20 Greatest Bollywood Movies of 1950s You Must Watch Once in Life

The 1950s is considered as an emerging era for Bollywood. While Bollywood started during early 19th century, it became commercial during that time. The 50s was the era when superstars like Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, and Dev Anand took the stage and became the heartthrob of Bollywood cinema.

Talking about the actors, we shouldn’t forget the evergreen actresses like Nargis Dutt, Madhubala, and Waheeda Rehman, who didn’t just add grace to Hindi cinema but also brought out the pure emotion via their acting.

While the actors and actresses were spreading their charm throughout the country, the legendary filmmakers of the 1950s such as Guru Dutt, Mehboob Khan, Bimal Roy, and B.R. Chopra ensured that wonderful stories of all kinds were told in a fascinating way to the early audience of Indian cinema.

Best Bollywood Films of the 50s (1950-59)

Every decade since the start of Hindi cinema gave us some great evergreen films till date; however, the quality of films in the 50s actually built the base for Indian cinema.

The versatility of films that were produced during that era happened to be the best compared to other decades in the future. The primary reason is the fact that the films in the 50s were never dominated by a single genre.

Here’s the list of top Bollywood Movies of 1950s

Babul (1950)

babul 1950 movie

Babul is an interesting film released in 1950 and features a love triangle between the lead actors.

Directed by S.U. Sunny, Babul stars Dilip Kumar, Munawar Sultana, and Nargis in the lead roles. The music of the film is composed by Naushad.

The film tells the story of a young postman, who falls in love with a rich landowner’s daughter Usha but little he knows that Bela, the daughter of former postmaster also loves him. From there begins a love triangle with so many turns and twists.

Awaara (1951)

Awara Raj Kapoor Hindi Movie 1951

The list of best Bollywood Movies of the 50s is incomplete without a Raj Kapoor film and the icing on the cake will be a film where the greatest Showman is paired opposite the elegant Nargis Dutt.

Yes, I am talking about the 1951 film Awaara. Awaara is also special because 3 generations of Kapoor family is featured together in this film. While Raj Kapoor’s real life father Prithviraj Kapoor plays his father in the film, his grandfather Dewan Bashwanath Kapoor also plays a cameo in Awaara.

Kapoor’s younger brother Shashi Kapoor also features in the film as the younger version of Raj Kapoor’s character.

Baazi (1951)

Baazi 1951 dev anand

Besides Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand also rose to fame during the early 1950s. One of his best performances was delivered in Guru Dutt’s 1951 film Baazi.

This 1951 crime drama features the evergreen superstar of Bollywood as a gambler, who is framed for the murder of a dancer played by Geeta Bali.

The film is a complete entertainer consisting of all important elements such as love, morals, crime and drama.

Baiju Bawra (1952)


The 1950s was also known for its breakthrough in the music industry as films like Baiju Bawra became a musical hit. The film had a successful run of 100 weeks in the theaters celebrating golden jubilee for the film.

The film stars Bharat Bhushan in the titular role and Meena Kumari as the female lead. Directed by Vijay Bhatt, the film tells the story of a dhrupad musician from medieval India set during Mughal Emperor Akbar’s rule in India.

Do Bigha Zamin (1953)

Do Beegha Zameen Balraj Sahni Film

Do Bigha Zamin is a 1953 social drama Film starring Balraj Sahni and Nirupa Roy in the lead roles. Directed by Bimal Roy, Do Bigha Zamin tells us the story of a poor farmer’s family and their hardships in life.

The main element of the film is about saving the 2 bighas land owned by the family and hence the film is titled Do Bigha Zamin.

Parineeta (1953)

parineeta 1953 movie ashok kumar and meena kumari

Parineeta is a 1953 romance drama based on the Bengali novel of the same name written by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay.

The film features Ashok Kumar and Meena Kumari as the lead pair, whereas Manorama, Nazir Hussain, and Asit Baran play pivotal roles. Directed by Bimal Roy, the film shares a gripping story of love and hatred between the lead pair.

Boot Polish (1954)


Boot Polish is a 1954 Hindi film directed by Prakash Arora and produced by Raj Kapoor. The film tells us the story of two siblings who are forced to beg in the streets by their aunt.

However, after getting some guidance from John uncle, both the kids buy a shoe-polish kit and began earning a livelihood by shining shoes. Eventually, fate plays its role and both the kids are separated. The rest of the film is about how the brother and sister find one another and are united again.

Shree 420 (1955)

Shree 420 Raj Kapoor Best movie

Shree 420 is another film on our list of best Bollywood films of the 50s starring Raj Kapoor and Nargis as the lead pair. Directed by the legendary showman himself, the story of Shree 420 focuses around Raj, a poor but educated orphan who is drawn to Bombay to make in big in this dream city.

Shree 420 is also special as Kapoor draws his inspiration from Charlie Chaplin for his character portrayal in the film, much like his previous film Awaara. The term 420 in the film’s title actually refers to the Section 420 of the IPC as the film is somewhat based around it.

Mr. & Mrs. 55 (1955)

mr and mrs 55 old movie madhubala and gurudutt

Mr. & Mrs. 55 is a 1955 socially critical Bollywood comedy film directed by Guru Dutt. Set in contemporary Bombay, the film stars Guru Dutt and Madhubala as the lead pair. The film tells a story of a wealthy young girl who must marry within one month of turning 21 to inherit her father’s fortune.

However, she and her feminist aunt decide to opt for a sham marriage and hire a struggling cartoonist to be her husband. Eventually, both of them fall in love and the rest of the story is whether they live happily ever after or get separated from each other.

Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje (1955)


Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje is another musical Bollywood film on our list of best Bollywood films of the 50s. Directed by V. Shantaram, the film features Shantaram’s wife Sandhya and famous dancer Gopi Krishna in the lead roles.

One of the earliest Technicolor films of Bollywood, Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje won many accolades after the release. The eccentric music of the film is composed by Vasant Desai and the lyrics are penned by Hasrat Jaipuri.

Devdas (1955)

dilip kumar as devdas

Devdas is 1955 romantic tragedy film directed by Bimal Roy. Based on the novel of the same name written by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, the film stars Dilip Kumar in the titular role, whereas Vyjayanthimala plays Chandramukhi and Suchitra Sen debuts as Parvati (Paro).

The film earned the title of Tragedy King for Dilip Kumar after receiving huge accolades from critics and fan spread across the country.

C.I.D. (1956)

CID Suspense Thriller

C.I.D. is a crime action drama directed by Raj Khosla and produced by Guru Dutt. The film stars Dev Anand in the lead role as CID Inspector Shekhar, whereas Shakila plays the female lead in the film.

Waheeda Rehman, K.N. Singh, and Johnny Walker also play important characters in the film. Despite being an action drama, the film is also known for its great songs composed by O.P. Nayyar and penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri and Jan Nisar Akhtar.

Mother India (1957)

Mother India Poster

Mother India was released in 1957 and it set a benchmark for Indian cinema as it became the first film from India to be nominated at the Oscars.

Yes, this epic drama starring Nargis Dutt in the titular role was not only India’s first submission at the Oscars but it also got nominated and lost by one vote for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film. This movie is still one of the finest Woman-Centric films of Hindi Cinema.

Pyaasa (1957)

Pyaasa Gurudutt Classic movie

A typical Guru Dutt film, Pyaasa was also released in 1957. The film tells us the story of a struggling poet who finds help and solace from a prostitute in the post-independence India.

Besides directing the film, Guru Dutt also stars as the main protagonist of the film, whereas Waheeda Rehman plays the female lead in the film.

Naya Daur (1957)


Naya Daur is a 1957 Indian drama film starring Dilip Kumar and Vyjayantimala in the lead roles. The film tells us the story set in the post-independence India where industrialization is slowing entering the country.

Dilip Kumar plays a tonga-wallah, who challenges the landlord Jeevan’s bus service and eventually the final race between the tonga and the bus becomes the highlight of the film. The film evolved the trend of rich and poor, ultimately becoming a trendsetter for blockbuster films like Amitabh Bachchan’s Coolie.

Do Ankhen Barah Haath (1957)

Do ankhen Barah Hath Hindi
A Still from Do Ankhen Barah Hath

Here’s another V.Shantaram film that makes it to our list of best Bollywood films of the 50s. V. Shantaram also stars in the film as the Jail warden who experiments with six of his prisoners released on parole.

His idea is to turn these notorious murderers into persons of virtue by diverting them to farming and proper guidance. Since its release in 1957, the film has been one of the best Bollywood movies for inspiration and motivation.

Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958)

Chalti ka naam Gaadi Movie 1958

Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi is a 1958 Hindi comedy film starring three real-life brothers as brothers onscreen as well.

The film is directed by Satyen Bose and features Kishore Kumar, Ashok Kumar, and Anoop Kumar in the lead roles, whereas Madhubala plays the female lead in the film.

Besides playing the lead in the film, Kishore Kumar also lent his voice for many songs in the film composed by S.D. Burman and penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri.

Madhumati (1958)

Madhumati Dilip Kumar Movie on reincarnation

Madhumati is a 1958 Hindi drama featuring Vyjayantimala in the titular role. Directed by Bimal Roy, the film focuses on the reincarnation theme and is also one of the earliest films to deal with this idea.

The film stars Dilip Kumar as the male lead opposite Vyjayantimala, who plays not a double but triple role in the movie. The film went on to become one of the most successful and influential films of all time winning loads of awards that year. Even Shah Rukh Khan’s 2007 film Om Shanti Om used some plots from this 1958 film.

Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)

Kagaz Ke Phool Guru Dutt

Kaagaz Ke Phool is another film starring Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman as the lead pair. Released in 1959, the film is directed by Guru Dutt, whereas the music is composed by the legendary S.D.

Burman and the lyrics were penned by Kaifi Azmi. Despite being a box office disaster, Kaagaz Ke Phool went to attain cult classic when it was resurrected in the 1980s.

Anari (1959)

Raj Kapoor in Anari

Anari is a 1959 romance drama featuring Raj Kapoor and Nutan as the lead pair. Directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, the film is about a young man who leads an honest life and eventually falls in love with the niece of his employer.

However, he ends up in prison as he becomes the prime suspect when his landlady is found murdered by poisoning. The rest of the story is about how he saves himself from the false conviction and unites with the love of his life.

Over to you!

Here’s our list of Best Bollywood Movies of 50s. However, there are chances that your favorite film from the 50s era isn’t listed here. Feel free to let us know your favorite films from this era using the comments section below.