by CELIA BROCKER
Whether you prefer a classic on VHS tape or something you can stream on Netflix, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy movies. What makes cinema as an art so appealing is the variety. Every genre is a large contrast from the next, and each filmmaker has their own signature style. And while everyone may have their preferences, there are certain films that have stood the test of time. Here’s a list of films that everyone should see at least once in their life.
The Breakfast Club
One of the staple John Hughes teen films of the 80s, and is also one of the few perfect films ever created. The film follows a day in Saturday detention with five drastically different teenagers, or at least that’s what they believe when the day begins. What makes The Breakfast Club so great is that the film achieved its iconic status while having almost no script. There was no written dialogue for the scene where the kids are sitting in a circle discussing what they had all done to get into detention, and the actors were told to imagine what their characters would have done or said. The result was an extremely heartfelt scene that honestly portrayed the conflicting emotions of teenagers on the brink of adulthood.
The Sixth Sense
Not your typical horror film, The Sixth Sense tells the story of a child-therapist who’s new patient is haunted by images of dead people. But he’s not imagining them – he actually sees dead people. Since it was directed by M. Night Shyamalan, who is well-known for his surprise twists, it’s probably no secret that the film’s ending is a big shocker but just in case there will be no spoilers here.
A bit of a tear jerker, so this film may not be for everyone. Set during the holocaust, the film depicts the true story of Oscar Schindler, who smuggled many Jewish people to safety. Made in black-and-white tones, the only color in the film is a little girl’s red coat, a standout directorial choice. But most of what makes Schindler’s List so great is that it tells a tale of hope amongst tragedy, which the world is always in need of.
Alfred Hitchcock’s most popular film, Psycho, is a horror film that uses psychological terrors and build-up rather than relying on jump scares. When a runaway secretary checks in at the Bates Motel, she winds up in a situation she never bargained for and entangled in a mystery left unsolved for years. Considered the pinnacle horror film director, Hitchcock was the first to focus on suspense rather than surprise. In Psycho, he uses suspenseful music in a scene that is supposed to make the viewer feel uneasy that builds as we get closer to the conflict, the music finally becoming intense as something dramatic is just about to take place.
The first independent film to gross more than $200 million, Pulp Fiction is considered by many to be the most influential American film of the 90s. Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta play two hitmen who also enjoy having deep philosophical conversations. It is pretty violent though, so be prepared.
The Princess Bride
This film didn’t perform well at the box office when it was initially released (but has since become a cult classic), because no one knew what to advertise the film as. Was it an action story, romance, comedy, fairy tale? In truth, The Princess Bride is all of those things. Based on the novel by William Goldman, the story features two lovers, Buttercup and Westley, who are separated and the latter is thought to be dead. Five years later Buttercup is unhappily engaged to Prince Humperdink, who has her kidnapped by three unlikely co-workers (a Sicilian crime boss, a Spanish swordsman, and a giant) in order to start a war with a rival country. But Westley – not dead after all, but now the feared Dread Pirate Roberts – catches up to them and a case ensues. And this is only the first half of the film!
A bit old-fashioned compared to the new extravagant films made today, but is still an enjoyable film. Casablanca follows the cynical Rick Blaine, who owns a nightclub in Casablanca, Morocco when it is being occupied by Germany during World War Two. When his old flame Ilsa comes to him for help fleeing the country with her husband, Rick is dragged into the political scene he has been trying to stay out of.
Another film with a breathtaking twist, Fight Club is a film that you really have to see twice in order to appreciate how well done it is. And that’s all that can be said without absolutely ruining the movie.