Classic Movies You Need to Watch – Part 1

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The winter months are the perfect time to light a candle, grab a blanket, and settle in on the couch. You could grab a book and spend the night reading or, you could make some popcorn and watch a movie or two.

Sure, you could watch one of your favorite newer releases, but why not sit back and enjoy a classic? There are so many good ones! In fact, there are so many that you may have trouble narrowing it down to one or two – but here are five that stand the test of time. (And there will be five more in Part 2!)

  • The Wizard of Oz: gives a great summary: The film centers on Dorothy, a young girl from Kansas, who is transported, along with her dog Toto, to the fantasy utopia of Oz by a tornado that sweeps her farmhouse home away. The storm carries the house with Dorothy and Toto to Munchkinland, a magical place far away from anything that Dorothy has ever seen or dreamed of. She is proclaimed a national heroine by the tiny inhabitants because the house has landed on and killed the Wicked Witch of the East, who holds power over the Munchkins. Suddenly, Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, appears and explains all that has happened to Dorothy. Dorothy naturally wishes to return home. However, the sister of the now-dead Wicked Witch of the East (the Wicked Witch of the West) makes a startling appearance. Dorothy receives protection from the Wicked Witch of the West, Glinda, when, magically, the Ruby Slippers that were worn by the dead Witch of the East are now on the feet of Dorothy; as long as she wears the slippers, says Glinda, Dorothy will be safe. The Witch of the West leaves, and Dorothy is sent along the yellow brick road to find the Wizard of Oz and get his help to return to Kansas. Along the way, Dorothy overcomes various obstacles and meets a talking scarecrow (played by Ray Bolger), a tin man (played by Jack Haley), and a cowardly lion (played by Bert Lahr), who also are unsatisfied and need to find the Emerald City, of which the Wizard is master, believing that he will give them each what they desire. Instead, the Wizard sends the fellowship on a quest to retrieve the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • Gone With the Wind: Nick Riganas summarizes Gone With the Wind as: In the face of the imminent U.S. Civil War, the pampered socialite and petulant Southern Belle, Scarlett O’Hara, basks in the limelight, enjoying a lavish lifestyle. Knowing that the rich and red-hued soil of Tara–the ancestral cotton plantation in Georgia–is the only thing worth fighting for, the resilient woman will do everything in her power to control her destiny, including marrying the wrong men to maintain her enviable social status. However, death seems to follow Scarlett–and as she swears never to be poor again, standing on the sparkling ashes of her beloved but burned-to-the-ground home–the cynical playboy, Rhett Butler, offers a way out and a new lease of life. Headstrong, passionate, and, above all, resolute, not even war–or death–can stand in Scarlett’s way; nevertheless, love is delicate and elusive, and, somehow, it is always one step ahead of her. Has Scarlett’s noble aspiration for a better future gone with the wind?
  • Casablanca: On IMDB, Kyle Perez says Casablanca is: The story of Rick Blaine, a cynical, world-weary expatriate who runs a nightclub in Casablanca, Morocco, during the early stages of WWII. Despite the pressure he constantly receives from the local authorities, Rick’s cafe has become a kind of haven for refugees seeking to obtain illicit letters that will help them escape to America. But when Ilsa, a former lover of Rick’s, and her husband, show up at his cafe one day, Rick faces a tough challenge, which will bring up unforeseen complications, heartbreak, and ultimately an excruciating decision to make.
  • West Side Story: IMDB summarizes the storyline by saying: West Side Story is the award-winning adaptation of the classic romantic tragedy “Romeo and Juliet.” The feuding families become two warring New York City gangs–the white Jets led by Riff and the Latino Sharks, led by Bernardo. Their hatred escalates to a point where neither can coexist with any form of understanding. But when Riff’s best friend (and former Jet) Tony and Bernardo’s younger sister Maria meet at a dance, no one can do anything to stop their love. Maria and Tony begin meeting in secret, planning to run away. Then the Sharks and Jets plan a rumble under the highway–whoever wins gains control of the streets. Maria sends Tony to stop it, hoping it can end the violence. It goes terribly wrong, and before the lovers know what’s happened, tragedy strikes and doesn’t stop until the climactic and heartbreaking ending.
  • Citizen Kane: This classic film is shown in introductory film classes across America, and Gary at IMDB says: After his death, the life of Charles Foster Kane – newspaper magnate and all-around larger-than-life American – is told from the perspective of those who knew him. A newspaper reporter is interviewing those in Kane’s life, hoping to learn the meaning of Kane’s last word, Rosebud. Kane was sent to a boarding school at a young age after his mother struck it rich thanks to a mining claim that was signed over to her in lieu of rent. He came into his vast fortune at the age of 25 and promptly bought a newspaper. His idea of news was to make it as much as report it, and along with his good friend, Jedediah Leland, had a rollicking good time. Unsuccessful in his bid for political office, his relationships with those around him begin to deteriorate, and he dies, old and alone, whispering the word Rosebud.

Which of these have you watched? Which ones are you looking forward to watching? These five movies are cinematic classics that you don’t want to miss! And there will be five more in Part 2 of this blog – coming soon!

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