My Favorite Movies

The best list ever of the best movies ever from

You all know by now how much I love old movies; I’ve been recommending them in my books and calendars forever.  I know you love them too, so I thought I’d give you a list of my very favorite movies — wonderful stories guaranteed to make you laugh, cry, swoon, dream, yearn, or think.

Please forgive me if I’ve left your favorite out.  There’s no rhyme nor reason to this list; I didn’t include lots of really good movies, like Sound of Music for example, or An American in Paris, Mildred Pierce, Casablanca, Funny Face, or even My Fair Lady . . . and I’m sure there are plenty I’ve simply forgotten.  But this is still a very good start.  These are films I never tire of. 

Many of the movies I love best were made before I was born, and I saw almost all of them on the TV.  Wonderful, romantic, beautiful, magical, touching, funny and charming movies which, because they’re in black and white, lots of people have just never seen. They don’t know what they’ve been missing!  That’s why I’m doing this . . . a cozy afternoon on a freezing day, with a cup of hot chocolate and one of these movies is my idea of heaven.  They are soul soothers, inspiration-givers, joy spreaders. And I adore going back in time.

I came by my love for these movies naturally, my mom started me very young.  She’s the same age as Shirley Temple; she fell in love with Shirley when she was a little girl.  By the time I was old enough to be propped in a chair, she made sure the Good Ship Lollypop was tap dancing its way into my heart.  She and I know the words to all of Shirley’s songs; we sang them while we did dishes.  I still love Shirley.  If there was ever anything cuter or more adorable than Shirley Temple in Baby Take a Bow, I don’t know what it is.  All my life, I could be having a bad day, turn on Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, hear Shirley sing “Come and Get Your Happiness,” see the darling curtains at Aunt Sarah’s house and the roses on Tony’s Porch, and cheer right up.

From Shirley Temple, it was natural for me to move up to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies; they were made about the same time.  I think they’re sort of the grownup version of Shirley Temple, sweet, innocent and charming; the fabulous genius-inspired dances they did (like this one in Swing Time); the creative visuals their early movies presented in the height of 1930’s fantasy fashion, elegant clothes, beautiful furniture and architecture, not to mention the music!  It was magic!  A world of inspiration; a feast for the senses!

By the time I was old enough to live out on my own, I was half-formed about what life was going to be like, and all of it, for better or for worse, was based on books like Pollyanna and Little Women and these wonderful old films, most of which I saw on the Million Dollar Movie on television.

I moved from my parents house into an apartment with my best friend Janet.  Her mom loved old movies too.  I’ll never forget us, lying on the floor, watching TV at two in the morning; A Farewell to Arms had just ended with Jennifer Jones dying, we were both sobbing hysterically. I had to get up and go into the other room.  Oh we loved it!  Janet called me Sue-Sue Applegate after the Ginger Rogers character in The Major and the Minor. (We called her Natasha after Boris’ wife.) We would get in her huge old car and go to the drive-in movies, wearing our jammies with big coats over them so we could go to the snack bar for a giant popcorn and coke that would last us the length of the films; we set our hair in big rollers while watching The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, in French with English subtitles, and sobbed all the way home.  We really loved to cry at movies!  Splendor in the Grass almost killed us. (You can tell by these photos, we were already legends in our own minds!) We dyed Janet’s hair the same color as Ann Margaret’s.

Old movies shaped my dreams:  they showed me what I wanted my house to look like, how I wanted to dress, what kind of a person I wanted to be; those shipboard romances in An Affair to Remember, The Lady Eve, Sabrina, and Shall We Dance; the rose-covered cottages in Father of the Bride and Love Letters; houses with darling curtains and wallpaper like in Dear Ruth; the train rides in The Palm Beach Story, Some Like it Hot, North by Northwest, and Brief Encounter.  I dreamed of fields of bluebells as high as my knee, like the ones I saw in Howard’s End, and one day I went to England to see them and they were just as wonderful as I knew they’d be. 

You could go around the world, even from a one-bedroom apartment, with The Quiet Man, Roman Holiday, Mrs. Miniver, Ninotchka (prettiest dress in the movies is in Ninotchka), Out of Africa, Two for the Road, and A Room with a View.

I planted flowering trees because of the tree-lined road Anne Shirley (of Green Gable fame) drove through, the petals flying, in the buckboard with Matthew just after she arrived on the train.  Remember?

Miracle on 34th Street made me decide to never grow all the way up.  I could see the fairy-tale life was the life for me.  I knew we lived in a beautiful world full of magic and charm, I saw it in movies such as It’s a Wonderful Life, The Bishop’s Wife, Margie, and The Secret Garden.

When 9/11 happened I was glued to the TV like everyone else, but after a while, the intensity was too much, the grief, sorrow, anger, pain was unbearable; the real world was just too real.  I couldn’t sleep, thinking about man’s inhumanity to man; the TV news was unrelenting.  I felt like it wasn’t healthy to hear it anymore. I finally turned it off, and began feeding my soul with childhood favorites . . . at first it was all Shirley Temple movies. Then, watching Cary Grant, cutie-pie Walter Pigeon, gorgeous Gregory Peck, Jeanne Crain, Barbara Stanwyck, or Myrna Loy — the laughter, beauty, whimsy, and charm made my troubles float away.  It took a few weeks for me to find my equilibrium and remember that the overwhelming majority of people in this world are good; those movies really helped.  One big bad apple had upset the balance.

If you’re starting from scratch, trying to learn more about classic movies, it’s hard to know where to start. So here is my list of favorites, many times tried and forever true.  I added links to some of the trailers for these movies — I didn’t put trailers on all of them, just want you to know that the ones without the links are just as good as the ones that have them!  You’ll find many of these movies on Turner Classic Movies. Public Libraries are also a wonderful source! Kanopy is a free service where you can access 30,000 films with a library card from a participating library. You can look them up on Google to learn more about them; some of them are full length and free on Youtube.  This is also a helpful site. So here we go!  Enjoy!  Here’s my list of the best of the best:

This is a list of newer movies that I love as much as the old . . .









365 Responses to My Favorite Movies

  1. Ginger says:

    Just saw one you might like. It’s an old Cary Grant called Room for One More. It was delightful.

  2. Ginger Meador says:

    I thought my husband and I were the only ones who loved “Hobson’s Choice.”
    We watch it over and over, whenever we need a ‘feel good movie.’

  3. Kywa says:

    The other night we rented Harvey on my husband’s birthday gift (Amazon Fire). It’s the original black and white, and my 10 year old who was not feeling good was all doze-y at the beginning. Once they announced Harvey is a Pookah, she was all eyes and ears glued to the t.v. (She knows about Pookah’s, have read the Guardian’s series of books by William Joyce. E. Aster Bunnymund is a Pookah). It thrilled me to see her so enthralled with this oldie. It’s such a great feel good movie.

    • sbranch says:

      Such a great thing to introduce a child to — there’s so much history in old movies, in such a wonderfully enjoyable way to learn about a way of life that is pretty much gone for them. It is possible to make lives like that inside your own house, but you have to know about them first.

  4. Jade Michele says:

    Have you seen From Time to Time ? It’s on Netflix right now. It’s a lovely movie,based on a novel by Lucy M Boston, I think you will like it! 🙂
    Love your book A Fine Romance,it’s one of my all time favorites!

  5. Bridget says:

    Susan, Thank you so much for your great movie recommendations A lot of them are my favorites and can’t wait to make favorites out of the others. Have you ever seen SHINING THROUGH with Melanie Griffith and Michael Douglas? Great WWII romance. My very favorite: Jane Austen’s PERSUASION with Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root…terrific performances!! I’m on my second reading of your FINE ROMANCE. Love it and bought a bunch for gifts!!

  6. Alice Lucas says:

    Dear Susan, Could you please tell me who stars in the movie Greenfingers. I have tried to find this movie, without any luck so far.
    If you ever update your movie list, you might want to add Life Of Pi and Silverlinings Playbook to that list.
    Your Friend, Alice

  7. Helen Nelson-Hougland says:

    Your list of favorite movies is perfect! May I also suggest In Name Only with Cary Grant and the beautiful Carole Lombard. Oh, the charming house in this one! And I love the house, the furnishings, the curtains in The Bachelor and The Bobby Soxer with Cary and Shirley Temple, as well as the wonderful Myrna Loy. Many thanks for being right on target with your movies list!

  8. PJ says:

    At the risk of sounding like everyone else here, your favorites are my favorite movies, too! Kindred spirits, indeed. In honor of your potential trip to Scotland, however, I’d like to offer a couple of favorite Scottish movies of mine to add to your “homework”. The first is Local Hero, with Peter Riegert, Peter Capaldi (the new Dr. Who), Denis Lawson (Ewan McGregor’s uncle) and, surprisingly, Burt Lancaster. It’s a quirky comedy along the lines of Waking Ned Devine. The second is Dear Frankie, a little-known but heart warming movie that made me fall for Gerard Butler. Emily Mortimer also stars. I would suggest using closed-captioning to watch these, especially the second one. The Glaswegian accent is the hardest Scottish accent to understand in my estimation. Hope you enjoy them!

  9. Linda Treap says:

    I have always liked your scrapbook items and I just ran across you while looking up Gladys Taber (who I have always loved) and you are fabulous.
    I also, love Beatrix Potter, most all of the same movies that you like, and I’m so glad that you have so many fans. Please count me in as a new and forever fan. Thank you so much!

  10. Not sure if I saw it on your list, but have you seen “I Know Where I’m Going” with Wendy Hiller? And how about “Local Hero”? Two excellent films.

  11. Christabelle says:

    Susan, hope you had a WONDERFUL train trip. I’ve been a fan of train travel for some 30 years now and have taken The City of New Orleans countless times. I loved your train travel guide. I’m always sharing “tips” with others who are contemplating riding the rails. Like make sure you bring a pair of easy off-on slipper type shoes (but with crepe sole bottoms) for when you need to use the restroom (the single sleepers don’t have their own toilet) but don’t want to put on shoes and socks in the middle of the night. Or tipping your porter at the beginning of the trip to ensure that he/she takes super good care of you — like taking your breakfast order the night before, and bringing it to you all “gift wrapped” early the next morning.

    Anyway, the reason I’m commenting about train travel after your movie-related post is that I didn’t see anything about the other Sullivan (Anne of Green Gables) Company DVDs. You can get these from the library and have a film fest while on board. Anyone who loves AOGG will love the entire Tales of Avonlea series, which includes many of the same characters. the Emily of New Moon series, and “Wind at My Back,” the completely unrelated but totally wonderful series about the Great Depression. The only down side is that you want these stories to go on forever.

    Oh, and there are two lighthearted movies I remember watching with my mom when she visited me post breast cancer surgery almost 20 years ago, and so they remain favorites, as well. “Only You” with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey, Jr. (along with a perfectly wonderful Bonnie Hunt), and “IQ” with Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins.

    • sbranch says:

      So much good information here Christabelle ~ thank you!

      • Christabelle says:

        I’ve always loved that you have the regard that I do for rail travel. And that’s something coming from someone who was actually on a train that had a collision and derailment! Yes, I got “back on the horse” and took another train trip that same year. Perhaps with proper funding, such accidents (although uncommon) would be even less likely to occur, as we would have proper lights and other warning devices at ALL crossings throughout the U.S. Susan, one of the things I also loved reading (I can’t remember where you have it) is when you arrived back home in Martha’s Vineyard and had a get together with all of your gal pals. I also, of course, loved the post, years ago, about your cross country train travels with a friend of yours. Do you think — pretty please — you could somehow create a new sub-category under the “About Me” category, and put all of the train-related stuff there? Thank you!!!

    • Christabelle… am responding to your comment here as I absolutely LOVED LOVED LOVED Wind at My Back (I think on Hallmark?) and watched the entire series at least twice! I wish I could get a set of DVD’s of the whole series. I first discovered it right after both of my parents died (within 3 weeks of each other) and for some reason, that series brought me much comfort… the era, the people, the “old days” and how hard they had it and yet somehow lifted themselves up out of very dire circumstances. And like you, I hated to see if end! I wanted it to go on and on and one forever.

  12. Christabelle says:

    Will do, Susan. Thanks!!!

  13. suzanne says:

    My favorite to watch at Christmastime is “Since you went Away”, with Claudette Colbert, Shirley Temple and Jennifer Jones. Women on the homefront during WWII ending on a tearfully beautiful Christmas.

  14. Catherine Wheeler says:

    Love, love all of your choices – especially I Married a Witch – great movie. One not on your list is a favorite of mine: Violets Are Blue with Kevin Kline, Sissy Spacek and Bonnie Bedelia. The song at the end “One Day” is sung by Laura Branigan and sadly, she never recorded it on a CD. Hope you find it and enjoy.

  15. Bobbette Cockrell says:

    I have loved old movies my whole life! My mother taught me to love them and I taught my son to love them! Last year, my wonderful husband started a tradition of sending us to the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood for our birthdays <3. It's amazing to see the films on the big screen as they were meant to be seen…and to hear the stars introduce the film…SIGH <3. Margret O'Brien introduced Meet Me In St Louis, 92 year old Maureen O'Hara introduced How Green Was My Valley, Kim Novac introduced Bell, Book and Candle, Mel Brooks introduced Blazing Saddles. We sat poolside at the historic Roosevelt Hotel with our feet dangling in the pool watching American Graffiti. Bobby will be 21 this year, so Hubby bought tickets to the cocktail party =). It's like a Star Wars convention for Trekkie's, only for Movie Nerds!

    • sbranch says:

      How absolutely wonderful Bobbette! Margaret O’Brien was so wonderful in Meet Me in St. Louis! And the Canterville Ghost . . . and the Secret Garden . . . what a treat to see her in person. All of them! In 2015 the TCM Festival is March 26-29 and it looks like passes are still available. I’m going to have to go one of these days! Thank you for telling us about it!

  16. Kate Wyllie says:

    You have listed a lot of my favorites……..especially Teahouse of the August Moon…..but, the movie (a musical ) “1776”……. I think is worth mentioning……I feel so good after that movie, if you haven’t seen it……try watching it. Just FYI…..
    Warmest regards,

  17. Laura says:

    Thank you for this list, Susan! I have seen and enjoyed so many of these, but not all . . . which makes me happy because now I have a list!! I would also like to recommend About Time. It came out last year and Bill Nighy is in it, always a good thing, in my opinion. Anyway, I watched this movie with my son, now 20, and we both loved, loved, loved it!!! He went and bought a copy because he wants to watch it once a year he said, to remind him of what is important in life. Me too!

    • sbranch says:

      I keep hearing great things about this one . . . where did you see it . . . I can’t find it on Netflix. But it’s by the same director who did Love Actually which just may be my favorite movie EVER!

  18. anne engelhardt says:

    Just read your list of favorite movies…still smiling!
    Let’s not forget “I Remember Mama”, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”, and just for fun…”The Trouble with Angels”

  19. Julie says:

    Can’t wait to see the movies you’ve recommended. I am making my list now. Anything that Nora Ephron has touched in any way, I love. I am curious if you’ve seen Her with Joaquin Phoenix? His performance is nothing short of amazing. It certainly isn’t your average love story but it is touching, and the music she plays to capture their relationship is haunting. I think you may like it.

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t seen it . . . was steering clear because I heard he was in love with his computer? Is that right? But you can make a movie about anything if you put enough heart in it.

      • Julie says:

        Yes, true, very futuristic, but there is just something about the deep-soul connection between the two as experienced through Joaquin’s character – the amazing, deep, healing, joyful, restorative, kaleidoscope brilliance of love. It is definitely not for everyone, I definitely get that. But still, a great film.

  20. I love “Halfway House” ~ a little known British film, and “I Know Where I’m Going” ~~~

    Susan, you have provided a wonderful list to explore! Did you know {I saw Finding Nemo on your list} that they are making “Finding Dory”? One to watch out for, she was such a cracker!

    ~~~waving~~~ from Across the Pond ~~~ Debs in Wales ~~~

  21. M. says:

    Thank you for the list! I’ve seen quite a few of these, but now I have shedloads more to watch. Perfect holidays are made of old-movie marathons.

    PS – 1776 is definitely a fave at our house too, Kate. We have the soundtrack and sing along loudly on road trips.

  22. Elaine Koenig says:

    thank you for the great list. Just wanted to mention A Childs Christmas in Wales. Perfect holiday movie.

  23. Margret says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful list.
    If you haven’t seen this endearing series I highly recommend these three films to you:
    Four Daughters, Four Wives, Four Mothers. (There is another related film called Daughters Courageous that includes the same cast but is not really part of the series). The films follow four sisters, their father, their aunt, and their love interests over the course of many years.

  24. Joan LaFever says:

    I’d like to add a movie I love – Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Amy Adams sings “If I Didn’t Care” towards the end, and nails the song. Great movie. 🙂

  25. Dianne says:

    Love Actually is one of my all time favorites as well. Have you seen The Theory of Everything? It is so good.

  26. Anna Marie Robinson says:

    Love this list Susan. Watched Hobson’s Choice and Double Wedding. I am filling up my Netflix list based on you and our girlfriends suggestions. We have such wonderful taste in movies. I would love to add The Beiderbeck Affair, The Beiderbeck Tapes, and the Beiderbeck Connection by Alan Planter and also Oliver’s Travels written by the same man.

  27. I absolutely LOVE your list! I have seen some but many I have not seen and this is my new project… to make a list of what I want to see! There are so many wonderful old movies out there, and I’m sad that I’ve failed to revisit them. One of my ALL time favorites, which you have listed, is the Long Long Trailer with Lucy and Desi…. saw it when I was about 6 and never laughed so hard.. and probably saw it at least 10 more times! Also if you haven’t seen Seven Brides for Seven Brothers… with Jane Powell… oh swoon… what a wonderful musical. Another old movie from 1948, that I don’t think you had listed, was Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. This is with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, and anyone who has wanted to build a house, or who HAS built a house, MUST see this one! It’s a true classic and I love watching it now and then! There was a remake of it in 1986 called the Money Pit, which was also absolutely hysterical! Your list reminds me of the wonderful old movies that I want to watch again. They truly are reminders of days gone boy, and our children need to see them also.

    I’m fairly new to your blog Susan, and want to take the time to soak up every little part of it and read ALL of your posts! I’ve been a fan of yours for years… your precious artwork and calendars.

  28. delightful list. i like yourself, love england. i am assuming you have seen bright star, but if not, you might love it. i did. the costumes alone are worth a look.
    my sil gave me your book a fine romance for xmas and i am in love. i don’t want it to end. b. potter and j. austen. oh my. heaven i tell you, heaven.

    • sbranch says:

      🙂 Makes me happy to hear that! Thank you! Yes, Bright Star! I saw that a very long time ago, remember loving it, need to see it again!

  29. dorothy labbe says:

    A friend told me about you today and I had to look you up immediately. Checked out your favorite book and favorite movie lists—I found a kindred spirit. Can’t wait to go to library and read your books, which come highly recommended by my friend, June S.

  30. Julie says:

    Another suggestion if you haven’t seen it: The Man in the Moon. A very young Reese Witherspoon, Sam Waterston, Jason London, great cast; a wonderful romantic, coming of age film that is one of my classics. It takes place in the south, I just love it. I think you will too.

  31. Sue LaMarche says:

    Boy, do we have similar taste!

  32. Darlene B says:

    Dear Susan, just stopping by to say hello and take a peek at your favorite movie list. Need a little get away and I remembered you said that these movies are magic so I’m hoping for a little magic to help get through a rough patch….Thank you for everything always xoxo

  33. Kathryn says:

    We share so many if the same favorites…Out of Africa; I’m teary-eyed as soon as the music starts and inconsolable when the camera shows the lion lying comfortably on Denys’ grave–every time. And William Powell, how handsome, debonair and perfectly matched to Carole Lombard and Mrs. Bullock, kindly providing her with pixie remover. There is a movie I’d like to suggest… Lion in Winter. Katharine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole as Elinor of Aquitaine and Henry II. The script is mesmerizing, the banter between the two is extraordinary and the history and politics of the time is so very interesting; plus it’s about England!
    Thank you so much for your blog with its peek into your life and wonderful kitties. As I write this I’m surrounded by my 3–Sumitra and Siddartha, my 2 Siamese, and Luigi, my large grey tiger cat with the soft meow. All 3 make me smile and make the world a better place…Happy New Year, 2016!

  34. Thank you very much for sharing your wonderful movie list, we have seen some of them and a lot of them are our favorites too, my daughter and I enjoy watching old movies and we can wait to watch some of your recommendations.

  35. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan – wonderful films all! Have you seen the UK 1952 film, “The Holly and the Ivy”? Glorious black and white, snowy British countryside, family of characters – just a lovely story – can’t get it in the US in DVD format, and it is not on YouTube, but I hear some tech-savy folks can transfer the UK DVD format on their computers to play it…..
    thanks for the list…..

  36. Kathy Williams says:

    I am trying to find a movie that surrounds a newspaper business. Please forgive me for the lack of information.
    I watched this movie 30+ years ago and all I know is the newspaper was run in the basement of a building in a busy city. You could see in the windows from the sidewalk that ran along the building. I know, you’re probably thinking, “that’s it?” and unfortunately, that is all I remember. For years I have tried to remember this movie and I don’t know why but for some reason it has never left me. If I didn’t say, it is in black and white. I just thought I would give you a try, I’m sure there are some serious movie critics out there that could probably tell me the name and thought I would start with you. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Was it Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell talking a thousand miles a minute? If so, then it was His Girl Friday. Does that sound familiar?

  37. sema says:

    Ha, okay, my Top 5 of all time is:
    1. Taxi Driver
    2. Pulp Fiction
    3. Persona
    4. The Deer Hunter
    5. 2001: A Space Odyssey

  38. Sue S says:

    Love, love your movie favorites as they closely resemble my choices. If you have not seen ’84 Charing Cross Road’ starring Anne Bancroft, Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench, please watch it :). It’s my absolute favorite movie. I loved her quote about reading biographies, about reading about people who have actually lived; my favorite genre. I love this quote too, “I don’t browse in bookshops, I browse in libraries, where you can take a book home and read it, and if you like it you go to a bookshop and buy it.” Another favorite is ‘Tea With Mussolini’ which seems to be an odd title but the movie is absolutely marvelous and it stars Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Cher.

    • sbranch says:

      I love it too! Wonderful movie. I think there was a book too, and it was also good. I saw Tea with Mussolini too, lots of charm in that one! I just watched (about ten minutes ago) A Little Romance with 14-year old Diane Lane and Laurence Olivier ~ 1979 ~ SO darling.

  39. Barbara Irvine (Connecticut) says:

    Love, love, love old (and some newer) movies! Here are some I’d like to add:
    -Summertime with Katherine Hepburn and Rosano Brazzi
    -Love Affair (1939) with Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne … remake was An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, and then Sleepless in Seattle
    -Back Street (1941) with Charles Boyer and Margaret Sullavan, and remake in 1961 with Susan Hayward and John Gavin (I liked the original best)
    More recent:
    -The Lake House with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves (and I still can’t figure it out!)
    -Under the Tuscan Sun with Diane Lane
    -Nights in Rodanthe with Diane Lane and Richard Gere
    -Cast Away with Tom Hanks
    And, at Christmastime, all the movies you mentioned, as well as The Polar Express and the Home Alone movies.
    OK, I’ve given more than my two cents’ worth, but movies and books are the best! We are so blessed !!

    • Barbara Irvine (Connecticut) says:

      Oh, I forgot …
      -High Society, the 1956 remake of Philadelphia Story, starring Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly — musical and fun, and in color!

      • Barbara Irvine (Connecticut) says:

        Oh, and did anybody say “Gaslight” ?? Charles Boyer, a young and beautiful Ingrid Bergman, and I believe Angela Lansbury’s first film (or was it The Portrait of Dorian Grey?). Anyway, a fabulous film … and now I’ll stop.


    • sbranch says:

      Love it Barbara! Thank you!

  40. Cheryl says:

    I love your list of films!!!

    I have to add one- which I’m sure you’ve seen. “Christmas in Connecticut” with Barbara Stanwyck….one of my all time favorite films. She’s brilliant.

    Love your blog and your books. “Autumn” relieves my broken heart each fall…. while I’m trapped in Southern California. I miss the crisp fall air and rustling leaves of the East Coast and reading your book eases the heartache.

  41. melanie says:

    right now, here in april, in PA, it is snowing,,,,,i will be home soon and would like to watch a movie that has snow in it or even snow themed. Any recommendations from your list?

  42. Stephanie Murray says:

    Thank you for publishing this great list of films. I haven’t read them all yet so I do apologize if this one is already mentioned. I am searching for the name of an old black and white suspense movie. A woman was being terrorized by a stalker who rang repeatedly but as no one else ever heard the messages her story was in doubt. She convinces her friend to lie to her husband and say that she had heard the messages but the phone was out of order so the lie was discovered. She almost fell in front of a train but believed she was pushed. It is such a long time since I saw this movie but would love to see it again. Thanks for your help.

    • sbranch says:

      It sounds sort of like Sorry, Wrong Number with Barbara Stanwyck. Is this it?

      • Stephanie Murray says:

        Thanks for your reply.
        It does sound like a similar plot but no, that’s not it. It ends that the woman’s husband was trying to drive her crazy, similar to Gaslight.

        • sbranch says:

          Who saves her? I just feel like it was Barbara Stanwyck. I know I’ve seen it. Google her and see if any of her suspense movies ring a bell. Also, I kind of felt like it might be Ray Milland too . . .

          • Stephanie Murray says:

            I think the police save her. It is soooo long ago but I do remember her friend was named Peggy. Barbara Stanwyck did make such a lot of movies. Looks like some great potentials to watch in that list. Thank you. I’ll keep searching.

        • marty from New York City says:

          I think that you might be thinking of “Midnight Lace” with Doris Day and Rex Harrison among many other terrific actors.

  43. Melanie says:

    Would you ever consider creatinf a pdf list (by year) of all your favorite movies and uploadng it all of us here ?

    • sbranch says:

      Not sure how I would do that . . . but there are links to youtube for many of the movies on my favorites list.

  44. Heidi Witter says:

    I love your taste in movies! If you haven’t seen it yet, “About Time” is a wonderful movie directed by the same one who did “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Love, Actually.” It is my absolute favorite movie with a wonderful message of loving every day, good or bad, living a genuine life. I’ve just finished reading “Isle of Dreams,” so THANK YOU for my summer gift!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I have seen it and I agree, it’s wonderful, although it won’t take away Love Actually as my favorite movie of maybe all time, but it’s still WONDERFUL, just as you say! Thank YOU back Heidi!!!

      • Heidi Witter says:

        Oh my gosh! I feel like I just talked to a rock star! This third grade teacher/middle aged gal from Sacramento just had her BEST day of her summer. THANK YOU!!!!

        • sbranch says:

          OH Heidi, aren’t you sweet! Thank you right back . . . have a wonderful day, and thank you for being a teacher and imparting all the wonderful things of life to children who sop it up and need you so much!

  45. Carolyn Fitzgerald Rodgers says:

    And then there’s “All This, and Heaven Too.” (Book by Rachel Field.). Movie starred Charles Boyer and Bette Davis, about whose character, Field said “The purse that held her Courage was not as empty as the purse that held her money.”

  46. Pat Harmon says:

    Dear Susan, you are an oasis! I LOVE your work and your books! TCM is my fave channel. Many of my faves are on your list. Here are 3 I don’t see there, Now, Voyager with Bette and Paul, oh my!
    2 newer ones, Under the Tuscan Sun, Diane Lane, wonderful, and Chocolat with Binoche and Depp oooooooo! Where are the smelling salts! 💛💗💜💙💚😍 Pat

  47. Diana Brady says:

    Susan, Another movie you might enjoy is “Secondhand Lions” Starring Robert Duvall & Michael Caine with Haley Joel Osment. Such a sweet and funny movie. Hope you will enjoy it too. Warm Regards, Diana Brady

  48. Linda Carey says:

    Hi Susan: I share your love of movies, your list matches most of my favorites. If you haven’t seen these two, I think you’ll like them, “The Matchmaker” w/ Janeane Garofalo and David O’Hara & “Leapyear” w/Amy Adams.

    Thank you so much for your beautiful books. Happy Belated Birthday to Joe!

    • sbranch says:

      Love them both … something about Leap Year, have to keep watching it over and over even though it’s a little silly, I sure love the countryside (in both of them) and Matthew Goode! And of course, who doesn’t love a love story! Thank you Linda!

  49. Kathy DeCaria says:

    I’ve got two other movies for your list:
    “Miracle in the Rain” with Jane Wyman and Van Johnson
    “Come to the Stable” with Loretta Young and Celeste Holm

    Both are tear jerkers and great viewing on a cold winter day with a warm cup of tea and a kitty or two nearby!

  50. Jill says:

    My little family has a family movie night each Sunday. My husband and I pick movies we want our children to know for various reasons. Tonight I looked up your list and we started at the top with Hobson’s Choice. Winner!! We all loved it. My seven and nine year-old daughters were begging that each scene not be the end. 🙂 My eleven-year old son and husband loved it too. Later we were talking about humor, education and kindness and we’re able to tie in some awesome lessons from the movie. Maggie is strong and smart but not selfish, though she cares for herself. She didn’t let fear win and she stood up for those she loved. Look what change can happen when you believe in someone, including yourself! What power education has. And more. Thank you for the list! We’re going to keep working on watching those we haven’t seen. All the high fives and hugs for a great resource.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh that’s so good for them. Too many people have forgotten the old black and white movies, and it’s a travesty! Yay for you! Thank you for letting me know. That makes my day!

  51. Susan Olds says:

    Great list of movies! Recently, I’ve been watching the Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes series on YouTube. They are wonderful and re-mastered. My favorite is Terror by Night which is filmed entirely on a train. Of course The Hound of the Bakervilles is a favorite. The scene of the man being attacked by the dog is so realistic. Yikes. For a great holiday movie I recommend “Holiday” with Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black, and Cameron Diaz. Included is the cutest cottage covered in snow.

  52. Laurie I says:

    We love many of the same movies. Thanks for the great list.

  53. Dixie Johnson says:

    Great list but where are “Peyton Place” & “Notting Hill”? I think they deserve to be on this list!

  54. Jane C Halcomb says:

    Lars and the Real Girl….a sweet sweet movie.

  55. sylvia in seattle says:

    I have to recommend a recent find: Garbo Talks, with Anne Bancroft, Ron Silver, Carrie Fisher and a wonderful stage actress (now deceased) named Dorothy Loudon who makes the most of her 5 minutes on screen and which has me in stitches still after many viewings. You can find it on YouTube if you search for Catherine Hicks, Garbo Talks. The other ones that say free are blocked from viewing. It’s very touching all the way through, BUT at 35 minutes is the scene by Dorothy that is priceless. I can so relate to this character who lives in a cluttered one room NYC apartment with a bunch of cats and upright piano who is thrilled to get a visit from Ron Silver who has tracked her down as a possible source of information and who has brought his checkbook, in his quest of finding Garbo to fulfill his Mom’s last wish. I’m pretty sure you and Joe would get a laugh out of it. Anne Bancroft (whose dying wish is to see Garbo) is wonderful as well as is almost everyone in this unusual film. The NYC scenery is fun too. I just hope somehow Dorothy Loudon knows how much pleasure she has been giving me over the last week or so . . . It just feels so good to laugh now – what with one thing and another 🙂

  56. Joy Branham says:

    You left out a little gem I saw when I was young (a LONG time ago!) called “Wee Geordie,” with Bill Travers, 1955. One of the sweetest movies ever made, set in Scotland. It was released in the UK as “Geordie,” and is on Youtube under that title. Also, another hidden treasure is “It Had to be You,” with Ginger Rogers and Cornel Wilde, made in 1947. Pure delight!

  57. Barbara from Northern California says:

    Wanted to add two of my favorites:
    Springtime in the Rockies (picturesque views of Lake Louise, Banff, Canada made me fall in love with that setting – Betty Grable, John Payne, Cesar Romero, Harry James [Betty’s eventual real-life husband])
    Eric Roehmer’s Autumn Tale – a woman vineyard owner in France and her adult relationships

    Thanks again for sharing your list!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve seen Springtime in the Rockies many times, very cute movie, but not the second one you mentioned. Will have to look for that ~ Is it French?

  58. Maureen from Long Island, NY says:

    I searched your wonderful list and the comments but no one has mentioned “This is My Father” with Aidan Quinn, James Caan, etc. This movie really moved us, about a Chicago schoolteacher and his nephew who make a trip to Ireland to learn about his father and mother’s ill-fated romance. It is very well done. Try it out!

  59. Janese Wills says:

    I’ve got a couple good movies for you Susan…Table for Five and The Painted Veil.

  60. Kris Stanton says:

    Hi Susan! I just recently found you – what a gift! My husband bought me three of your books and I have fallen in love with your appreciation of the world! I was excited to see that you have a movie list as you have referenced movies in your writing and I love what you love! I was looking to see if you listed Jane Austen’s Emma – you did and you said you liked the Gwyneth Paltrow version. Have you seen the version with Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller and Michael Gambon? That is my absolute favorite. When Emma and Mr. Knightly finally dance you can see them falling in love right on the screen! Loooove it.

    One more that I have to list is August Rush. It starts Keri Russell, Freddie Highmore, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Robin Williams. It is a feel good movie for sure with enchanting music.

    Thank you for sharing your outlook on life with the world!

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t seen that Emma! I went HERE to see a trailer for it, it looks wonderful! I saw Jonny Lee Miller was in it and thought perhaps I had seen it, but I was thinking of his role in the wonderful Mansfield Park! So I have something new to look forward to! And August Rush ~ Thank you! I wrote them both down and will be clicking around for them soon! Thank you Kris!

      • Kris Stanton says:

        Yeah! I’m so glad you haven’t seen the Jonny Lee Miller version of Emma yet. I thought maybe you had seen it and didn’t like it! It is soooo good. I also saw him in Mansfield Park but he has a much bigger role in Emma.

        Your reader’s have so many great movies that they are adding to your list. I don’t know how you would ever have the time to watch them all BUT here are two more…Begin Again with Keira Knightley – love her and she sings in this movie – such a pretty voice. That movie is based on the movie Once. That is also a really good movie if you can get passed the first song that the main character sings – He is a songwriter and that first one is a doozie! The rest are beautiful!

        Have a wonderful summer – I’m sure you will!

        • sbranch says:

          We just watched Sing Street, done by the same director as Begin Again. It was good, very sweet, about music too. I’ll look for Begin Again! So many wonderful suggestions from everyone! Thank you Kris!

  61. Francie says:

    Susan-I have seen almost everyone on the old list. Here are a few of my additions! 1. Midnight Lace–Doris Day is being terrorized by phone in London during a pea soup fog. Myrna Loy is her aunt. Rex Harrison, John Gavin…
    2. The Uninvited–Ray Milland, Gail Russell, the Cornwall Coast–a haunted house to die for.
    3. The Moonspinners
    4. All About Eve
    5. From The Terrace
    6. Exodus
    7. The Hustler
    8. The Long Hot Summer
    (okay, sure anything with Paul Newman)
    9. Peyton Place-so soapy-I love the town
    10. My Sister Eileen
    11. Royal Wedding

    • sbranch says:

      I think I’ve seen those all except maybe for The Uninvited … is it a sister-brother who buy an old house?

  62. Ann Solomon says:

    Thank you, Susan, for sharing your wonderful list. I, too, would like to add to it.
    “Last Holiday” with Queen Latifah is very funny, a wonderful oldie is “Lost Horizon” and also “San Francisco”, and a fairly recent one “The Illusionist”. Oh what great lists we now have! Oh yes, and I loved “Cocoon”…so funny.

  63. Darla Unger says:

    What else do you put on a Cucumber sandwich? The dishes that you used for your garden party were adorable, Also are you wanting to buy your first house on the island back?

    • sbranch says:

      I’d like to do that, but it’s not for sale, and even if it was, I don’t think we’re at a place in life where we could truly and easily afford to have two houses. Real estate prices here on the Island have changed since the 1980s! As for the cucumber sandwiches: Just mayonnaise (spread thin thin thin, but on both sides of the bread), black pepper, and cucumber slices, and that’s all. Not salt because that will make the cucumbers exude juices into the bread.

  64. Darla Unger says:

    Thank You I will try it!

  65. Pam Butterick says:

    Susan, this is such an awesome list. I have so many yet to go.
    A friend recommended The Bishop’s Wife a few years ago, and I am in love with it. I watch An Affair to Remember every summer, because my Gram took me to it…I was about 12, and we went to the Island Theater. My first grown up movie. I also watch it at Christmas, on the list with the B’s Wife.
    One of my best friends recommended Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train. He had recommended Brief Encounter, which I BOUGHT, I was so taken with it…and said that if I loved Brief Encounter, I would love Strangers on a Train.
    And then there is the Valley of Decision with Gregory Peck. The first “grown up” movie I saw on TV with my mother. I had to own that one as well….it brings memories of my mom back to me. It’s a wonderful movie.
    Thanks for such inspiration!

    • sbranch says:

      And if you love Brief Encounter, you will love I Know Where I’m Going and Hobson’s Choice. So many great ones! Have you seen The Quiet Man? OH! SO! GOOD! xoxo See you around the neighborhood!

  66. Pam Butterick says:

    I will highlight those!
    Would love to see you around the neighborhood!
    Thank you☺️❤️

  67. Jackie says:

    How about Return to Me? Love the old guys and the music!

  68. Jackie says:

    Thanks, Susan! As I started reading your new post, I clicked on the Musica link, wondering what someone had requested, only to realize it must have been for me! My comment to you was prompted by my finding an old college paper I wrote for a film music elective class, in which I explored how music was used in the movie Return to Me. (The paper was from 2003 or so, and I was an older student/ English major.) I had picked that film to do because I loved all the old Rat Pack singers myself, plus how cleverly the movie portrayed the old guys in their widowers’ group with that ongoing discussion of who was better, the Italian or Irish crooners. As I sat there reading that old paper, it made me smile, and I thought of you, and the many delightful old music links you share with us.

  69. Pam Wilson says:

    Hi Susan! Loved your list of movies and all the other ones that other girlfriends added–I now have a nice, long list of movies to watch during the winter! My own #1 would be I Remember Mama…an old favorite watched during the “Million Dollar Movie” time slot on TV (in the NY/NJ area)…back in the days when “channel surfing” required getting up and changing the DIAL while your parents yelled, “And DON’T SPIN THAT DIAL TOO FAST!!” 🙂 the ol’ days!

    • sbranch says:

      We had Million Dollar Movie too, out in California, in the days of like maybe 7 channels total! Plenty! Enough! It was the early TCM, where Yankee Doodle Dandy and Shirley Temple and Roy Rogers movies ruled! So much more human than the barrage of today!

  70. Debbie Riar says:

    Love the suggestions for all the old movies!
    I did not see my favorite “I Remember Mama” with Barbara Bel Geddes (I could have overlooked it😉). Wonderful, very nostalgic story, of a budding writer and her Scandinavian immigrant family in early 1900’s San Francisco. Simply charming!💜

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, there are lovely movies not on my list . . . I wonder if I put How Green Was My Valley on the list … I LOVED that movie too. Every time I watch it, I love it more.

  71. Amy says:

    Oh Susan, wonderful post! The world might be a better place if we all watched more movies like this. I love and adore Brief Encounter and so many of the others you mentioned here, even the newer ones.

    Thanks so much for a wonderful article with links too. This is a great list to go off!

  72. Christine Beutner says:

    Wow – just found this post, linked from your 2/4/2018 fb thread… WOW ! As usual, We. Are. One.
    thank you, Susan!

  73. Francie says:

    Dear Susan… I can’t wait to read your blog as you travel back to jolly old England! You really do make us feel like we are there with you. I, too, learned to love all the old movies from my mom. And most of the ones you mention, I have seen. But there’s one I didn’t see on your list (or maybe I missed it?). I’m named from this old black-and-white movie. It was released in 1946, the year I was born and my mother said, if I have a little girl, she will be named Francie. It is after the little girl of the same name played by Peggy Ann Garner in the movie “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” I’m sure you’ve seen it, but if not, make sure you do!

  74. I want to watch them all this weekend hmm..Thanks for the lists 🙂

  75. Paulette says:

    Goodbye,Mr.Chips 1939 ❤️

  76. Tish Rowley says:

    I have been buying your books and calendars for YEARS, since I found the first cookbook and then the next… and the perfect Gazpacho recipe…
    This year, I finally looked up Gladys Taber – who knew you had a blog? Obviously, EVERYONE except me… I was, of course, drawn to THIS post first, ’cause I’ve pretty much seen and mostly loved all of the movies on your list.
    I’ll add my two cents on a missing movie: “How to Steal a Million” – Audrey. Peter. Oh, those blue eyes…. Such a delightful film. We watch it pretty much every year…

  77. Mary S says:

    Every time I can’t remember the name of one of my favorite movies, I come here and look at your list because i know it’s probably on your list, too!!
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  78. Jan Lane says:

    An English Film called Land of Hope and Glory ( I think it is called that..), and the Summer of ’42 are both good films which you may enjoy.

  79. Jan Lane says:

    Actually, I made a mistake, and the film is just called Hope and Glory-1987 film about the UK. I also liked Summer of 42. Your list brought back memories of many films which I think it is time to watch some of them again

  80. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    Just perused “the list” again and wanted to recommend Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont with Joan Plowright and Rupert Friend, which has a Brief Encounter connection within. She tells him about it in the course of their unusual friendship. Joan has checked into a hotel catering to elder people, she’s trying for a more independent life since living with her daughter. Rupert rescues her when she trips and falls on the sidewalk outside his basement apartment and doctors her skinned knee. Nice to think this COULD happen! May have been mentioned in the list before but never mind.

  81. Margaret Harke says:

    Thank you, thank you. Just the kind of calming I needed right now. You are one of the best blessing in my life. Girlfriends Forever! ♥

  82. I see Shirley Valentine on your list. I used to own it. Love it!!!

  83. I just watched “The Way” with Martin Sheen about walking the 500-mile pilgrimage Camino de Santiago. It is absolutely wonderful~ Make room for tears and laughter. My daughter and I were to leave for Suffolk, England, in three weeks. Due to the pandemic we’ve postponed our trip to October. Hope it can happen then! Watching movies and reading books and cooking (I made your hot milk cake yesterday) are my current pasttimes!

  84. AMY J GROH says:

    Brief Encounter and Holiday Affair are two of my favorite movies ever! Love your list Susan. I need to see some of those as I never have. <3

  85. Karen Julian says:

    Thanks for the great list! I wondered if you ever saw Yanks with Richard Gere?
    It was a love story in England. Wonderful ❣️

    • sbranch says:

      Wonderful movie, saw it a long time ago. Would like to see it again, we belong to Amazon Prime, but they want us to pay extra for it, and I have kind of an ‘attitude’ about that!😂

  86. Leslie Lico says:

    Anne with an E on Netflix! Wonderful story line, beautiful scenery and fantastic acting! My husband and I limited ourselves to two episodes a night! Only negative we found is that it is only four seasons!

    • Chloe says:

      I love Anne with an E on Netflix SO MUCH too! I watch it all the time and it is definitely safe to say that I am obsessed. I may have watched it three times… I also love the Anne of green Gables movie with Megan Follows from 1985 and the collection of Anne books. I also have a friend who loves painting the Beatrix Potter art from Peter rabbit! 😀

  87. Mary Brown says:

    My good friend introduced me to you and I LOVE all of your books! I believe you are a kindred spirit to thousands of us! We also have your Rose Chintz dishes! I have a wonderful movie for you (in case you haven’t seen it): Enchanted April 1992 with Miranda Richardson, Joan Plowright, etc. It’s one of my favorite movies and has the happiest ending ever! You will love it! Thanks for your movie list. There were some I hadn’t seen so now is the time!

    • sbranch says:

      OMG, Enchanted April, one of the very best. I do love it! If you haven’t read it yet, you would love it just as much!!!

  88. Dezi says:

    “Amazing Grace”, all time fav movie, was surprised to learn it was my brother’s too. Also love “How To Steal a Million”, with Audrey Hepburn. Also, the movie I blood curdled screamed in “Wait Until Dark” also with Audrey Hepburn. Love love love her!! Love about a quarter of your list, haven’t seen more than half. Had no TV most of my life. Thanks for the list of what to check out to watch evenings with my husband of 6 years!!! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, “blood curdled screamed!” My first suggestion is don’t watch that!!! Have fun Dezi, I’m so glad you’re here!

  89. Sharon Pearson says:

    Don’t forget The Notebook!

  90. Chloe says:

    There is also a great movie called Meet Me In St. Louis with Judy Garland!

  91. SYLVIA in Seattle says:

    I thought I’d recommend a new Netflix release: The Dig. Based on a real event in Suffolk England wherein really OLD treasure is found on Mrs. Pretty’s property by Basil Brown an excavator she hired to see what could be found in one of the mounds on her land. Great performances in a kind of slow moving story, but very interesting for any and all Anglophiles. There is a book of the same name The Dig by John Preston ( I think I have that right) all about the same event, which I intend to read. The things found are now in the British Museum.

  92. Susan Matura says:

    I love your choice of movies Susan. Old movies are wonderful and I watch them all of the time. My daughter’s fiance’s grandfather Anthony Gasbarri was the taylor for those old movies. The dresses and suits in Casablanca are his work. Just a little interesting fact. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is one of my all time favorites this time of year. I have been a fan of yours for years and I just want to thank you for making life a lot more cheerier! Susan M.

  93. Jeanne says:

    One of my favorites! Love you blog, and all you do-

    Penny Serenade 1941 Cary Grant/Irene Dunne

  94. Brenda Rabiteau says:

    Feel so inspired by your website which I just discovered. Favorite movies to add: Life With Father (Clifton Webb, young Elizabeth Taylor). Reds, with Warren Beatty. Three Came Home (a must see-Claudette Colbert, tough WWII but so well done and rewarding. Calendar Girls. The Clearing (Redford and Helen Mirren). Finally a favorite of mine starring and directed by Helen Hunt, with Bette Midler and Colin Firth – Then She Found Me.

  95. Helen says:

    The only movies I recognize and have watched were Shirley Temple ones and Groundhog Day. Whenever I think of Shirley Temple I always remember this one song. Tomorrow. I remember listening to it when it came up on TV and I started singing it so much it got stuck in my head.

    • sbranch says:

      What that means is you have a WORLD of wonderfulness to look forward to. These movies, for the most part, are (in my humble opinion, which I know is an oxymoron) the best ever made. Charming, inspirational, beautiful, funny, romantic, and filled with beautiful houses, clothes, people, songs, and stories. Go have fun!

  96. Joanne Richardson says:

    Hi Susan-am I too late to put in a suggestion? “Somewhere in Time” with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. I cry every time. And! “Fried Green Tomatoes”. Love Jessica Tandy!!

    I was in the group this summer at Town Hall in Sandwich. Love your new book. You are a treasure! Wish you lived next door.

  97. Earlene LaBass says:

    Could you give me your Christmas movie list please thanks

  98. Sue Bigsby says:

    Adored your list — have most of the movies in my collection (what good tastes we have!) I would like to recommend ROOMMATES with Peter Faulk — POCKET FULL OF MIRACLES with Glenn Ford — THE GOODBYE GIRL, CHAPTER TWO and MAX DUGAN RETURNS with Marsha Mason — SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT with Julia Roberts and Kiera Sedgewick and the oh so handsome Dennis Quaid — POLLYANNA with Haley Mills and an absolutely incredible cast — just about anything and everything John Hughes: PLANES TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES, UNCLE BUCK, SUMMER VACATION, CHRISTMAS VACATION, HOME ALONE 1 & 2, DUTCH and ONLY THE LONELY.

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