A classic movie is simply a movie that has stood the test of time, regardless of genre, regardless of age. A classic transcends all its classifications and manages to attract attention again. In reverse order, here are my top 10 …
10. Casablanca – 1942
In one of the most famous movies of all time: Humphrey Bogart plays Rick Blaine, an American nightclub owner who works in French Morocco. The high-stakes story takes place in the context of World War II and tells the story of Blaine, a disillusioned idealist, who sacrifices his love to join the fight against the Nazis.
9. Citizen Kane – 1941
Orson Welles’s first feature film, acclaimed for its soundtrack, photography and innovative narrative structure, is considered by many to be the best film ever made. Trace the life of a newspaper mogul from his humble beginnings and follow his relentless rise to power and return to the inevitable sad and lonely end of him.
8. The Godfather – 1972
Francis Ford Coppola took Mario Puzo’s outstanding novel and turned it into one of the classic films of all time. Marlon Brando, in his surprising return to Hollywood, is Don Vito Corleone, the head of a New York crime family and shares the screen with a handful of actors whose careers were started with the force of this film and his performances. The film tells the story of the hopes and dreams of an immigrant family in America and how children grew up and struggled to take the place of their parents classic movies. Beautifully shot scenes are contrasted with graphic violence.
7. Psychosis – 1960
In this Alfred Hitchcock suspense / suspense classic, Marion Crane runs away with stolen money and makes the mistake of checking into the Bates Motel, run by mom’s son, Norman Bates, and her mother. Bernard Herrmann’s chilling violin score and the shower scene are now synonymous with horror.
6. Wild bull – 1980
Based on the career of 1940s boxing champion Jake La Motta, Raging Bull marked the climax of director Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro’s joint work. A study into the nature of violence itself has produced one of the most poetic and brutal sports films ever made. De Niro’s performance is a triumph of acting as he travels from a young fighting machine to overweight boxing.
5. The Graduate – 1967
In this scathing coming-of-age comedy set in the late 1960s, Dustin Hoffman plays Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate wondering what to do next with his life. Seduced by an older family friend, Mrs. Robinson, Ben continues the adventure even as he falls in love with his daughter. Simon and Garfunkel’s soundtrack seals this movie classic.
4. Chinatown – 1974
Roman Polanski’s Chinatown delves into the darker side of Los Angeles in the 1930s. Jack Nicholson plays Jake Gittes, a private detective investigating what appears to be a routine case of infidelity. Not everything is what it seems when Jake is drawn into a world of water rights and land deals, greed and murder.
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey – 1968
Possibly the greatest science fiction movie ever made, Stanley Kubrick’s visionary epic begins on the plains of Africa and takes us to the planet Saturn. Shot in 70mm, the movie took four years to make. The attention to detail is incredible and the result is a film that doesn’t look dated even after forty years.
2. Apocalypse Now – 1979
Martin Sheen is a battle-weary captain who travels deep into the Vietnamese jungle to assassinate renegade Colonel Kurtz, who has entered a mystical state of insanity and created his own tribe. The film is almost surreal in its depiction of incredible battle scenes and, of course, the famous helicopter raid to the tune of Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries.”
1. Bonnie and Clyde – 1967
Set in the depressed 1930s, this film marked a milestone for on-screen violence as it follows the infamous Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow from their first meeting, through shootouts and robberies, to becoming the most bank robbers. America’s feared and ruthless.