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Spending more time inside? Good, we are too.

Now that most of our days are spent indoors, it’s easy to start to wonder what to do and how to fill your time – and what better way than by watching your way through 14 of the best classic movies ever made. Tune in to the golden age of Hollywood with these incredible movies everyone should watch at least once.

Casablanca
Image via Warner Bros Pictures

Casablanca

Casablanca is considered as one of the greatest romance movies of all time, from the acting, the writing, the filming, the music – it’s all memorable. Bringing together Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as two old lovers who meet up in Casablanca during WWII, here Bogart’s character, Rick, owns a bar (“of all the gin joints…”) where the two quickly rekindle their feelings as they reminisce on the past. Including one of the most romantic songs ever played, As Time Goes By; still today Casablanca remains one of the most quotable films (“Here’s looking at you, kid”) – a definite must-watch for the hopeless romantics.


Rear Window
Image via Paramount Pictures

Rear Window

Director Alfred Hitchcock at his best, Rear Window is one of the greatest mystery thriller classics. Rear Window follows the story of a professional photographer with a broken leg who fills his time by looking from his rear window into his neighbours apartments and lives, becoming obsessed with one couple in particular after the wife stops appearing in the apartment. As he watches from his window, photographer Jeff is supported by his nurse Stella, and beautiful socialite girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly). Hitchcock’s signature suspenseful directing style heightens the drama in this classic.


Citizen Kane
Image via RKO Radio Pictures

Citizen Kane

Considered by many as one of the greatest films of all time, there’s no doubt that Citizen Kane had to be on this list. Directed, produced, co-wrote and starred by Orson Welles, Citizen Kane later became an award-winning film. The plot follows the life of Charles Foster Kane, media mogul, after his last mysterious word ‘Rosebud’. Winding its way between the past of young Kane and the present, Kane’s life unfolds, from his impoverished beginnings to his political ambitions, meeting his wives and all of the important figures in his life along the way. The acting, script and directing have been praised since its preview in 1941, featured in countless best ever movies lists ever since.


12 Angry Men
Image via United Artists

12 Angry Men

Perhaps one of the most famous courtroom drama’s ever written, 12 Angry Men is an iconic piece of film. Unique in that all but three minutes of the film takes place in the same room, where the jury is sent to deliberate the fate of the 18-year-old defendant on the basis of reasonable doubt, who, will be hanged if found guilty. As the 12 men, called by their juror numbers, discuss and deliberate, the viewer learns about each of their personalities and backgrounds. As the guilty and reasonable doubt arguments twist and turn with people changing their votes, the tension heightens, making a gripping film.


North by Northwest
Image via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

North by Northwest

Another Hitchcock made classic (unsurprisingly), North by Northwest features one of the best classic film stars Cary Grant, starring alongside Eva Marie Saint as a Hitchcock Blonde. The plot revolves around a mistaken identity as foreign forces mistake Grant as a US agent and he is followed across the country becoming an accidental hero, as Hitchcock blends comedy (his mother is hilarious) with suspenseful thriller. It’s a must-watch, if solely for the now iconic scene of Grant running through a cornfield as a crop-duster swoops overhead.


The Big Sleep
Image via Warner Bros

The Big Sleep

Based on Raymond Chandlers’ novel of the same name, The Big Sleep stars Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, two of the biggest names of their time and still today. Sticking to Chandler’s perfectly paced plot, Bogart plays the role as private detective Phillip Marlowe who is drawn into the world of General Sternwood, who hires him, and his daughter Vivian (Bacall). Murder, gambling debts, blackmail, and deceit all follow. This film-noir focuses on the process of a criminal investigation and is as funny and clever as the book, beautifully filmed and expertly acted.


Bringing up Baby
Image via RKO Radio Pictures

Bringing up Baby

Bringing up Baby is a classic screwball comedy starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant in an opposites attract romance. This this silly, fun comedy has it all – involving a tame leopard, dinosaur bones, absurd situations, misunderstandings and confusion. Grant’s character is a mild mannered palaeontologist, and Hepburn’s a clumsy and scatterbrained heiress. The film follows them as they try to transport the leopard, Baby, to Connecticut with various mishaps along the way. Now critically acclaimed and remembered as one of the best comedies of the 20th century, Bringing up Baby is the perfect distraction.


Chinatown
Image via Paramount Pictures

Chinatown

Released in 1974, Chinatown is neo-noir mystery film set in 1937. Directed by the now-disgraced Roman Polanski, and starring Jack Nicholson, Chinatown can only be described as a gripping story. Set in Los Angeles, here the audience will see Nicholson as a private investigator, Jake Gittes, who inadvertently gets involved with the corrupt Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and their plan to create a drought for profit. He is also taken in by a mysterious woman, Evelyn Mulwray, who is linked to the plot. With superb acting and crackling dialogue, this film stands the test of time.


Sunset Boulevard
Image via Paramount Pictures

Sunset Boulevard

Almost as famous as the road it’s named after, Sunset Boulevard is an iconic piece of noir cinema following a down-on-his-luck screenwriter who has a chance encounter with a long forgotten and emotionally fragile silent film star. In part a bleak self portrait on Hollywood, watch as the once famous and want-to-be famous  meet. Gloria Swanson brilliantly portrays the manipulative and twisted once-sparkling Norma Desmond and William Holden stars as the penniless and idealistic screenwriter. But it is Eric von Stronheim who shines as Gloria’s once husband and director but now devoted butler.


2001: Space Odyssey
Image via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

2001: Space Odyssey

Heralded as one of the best and most influential films of all time, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: Space Odyssey is a film everyone should watch at least once. Blending moving classical music, beautiful cinematography, a compelling plot and dialogue which is used sparingly to great affect. The themes of existentialism, human evolution and artificial intelligence are prescient. The film follows a space voyage to Jupiter to explore extraterrestrial life, with a shape largely run by a human-like AI, HAL 9000. Some see this as dark and foreboding, while others see the film as hopeful for humanity. Watch it and decide for yourself.


Mean Streets
Image via Warner Bros

Mean Streets

Mean Streets is an iconic crime drama directed and co-written by the formidable Martin Scorsese starring a young Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel. With a seamless soundtrack, the opening to the film is iconic enough, with The Ronettes Be my Baby playing. This crime film stands out for its cinematography and less glamorously-depicted life of crime, thanks to De Niro’s industry-breaking performance. While it is visceral and violent, there are moments of comedy to keep it from being too heavy.


His Girl Friday
Image via Columbia Pictures

His Girl Friday

His Girl Friday has it all! This classic screwball-comedy-romance-drama is the golden age of Hollywood at its best. Starring a young Cary Grant as Walter and Rosalind Russell as Hildy, the two shine as a divorced couple who work together as an editor and star reporter respectively. The screwball antics mainly arise as Walter tries to stop Hildy’s upcoming wedding by offering a story too good to turn down. But in reality, he’s just trying to get the groom out of the picture. Notorious for its fast-paced overlapping dialogue, surprises and comedy, after you watch His Girl Friday you’ll realise how many references there are to it in modern pop culture!


Rebel Without a Cause
Image via Warner Bros

Rebel Without a Cause

Rebel Without a Cause is iconic for so many reasons. Starting with the cast, Rebel Without a Cause features one of the biggest movie stars of all time, including the now late James Dean alongside Natalie Woods who was nominated for an Oscar three times before the age of 25 – all before drowning under suspicious circumstances. The name itself is instantly recognisable and the plot of disaffected youth is universal. From the wonderful acting, engaging plot and James Dean’s infamous red jacket, Rebel Without a Cause lives up to its well deserved hype.


Gone with the Wind
Image via Loews Inc

Gone with the Wind

Adapted from the novel of the same name, Gone with the Wind is an epic historical romance set in the south of the United States during the Civil War. This film was a huge box office success, and when adjusted for inflation, it is still the highest grossing film in history. The two leads are cast perfectly with Vivian Leigh portraying Scarlett O’Hara and Clark Gable as Rhett. The long and dramatic plot is anchored by Scarlett, a headstrong and passionate woman, expertly played by the incredible Leigh, one of the main reasons to watch.


Wanting to expand your to watch list? You’ve come to the right place! Start by watching the Best Oscar-Winning Movies on Netflix and then switch to the 10 Best Foreign Language Movies.

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