Are there any classic movies that you know are well-loved by others or that have received many awards and honors, that you just can’t get yourself to watch? I’ll be the first to admit that I can be very discriminating when it comes to the types of movies I watch so my answer to that is definitely ‘yes’.
Although there are some exceptions, I usually don’t stray too far away from the typical drama, comedy, or film noir, or movies that tend to take place in “normal” every day settings. For instance, I’m not a big fan of science fiction or fantasy films, and *gasp* have never seen a Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter movie.
Here are just a few of the award winning and much loved classic movies that I have never been able to bring myself to watch, mostly due to the fact that the setting or the time period in which the movie takes place doesn’t appeal to me:
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
IMDb synopsis: “When Prince John and the Norman Lords begin oppressing the Saxon masses in King Richard’s absence, a Saxon lord fights back as the outlaw leader of a rebel guerrilla army.”
Awards and honors: The movie won three Academy Awards including Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, and Best Art Direction and was also nominated for Best Picture.
The African Queen (1951)
IMBd synopsis: “In Africa during WW1, a gin-swilling riverboat owner/captain is persuaded by a strait-laced missionary to use his boat to attack an enemy warship.”
Awards and honors: Humphrey Bogart won the Academy Award for Best Actor and the movie received three other nominations including Best Actress (Katharine Hepburn) and Best Director (John Huston). The American Film Institute (AFI) once named it the 17th greatest film of all time. They currently list it at number 65.
High Noon (1952)
IMDb synopsis: “A marshall, personally compelled to face a returning deadly enemy, finds that his own town refuses to help him.”
Awards and honors: The movie won four Academy Awards including Best Actor for Gary Cooper and two Best Song Awards. The AFI currently lists it as the 27th greatest movie of all time. In 1989, it was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected for preservation in the United States Library of Congress National Film Registry as were a few of the others on this list.
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
IMDb synopsis: “After settling his differences with a Japanese POW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men’s construction of a railway bridge for their captors – while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.”
Awards and honors: The movie won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director (David Lean), and Best Actor (Alec Guinness), and three Golden Globe Awards. The AFI currently lists it as the 36th greatest film of all time.
IMDb synopsis: “When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge.”
Awards and honors: The movie received an unprecedented eleven Academy Awards (a record now shared with Titanic and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King) including Best Picture, Best Director (William Wyler), and Best Actor (Charlton Heston), and four Golden Globe Awards. The AFI currently lists it as the 100th greatest film of all time.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
IMDb synopsis: “Epic rumination on a flamboyant and controversial British military figure and his conflicted loyalties during wartime service.”
Awards and honors: The movie won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, four British Academy Film Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards. The AFI currently lists it as the 7th greatest film of all time. The movie’s director, David Lean, was also honored with many awards including Outstanding Directorial Achievement by the Directors Guild of America.
One classic movie that I long resisted watching (for over a decade!) that would have been included in this list had I not finally given in and watched it earlier this year was Sergeant York (1941). Unfortunately, I did not like the movie so that didn’t exactly give me the motivation to try the others on my list. On the other hand, after resisting them for many years, I finally watched my first gangster movie earlier this year, White Heat, and I loved it. So I guess I shouldn’t give up on these movies just yet.
I know you don’t have to watch or like every type of movie in order to be considered a classic movie fan, and I don’t actually expect that of myself, but when I know so many people have loved these films and they received so many awards and honors, I feel like I should at least give them a chance. So if you’ve seen and enjoyed any of these movies, I’d love to hear what it is that you liked most about them.
Also, what are some of the classic movies that you just can’t get yourself to watch, and why?
P.S. A note to any of my fellow classic movie bloggers who may be reading this: if you have ever done a review of any of the movies I mentioned, whether positive or negative, let me know in the comments section below and include a link to your post. I’d like to do a blog round up of the various reviews that have been done by others and point my readers to some of the other great classic movie blogs that are out there.