Classic Movies

My husband and I have taken to watching old movies.  Here is what we have watched so far.

Casablanca (1942)

It Happened One Night (1934)

North by Northwest (1959)

Paper Moon (1973)

Rear Window (1954)


I enjoyed all of them.  I absolutely loved Paper Moon, and Rear Window has long been a favorite of mine.  I want to see more Alfred Hitchcock, and North by Northwest did not disappoint.  People keep telling me I need to see Psycho now.  Should I?  I just might on my birthday next year. I tend to watch scary movies on my birthday.

On my twenty-third birthday, my husband and I watched What Lies Beneath.  Daylight streamed through the windows that evening, but we were clinging together on the couch in suspense.  I think my husband even screamed a little at one point. He’ll deny that.

It Happened One Night was also a repeat for me, but it was fun to experience watching it with my husband.  And Clark Gable is so handsome.  So so handsome.

Neither one of us had ever seen Casablanca before.  It is one of those movies you always hear about and we supposed we ought to become “cultured” by watching it.  I really liked it, and I finally realized why that song “As Time Goes By” has always been so popular and meaningful.

I think what I like about watching these movies is the reference and context they give me. I gain new understanding of old knowledge and new ways of relating to contemporary movies or stars that refer to them.

I can’t wait to watch more.  On tap are All About Eve, His Girl Friday, and From Here to Eternity.  I’ve already seen Citizen Kane, but my husband wants to experience it.  I think he should also see Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times as well.  We might also revisit Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Twelve Angry Men.

Any others we should see?

74 thoughts on “Classic Movies

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  1. There are some great movies there! I would recommend A Matter of Life and Death and The Night of the Hunter. I’m going to check out It Happened One Night as I’ve never seen it!

  2. Roman Holiday I agree is an absolute must. I would also check out “Vertigo”, “To Catch a Thief” is one of my all-time favorites, and also “Rope”. Jimmy Stewart is amazing in that film…

  3. Casablanca is one of my favourite movies of all time, and you should definitely watch Psycho!

    Here are some suggestions –

    The Country Girl
    The Long Weekend
    Key Largo
    Don’t Bother to Knock
    The Rack

  4. I would suggest the Thin Man movies with William Powell and Myrna Loy, Niagara with Marilyn Monroe, and just for fun The Ms. Marple movies with Margaret Rutherford.

    I go back and forth on whether or not I want to see Hitchcock’s version of Rebecca. I know that they said the ending had to change based on the Hollywood rule board back then. I know that isn’t what it is called but I can’t remember the actual name.

    In fact, It’s a Wonderful Life sort of broke the rules because back then the “villain” needed to be punished for the crime. Mr. Potter was never punished for taking the Bailey Building & Loan money.

  5. This is a good list! Read Window has been a long time favourite, along with Casablanca. As a total film buff, I wanted to say that if you don’t mind silent films, I recommend Metropolis and cabinet of doctor caligari as a couple of must sees 🙂

  6. Anything with the names Spencer Tracy, Alfred Hitchcock, Bette Davis, and Jimmy Stewart sit well with me. I also like Gregory Peck (Mockingbird is one of the classics!) and Judy Garland.

  7. Great movies. Two of my favorites are:
    Harvey with James Stewart
    The Trouble with Harry starring Edmund Gwynn and Shirley MacLaine
    Also, In the Heat of the Night starring Sidney Poitier

  8. All great choices. Casablanca is my favorite, but I like many of the others you mentioned. Who knew Perry Mason could play a bad guy so well in Rear Window? If you have not seen these, you may want to add them to your great list of to be watched – Witness for the Prosecution (with Chatles Laughton, Tyrone Power and Marlene Dietrich), Mutiny on the Bounty (with Laughton, Clark Gable), The African Queen (Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn), Breaker Morant (best Aussie movie ever), The Book Thief (one of the best movies in the past few years) just to name a few. Happy watching. BTG

      1. Emily, he has scenes without a shirt, as well. Remember to get the black and white version and not the 1960s version with Marlon Brando. Laughton plays the hated Captain quite well. BTG

        1. Emily, my wife and I watched “Twelve Years a Slave” this weekend. This is one of the best and most powerful movies I have seen in the past few years. It is a tough watch, though, so brace yourself. Take care, BTG

          1. I saw that one on the airplane to Vienna earlier this year. Yes, a hard watch but so moving and important. I was diappointed to learn that he later went back into slavery.

  9. I love the movie ‘Charade’ with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn – a good mystery with a twist.

  10. Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights” from 1931 is his and anyone’s masterpiece. Although purposely made as a silent film using “dialogue cards” and a musical track four years into the talkies era, that approach only serves to heighten its emotional impact. Chaplin did it all with this film: Acting, directing, and even personally editing much of the film in the cutting room. A must-see film with an unforgettably-staged ending. I would also recommend Sidney Poitier in “Lillies of the Field” and probably the best musical ever, “Singing in the Rain” with Gene Kelley and a very young Debbie Reynolds!

    1. I really love what I have seen of Chaplin, so I’m sure this one will be of interest to me. Did you see the film about him with Robert Downey Jr? I liked it. Also, I’ve never seen Singing in the Rain! It is time to do so.

  11. This is a fun idea! I don’t have any to add to your list, though, because I am woefully behind on any movie watching at all. The kids own Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which is one I never watched when I was young. Surprising, since it was made around the time of Mary Poppins, and we have that one memorized. Watching old movies would be like reading the classics (except they don’t go as far back).

  12. I loved Casablanca too. I’m going through an 80’s classic fit lately, but for classic classics I recommend Mutiny on the Bounty and Out of Africa. Two of my favorites.

      1. So far my favorite has been “Say Anything” but unfortunately I’m discovering that I’m not a huge fan of movies of that time period. Next up for me is “Can’t Buy Me Love,” which I’ve been told is good, but I haven’t seen it yet so I can’t vouch.

        1. One of my favorites was She’s Out of Control with Tony Danza. I’m not sure if it was 80s or early 90s, and I wouldn’t say it was high brow, but as a teenage girl, I loved it!

    1. Meant to say, I also just finished reading To Kill A Mockingbird – having first read it in my teens for High School English. If you haven’t visited the book as well as the move as an adult, you so should 🙂

      1. I just read the book a few months ago, and called it “the perfect book” here on my blog. So so so so so so good! Yes, everybody should revisit that one as an adult!

  13. In addition to the above-mentioned, if you haven’t already seen these older classics: Gone With The Wind; To Catch A Thief; The Wizard of Oz. More modern classics: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Bugsy Malone; The Sting; and Love Story.

    Don’t dismiss the 80s, which gave us: Ghost; Amadeus; A Room with a View; Blade Runner; Blue Velvet; Moonstruck; Big; Romancing the Stone; The Princess Bride; The Unbearable Lightness of Being; When Harry Met Sally, The Untouchables; and the quirky British modern classic Withnail and I.

    The 80s also gave us some landmark movies of their time: Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which combined animation with live action for the first time in a full length movie; Raiders of the Lost Ark, which sparked a return to the old-fashioned swashbuckling type of adventure movies; and Back to the Future because it’s just such fun to watch a boy watching his parents as bumbling teenagers!

    If you’re into movies with subtitles, these are definitely worth watching: Cinema Paradiso; Jean de Florette and its sequel Manon des Sources – also all made in the 80s, as well as the beautiful La Gloire de Mon Pere/My Father’s Glory and Le Chateau de Ma Mere/My Mother’s Castle, which were made together in the early 90s.

    Okay, I’ll shut up now…

    1. These are awesome! You know your movies. I do want to clarify that I lived through the 80s, because the 23rd birthday I mentioned happened over ten years ago! But you’ve nailed it with what was good then. And funny thing, I’ve seen a few of the French films you mentioned because of my Dad. Have you seen Babette’s Feast? It is amazing, but it has been so long that I need to watch it again. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this wonderful and comprehensive list! This would give anybody a great education in film. Love it!

  14. If you’re in the mood for Hitchcock, I would suggest Strangers on a Train, Dial M for Murder, and Spellbound. I would recommend Notorious too, but it looks like Book Club Mom beat me to it! Also, Gaslight starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. That movie was fantastic (but make sure it’s the 1944 version. There was an earlier version, but that one wasn’t quite as good).

  15. I tried watching Rear Window a few months ago but didn’t make it past the 20 minute mark (or thereabouts). I found it quite boring, and I couldn’t stand Grace Kelly’s character. When does it start getting exciting? (I assume it must or else it wouldn’t be so popular!)

    1. Hmm, I’m not sure exactly when it gets exciting, but it does! I was a little annoyed by her character this time around as well, but you really should give it another shot. 😉

  16. The comments remind me how many great films there are, and how many I need to watch again. Other favourites of mine are Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story. If you’re moving through the decades there is also Bonnie and Clyde, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid plus one of my all time favourites The Parallax View for political paranoia. Emma

  17. Well, since your readers are sharing their favorite classics, I might as well throw one of mine out as well. You should check out “Arsenic and Old Lace”, one of my favorite classics, and probably my favorite Cary Grant film! Such a great movie!

  18. I think Rear Window is my favorite Hitchcock, but Psycho is definitely worth watching. Not nearly as old, but an excellent novelization is To Kill a Mockingbird. My favorite Cary Grant is The Philadelphia Story.

  19. “Streetcar” and “on the waterfront” Brando revolutionized acting with these films. Love all the films on your list.

  20. You’ve already watched some real classics and there are some great suggestions of other movies to watch. I personally love old movies. There is something you get from watching an old movie that you just don’t get from a modern day film. Men were real men, and the women were beautiful, classy and elegant. I absolutely love anything with Doris Day and love the ‘Road’ movies with Bob Hope and Gene Kelly. Happy viewing!

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