Best movies that mix color with black and white | Pretty Reel

With a cinematic history spanning over a century, there were bound to be a variety of advancements as technology improved. One of the most important things to take off in film was sound, as 1927’s The Jazz Singer made audiences realize how much better a film could be when sound was actually part of the film. Another major breakthrough on the big screen is that of Technicolor, which was first seen in Becky Sharp in 1935 (via Studio Binder).

That being said, the color on screen didn’t pick up as instantly as the sound. As such, black and white was still the primary form used on the big screen. That being said, a number of films have opted to use both black and white mixed with color throughout the film, such as The Wizard of Oz. Although it might seem like a bit of a stretch, the use of color and black and white can really add to the symbolism throughout the film, adding a layer of depth. These are the best films that mix color with back and white.

10/10 Schindler’s List

Amblin Entertainment

Schindler’s List is based on the true story of Nazi businessman Oskar Schindler, who hires Jews to work in his factory to save them from mistreatment elsewhere. By giving up a lot of money, Schindler saved thousands of Jews from terrible death during the Holocaust. Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece is hard to watch, but truly emanates the real tragedies created by hate. Monochromatic film is a perfect choice considering the time period in which the film is set. The only real moment of color in the actual film is the little girl in the red coat, an unforgettable moment as Oskar sees her being escorted away and later sees her dead. body moved.

9/10 A matter of life and death

Universal images

When BAF pilot Peter Carter is forced to bail out his plane in the ocean, he shares his final moments with radio operator June. Peter manages to survive the event and when he reunites with June, the couple fall in love. However, their time together is cut short when a divine messenger comes to take Peter to heaven as he should have died in the accident. While A Matter of Life and Death is a fairly old film, the use of both color and black and white is surprising. While Earth is a colorful place full of life, Heaven is seen in black and white, creating a true reality of leaving life behind in death.

8/10 Hello Sadness

Pictures of Colombia

Based on the novel of the same name, Bonjour Tristesse, which translates to “Hello Sadness,” revolves around Anne, who travels to the French Riviera to visit her late friend’s husband. While Anne is visiting, she runs into Raymond’s hedonistic daughter, Cécile, who tries to keep Anne away from her father with the help of Elsa, Raymond’s mistress. The present in the film is shown in black and white, while the vivid Technicolor screen is saved for flashbacks in which things seem more innocent of pain and suffering.


Warner Bros.

Written and directed by Oliver Stone, JFK tells the story of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the effect it had on the country. Starring Kevin Costner as New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, Garrison investigates the assassination and digs deep to uncover the conspiracy surrounding Kennedy’s death. The movie features a number of movie modes, including documentary footage, TV coverage, and cinematic movie style. The film oscillates between black and white and color, creating a more vivid picture of the assassination from Stone’s point of view.

6/10 The Wizard of Oz


The Wizard of Oz is probably the most recognized film for using black and white and color. When young Dorothy decides to run away from home so her dog Toto won’t be taken from her, she ends up getting caught in a tornado, which upends her home and lands her in a strange but colorful land that she does not recognize. The film depicts Dorothy’s life in Kansas in a black and white/sepia tone to show her feelings about her mundane life, while the Land of Oz is all colorful. This choice has become iconic, becoming one of the film’s main talking points.

5/10 Pleasantville

New line cinema

Pleasantville is a unique film that shows brother and sister David and Jennifer trapped in a black-and-white 1950s TV show. While David doesn’t care about the setting at first, Jennifer stirs the pot, hoping to bring some excitement to the dull world of the 50s as they seek to escape. Pleasantville’s approach to color and black and white is quite different because when the 50s characters start to get more alive, they start to get more physically colorful, and while that might look good, it opens the door to a whole new set of problems. which has never existed before.

4/10 Growling Fish

Zoetrope Studios

Rumble Fish follows the life of Rusty James (Matt Dillon): restless and abandoned by his family, he drifts through life not knowing what to do and wishing he could be the criminal legend that his brother was. When his brother, The Motorcycle Boy, returns to town, he hopes to get some advice from him and finds himself shocked when his brother yearns for a more peaceful life. Similar to Schindler’s List, Rumble Fish’s use of color appears like an orange fish in an aquarium against a black and white background.

3/10 Raging Bull

United Artists

This classic starring Robert DeNiro and directed by Martin Scorsese revolves around the life of middleweight boxer Jake LaMotta, whose inability to express his emotions was channeled into the ring, resulting in much violence that would ultimately destroy his life. . The majority of Raging Bull is in black and white, with some scenes in color, especially LaMotta’s home movies, depicting the life that exists away from Jake’s abusive lifestyle as an idyllic world one longs to return to.

2/10 Wings of Desire

Road Movies Filmproduktion / Argos Films

Wings of Desire is truly a one-of-a-kind film. The angels Damiel and Cassiel roam the streets of Berlin, casting invisible rays of hope without ever interacting with the population. Damiel finds himself at a crossroads when he falls in love with trapeze artist Marion. Seeing the life he could have, Damiel wishes to take human form and be with Marion, a dream that may be possible. Similar to A Matter of Life and Death, the human world is colorful while the spiritual realm is black and white, showing the angels the beauty Earth has to offer.

1/10 The Purple Rose of Cairo


This Woody Allen film revolves around waitress Cecilia, who serves as the main breadwinner while her beaten-to-death husband squanders all their funds drinking and gambling. Cecilia’s only escape is to go to the movies. In the theater, she is fascinated by the film The Purple Rose of Cairo and its main character Tom Baxter. Things change for the better when Tom leaves the screen and enters Cecilia’s reality. Not only was this film one of the first to break the fourth wall as much as it did, but its use of black and white and color is tactical as Tom steps out of his world in black and white and enters the world of Color.

Best movies that mix color with black and white | Pretty Reel