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Hi, and welcome to the boards.

 

Those are questions that have been around for as long as I've been on these boards.  They tend to generate a lot of light (and heat). You might want to search the forums here for past threads that are similar and read what others have said.

 

Perhaps someone can post links to some of those threads.

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 Or is "classic" a film that is timeless and memorable?

 

That's what the TCM programmers would have us believe, but we know better.  We know that by definition, a  classic film can only have been made in USA! USA! prior to 1970, with no confusing "subtitles", no "unappealing" characters, and above all, nothing "artsy".  Take it from our spokesman below------

 

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What is the definition of "classic film" and is there a timeline as to how far back a film can be in order to be considered "classic"?  Or is "classic" a film that is timeless and memorable?

What is the definition of "classic film" ----------- 1930 - 1959, black and white. The Wizard Of Oz is exempt from the color rule.

 

TCM used to show classically classic films all the time. Now they have good days, and bad days.

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Seriously, though - there is no definition of "classic film" as it applies to TCM's schedules. TCM shows - and always has shown - a variety in both quality and production year.

 

We are free to apply the term "classic" to any movie we want to - or not apply it - as we see fit.

 

People who like old movies made in the 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's are very well served if they watch TCM, so if old is what you're looking for you should be very happy here.

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I can't believe there's yet another thread about this. I do realize it was started by a new poster, who of course is unaware of the seemingly hundreds of threads that have been created on this very topic. So, I don't want to make the original poster feel embarrassed, how were they to know?

 

Still !

 

I should somehow work this into my "Boring versus Interesting" thread. Not to be self-promoting or anything, it's just that that very question was one of the things I was tempted to say was "boring", but refrained, because I know how contentious and even nasty that would sound.

 

I don't quite understand why people are more interested in talking about labels than in what's underneath.  Why is it more interesting to discuss, again and again and again, the exact definition of the word "classic" as it pertains to films (or anything, for that matter), than to discuss actual movies, however you want to categorize them?

 

These message boards should maybe be titled "ONGOING DEBATE AND DISCUSSION AS TO THE DEFINITION, MEANING, REPERCUSSIONS, AND SOCIO-POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF HOW TO LABEL A "CLASSIC" FILM."

It certainly seems to occupy a lot of people's minds far more than simply having a conversation about movies, whatever era they were made in.

 

I do realize the OP asked this question in all innocence and good faith, and I apologize to them. It's just that when I saw yet another thread on this topic, I couldn't help making the comments above. It's not addressed to the OP personally, more to everyone who can't stop worrying and pondering and arguing and defining this label "classic" film. I've had it up to here with it. 

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I don't quite understand why people are more interested in talking about labels than in what's underneath.

 

Many people have written that there is no such thing as love, only evidence of it.  I think we might say the same thing about "classic" films.  Trying to define it is like trying to sew a button onto a melody.

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What is the definition of "classic film" ----------- 1930 - 1959, black and white. The Wizard Of Oz is exempt from the color rule.

 

TCM used to show classically classic films all the time. Now they have good days, and bad days.

 

So the 1937 Adventure of Robin Hood isn't a 'classic film' and TCM shouldn't show that film?    Gone With The Wind? 

 

How about the thousand of other color films made from the 30's until 1959?     TCM should ONLY show Oz?

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I can't believe there's yet another thread about this. I do realize it was started by a new poster, who of course is unaware of the seemingly hundreds of threads that have been created on this very topic. So, I don't want to make the original poster feel embarrassed, how were they to know?

 

Still !

 

I should somehow work this into my "Boring versus Interesting" thread. Not to be self-promoting or anything, it's just that that very question was one of the things I was tempted to say was "boring", but refrained, because I know how contentious and even nasty that would sound.

 

I don't quite understand why people are more interested in talking about labels than in what's underneath.  Why is it more interesting to discuss, again and again and again, the exact definition of the word "classic" as it pertains to films (or anything, for that matter), than to discuss actual movies, however you want to categorize them?

 

These message boards should maybe be titled "ONGOING DEBATE AND DISCUSSION AS TO THE DEFINITION, MEANING, REPERCUSSIONS, AND SOCIO-POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF HOW TO LABEL A "CLASSIC" FILM."

It certainly seems to occupy a lot of people's minds far more than simply having a conversation about movies, whatever era they were made in.

 

I do realize the OP asked this question in all innocence and good faith, and I apologize to them. It's just that when I saw yet another thread on this topic, I couldn't help making the comments above. It's not addressed to the OP personally, more to everyone who can't stop worrying and pondering and arguing and defining this label "classic" film. I've had it up to here with it. 

 

I assume so many people get caught up in what does 'classic' mean just because TCM uses 'classic' in their name.   

 

TCM should buy the MOVIES station just so they can rename themselves MOVIES.    Of course we still might find some that will ask 'what is a movie'. 

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In my opinion, there is no true criteria that could be used to label a film as "classic" and "not classic." Sure, you could establish some arbitrary time frame (1920-1965, for example) and say that "all films made during that era are classics." But, in my opinion, that time frame would be subjective and false. I don't believe that films made during a particular time instantly makes them classics, unless your definition of classic is purely related to time. There are a lot of terrible movies produced during the so-called Classic Era of Hollywood just as there terrible movies made now. Every decade has its share of bad movies. On the flip side, every decade has fantastic movies too.

 

To me, declaring a film "a classic" is personal. I don't care when a movie was made. If I enjoyed the film and found it worth watching again and again, to me it's a classic. I enjoy 1939's "Dodge City" just as much as 1979's "The Muppet Movie." I would declare both films "classics." I also loved 1989's "Weekend at Bernie's" and 2009's "The Hangover." I would call those "classics." There are films that are widely regarded as classics, like "The Godfather." However, I found the film extremely boring, so I wouldn't consider it a classic.

 

Simply put, for me, classics are films that I love-- whether it's because the film is compelling, exciting, or just plain fun.

 

I have thoughts for misswonderly's interesting vs boring thread. I'm not at home right now and I am having to access and post on the boards with my phone. I have a rather lofty opinion to share so I'll post later when I've got my laptop back.

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Regarding the definition of a "classic" ,  I always fall back to that famous quote from the Supreme Court judge about "pornography" ,  "I know it when I see it".  You can use the same thought about "Classic songs" , "Classic cars" etc.  Part of my thoughts of "classic" is something I can relate to. I can relate to a 1967 Plymouth but not a 1967 Ferrari.  So one person's classic is not the same as anothers.  As for age, in the car world 25 years old is generally accepted as the standard for starting to refer to a car as a classic. I believe you can do the same for films.

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Regarding the definition of a "classic" ,  I always fall back to that famous quote from the Supreme Court judge about "pornography" ,  "I know it when I see it".  You can use the same thought about "Classic songs" , "Classic cars" etc.  Part of my thoughts of "classic" is something I can relate to. I can relate to a 1967 Plymouth but not a 1967 Ferrari.  So one person's classic is not the same as anothers.  As for age, in the car world 25 years old is generally accepted as the standard for starting to refer to a car as a classic. I believe you can do the same for films.

 

For cars the government set an age (time period) to define 'classic',  as it relates to if a car is subject to regulation or not (e.g. the need to pass a smog test).      My point is that there was a practical and logical reason to define 'classic' by the government as it relates to cars.

 

What reason is there to define 'classic' as it relates to movies or rock and roll music?   None that I can think off.   But if one does wish to box movies into categories and create labels for said categories to me the logical way to do this is related to the Production code and by genres instead of some made up (out of one's hat) number of years old time period.

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Truth be said though there was a certain look to classic films that films since the classic era ended have failed time and again to recapture.

There's an interesting notion- why does the film industry today think that it can recapture the classic movie era by using period styles of filmmaking in period films taking place within the '30s, '40s, '50s, and '60s? 

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Even the classic-era B movies have more charm and personality than most modern films.

 

I wouldn't argue with that, but that's largely because the near-total reliance on an extremely limited number of basic genre plots gave all of those films the cachet of a familiar friend.  It was one of the upsides (if you want to think of it that way) of the constraints forced upon movies by the Breen Code.

 

Beyond that,  it's also due to the fact that with a relatively small number of exceptions, the stars of that era had such narrowly drawn screen personae that it added to the predictability of the product.  The usual way it's put is that "We always knew what we were going to be getting."  And so we did.  And it's still much of what draws many of us to these movies even today.

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I would also say that the performers in the classic era were a more talented bunch than most of the performers in Hollywood today.

 

I'd call that an apples to oranges comparison, since studio era actors had far more opportunity to create a consistent screen persona, while today's best actors are afforded a much wider variety of scripts whose plots aren't so rigidly circumscribed. To cite an example that's recently been discussed on the "Taxi" thread, it's impossible to "rate" two actors like Cagney and DeNiro without getting completely subjective about it.  My take is that there have been great actors in every era, and that if a TCM 2 were to saturate us with as many post-1970 films as it has those from the previous half century, we'd be far more likely to recognize this.

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Sometimes "classic" means the original version.

 

An example is 'Star Trek'. Fans refer to the original 1966 series as 'Classic Star Trek'. Other versions are know as 'TNG', 'Deep Space 9,' 'Voyager' etc.

 

So, under that definition the only 'Classic' movies would be those from the first era - the silents.

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I would also say that the performers in the classic era were a more talented bunch than most of the performers in Hollywood today.

 

I'd call that an apples to oranges comparison, since studio era actors had far more opportunity to create a consistent screen persona, while today's best actors are afforded a much wider variety of scripts whose plots aren't so rigidly circumscribed. To cite an example that's recently been discussed on the "Taxi" thread, it's impossible to "rate" two actors like Cagney and DeNiro without getting completely subjective about it.  My take is that there have been great actors in every era, and that if a TCM 2 were to saturate us with as many post-1970 films as it has those from the previous half century, we'd be far more likely to recognize this.

 

The first thing that comes to mind is that just because we like someone more that doesn't mean they are more talented.   Note that in most professions the ability of the recent generation is higher than those that came before.   This is because each generation passes something on to the next generation.    

 

Using Jazz Guitar playing for example (just because I know this well);   while most of the players I listen to were at their peak in the 50's,    the players today are better players.  e.g. these modern players can do (play), anything the 50's cats could play but they also have a bag of tricks that those 50's cats didn't use or even think to use.      The reason I listen mostly to the 50's players is because I like their style of play,  the songs they play,  the overall vibe of the music.

 

Same with movies;  While my favorite actors are from the pre-code and production code era,  I can't say they had more talent then the actors today.  

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