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Do you guys consider movies from the 70s onward "classic"?


Debra Johnson
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I've had this conversation before w/others and some do.  Personally, when I speak of "classic" I am referring to movies from say mid 60s and prior specifically movies from the 30s, 40s & 50s.  I'm always disappointed and annoyed when TCM shows movies from the 70s and 80s.

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As time passes and the '70s get further and further away I reckon we'll see more 1970s movies on TCM.  Same with the '80s.  There is no concrete definition of how old a movie must be to be considered a 'classic' is there?  I don't know of one. 

 

     The way I look at is 'classic' has 2 meanings.  One meaning is that a movie is simply old no matter how good or bad it is.  I could illustrate this notion also by using my car.  I have a 1964 Ford Falcon and it's designated a 'classic car' due to its advancing age of 50+ years and nothing else.  Whether it's a good car or not is irrelevant.  ► It's old and that's all that counts. 

 

     Then there's the 'classic' designation for a older movie that's considered very good or outstanding.  I figure MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON would qualify.  Or SERGEANT YORK among scores of others.  A decent movie I watched on TCM last week like ROAD GANG (1936) wouldn't qualify as a classic movie under the 2nd definition.  It's classic because it's old, but it's not a classic movie.  It is a decent way to spend an hour, but like far more movies than not it isn't a classic film. 

 

     Hopefully that makes sense to anyone reading this post.       

 

    

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As time passes and the '70s get further and further away I reckon we'll see more 1970s movies on TCM.  Same with the '80s.  There is no concrete definition of how old a movie must be to be considered a 'classic' is there?  I don't know of one. 

 

     The way I look at is 'classic' has 2 meanings.  One meaning is that a movie is simply old no matter how good or bad it is.  I could illustrate this notion also by using my car.  I have a 1964 Ford Falcon and it's designated a 'classic car' due to its advancing age of 50+ years and nothing else.  Whether it's a good car or not is irrelevant.  ► It's old and that's all that counts. 

 

     Then there's the 'classic' designation for a older movie that's considered very good or outstanding.  I figure MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON would qualify.  Or SERGEANT YORK among scores of others.  A decent movie I watched on TCM last week like ROAD GANG (1936) wouldn't qualify as a classic movie under the 2nd definition.  It's classic because it's old, but it's not a classic movie.  It is a decent way to spend an hour, but like far more movies than not it isn't a classic film. 

 

     Hopefully that makes sense to anyone reading this post.       

I fully understand what you're saying.  I watched "Juke Girl" tonight w/Ronald Reagen.  It was a decent movie but not a "classic" in the sense it was superior it is classic in the sense that it was old....from 1942.

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When I started watching classic films with Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers these movies were 20 or 25 years old. Unless they had been killed in the war or some unfortunate incident or accident, all these movie stars were very much alive and appearing either in movies or on television and certainly on TV talk shows.

 

Part of what makes a film a Classic Hollywood film is the existence of the studio system and what we still call the Golden Age of Hollywood. Films that I watched while in college still had remnants of that studio system.

 

People watched the late show all throughout the 1950s into the early sixties in the United States. But it wasn't until the mid-sixties that classic film started to get respect in terms of being art. It seems like the whole Revival system started with Humphrey Bogart movies, I think in New York City.

 

My Generation's group of movie stars are just about ready to be classified as classic because that's simply the age they're at.

 

So if we go back to the best performances of Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Warren Beatty, Barbra Streisand, Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, ect. I think we'd be getting into something that we could call a classic film. We might be looking at dates from 1968 to 1980.

 

I would definitely vote for Midnight Cowboy, The Graduate, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, The Godfather, Godfather II, Five Easy Pieces, Play It Again Sam, Bonnie and Clyde, Dog Day Afternoon , Funny Girl, Funny Lady, The Way We Were The Great Gatsby etcetera.

 

When I first saw Meet Me in St Louis in the early sixties, it certainly was not even 20 years old as a film. But there it was on The Late Show and there it was a classic. That was the case in part because so much of the studio system and old Hollywood had already been dismantled because of television and changes in taste.

 

As for calling every Tom Dick and Harry movie made in the 1930's or 40s a classic - - well of course, there were a lot of ordinary and mediocre movies made. But it is a certain style and a certain look to these films that connoisseurs like myself really do enjoy. I can honestly say I prefer a mediocre movie made in 1936 to a good movie made in 2016. It's a matter of taste.

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One good thing about most bad movies from the 1930s and '40s:  They were short!  Now we have these bloated, expensive CGI Blockbusters that seem to me are nothing more than soulless dreck . . . and they're so much longer!  I suppose that's to give the audience their money's worth. 

 

       I'd rather pay $9 bucks to see the 70-minute 1932 movie JEWEL ROBBERY than fork out the same amount of $cabbage$ for one of those 3-hour Peter Jackson 'Hobbit' epics.  No Thanks, Peter.  I'll stick with Bill and Kay and the funny cigarettes.   

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Where TCM shines for me, is when it provides me an opportunity to watch stuff that's not readily available through the other networks (and sometimes not through streaming either) & to watch without the enforced ADD that having adverts inserted every 10 minutes, implies. I'm not so fussed that a given movie has to be from the golden era, or even that it can defined as classic by whatever measure you care to apply - the larger concerns to me, are usually along the lines of is the film interesting/enjoyable, is it likely to stir up nostalgic memories, or is it something that isn't likely to show up elsewhere? For me, TCM usually hits more often than it misses on those counts.

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During the eight years or so I have been a member of this board, this same topic has launched dozens and dozens of similarly themed threads, maybe  more than 100 of them. They're always begun by someone with a very small number of total posts and someone whom I frankly can't remember from any other threads and also usually someone who rarely if ever posts again. And every time I wonder if it's the same one or two or three people simply creating new identities to try to make this topic seem more of a burning issue than it actually is. Call me paranoid, but I think there's some merit to my theory.

 

However, original poster, if you are indeed someone new and different from all those other poster/posters, I'd like to answer your question honestly and sincerely. As Mr. Gorman, indicates, one's answer probably hinges on largely on what one's definition of "classic" is. Usually, when someone begins this thread, eventually someone will get around to indicating that Robert Osborne, in the very first monologue he ever delivered on the network 22 years ago, indicated that classics of a more modern vintage would also figure into the network's programming. So, the idea that TCM shows a post-1970 movie is not some horrific betrayal of the network's original intent, as is often claimed by these posters. My interpretation of this is that the people behind TCM feel that a newer movie can also be a "classic" movie by virtue of the fact that it's good, that's in the style of a classic genre, that it features memorable performances, direction, cinematography, costumes, etc.

 

So, I'm all in favor of post-1970 movies if they meet those above criteria. I would say I consider most of the 70s films being presented in July as "classic" films. My biggest wish for TCM is continued diversity of films from any era. I'd rather see a post-1970 film on TCM that I've never seen before than an older film that I've seen on TCM a dozen times or more. That is infinitely more important to me than what year a film came from.

 

Also, '70s and '80s films aren't so new anymore. Bear in mind that a film released between 1970 and 1989 is now at least 27 years old and as much as 46 years old. It's not like TCM is running marathons of FAST AND FURIOUS movies. Your perspective of how old or new these movies are depends largely on when you were born, I think, but from a sheer numerical viewpoint, these films are now ranging from the one whole generation to two whole generations-old range.

 

To read you say you're ALWAYS DISAPPOINTED AND ANNOYED when a post-1970 film airs (always?) indicates a very strong prejudice. Doesn't sound like anyone could ever dissuade you to think otherwise. Personally, I'm not disappointed if it's a good movie and if it's one I've never seen before or haven't seen often.

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I've had this conversation before w/others and some do.  Personally, when I speak of "classic" I am referring to movies from say mid 60s and prior specifically movies from the 30s, 40s & 50s.  I'm always disappointed and annoyed when TCM shows movies from the 70s and 80s.

I know you are new, but you might be interested to know that there have been countless threads, and hundreds of posts over the years discussing this very subject.

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I know you are new, but you might be interested to know that there have been countless threads, and hundreds of posts over the years discussing this very subject.

Yes, that's right. I wondered if someone would come along and complain about these films being too new. 

 

First, I would be a hypocrite if I said I favored movies after the production code. The ones I like best are from 1934 to 1959, when the code was in full force. This is due to a variety of reasons. Namely it is because I'm a WWII history buff, so I like to see how society was depicted in motion pictures leading up to the war, through the war and then right afterward during the post-war recovery period. I'd probably feel this way if we had movies made before-during-and-after the Civil War. So this is my bias.

 

But I also think there is historical value in looking at films from the 1960s onward, especially if we're talking about Vietnam and Watergate, or the Reagan-Gorbachev cold war era. There are some great films from those years.

 

Now, in terms of the July 2016 schedule, should we ding TCM's programmers for including four nights devoted to the 70s? Especially when we look at all the earlier De Havilland films that are being offered. This particular month has a lot of variety to offer. And it seems unfair to imply that TCM should not show post-code films or that we must be disappointed in TCM for doing so. 

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Welcome here, Debby( mind if I CALL you that?)

 

Yeah, it's a point that's been argued here often.  Sure, the word "classic" has a few definitions, according to Webster( the BIG BOOK, not the LITTLE KID!) But consider--------

 

It would first help to know how TCM intended the word "classic" to be used.  Then we can presumptuously decide if they're  correct in their movie choices.  As for now, it's left up to the individual( if indeed they ARE one) as to whether a TCM presentation, to them, is really "classic".

 

As TCM is found primarily(as far as I know) on cable services, and THEY usually have three to four hundred OTHER channels to choose from, surely if a viewer is at odds with TCM as to their choice of "classic" movie being shown, CAN find something else to entertain them.

 

Personally, when you consider movies from the '70's (most of them anyway) are by now damned near, or over forty years old, well, in filmspeak, that IS old, and those movies therefore qualify as "classic".  in ONE sense of the word at least.  As far as MR. GORMAN'S second definition, that's purely subjective, and only works if you're the kind of person who allows others to decide what has quality(movie-wise) or not.  OR if one is pretentious /presumptuous enough to think THEY qualify making that decision for others.

 

 

Sepiatone

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I've had this conversation before w/others and some do.  Personally, when I speak of "classic" I am referring to movies from say mid 60s and prior specifically movies from the 30s, 40s & 50s.  I'm always disappointed and annoyed when TCM shows movies from the 70s and 80s.

Though I do not consider movies from the 1970's as classics, there still are some which I would enjoy watching and which could become classics. But not as many by far as those of preceding decades. I think it is just like comic books being called from the Golden or Silver period.

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I've had this conversation before w/others and some do.  Personally, when I speak of "classic" I am referring to movies from say mid 60s and prior specifically movies from the 30s, 40s & 50s.  I'm always disappointed and annoyed when TCM shows movies from the 70s and 80s.

What is a "classic?"  Many (most?) of the movies TCM shows are not really classic, but rather just old movies that are very entertaining.  I really appreciate them.  Using the rating system used for Charter's on screen information, only movies with 3 or 4 stars would be classics.

Old cars is one of my interests and the debate is just as strong there about what is a classic.  In fact, many just refer to them as collectible cars.  Rule of thumb is that any vehicle 25 or older is a "classic," sort of, or maybe just a collectible.  One organization has a very convoluted method of classifying cars as "classic."

If using the 25 year rule, it changes every year.  A 1991 movie is now a classic.

My wife watched Love Story yesterday for first time since it came out.  I watched parts of it.  When it came out, it was a hit destined to be a classic.  Now it is a 2 star movie.

One advantage to TCM that someone pointed out is the many entertaining movies that are 90 minutes or less.

We have gotten into the habit of seldom watching movies over two hours long.  They just add a lot of filler and once you have seen the movie, they tend to become boring for rewatching.

A Bridge Too Far on Memorial Day is one example.  My wife refers to it as a Movie Too Long.

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I've had this conversation before w/others and some do.  Personally, when I speak of "classic" I am referring to movies from say mid 60s and prior specifically movies from the 30s, 40s & 50s.  I'm always disappointed and annoyed when TCM shows movies from the 70s and 80s.

 

It all depends on what you consider to be a classic movie and what you like to see.  You will find a different definition for every single poster who replies.  At times I think TCM should have been called TBD (Turner Beloved Dramas) or TBM (Turner Beloved Melodramas), but then they play a string of comedies (my kind of classic), horrors, or mysteries.  So it just it what it is...lol.  DVR the good stuff, ignore the garbage.

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There are two ways to consider how a movie can be a classic.   One is its age, the  other is its quality.  I prefer  movies made during the Golden age of Hollywood my favourite.  But I watch a lot of 4 or 5 star quality movies from 1970 onwards even if they are not my normal genre (eg. Apocalypse Now) because they are highly regarded.  And there are some independently produced films made since the start of this century that I consider classic because of their quality.

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The 1971 movie 'Friends' starring Anicee Alvina is one movie I'd like to watch again.  It's 46 years old.  I like the soundtrack the best as his legal name was then Reginald Dwight whom we know now as Elton John.  Nobody knew he was going to become a star then.  Maybe TCM Underground. 

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It all depends on what you consider to be a classic movie and what you like to see.  You will find a different definition for every single poster who replies.  At times I think TCM should have been called TBD (Turner Beloved Dramas) or TBM (Turner Beloved Melodramas), but then they play a string of comedies (my kind of classic), horrors, or mysteries.  So it just it what it is...lol.  DVR the good stuff, ignore the garbage.

 

Perhaps Turner's Curated Movies might cover all the bases?

 

Or back to vicious rumour's Turner Canadian Movies, given the amount of Canadian input in Hollywood & on these boards... ;)

 

Hmm. Just remembered that TCM airs the odd documentary (Conversation with Gregory Peck, multiple Declines of Western Civilization), as well - so, may be it should be Ben & Bob Curate (and hope Auntie Beeb doesn't notice).

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My main criteria for designating a movie as: classic is that it is: timeless. I mean by that that the movie would have the same meaning and impact and interest if all matters of wardrobe, hair styles, automobiles, decor and other such elements were of a different era. The movies do not become: dated.

 

I admit freely that I am quite: wishy-washy when applying such definition to certain specific genres in specific decades. I can give as examples: American comedy murder mysteries of: 1930s, Czech surrealism of: 1960s, American romantic comedies of: 1960s, German crime dramas of: 1930s, Japanese science fiction of: 1950s and such. These movies are very much of their era and would not have same meaning and impact and interest if set in different era.  

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Perhaps Turner's Curated Movies might cover all the bases?

 

Or back to vicious rumour's Turner Canadian Movies, given the amount of Canadian input in Hollywood & on these boards... ;)

 

Hmm. Just remembered that TCM airs the odd documentary (Conversation with Gregory Peck, multiple Declines of Western Civilization), as well - so, may be it should be Ben & Bob Curate (and hope Auntie Beeb doesn't notice).

Maybe Turner Canadian Movies could celebrate July 1st with Canadian film stars?

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I'm not Canadian but I do like to drink Canadian Mist so I concur, GPF.

 

It's the least TCM can do for our friends there.

 

The Wine Club would be much more interesting if it shipped out stuff like that.

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Though I do not consider movies from the 1970's as classics, there still are some which I would enjoy watching and which could become classics. But not as many by far as those of preceding decades. I think it is just like comic books being called from the Golden or Silver period.

Right.  Two of my fave movies "Urban Cowboy" and "Steel Magnolias" I've watched at least 10-15 times, own them on DVD and know the lines/scenes by heart......I don't consider them "classic" though.

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Really?  What's been the general consensus?

I think people (message board posters) are fairly divided on the issue. The main problem-- a lack of consensus about how to define classic film, because all movies will eventually become old movies. But are they all going to become classic?

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