What 'classic' film do you think everyone should see?


#1

I am someone who thinks film is a lot of fun to talk about and engage with, but I, perhaps like a lot of other people, feel that I have a really shallow engagement with films as a medium. Whether it’s Alien, Gone With the Wind, or The Exorcist, the list of what I haven’t seen far exceeds what I have. Despite being interested about the prospect of Blade Runner 2049, I can’t shake the fact that I haven’t seen Blade Runner in any of its cuts.

I’ve thought about this problem off and on for a while and, here or there, have convinced myself to sneak in a A Clockwork Orange here and a Howl’s Moving Castle there. However, for all the ‘top fifty movies of all time’ lists you can dig up online, I felt that I might be better served by turning to the personal touch. So, I turn to the Waypoint community: what ‘classic’ film (for whatever definition you choose) do you think everyone should see? Why? What makes it a ‘classic’ to you?

For what it’s worth, I’m interested in taking y’all’s suggestions and, potentially, considering writing down my thoughts in a blog post series in our Workshop subcategory. I’d love to hear your suggestions, whether you have just the one that means the world to you or five that just can’t be missed. If you know how that film is (legally) available, that would also be greatly appreciated.


For what it’s worth, while I realise ‘classic’ has a pretty specific meaning in film, I’m mostly interested in films that you, the reader, consider important, valuable, and enriching to see, whether for you personally or for anyone.


e: Well, I’ve gone ahead and made the blog post thread! I’m just dying to show off what a fool I am!!! It’s a big opportunity.

Plus, community member @2Mello has kindly made a Letterboxd list compiling all of the recommended films for us. You can find it here. Thank you!


Watchin’ With ‘witch – First Time Film Thoughts & Feelings [Film #3: The Thing]
#2

Would we call Mean Girls classic? Because I’m not here to say Mean Girls (it’s fine) but: Bring It On (2000). Reese Witherspoon and Eliza Dushku are cheerleaders, and it rules.

Sorry for immediately sullying your thread with nonsense garbage, I don’t watch sensible movies.


#3

“Gentleman’s Agreement” starring Gregory Peck. So good, and so very relevant.

Obviously “Casablanca.” For many reasons.

And “When Harry Met Sally”, if it can count as a classic yet.


#4

‘F For Fake’ is an amazingly well done documentary about Art Forgery by Orson Welles. Probably my favorite movie ever. It’s a late career work that has him both at his most self indulgent and at the peak of his powers.

I might be the only person that considers it a classic, but I think Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, starring Sam Rockwell, is also great.


#5

Classic seems to have different meanings, but I most identify with the definition of where something is considered remarkable for its time.

I would consider movies like Clue or Young Frankenstein to fall into this category for their contribution to the Comedy genre. The cast were once-in-a lifetime lineups with some of the best comedians of their day (and possibly of all time), especially in the case of Clue. Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Leslie Ann Warren, Martin Mull, Michael McKean, Eileen Brennen – all superb actors and actresses that made the movie based on a board game one of the best.


#6

Sorry for the digressing right at the start, but I’ll take the opportunity to blow some socks off with my “party trick”.

Stuff I’ve never ever, watched, or watched only bits of:

-Star Wars;
-Star Trek;
-LotR;
-Harry Potter;
-Any James Bond film;
-Never watched Indiana Jones aswell;
-GoT;

And so many more, I could be here all day. And these ones are the easy “zeitgeist” stuff, if we are talking about real classics, I don’t even think I have a place in this thread.

With that said, I made two friends of mine sit with me and watch The Godfather trilogy (well, at least the first two). Those gals where most thankful for that.

Though I’m pissed how they could sleep while Scarface was on. :unamused:


#7

The 1942 film Cat People is not “classic” in the sense of “wildly popular in it’s time” like say Gone With the Wind, but it needs to be seen by more people. When people think “classic horror,” they usually think of the old Universal pictures like Frankenstein and Bride if Frankenstein, and those films have a lot of merit, but RKO’s Cat People is my favorite. The horror is very subtle and the creators are really paying attention to craftsmanship in a way that can sometimes be lacking in the Universal pictures.

It should definitely be of interest to anybody who wants to explore gender in cinema, with a woman who is Otherized not just due to being a foreign national bit also for her sexuality. The less I say the better but if you like it, you may also enjoy RKO’s I Walked With a Zombie, made by many of the same people.


#8

Oh would also add:
Early Jackie Chan (Drunken Master)
Early Jet Li (Enforcer)
Early John Woo (hard boiled and a better tomorrow)

A better tomorrow has my favorite soundtrack prob


#9

The only film I can think of that’s not super obvious is probably the Popeye movie. I doubt many others would call it a “classic” but it’s a musical comedy based on Popeye starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall as Popeye and Olive Oyl and it’s directed by Robert Altman and people need to see it just because it’s amazing that it exists.

Though, another Robert Altman movie that is an actual classic is MASH. Such a different tone from the TV show.

Also, I’ll throw Citizen Kane on here, only because it’s pushed so often as THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME that it wraps back around to people wanting to roll their eyes at it. It is not the best movie ever made, but it is a very good movie that holds up better than most old movies.

I will also edit to add Fight Club, because I am the Fight Club defender. The fact that pretty much every teenage boy completely misread the message of the film reinforces the film’s message about toxic masculinity, I would argue. (I will argue (it’s a fun friendly argument though))

Okay, I need to edit again: Emperor’s New Groove. Absolutely hilarious film. It’s a shame its troubled production began the demise of Disney’s traditional animation, as it is probably the best animated movie they have ever made. It does come with the standard Disney problem of using non-Western heritage and culture as set dressing, however.

I’m picking more hills to die on: The first 10 minutes of Watchmen is the best thing that Zack Snyder has done, and is legitimately amazing cinema. You can find it on YouTube. You can watch the rest of the movie if you want, I think it’s an okay movie that is held back by its general Zack Snyder-ness and some bad casting (Ozymndias and Nite Owl are the most egregious, Nite Owl should be a dumpy sad-looking middle-aged man, it’s integral to his character!) Lots of people really hate it though, so results may vary.


#10

I don’t think I would call it a classic, but I think everyone should watch a “weird” movie like Sans Soleil or whatever, to know how different yet still valid film experiences can be.


#11

I am very here for this question and always game for good film recommendations!

8 1/2 is the first thing that came to mind when I read the thread title but it’s a tough recommend. Watching it, I was simultaneously kinda awestruck, and also exhausted by everything that was going on. For a more contemporary director I adore who really obviously plays in the same pool of ideas, Paolo Sorrentino’s films Youth and La Grande Bellezza are both great, especially the latter!
(Caveating here to say Sorrentino can sometimes hit a bum note in terms of being very ‘male gazey’, etc… I should probably sit and spend some time thinking about his politics, so just a heads up)

More recently I finally got around to watching Lost In Translation which I think could deservedly be called a classic. The whole vibe of that film is melancholic in a kind of soothing way. It’s not a film for wallowing in loneliness, but for reflecting on it. Again, it’s open to a lot of criticism as it’s definitely an orientalist view of Japan (one scene in particular in Murray’s hotel room I found entirely gratuitous), but is still worth watching.


#12

Now that Blade Runner is back on everyone’s mind I think it’s fitting to recommend what I believe to be one of the very best examples of film noir, Touch of Evil by Orson Welles. It’s a story of murder, revenge, and police corruption set in a Mexican border town, and as with most film noir follows a man in a downward spiral. The cinematography is pretty incredible as well, and I’d recommend it to anyone remotely interested in the genre. It was made in the '50s so it does have some problems, but overall it’s a definite classic.


#13

Fantastic Mr. Fox. Wes Anderson’s best movie. Perfect for Fall viewing!


#14

I really need to watch Citizen Kane!

In my mind I file it alongside Laurence of Arabia and Casablanca as real early cinema classics that I know I have to watch eventually…

The only one of those three I’ve seen is Casablanca and that is a really good film, though hammy, at times, in a way I really didn’t expect… Is Kane like that at all?


#15

If we’re defining classic as foundational products of the old-school studio system, I have two:

Sunset Boulevard. It’s classic noir – creepy and mesmerizing and operating under its own set of rules. It’s a touchstone for many later works; I didn’t realize how frequently it’s referenced until I saw it.

All About Eve. Realizing I have a special place in my heart for films about the glamour, cruelty, and delusion that Hollywood fosters. This is more of that, plus peak Bette Davis. Which, yes. Always. Always Bette Davis.

If we’re defining classic to mean simply very good and important, just watch The Thing on repeat and marvel at Kurt Russell’s magnificent man-candy beard. I’m joking in that this is not the only film to meet this criteria, but I am not at all joking in that this is my recommendation or that Kurt Russell’s beard is the best. And yes, you also should watch Alien and Blade Runner (the theatrical cut is, for my money, the best, although from what I understand 2049 treats the director’s cut as cannon).

If we’re defining classic to mean “this film is personally important to this poster and feels unique among other films,” then my vote is The Fifth Element.

I look forward to reading anything you write about this adventure!


#16

My usual recommendation for people looking to get into classic cinema is Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz from 1979. This loosely autobiographical film from master of stage and screen, Fosse tells the story of how a director of a musical is ground down by his self-destructive dedication to his work. It’s a story about how destructive obsession can be. It is a musical but it’s far more realist than most muscials, though it still is totally lush throughout. Fosse is considered one of the great musical theater coreographer’s for a reason but he also had a natural understanding of the differences between stage and screen. All That Jazz might be the best coreographed dance film of all time.

A classic in it’s own right, having won the Cannes Film Festival in 1979. All That Jazz is a great gateway into classic cinema because it’s really just 8 1/2 in more consumable form. So if you watch and enjoy All That Jazz it can be used as a stepping stone towards approaching Frederico Fellini films. And Fellini is one of the core pillars of classic film making. padraic_padraic mentioned 8 1/2 above and this film will let you take the steps necessary to appreciate it even though 8 1/2 can be a little tough for the unprepared.


#17

Oh!

King Of New York — one of the most interestingly shot drug movies, with killer turns by Christopher Walken and Lawrence Fishburne


#18

I’d personally be willing to count Holiday (2006) as a classic, if only because it’s one of those time capsule movies that perfectly capture an earlier era of the mainstream culture’s reaction to the internet. And although they’re in different genres and I definitely prefer Holiday by a long shot, I think I’d also lump things like The Blair Witch Project (1999) in to that collection of snapshots in time.

Moving slightly further afield, I think But I’m A Cheerleader! (1999), The Truman Show (1998), Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989), and Clue (1985) all struck me as pretty classic, formative influences in my life! So I’d recommend any of those for slightly older peeks into classics.

(And honestly, it’s not a movie, but the seven hour cinematic experience of Heavy Rain is like nothing else. No movies to date have recreated the distinct, incomprehensible feeling it makes me feel; Heavy Rain is what came to mind first when you said “classic movie”, unfortunately, so I’m giving it an honorable mention.)


#19

Sort of, mainly because Orson Welles chews scenery like no other, I mean just crams the entire set into his maw. It fits the character, though.


#20

I only just watched The Matrix for the first time this year and was pleasantly surprised with how well it holds up. I’d heard from many people that it is a classic of the action & sci-fi genres and so I was a little concerned with how the film had aged, nearly two decades later. I thought it was fantastic!

It just oozes style and it’s immediately clear how much of the aesthetic has been borrowed in subsequent movies and games. Keanu Reeves is excellent, and it’s interesting seeing him this young after he’s been somewhat thrust into the limelight thanks to John Wick. I might go as far to say the The Matrix has gotten better with age, as I had the benefit of watching it with a knowledge of how one could view the film through a trans lens. (if you aren’t aware of that analysis, it’s totally worth looking up. it’s really fascinating)

I connected with the film in a way I didn’t anticipate and I came away from it totally in love. So, yes, everyone should go see The Matrix. It’s a classic.