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Turner "Classic"?

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An interesting thread. I've just read the entire thing...


I don't believe the age of a movie has anything to do with it being a "classic". That opinion depends on the viewer.


I don't expect everyone to agree with me.


I like TCM because they show such wide range of movies. I like the Charlie Chaplin silents. I like "recent" movies like Ferris Bueller.


I don't understand opinions such as not liking a movie because it's not from the "right" decade or because it's in color, or because its a silent, or because it has too many special effects...or for whatever reason.


The point is: no two of us are going to have exactly the same idea about what is a good or bad movie. I think that's why God invented the on/off switch, the channel dial or the remote...



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It would be interesting to know if TCM has any guidelines as far as where they will NOT go. For instance would something like Plan 9 From Outer Space (cult classic) be beyond the perimeters? Especially since some may have been tantalized by TCM's showing (I think) of the 90's movie Ed Wood. What if there was a Bela Lugasi star of the month thing. Some could argue his "I will create a race of Supermen and we will conquer the world" (paraphrase) to be one of his more dramatic speaches in a movie (forgot which one).

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Good comments, floorwalker. Especially: "The point is: no two of us are going to have exactly the same idea about what is a good or bad movie. I think that's why God invented the on/off switch, the channel dial or the remote...", and something which everyone who comes here to bad mouth TCM should keep in mind.


My only fear, and tcmprogrammer has addressed this a number of times, is when the 'newer' movies begin to outnumber the 'older' movies and before you know it...BAM...AMC!


And re lococardinal's post, I had a thought that a Nuclear Bomb theme would be a good one for TCM to program one day. In light of all the unsettling information with which we are constantly being bombarded, especially those who work in NYC, I think a day of mutant fallout movies would be a good diversion. Some of my favorites were 'The Incredible Shrinking Man' (LOVE that ending), the Giant man and woman movies (don't remember their names), and any other movies (I know there were a LOT of them) that presented us with a moral tale on the evils generated by the presence of Nuclear Weapons!!!


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  • 10 months later...

A classic is something that has left an impression on America. The age of something does not determine it's weight on pop culture. Movies like Star Wars and The Godfather and even Rocky have influenced American culture so much I don't see how they COULDN'T be considered classics. Whether 100 years old or 10 years old, a classic should be measured by it's lasting effect on audiences.

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Betty, I think you hit it. There was once a time in my youth when I arbitrarily decided I wasn't going to watch any movies made after 1941. Then after I saw SUNSET BOULEVARD, I moved the bar up to 1950. Then 1960, and 1970 -- but eventually I gave up on a chronological limit altogether. Now I will watch (or rewatch) any movie that's well written, directed, and acted.


But I have to admit I still gravitate more to the movies of the 1920-1960 period for sheer enjoyment. I guess it's because these films are so far outside of my own realm of experience, it's like entering another world. And when I enter another world, I like it to be as far away from my own as possible.

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I believe that all movies shown by TCM are "classic." I don't think they would show just any old movie. There has to be some criteria TCM uses to gauge whether a movie is "classic" or not. As long as I have been watching TCM, there has never been a movie shown that couldn't be described as "classic." Though I have my own personal guide that I go by, I cannot say that any movie I've seen is not classic. I have doubts and questions about some of their choices but in the end they rule.

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Coffeedan- I would just like to say that was well put. 1920-1960 because it is away from your own realm of experience and brings you into a different world. I think that just about captures my whole sentiment about old classic movies. Thank you for putting it into perspective!

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Coffeedan, Shaina's right, you did put that very well. I also feel the same way when I watch a great classic, especially one from the 30's or 40's. I feel like I'm entering another world. The movie just takes you away for a time, and it's great. Another great thing about the classics is that no matter how far removed we are from the time period that these movies were made in, we can still be entertained, and relate to the stories and situations. I think that's the biggest problem that classic movies face, is that most of the public doesn't think that they can relate to or even understand these "old" movies, and yet they're so wrong. Like the other poster said, it doesn't matter when a movie was made, as long as it's good, it'll be worth watching, and you'll still get something out of it.

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on what can be considered "classic" and I think that Turner Classic Movies is properly named, according to the dictionary definition:


"5 entries found for classic.

clas?sic ?? (?P?)??Pronunciation Key??(klsk)




a. Belonging to the highest rank or class.

b. Serving as the established model or standard: a classic example of colonial architecture.

c. Having lasting significance or worth; enduring.


a. Adhering or conforming to established standards and principles: a classic piece of research.

b. Of a well-known type; typical: a classic mistake.

3. Of or characteristic of the literature, art, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome; classical.


a. Formal, refined, and restrained in style.

b. Simple and harmonious; elegant: the classic cut of a suit; the classic lines of a clipper ship.

5. Having historical or literary associations: classic battlefields of the Civil War.




1. An artist, author, or work generally considered to be of the highest rank or excellence, especially one of enduring significance.

2. A work recognized as definitive in its field.


a. A literary work of ancient Greece or Rome.

b. classics The languages and literature of ancient Greece and Rome. Used with the.

c. One that is of the highest rank or class: The car was a classic of automotive design.

4. A typical or traditional example.

5. Informal. A superior or unusual example of its kind: The reason he gave for being late was a classic.

6. A traditional event, especially a major sporting event that is held annually: a golf classic."


Every film or short shown on TCM has some connection to the above definition. Their movies are mostly of the highest rank, and often are the model for later films, and they are enduring and most definitive. Even some smaller less well known films shown on TCM, which in themselves are not noted as "classics", often have performances or elements which relate to the above, in for instance giving one a background perspective of a plethora of films starring a "classic" actor/actress...or by a director or writer, which showcase their burgeoning talent and ascent up the classic scale.


Being that TCM highlights films of the Golden Age, but will still show small gems that may not have been major box office giants, showcases that a "classic" is not bound by monetary demarcations or the number of days of shooting. A classic can be made in two days by a person like Edgar Ulmer, or a year, as in a David Lean type film, or for mega amounts of money like an Erich von Stroheim film, or for almost nothing on a shoestring budget.


TCM shows classics of all genres, and who else shows classic shorts like Robert Benchley educating people on "How To Eat", a short which I enjoyed recently on TCM?


Whoever picks the films shown on the TCM schedule, is a real film buff, as they show an appreciation for films of all countries, time periods and genres. If this is a conglomerate of selectors, I must say they do a bang up job of picking great films to show daily, many of which never get an airing anywhere else on the tv or even at theatres in retrospectives.


Okay, so I might not want to see "Parenthood" too often, but I have no problem if they showed "To Kill a Mockingbird" weekly, as there is probably always a person in the viewing audience who has never seen this classic, and why should I deny them that right? I can watch a dvd and then come back to the wonderful classic TCM schedule a couple hours later....


TCM is the greatest tv channel that ever existed!



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Hi theralfuster! Just wanted to commend you on a very well thought out essay on what is a "classic." You pretty much said it all and to the point. I hope TCMprogrammer catches your post because it ranks right up there with the best. Thanks for posting what didn't occur to me till I read yours!:)

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I am a diehard TCM fan myself. I watch most exclusively every day. They ARE the best tv channel in the linup. Can't stand commercial tv anymore--it is so dumb and having 8-12 commercials during a break is not for me. Hopefully, other channels will take note and take a good look at themselves,too.

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