My Favorite Nicholas Ray Films

* * * * (Out of * * * *)

1.   Bigger Than Life (1956)

2.   Johnny Guitar (1954)

3.   Bitter Victory (1957)

4.   They Live by Night (1949)

5.   In a Lonely Place (1950)

6.   The Lusty Men (1952)

7.   Party Girl (1958)

8.   Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

9.   The Savage Innocents (1960)

10. Wind Across the Everglades (1958)

11. We Can’t Go Home Again (1976)

12. On Dangerous Ground (1952)

13. Hot Blood (1956)

14. The True Story of Jesse James (1957)

15. Born to Be Bad (1950)

16. Run for Cover (1955)

17. Lightning Over Water (1980)
(co-directed with Wim Wenders)


16 thoughts on “My Favorite Nicholas Ray Films

  1. I watched Johnny Guitar on Moviedrome in the late 80s expecting a banal western musical and was delighted by the story of two women in a conflict that in most other westerns would have been between two men. Joan Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge were amazing.

  2. I agree with you completely 🙂 Not only that but Johnny Guitar was not one, but two Nicholas Ray films to be featured on Moviedrome during the Alex Cox years. The other one was Rebel Without a Cause. Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  3. Sometime by the 1970’s, director Nicholas Ray garnered a cult following among many filmmakers such as Jean-Luc Godard, Jim Jarmusch, Martin Scorsese, Francois Truffaut and Wim Wenders to name just a few. Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  4. Yes Rebel Without a Cause is a great title for a film 🙂 You have to check out more of Nicholas Ray’s work. Everything he directs screams of pure emotion. Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  5. Hmmm…I think we’ve discussed Ray before…Undoubtedly a great director. “They Live by Night” is probably my favorite Ray film. Then Rebel Without a Cause; In a Lonely Place; Johnny Guitar; King of Kings. Cathy McDonald’s performance of “Keechie” in They Live by Night is one of my all time favorite cinematic performances. I’m in awe of it. Nic Ray was indeed a stylist, but he also was an actor’s director. All of his films, that I have seen, have a stand out performance. To me, that is evidence of actors responding to great direction. The Sal Mineo performance in “Rebel” illustrates this.

  6. Interesting ranking of your favorite Nicholas Ray films. If I can name one master filmmaker from the Golden Age with a considerable cult following, it would have to be Nicholas Ray. At the time, he was never really celebrated as much as Hitchcock and Ford, but in retrospect (as with Orson Welles), he is now considered one of the great filmmakers of that period. Aside from his trademark expressionism, it is no surprise that he was considered an actor’s director and team up with James Dean openly confirmed that. Why? Dean also worked with Elia Kazan for East of Eden that same year and Kazan is also celebrated as an actor’s director as well. Anyway, thanks for dropping by and keep those comments coming 🙂

  7. Ray made so many great films that ranking them is hard for me. I will go with In a Lonely Place, Bigger Than Life, They Live by Night, Johnny Guitar and Rebel Wthouta Cause.

  8. Hey John. Getting ready to start a long day of partying. Happy 4th! Hope you’ve been thinking about out duel post–about what director you want to spotlight. Have fun today

  9. Happy 4th to you too 🙂 I am getting ready for a long day of partying as well 🙂 And yes, I have been thinking about what director we should spotlight 🙂 I was thinking of doing one on Joel and Ethan Coen. The only question now would be which date we should set it up in order to blog about it. I am on vacation from Tuesday, July 10 to Friday, July 13th. So any time after that would be good 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by and you have fun today as well 🙂

  10. Your ranking of his films is pretty interesting as well 🙂 I see that on your site, you have reviewed some of Nicholas Ray’s films though I have not commented on them yet, but when I get the time, I shall read them and comment on them 🙂 Anyway, have a Happy 4th of July 🙂

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