The Oscars are almost here, and for once I’ve managed to see all the best picture nominees before the big day. It was a pretty great year for movies. But now that we’ve got all that out of the way, we can get around to all those classic films we’ve been meaning to see but never find time for.
My insane quest to watch every Oscar winning film ever has led me to watch some completely awesome films from way back in the day. It’s a nerdy practice, but it means I get to share my wisdom and unrestrained enthusiasm with you. Just because these movies are in black and white and don’t contain excessive nudity or destroyed cities doesn’t mean they’re not amazing stories. If you haven’t seen these yet, be sure to add them to your list.
1. It Happened One Night– 1934 (Available on Amazon Prime) I try to set aside the feminist in me when I watch classic films. It was a different time. A time when Clark Gable is charming and Claudette Colbert is really good at hitchhiking. This film made me smile.
2. You Can’t Take It With You– 1938 I always assumed depression-era cinema would be completely escapist, but there’s something to be said for wide-eyed idealism as well. I’m also in favor of being wildly eccentric.
3. The Grapes of Wrath– 1940 This film is based on one of my all-time favorite novels. I imagine it was pretty subversive for it’s time. It’s a bit of a tear jerker. Be prepared.
4. Rebecca– 1940 There’s nothing like a good ghost story. Just when you think your life is perfect, everything goes crazy. Who could resist?
5. Mrs. Miniver– 1942 We’re still feeling the spiraling effects of World War II to this day, so to see a perspective from the thick of it is so intriguing. War affects more than just soldiers. It’s complicated, kids.
6. The Best Years of Our Lives– 1946 If being in a war is difficult, coming home from one isn’t much easier. PTSD has been in the news a lot lately. It didn’t have such a long name back then, but I’m happy this film was made and hope that it made it a little easier for someone when they saw that they weren’t alone.
7. All About Eve– 1950 (Available on Netflix) The theatre world can be brutal. Just when you think you’re at the top of your game, a there’s someone waiting to push you down the stairs. Way before Showgirls, there was All About Eve. Best girl fight ever.
8. A Streetcar Named Desire– 1951 I imagine most of you have already seen A Streetcar Named Desire, but I couldn’t leave it off the list. Hooray for method acting. Hollywood is growing up.
9. The Quiet Man– 1952 (Available on Netflix) People have probably seen plenty of John Wayne Westerns, but I prefer him as a reformed Irish boxer. Again, set your feminism aside for a minute. This film is loaded with machismo, but it’s still fun. Also, Maureen O’Hara is hot. Remember that movie that’s playing in the background when they set the frogs free on ET. Yeah, that’s this film.
10. From Here to Eternity– 1953 First off, I’ve been to that beach, and it’s beautiful. I often try to imagine what my current hometown was like back before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This film really helps to fuel my imagination. Don’t miss it.
What are your favorite classic films? I need to put them on my list.