Not many young people can say that they’ve watched lots of vintage movies in their lifetime, but there are so many great ones out there that everyone should give one a try. From those who love drama to those who love musicals, there’s something in this list for everyone!
Read on to discover some of our favourites!
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Originally a novel by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird is set in a small town in Alabama about a young girl named Scout and her father, Atticus Finch’s defending of a black man against rape charges. This movie deals a lot with controversial topics of the time and it tugs at the heartstrings of viewers. Gregory Peck plays Atticus Finch and he is still an archetype for the “good guy”.
Gone with the Wind (1939)
Gone with the Wind is based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell, and it is set in the southern United States during the American Civil War. The main character, Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) resides on a southern plantation and follows her survival through the Civil War and Reconstruction. It also features her love affairs with Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). It was very successful at the box office and while it is a very long movie, it still captivates audiences with its emotional, and romantic plot.
Casablanca is set in the city of Casablanca, Morocco during the second World War. The movie’s protagonist, Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), owns a nightclub in Casablanca where his old flame Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) shows up with her husband, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) who is a rebel on the run from the Germans. Ilsa asks Rick to help him get them out of the country. This is one of the most famous MGM movies of all time for its suspense, drama and romance. The line, “Here’s looking at you, kid,” is a line that is known by many and captures the bittersweet romantic tone of the film.
West Side Story (1961)
West Side Story is the first musical on this list and also a later movie. It is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet which is set in New York City on the streets of the upper west side, where two gangs are battling for control of some turf. Tony, who is basically Romeo (Richard Beymer), is a part of one of the gangs and falls in love with a rival’s sister, Maria (Natalie Wood). The songs, lines, and plot are very well-known to many musical watchers and it is loved around the world.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
A popular movie to watch around the holidays, It’s a Wonderful Life, follows George Bailey (James Stewart) who one day wishes he had never been born. An angel (Henry Travers) who has yet to gain his wings, is sent to earth in order to make George’s wish come true. As George is shown how many lives he has changed, and impacted, he realises how different those lives would be if he was never there. A beautiful, Christmas favourite, it entrances you each time you watch it.
My Fair Lady (1964)
My Fair Lady, is another musical that is known by many. It started out as a musical on Broadway and then was adapted into a movie.In this movie, a phonetics professor, Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) takes it upon himself to transform a Cockney working-class into someone who could be passed as a member of high society. His subject is Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) who agrees to speech lessons to improve her job prospects. They both clash but then form a bond that is then threatened by an aristocratic suitor (Jeremy Brett). This is a funny movie musical that entertains all ages.
Meet Me In Saint Louis (1944)
Judy Garland is an actress that was beloved in vintage movies. She could sing, dance, act, and was just a beautiful presence in any movie she starred in. One of her more famous movies, was Meet Me in Saint Louis (which I have personally watched many, many times). This romantic, musical comedy, is centered around four sisters right before the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. The movie shows the sister’s education in the ways of the world which includes life and love. The movie is split into four seasons and is so much fun with the singing and dancing. It combines fun and happiness, with sadder and darker moments but is ultimately a fun movie for all ages to enjoy.
The Sound of Music (1965)
This movie musical, is based on a real life story of the Von Trapp Family singers who were a well-known concert group right before World War II. Maria, a tomboyish young woman at an Austrian abbey becomes a governess in the home of a naval captain who is widowed with seven children. Maria (Julie Andrews) brings love, happiness, and music into the home and quickly bonds with the seven children. The Sound of Music is such a fun musical with hilarious and touching songs that you will find yourself singing all the time. But, the movie also brings in the Nazis and the war which gives you a dash of reality.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Based on the book by L. Frank Baum, this movie musical tells the story of Dorothy (Judy Garland) who is whisked away in her house with her dog, Toto, when a tornado rips through Kansas. The two land in the magical land of Oz where they are told to follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Wizard in the Emerald City in order to get back home. On the way, they meet a Scarecrow (Ray Bolger) that wants a brain, a Tin Man (Jack Haley) who wants a heart, and a Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) who wants courage. The wizard asks them to bring him the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) in order to get the things they want. This is a fun movie that is popular more with younger audiences but can still be enjoyed by everyone.
Singing in the Rain (1952)
Singing in the Rain, is a movie that is set during the late 1920s when movies went from silent to sound. Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are two silent movie stars whose latest movie is made into a musical. Since Lina can’t sing, and has a whiny high pitch voice, a chorus girl is brought in to dub her singing and dancing. Don is ecstatic until Lina finds out. It stars Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor and Jean Hagan. It is hilarious and so much fun, with songs that are ridiculously catchy.