UC Berkeley Library

Movies Set In or About the 1950's

Liberty Heights (1999)

Directed by Barry Levinson. Cast: Adrien Brody, Bebe Neuwirth, Joe Mantegna. The year is 1954, a season of dramatic social flux that Levinson explores through the eyes of a Jewish family, the Kurtzmans in this warmly funny, semi-autobiographical tale. Friendship, romance, rock 'n' roll, courage, racism, cadilacs, halloween (should a nice Jewish boy dress up as Hitler?): the times are indeed changing. The Kurtzmans - and America - will never be the same.

Lolita (1997)

Directed by Adrian Lyne. Cast: Jeremy Irons, Melanie Griffith, Frank Langella, Dominique Swain. A middle-aged man marries an oppressive widow in order to be near and carry on an affair with her nymphet daughter. Based on the novel by Vladimir Nabokov. 137 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Mona Lisa (1986)

Directed by Neil Jordan. Cast: Bob Hoskins, Cathy Tyson, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Caine, Clarke Peters, Sammi Davis, Kate Hardie, Zoe Nathenson. "Writer-director Neil Jordan's breakthrough film is a brilliant, noir-infused love story. Bob Hoskins (who snagged an Oscar nomination for his performance) plays George, a small-time loser employed as a chauffeur to an enigmatic, high-class call girl. His fascination with her leads him on a dangerous quest through the sordid underbelly of London, where love is a weakness to be exploited and betrayed.

Mulholland Falls (1996)

Directed by Lee Tamahori. Cast: Nick Nolte, Melanie Griffith, Chazz Palminteri, Michael Madsen, John Malkovich. A rough and vicious group of detectives stumble onto a conspiracy involving the murder of a general and a top secret nuclear program. 107 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

New York, New York (1977)

Directed by Martin Scorsese. Cast: Liza Minnelli, Robert DeNiro, Lionel Standler, Barry Primus, Mary Kay Place. Jimmy Doyle is a jazz saxophone player on the make, while Francine Evans is a singer on the rise. Their budding romance flourishes into marriage and a professional working relationship, but the ambitions that brought them together eventually sweep them tragically apart. Special features: Introduction by Martin Scorsese; audio commentary by director Martin Scorsese and film critic Carrie Rickey; alternate takes; deleted scenes; photo gallery; theatrical trailer & teaser.

Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976)

Directed by Richard Pearce. Cast: Lenny Baker, Shelley Winters, Ellen Greene, Christopher Walken, Lois Smith, Dori Brenner, Antonio Fargas, Lou Jacobi. Larry, an aspiring actor, leaves his home and heads for Manhattan where he moves into an apartment in Greenwich Village. Between acting classes, auditions and odd jobs he spends time with his eccentric friends. 111 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Novemberkatzen (November Cats) (1986)

Directed by Sigrun Koeppe. Tells the story of a young girl, growing up in Germany in the 1950s in a lonely, friendless environment. Her divorced mother beats her and when she is sexually molested by a boy, she finally flees to live with her grandmother. In the end, she learns to stand up for herself. 100 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Nowhere Boy (UK | Canada, 2009)

Director, Sam Taylor-Wood. Cast: Aaron Johnson, Anne-Marie Duff, David Threlfall, Kristin Scott Thomas. Set in Liverpool in 1955, this fact based drama chronicles the adolescent years of John Lennon. Raised by his Aunt Mimi, his world is turned inside-out when his free spirited mother re-enters his life, opening up old wounds that release pain, anger, frustration, and his artistry. Special features: Deleted scenes; the making of featurette; the untold story of John Lennon and the creation of the Beatles featurette. 98 min.

Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

Directed by Francis Coppola. Cast: Kathleen Turner, Nicolas Cage, Barry Miller, Catherine Hicks. Peggy Sue, a mother of two who runs her own business & is coping with an impending divorce, attends her 25th high school reunion where a freak mishap sends her decades back in time giving her the power to create an entirely different future for herself. 103 min.

Pleasantville (1998)

Directed by Gary Ross. Cast: Tobey Maguire, Jeff Daniels, Joan Allen, William H. Macy, J.T. Walsh, Don Knotts, Reese Witherspoon. 90's teens David and Jennifer get zapped into the perfect suburbia of a black & white 50's sitcom, Pleasantville. 90's pop culture clashes with 50's family values and chaos ensues, turning the town of Pleasantville upside down and black and white into color. 132 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database