Old movies are great to watch- they give viewers a window into the past that shows the old social norms, imaginations, and creative forces that used to drive culture so long ago. Whether they be outright ridiculous (or surprisingly accurate) science fiction movies, classic westerns that portray timeless stories, or dramas that are still relevant, old films are always a treat to watch. Here are five films that every movie fan should see.
1. Metropolis – 1927
A fairly well known German silent film, notorious for being cut, recut, and released multiple times (the copyright for Metropolis expired in 1953!), this movie should be a staple item for most science fiction addicts. Watching this movie rekindles the creative mind, as the entire plot is an elaborate and deep mix of betrayal and misdirection.
Love, revenge, and political strife center around a lonely inventor Rotwang, the dictator Fredersen, the dictator’s son Freder, and Freder’s love Maria, an inspirational leader and member of the lowly working class.
In an effort to cause chaos between father and son, the inventor Rotwang creates a robot that closely resembles Maria and uses her to deceive the workers and Freder. After death, destruction, and civil disobedience nearly consume the city, the father, son, lover, and workers are all reunited in a beautiful ending.
Sci-fi lovers should also know that this movie has inspired countless contemporary writers and directors, and has been reinterpreted as an anime movie as well as scheduled to be remade into a new feature film.
2. Forbidden Planet – 1956
First, the most obvious detail that needs to be addressed in regards to this movie: Leslie Nielsen is in it! Yes, that’s right, famed comedian and star of such silly fun movies Airplane, Naked Gun, Wrongfully Accused, and Scary Movie 4, portrays Commander John J. Adams in this MGM classic.
Aside from this major player, this movie also features one of the most famous non-living characters of all time. Forbidden Planet is the movie debut of Robby the Robot, an easily recognizable character who has been in a ton of science fiction movies, television shows, and special programs.
Having been in The Addams Family, Lost in Space, Columbo, The Monkees TV Show, The Twilight Zone, Wonder Woman, Heavy Metal, Gremlins, Mork and Mindy, Earth Girls Are Easy, The Simpsons, Futurama, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and even the video game Fallout 3, Robby the Robot has truly left his mark on the world.
You can also buy a 10″ controllable replica of Robby for under $200- although I think a full-size would be a lot more fun!
3. High Noon – 1952
A famous star-packed drama, featuring soon-to-be western phenom Lee Van Cleef (as seen in several Clint Eastwood westerns), Hollywood monster Lon Chaney Jr. (AKA Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy,The Wolf Man), as well as silly man Lloyd Bridges (from Leslie Nielsen movies like Airplane! as well as other comedies like Mafia! and Hotshots! – seems to like those movies that end in “!”).
The main character, Kane, played by Gary Cooper, is a retired U.S. Marshal that is being hunted by a former adversary by the name Frank Miller (no relation to the comic book writer). Miller wants revenge after being arrested by Kane, and brings a gang of killers along with him to help.
The ending scene is comprised of a shootout between Kane and the four lawless gunslingers- a scene that is constantly re-imagined in new westerns and action movies to this day.
4. Destroy All Monsters – 1968
This movie can be seen as a precursor to Jurassic Park in someways- all of the giant strange beasts that love to terrorize and destroy Japan have been removed to a mysterious place known as Monster Island, where several methods of control and boundaries are put into place and where researchers from around the world can study the giant monsters.
When all of the communications to the island cease and the monsters begin to freely roam the world and attack the monuments and major cities, Japanese military personnel are sent to Monster Island to investigate.
Turns out there is an alien race using mind-control on the scientists and monsters, and are determined to destroy the world.
All you need to know is that at the end of the movie there is an epic battle between the three-headed space monster King Ghidorah and Godzilla, Minilla, Mothra, Rodan, Gorosaurus, Angilas, Kumonga, Manda, Baragon, and Varan.
5. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – 1939
Starring Jimmy Stewart (It’s a Wonderful Life, Vertigo, The Philadelphia Story, and How the West Was Won) as a naive unknown politician who gets pulled into a corrupt scheme running through the U.S. Senate, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a wonderful movie.
It’s charming and entertaining, and the entire ending sequence where Mr. Smith does a painfully long filibuster that nearly kills him is inspiring to say the least. This is a wonderful and sentimental movie about the integrity of man and the greed and deceit that comes with power- and should be seen by all!