3 Genre-Defining Classic Movies You Must Watch

Best classic movies.

Get out of that movie rut and watch these 3 genre-defining classic movies.

Let’s face it, we don’t necessarily have a lot of time to watch movies and when we do it’s just too easy to watch whatever is the latest on Netflix, iTunes, HuluPlus or your cable provider. When we do that, we are all missing out on on some great classic movies that set the stage for, well, all movies. Not that there aren’t good movies being released today, but there are some real overlooked classic treasures out there.

One reason to look towards films from the past is that by watching only contemporary films we are getting modern culture and society mirrored back to us. When we watch classic movies, we get not just the content but the context as well–the historical and cultural backdrop of when the film was created–and that can help us see things we may not have seen before about our current slice of time.

And there’s such a breadth of classic movies available to us that it’s really impossible to run out of original content to enjoy.

Here are 3 genre-defining classic movies you may have overlooked that you should really add to your queue.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” – 1962 Genre: Courtroom Drama

Based on the classic novel by Harper Lee, “To Kill A Mockingbird” is a powerful film about race, power, justice, family, duty and more. Gregory Peck’s portrayal of the small town lawyer defending a man unjustly accused of a crime is one of the best film performances of all time. The courtroom scenes are among the best of the genre and really set the bar for all other courtroom dramas.

“City Lights” – 1931 Genre: Romantic Comedy

Like romantic comedies? Forget anything with Matthew McConaughey in it and instead watch “City Lights.” Written, produced, directed and acted in by Charlie Chaplin, it’s a real treat. It tells the story of Chaplin’s Tramp falling in love with a blind shop girl. In typical Chaplin fashion lots of hijinks, miscommunication and adventure follow. The ending is one of the most sadly poignant endings of all time and it’s pretty much the measure against which all other films of its genre are based.

Chinatown” – 1974 Genre: Neo-Noir

“Chinatown” is a riveting neo-noir mystery starring Jack Nicholson. The Roman Polanski film is considered to be one of the best examples of noir and is also featured on many best film lists. It’s pretty much got everything that you could want in a dramatic film: mystery, psychological drama, intrigue, great one-liners and more. It details the corruption of the California Water Wars, which has far reaching implications to this day.

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Jen Wallace

Jen Wallace shares her indie life by writing about making, creating, cooking, learning, playing, decorating, and pretty much anything else that strikes her fancy from indie biz tips to the modern history of the American hemline.