Best Drama Movies of 1959
Judah Ben-Hur, a Palestinian Jew, is battling the Roman empire at the time of Christ. His actions send him and his family into slavery, but an inspirational encounter with Jesus changes everything. He finally meets his rival in a justly famous chariot race and rescues his suffering family.
The sheriff of a small town in southwest Texas must keep custody of a murderer whose brother, a powerful rancher, is trying to help him escape. After a friend is killed trying to muster support for him, he and his deputies - a disgraced drunk and a cantankerous old cripple - must find a way to hold out against the rancher's hired guns until the marshal arrives. In the meantime, matters are complicated by the presence of a young gunslinger - and a mysterious beauty who just came in on the last stagecoach.
Anatomy of a Murder
Semi-retired Michigan lawyer Paul Biegler takes the case of Army Lt. Manion, who murdered a local innkeeper after his wife claimed that he raped her. Over the course of an extensive trial, Biegler parries with District Attorney Lodwick and out-of-town prosecutor Claude Dancer to set his client free, but his case rests on the victim's mysterious business partner, who's hiding a dark secret.
Imitation of Life
Lora Meredith, a white widow who dreams of being on Broadway, has a chance encounter with Annie Johnson, a black single mother. Annie becomes the caretaker of Lora's daughter, Susie, while Lora pursues her stage career. Both women deal with the difficulties of motherhood: Lora's thirst for fame threatens her relationship with Susie, while Annie's light-skinned daughter, Sarah Jane, struggles with her African-American identity.
Suddenly, Last Summer
The only son of wealthy widow Violet Venable dies while on vacation with his cousin Catherine. What the girl saw was so horrible that she went insane; now Mrs. Venable wants Catherine lobotomized to cover up the truth.
The Diary of Anne Frank
The true, harrowing story of a young Jewish girl who, with her family and their friends, is forced into hiding in an attic in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam.
On the Beach
In 1964, atomic war wipes out humanity in the northern hemisphere; one American submarine finds temporary safe haven in Australia, where life-as-usual covers growing despair. In denial about the loss of his wife and children in the holocaust, American Captain Towers meets careworn but gorgeous Moira Davidson, who begins to fall for him. The sub returns after reconnaissance a month (or less) before the end; will Towers and Moira find comfort with each other?
John Cassavetes’s directorial debut revolves around a romance in New York City between Lelia, a light- skinned black woman, and Tony, a white man. The relationship is put in jeopardy when Tony meets Lelia’s darker-skinned jazz singer brother, Hugh, and discovers that her racial heritage is not what he thought it was. Shot on location in Manhattan with a mostly nonprofessional cast and crew, Shadows is a penetrating work that is widely considered the forerunner of the American independent film movement.
Rough-and-tumble street urchin Gillie witnesses the brutal killing of a young woman at the hands of visiting Polish sailor Korchinsky. Instead of reporting the crime to the authorities, Gillie merely pockets a prize for herself — Korchinsky's shiny black revolver — and flees the scene. When Welsh Detective Graham discovers that Gillie has the murder weapon, the fiery young girl weaves a web of lies to throw him off course.
The Young Philadelphians
Up and coming young lawyer Anthony Lawrence faces several ethical and emotional dilemmas as he climbs the Philadelphia social ladder. His personal and professional skills are tested as he tries to balance the needs of his fiance Joan, the expectations of his colleagues and his own obligation to defend his friend Chester on a murder count.