Billy Wilder’s films, such as Some Like It Hot and Double Indemnity, have made him a household name.
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As one of the finest directors in history, Billy Wilder is widely regarded as one of the best. Despite the fact that many casual moviegoers aren’t familiar with his work, some of the most recognizable films in Hollywood history were directed by him.
What sets Wilder apart from other storytellers is the breadth and depth of his storytelling abilities. In terms of story and tone, some of his films could not be more different from one another. In spite of this, his incisive writing and clean cinematography approach are still evident in many of his excellent works. Take a look at Billy Wilder’s most popular works if you’ve never seen them before.
1. Sabrina (1954) – 7.7
Sabrina, a famous Broadway show, was adapted for the big screen by Wilder with an all-star ensemble. Playboy William Holden falls in love with Sabrina, a young chauffeur’s daughter (Aubrey Hepburn). Things get complicated when Holden’s older brother (Humphrey Bogart) is smitten with Sabrina, too (in the film version).
Wilder’s script is as hilarious and energetic as the on-screen talent. For many audiences, the love triangle delivers a compelling plot that resonates as a romantic adventure.
2. One, Two, Three (1961) – 7.9
Even though each of Wilder’s films has a distinct style, he is most known for his large-scale comedies such as One Two Three. During the Cold War, James Cagney portrays a Coca-Cola executive in West Berlin. When he is ordered to take care of his boss’s daughter, his already hectic schedule gets much more hectic.
This time around, Cagney proves that he has the same range of abilities as Wilder. The film is a bold satire of the Cold War, with insightful comments on both sides of the issue.
3. The Lost Weekend (1945) – 7.9
Although Wilder’s comedies are always a hit, he is equally competent at producing hard-hitting drama. In The Lost Weekend, he has taken a more serious approach. The four-day binge of a severe alcoholic is the subject of this video.
For its unflinching examination of addiction, the film has been lauded by critics. The Lost Weekend, despite previous shocking films on the subject, remains a gripping drama.
4. Stalag 17 (1953) – 8.0
This World War II tale is just another illustration of Wilder’s incredible range. Actor William Holden plays a sophisticated POW who works as a black marketeer in Stalag 17. An escape attempt at the camp causes him to be suspected of working for the enemy as an informant.
Stalag 17 offers Wilder the opportunity to showcase his directing skills in a unique scenario. As a result, the film has one of Wilder’s most darkly amusing scripts.
5. Ace In The Hole (1951) – 8.1
In Ace in the Hole, many consider Wilder’s greatest morality story to have been written. Kirk Douglas portrays himself as a sleazy journalist who is searching for a big story to relaunch his career. In a small village, he discovers a man trapped in a mine shaft and immediately becomes a media star for rescuing him.
There are moments of hilarity mixed in with sorrowful events in the satire of the press. With Douglas as the selfish protagonist, the fascinating novel doesn’t go preachy or sappy, making it an enjoyable read.
6. Some Like It Hot (1959) – 8.2
Some Like It Hot is one of Wilder’s most pleasant films and one of the most beloved comedies of all time. Wilder certainly knows how to put on a good show. All-female band members Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon play two musicians who witness a mob hit and flee the city in disguise.
Because to the strong performances and a well-written script, the film’s high premise succeeds. One of the males soon falls in love with Marilyn Monroe’s performance as the lead female character in this film, which is also directed by Marilyn Monroe.
7. Indemnity (1944) – 8.3
Double Indemnity was the film that catapulted Wilder to stardom in Hollywood. Insurance salesman Fred MacMurray flirts with a housewife in this romantic comedy (Barbara Stanwyck). They devise a plan to kill her wealthy husband in order to collect on his life insurance policy.
Wilder collaborated with Raymond Chandler on the film. It’s safe to say that the narrative is brilliant, powerful, and intriguing from beginning to end. It’s one of the greatest noir movies ever made.
8. The Apartment (1960) – 8.3
Wilder’s films are so approachable because of the personalities he creates, in addition to the grandiose plots. The Flat, starring Jack Lemmon, is the story of a guy who seeks to climb the corporate ladder by allowing his superiors to have sex in his apartment. When he gets involved in a relationship of his own, things go wrong.
Fans will be surprised by this movie’s charm even if they think the premise is funny. As he tells a genuinely charming love tale with a lot of clever humor, Wilder’s writing has an endearing quality to it this time around.
9. Witness for the Prosecution (1957) – 8.4
This time around, Wilder takes on a courtroom thriller in a genre swap. Watch as a British barrister defends a high-profile client in an ongoing legal drama called “Witness for the Prosecution.”
Director Wilder is the appropriate choice for the film’s subject matter, which is based on an Agatha Christie novel. To say that Witness for the Prosecution is a gripping and suspenseful thriller is an understatement.
10. Sunset Blvd. (1950) – 8.4
It was Wilder’s most praised film that dealt with Hollywood’s sordid side. The film tells the story of a young, aspiring screenwriter who develops an unusual friendship with a long-forgotten silent-film star.
This disturbing, complicated, and magnificent film is Sunset Blvd. If you’ve never seen it, you’re missing out on one of the best films of all time. What could be considered Wilder’s greatest work is on exhibit here.