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Ten Vintage Movies Every Millenial Should Watch

Let’s face it — movies today just don’t hit like they used to. Personally, I’ve had just about enough mediocre Disney remakes, CGI disasters and punchline-dispensing superheroes. That’s why every now and again it’s fun to kick it old school and appreciate the origins of good cinema. Next time you get trapped scrolling endlessly through Netflix, enjoy some of these timeless Hollywood classics instead. 


Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)

This romantic classic tells the story of a New York whimsical socialite who captures the heart of a lonely writer. In one of her most memorable roles, Audrey Hepburn serves us Manic Pixie Dream Girl decades before it was cool. Filled with comedy, romance, and vintage class, this movie is perfect for a Valentines-night-in.

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

There’s a reason 1939 is known as ‘the golden age of cinema.’ One of the most visually stunning and quotable movies of all time was made that year. The Wizard of Oz is a timeless coming of age journey set in a magical technicolor dreamscape. What’s not to love?

Casablanca (1942)

Few movies will ever live up to the heartbreak of this romantic classic. Good luck holding back tears as Humphrey Bogart chooses duty and honor over the love of his life. “We’ll always have Paris,” he soothes in the final scene. Cue tissues.

Psycho (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock’s classic slasher film set the standard of the horror genre for decades to come. Fun Fact: It was also the first movie to show a toilet being flushed. Of course, it was more notorious in its day for the scandalous depictions of sex and violence. And after all these years, the thrill still holds up to the hype.

Some Like it Hot (1959)

Marilyn Monroe plays a sultry jazz singer in this vintage comedy, alongside two men disguised as female musicians to avoid mobster retaliation. Which, by the way, is exactly as funny as it sounds.  

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

This Christmas classic is a feel-good movie for the ages. A suicidal George Bailey is reminded by an angel of all the good things in life and the purpose of every individual. 

West Side Story (1961)

This is a modern spin on the Romeo and Juliet tale, featuring lovers from rival gangs in New York. Also, it’s a musical. You’ll be singing along to “America and I Feel Pretty” for days! Sorry, not sorry.

 Frankenstein (1931)

Though drastically different from Mary Shelley’s thoughtful gothic novel, the 1931 movie did not fail to deliver on timeless horror and awe. If nothing else, you’ll enjoy this movie for the vintage special effects and outdated understanding of basic biology. (Seriously though, the book is better.)

Mary Poppins (1964)

One of the first movies of its time to mix animation with live-action, this Julie Andrews classic is sure to bring you back to the days of childhood imagination. Not to mention the dynamic comedy of Dick Van Dyke, who plays a charming chimney sweep.

Citizen Kane (1941)

Part mystery, part drama, part biographical, “Citizen Kane” is known by many to be the greatest movie of all time. A bold claim, sure, but its technical advancements and storytelling innovations helped shape cinema as we now know it. But is it really the best movie ever?  Watch it for yourself to decide!

From the invention of the first camera back in 1888 to the advanced computer animation we have today, cinema has definitely come a long way. And sure — new movies can be fun, innovative and surprising, but there really is no comparison for taking a trip down cultural memory lane. Old movies can show us where we’ve been, how far we’ve come and how far we’ve yet to go. The best movies, after all, will stay great after 50, 60, or 70+ years. Cats (2019), on the other hand… Yikes.

Hannah is studying English Creative Writing at Michigan State University. She is passionate about art, poetry, good food, and working toward a sustainabile future.
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