Forgotten Classic Movies You Can Watch for Free

Some of my readers have read my posts on the real reason there was a Golden Age of Television, as well as my post on the “lost” drama anthologies of that era, and how you can still buy many of them.

Hollywood movies ran pretty much parallel to television during the Golden Age: there was no sex or cursing. Violence was rarely graphic; if there was any political correctness, it was subtle and between the lines. The church was treated with respect, and Communism depicted negatively. Homosexuality and abortion were almost entirely off-limits. No one heard of trangenderism. The Golden Age pretty much came to a stop in Autumn 1963. After that, the Deep State began a cultural PSYOP, gradually introducing the “new morality” of the sixties.

Hollywood is barely recognizable today. The last time my wife and I went to the movies (to see a rather disappointing Toy Story IV), we sat through about eight previews of coming attractions—not only were they all dark, but none of them (with one exception) even had living actors in them; the characters were all computerized. This isn’t to deny, of course, that some good movies still get made.

For this post I am focusing on quality movies from the “Golden Age” that are free to watch and are, for the most part, not well-known. For that reason I have omitted films that are generally famous and usually not free to watch—such classics as It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), The Third Man (1949), All About Eve (1950), Quo Vadis (1951), On the Waterfront (1954), Rear Window (1954), The Seven Samurai (1954), Marty (1955), The Ladykillers (1955), The Sweet Smell of Success (1957), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), 12 Angry Men (1957), Ben Hur (1959), North By Northwest (1959), Pillow Talk (1959), Ride the High Country (1962), Billy Budd (1962) and Lawence of Arabia (1962), though I would recommend any of them to those willing to fork out a little extra for a purchase or rental. (By the way, most of these films can be seen for free at the Internet Archive (https://archive.org/), but the archive has been facing legal difficulties and I’ve found that films there sometimes play erratically.)

PLEASE NOTE: IN THE ORGINAL VERSION OF THIS POST, I EMBEDDED THE MOVIES SO READERS COULD JUST CLICK-AND-PLAY, linked from the platforms where they were they were featured, primarily YouTube.  However, I found that embedding a large amount of video content was negatively impacting this website. So I have eliminated the embedding, and simply linked to the films’ original URLs, so people can watch off-site.

Some other preliminary notes are in order. These films are, of course, only for people who enjoy older movies. I also realize that taste in the arts is highly personal. Some films that I found enjoyable will be disliked by others.  I have focused on post-World War II films, as I find the prewar movies generally have a more antiquated, less realistic feel to them.

Some may wonder why I didn’t include a certain movie. Well, there are space limitations, and some films I just don’t know about.

Finally, I acknowledge that the Deep State has always utilized entertainment to distract the public from real-world issues. It’s not my intention to reinforce that ploy. But older movies can provide us with an occasional respite from ongoing stress, as well as reminding us of a world that had better values, and, in many ways, was a better place to live in.

I have simply organized these films in chronological order. I don’t expect anyone to watch them all. Feel free to browse through and find something that might interest you. Of course, some of these movies may eventually be de-platformed, but all links were working on the day of this post’s publication.

I Know Where I’m Going! (1945). Famed film director Martin Scorsese said: “I reached the point of thinking there were no more masterpieces to discover, until I saw I Know Where I’m Going!“ It’s a unique romance set almost entirely in Scotland, and with a large supporting cast of mostly Scottish actors, it truly captures that nation’s ethnic spirit. An underlying theme of the film is the contrast between man’s will and the will of God. Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey, names long forgotten to American audiences, star. Keep an eye out for future pop music star Petula Clark as the little girl Cheril.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oha_ww5Jexg

The Southerner (1945). This is a pretty good rebuttal to people who talk about “white privilege.” Tired of picking cotton as hired laborers, a dirt-poor Southern family tries to make a go of running a broken-down farm. Starring Zachary Scott and Betty Field; directed by France’s noted Jean Renoir, who earned an Academy Award nomination. By no means your typical Hollywood movie.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPAPORv0R4w

They Made Me a Fugitive (1947), also called I Became a Criminal, is a dark British film noir. I include it because of its very high quality. Trevor Howard stars as an RAF veteran who makes the mistake of getting mixed up with a vicious black market gang.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJiHPuGcLyc

Ride the Pink Horse (1947) is an American film noir shot largely in Santa Fe. Robert Montgomery, who also directed, plays an ex-GI who arrives in the border town of San Pablo, intent on blackmailing a powerful war profiteer. Montgomery finds himself up against the crook’s intimidating entourage, including thugs and a treacherous femme fatale, but gets unexpected help when he befriends some poor Mexican locals. Although Montgomery’s character is too rough around the edges to be very likeable, the pitting of disenfranchised people against the rich and powerful makes this an engaging “underdog” story. A nice performance by 19-year-old Wanda Hendrix as Pila. (A bit of trivia: Hendrix married Audie Murphy, the most decorated U.S. hero of World War II, although the marriage didn’t last, in part due to Murphy’s violent episodes of PTSD, a condition he suffered from that was generally unknown to the American public.)

URL: https://ok.ru/video/273231514275

Dial Northside 777 (1948). When I saw it as a child on television, I enjoyed this movie, and still do. Ever-likable James Stewart plays a Chicago newspaper reporter who’s assigned by his editor (Lee J. Cobb) to investigate a washerwoman’s advertisement offering a reward for information that will prove her long-imprisoned son (Richard Conte) wasn’t guilty of the murder he was convicted of. Skeptical at first, Stewart becomes increasingly convinced of the man’s innocence and embarks on a crusade to prove it. Based on a true story and filmed entirely in Illinois.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O42FJbQ8QGs

Deep Waters (1948) is a movie I only recently discovered, one that very much fits the “family film” genre. Shot mostly on location in the state of Maine, it concerns two lobstermen (Dana Andrews, Cesar Romero) who befriend a highly troubled orphan. I like this film because it reminds me of the society and values that once prevailed in America.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpXLgYCGIGU

The Naked City (1948). This engaging film, directed so well by Jules Dassin, not only captures the workings of the NYPD as they pursue a murder case; it’s a good reminder that unsolved crimes are normally only cracked by hard work and critical examination of facts. The film vividly utilizes New York City’s people as a supporting cast. If you want to see New York “as it was,” this is it. But I can’t watch the opening shot—an aerial view taken from a plane approaching the metropolis—without being reminded of 9/11.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSlrvXXuZ7o

So Long at the Fair (1950), based on an urban legend, features Jean Simmons as a British girl who, with her brother, arrives in Paris to see the 1889 Universal Exposition (World’s Fair). They check in at their hotel, but the following morning she discovers that her brother has vanished—and so has his room! The hotel staff insist that she checked in alone, and that she must be deranged. With no one to support her claim, the authorities don’t believe her. Her only hope is to find a young man whom her brother made change for, the previous evening in the hotel’s lobby. This film has some appeal for “red-pilled” people, as Simmons is up against a conspiracy that no one else believes in.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uw_4S_KBGA8

Father’s Little Dividend (1951). A funny comedy directed by Vincente Minnelli, who had a gift for bringing out the humor in life’s everyday situations. Spencer Tracy plays a man who’s not overjoyed to learn he’s about to become a grandfather. Elizabeth Taylor is cast as the expectant mother. This was a sequel to the equally funny Father of the Bride.

URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86ELIeyTBmU

Angels in the Outfield (1951), a baseball comedy, is both funny and touching. Paul Douglas is the bad-tempered, foul-mouthed manager of the last-place Pittsburgh Pirates. He is visited by an angel, and his team may get some divine help—if he mends his ways, which he struggles to do, helped by a female reporter (Janet Leigh) and an orphan. Said to be President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s favorite movie.

URL: https://ok.ru/video/1869832129125 

I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951). Although this borders on being a “B” movie, I have included it because it rather accurately portrays the Communist Party’s ruthlessness, hypocrisy, ideology, and tactics (such as fomenting racial divisions). The film was based on the true story of Matt Cvetic, a Pittsburgh native who spent nine years as an infiltrator of the Communist Party for the FBI. Cvetic, played by Frank Lovejoy, not only has to endure constant surveillance by the party, but the scorn of his family, who considers him a traitor. By the way, I know that today’s FBI has largely evolved into a pit bull for Democratic Party politicians, but things were different 72 years ago.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3QIf0VZLEQ

Of the several editions of A Christmas Carol, my favorite is Scrooge (1951) with Alastair Sim. It made me cry more than once.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPDNKbdW9P0

Roman Holiday (1953). Well, here’s a film that I can’t call “forgotten.” Audrey Hepburn won the Best Actress Oscar for this, her first major role, as a princess who tries to escapes her regimented life by going incognito on the streets of Rome. An American newspaper reporter (Gregory Peck, in his first comedy role), befriends the princess, not letting on that he knows who she is, hoping for an exclusive story. Shot entirely in Italy.

URL: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3rp5md

The Man Between (1953)  A suspenseful Cold War intrigue and romance. A beautiful young Claire Bloom plays a British girl who visits her married brother in West Berlin. East Germans, mistaking her for her German sister-in-law on the street, kidnap her and take her to the East. Realizing their error, the kidnappers decide it may be simpler to “disappear” the girl than admit their mistake. Her only hope for escape is a shady former Wehrmacht soldier (James Mason) who operates on both sides of Berlin. This film, a reminder of the starkness of the communist police state, was expertly directed by Carol Reed of The Third Man fame.

URL:  https://ok.ru/video/1312985778707

Man on a Tightrope (1953) continues our anti-communist theme. Set in Czechoslovakia, it was loosely based on the true story of a circus that daringly escaped from the Iron Curtain. Many of that circus’s real performers appear in this film, directed by one of Hollywood’s best, Elia Kazan (On the Waterfront). Kazan was an apt choice to direct, as he had been a member of the Communist Party in his youth, and rejected it. Like The Man Between, this film accurately depicts life in the communist police state, and the longing to escape from it to freedom. Featuring Frederic March, Gloria Grahame, Cameron Mitchell, Adolphe Menjou, Terry Moore, and Richard Boone.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_r_omX40rA

Come Next Spring (1956). A little old-fashioned for some, perhaps, but definitely a family film. Set in 1920s Arkansas, it’s about a long-term alcoholic who, having given up booze, tries returning to the wife and children who he abandoned many years earlier. The film centers on the Christian theme of forgiveness. Steve Cochran, usually typecast as gangsters, was an unusual choice for the lead. In support are Ann Sheridan (who said this was the favorite film she made) and likable Walter Brennan.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gz7EGxtHoVU

A Hill in Korea (also known as Hell in Korea) (1956). I have included this very rare film, even though it is only posted on the somewhat tenuous archive.org, because it features many British actors before they became stars, including Robert Shaw, Michael Caine, Stephen Boyd (Charlton Heston’s antagonist in Ben Hur), and Stanley Baker. Few remember that British forces fought in Korea. This movie is about the trials of a platoon that becomes separated from its main body. It may be hard to spot Michael Caine, who is listed last in the credits, and who possibly got the small part because he really did fight in Korea and could offer technical advice.

URL: https://archive.org/details/ahik5345435

The One that Got Away (1957). Few films that say “based on a true story” live up to that description, but this one does, down to minute details. It’s an accurate depiction of Franz Von Werra, the only German POW in the UK during World War II to escape back to Germany, where he rejoined the Luftwaffe. Actor Hardy Kruger was a good choice to play Von Werra, as he did serve in the German armed forces during World War II, and, at least according to the film’s IMDB notes, really did escape from an Allied POW camp, though on the European continent. This movie is also a tribute to perseverance—it took Von Werra three  attempts to succeed.

The real-life Franz Von Werra

 

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy-_tqv5QkI

The Proud Rebel (1958). My father took me to see this when I was seven, but I didn’t really appreciate it until I was an adult, when it became one of my favorite films. Set shortly after the Civil War, it’s about an ex-Confederate who’s scouring the North for a doctor who can cure his mute son. Soon, however, he becomes embroiled in a local situation. A story with strong values and about the conflict between good and evil. Ladd’s son is played by his real-life son David Ladd, and the affinity between the two shows. Olivia de Haviland liked the script so much she came out of temporary retirement to star in it. Directed by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca).

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRfqiLNUrk8

Tip on a Dead Jockey (1958). Better than the title makes it sound. Dorothy Malone plays a woman who receives a letter from Spain from her husband (Robert Taylor). Just discharged after service in Korea, the letter says he no longer wants to be married. Thinking he must have found another woman, she flies to Madrid, but Taylor’s real problem is PTSD, a subject that Hollywood usually didn’t address back then. The film also evolves into a story of international intrigue. Co-starring Gia Scala, a young Jack Lord (ten years before he would star in Hawaii Five-O) and likable Marcel Dalio as “Toto.”

URL: https://ok.ru/video/303907998371

Thunder Road (1958). This movie has long been a cult classic in the South, playing at drive-ins for several decades after it was made. Based very loosely on a real person, Robert Mitchum plays Lucas Doolin, a “runner” who transports his father’s moonshine whiskey in high-powered cars. Doolin not only has to outrun the Feds, but take on a Memphis gangster who wants to monopolize the moonshine business. This project was Mitchum’s “baby”; he not only starred in the film, he produced and co-wrote it, co-wrote the title song, and hired his son Jim to play Doolin’s kid brother. Although the car chase scenes seem antiquated by the use of studios for interior shots, the exterior shots were filmed using powerful cars bought from moonshiners, and real moonshiners have bit parts in the movie, adding to its Southern authenticity.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvGUIlzAYmg

Our Man in Havana (1959). A first-class comedy-drama, starring Alec Guinness and Maureen O’Hara; written by Graham Greene and directed by Carol Reed, who had also teamed for The Third Man  Set in Cuba just before the Castro revolution, it’s about an English local (Guinness) who’s recruited as an agent by MI6. Guinness soon discovers that he can get lots of money from the British government by sending fictionalized reports back to London. But deadly danger begins when the opposition intercepts his coded messages, and believe his reports are authentic. The film is also a brilliant satire on the bureaucracy of British intelligence.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lX3kEx4UH3g

Tunes of Glory (1960). Alec Guinness continues his great performances. In this one he plays Jock Sinclair, a Scottish officer who rose to command his battalion during the battle heat of World War II. The film is set in postwar Scotland, where Sinclair, a heavy drinker, oversees the peacetime battalion with lax discipline. He bitterly learns he is to be replaced as commander by a strict, by-the-book officer (John Mills). Tensions mount in the conflict between the two men, and test the loyalties of the junior officers. Brilliantly acted. Someone insightfully commented that part of this film’s appeal is that nearly all of us have some of both men inside of us—one lax, the other strict.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nS4HrDImcn4

It is perhaps fitting to close with The Alamo (1960). This epic was John Wayne’s most ambitious project. He produced, directed, and starred in it. IMBD notes: “Wayne was forced to finance much of the film himself. He took out a second mortgage on his houses, and secured loans on his cars and yacht.” It also reports: “At the start of production on location just a few miles from the historic battle site, John Wayne had a clergyman say a prayer for the movie in front of the assembled cast and crew of 342, asking God to bless their work and help them produce a fitting testament to the brave men who died for the cause.” There’s something you wouldn’t hear about Hollywood today. Although the movie was a box-office hit, and earned a “best picture” Oscar nomination, Wayne still lost money due to the many cost overruns. He used 7,000 extras and 1,500 horses for the memorable final battle scene. Wayne did eventually recoup his losses through the film’s television rights. Although The Alamo has been criticized for a number of historical inaccuracies (pure historical reality does not necessarily make great entertainment), the movie remains an enduring tribute to valor.  Very long at 2 hours 41 minutes, but the original release (which can still be found) was 3 hours 22 minutes. Richard Widmark, Laurence Harvey and Richard Boone are among the supporting cast.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjZ_8WGb0fg

 

 

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James Perloff

James Perloff

James has been writing for alternative media since 1985 when he began contributing to The New American magazine. He is the author of six books, the subjects of which range from COVID-19 to political history to creationism.

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