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Just registered, need some advice on some movies.

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I have recently become an avid fan of classic cinema, before TCM and AMC, I was just another rambunctious and deluded college student who was susceptible to the cheesy Hollywood blockbuster. Now, after discovering the superiority of the films that long predate my birth, I am left infatuated by movies such as "Casablanca", "In the Heat of the Night", "A Letter to Three Wives", etc. I would like the help of you experienced movie watchers, to kindly compile the best movies you have ever watched, so I can get a sense of which movies I should immediately go and rent/buy. I approach this request with humilty, so don't rebuke me for my inexperience in terms of this field. Thanks in advance.



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This current one is pretty good: ?Bridge over the River Kwai?, although it?s not an ancient one.


But later tonight, ?Sunset Boulevard? is rather fantastic. There were, back in the 1950s, still a lot of old silent movie stars living the lives of hermits in Hollywood and they hated the invention of sound, and this film is a fictional story about one of them. Sound started in 1929, and this film was made in 1950, so think of the lady in the film as has having lived alone with her old dreams of returning to film after 21 years of being out of the business.


This film is also about a young writer who wants to become a famous film writer, but he?s just not good enough. So he gets stuck with the old silent movie star and he hates it, but he loves Hollywood so much he just can?t get away from her because she is paying all his living expenses and she won?t let him get away. This is a great film, but somewhat depressing.

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?Sunrise?, showing at 8 pm Eastern on Sunday is a good classic old silent film. It has some historical value because it was made in 1927 and that was at a time when a lot of country boys were leaving the farm and moving into big cities to get jobs. This film warns about the trouble a country boy can get into in a big city. It?s a sad story.


?King?s Row?, at 1 AM Eastern on Monday morning, is an interesting epic about several young men and women who grow up in a small town around the turn of the 20th Century, and about their dreams and aspirations and the various tragedies in their lives. It?s also the mysterious story of one particular young girl who has a secret problem that is revealed late in the film. A good thing about a film like this is that it was made long enough ago so that some of the film makers really did remember life in small towns early in the 20th Century, so it has a feeling of being historically accurate about that era.

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On Monday Feb. 6th at 8:45 AM Eastern is a classic all-Black Hollywood film, ?Cabin in the Sky?, that is quite interesting. These great Black actors were generally relegated to roles as maids and servants in regular White-Hollywood movies, but occasionally groups of them were put together for these all-Black films where they could play roles as real people, but their films were usually fantasy-oriented. Hollywood restrictions like this made some Black actors so mad (such as Josephine Baker and Paul Robeson) they moved to France (Baker) and England (Robeson) where they made films as characters who were equal to the white actors with which they played. In fact they starred in several of their own movies in Europe, right alongside white actors. Some of their British and French films used to be shown on TCM.


You might want to get yourself a VCR or DVD recorder and record some of these rare films, because many of them are rapidly being replaced on television by more modern films and the classics are becoming more difficult to find, such as Josephine Baker?s ?Zou Zou? and ?Princesse Tam Tam?, which I was lucky enough to see on TCM several years ago.

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Thanks for the replies. Disregard my double post.


I watched The Bridge in the River Kwai, fantastic film. Alec Guiness' performance was superb.


I'm watching Sunset Blvd right now. The movie had some rave reviews, plus you guys are endorsing it so I'm definatly watching it.


I'll also be on the lookout for Cabin In the Sky, and the other classics you pointed out. I'm grateful for your opinion.




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Welcome, young friend.

To Oz.

To Shangri-La.

To Wonderland.


Your journey out of the wilderness was a torturous one, I am sure. But be certain that only good things await you from here on out.



I wouldn't know how or where to tell a "humble" novice to start an exploration of Classic Film. Listing "great" films can be very subjective and may not be all that useful to a stranger. From the films you listed in your post, you already seem to be open to films of different eras and different genres. Good for you.


Here's a website that should be very helpful to you over the next few years - and that is an honest estimation of the time it may take to make up for your

"mis-spent youth" in the cineplex.




It is probably the best resource online for someone who is curious and excited to learn/see/experience great films. Exhaustive is the only word to describe all the information there yet it is very accessible and easy to navigate and not at all snobbish. (And it has Roger Ebert's highest recommendation.)


There is a list there of 200 greatest films at the site that I have used as a guide to watching/recording films that is as close to perfect as any I have ever seen. And 100 is just too small a number to work from. Too many good things get left out.




This list has been an invaluable tool to help guide me to what are good choices for an evening or afternoon with a great classic film. And it makes a great checklist if you want to start your own film library.


This month's TCM schedule is full of great things from the "200 list" that are also Academy Award winners or nominees. Many of these films have become almost iconic in the culture and are referenced often in ways that are't even film related...such as any naive idealist being like Mr Smith who went to Washington in 1939. Or any man-made spectacle referenced with "not since the burning of Atlanta" from "Gone With The Wind". Classic film references are very common in discourse today and it is always special to understand exactly what the writer means when using them.


I hope some of this is helpful to you. There is so much to choose from, I can understand wanting to jump head first into the deep end...but don't rush yourself. Savor each film for being special. Watching a great Classic Film is as magical as finding "Brigadoon" yet they will still be here tomorrow to see again and again. and we are all the better for it. Lucky Us!


Happy Hunting....


Kyle in Hollywood

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This movie was just on yesterday but I think it's a underappreciated classic that you don't realize how good it is until you've seen it. It's about a newly retired couple (where the wife is about 10-15 years younger than the husband) and their daughter has recently married. They go on an extended trip to Europe and the wife decides she's not ready to grow old yet. It's about mid life crisis only this time it involves the wife instead of the husband. I highly recommend it, if only to see how great Walter Huston is in the role of Sam.

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Here are some films that you might find worthwhile:


The Crowd

The Big Parade


Robin Hood with Doug, Sr

The General

The Gold Rush

Birth of a Nation

Way Down East

The Wind

The Iron Horse

Phantom of the Opera

The Hunchback of Notre Dame




Robin Hood with Errol Flynn


Dracula (especially the Mexican version)


Footlight Parade

The Thin Man


The Wizard of Oz


Baby Doll (but wait for the restored version)

Roaring Twenties


Any film from 1939

Petrified Forest

Mr Smith Goes to Washington

Mr Deeds Goes to Town

Meet John Doe

King Kong

Snow White


The Front Page


Philadelphia Story

Bringing Up Baby

Little Caesar



Best Years of our Lives


Fort Apache

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

Red River

Since You Went Away

Air Force


Citizen Kane

Magnificent Ambersons

How Green Was My Valley

The Grapes of Wrath



Sunset Blvd

Panic in the Streets

Streetcar Named Desire

On the Waterfront

A Face in the Crowd

Mildred Pierce

A Star Is Born

The Searchers

Rio Bravo

Rear Window


Singin in the Rain

An American in Paris

The Bandwagon

Easter Parade

Night of the Hunter

Any Film Noir

Some LIke It Hot

Sands of Iwo Jima

Seven Men From Now

The Anthony Mann/Jimmy Stewart Westerns


The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

True Grit

The Apartment

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


My Fair Lady

Mary Poppins

The Magnificent Seven

The Great Escape

Cool Hand Luke


The Wild Bunch

Ride the High Country

In the Heat of the Night

To Kill A Mockingbird

The Producers


Midnight Cowboy

The Godfather 1 and 2

The Conversation

American Graffiti


The Parallax View

Three Days of the Condor

Uptown Saturday Night

Buck and the Preacher


All the President's Men

Ballad of Cable Hogue

Dirty Harry

Last Picture Show

What's Up Doc

Paper Moon

Young Frankenstein

Blazing Saddles


Plus, if you can find it at your local library two documentaries:


"The Men Who Made the Movies" by Richard Schickel


"Hollywood: A Celebration of American of American Silent Film" by Kevin Brownlow (13 part series rumored to be coming to DVD this year)


Also, TCM shows documentaries every few months an a variety of subjects- filmmakers, actors, specific studios, etc. Keep an eye for them.


This list is by no means comprehensive but it is a good starting point. Keep an open mind- some of the films reflect the times in which they were made. Remeber, film can tell us a great deal about who we were and where we come from, what we were doing at a given time, what was important to us, how we lived. Also, by watching you can see how master storytellers such as Ford, Hitchcock, Hawkes and others learned their craft and learned from their mistakes. Also, don't forget the guys like Alan Dwan, Raoul Walsh and others who are not the big names of American Film but deserve their day in the sun as well.


The most important thing is to have fun.

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Congratulations on your discovery of classic cinema, Hoz, and welcome to these boards!


I've compiled my own essential films list which, though it may be too large to begin with, can be found here:




You can also view this same list by year (instead of alphabetically) by clicking the link at the top of that same webpage. Not all of these movies are shown on TCM and the list is far from complete because it doesn't include those I haven't seen. If you want to know when the channel will be airing (some of) these, click on "TCM Picks" or follow this link:




I update these selections weekly, with my own comments, and post a summary of the must-see or rarely shown among them in the favorites folder of these message boards under "Great Movie Alert!".



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Thanks for your overwhelming generosity guys, I am going to diligently implement all this advice into my search for great movies.


I have somehow managed to center my schedule around the classics that TCM is showing this month. I have watched Sunset Blvd, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Bridge on the River Khia, Syonara, Angels With Dirty Faces, On the Waterfront, One Foot in Heaven, and The Pride of the Yankees over the weekend. It would be an understatement if I say that all these movies were spectacular in their own right. After revising the last few post's I see that I have missed the boat on Dodsworth. I have an ardent faith in the movie critique system provided to me by my Dish Network, it has proved to be infallible in the past, but I guess it has speciously detracted me from watching Dosworth. It gave Dodsworth a 2.5/4, so I wasn't too focused on watching that as opposed to a 3-4 star movie, now I feel terrible. Does TCM plan to air this movie in the forseeable future?


Also, do you guys know any thrifty bargains on some classic DVD's?

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On the thrifty prices on classic dvds, sometimes video stores will sell thier dvd or casettes on sale. Good to know you are into classic movies, watch TCM and rent videos or netflix if you have it, you'll have your favorite actor(s) and movie. I dont know if you know about the Hays code and pre-code movies but its a good subject to learn about the movies on how they made movies, what they could not say or show, no passionate kisses, un married couples living togeather, too much legs and clevage, movies had to have a approval seal to show thier movie, etc. Whorth while to learn about the production code (Hays code). Good luck.

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