What makes a classic film?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by DublinBass, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I just saw most of a 1979 film called "Hanover Street" on the tele today. It starred Christopher Plummer (from Sound of Music) and Harrison Ford (from Star Wars and Indiana Jones).

    It was exciting, with some action and had a nice romance them to it. Ended a bit Cheesy, though. But really reminded me of Casablanca a bit and got me wondering, why had I never heard of this film before.

    What makes a god film (or great film). Ordo so many good films not just get nominated for any awards?

    I think great films having characters (and actors/resses) that draw you towards them (as if you could be there) and I think great films have a plot that has some surprise along the way (whether obvious or not).

    Other thoughts?
  2. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I think time helps.

    Without the incessant clamouring of film critics, people can make their own judgement without the "of the moment" peer pressure. I love Sky Cinema for this reason.
  3. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I think lots of external factors can come into play as well. Look, for example, at a film like "Caesar & Cleopatra": panned by the critics & a pretty ropey film, yet one of the first historical films most people think of, because of the off-screen antics between Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor.
  4. lausonbass

    lausonbass Member

    i think a really good film is when you can imagine yourself as one of the characters.
    But also when it makes you think along the way.

    Love actually is one of my favourites at the moment, i love it cos it's romantic and cheesy, but it's also really clever cos it follows about 6 different story lines,but then by the end of the film all of the different stories have been linked together in some way.

    it's great cos it makes you cry too!!!!:cry:
  5. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Each to their own really Pat... one persons fruit is anothers' poison and all that. For me though, what makes a film a classic is a combination of the story, the manner it is presented, how enthralling it is while watching it, and if I'd watch it again.
  6. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Difficult one to answer concisely but for me should be timeless and peerless. It's appeal should also reach out to all generations and still be interesting with repeated viewing. The balance of all it's elements such as plot, characters, direction, well thought-out production, cast and support can make some moments in film-making sheer magic.
  7. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I also think that you cannot christen a film from the last 12 months as a classic. If you do, you are prone to having "The Bros Effect".

    Capital Radio did their all time top 500 for the year Bros were the teeny bop sensations (1988?). The top 10 that year had no less than 3 Bros tracks, all of which didn't figure in the top 500 at all two years later.

    Personally, I'd say that in all Top 100 lists, nothing less than 5 years old should be allowed!
  8. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Not even the tMP Hadleigh band :?: :!: :shock:
  9. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    For me I think Classic Films are those that have been around years but appeal to each new generation, such as Wizard of OZ etc. Films such as these are played over and over again. They have to be entertaining of course, but because they are talked about continuously they will always remain classic films.
  10. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    For me a character and their circumstances that are relevant for ever and a day is the key.

    Fantasy and character association are the two things that can make a film enjoyable, something that subconsciously provokes thought without you having to think too hard about it. If a director manages to mix the two (a character you can relate to without thinking about, set it in a fantasy storyline) then everyone is hooked.

    A twist is essential, the film cant go from beginning to end exactly as you expect it to otherwise there is no point in watching it. I prefer a twist that has already been clearly laid out as you are then kinda expecting it, however it should never be done as expected so the viewer feels great for guessing it but intrigued by how it actually unfolds.

    A memorable line / catchphrase thrown in for good measure and a bit of nudity and you have a classic.
  11. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    ^ That is why cult films aren't classic films, they are easily related to by certain social groups as they have experienced the same emotions / circumstances whereas a classic has to be of universal appeal.

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