Greetings, Glancers! We’re back again to check which classic movies should be considered essential within each category of viewer. Check out my 1962 Oscars posts for more on some of these movies, otherwise lets go.
Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Stars Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck, remade by Martin Scorsese, all time classic villain, influential thriller.
Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Didn’t win any Oscars, wasn’t a top grossing movie, the shocks and plot may have been diluted by time.
What I Think: One of the great thrillers and peppered with shocking moments. Essential for critics and wannabees and fans of the cast. Film Nerds should see it. Almost essential for horror fans and with enough points of interest to engage casuals.
Days Of Wine And Roses
Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Top 20 Grossing Movie, 1 Oscar win and four additional nominations, Jack Lemmon, Lee Remick, Blake Edwards, 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Old and a little dated for modern viewers, people looking for a happy time won’t be interested.
What I Think: One of the most famous and best films about addiction with two fantastic leading performances. Essential for critics. Wannabees and Nerds should try to get to it, otherwise only essential for fans of the cast.
Why It Could Be Considered Essential: The first Bond movie – need I say more?
Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Some people don’t like Bond, some people don’t like older movies.
What I Think: By no means my favourite Bond, but I consider every Bond film a personal must see. Essential for critics, Wannabees, Fans, Film Nerds, Casuals should still enjoy it and Twats will likely see it.
The Exterminating Angel
Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Luis Bunuel – that should be enough for some people. A Classic of Surrealism.
Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Old, weird, talky, foreign, no stars.
What I Think: It’s one of those weird ideas that when I hear it, I instantly want to see it – a group of people at a house party discover, though no-one understands why, that they are unable to leave. I don’t think anyone outside of Critics and Bunuel fans will deem it essential.
How The West Was Won
Why It Could Be Considered Essential: 2nd highest grossing film. Massive cast featuring Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Eli Wallach, Henry Fonda, George Peppard, Gregory Peck. Nominated for 8 Oscars, won 3. Zeppelin named a DVD after it.
Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Fairly long. Old school Westerns aren’t everyone’s thing – mine included.
What I Think: One of the last epic Westerns and a great chance to see some of Hollywood’s finest. It looks stunning. It is fairly long and it may feel disjointed to some. Film nerds should see it, Western fans should see it, I doubt anyone in any lower category will watch.
Jules And Jim
Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Truffaut. New Wave. Influential. Frequently named one of best Foreign Movies ever.
Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Foreign, old, no Oscars, not a top grossing movie, most people won’t care about the cast.
What I Think: A classic romance of heartache, desire, tragedy and fairly accessible. Essential for critics, Wannabees should get to it, Film Nerds should see it to appreciate the later media which references it, any fans of French New Wave should see it. Most others won’t care.
Lawrence Of Arabia
Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Come on, it’s one of the most famous movies ever. David Lean. Peter O’Toole. Alec Guinness. Riding out of the horizon. Omar Sharif. The soundtrack. Won seven Oscars. Was the top grossing film of the year.
Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It’s almost four hours long and people nowadays can’t be expected to go without Twitter for that long.
What I Think: Although I’m not its biggest fan it is undoubtedly one of Cinema’s greatest achievements and needs to be seen by anyone remotely serious about calling themselves a movie fan. C
Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Kubrick. Sellers. One of the most controversial books ever turned into one of the most controversial films ever. Top 15 grossing film of the year.
Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It still makes for uncomfortable viewing so anyone scared of taboo-breaking films may want to keep away.
What I Think: It’s Kubrick so you have to see it if you call yourself a film fan. You already know it’s going to be great on a technical level, but it’s also provocative and well acted. Casuals should give it a go.
Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Kurosawa. Mifune. Swords.
Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Old. Black and white. Foreign.
What I Think: I don’t like it as much as Yojimbo or Seven Samurai but it’s still one of the five or ten Kurosawa films everyone should see before they can be considered and honest ass film fan.
The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner
Why It Could Be Considered Essential: One of the most successful and highly regarded British films of the era.
Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Definitely one that Brits, and specifically Brits of the time will get the most out of.
What I Think: A product of the time but the themes echo onwards and rebellious youth is always bound to suck in new audiences. Probably only essential for critics and wannabees.
The Longest Day
Why It Could Be Considered Essential: 2nd highest grossing film of the year, nominated for five Oscars, won two, and features one or two names you may recognise – John Wayne, Richard Burton, Robert Mitchum, Sean Connery, Leslie Phillips, Curt Jurgens, Henry Fonda and many many more.
Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Some will be put off by the not fully linear plot and documentary style shooting and the cast is so large that no-one stands out.
What I Think: A classic war film with many influential moments and an incredible scope. War fans should consider it essential.
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Top 20 grossing film. John Ford. John Wayne. James Stewart. Lee Marvin. Lee Van Cleef.
Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: The usual – old, black and white, and somewhat darker than most John Ford films.
What I Think: As the Western genre was on its last legs in this decade, the big hitters needed to be at their best to stay relevant – this is one of the best and essential for Western fans.
The Mutiny On The Bounty
Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Top 10 grossing film. Brando, Milestone, Harris, Howard. Nominated for seven Oscars even though it was not well received upon release.
Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Many consider the 30s version to be the better and essential version, it was a box office bomb due to a massive budget, and critics see it as a lesser Brando performance.
What I Think: It’s still Brando, and the film was notorious for its production problems. If want to say the 30s one is best, you need to see them both. Brando fans should see it, but not essential enough for regular movie fans.
The Music Man
Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Top 5 grossing film. Nominated for 6 Oscars. Won one.
Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It’s not a musical many would name if you asked them to list five or ten off the top of their heads. Also – it’s a musical.
What I Think: You know my feelings about the genre, and outside of a small handful I wouldn’t consider any essential. However, due to its success musical fans should see it but anyone outside of that group won’t care.
To Kill A Mockingbird
Why It Could Be Considered Essential: If you’ve been to school in America or Britain you’ve read the book. And you’ve probably seen the film. Gregory Peck. Boo Radley. Racism. Top 10 grossing film. Nominated for 8 Oscars. Won three.
Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It’s a school book movie – you want to watch shit blow up when you stick a movie on. Too simplistic, too idealistic, and in attacking racism becomes racist itself.
What I Think: You have to see, don’t you. And even if you don’t want to, they’ll make you. Luckily, it’s good. Better than that Silas Marner shite anyway.
The Manchurian Candidate
Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Top 15 grossing film. Frankenheimer. Sinatra. Harvey. Janet Leigh. Angela Lansbury. Released at the height of Cold War fears.
Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: I have no idea… too slow, too long, too old?
What I Think: A gripping thriller which should pull anyone in if they give it a chance, but I can’t see anyone outside of fans of the cast clambering to see it.
Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?
Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Top 15 grossing film. Bette Davis. Joan Crawford. Nominated for five Oscars, won one.
Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: People now won’t care about the real life rivalry between the stars. It’s weird. It’s old, black and white, and features old people shrieking at each other.
What I Think: A cult classic, for more positive reasons than negative. Well acted, creepy, and still referenced enough that you should see it to understand. Probably a hard sell for modern casuals and likely a no go for anyone in a lower category of viewer.
Which of the above films would you rate as Essential, and who would you say it is Essential for? Let us know in the comments!