There are a lot of movies out there that are considered classics. Often, your age might determine whether or not you feel a movie is a classic or not. For those belonging to the Generation Y group, they believe that as long as a movie was made before they were born, it is a classic, which would put Adventures in Babysitting (1987) in that esteemed category. Indeed many might agree that Elizabeth Shue’s performance as a poor, inexperienced babysitter who gets herself and her charges in amazing amounts of trouble and manages to get them out of it without harming a hair on their heads is pretty convincing, it does not quite compare to Vivien Leigh in Gone With The Wind (1939). And while her constant droning of “This has all just been a big mistake”, is fairly reminiscent of Scarlett’s naivety in her own mantra, “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow”, this does not a classic movie make.
So what IS a classic movie? Some consider the year of production to be what makes a movie a classic. Movies from the 1960s and going backwards to the very beginning of movie making history often get touted as classics, whether they were honestly good movies or not. Many others consider the number of awards the film as received as the deciding factor whether or not a movie is a classic. While there is no set in stone definition of what makes a movie a classic, there are some definite opinions out there. So how do you know which films would actually qualify to go in a list of “classics”?
Think back to the time when a “love scene” consisted of one heavy breathing, desperately clutching kiss fading away into the dark nothingness that led to the next scene. There were no characters throwing each other’s clothes off (with the possible exception of a lightly wrapped scarf or image impeding hat). There were no contracts for nude scenes, because there were no nude scenes. There were no uncomfortable images of over-revealed skin or people in positions that led children to ask their parents, “What are they doing?”
Think back to a time when the budget of a movie had nothing to do with whether or not it was a success. When the actors were truly actors, with flaws and a crooked front tooth and an occasionally noticeable stutter; they were not nipped and tucked beauty queens of the male and female variety, nor were they computerized images with actors’ voices. When an explosion on the screen was truly the work of a master explosive specialist and there might have actually been a little bit of danger in the making of it, not simply a click here and a click there to make a special effects explosion that never left the screen of the computer that created it.
If you are still having trouble discerning what makes a movie a classic, think back to a time when movies and the actors who made them were real. That, my friends, is a classic movie.