In some ways, films of the '50s mirrored the laidback and colorless (some would say repressed) overtones of the Eisenhower years. Horror movies really weren't very horrific (too many irradiated mutant bugs), and you pretty much had to book passage to Europe to see women as unapologetic sex objects.

But whether you liked Ike or loathed him, the 1950s spawned its fair share of movie classics -- dig just below the surface of many a motion picture from the decade and you'll find drama and intrigue of both kinds, i.e., psychological and sexual. Millions of viewers got hitched in the '50s: the Master of Suspense is represented here by four of his thrillers. And the master of many genres, Billy Wilder, clocks in with a rom-com, black comedy and a screwball farce. Finally, at least one distinctly American art form -- the musical -- reached a pinnacle early in the decade. Read on for our picks of the best films of the 1950s.