When I say retro movies, I mean concepts or stories that can be traced to before World War 2. This could be called the pre-Golden Age era, where the first superheroes were being invented. Yes, Batman fits this too, having been created in 1937. So these are movies about heroes in the 1930s, in city scenes filled with Art Deco. I personally like Art Deco a lot, but movies that successfully pull off a retro feel earn my respect. Here are a few of them.
Pilot Cliff Secord (Billy Campbell) comes across a jet pack that allows him to fly. The FBI and even Nazis try to pounce on him, eager to get their hands on the jet pack, something that could give them an unparalleled advantage in the sky. Cliff however pulls a fast one on every foe, and keeps the bad guys from getting the rocket. And when you hear Cliff being described as a hood ornament, you know it's that Art Deco thing.
#36 on The Best Movies of 1991see more on The Rocketeer
Alec Baldwin plays the role of a vigilante given mystical powers during his time in Asia. His secret is in danger upon encountering a telepathic reporter, Margot Lane. He races to prevent a former colleague in the East, Shiwan Khan, from destroying the city with a nuclear bomb. The cloak and shadow, hook nose and twin 45s, really reminds you of what people thought of crimefighters back then.
#93 on The Best Movies of 1994see more on The Shadow
Billy Zane plays the ghost who walks, who gets his power from a skull ring made from the nails used on Jesus Christ at the cross. He tries to stop the Sengh group, his classic enemy, from getting their hands on magical artifacts that may destroy the world. The skulls and all, and its being set in 1938 - really retro.
Also Rankedsee more on The Phantom
This movie has a visual feel like little else. Warren Beatty plays the role of the hard-boiled crimefighter, dishing out justice to the funny, comic-faced gangsters of the time. Not to mention Madonna in one of her more popular movie roles. Crazy colors, crazy-looking crooks.
#23 on The Best Movies of 1990see more on Dick Tracy