National Classic Movie Day: A Day of Discovery

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“There’s really no such thing as an ‘old’ movie — just wonderful films you may not have discovered yet.” – Peter Bogdanovich

In a world where blockbuster franchises bombard moviegoers with gimmicks to cater to short attention spans, classic movies are often dismissed as boring and irrelevant, especially by people of my generation. Boy, are they missing out. The heart of any great movie is a great story that captures the nature of the human spirit and whose messages transcend time, and a film from 1916 can do this just as well as, if not better than, a film from 2016. There are some wonderful movies from all eras that are waiting to be discovered, and what better day to discover a classic than National Classic Movie Day? To celebrate, I’ve compiled a list of essential films that I love that both buffs and beginners will enjoy:

  1. Anything directed by Billy Wilder, especially THE APARTMENT (1960), SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959), SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950), WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION (1957)
  2. 12 ANGRY MEN (1957)
  3. ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953)
  4. ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)
  5. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939)
  6. HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940)
  7. THE KID (1921)
  8. HIGH NOON (1952)
  9. THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951)
  10. YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU (1938)
  11. REAR WINDOW (1954)
  12. ADAM’S RIB (1949)
  13. ON THE WATERFRONT (1954)
  14. THE SEARCHERS (1956)
  15. SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952)
  16. SCARFACE (1932)
  17. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962)
  18. THE STING (1973)
  19. SWING TIME (1936)
  20. CASABLANCA (1942)

Follow #NationalClassicMovieDay to see how others are celebrating. Can’t get enough classic movies? Join the fun on Twitter at #TCMParty, where every day is Classic Movie Day.

How are you celebrating National Classic Movie Day? What’s on your list of essentials? 

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7 thoughts on “National Classic Movie Day: A Day of Discovery

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with ‘Anything by Billy Wilder’. In fact, I just finished watching Double Indemnity for the gabillionth time.
    Great piece! 🙂

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  2. That’s a list from listland (to use a Mel Brooks line)! I’ve been going through Leonard Maltin’s “Classic Movie Guide”, looking for the 3 to 4 star movies (he only goes to 4). I’m almost done with the “R”s, and I’m at #1915. He stops at 1960 (this edition) and includes foreign films.

    Speaking of which: do you have a list of foreign favorites? Mine includes “King of Hearts” (1966; French; Alan Bates, Genevieve Bujold [sigh]. Then there’s “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (1964; French: Catherine Deneuve [sigh]); counts as grand opera – every word is sung (includes the hit “I Will Wait for You”). It’s a 4-hanky movie, but incredibly beautiful. Then there’s the British, with Alec Guinness, Ealing Studios &c.

    In fact, it doesn’t see right to have a “foreign film” list. We need a French list (“Beauty and the Beast” (1946; Cocteau), British, Italian, Japanese, maybe German, two Russians (“Alexander Nevsky”,”Battleship Potemkin”), not forgetting Sweden and Bergman (but he’s not as funny as the others.

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    • Thanks for reading! I haven’t seen many foreign films, but I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve seen and want to explore more. I was introduced to most of them in film class in college. I really like Bicycle Thieves, The Rules of the Game, Day for Night, Metropolis, Kind Hearts and Coronets. Some recent ones I like are Pan’s Labyrinth, Belle and Sebastien, and Uzumasa Limelight (based on Chaplin’s ‘Limelight’).

      I haven’t seen the ones you’ve mentioned (with the exception of the Odessa Steps sequence in Battleship Potemkin), but I’ll add them to my list.

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