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I love a stay in movie night with my husband. Living in a such a rural area means we have to get creative with date nights. (Read more ideas for frugal and creative date nights here.) I love planning and making snacks for movie night. This peanut butter popcorn is our favorite. (I substitute honey for the corn syrup.) Then we pick a movie, whether it’s something new or an old favorite.
Classic movies are my favorite. They’re usually family friendly and I love the actors. Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Katherine Hepburn, James Stewart, Danny Kaye, Grace Kelly, Fred Astaire, Leslie Caron, Doris Day, James Garner, I could go on, they had such talent and elegance. And no matter how many times I’ve seen them, I still enjoy them.
So today I’m sharing a list of great classic films. First I will share 6 of my favorites, then I will list 6 of my husband’s. That way, you get a list based on a guy’s viewpoint as well as a lady’s for a nicely rounded offering. I’m also including links for you to pick up your own copy.
Roman Holiday (1953)
This was Audrey Hepburn’s first starring role and won her an Oscar! Hepburn plays a princess who escapes her guardians and falls in love with an American newsman (Gregory Peck) in Rome. Find it here.
Why I love it: This is the first classic movie I remember really enjoying, and it’s the one that got me hooked on classic movies. It’s a super romantic chick flick, and Audrey Hepburn’s grace and style are amazing.
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
This Alfred Hitchcock film stars Doris Day and James Stewart as a couple vacationing in Morocco with their young son. They accidentally stumble on to an assassination plot and the conspirators kidnap their son to keep them quiet. Find it here.
Why I love it: Alfred Hitchcock made many great films, and this one tops my list. Doris Day and James Stewart are both wonderful actors, and the story is riveting. Plus this is the first time we hear Doris Day sing the classic Que Sera, Sera.
The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
Admitting how much I love this movie shows the warped side of my personality. A man who works in a skid row florist shop is in love with his beautiful co-worker Audrey. He also cares for a plant named Audrey Junior, who happens to have an appetite for human flesh. Find it here.
Why I love it: When I was a kid, I would watch this movie with my dad, so it holds a lot of great memories for me. I actually prefer this version to the musical remake. It’s a black comedy and comes across as a little cheesy, which adds to the charm in my opinion. We also get to see a young Jack Nicholson in one of his first roles.
The Parent Trap (1961)
The story of teenage twin sisters (both played by Hayley Mills) who swap places and scheme to reunite their divorced parents is a great family film. I love both versions, but the original will always be my favorite. Find it here.
Why I love it: I think every kid who saw this movie secretly hoped they had a twin somewhere. Plus this one led me to watch Hayley Mills’ other movies, and I loved them all.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Based on the book by the same name, this movie tells the story of Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South who defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge. He also teaches his children about prejudice. Find it here.
Why I love it: This is a rare movie I enjoy almost as much as the book. The story is told from the view of Atticus Finch’s daughter, Scout. I especially love the scene where she repeats a derogatory word she had heard others using, and Atticus explains why that word is offensive. And we get to see a very young Robert Duvall in one of his first movies.
Walk Don’t Run (1966)
This list wouldn’t be complete without a Cary Grant movie. Walk Don’t Run is a remake of the 1943 film, The More the Merrier. (I also enjoy that one immensely.) During the housing shortage of the Summer Olympic Games in 1964, two men and a woman share a small apartment in Tokyo, and the older man soon starts playing Cupid to the younger pair. Find it here.
Why I love it: It’s difficult to pick a favorite movie with Cary Grant, but this story is adorable. (It probably falls under the category of chick flick, too.) It was also Cary Grant’s last film.
My Husband’s Favorites
Citizen Kane (1941)
I was surprised to learn that this is Orson Welles’ first feature film. He was just 25 years old when he directed, co-wrote, starred in the movie. A group of reporters are trying to decipher the last word ever spoken by Charles Foster Kane, a millionaire newspaper tycoon. We see a fascinating man’s rise to fame, and how he eventually fell off the top of the world. Find it here.
Why he loves it: He loves the simple story of the miserable old man who still remembers one thing that brought him joy. He also enjoys the (at the time) groundbreaking use of camera angles.
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
Everybody who was well-known in Hollywood at the time seems to have at least a cameo in this movie. The dying words of a thief began a crazy cross-country competition to find a treasure. Find it here.
Why he loves it: There were so many great actors in this movie. It’s also one of the funniest ever made (we agree on this point.) He is also familiar with some of the areas shown in the film, so he enjoys watching it.
Rear Window (1954)
This is a another great Hitchcock film. A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has killed his wife. Find it here.
Why he loves it: This is another simple story that takes places in pretty much one location. But the performances of Grace Kelly, James Stewart, and the whole cast are incredible. The suspense is great, too, as you being to wonder if this man really did kill his wife.
The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975)
Three orphaned siblings forced upon a confirmed bachelor find a large gold nugget worth tens of thousands of dollars. But their newfound wealth is causes more problems than it solves, so they agree to “give” the gold to two bumbling outlaws by stealing it from the bank vault where it’s being held for safe keeping. Find it here.
Why he loves it: Anything with Don Knotts and Tim Conway is bound to be funny, and they deliver plenty of laughs as the outlaws in this classic Disney film. Plus the kids are adorable and we get to see Bill Bixby and Harry Morgan in great roles, too. I also watched this movie so many times as a kid that I can probably quote it from beginning to end and still enjoy watching it occasionally.
Support Your Local Sheriff (1969)
In this western comedy, James Garner plays a man who becomes a sheriff just for the pay, figuring he can head to Australia if things get tough. In the end, he uses his smarts instead. Find it here.
Why he loves it: James Garner is a great actor, and the combination of humor with the western film genre is enjoyable. A young Bruce Dern also appears in this movie, along with Harry Morgan. (My husband likes Harry Morgan, apparently; he’s also a MASH fan. Go figure!)
The Hallelujah Trail (1965)
This is another western comedy. On its way to Denver, a cargo of whiskey destined for the miners, is sought after by the Temperance League, the U.S. Cavalry, the local Native Americans, and the miners themselves. Find it here.
Why he loves it: This is a great comedy. He loves the fight scene with the US Army in the middle and everyone else fighting around them. It’s a bit corny, but funny.
It was difficult to narrow this list down, so I’d like to mention a few more: Operation Petticoat, The Philadelphia Story, The 39 Steps, With Six You Get Eggroll, Sabrina, The African Queen, Pillow Talk, If a Man Answers, Come September, Wait Until Dark, North by Northwest, That Touch of Mink, Charade, The Sound of Music, Kiss Me Kate, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, I could go on.
We’re always looking for new favorites, so tell me what your favorite classic movies are in the comments below!