The Best of RKO Pictures

by Ed_Jones_XLIX | created - 2 months ago | updated - 2 months ago | Public

Once a giant in the motion picture industry RKO Radio Pictures was acquired by Aviation Pioneer Howard Hughes in 1948 who then fired 300 employees he suspected of being communists. This gutting of the studios staff ground to a halt the 30 or so annual production capabilities to under 10 pictures a year. When Hughes grew tired of shareholders concerns about mismanagement, he bought almost all of them out at a cost of $24,000,000 and then almost immediately sold the studio to the General Tire Company, who then proceeded to try and pick up the pieces. But the end finally came for The General Tire Company's tenure of the beleaguered Studio in 1957. But before all of that upheaval took place, the studio did make and/or distribute some of the most beloved pictures that are still cherished today by fans of all ages.

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1. The Thing from Another World (1951)

Not Rated | 87 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Scientists and American Air Force officials fend off a bloodthirsty alien organism while at a remote arctic outpost.

Directors: Christian Nyby, Howard Hawks | Stars: Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan, James Arness, Robert Cornthwaite

Votes: 23,349

2. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

PG | 130 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

89 Metascore

An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 363,189

3. Dumbo (1941)

G | 64 min | Animation, Drama, Family

96 Metascore

Ridiculed because of his enormous ears, a young circus elephant is assisted by a mouse to achieve his full potential.

Directors: Samuel Armstrong, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen, John Elliotte | Stars: Sterling Holloway, Edward Brophy, Herman Bing, Mel Blanc

Votes: 110,269 | Gross: $1.60M

4. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

G | 83 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

95 Metascore

Exiled into the dangerous forest by her wicked stepmother, a princess is rescued by seven dwarf miners who make her part of their household.

Directors: William Cottrell, David Hand, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, Ben Sharpsteen | Stars: Adriana Caselotti, Harry Stockwell, Lucille La Verne, Roy Atwell

Votes: 167,286 | Gross: $184.93M

5. The Pride of the Yankees (1942)

Approved | 128 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

The story of the life and career of famed baseball player Lou Gehrig.

Director: Sam Wood | Stars: Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, Babe Ruth, Walter Brennan

Votes: 9,186

6. Cinderella (1950)

G | 74 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

85 Metascore

When Cinderella's cruel stepmother prevents her from attending the Royal Ball, she gets some unexpected help from the lovable mice Gus and Jaq, and from her Fairy Godmother.

Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske | Stars: Ilene Woods, James MacDonald, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton

Votes: 133,965 | Gross: $85.00M

7. Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Not Rated | 102 min | Comedy, Family, Romance

91 Metascore

While trying to secure a $1 million donation for his museum, a befuddled paleontologist is pursued by a flighty and often irritating heiress and her pet leopard, Baby.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Charles Ruggles, Walter Catlett

Votes: 51,642

8. Citizen Kane (1941)

PG | 119 min | Drama, Mystery

100 Metascore

Following the death of publishing tycoon, Charles Foster Kane, reporters scramble to uncover the meaning of his final utterance; 'Rosebud'.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead

Votes: 368,840 | Gross: $1.59M

9. Peter Pan (1953)

G | 77 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

76 Metascore

Wendy and her brothers are whisked away to the magical world of Neverland with the hero of their stories, Peter Pan.

Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Jack Kinney | Stars: Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Hans Conried, Bill Thompson

Votes: 114,871 | Gross: $87.40M

10. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

Passed | 117 min | Drama, Romance

In 15th century France, a gypsy girl is framed for murder by the infatuated Chief Justice, and only the deformed bellringer of Notre Dame Cathedral can save her.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara, Cedric Hardwicke, Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 9,619 | Gross: $3.27M

11. King Kong (1933)

Passed | 100 min | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi

90 Metascore

A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal ape who takes a shine to their female blonde star. He is then captured and brought back to New York City for public exhibition.

Directors: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack | Stars: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot, Frank Reicher

Votes: 74,488 | Gross: $10.00M

12. Fantasia (1940)

G | 125 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

96 Metascore

A collection of animated interpretations of great works of Western classical music.

Directors: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe Jr., Norman Ferguson, David Hand, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen | Stars: Leopold Stokowski, Deems Taylor, Corey Burton, Walt Disney

Votes: 82,767 | Gross: $76.41M

13. Rashomon (1950)

Not Rated | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

98 Metascore

The rape of a bride and the murder of her samurai husband are recalled from the perspectives of a bandit, the bride, the samurai's ghost and a woodcutter.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 138,010 | Gross: $0.10M

14. Notorious (1946)

Not Rated | 102 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Romance

100 Metascore

A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them?

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Louis Calhern

Votes: 86,183 | Gross: $10.46M

15. Oklahoma! (1955)

G | 145 min | Comedy, Drama, Musical

In Oklahoma, several farmers, cowboys and a traveling salesman compete for the romantic favors of various local ladies.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Gordon MacRae, Gloria Grahame, Gene Nelson, Charlotte Greenwood

Votes: 10,450

16. Fort Apache (1948)

Not Rated | 128 min | Action, Adventure, Western

At Fort Apache, an honorable and veteran war captain finds conflict when his regime is placed under the command of a young, glory hungry lieutenant colonel with no respect for the local Indian tribe.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple, Pedro Armendáriz

Votes: 15,137

17. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)

Passed | 104 min | Western

Captain Nathan Brittles, on the eve of retirement, takes out a last patrol to stop an impending massive Indian attack. Encumbered by women who must be evacuated, Brittles finds his mission imperiled.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar, Ben Johnson

Votes: 14,474

18. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Approved | 170 min | Drama, Romance, War

92 Metascore

Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Fredric March, Teresa Wright

Votes: 53,892 | Gross: $23.65M

19. Alice in Wonderland (1951)

G | 75 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

68 Metascore

Alice stumbles into the world of Wonderland. Will she get home? Not if the Queen of Hearts has her way.

Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske | Stars: Kathryn Beaumont, Ed Wynn, Richard Haydn, Sterling Holloway

Votes: 118,499

20. Pinocchio (1940)

G | 88 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

99 Metascore

A living puppet, with the help of a cricket as his conscience, must prove himself worthy to become a real boy.

Directors: Norman Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen | Stars: Dickie Jones, Christian Rub, Mel Blanc, Billy Bletcher

Votes: 118,821 | Gross: $84.25M

21. The Stranger (1946)

Not Rated | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

76 Metascore

An investigator from the War Crimes Commission travels to Connecticut to find an infamous Nazi.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, Philip Merivale

Votes: 19,892

22. Out of the Past (1947)

Not Rated | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.

Director: Jacques Tourneur | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming

Votes: 29,554

23. The Outlaw (1943)

Approved | 116 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Western legends Pat Garrett, Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid are played against each other over the law and the attentions of vivacious country vixen Rio McDonald.

Directors: Howard Hughes, Howard Hawks | Stars: Jack Buetel, Thomas Mitchell, Jane Russell, Walter Huston

Votes: 3,632

24. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

Not Rated | 88 min | Drama, Romance

93 Metascore

The spoiled young heir to the decaying Amberson fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved.

Directors: Orson Welles, Fred Fleck, Robert Wise | Stars: Tim Holt, Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Anne Baxter

Votes: 20,553

25. Suspicion (1941)

Not Rated | 99 min | Mystery, Thriller

83 Metascore

A shy young heiress marries a charming gentleman, and soon begins to suspect he is planning to murder her.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce

Votes: 29,496 | Gross: $4.50M

26. Of Human Bondage (1934)

Not Rated | 83 min | Drama, Romance

A young man finds himself attracted to a cold and unfeeling waitress who may ultimately destroy them both.

Director: John Cromwell | Stars: Bette Davis, Leslie Howard, Frances Dee, Kay Johnson

Votes: 5,546

27. Cat People (1942)

Not Rated | 73 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

An American man marries a Serbian immigrant who fears that she will turn into the cat person of her homeland's fables if they are intimate together.

Director: Jacques Tourneur | Stars: Simone Simon, Tom Conway, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph

Votes: 17,719 | Gross: $4.00M

28. Murder, My Sweet (1944)

Approved | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

After being hired to find an ex-con's former girlfriend, Philip Marlowe is drawn into a deeply complex web of mystery and deceit.

Director: Edward Dmytryk | Stars: Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley, Otto Kruger

Votes: 11,019

29. Little Women (1933)

Not Rated | 115 min | Drama, Family, Romance

A chronicle of the lives of a group of sisters growing up in nineteenth-century America.

Director: George Cukor | Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Joan Bennett, Paul Lukas, Edna May Oliver

Votes: 5,651

30. The Little Foxes (1941)

Approved | 116 min | Drama, Romance

The ruthless, moneyed Hubbard clan lives in, and poisons, their part of the deep South at the turn of the twentieth century.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, Teresa Wright, Richard Carlson

Votes: 9,376

31. The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)

Unrated | 126 min | Drama

At a big city Catholic school, Father O'Malley and Sister Benedict indulge in friendly rivalry, and succeed in extending the school through the gift of a building.

Director: Leo McCarey | Stars: Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman, Henry Travers, William Gargan

Votes: 6,477 | Gross: $21.30M

32. Back to Bataan (1945)

Approved | 95 min | Drama, War

In 1942, after the fall of the Philippines to the Japanese, U.S. Army Col. Joseph Madden stays behind to organize the local resistance against the Japanese invaders.

Director: Edward Dmytryk | Stars: John Wayne, Anthony Quinn, Beulah Bondi, Fely Franquelli

Votes: 3,383

33. Hans Christian Andersen (1952)

Approved | 112 min | Biography, Family, Musical

The opening scene of the movie describes it best: "Once upon a time there lived in Denmark a great storyteller named Hans Christian Andersen. This is not the story of his life, but a fairy tale about the great spinner of fairy tales."

Director: Charles Vidor | Stars: Danny Kaye, Farley Granger, Zizi Jeanmaire, Joseph Walsh

Votes: 3,136

34. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)

Approved | 95 min | Comedy, Romance

A high school girl falls for a playboy artist, with screwball results.

Director: Irving Reis | Stars: Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee

Votes: 7,303

35. Flying Leathernecks (1951)

Approved | 102 min | Action, Drama, War

Major Kirby leads The Wildcats squadron into the historic WWII battle of Guadalcanal.

Director: Nicholas Ray | Stars: John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Don Taylor, Janis Carter

Votes: 4,158



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