A beginner’s guide to classic movies

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It Happened One Night Nushi Mazumdar/THE REVIEW
The original rom-com, “It Happened One Night,” is possibly one of the most adorable movies you will ever see and is truly enjoyable, rising above the often lackluster genre.

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Sure, movies nowadays are amazing due to impressive technology making them into a spectacle for the eyes (ahem, any Marvel movie). However, behind all the gimmicks that modern movies offer audiences, an interesting plot and exceptional acting are sometimes lost. Old movies (pre-1960) are just super fun to watch, mostly because there is a greater emphasis on developing an intriguing plot. Before the newfangled movie-making techniques, films were much simpler yet perfectly mastered. Although classic movies are flawed when it comes to diversity, classic movies are still relevant today and can easily appeal to younger audiences if they’re willing to give such movies a chance.

Below is a list of the most essential classic movies:

“Singin’ in the Rain”
“Singin’ in the Rain” is the sort of movie you save for a rainy day. It is heartwarming and really fun with famous songs that continue to haunt us even today — Tropicana juice commercial anyone? Even though the tunes may be old, it’s hard not to hum along or even belt out the verses.
The dance numbers are a visual treat with Gene Kelly, one of the most iconic dance legends in Hollywood, tapping effortlessly while we just watch in amazement. This movie musical focuses on Hollywood’s shift from silent movies to talking pictures or talkies. After watching this movie, all you’ll ever want to do is sing in the rain: but just try not to catch pneumonia. Be careful kids!

“The Philadelphia Story”
“The Philadelphia Story” is arguably Katherine Hepburn’s greatest movie, which is high praise, considering, well, it’s Katherine freaking Hepburn! “The Philadelphia Story” stars some of Hollywood’s most famous faces alongside Hepburn with Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant who boost the already amazing movie to new heights. The movie can be over-the-top at times as a lot of the jokes are outdated. However, the romance at the center of this romantic-comedy more than makes up for it, as Katherine Hepburn’s character must choose between three men with the added drama of her wedding date nearing.

“It Happened One Night”
The original rom-com, “It Happened One Night,” is possibly one of the most adorable movies you will ever see and is truly enjoyable, rising above the often lackluster genre. The main character rebels against her rich father by eloping while a handsome reporter accompanies her on the way to get the scoop first-hand. Although it may sound like a typical rom-com that’s good for playing in the background, it is definitely worth a proper viewing with witty and sharp writing, as well as undeniable chemistry between its two leads. Although the movie definitely feels old-fashioned, particularly in the portrayal of the main female lead, this rom-com is too sweet and uplifting to not watch. The film also earned five Oscars in the major categories of the Academy Awards (best director, best film, best actor, best actress and best screenplay) that definitely prove the film’s worth.

“Roman Holiday”
Yet another romantic-comedy sees a young Audrey Hepburn in her very first and best movie, “Roman Holiday.” Audrey Hepburn portrays a fed-up princess who just wants to explore the world as a commoner and discovers love along the way in the form of Gregory Peck, who is best-known for his role as Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Although this story has been retold countless times, this movie is easily the best version of this timeless story. However, the real highlight of “Roman Holiday” has to be Audrey Hepburn, herself, who won an Academy Award for her efforts. She steals every scene with her naive yet charming depiction of the princess. After all, she’s Audrey Hepburn!

“The Third Man”
A film noir filled with suspense and mystery is “The Third Man,” a movie that has near-impeccable story-telling and acting. There are minor flaws, such as the obvious lack of technology to create the sort action scenes we expect to see nowadays and a rather predictable twist, only because it has been copied numerous times. However, the story will keep you watching and hooked until the very end with its gripping mystery. The film focuses on a poor writer who travels to post-war Vienna to visit his friend, only to learn he has died and unravels the truth behind his demise. “The Third Man” is considered one of the best classic movies of all time with good reason, so do yourself a favor by watching this phenomenal feat of film-making.

“Sunset Boulevard”
A surprisingly dark movie for the 50s, “Sunset Boulevard” is also a film noir that scrutinizes the movie industry and provides viewers with an in-depth study of its characters, who are more complex than they may initially seem. “Sunset Boulevard” revolves around the relationship between an ex-silent film star and a rising screenwriter as he attempts to exploit her naivete and learns that his actions have consequences. The movie has significantly influenced theater as we know it today and even gave birth to its own musical, which I also recommend seeing! The film is littered with quotable lines like “I’m ready for my close-up” and “I’m still big. It’s the pictures that got small.” This movie is an absolute must-see, so stop reading and please watch it right now!

Even though classic movies are so old, they are still relevant to college students. Without special effects or technology, viewers can actually watch a movie and enjoy it for its story and acting. Although I love modern movies, classic movies are an example of movie-making in its purest essence, which is to provide audiences with an enjoyable and entertaining experience, rather than a means of simply making money. Classic movies are a fun way to kill time and leave you feeling great the rest of the day, so why not turn back the clock and look back on a simpler time.

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