Classics That Are Worth the Hype

Image via Everett/Design by Jenn Algoo

Image via Everett/Design by Jenn Algoo

Sophia Paradowski, Staff Writer

Most people have heard the words, “You have to watch that! It’s a classic!” when discussing film with a parent or friend. The list of movies considered classics has multiplied and expanded over the years, most likely hitting one or two hundred. This intimidating stack of cinema could make it hard for the average movie-goer to work up the courage to start somewhere. Classics are also a sensitive subject for the more intense cinephiles, so the pressure to “understand” and love the movies everyone else seems to could make them increasingly daunting. This is a list intended to motivate the hesitant viewer who wants to watch the “classics,” but doesn’t know which are worth the hours. 


Image via Chungkong

American Beauty (1999)


American Beauty tells the story of the average, nuclear suburban family grappling with internal struggles. The father, Lester Burnham starts to question his purpose and will to live, effectively spiraling into a mid-life crisis. His abrupt change triggers his wife and daughter, their family devolving before the viewer’s eyes. The film, chalked full of iconic scenes, is dark, entertaining, and beautifully shot. The cinematography alone is enough to make this movie a classic; the colors are saccharine and everything looks perfectly placed, contrasting the internal calamities all the characters seem to be experiencing. The final scenes leave the viewer shocked and wishing there was an extra hour left. 


Image via Paramount

Psycho (1960)


Alfred Hitchcocks’ Psycho is the king of all classics. It’s been recommended and praised time and time again, and in this instance, for good reason. The black and white film is entrancing, the plot is shocking, and the cinematography and subject matter is ahead of its time. The film follows Marion Crane, a flawed main character that is on the run after stealing $40,000 from her employer. After the theft, she attempts to smuggle the money to her boyfriend’s house, so they can share it and run away together. However, she gets caught in a storm and decides to spend a night at the Bates Motel, run by the seemingly caring and sensitive Norman Bates. Marion and Norman are wonderfully developed, and the famous shower scene is considered one of the greatest in cinema history. 


Image via IMDB


Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)


If any Star Wars movie is worth the hype, it’s this one. The sequel starts on the ice planet, Hoth, as Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo attempt to escape the Imperial forces invading their base. Luke, separating from his two companions, travels to planet Dagobah. Here, he finds the iconic green creature, Yoda. This is Yoda’s film debut; the beloved character goes on to appear as Baby Yoda and rise further to fame. If this isn’t enough to qualify the movie’s classic status, its excitement and memorability will. The film never gets boring, as it’s action packed and interesting until the last second. The movie also includes the famous lightsaber duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, where the iconic line–spoiler alert–“Luke, I am your father,” is delivered. This film is perfect for everyone, even the most sci-fi opposed. 


Image via IMDB


Honorable Mention: Donnie Darko (2001), a “Cult Classic”


While this film isn’t as widely-known or beloved as the ones mentioned previously, it should still be considered a must-watch. Donnie Darko, a suburban teenager of the late 1980s, is plagued with sleep walking and visions of an eerie, spectral bunny rabbit. When the rabbit, Frank, tells him the world will end in 28 days, Donnie begins to spiral in an effort to understand what he’s seeing. The film is incredibly interesting and unique, as most aspects of the plot and Donnie’s life are left up to audience interpretation. The soundtrack is quintessential alternative 80s, and every detail seems perfectly crafted. It explores themes of loneliness, mental illness, and fate, and manages to stay real despite the dashes of science fiction.


These classics are the ones that stand out the most for either being the most influential or interesting for everyone. However, before embarking on this journey of film, remember: watching movies is supposed to be fun! Enjoy these classics and, hopefully, learn something new about the vast history of film.