Classic Movies

I recently had the unfortunate experience of having to discuss an article by Judith Jarvis Thompson in my ethics class that made reference to Henry Fonda. When I asked my class of 37 students if they knew who Henry Fonda was, three raised their hand. Out of curiousity I then asked about Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, etc., getting nearly the same number of responses. So as a cultural/public service to my students, I have compiled a short list of what I take to be ‘classic’ movies from the late 1920s–1960s (omitting for the most part the sub-genres of classic sci-fi and horror).

This list was pretty much made off the top of my head. Let me know if there are any glaring omissions.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
It Happened One Night
A Night at the Opera
Duck Soup
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Meet John Doe
You Can’t Take it With You

It’s a Wonderful Life
Foreign Correspondent
The Uninvited
The Bishop’s Wife
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
Treasure of the Sierra Madre
(Any of the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes movies)
Maltese Falcon
Arsenic and Old Lace
Miracle on 34th Street
His Girl Friday
Philadelphia Story
Shadow of a Doubt
The Grapes of Wrath

Rear Window
North by Northwest
Strangers on a Train
High Noon
To Catch a Thief
Anatomy of a Murder
Singin’ in the Rain
Forbidden Planet
Seven Samurai
Mister Roberts
12 Angry Men

Cape Fear
The Birds
The Sound of Music
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
To Kill a Mockingbird
Planet of the Apes
The Magnificent Seven
Spencer’s Mountain
Yours, Mine and Ours
Advise & Consent
Dr. Strangelove
2001: A Space Odyssey

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