Grab the popcorn and a bottle of wine, it’s time to settle in and watch some of the best golden age movies of all time!

The golden age of Hollywood, spanning from the late 1920s to the early 1960s, remains a luminous chapter in the history of cinema. This era, marked by its glamour, innovation, and star-studded productions, gave birth to countless masterpieces that have withstood the test of time. These films, characterised by their groundbreaking storytelling, stellar performances, and pioneering technical achievements, continue to captivate audiences and influence filmmakers today.

From timeless romances to gripping dramas and groundbreaking epics, these films are not just cinematic treasures but cultural landmarks that define the very essence of Hollywood’s golden years.

So read on through our list of the best Hollywood golden age films of all time!


All About Eve

Widely regarded as one of the greatest films about Hollywood and showbiz of all time, All About Eve is a triumph of cinematic drama. Starring the iconic Bette Davis as Magro Channing, an aging Broadway legend, as she fends off attempts by a young fan Eve Harrington threatening her career and personal relationships. Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, All About Eve was nominated for 14 Academy Awards, making it one of the most nominated movies of all time. Smart, sophisticated, and devastatingly funny film, every scene in All About Eve is a sheer delight of snappy dialogue and clever wit. So watch this Hollywood classic film as soon as you can!

The Big Sleep

Based on Raymond Chandlers’ novel of the same name, The Big Sleep stars Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, two of the biggest old classic movie stars of their time and still today. Sticking to Chandler’s perfectly paced plot, Bogart plays the role of a private detective, Phillip Marlowe, who is drawn into the world of General Sternwood, who hires him, and his daughter Vivian (Bacall). With murder, gambling debts, blackmail, and deceit all to follow; this film noir focuses on the process of a criminal investigation in a hilarious, cunning, beautifully filmed and expertly acted way.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Released in 1961, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a sparkling gem that mixes high fashion, romance, and a dash of quirky charm. Audrey Hepburn transforms into the affable Holly Golightly, as she falls in love as a struggling writer in New York City. Hepburn’s performance cemented her as one of the most iconic film stars of the golden age of Hollywood, as her chic little black dress and oversized sunglasses, redefined effortless glamour while munching on a croissant in front of Tiffany’s. Yet, behind the glamour lies a deep emptiness that will wrench at your heartstrings. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a delightful cocktail of whimsical comedy and tender moments that remains a beloved classic.

Bringing Up Baby

Bringing Up Baby is a classic screwball comedy starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant in an opposites attract romance. This silly, fun comedy has it all – we’re talking a tame leopard, dinosaur bones, absurd situations, misunderstandings and confusion. Grant’s character is a mild-mannered paleontologist, and Hepburn is a clumsy and scatterbrained heiress. The film follows them as they try to transport the leopard, Baby, to Connecticut with various mishaps along the way. Now critically acclaimed and remembered as one of the best comedies of the 20th century, Bringing Up Baby is the perfect distraction.


Casablanca is considered one of the greatest golden age romance movies of all time, and for good reason. From the acting, the writing, the filming and the music, it’s all memorable. In this classic 1941 masterpiece, two old lovers, Humphrey Bogart (Rick) and Ingrid Bergman (Ilsa), meet up in Casablanca in World War II. Rick, who owns a bar, quickly rekindles with Ilsa and their feelings for one another heighten as they reminisce on the past. Casablanca features one of the most romantic songs of all time, As Time Goes By (Herman Hupfeld), and today, the film claims the title as one of the most quotable classic films – a definite must watch for the romance film lovers.

Citizen Kane

Considered by many as one of the greatest films of all time, there’s no doubt that Citizen Kane had to be on this list of the best Hollywood golden age classic movies. Directed, produced, co-written and starred by Orson Welles, Citizen Kane (1941) has gone on to be an award-winning film. The plot follows the life of media mogul, Charles Foster Kane, after his last mysterious word ‘Rosebud’. Winding its way between the past of young Kane and the present, Kane’s life unfolds. From his impoverished beginnings to his political ambitions, meeting his wives and all of the important figures in his life along the way. The acting, script and overall directing has been praised since its preview, going on to feature in countless lists of one of the top old movies to watch.

Gone With The Wind

Adapted from the novel of the same name, Gone With The Wind is an epic historical romance set in the south of the United States during the Civil War. This film was a huge box office success, and when adjusted for inflation, it is still the highest grossing film of all time. The two leads were cast perfectly with Vivian Leigh portraying Scarlett O’Hara and Clark Gable as Rhett. The long and dramatic plot is anchored by Scarlett, a headstrong and passionate woman, expertly played by the incredible Leigh, one of the main reasons to watch.

His Girl Friday

His Girl Friday has it all! This classic screwball-comedy-romance-drama is the golden age of Hollywood at its best. Starring a young Cary Grant as Walter and Rosalind Russell as Hildy, the two shine as a divorced couple who work together as an editor and star reporter respectively. The screwball antics mainly arise as Walter tries to stop Hildy’s upcoming wedding by offering a story too good to turn down. But, in reality, he’s just trying to get the groom out of the picture. Notorious for its fast-paced overlapping dialogue, surprises and comedy, after you watch His Girl Friday you’ll realise how many references there are to it in modern pop culture!

The Maltese Falcon

Released in 1941 at the height of the second World War, The Maltese Falcon is a quintessential golden age Hollywood film that became the gold standard of the film noir genre. Starring Humphrey Bogart as the hard-boiled private detective Sam Spade, the movie weaves a complex tale of greed, betrayal and murder, centred around the elusive, jewel-encrusted falcon statue. Bogart’s iconic performance, paired with a stellar cast including Mary Astor and Peter Lorre, brings Dashiell Hammett’s gritty novel to life with sharp dialogue and a moody, shadow-filled atmosphere. Director John Huston’s tight direction and masterful storytelling keep viewers on the edge of their seats, while the film’s dark, cynical tone and moral ambiguity reflect the era’s disillusionment. The Maltese Falcon is a masterclass in suspense and character-driven drama, securing its place as one of Hollywood’s greatest classic films.

North by Northwest

Unsurprisingly, another Alfred Hitchcock film has made this list of the best golden age films. Released in 1959, North by Northwest features classic film stars Cary Grant alongside Eva Marie Saint. North by Northwest revolves around a mistaken identity as foreign forces mistakes Grant as a US agent. Followed across the country becoming an accidental, North by Northwest blends comedy with suspenseful thriller. This is a classic movie that everyone should see – even if it’s just for Grant’s iconic scene running through a cornfield as a crop duster swoops overhead.

Rear Window

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock and considered as one of his best films, Rear Window tops this list as one of the best mystery thriller classic movies of all time. Rear Window follows the story of a professional photographer with a broken leg. As he looks out from his rear window into his neighbours apartments and lives, soon he becomes obsessed with one couple in particular. Supported by his nurse Stella and socialite girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly), the photographer continues watching from his window soon realising that one of his suspects stops appearing. Filled with Hitchcock’s signature suspenseful directing style, Rear Window is the perfect example of heightened drama.

Rebel Without a Cause

Rebel Without a Cause is iconic for so many reasons. Starting with the cast, Rebel Without a Cause features one of the biggest movie stars of all time, including the now late James Dean alongside Natalie Woods who was nominated for an Oscar three times before the age of 25 – all before drowning under suspicious circumstances. The name of the film is instantly recognisable and the plot of disaffected youth is universal. From the wonderful acting, engaging plot and James Dean’s infamous red jacket, Rebel Without a Cause lives up to its well-deserved hype as one of the best classic films ever made.

Singin’ in the Rain

Get your razzle dazzle on with one of the best movie musicals of all time. Directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, 1952’s Singin’ in the Rain is an exuberant celebration of the golden age of cinema. Set during the transition from silent films to talkies, the film combines witty dialogue, infectious energy, and an unforgettable performance by Gene Kelly that epitomises the joy and artistry of the musical genre. Vibrant technicolour visuals and timeless songs like Good Morning, Make ‘Em Laugh and Singin’ in the Rain remains the pinnacle of Hollywood’s musical achievements!

Sunset Boulevard

Almost as famous as the road it is named after, Sunset Boulevard is an iconic piece of noir cinema following a down-on-his-luck screenwriter who has a chance encounter with a long forgotten and emotionally fragile silent film star. Starring Gloria Swanson who brilliantly portrays the manipulative and twisted once-sparkling Norma Desmond, Sunset Boulevard also features William Holden as the penniless and idealistic screenwriter. A seamless production and cast, our favourite part of Sunset Boulevard is Erich von Stroheim who plays Gloria’s once husband, director and devoted butler.

The Wizard of Oz

Leave the sepia-tones of your life and experience technicolour tornado of pure cinematic magic that is The Wizard of Oz. This gem takes us on a wild ride down the yellow brick road – with Dorothy and her quirky crew including a brain-seeking Scarecrow, a heart-hunting Tin Man, and a courage-craving Lion. From the monocolour Kansas to the dazzling, rainbow-hued Land of Oz, the movies visuals were a game-changer. Yet, the real gem is Judy Garland’s Dorothy, belting out Over the Rainbow, tugging at heartstrings with the force of a flying house. The Wizard of Oz remains a cherished cornerstone of cinematic history, whisking audiences off to a land where anything is possible!

12 Angry Men

Perhaps one of the most famous courtroom drama’s ever written, 12 Angry Men is an iconic piece of film. Unique in the sense that all but three minutes of the film takes place in the same room, where the jury is sent to deliberate the fate of the 18-year-old defendant who, if found guilty, will be hanged. As the 12 men, called by their juror numbers, discuss and deliberate, the viewer learns about each of their personalities and backgrounds. As the guilty and reasonable doubt arguments twist and turn with people changing their votes, the tension heightens, making a gripping film. We pledge that this is by far one of the best movies of all time and is a must-watch for film lovers!

For more great films that span the ages, update your watchlist with the 17 Best Classic Hollywood Movies You Need To Watch. And, if you want to broaden your horizon, sit down and enjoy The 10 Best Foreign Language Movies Of All Time.

Feature image: Photographed by The New York Public Library. Image via Unsplash.