1956 Movies

The Plex database for 1956 movies offers users a streamlined way to browse the year's best films. It's a practical resource for anyone looking to explore movie titles released in 1956, with direct links provided.
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Browse 1,179 titles in our 1956 Movies Database

Top 5 Movies of 1956

The Ten Commandments

Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments" is a cinematic retelling of the biblical story of Moses, portrayed by Charlton Heston. The film charts Moses' journey from his origins as an adopted Egyptian prince to his pivotal role as the deliverer of the Hebrews. The cast includes Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo, Debra Paget, and John Derek. Notable for its grand scale and production values, "The Ten Commandments" became one of the year's most successful films.

Around the World in 80 Days

"Around the World in 80 Days," directed by Michael Anderson, is an adaptation of Jules Verne's classic novel. The story follows Phileas Fogg, played by David Niven, and his wager to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. The film, featuring Cantinflas, Shirley MacLaine, and Robert Newton, is known for its adventure-filled narrative and was a significant cinematic feat of its time.


Directed by George Stevens, "Giant" is a drama-western film that spans the life of a Texas cattle rancher and his family. The film stars Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean in one of his final roles. "Giant" is distinguished by its expansive storytelling, covering a range of themes from personal to societal in the context of a changing America.

The King and I

"The King and I," directed by Walter Lang, is a musical drama based on the real-life experiences of a British widow who becomes the governess to the King of Siam's children. Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner, Rita Moreno, and Martin Benson deliver memorable performances. The film is noted for its rich musical score and the cultural contrasts it portrays.


Carol Reed's "Trapeze" is set in the captivating world of circus performers, focusing on a love and rivalry triangle among trapeze artists. The film stars Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, and Gina Lollobrigida, and delves into themes of ambition, talent, and manipulation. Its portrayal of the competitive circus environment adds a unique dimension to the narrative.

Industry Highlights and Notable Moments from 1956

1956 was a year of considerable evolution and challenges for the film industry. This period was marked by several significant developments that influenced the direction of cinema in the years to follow.

  • Changing Censorship Standards: The film industry began to relax its censorship standards, allowing references to topics that were previously considered taboo. This shift reflected changing societal attitudes and a move towards more open and diverse storytelling in cinema.

  • Videotape Recorder Innovation: The development of the first practical videotape recorder (VTR) by the AMPEX Corporation represented a technological breakthrough. This innovation had a profound impact on the industry, offering new possibilities for film production and distribution.

  • The Ten Commandments' Production Scale: "The Ten Commandments" was not just a narrative and visual spectacle; it was also the most expensive film made at the time, with a budget of $13 million. This investment underscored the film's ambition and its significance in the context of cinematic history.

  • Competition from Television: The film industry in 1956 faced increasing competition from the television broadcasting industry. This competition prompted filmmakers to explore new techniques and narratives to attract audiences, leading to a period of innovation and experimentation in cinema.

  • James Dean's Tragic Accident: The year marked a tragic moment with the car accident of actor James Dean during the filming of "Giant." This event had a profound impact on the industry and Dean's fans, highlighting the actor's influence and the cultural significance of his work.