The earliest films were all made in black and white. The first color feature films were made surprisingly early on, at the beginning of the 20th century, but it was only after a few decades, around the 1950s, when color films became more widely produced. Back then, creating films in black and white was due to the limitation of technology and costs, rather than being a creative choice. Today, however, directors purposefully and consciously choose to produce films in black and white.
Many of the younger generation who grow up in a colored world tend to think of black and white movie as boring, but this isn’t necessarily true. By taking out the vibrant colors from the world, black and white movies give off a unique atmosphere and vibe, which the directors love to play with. It’s simple, but it also gives the director more control over what is displayed on the screen.
Maimovie ranked the top 10 well-made black and white movies. Some of these are from the black and white era themselves, while others have been produced in the more recent years.
What are your thoughts on black and white movies? Let us know!
The following list was based on Maimovie on April 25, 2022, under the “well-made” and “black and white” Keytalks. Check out the Maimovie app or website to discover more movies and shows.
1957, 1h 37m
The defense and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young Spanish-American is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. What begins as an open and shut case soon becomes a mini-drama of each of the jurors’ prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other.
2013, 1h 26m
An aspiring dancer moves to New York City and becomes caught up in a whirlwind of flighty fair-weather friends, diminishing fortunes and career setbacks.
1935, 1h 26m
Richard Hanney has a rude awakening when a glamorous female spy falls into his bed — with a knife in her back. Having a bit of trouble explaining it all to Scotland Yard, he heads for the hills of Scotland to try to clear his name by locating the spy ring known as “The 39 Steps.”
2013, 1h 22m
Anna, a young novitiate in 1960s Poland, is on the verge of taking her vows when she discovers a family secret dating back to the years of the German occupation.
2021, 1h 45m
Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.
1998, 2h 4m
Geeky teenager David and his popular twin sister, Jennifer, get sucked into the black-and-white world of a 1950s TV sitcom called “Pleasantville,” and find a world where everything is peachy keen all the time. But when Jennifer’s modern attitude disrupts Pleasantville’s peaceful but boring routine, she literally brings color into its life.
2001, 1h 56m
A tale of murder, crime and punishment set in the summer of 1949. Ed Crane, a barber in a small California town, is dissatisfied with his life, but his wife Doris’ infidelity and a mysterious opportunity presents him with a chance to change it.
1994, 1h 32m
Convenience and video store clerks Dante and Randal are sharp-witted, potty-mouthed and bored out of their minds. So in between needling customers, the counter jockeys play hockey on the roof, visit a funeral home and deal with their love lives.
2019, 1h 49m
Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.
2021, 1h 38m
Buddy is a young boy on the cusp of adolescence, whose life is filled with familial love, childhood hijinks, and a blossoming romance. Yet, with his beloved hometown caught up in increasing turmoil, his family faces a momentous choice: hope the conflict will pass or leave everything they know behind for a new life.