This past month has been full of hot takes regarding what is considered cinema, and whether movies made prior to the 1970s are worthy of watching. It’s been exhausting, but what we can all agree on is that movies of all kinds are beloved to everyone.
Join me, Lizzie, Jasmine, Ashley, Julie, and Mimi as we discuss which classic films should be watched by everyone.
Some Like It Hot (1959)
This is such a hard question because there are so many good answers but I feel like the best bet would be to go with a Billy Wilder movie. And there is no movie better than Some Like It Hot. It is regarded as one of the greatest comedies ever made and it deserves every bit of praise. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis is hysterical as down on their luck musicians who witness a mob hit and then disguise themselves as women to save themselves. Of course, things get complicated as one of them is falling in love with Marilyn Monroe’s character, Sugar, and the other has caught the eye of a millionaire. Sugar is one of Monroe’s best roles, showcasing her singing ability and comedic chops. The movie is an absolute blast from start to finish with possibly the best closing line in the history of cinema.
Gone With the Wind (1939)
I’m going to go with an obvious pick and say Gone With the Wind. I’ve loved this movie in different ways for many, many years. At first I loved the history of it, and the way it encapsulates an era, and not the good parts of an era, either, but the awful, human and misguided parts. Then I loved Rhett, and then I grew up and decided he wasn’t worthy of my love, and I loved Scarlett because hey, strong woman. Now I’m more on the side of they’re both horrible people but super interesting characters, and guess what? The story behind it all – which is what Margaret Mitchell wanted to tell with the book, in the first place, is still top notch. I don’t think there’s any film out there about the Civil War – especially in the South – that quite manages to provide the viewpoint this movie does.
Splendor In The Grass (1961)
This movie!! I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love it. It’s cinematically beautiful but oh so tragic! Splendor In The Grass, stars the late Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty (who was gorgeous by the way) as Deanie and Bud, two high school sweethearts from two very different backgrounds. This film is a pain fest and I love it so much. Both of them were amazing but Natalie’s performance is so damn heartbreaking. You can literally feel the pain she’s in when she and Bud breakup. Bud was such an arrogant ass and he put her through hell. I cry every single time I watch it.
Psycho is my favorite Hitchcock film, but also my favorite horror film. What he did with Psycho started a new era for the horror genre. I love the monster in shadow motif. I love watching Anthony Perkins go from innocent mama’s boy to crazed killer. I also enjoy a bit of the history behind the film–that Alfred Hitchcock was so insistent about people not spoiling the film for others that he issued special posters telling audiences to hold their peace about the twist ending as they exited the theater. No one was allowed in or out after the film started too! I’ve been accused of being anal about spoilers, but I think Hitchcock was worse. This one is worth firing up at any time of year.
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Singin’ in the Rain is one of the best romantic comedies ever made. Period. Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds are the perfect team. Set in 1920s Hollywood, there are a lot of hilarious moments as they adjust from a world of silent pictures to talking. One of the funniest scenes is when the sound and film become unsynced during an audience preview. And don’t even get me started about the romantic relationship! Gene Kelly plays Don Lockwood, a famous movie star who drops into the car of Debbie Reynolds’ character, Kathy Seldon, while running from some crazy fangirls. She takes his ego down about 1,000 notches and that boy is smitten. This movie is one of my favorites and I could watch it on repeat. The singing and dancing are great (especially the memorable title number), but the comedy and romantic elements put it over the top.
Now Voyager (1942)
Two words, Bette Davis. That is all you need to be transfixed to your screen for two hours. Ask every gay man out there who she is and they will happily tell you. Think Ryan Murphy and his docu-miniseries. This movie has everything, killer wardrobe, hair, glamourous cruise ships, handsome leading men and some of the strongest dialogue you will ever have the pleasure of hearing. What makes this movie a joy to watch is not only the superb acting by Bette Davis and the cast but the journey her character goes on throughout the film. Bette stars as Charlotte Vale, a very wealthy, very lonely “old maid” living with her fierce and domineering mother, who treats her like a child. Charlotte suffers a nervous breakdown and is sent to a sanitarium to recover, and there our story begins. Once there, Charlotte finds out she does have a voice and a say in her own life, so she takes back the control her mother has stolen from here all these years. Charlotte meets a handsome man aboard a cruise ship, has an affair to remember, gets engaged twice! Ha! Ends up taking care of her lovers unwanted child and opens her own santariom for children with the help of her former psychologist and mentor. I know, it’s a lot to unpack in two hours, but dammit it’s so worth it! There is a moment in the film where Bette’s character is asked by a handsome man why they have never met until just now, while at her dinner party and she responds “ Well, the world is a big place but Boston is a bigger one.” She says it so coyly and so nonchalantly as she breezes him out of her doorway and onto the Boston streets below. The moon hits her face and I just loved her! It’s such a good line, a very cool line, and one, only Bette Davis could deliver with such sublimeness.