10. All That Heaven Allows (1955)Douglas Sirk's brilliant attack on American morals. Not a huge Jane Wyman fan, but Rock Hudson and Technicolor make up for it.
9. Rio Bravo (1959)I came to this movie late, seeing it for the first time only a couple of years ago, but since then I've seen it twice more. Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson singing My Rifle, My Pony, and Me could be my favorite movie moment from the 1950s.
8. Strangers on a Train (1951)Hard to go wrong considering the source material by Patricia Highsmith. Hitchcock delivers a beautifully structured masterpiece.
7. Dial M for Murder (1954)I like this more than most while admitting that it feels stagy and verbose. I could watch Ray Milland ooze false sentiment all day.
6. Sunset Boulevard (1950)The opening shot, the chimp, the cigarette holder, the bridge party. Then, of course, the great final shot.
5. North by Northwest (1959)If you throw away the wit, the thrills, the clothes, the set pieces, then you'd still have the greatest film about American mid-century design and architecture.
4. Seven Samurai (1954)As great as all the smart people say it is. Thrilling and sad, without a wasted shot.
3. Singin' in the Rain (1952)If you don't enjoy this movie then I wonder if you can enjoy any musical (really, any movie) at all.
2. Some Like It Hot (1959)Billy Wilder had a good decade. Probably my favorite all-out comedy. I catch something new every time I see it.
1. Rear Window (1954)I think this movie has more subtext than Vertigo and it's a lot more fun. A perfect genre film that includes a critique of the very nature of watching. It's probably more relevant now than it was then.
runners up: All About Eve, Brigadoon, Sabrina, Vertigo