ByKrishna Daniels, writer at

Steven Spielberg once said in an interview that it was just as important to study the classics as it was to study more recent films, because "all the movie brats [of the 1970s] learn from the masters of the 40s and 50s and 30s."

Let's take a look at some of those classics. Here are ten classic films for the budding cinephile to watch.

1. If you enjoy Silly Fish-Out-of-Water Tales, give Some Like It Hot (1959) a try

This film will seem familiar because many comedy directors to follow have found inspiration in Wilder's comedic structure. And no wonder - this film is a downright gas! Everyone says they love and find inspiration in Marilyn Monroe; her performance as the sweet, naive Sugar will show you why.

Give, what AFI calls the "Funniest Film of All Time," a chance.

Famous Line: "Well, nobody's perfect."

Available for rent on Amazon .

2. If you like Political Dramas with Strong Female Leads, check out Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

In a world of Scandal, House of Cards, and The Good Wife, it's nice to find a character such as the politically naive "Happy" Hopper, played by James Stewart, enter the political game with so much hope for the US government. Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes To Washington looks to the optimistic idea that any individual can make a difference in his/her nation. Whether this sentiment is true or not , it's always nice to take a break and just believe it is. But the greatest highlight of this film is Jean Arthur's character, Saunders, an experienced DC secretary who guides the bumbling Happy throughout the senatorial process.

Famous Line: "All you people don't know about lost causes. Mr. Paine does. He said once they were the only causes worth fighting for and he fought for them once. For the only reason any man ever fights for them. Because of just one plain simple rule. Love thy neighbor."

Currently available on Netflix.

3. If you love Romantic Musicals That Give You Serious Wanderlust, watch An American In Paris (1951)

I'm a little biased here - I will fully admit to crushing on Gene Kelly. But believe me: when you see An American in Paris, you will understand why! Kelly plays the charismatic Jerry Mulligan, an American painter trying to make a name for himself in Paris. The highlight of this film really comes down to the musical compositions by George Gershwin and the spectacular ballet finale. Sure Singin' in the Rain is spectacular but An American in Paris will have you vying for a trip to the dreamy city of lights faster than you can say "Bonjour!"

Famous Line: "Back home everyone said I didn't have any talent. They might be saying the same thing over here but it sounds better in French."

Currently available on Amazon Instant.

4. If you love Satirical Looks at Real People, go see a A Hard Day's Night (1963)

Many filmmakers have tried to make self aware comedies such as A Hard Day's Night, but few have succeeded (This is Spinal Tap being one of the few). Director Richard Lester managed to succeed - so much so that their film was added to the Criterion Collection this past June. Enter a world of fangirl mania, fun '60s pop tunes, and the smart-aleck musicians which made them famous.

Famous Line: "We know how to behave! We've had lessons."

Currently available on Hulu.

5. If you like Hilarious Satires Focused on Serious Issues, The Great Dictator (1940) is your film

It's difficult to blend comedy with real life issues without treading the line of offensive and brilliant. (Exhibit A: The Interview) Chaplin jumps straight to brilliance. One scene to look out for is when the Dictator waltzes with a globe claiming that it is "[his ]world," a scene that is so simple but manages to say so much. This was the first film I bought from the Criterion Collection and it did not disappoint.

Famous Line: "I'm sorry, but I don't want to be an emperor. That's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery."

Currently available on Hulu.

6. If you want to see a Serious Film Not Set in America, try out Black Girl/La Noire De... (1966)

Time to explore beyond Western films. Ousmene Sembene's Black Girl tells the story of a young Senegalese woman who moves to France in the 1960s to work as a nanny. The tough material may make you wary but this is a great film to introduce film-lovers to themes of post-colonialism, racism, and cultural identity. Also, you may want to carry a handkerchief along to this movie - waterworks are pretty much guaranteed.

Famous Line: This film bases itself upon actions rather than words, so pay attention to those key wordless moments.

Currently available on Netflix.

7. If you want Old-Fashioned Violence with Honest Lessons, Bonnie and Clyde (1967) is your fare

There is no glamour in shooting people or robbing, but there is a glamour to being on the road, escaping your problems with someone you love. Bonnie and Clyde teeters that line between the glamour of running away and having to face the mistakes you made. When you combine the effortless cool of the sixties, two good looking actors, and that glamour, you're bound to make a story that people will want to repeat for ages to come.

Famous Line: "Some day, they'll go down together / They'll bury them side by side / To a few, it'll be grief / To the law, a relief / But it's death for Bonnie and Clyde."

Currently available on Amazon Instant.

8. If you love Terrifying Flicks Tied to 1960s Strife, Night of the Living Dead (1968) is the way to go

If you've enjoyed any zombie film within the past twenty years and have not seen Night of the Living Dead, something is very wrong. George Romero's classic provided the basic structure to the modern Western zombie. More importantly, Romero highlights serious social issues underneath all the blood and guts. You won't know whether to feel more afraid of the zombies or the person sitting next to you on the couch. This film is available for the public domain, so you pretty much have no excuse not to see it. In fact, check out the video above for the whole film.

Famous Line: "Yeah, they're dead. They're all messed up."

Currently available on YouTube and the Internet Archive.

9. If you are Constantly in Awe of Stunning SFX, give A Trip to the Moon (1902) a chance

Obsessed with the Sci-Fi/FX scene of today? Watch A Trip to the Moon. Méliès is known as an innovator of special effects who paved the way for the likes of Ray Harryhausen, ILM, and Pixar. Take a break from CGI for a moment and go back to a time of pulleys and stop motion.

Famous Line: It's a silent film, my friends. Just sit back and take it all in.

Currently available for free on YouTube.

10. If you want a Creepy Thriller in a Foreign Language, try out Eyes Without A Face/Les yeux sans visage (1960)

Rounding out the list is George Franju's Eyes Without a Face. Don't let the subtitles deter you; this is a film that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Eerie plastic surgeon, Dr. Génessier, attempts to reconstruct his daughter's face from the faces of other young women. It's worth waiting until the end to see what lies under Christiane's creepy, uncanny mask.

Famous Line: "Smile. Not too much."

Available on Hulu.

What are your favorite classic films?


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