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The Best Movies of 1959 

Ranker Film
Updated February 23, 2020 4.7k votes 167 voters 8k views

List of the best movies of 1959, with movie trailers when available. Fans of The Three Stooges remember 1959 as the year that the trio made their last short film, Sappy Bull Fighters. These top movies of 1959 are listed by popularity, so the movies with the most votes are at the top. This list consists of all different movie genres, but each film was released in 1959. You can filter this list of films that came out in 1959 for various bits of information, such as who directed the movie and what genre it is. Think the best 1959 movie isn't as high as it should be? Vote up your favorite so it will rise to the top.

With movies ranging from Some Like It Hot to North by Northwest, this is a great starting point for a list of your favorites.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best movies from 1959?" and "What are the most popular movies of 1959?"

1959 was a great year for movies, since a lot of classic films were released in 1959. This is a crowd sourced list that has been voted on by many people, so these top films of 1959 aren't just one persons opinion.
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list ordered by
1
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Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, Eva Marie Saint

Released: 1959

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

North by Northwest is a 1959 American spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason. The screenplay was written by Ernest Lehman, who ...more

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2
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Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Hugh Griffith

Released: 1959

Directed by: William Wyler

Ben-Hur is a 1959 American epic historical drama film, directed by William Wyler, produced by Sam Zimbalist for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and starring Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Jack Hawkins, Hugh ...more

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#33 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #643 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
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James Stewart, George C. Scott, Lee Remick

Released: 1959

Directed by: Otto Preminger

This film is a 1959 American courtroom drama film. It was directed by Otto Preminger and adapted by Wendell Mayes from the best-selling novel of the same name written by Michigan Supreme Court ...more

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#1,428 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #73 of 232 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made #188 of 266 The Best Ensemble Movies

4
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John Wayne, Dean Martin, Angie Dickinson

Released: 1959

Directed by: Howard Hawks

Rio Bravo is a 1959 American Western film produced and directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson, Walter Brennan, and Ward Bond. Written by ...more

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#8 of 395 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #151 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #119 of 126 Movies That Should Never Be Remade

5
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Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis

Released: 1959

Directed by: Billy Wilder

Some Like It Hot is a 1959 American comedy film set in 1929, directed by Billy Wilder, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. The film is about two musicians who dress in drag in ...more

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#196 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #83 of 1,208 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
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Marvin Miller, Mary Costa, Verna Felton

Released: 1959

Directed by: Clyde Geronimi

Sleeping Beauty is a 1959 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney based on The Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault and Little Briar Rose by The Brothers Grimm. The 16th ...more

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#23 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #34 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever #108 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

7
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Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Tony Randall

Released: 1959

Directed by: Michael Gordon

Pillow Talk is a 1959 Eastmancolor romantic comedy film in CinemaScope directed by Michael Gordon. It features Rock Hudson, Doris Day, Tony Randall, Thelma Ritter and Nick Adams. The film was ...more

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#882 of 1,208 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #360 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
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Pat Boone, Bernard Herrmann, Arlene Dahl

Released: 1959

Directed by: Henry Levin

Journey to the Center of the Earth is a 1959 adventure film adapted by Charles Brackett from the novel of the same name by Jules Verne. Journey to the Center of the Earth was directed by Henry

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9
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John Wayne, Lana Turner, Sandra Dee

Released: 1959

Directed by: Douglas Sirk

Imitation of Life is a 1959 American romantic drama film directed by Douglas Sirk, produced by Ross Hunter and released by Universal International, starring Lana Turner and John Gavin. It was ...more

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#194 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #1,636 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #518 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

10
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Cary Grant, Tony Curtis, Marion Ross

Released: 1959

Directed by: Blake Edwards

Operation Petticoat is a 1959 comedy film directed by Blake Edwards, and starring Cary Grant and Tony Curtis. It was the basis for a television series in 1977 starring John Astin in Grant's ...more

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#130 of 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #813 of 1,208 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #165 of 1,027 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

11
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Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, Montgomery Clift

Released: 1959

Directed by: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Suddenly, Last Summer is a 1959 American Southern Gothic mystery film based on the play of the same title by Tennessee Williams. The film was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and produced by Sam ...more
12
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John Wayne, William Holden, Althea Gibson

Released: 1959

Directed by: John Ford

The Horse Soldiers is a 1959 film that was directed by John Ford and starred John Wayne, William Holden and Constance Towers. John Lee Mahin and Martin Rackin produced the movie and wrote its ...more

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#49 of 395 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #19 of 63 The Best Western Movies of the 1950s #88 of 162 The Best Western Movies on Amazon Prime

13
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Shelley Winters, Ed Wynn, Millie Perkins

Released: 1959

Directed by: George Stevens

The Diary of Anne Frank is a 1959 film based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same name, which was based on the diary of Anne Frank. It was directed by George Stevens, with a screenplay ...more

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14
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Audrey Hepburn, Peter Finch, Dean Jagger

Released: 1959

Directed by: Fred Zinnemann

The Nun's Story is a 1959 Warner Bros film directed by Fred Zinnemann and starring Audrey Hepburn, Peter Finch, Edith Evans and Peggy Ashcroft. Based upon the 1956 novel of the same title by ...more
15
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Jeanne Moreau, Jean Piere Leaud, Jean-Claude Brialy

Released: 1959

Directed by: François Truffaut

The 400 Blows is a 1959 French drama film, the debut by director François Truffaut; it stars Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, and Claire Maurier. One of the defining films of ...more

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#787 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #353 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies #37 of 46 Every Single Movie On Rotten Tomatoes With 100% Approval, Ranked

16
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Annette Funicello, Fred MacMurray, Jack Albertson

Released: 1959

Directed by: Charles Barton

The Shaggy Dog is a black-and-white 1959 Walt Disney film about Wilby Daniels, a teenage boy who by the power of an enchanted ring of the Borgias is transformed into the title character, a ...more

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#25 of 143 The Best Disney Live-Action Movies #127 of 181 The Greatest Animal Movies Ever Made #25 of 83 The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids

17
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Sean Connery, Janet Munro, Estelle Winwood

Released: 1959

Directed by: Robert Stevenson

Darby O'Gill and the Little People is a 1959 Walt Disney Productions feature film starring Albert Sharpe, Janet Munro, Sean Connery and Jimmy O'Dea, in a tale about a wily Irishman and his ...more

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#116 of 217 Musical Movies With the Best Songs #47 of 143 The Best Disney Live-Action Movies #235 of 588 The Best Fantasy Movies

18
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James Coburn, Lee Van Cleef, Randolph Scott

Released: 1959

Directed by: Budd Boetticher

Ride Lonesome is a 1959 Western film directed by Budd Boetticher and starring Randolph Scott, Karen Steele, Pernell Roberts, Lee Van Cleef, and James Coburn in his film debut. This Eastmancolor ...more
19
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Paul Newman, Robert Vaughn, Adam West

Released: 1959

Directed by: Vincent Sherman

The Young Philadelphians is a 1959 drama film starring Paul Newman, Barbara Rush and Alexis Smith, and directed by Vincent Sherman. Robert Vaughn was nominated for the Academy Award for Best ...more
20
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Released: 1959

Directed by: Stanley Kramer

On the Beach is a 1957 post-apocalyptic novel written by British-Australian author Nevil Shute after he emigrated to Australia. The novel details the experiences of a mixed group of people in ...more

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21
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Sidney Poitier, Sammy Davis, Jr.

Released: 1959

Directed by: Otto Preminger

Porgy and Bess is a 1959 American musical film directed by Otto Preminger. It is based on the 1935 opera of the same name by George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward, and Ira Gershwin, which is in turn ...more

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#444 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #111 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

22
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Simone Signoret, Laurence Harvey, Hermione Baddeley

Released: 1959

Directed by: Jack Clayton

Room at the Top is a 1959 British film based on the novel of the same name by John Braine. The novel was adapted by Neil Paterson with uncredited work by Mordecai Richler. It was directed by ...more

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#46 of 50 The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1950slisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

23
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Sandra Dee, Troy Donahue, Arthur Kennedy

Released: 1959

Directed by: Delmer Daves

A Summer Place is a 1959 romantic drama film based on the novel of the same name by Sloan Wilson. Delmer Daves directed the movie, which stars Richard Egan, Dorothy McGuire, Troy Donahue, and ...more
24
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Orson Welles, Dean Stockwell, Gavin MacLeod

Released: 1959

Directed by: Richard Fleischer

Compulsion is a 1959 American crime drama film directed by Richard Fleischer. The film is based on the 1956 novel of the same name by Meyer Levin, which in turn was a fictionalized account of ...more
25
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James Stewart, Adam West, Vera Miles

Released: 1959

Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy, Raoul Walsh

The FBI Story is a 1959 American drama film starring James Stewart, and produced and directed by Mervyn LeRoy. The screenplay by Richard L. Breen and John Twist is based on a book by Don