Classic Film Guide

What is the definition of a Classic Film? Well, it depends. Some would say that a “classic film” is any movie made during the days that the Hollywood studio system was in place. In those pre-1970’s days, most actors and actresses were under exclusive contracts to a single studio. If they worked for another studio at all, it was usually because of a trade, or some other arrangement, between the studio bosses. Others would say that any film which receives wide acclaim from film critics, or with (e.g. Academy) award recognition, would earn the standard and should be dubbed a classic film. Unfortunately, both of these methods are suspect due to personal prejudices, errors of omission, and even corruption.

So, how do I define Classic Film? Using a little of both, actually. For the purposes of this site, a “classic film” is any movie made during the Hollywood studio system era which has also received significant recognition, either at the time it was released or subsequently, by connoisseurs of great movies (such as me). If you find this definition to be a bit too vague, you should realize that that was exactly my intent!

I created this Classic Film Guide to celebrate “great movies” as well as to introduce (or reintroduce) films which I think have been forgotten, or even neglected, in today’s myopic film industry. It is unfortunate that, with the advent of television and the collapse of the studio system (and the creation of the summer blockbuster), the focus of Hollywood’s bottom-line executives has been on such a narrow segment of the movie-going population. For decades, this attempt to appeal primarily to the younger, dating audience (in order to score a huge opening weekend box office) has caused the industry to produce largely forgettable films. The emphasis on new, quality stories has been lost in the pursuit of: stunning computer generated special effects, celebrity “vehicles”, or ripping off classic movies with inferior (and oftentimes) title-only remakes.

I sincerely hope that my efforts here in (creating and maintaining) this guide will help you to find, or remember, classic movies which make you think, appreciate, and even experience this art-form in a whole new way. The best of films can give one a deep feeling of satisfaction – a good cry, a warming in your heart, a laugh in your belly, or a gut-wrenching sorrow – or even help you to learn something new. If any film I’ve included on this site accomplishes this goal (e.g. affects you in a powerful way), please share it with your friends & family, and then tell them about this website. Don’t forget to bookmark it (e.g. add it to your favorites) so that you can return here again and again. I try to update it several times every week!

Lastly, let me know (after finding this site, reading its content, and watching a great classic movie) what you think of my efforts and this website. Of course, I’d love hearing that you enjoyed reading my classic movie reviews (1,465 as of 2/3/14), but I’d also like to know how I could improve this site to better meet your classic film needs. Thanks!

For information about the use of this website and its content, read my FAQ. You can also email me if you have any questions.

  1. Rob Post author

    A user asked the following:
    Can you help.As a child I recall an old b&w film that left an impact on me and I would love to find out what it was called. It was about a pilot in difficulty and the onkynperson he can contact by radio is a woman whose child has diptheria. He talks her through operating in her child to save it’s life before he crashes. Years ago I saw it but that was the plot from what I can recall. I have tried googling the plot various ways but haven’t come up with eht title. Any ideas? Thanks.

    Reply
  2. Rob Post author

    Another user asked the following:
    This great movie was on TCM in the middle of the night. I’m trying to track it down but don’t remember the title. I’m a little foggy about the details, as it was on in the wee hours.

    It is an early1940s film about a very likable family who is controlled by an evil uncle or grandfather, who threatens to cut the granddaughter out of the will if she does not marry a wealthy prince who will bring more money into the family. Of course, she is in love with a working man who has no money to bring into the family. The father in the family is a banker who has lost everything in the depression and the grandfather is threatening to expose the father as a crooked banker. In the end, the father flies off in his private plane into terrible weather, planning to crash the plane, therefore foiling the evil grandfather’s plan to shame him publicly, and allowing the daughter to marry the man she loves rather than the wealthy prince.

    This may not be the exact plot, but it’s the best I can recall from seeing this film while in and out of sleep. It has a rather dark ending, but is a wonderful film that I would love to find so I can enjoy it while fully awake!

    Can you help? Thank you so much!

    Reply

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