Photo: Freebase/Public domain
watchworthy presents

The Best Movies of 1959 

Ranker Film
Updated February 23, 2020 4.7k votes 165 voters 7.8k 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.
Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Ranker Video
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

More North by Northwest 

#560 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #279 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time

2
Ranker Video
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
3
Ranker Video
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

More Ben-Hur 

#431 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #41 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes

4
Ranker Video
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

More Some Like It Hot 

#136 of 373 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #67 of 1,017 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Filmslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
Ranker Video
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

More Rio Bravo 

#164 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #288 of 395 The Greatest Movie Themes

6
Ranker Video
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

More Sleeping Beauty 

#24 of 373 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #235 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #104 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

7
Ranker Video
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

More Pillow Talk 

#193 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #98 of 172 The Greatest Date Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
Ranker Video
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

More Journey to the Center of the Earth 

#22 of 22 The Most Unlikely Cartoons Based on Live-Action Movies #67 of 218 The Best G-Rated Family Movies

9
Ranker Video
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

More Operation Petticoat 

#137 of 374 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #826 of 1,199 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #163 of 1,017 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

10
Ranker Video
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

More Imitation of Life 

#135 of 721 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #639 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

11
Ranker Video
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

More The Diary of Anne Frank 

#1,461 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #7 of 50 The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1950slisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

12
Ranker Video
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
13
Ranker Video
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

More The Horse Soldiers 

#47 of 394 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #87 of 162 The Best Western Movies on Amazon Prime #78 of 304 The Best Military Movies Ever Made

14
Ranker Video
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
Ranker Video
Jeanne Moreau, Jean Piere Leaud, Jean-Claude Brialy

Released: 1959

Directed by: Fran├žois 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

More The 400 Blows 

#364 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies #19 of 46 Every Single Movie On Rotten Tomatoes With 100% Approval, Ranked

16
Ranker Video
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

More Darby O'Gill and the Little People 

#130 of 213 Musical Movies With the Best Songs #28 of 143 The Best Disney Live-Action Movies #113 of 200 The Very Best Children's Movies

17
Ranker Video
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

More The Shaggy Dog [1959] 

#29 of 143 The Best Disney Live-Action Movies #7 of 24 The Best Disney Movies Starring Dogs

18
Ranker Video
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
Ranker Video
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
Ranker Video

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

More On the Beach 

#950 of 1,280 The Best Novels Ever Written #239 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time

21
Ranker Video
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

More Porgy and Bess 

#135 of 373 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #347 of 721 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

22
Ranker Video
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

More Room at the Top 

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

23
Ranker Video
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
24
Ranker Video
Sean Connery, Anthony Quayle, Gordon Scott

Released: 1959

Directed by: John Guillermin

Tarzan's Greatest Adventure is a 1959 adventure film directed by John Guillermin, produced by Sy Weintraub and Harvey Hayutin, and written by Les Crutchfield, based on the character created by ...more
25
Ranker Video
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