Best Picture Nominees: 1951

For more information about 1951, see The Learning Network's Fact Monster.

An American in Paris (Vincente Minnelli)
Won Best Picture
Jerry Mulligan (Gene Kelly), a struggling American painter in Paris, is "discovered" by an influential heiress (Nina Foch) with an interest in more than Jerry's art. Jerry in turn falls for Lise (Leslie Caron), a young French girl already engaged to a cabaret singer (Georges Guetary). Jerry jokes, sings and dances with his best friend, an acerbic would-be concert pianist (Oscar Levant), while romantic complications abound.

A Streetcar Named Desire (Elia Kazan)
Nominated Best Picture
From the play by Tennessee Williams. Set in the French Quarter of New Orleans during the restless years following World War Two, this is the story of Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh), a fragile and neurotic woman on a desperate prowl for someplace in the world to call her own. After being exiled from her hometown of Laurel, Mississippi, for seducing a seventeen-year-old boy at the school where she taught English, Blanche explains her unexpected appearance on the doorstep of her sister Stella (Kim Hunter) and brother-in-law Stanley (Marlon Brando) as nervous exhaustion. This, she claims, is the result of a series of financial calamities which have recently claimed the family plantation, Belle Reve. Suspicious, Stanley points out that "under Louisiana's napoleonic code what belongs to the wife belongs to the husband." Stanley, a sinewy and brutish man, is as territorial as a panther. He tells Blanche he doesn't like to be swindled and demands to see the bill of sale. This encounter defines Stanley and Blanche's relationship. They are opposing camps and Stella is caught in no-man's-land. But Stanley and Stella are deeply in love. Blanche's efforts to impose herself between them only enrages the animal inside Stanley. When Mitch (Karl Malden)--a card-playing buddy of Stanley's--arrives on the scene, Blanche begins to see a way out of her predicament. Mitch, himself alone in the world, reveres Blanche as a beautiful and refined woman. Yet, as rumors of Blanche's past in Laurel begin to catch up to her, her circumstances become unbearable.

A Place in the Sun (George Stevens)
Nominated Best Picture
Based on the novel "An American Tragedy" by Theodore Dreiser. It really looks like George Eastman (Montgomery Clift) can at last have his place in the sun. A chance meeting with a long lost uncle has led to a job with a future, and the beautiful and well bred Angela Vickers (Elizabeth Taylor) is just as infatuated with him as he is with her. But Alice Tripp (Shelley Winters), who works on the factory assembly line, isn't about to be written out of the picture. George was told not to date any of the women at the factory, and Alice helps him keep two big secrets until a very eventful Labor Day weekend at the Vickers lakeside home.

Decision Before Dawn (Anatole Litvak)
Nominated Best Picture
From the novel by George Howe. WWII is entering its last phase: Germany is in ruins, but does not yield. The US army lacks crucial knowledge about the German units operating on the opposite side of the Rhine and decides to send two German prisoners (Hans Christian Blech and Oskar Werner) to gather information. The scheme is risky: the Gestapo retains a terribly efficient network to identify and capture spies and deserters. Moreover, it is not clear that "Tiger", who does not mind any dirty work as long as the price is right, and war-weary "Happy", who might be easily betrayed by his feelings, are dependable agents. After Tiger and another American agent are successfully infiltrated, Happy is parachuted in Bavaria. His duty: find out the whereabouts of a powerful German armored unit moving towards the western front.

Quo Vadis? (Mervyn LeRoy)
Nominated Best Picture
Returning to Rome after three years in the field, General Marcus Vinicius (Robert Taylor) meets Lygia (Deborah Kerr) and falls in love. She is a Christian and doesn't want to have anything to do with a warrior. Though she grew up Roman, the adopted daughter of a retired general, Lygia is technically a hostage of Rome. Marcus gets Emperor Nero (Peter Ustinov) to give her to him for services rendered. Lygia resents this, but somehow falls in love with Marcus anyway. Meanwhile, Nero's atrocities get more outrageous. When he burns Rome and blames the Christians, Marcus goes off to save Lygia and her family. Nero captures them and all the Christians, and throws them to the lions.

Strangers on a Train (Alfred Hitchcock)
IMDb Highest Rated
Solonor's Pick
Psychotic mother's boy Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker) meets famous tennis professional Guy Haines (Farley Granger) on a train. Guy wants to move into a career in politics and has been dating a senator's daughter (Ruth Roman) while awaiting a divorce from his wife (Kasey Rogers). Bruno wants to kill his father (Jonathan Hale), but knows he will be caught, because he has a motive. Bruno dreams up a crazy scheme, whereby he and Guy exchange murders. Guy takes this as a joke, but Bruno is serious and takes things into his own hands.

The African Queen (John Huston)
From the novel by C.S. Forester. At the start of World War I, Charlie Allnut (Humphrey Bogart) is using his old steamer, The African Queen, to ferry supplies to villages in East Africa. When German troops kill the Rev. Samual Sayer (Robert Morley), Charlie agrees to take Sayers' sister, Rose (Katharine Hepburn), back to civilization, taking on the Germans at the same time.

Scrooge (Brian Desmond Hurst)
One of the best adaptations of the novel, "A Christmas Carol," by Charles Dickens. Miserly Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim) learns the error of his ways through the intervention of the ghost of his former partner and of three spirits.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (Robert Wise)
The alien Klaatu (Michael Rennie) with his mighty robot, Gort (Lock Martin), land their spacecraft on cold war Earth just after the end of World War II. They bring an important message for the planet, which Klaatu wishes to tell to representatives of all nations. However, communication turns out to be difficult. So, after learning something of the natives, Klaatu decides on an alternative approach.

The Thing From Another World (Christian Nyby)
Producer Howard Hawks' adaptation of the John Campbell story of an arctic expedition that runs afoul of a blood sucking alien is often credited (or blamed--depending on who you talk to) with launching the "evil-monster-tries-to-destroy-humanity" films that were so prevalent in the 1950's.

Alice in Wonderland (Clyde Geronimi and Wilfred Jackson)
Adaptation of the novels "Alice in Wonderland" and "Behind the Looking Glass" by Lewis Carroll. In Disney's animated version, Alice becomes bored, and her mind starts to wander. She sees a white rabbit, who appears to be in a hurry. She chases it into its burrow, and then a most bizarre series of adventures begins.

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Best Picture: 1951
What is the Best Picture of 1951?

An American in Paris
A Streetcar Named Desire
A Place in the Sun
Decision Before Dawn
Quo Vadis?
Strangers on a Train
The African Queen
The Day the Earth Stood Still
The Thing From Another World
Alice in Wonderland

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1950 <- Main Menu -> 1952

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