Over the last few decades, black and white films have been somewhat abandoned. Yet when it comes to the history of cinematography, the medium encapsulates numerous masterpieces and continues to define the film genre today. From horror to science fiction, drama to romance, monochrome features have given us some of cinema’s finest moments. Here is a list of ten of the best black-and-white movies of all time.
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Sunset Boulevard, an extraordinary tale about Hollywood, is an insightful combination of film noir and black comedy. It portrays an ageing silent-film star, Norma Desmond, who traps a young screenwriter who accidentally stumbled into her seedy mansion. Ultimately the movie portrays Tinsel Town as nothing but a land of dreams. It lives to be a scathing meta-criticism of the film industry’s predisposition to abandon discarded actors. Wonderfully over-the-top, the story is rife with fantastic performances and comedic moments, ensuring that this is one of the greatest black-and-white films ever made.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Schindler’s List (1993)
Steven Spielberg injects his signature cinematic talent into Schindler’s List, a harrowing exploration of the experience of the Holocaust. Filmed in black-and-white for respectful, as well as aesthetic, purposes, the haunting masterpiece is based on a true story, giving an insight into the destructive power of humanity and the strength of the human spirit. Focusing on a German businessman in Poland, who staffs his factory with Jews in order to protect them, the movie explores brutal themes with a deeply emotional poignancy. With painstaking accuracy and an exceptional narrative boldness, this is a cinematic must-see.
Fritz Lang’s legendary masterpiece has defined the science fiction genre since its entrance onto the film scene in the first half of the twentieth century. In a futuristic city divided between the working class and the city authorities, the son of a city planner falls in love with a working class prophet. Metropolis is perhaps one of the most influential silent movies ever made and has spawned the futurism genre. With stunning images and timeless themes, Metropolis is greatly regarded as marking the beginning of modern cinema and is a cautionary tale of a future dominated by machines.
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is perhaps his most frightening and infamous feature on this list. The monochromatic palette evokes a dark and pessimistic tone. The plot follows a secretary who steals a large amount of money, ends up in a motel and is then mysteriously murdered. To this day, the shrieking shower scene is famous throughout cinematic history. This scene is produced with a flawless execution and exhibits Hitchcock’s trademark dark humor that is often recognizable at the core of his most haunting features. Repeatedly imitated, parodied, analyzed and referenced, it is no wonder that Psycho remains ahead of the game in the horror genre even to this day.
All About Eve (1960)
All About Eve is one of the greatest screenplays ever written. It is a drama about female companionship, the value of ambition, back-stabbing manipulation and betrayal. The Hollywood classic is an elegant and terribly funny story about an aspiring actress, which remains one of Bette Davis’ most famous roles. The feature is impervious to the rigours of time and is an inspiration for the modern soap operas of today. For those looking for a hilarious insight into the nature of show business, this movie is a witty classic that explores the psychology at the core of theatrical life, whilst painting an honest and raw portrait of the strength of female influence.
To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
In Robert Mulligan’s drama about racial unrest in the Deep South, Harper Lee’s literary classic is brought to life with a wonderful accuracy and dedication to the original work. To Kill A Mockingbird focuses upon a lawyer, Atticus Finch, who defends a black man against a false rape charge. Wonderfully echoing the social issues of 1960s America, this movie combats themes of racial discrimination, moral tolerance, childhood innocence and human resilience. With nail-bitingly tense legal scenes observed through the eyes of a child, the movie remains one of Hollywood’s most moving experiences. A classic black-and-white film of its generation, few motion pictures have come close to matching the phenomenal feat that To Kill A Mockingbird has achieved.
The Seventh Seal (1957)
Ingmar Bergman’s Swedish masterpiece concerns an exhausted and disillusioned knight returning from the Crusades to play a game of chess with Death. The Seventh Seal is a dream-like epic which questions the meaning of life, death and the existence of God against the chilling backdrop of the Black Plague. With powerful cinematography that will ensure Bergman’s mesmerising vision remains with you forever, the strong performances and stunningly executed themes succeed in creating a darkly beautiful work that exposes the struggles of mortals. An undisputed masterpiece, this is a remarkable accomplishment in the world of cinema.
Starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, Casablanca is a timeless love story and a thrilling adventure that is set in Moroccan Casablanca during the early part of the Second World War. Today, it remains one of the most quotable movies of the period and its artistic influence continues to impact the cinematic tradition. Despite being made in the 1940s, the movie remains one of the greatest romantic dramas ever produced and follows the story of an American expatriate who reunites with a former lover. The film contains a beautiful complexity that will live with you long after the credits roll.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Stanley Kubrick’s movie Dr. Strangelove explores the story of a mentally unstable general who triggers the path to a nuclear holocaust, much to the distress of a room full of political figures and military leaders. During the height of paranoia, when nuclear destruction was a very real and possible issue, the movie makes us reconsider the situation from an entirely different perspective, throwing light upon our own absurd behaviors. In this hot-line suspense comedy, the idiocy of nuclear war is satirized using the backdrop of an impending Cold War. Since its release, few movies have been able to deal with such a serious issue by submerging it into the comedy genre with such success.
Rebecca was Alfred Hitchcock’s first foray into American film and also his only feature to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The Daphne du Maurier adaptation is a masterpiece of black-and-white cinema, combined with Gothic thrills and a haunting atmosphere. It follows the story of a self-conscious young woman who marries the charming Maxim de Winter, played by the brilliant Lawrence Olivier. Having moved to his luxurious Mandalay estate, the house staff take a great disliking to her, due to their loyalty to their master’s late wife. What ensues is a suspenseful drama which is overshadowed by the unsettling presence of the dead wife.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.