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20 Golden Age Movies You Must Watch Again

These may be the best films ever made.  

The Hollywood golden age gave us movies that more than stand up to the test of time—they still set the standard for exceptional talent and creativity. From Rear Window to Some Like It Hot, the following films made household names of some of the best artists of 70 years ago, such as Marilyn Monroe and James Stewart—actors we still revere. Here are 20 movies from the golden age of Hollywood you will want to watch again and again.


Humphrey Bogart & Ingrid Bergman in American romantic drama film Casablanca (1942).
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Casablanca (1942) is still one of the most beloved and quoted movies in pop culture. Starring Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart, the 1942 classic is responsible for lines such as "Here's looking at you, kid," and "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."

The Wizard of Oz

(L–R) Jack Haley, Ray Bolger, Judy Garland and Bert Lahr promoting the January 9, 1966 CBS broadcast of the 1939 MGM feature film The Wizard of Oz.
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Judy Garland is forever immortalized as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz (1939). The movie was groundbreaking for its use of special effects and technicolor in the Kansas-to-Oz transition and tornado scenes. Over the Rainbow is still one of the most popular movie songs in history.

Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane
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Citizen Kane (1941) is still considered one of the finest examples of filmmaking—there's a reason so many film students watch and analyze this classic. Starring Orson Welles, the film is an inspiration to many artists in the industry. Themes of greed, power, and love are timeless and explain why the movie is still relevant today.

Gone With the Wind

Vivien Leigh, Gone with the Wind
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Gone with the Wind (1939) is one of the highest-grossing movies of all time for good reason. Vivien Leigh and Clarke Gable give unforgettable performances as Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler, set against a background of slavery and the Civil War. The movie is considered one of the first real "epic" productions from Hollywood.

It Happened One Night

Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night (1934)
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If you love screwball comedy, It Happened One Night (1934) is the perfect choice of entertainment. Starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, the film won five Oscars at the 1935 Academy Awards. The movie heralds the beginning of Frank Capra's golden period.

Singin' in the Rain

Singin' in the Rain
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Singin' in the Rain (1952) is still considered one of the funniest and most creative musicals from Hollywood, over 70 years after it was made. Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor and Jean Hagen cemented their place in Hollywood history with their roles in the beloved movie.  The musical numbers alone made the film unforgettable.

Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard
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Roger Ebert called Sunset Boulevard (1950) "the best drama ever made about the movies, because it sees through the illusions, even if Norma [Gloria Swanson] doesn't." The noir/comedy is still considered one of the best depictions of broken dreams, shining a light on the industry and making a household name of Swanson.


Joan Fontaine in the 1940 film Rebecca.
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Rebecca (1940) is widely considered to be one of the best gothic romance films in history. Based on Daphne du Maurier's classic thriller, the Alfred Hitchcock movie starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine is a masterclass in a slow burn of dread and horror. The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 2018.

Rear Window

James Stewart from the trailer for the film Rear Window
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Another Alfred Hitchcock classic, Rear Window (1954) starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly is one of the most perfect thriller/suspense movies from Hollywood's golden age. Although set in New York, the entire movie was filmed on the Paramount lot in Los Angeles.

The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon
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Starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor, The Maltese Falcon (1941) is a classic detective movie. "This is one of the best examples of actionful and suspenseful melodramatic story telling in cinematic form," Variety said. "Unfolding a most intriguing and entertaining murder mystery, the picture displays outstanding excellence in writing, direction, acting and editing–combining in overall as a prize package of entertainment for widest audience appeal."

Some Like It Hot

Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe from the trailer for the film Some Like It Hot
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Some Like It Hot (1959) was, and is, a groundbreaking, trailblazing comedy considered one of the best films of all time. Starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon, the movie is beloved for many reasons. "Wilder's 1959 comedy is one of the enduring treasures of the movies, a film of inspiration and meticulous craft," Roger Ebert said.

Double Indemnity

Double Indemnity, 1944
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Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck sizzle in Double Indemnity (1944). The film noir classic is considered one of the greatest films of all time and was nominated for seven Academy Awards. It was also critically acclaimed by the major publications of the time.

An American in Paris

An American in Paris, 1951
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An American in Paris (1951) is Gene Kelly at his best. With beautiful dance and musical numbers, the film includes a 17-minute ballet sequence.


Charlton Heston from the trailer for the film Ben Hur
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Ben-Hur (1959) is one of the most epic productions in Hollywood history. With Charlton Heston in the titular role of the Biblical hero, the film has some jaw-dropping sequences, such as the chariot race. The budget for the film was the largest at the time: $15.175 million.

The Philadelphia Story

James Stewart and Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story trailer
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Before High Society, there was The Philadelphia Story (1940). Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart light up the screen in this comedy which was specifically written for Hepburn. Life magazine named it the film of the week in 1941.

A Streetcar Named Desire

Marlon Brando from the trailer for the film A Streetcar Named Desire (1951).
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A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) is one of the best Southern gothic movies from the golden age of Hollywood. Starring Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, and Karl Malden, the movie was a huge hit. Brando and Leigh won best actor and best actress gongs at the Academy Awards for their roles.

The Grapes of Wrath

Trailer for the 1940 black and white film The Grapes of Wrath. Henry Fonda.
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Based on John Steinbeck's 1939 novel, The Grapes of Wrath (1940) tells the story of the Great Depression through a family in Oklahoma. Starring Henry Fonda, the movie is considered one of the best of all time.

My Fair Lady

Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady
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Audrey Hepburn lights up the screen as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (1964). Also starring Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins, the musical is still one of the most beloved films in Hollywood history. The film is particularly known for the spectacular costumes.

Roman Holiday

Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in the American romantic comedy film Roman Holiday (1953).
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Another Audrey Hepburn classic, Roman Holiday (1953) stars the inimitable Gregory Peck as the reporter who wins her heart. The film was shot on location in Rome and opened to great critical acclaim. The movie was popular with audiences around the world.

All About Eve

Bette Davis (as Margo Channing) and Gary Merrill (as Bill Sampson) in the 1950 film All About Eve.
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No best-movie list is complete without at least one Bette Davis movie—in this case, we're including the brilliant All About Eve (1950). Starring Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm, Gary Merrill, and Hugh Marlowe, the film also features a brief appearance from Marilyn Monroe. The movie opened to overwhelming approval from both critics and audiences.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more