The Best Contemporary (post-1970) Black and White Films

In an age when innovation is the gold-standard of the modern world, film encapsulates the changing trends and styles of an evolving cultural sphere. Long gone are the days when Technicolor was the very edge of cinema technology: these days it requires a pair of disposable glasses to see your favourite superheroes grace the big screen. However, like those who remain sceptical of the 3D movement, filmmakers have continued to return to the monochrome art form of their creative forefathers. Films of 2013 such as Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha, Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England and most recently, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska indicate an anachronistic yet nostalgic use of the medium which still appeals. One only has to point to the success of The Artist (2011) to see how these films are still significant enough to rake in the awards and box office success.
These unique films stand out against a backdrop the multi-colour of every day, often highlighting stories which glisten in emotive black and white…here’s just a few of the best:

1. Manhattan (1979, Dir: Woody Allen)


2. Raging Bull (1980, Dir: Martin Scorsese)


3. Schindler’s List (1993, Dir: Steven Spielberg)


4. Ed Wood (1994, Dir: Tim Burton)




5. Young Frankenstein (1974, Dir: Mel Brooks)


6. Good Night and Good Luck (2005, Dir: George Clooney)


7. The Artist (2011, Dir: Michel Hazanavicius)


8. The Elephant Man (1980, Dir: David Lynch)


9. The White Ribbon (2009, Dir: Michael Haneke)


10. La Haine (1995, Dir: Mathieu Kassovitz)


11. Pleasantville (1998, Dir: Gary Ross)


12. Control (2007 Dir: Anton Corbijn)


*Okay, I’ve slightly cheated with this one, as the premise of the film describes, it does actually begin in colour, but this film explores the advent of colour on the social conscious in such a charming way that you should definitely see it!

Other notable black and white movies: Broadway Danny Rose (1984), The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001), Frankenweenie (2012), Somers Town (2008), The Good German (2006), Pi (1998), Stardust Memories (1980) and if you really want to…Clerks (1994).

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