'Raging Bull' | 1980

Robert De Niro's performance as struggling prizefighter Jake LaMotta in Martin Scorsese's octuple-Oscar nominee could have been in color, but would it have had the same gritty appeal if it was? "I still remember those cheers; they still ring in my ears..." (United Artists / April 8, 2005)

For decades it’s been as au courant as parachute pants or a flute solo in a rock song.

But thanks to some well-regarded movies this past spring and a buzzed-about fall film, black-and-white is, slowly but surely, coming back as a go-to form for art-house filmmakers. “Frances Ha,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Biancanieves” and soon “Nebraska" are among the new entries in the genre, as this Sunday Calendar story explores.

Ever since technology made color efficient and affordable in the 1960s, the black-and-white movie been out of vogue. But a small group of filmmakers, often over the objections of their financiers and more rational friends, are trying to bring it back. As “Nebraska" director Alexander Payne says, “Black-and-white is king.”

PHOTOS: Behind-the-scenes Classic Hollywood

So which film ranks as the best black-and-white movie of the modern era?

Is it the intellectual romance of “Manhattan”? The thwarted ambition of “Raging Bull”? The media atmospherics of “Good Night, and Good Luck"? The gritty WWII drama of “Schindler’s List" or the Lynchian Lynchness of “The Elephant Man”?

Or maybe “Frances Ha” itself, with its story of a young woman trying to find herself, gradually seeing shades of gray through the black and white?

Have a gander at our poll and vote for yourself.

ALSO:

Black and white lights up screen

Black and white movies of the modern era

Much Ado About Nothing: A DIY project at Joss Whedon’s house

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