Weekend Open Thread: Older Movies Worth Rewatching

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The other day I finally rewatched Ordinary People (1980) which I had always thought so very good. I was blown away. It is such a good portrayal of the incredible damage done by trying hard to go past a terrible incident/loss without really dealing with it thoroughly.

This brought to mind an idea which is to do this thread. Tell us about a good older movie you watched recently and tell us why we should view it again. It can be from any genre.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & Television

32 Comments
Posted April 25, 2009 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Kendall Harmon wrote:

I thought this was fascinating about the movie, something new to me:

Robert Redford decided to do the film because the story’s family reminded him of his own in the way it talked around issues.

 

April 25, 4:19 pm | [comment link]
2. Jeffersonian wrote:

“They Call Me Trinity” with Terence Hill and Bud Spencer.  What a fun spaghetti Western.

April 25, 5:16 pm | [comment link]
3. KevinBabb wrote:

If I were to pick an “older movie” (i.e., one filmed in black and white, causing my teenage children to flee on sight), it would be “A Face in the Crowd”, 1957)”  Besides being the first film appearances of Lee Remick, Andy Griffith, and Anthony Franciosa, and containing subperb performances by Walter Matthau and Patricia O’Neal, it is an outstanding story of the power of media manipulation and the frailities associated with the human ego.  I first saw the movie about ten years ago, and was reminded of a recent President from a Southern state, which State had never been an independent nation.  However, the screen writer said that he patterned Griffith’s lead character after Will Rogers and Arthur Godfrey, of all people.  The director, Bud Schulberg, filmed in black and white, although color movie film was available by then, because he wanted to make the comparison to contemporary television more patent.

April 25, 5:24 pm | [comment link]
4. Rudy wrote:

I second the high opinion of Ordinary People.  It is a profound movie.  I have always wished there could be a sequel to it.

April 25, 5:56 pm | [comment link]
5. Floridaaah wrote:

CAST AWAY - a wonderful speech about hope and perseverence by Tom Hanks, sitting by the fireplace. I think it is eerie that this was the film being watched by America the Christmastime before 9/11.

FIELD OF DREAMS of course. Amazing that the director admits he does not believe in ghosts or spiritual realities, and yet this film wonderfully dramatizes the challenge of obedient faith, acting in the light of what you think you understand, even if it turns out you didn’t fully understand.

SOUND AND FURY - a documentary about cochlear implants for the deaf. An amazing true life account of how worldviews and community values influence our choices (and the lives of our children). This is a great film for any study of evangelism and trying to share “good news” with people who think they don’t need it.

I also recommend (mature viewers) Stephen Sondheim’s musical PASSION, available on DVD. This is a variation on the beauty and the beast fable, one that I think is always so powerful because it describes how we often initially encounter Jesus, not welcoming or understanding his love. Some of the musical lyrics here could almost serve for mediations during your prayers.

And for something a bit different, check out Douglas Fairbanks in his silent film THE GAUCHO. The story simply amazed me with the positive treatment and acceptance of healing, miracles and repentance. This is what Hollywood sent to us once upon a time!

And as long as you’re looking for silent movies, be sure you have seen Charlie Chaplain’s masterpiece CITY LIGHTS. This is another one that climaxes with the question of whether we will accept the one who has paid the price for us to overcome our blindness. The famous ending is breathtaking.

Rev. Rick Hoover
Lakeland FL

April 25, 6:19 pm | [comment link]
6. pwhite wrote:

Chariots of Fire - a totally different movie now that I am a Christian.  I love the concept of “feeling God’s pleasure” when you are using your God-given gifts.  I also like the pacing - slow but not boring so you get lost in the story.

April 25, 6:33 pm | [comment link]
7. William Witt wrote:

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness with Ingrid Berman

This movie could not be made today, as it offers a positive depiction of a Christian missionary in a foreign culture. 

Tender Mercies with Robert Duvall

A quiet portrayal of conversion.

April 25, 7:05 pm | [comment link]
8. Words Matter wrote:

I love The Last Picture Show, although it may help to have a connection to small town Texas. The characters are wonderful, and the photography excellent.

April 25, 7:39 pm | [comment link]
9. Chris wrote:

#6 - Chariots of Fire is my #1 favorite movie.  The Liddell character in particular, he had such a decency and unwavering commitment to his faith, which I find so inspiring.  I like to hum the Vangelis music when I’m running.

I saw Schindler’s List a few days ago, had not seen it it in quite a while.  It puts our modern day “troubles” in the proper perspective, and that’s quite the understatement.

April 25, 7:54 pm | [comment link]
10. David Fischler wrote:

I recently saw Alfie, starring Michael Caine in his breakthrough role for which he was nominated for an Oscar. Made in 1966, it’s really dated in a lot of ways, but the attitudes toward women and sexuality embodied by the hedonist Caine are still very much alive, making it an interesting if uncomfortable look at the beginnings of the sexual revolution.

April 25, 7:55 pm | [comment link]
11. Dan Crawford wrote:

Tender Mercies -  a movie I still talk about and recommend. And To Kill A Mockingbird, probably the best movie adaptation of a book. And Charles Laughton’s The Night of the Hunter with Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters - beautifully photographed in black and white. Unfortunately, Robert Mitchum’s evil preacher pretty much ruined for me Leaning on the Everlasting Arms for many years!

April 25, 8:02 pm | [comment link]
12. DeeBee wrote:

Our older son has been going through a list he found of the 100 best movie quotes, with the goal of watching all of the movies from whence they came.  While there are a few that I haven’t brought myself to let him watch, we have had some interesting choices pass through the DVD player.

My personal favorite is, of course, Casablanca.

April 25, 9:56 pm | [comment link]
13. Jeffersonian wrote:

If you want a great Duvall flick, you can’t go wrong with “The Apostle.”  It has one of the most powerful and moving scenes ever filmed, IMO.

April 25, 10:05 pm | [comment link]
14. Katie My Rib wrote:

I recommend “Network.”  It is unsettling to see how much was predicted by this film that has come to pass.

Two real oldies, in B&W;from the thirties, are “Dinner at Eight” and “You Can’t Take It With You.”  Both are great ensemble films; Lionel Barrymore is in both and is very effective.  Both are comedies, though “Dinner” has a darker edge to it. 

And one that is usually discounted because it is a Walt Disney movie: “Pollyanna” with Halley Mills.  Not only is Miss Mills excellent in the title role, the central role that church plays in that film is interesting to watch.  “No one can own a church.”  What?!  Treason!

April 25, 10:47 pm | [comment link]
15. libraryjim wrote:

Comedy:
Murder By Death Neil Simon’s spoof of the classic ‘Armchair Detective’ mysteries.  Peter Sellers (“Sydney Wang” aka Charlie Chan), David Niven, Maggie Smith (“Dick and Dora Charleston” aka Nick and Nora Charles), Peter Falk (“Sam Diamond” aka Spade), James Coco (“Milo Perrier” aka Hercule Perot) and Alec Guinness as “Bensonmum” the blind butler (the scene where he confronts the deaf/mute cook is priceless!).

A few coarse jokes, but overall, a delight for the whole family.

feel good:
“An Enchanted April” (1992 verson) with Miranda Richardson.  Two English women decide to go ‘on holiday’ from their mundane lives and rent a ‘castle’ in Tuscan. Since they cannot afford it themselves, they advertise for two more women to accompany them on the trip.  They each shed emotional baggage while there, and learn to appreciate what they have at home. Very good.

REAL OLD
TCM showed “My Little Chickadee” with Mae West and W. C. Fields.  A hoot to see what they got away with in the early days of “The Code”.  Not a great film, but well worth one watching at least.

And one of my favorites
“The Adventures of Robin Hood” Errol Flynn. I never miss it when it’s re-shown.

April 25, 10:48 pm | [comment link]
16. libraryjim wrote:

Oh, religious/redemptive story:

“Saving Grace” 1985 Tom Conti.  Pope Leo XIV feels disconnected from the people he helped while a parish priest and bishop.  So, when he’s accidentally locked out of the Vatican on Ash Wednesday, he goes incognito as a homeless worker on a Lenten journey to reconnect with the common folk in a small mountain village.

April 25, 10:58 pm | [comment link]
17. Jimmy DuPre wrote:

Favorite line from Ordinary People; Conrad tells Dr. Berger that he would like to be in more control. Dr. Berger responds that he is not real big on control.
Some great movies
Romance; It Happened One Night and Hitchcock’s Rear Window with Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly
War , Twelve O’clock High and John Ford’s They Were Expendable
Christian; John Ford’s The Searchers and How Green Was My Valley.
The Searchers is a must see. It is too long, but many feel it is the best picture ever. It will help if you know that the John Wayne character (Ethan) and his brothers wife had a history, which is told in a subtle way when she folds and hugs his coat. That she ended up marrying his brother and then ends up.. well I won’t give it away. But this provides partial explanation for Ethan’s anger and bitterness. It is a story of redemption. Don’t let anyone tell you John Wayne can’t act.

April 25, 11:02 pm | [comment link]
18. teatime wrote:

I recently watched “The Hiding Place.” VERY powerful movie! Another favorite is “84 Charing Cross Road.” I recently found the video on Ebay!

April 26, 12:08 am | [comment link]
19. Jeff Thimsen wrote:

FORT APACHE (1946) with John Wayne and Henry Fonda. A good study of honor and duty. It was said of John Ford’s westerns: maybe it’s not the way it was, but it’s the way it should have been.

April 26, 12:11 am | [comment link]
20. Fr. Greg wrote:

“Nashville”.  From the theme:  “It don’t worry me, it don’t worry me, you may say that I ain’t free, but it don’t worry me.”
“A Wedding”.  Life really is a tragicomedy.
“Dr. Zhivago”.  “Private life” is primary.
“The Deer Hunter”.  If you play Russian Roulette, you will probably kill yourself.  If a nation plays Russian Roulette…

April 26, 12:26 am | [comment link]
21. larswife wrote:

Western: Stagecoach; She Wore a Yellow Ribbon; Fort Apache; Angel and the Badman; 3 Godfathers; the Horse Soldiers—all John Wayne; all excellent.
Christmas: White Christmas - Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen…a winning combo; It’s A Wonderful Life…what else!
Hitchcock: Rear Window; To Catch a Thief; The Man Who Knew Too Much; Rope; Dial M for Murder; North by Northwest.
Human Interest: Citizen Kane; 12 Angry Men; Miracle on 34th Street (the original black and white - and yes, I know; it’s a Christmas one, too!).
The main thing about all of the above movies and why they are still so good to watch after all these years is that (i) the story line was never dumbed down; (ii) dialogue, plot and action were the norm, not special effects and/or CGI; (iii) the acting was first rate…even the small parts; and (iv) I don’t have to worry about covering up my children’s eyes (or my own!) at any inappropriate scene.

April 26, 12:31 am | [comment link]
22. Flatiron wrote:

Bedazzled, 1967, with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

There is a brilliant scene with a postbox that I’ve used in sermons about pride.  I think you can find it almost in its entirety on YouTube.
And, it is much better than the 2000 remake with Elizabeth Hurley.

I can’t seem to get the HTML for linking to work, so that scene is found here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jr-Vxu_4ckA&feature=related

April 26, 12:46 am | [comment link]
23. Fr. Dale wrote:

“African Queen” for the relationship between Bogart and Hepburn.
“The Searchers” For John Wayne and the cinematography. The last shot with Wayne standing in the doorway holding his wrist is powerful.
“Rob Roy” with Lliam Nissan and Jessica Lange. “I shall remember you dead until my husband makes it so and then I will remember you no more”
“Captain and Commander” with Russell Crowe
“Bullitt” and with Steve Mcqueen
Ingrid Bergman’s face in any of her movies.
“The Unforgiven” with Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman.
The scariest movie of all time “Manhunter” with William Peterson
“Lonesome Dove” with Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones.

April 26, 9:26 am | [comment link]
24. Dee in Iowa wrote:

“How Green Was MY Valley”  Wlater Pigeon, Maureen O’Hara, Roddy McDowell, Donald Crisp….I know - you ask - Who are they?

Bogart in “The Left Hand of God”
Cagney in “Yankee Doodle Dandy”
Peck in “The Keys to the Kingdom”
With the exception of Left Hand of God, all Oscar Winners….from the 40s

April 26, 9:32 am | [comment link]
25. David Keller wrote:

Three not mentioned that I love:
The Sand Pebbles
The Graduate
Being There

April 26, 10:35 am | [comment link]
26. Franz wrote:

Oh my . . .

Since (IMHO) all the best movies are “older,” the list could be nearly endless.  But here are some I’ve watched recently . . .

For character studies:
“Eat, Drink, Man, Woman” (Chinese with English subtitles)—a great portrait of a troubled family, beautifully directed by Ang Lee.
“Glengarry Glenn Ross”—rough language, but a chilling portrait of guys for whom closing the deal is the ultimate value.  Jack Lemmon conveys the utter desparation of his character perfectly, and with Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris and Kevin Spacey rounding out the cast, it is hard to imagine a better ensemble.  Plus Alec Baldwin’s bit at the beginning is incredible.  I’ve been in sales, I’ve met people like that—be afraid, be very afraid.
For sheer fun:  “Charade,” and “North by Northwest,” —there is just something about Cary Grant reacting to a beautiful woman, and there are fewer more beautiful in the history of film than Audrey Hepburn and Eva Marie Saint.
For sheer silliness:  Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  I saw it again after about 15 years, and laughed myself silly (can’t help it).

April 26, 10:47 am | [comment link]
27. Alli B wrote:

“The Quiet Man”  “African Queen”  “The Natural”  All just absolutely wonderful movies forever.

April 26, 11:32 am | [comment link]
28. Fr. Dale wrote:

#27. Alli B,
I would agree with you about “The Quiet Man”. However, I don’t think the P.C. Feminists would like John Wayne dragging Maureen O’Hara by the arm.

April 26, 1:58 pm | [comment link]
29. montanan wrote:

The Mission (with Robert DeNiro) affected me profoundly at the time it came out, as did Schindler’s List.  (I haven’t re-seen either since their original releases.)  Chariots of Fire struck me much more when I watched it recently than it did when it was released.

Wonderful thread, Canon Harmon; I look forward to putting a number of these on my Netflix list!

April 26, 4:40 pm | [comment link]
30. montanan wrote:

Oh - I forgot.  The Red Violin is not easy to watch, but is beautiful.

April 26, 4:46 pm | [comment link]
31. Jeff Thimsen wrote:

With Michael Caine: Zulu, and the Man Who Would be King (Sean Connery co-stars in this one)

April 26, 5:05 pm | [comment link]
32. kwanlu wrote:

“Belles of St Trinian’s” and “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”.

April 27, 12:34 am | [comment link]
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