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Metropolis

Fritz Lang's silent classic METROPOLIS was the Chlotrudis Society's top choice for the 100 best black & white films of all time!

Last updated: January 10, 2010
Copyright 2006 Michael R. Colford.
All rights reserved

Chlotrudis Society Picks:
100 Best Black & White Films of All Time!

Every year the Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film selects a category and asks its membership to submit their favorite top films.  The group’s previous year-end topics have included Best Musicals, Best Sequels and Remakes, and Best Foreign Language.  For 2015, members selected their top black & white films.

Members were given a general definition to frame the parameters of their list:  there was no further direction concerning when or how the films were made, which led to spirited arguments about whether or not films made when full color was not an option ought to be compared against newer films.

As a consequence, this year’s category inspired a great deal of conversation, research and debate.   The final 100 films selected come from 17 countries, with the US/non-US split almost even at 52 to 48%.   The decades most heavily represented are the 50’s, 60’s and 40’s, not surprisingly – however, there are 13 films from the 21st century, a significant upward trend from the late 1990’s. In fact one of the most recent films, THE ARTIST from 2011, cracked the top ten!

Thirteen filmmakers scored multiple films on the list, with the top two filmmakers represented with five films each. Billy Wilder was one of the filmmakers represented five times, with three films, THE APARTMENT, DOUBLE INDEMNITY, and SOME LIKE IT HOT all appearing in the Top 10, at #'s 5, 6, and 7 respectively. Famed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa also had five films featured on the list, with SEVEN SAMURAI coming it highest at #10. Other directors with multiple films include Alfred Hitchcock and Federico Fellini with four apiece, Orson Welles, Guy Maddin, Ingmar Bergman, and Howard Hawks were each represented three times, and with two apiece were Fritz Lang ( who also scored the top film on the list: METROPOLIS), David Lynch, Elia Kazan, F. W. Murnau, and Michelangelo Antonioni. Only two women were represented with black & white films, those being Agnes Varda, and Ana Lily Armipour, with the most recent film to appear, 2014's A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT.

In this spirit of rediscovering  the cinematic artistry of black and white film, and in the hopes of encouraging others to consider (and argue about) what would be at the top of their own lists, the Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film presents:

We hope you enjoy our list of the 100 best black & white Films.

01 Metropolis Fritz Lang
1927
02 All About Eve
Joseph L. Makiewicz
1950
03 Citizen Kane
Orson Welles
1941
04 Strangers on a Train
Alfred Hitchcock
1951
05 The Apartment
Billy Wilder
1960
06 Double Indemnity
Billy Wilder 1944
07 Some Like It Hot
Billy Wilder
1959
08 The Manchurian Candidate
John Frankenheimer
1962
09 The Artist
Michel Hazanavicius
2011
10 Seven Samurai
Akira Kurosawa
1954
11 Sunset Boulevard
Billy Wilder
1950
12 Casablanca Michel Curtiz
1942
13 Touch of Evil
Orson Welles
1958
14 Dr. Strangelove Stanley Kubrick 1964
15 M Fritz Lang
1931
16 My Winnipeg
Guy Maddin
2007
17 Rashomon Akira Kurosawa 1950
18 Eraserhead David Lynch
1977
19 On the Waterfront
Elia Kazan
1954
20 Ikiru
Akira Kurosawa 1952
21 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Mike Nichols
1966
22 Young Frankenstein
Mel Brooks
1974
23 Frances Ha
Noah Baumbach
2012
24 Bicycle Thieves
Vittorio De Sica
1948
25 The Seventh Seal
Ingmar Bergman
1957
26 The Battle of Algiers
Gillo Pontecorvo
1966
27 Manhattan Woody Allen
1979
28 Bringing Up Baby
Howard Hawks
1938
29 Ida Pawel Pawilkowski
2013
30 Yojimbo Akira Kurosawa
1961
31 Sunrise F. W. Murnau
1927
32 Tokyo Story
Yasujirô Ozu 1953
33 The Passion of Joan of Arc Carl Theodor Dreyer
1928
34 Nights of Cabiria
Federico Fellini
1957
35 Night of the Hunter
Charles Laughton
1955
36 A Streetcar Named Desire
Elia Kazan
1951
37 The White Ribbon
Michael Haneke
2009
38 The Third Man
Carol Reed
1949
39 Psycho Alfred Hitchcock
1950
40 The Saddest Music in the World
Guy Maddin
2003
41 Night of the Living Dead
George A. Romero
1968
42 The 400 Blows
François Truffaut 1959
43 Breathless Jon-Luc Godard
1969
44 Beauty and the Beast
Jean Cocteau
1946
45 His Girl Friday
Howard Hawks
1940
46 Wild Strawberries
Ingmar Bergman
1957
47 Diabolique H.G. Clouzot 1955
48 A Hard Day's Night
Richard Lester
1964
49 Battleship Potemkin
S. M. Eisenstein
1925
50 Laura Otto Preminger
1944
51 The Last Picture Show
Peter Bogdanovich
1971
52 Children of Paradise
Marcel Carné 1945
53 8 1/2
Federico Fellini
1963
54 Gojira Ishirô Honda 1954
55 Blancanieves Pablo Berger
2012
56 The Lady from Shanghai
Orson Welles
1947
57 Raging Bull
Martin Scorsese
1980
58 L'Avventura Michelangelo Antonioni 1960
59 Man With a Movie Camera
Dziga Vertov 1929
60 The Maltese Falcon
John Huston
1941
61 Ordet Carl Theodor Dreyer 1955
62 Persona Ingmar Bergman
1966
63 Witness for the Prosecution
Billy Wilder
1957
64 Good Night and Good Luck
George Clooney
2005
65 The Elephant Man
David Lynch
1980
66 Modern Times
Charile Caplin
1936
67 12 Angry Men
Sydney Lumet
1957
68 Brand Upon the Brain
Guy Maddin
2006
69 Out of the Past
Jacques Tourneur 1947
70 Nosferatu F. W. Murnau
1922
71 Duck Season
Fernando Eimbcke 2004
72 Notorious Alfred Hitchcock
1947
73 Nebraska Alexander Payne
2013
74 Animal Crackers
Victor Heerman
1930
75 Cleo from 5 to 7
Agnes Varda
1962
76 La Dolce Vita
Federico Fellini
1960
77 A Coffee in Berlin
Jan Ole Gerster 2012
78 Mildred Pierce
Michael Curtiz
1945
79 Ugetsu Kenji Mizoguchi 1953
80 Throne of Blood
Akira Kurosawa
1957
81 La Jetée Chris Marker
1962
82 L'Eclisse Michelangelo Antonioni
1962
83 The Big Sleep
Howard Hawks 1946
84 The 39 Steps
Alfred Hitchcock
1935
85 The Thin Man W. S. Van Dyke 1934
86 Stagecoach John Ford
1939
87 Last Year at Marienbad
Alain Resnais 1961
88 Dark Victory Edmund Goulding 1939
89 It's a Wonderful Life
Frank Capra
1946
90 Eyes Without a Face
Georges Franju 1960
91 The Burmese Harp
Kon Ichikawa 1956
92 Mala Noche
Gus Van Sant
1986
93 La Strada
Federico Fellini
1954
94 The Day the Earth Stodd Still
Robert Wise
1951
94 The House on Haunted Hill
William Castle
1959
96 Judy Belin
ric Mendelsohn
1999
97 Pi Darren Aronofsky
1998
98 Stranger than Paradise
Jim Jarmusch
1984
99 To Kill a Mockingbird
Richard Mulligan
1962
100 A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
Ana Lily Amirpour 2014