilt and isolation. The film weaves together surrealistic and symbolic sequences, with music from the Pink Floyd album, to create an intense psychological portrait of a man on the brink of emotional breakdown.

The Last Picture Show (1971)

The Last Picture Show
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Peter Bogdanovich, starring Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Ben Johnson
Rated R

The Last Picture Show is a 1971 drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich, starring Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, and Ellen Burstyn. The film follows two friends, Sonny (Bottoms) and Duane (Bridges), coming of age in the small, dying town of Anarene, Texas in the 1950s. As Sonny and Duane navigate the struggles of adolescence, the town's population dwindles and the only movie theater in town, the "Last Picture Show," prepares to close its doors for good. Through their relationships with the adults in their lives, including the town's spinster librarian, Ruth Popper (Leachman), and the town's depressed, lonely housewife, Lois Farrow (Burstyn), Sonny and Duane gain greater understanding of themselves, their relationships, and the world around them.

La dolce vita (1960)

La dolce vita
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Federico Fellini, starring Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aimée, Yvonne Furneaux
Rated Not Rated

La Dolce Vita is a 1960 Italian comedy-drama film directed by Federico Fellini. The film follows Marcello Rubini, a journalist, as he seeks pleasure and personal growth over a period of seven days and nights. As he navigates Rome's nightlife and the shifting social dynamics of life, Marcello's journey becomes a reflection of the changing values of modern life. Along the way, Marcello meets a variety of characters, from the fame-obsessed movie starlet Sylvia to the aristocratic heiress Maddalena. As the days progress, Marcello's journey takes him to some of Rome's most iconic locations, from the ancient ruins of the Colosseum to the bustling cafes of the Villa Borghese park. Ultimately, Marcello's search for fulfillment and purpose culminates as he learns to prioritize his own needs over those of the people around him. In doing so, La Dolce Vita conveys an overarching message of the importance of self-fulfillment in a world of shifting values.

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Edward Scissorhands
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall
Rated PG-13

Edward Scissorhands is a 1990 American romantic fantasy film directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp. The film tells the story of an artificial man named Edward, an unfinished creation who has scissors for hands. He is taken in by a suburban family and falls in love with their teenage daughter Kim. Edward's innocence and unique mannerisms make him an outcast in the suburban community, which leads to dramatic conflicts with the townspeople. The film explores themes of alienation, love, and the struggle between conformity and nonconformity. Through its surreal and dreamlike atmosphere, the film presents a poignant and captivating story of Edward's search for acceptance and purpose.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

The Manchurian Candidate
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From John Frankenheimer, starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury
Rated PG-13

The Manchurian Candidate is a classic Cold War era political thriller directed by John Frankenheimer and released in 1962. The film follows the story of an American soldier, Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) who is brainwashed by Chinese and Korean forces during the Korean War and programmed to unknowingly assassinate a prominent political figure upon return to the United States. Shaw's former commanding officer, Captain Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra) begins to suspect Shaw's involvement in the assassination and eventually discovers the truth about the sinister plot. With the help of his fellow soldiers, Marco must attempt to stop Shaw before it is too late. The Manchurian Candidate is a dark satire of the paranoia and fear of the Cold War era and is considered a classic of the genre.

In Cold Blood (1967)

In Cold Blood
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Richard Brooks, starring Robert Blake, Scott Wilson, John Forsythe, Paul Stewart
Rated R

In Cold Blood is a 1967 American crime drama film directed by Richard Brooks and starring Robert Blake, Scott Wilson, and John Forsythe. The film is based on Truman Capote's 1965 non-fiction novel of the same name. It tells the story of two ex-convicts, Perry Smith and Richard Hickock, who murder the family of a Kansas farmer in 1959 in a seemingly senseless and random crime. The film follows the two men as they evade the police, while at the same time exploring the psychological motivations behind their crime. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn of the men's troubled pasts, their various encounters with the law, and the events that led them to commit the senseless murder. The film received numerous Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and was a critical and commercial success.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From David Fincher, starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Julia Ormond
Rated PG-13

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button tells the story of a man who is born in his eighties and ages backward. Benjamin Button is born to an elderly couple in New Orleans in 1918 and is immediately seen as a miracle. Throughout his unique life, Benjamin experiences some of the most remarkable events of the twentieth century, as he grows younger with each passing year. Along his journey, he meets a variety of people, including Daisy, the love of his life, and all of their lives are forever changed by their relationship. Through the course of his journey, Benjamin discovers the meaning of his life and the importance of living life to its fullest.

 



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