Have You Seen These Movies? Classics I Have Yet to Watch!

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.

Ben-Hur (1959)

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.

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7 Responses
  1. Just Audrey says:

    I can kind of relate. I sometimes have a hard time venturing out of my movie-viewing comfort zone. I have seen most of these, though not “Lawrence of Arabia”. The plot never appealed to me and it seemed eternally long. Maybe one day I’ll be brave and suffer through it. :) And I’m definitely not a sci-fi or fantasy person, either.

    I did a short review of “The Adventures of Robin Hood” here: http://fedorasandhighheels.blogspot.com/2011/02/short-review-adventures-of-robin-hood.html

  2. Ginny says:

    Thanks for the link to your review Audrey! Along with “The African Queen” (because I’m a big fan of Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart), “The Adventures of Robin Hood” is probably the one I’m most likely to watch because of both the supposed beauty of the film and because I think Errol Flynn is charming.

  3. Jandy Stone says:

    The two of these I really love are The Adventures of Robin Hood and Lawrence of Arabia. I wish I had something written on them to link you to, but I saw them both before I started blogging and haven’t gone back to include them. LoA seems like it wouldn’t be that interesting, but really it’s a character study of a complex and enigmatic man pretending to be an epic. And yet, it’s also great at the epic parts. But then I’m a sucker for desert scenery, so just throw me some gorgeous CinemaScope cinematography in the middle of the Arabian desert, and I’m pretty much in heaven no matter what else is going on. Some of the best use of widescreen ever, too. There, I’m done pushing LoA. :) The Adventures of Robin Hood is just such incredible fun I can’t imagine you not enjoying it. Rollicking plot, great swordfights, amazing use of early Technicolor…it was one of the first Blu-rays I bought.

    The others – yeah, I was glad to cross them off my list, but I don’t really see the big deal about The African Queen (much more dull than I thought Bogart and Hepburn and Huston were capable of), High Noon is okay (Rio Bravo is better), The Bridge on the River Kwai is fine (The Great Escape is better), and Ben-Hur has a great chariot race scene (but the silent version is just as much fun and less heavy).

    My biggest haven’t-seens are A Streetcar Named Desire and The Grapes of Wrath. And I have Streetcar out from Netflix now, so that should be crossed off soon!

  4. Ginny says:

    Thanks so much for your insights Jandy! I’ll be giving The Adventures of Robin Hood a try later this week, and I’m actually excited to watch it now. I had heard someone say recently that they liked LOA way more than they thought they would so that one is looking less daunting. I’ll probably tackle that one soon as well. The others, well, I’ll work on getting to those. :-)

    I’ve also yet to see The Grapes of Wrath but definitely want to. It’s just one of those movies I’ve never gotten around to for some reason. A Streetcar Named Desire is one of the first classic movies I ever watched back in the early 90’s. I watched it in a college literature class around the same time I watched The Philadelphia Story, which is the movie responsible for turning me into a classic movie fan in the first place. Even though the story was a bit dark at times, I think I liked it for the most part and remember being very captivated by Marlon Brando’s performance. I’d love to see it again now that I’m more familiar with Vivien Leigh (who I knew nothing about at the time) and watch her Academy Award winning performance from a new perspective.

  5. Jandy Stone says:

    Oh, wow, The Philadelphia Story. Love that film. Watched it again on New Year’s this year, and was reminded just how amazing it is. I meant to watch Streetcar Monday, but got sidetracked and didn’t have time (it’s a bit longer than I anticipated, somehow). Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to get to it. Definitely looking forward to seeing your thoughts on Robin Hood!

  6. John says:

    I have seen all of the above movies with the exception being Lawrence Of Arabia. I am not a huge fan of really long movies. However, I recently watched Bridge On The River Kwai because I am a big William Holden Film. Holden made one of the best films ever made in my opinion which was Stalag 17. If you ever enjoyed Hogan’s Heroes then you should relate to Stalag 17. Stalag 17 is just as funny but definitely has more drama along with being more realistic.

    Flynn is great in Robin Hood. DeHavilland and Flynn always have great chemistry together. They Died With Their Boots On and Captain Blood are two very nice films they appeared in together.

    Getting back to Bridge On The River Kwai, it is nearly 3 hours long and tends to drag in the middle 45 mins. The first hour and last hour were definitely the best to me. Alec Guinness certainly seems to go crazy toward the end of it. It is definitely Guinness’s film although Holden does hold his own here. The film was pretty good to me but didn’t knock me over. That whistling song march might stick in your brain for a few days, lol. It is kind of catchy.

    I tend to like films that are 100 minutes or shorter. 95 minutes seems to be the perfect movie to me.

    The African Queen is vintage Bogart. I am not a really big fan of Kate Hepburn although I respect her work as an actress very much and did enjoy her in this movie. However, the ending was a little ridiculous to me. I won’t spoil it.

    High Noon is a classic film essential. Tex Ritter’s vocal in the film is just awesome.

  7. […] Adventures of Robin Hood – Earlier in the year, I had done a post about some well loved classic movies that I just could not get myself to watch, and this movie was the only one from that list that I […]

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