Best Picture Nominees: 1955

This is the year Rosa Parks refused to sit at the back of the bus. James Dean died in a car crash. Gunsmoke debuted on CBS.

For more information about 1955, see The Learning Network's Fact Monster.


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Marty (Delbert Mann)
Won Best Picture
One of the biggest "sleeper" hits in Hollywood history, this is the movie version of a teleplay by author Paddy Chayefsky. It was first presented on NBC's Philco Television Playhouse in 1953. It is a simple character study of a lonely, unmarried, lovelorn middle-aged son who still lives with his love-smothering mother. One night, Marty (Ernest Borgnine meets a schoolteacher (Betsy Blair) with whom he finds a lot in common, and they pursue a relationship, despite pressure from others and their own insecurities.




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Mister Roberts (John Ford, Mervyn LeRoy, Joshua Logan)
Nominated Best Picture
Navy Lieutenant Doug Roberts (Henry Fonda) is aboard (to his mind) a boring, old cargo ship, working in the Pacific during the Second World War. He'd do anything to leave the quiet of the ship to join in the "action". Trouble is, the captain of the ship (James Cagney) isn't willing to sign Roberts' transfer requests. Also on board is Ensign Pulver (Jack Lemmon), who avoids work as best he can, while living off the riches of his buying and selling. Roberts and the crew are in constant battle with their tyranical captain over the smallest issues.




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Picnic (Joshua Logan)
Nominated Best Picture
The morning of a small town Labor Day picnic, a drifter named Hal Carter (William Holden) blows into town to visit an old fraternity buddy, Allan Benson (Cliff Robertson), who also happens to be the son of the richest man in town. Hal is an egocentric braggart--all potential and no accomplishment. Then, he meets up with Madge Owens (Kim Novak), the town beauty queen and girlfriend of his buddy.




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The Rose Tattoo (Daniel Mann)
Nominated Best Picture
From the play by Tennessee Williams, this is the story of an Italian-American neighborhood in Louisiana that is disturbed when truck driver Rosario Delle Rose (Larry Chance) is killed by police while smuggling. His buxom widow, Serafina (Anna Magnani), miscarries and over a period of years draws more and more into herself. She tries to force her lovely teenaged daughter, Rosa (Marisa Pavan), to do likewise. On one eventful day, Rosa finally breaks away; Serafina learns of Rosario's affair with another woman; and a new carefree, handsome Italian truck driver (Burt Lancaster) enters her life.




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Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (Henry King)
Nominated Best Picture
Newsman Mark Elliott (William Holden) is an American war correspondent temporarily staying in Hong Kong during the Korean War. While there, he meets and pursues a beautiful Eurasian Doctor (Jennifer Jones). But when they begin to fall in love, their friends and families pressure them to stop the cross cultural relationship.




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The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton)
IMDb Highest Rated
Solonor's Pick
Ben Harper (Peter Graves) has committed murder for $10,000. He hides the money and makes daughter Pearl (Sally Jane Bruce) and son John (Billy Chapin) promise not to tell anyone where it is hidden--not even their mother, Willa (Shelley Winters). In prison and awaiting hanging, Ben meets his cellmate, the Preacher (Robert Mitchum), who tries unsuccessfully to get Ben to reveal where he stashed the money. When Preacher is released from prison he heads for the Harper home, intent on finding the money. Preacher charms Willa and wins her hand in marriage, only to kill her when she learns what he is really like. With only Pearl and John separating him from a small fortune, the Preacher unleashes the full force of his true, evil self.




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Diabolique (Henri-Georges Clouzot)
In this French thriller, the wife (Vera Clouzot) and mistress (Simone Signoret) of a sadistic boarding school headmaster (Paul Meurisse) plot to kill him. They drown him in the bathtub and dump the body in the school's filthy swimming pool. When the pool is drained, the body has disappeared. Subsequent reported sightings of the headmaster slowly drive his killers mad with unbearable suspense.




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Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray)
This is a film from India set sometime in the early years of the twentieth century. A boy, Apu (Subir Bannerjee), is born to a poor Brahmin family in a village in Bengal. The father (Kanu Bannerjee), a poet and priest, cannot earn enough to keep his family going. Apu's sister, Durga (Uma Das Gupta), is forever stealing mangoes from the neighbour's orchards. All these add to the daily struggles of the mother (Karuna Bannerjee), notwithstanding her constant bickering with an old aunt (Chunibala Devi) who lives with the family.




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Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray)
Jim Stark (James Dean) is the new kid in town. He has been in trouble elsewhere. That's why his family has had to move before. Here he hopes to find the love he doesn't get from his middle-class family. Though he finds some of this in his relation with Judy (Natalie Wood), and a form of it in both the adulation of Plato (Sal Mineo) and the concern of juvenile officer Ray (Edward Platt), Jim must still prove himself to his peers in switchblade knife fights and "chickie" games in which cars race toward a seaside cliff.




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The Ladykillers (Alexander Mackendrick)
In this British comedy, a gang (Alec Guinness, Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom, Peter Sellers and Danny Green) planning a job find themselves living with a little old lady, Mrs. Wilberforce (Katie Johnson), who thinks they are musicians. When the gang set out to kill her, they run into one problem after another and get what they deserve.




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East of Eden (Elia Kazan)
In the Salinas Valley, in and around World War I, Cal Trask (James Dean) feels he must compete against overwhelming odds with his brother Aron (Richard Davalos) for the love of their father Adam (Raymond Massey). Cal is frustrated at every turn, from his reaction to the war, to how to get ahead in business and in life, to how to relate to his estranged mother.




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To Catch a Thief (Alfred Hitchcock)
American expatriate John Robie (Cary Grant), living in high style on the Riviera, is a retired cat burglar. When a fresh set of burglaries rocks the Riviera--all bearing the hallmark of Robie's own robberies--he is the natural suspect. Robie sets out to catch the new burglar himself to prove his innocence. High on list of prime victims is Jessie Stevens (Jessie Royce Landis), in Europe to help daughter Frances (Grace Kelly) find a suitable husband. Robie enlists the aid of Frances in setting a trap for the thief.




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Lady and the Tramp (Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Lusk)
Disney animated classic about Lady, a golden cocker spaniel, who meets up with a mongrel dog who calls himself the Tramp. He is obviously from the wrong side of town, but happenings at Lady's home make her decide to travel with him for a while.




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The Trouble with Harry (Alfred Hitchcock)
Trouble erupts in a small, quiet New England town when a man's body is found in the woods. The problem is that almost everyone in town thinks that they had something to do with his death. Stars Edmund Gwenn, Shirley MacLaine and John Forsythe.




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The Seven Year Itch (Billy Wilder)
Like many other Manhattan husbands, Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) sends his wife and son to the country for the summer, while he stays behind to toil. Though reveling in temporary bachelor freedom of lifestyle, he's resolved not to carouse and philander like some others. But his overactive, over-vivid imagination goes into overdrive when a delightfully unconventional, voluptuous blonde (Marilyn Monroe) moves in upstairs.



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Best Picture: 1955
What is the best film of 1955?

Marty
Mister Roberts
Picnic
The Rose Tattoo
Love is a Many-Splendored Thing
The Night of the Hunter
Diabolique
Pather Panchali
Rebel Without a Cause
The Ladykillers
East of Eden
To Catch a Thief
Lady and the Tramp
The Trouble With Harry
The Seven Year Itch


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1954 <- Main Menu -> 1956

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