Do you enjoy discovering old movies as much as I do? I love it when I stumble upon a movie I’ve never heard of, or even one I’ve heard of but knew nothing about. That’s why I appreciate lists from fellow film lovers who can introduce me to new (to me) movies from days gone by. And now I’m excited to start sharing my own favorite movies so that you, too, can explore movies that have stood the test of time.
1930’s – Goodbye Mr. Chips
An aged teacher and former headmaster of a boarding school recalls his career and his personal life over the decades.
This classic film won a Best Actor Oscar and was nominated for six additional Oscar awards including Best Picture. It’s available on DVD at Netflix or streaming at Amazon Video
1940’s – It’s a Wonderful Life
An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.
It’s a Wonderful Life is inspiring on so many levels. Although it was nominated for five Oscars, it was not considered a commercial success until years after its release. Now it’s a Christmas classic that continues to reach new audiences. Almost any list of best movies of all time includes this title.
1950’s – Sunset Boulevard
A screenwriter is hired to rework a faded silent film star’s script only to find himself developing a dangerous relationship.
I’m not normally a fan of film noir, but I recently took a chance on Sunset Boulevard, and I’m glad I did. There’s a reason why it won three Oscars and was nominated for eight more. It’s simply brilliant! The funny thing is the entire time I watched it, I kept feeling like it was familiar. Then I finally realized that the Nancy Drew movie from 2007 drew inspiration from this movie. If you enjoy a good mystery and character study, you’ll want to check this one out. It’s available for streaming on Netflix.
1960’s – How to Steal a Million
Romantic comedy about a woman who must steal a statue from a Paris museum to help conceal her father’s art forgeries, and the man who helps her.
This is one of those somewhat overlooked gems that needs to be discovered by more people. It stars Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole, and is just a lot of fun. In addition to the great acting and fun plot, it’s also a great study of fashion and decor of the times. It’s available for streaming on Netflix, so check it out tonight.
1970’s – Love Story
A boy and a girl from different backgrounds fall in love regardless of their upbringing – and then tragedy strikes.
The 1970’s were not a great time for female-driven movies. It took me awhile to find a movie I even slightly liked, and finally settled on Love Story. It won Best Original Score and was nominated for six additional Oscars, but personally, I feel this movie is overrated. While it’s certainly artistic, I found it terribly depressing, not in a grab the tissues and have a good bawl kind of way, but in a I’m in a depressed funk after watching this way. Nevertheless, it’s considered a classic, and if you haven’t seen it, you’ll probably want to check it out.
1980’s – Places in the Heart
In central Texas in the 1930s, a widow, with two small children, tries to run her small 40-acre farm with the help of two disparate people.
This is one of my all time favorite films. It’s simple and slow-moving, yet I’m not sure what it is, but every time I watch it, it feels new and fresh. The characters are authentically real. The acting is brilliantly subtle. The cinematography is beautiful. And the ending is strange, but perfect.
1990’s – Mr. Holland’s Opus
A frustrated composer finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher.
This is a theme that I think we can all relate to at some point in our lives, wondering if we made the right choices and if our life really matters. I love movies that spans a long period of time, and this one does a great job of capturing each time period and the changes that occur.
2000’s – Legally Blonde
Elle Woods, a fashionable sorority queen is dumped by her boyfriend. She decides to follow him to law school, while she is there she figures out that there is more to her than just looks.
Legally Blonde is an excellent example of screenplay format. It hits each plot point in just the right places. Not to mention, it’s hilariously funny with great wardrobe. I like that it’s a romantic comedy, but the substance in the story is not in the romance, but in the female relationships. I absolutely adore the friendship between Elle and Paulette and their adventures.
2010’s – Mom’s Night Out
Hardworking mom Allyson has a crazy night out with her friends, while their husbands watch their children.
I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at a movie as I did with this one. I got to attend an early screening of Mom’s Night Out with a theater filled with women who pretty much laughed through the entire movie. I love ensemble casts, and this one does a great job of representing moms at each stage of life. And the best thing is that it’s a group of church women having innocent fun, so there’s nothing at all to offend, which is always nice.