- Sunset Boulevard, directed by Billy Wilder is released. The classic film noir will be reprised on Broadway in 1995.
- Debuts of Marlon Brando in The Men, Sidney Poitier in No Way Out and director Michelangelo Antonioni with Cronaca di un Amore.
- Rashomon, directed by Akira Kurosawa is the first Japanese film seen in the west since 1928.
- Gene Kelly directs and stars in one of the great Hollywood musicals, Singin' In the Rain.
- Zinnemann's High Noon.
- Decca purchases Universal
- Cinerama debuts
- Bwana Devil is the first feature movie created in 3-D.
- Hollywood's taboos against implied sex is broken with the immortal kiss of Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity.
- Fox Studios launches its Cinemascope (wide-screen) with The Robe. Both this and the 3-D movie are intended to entice people away from the new invention called television.
- Hitchcock's Rear Window.
- The studio system finally begins to break down. Directors and actors are able to work for the studio of their choice instead of being held to contracts.
- In Japan, Akira Kurosawa directs his masterpeice, Seven Samurai and Fellini's La Strada both become international hits
- Kazan's On the Waterfront reinforces Marlon Brando as a star
- Televised McCarthy hearings result in McCarthy's disgrace and begins to stop blacklisting
- Blackboard Jungle is the first picture to feature rock music. 'Rock Around the Clock'.
- James Dean makes his debut in East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause.
- Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali introduces Indian film to the west.
- Stanley Kubrick directs his first picture The Killing.
- Love Me Tender marks the debut of Elvis Presley to the movies.
- Ford's The Searchers
- Bergman's The Seventh Seal.
- Release of hundreds of pre-1948 feature films to television starts new relationship between film & TV
- Hitchcock's Vertigo
- Some Like It Hot, directed by Billy Wilder, stars Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe.
- Hitchcock's North By Northwest.
- Birth of New Wave: Truffaut's The 400 Blows and Resnais's Hiroshima.
- Fellini's La Dolce Vita.