The 20 Best Films of the 1950s

Editor’s Note: This is an expansion of Kyle Smith’s list of the 10 best films of the 1950s published here in June. I’ve asked Kyle to expand his series as PJ Lifestyle begins offering more lists, articles, essays, and blog posts exploring culture, art, technology, and history by decade. Last month he expanded his ’80s list to a top 20 here and his '60s list here. Do you disagree with Kyle’s choices? Do you have your own ideas for lists of movies or other cultural subjects? Which years and what subjects would you most like to see covered at PJ Lifestyle? Email: DaveSwindlePJM [@] Also check out Kyle’s top 10 movie picks for the ‘30s,  ’40s, ‘70s,  ’90s, and the ’00s before he expands them to top 20s.

In the 1950s, the Golden Age of Hollywood faded and glorious old-school films like The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur began to give way to grittier, wised-up films like those of Billy Wilder, creating an interesting tension between impish youth and pompous elders. Here’s one critic’s list of the twenty best films of the decade.

20. Sabrina (1954)

Billy Wilder’s romcom starred the unmatched trio of Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and William Holden as a poor chauffeur’s daughter and the two rich brothers angling for her after ignoring her while she was growing up under their noses. Though effervescent and elegant, the film had typically Wilder-ish dark touches, such as the scene where the title character nearly succeeds in committing suicide.