12 Classic Films for the Bucket List (Before You Kick It)

Snap out of West Side Story. Ditch Gone with the Wind. And don’t even think about playing Casablanca. They’re already on hundreds of lists. Why rehash the obvious? It’s boring. So without further ado:

1. Lilies of the Field (1963) Based on the novel by William Edmund Barrett, the film follows the story of a wandering jack-of-all trades (Sidney Poitier) who comes across a group of German nuns convinced he’s been sent by God to build them a church. I love this film.

2. My Man Godfrey (1936). A ditzy socialite (Carole Lombard) hires a hobo living in the dump as the family’s butler, then promptly falls in love with him. Whether he returns the affections is more doubtful, especially considering the utterly irrational in-laws he would be stuck with …

 3. Bringing Up Baby (1938) A prim paleontologist (Cary Grant) wants a sponsor to donate one million dollars to his museum, but messes it all up after getting mixed up with a harebrained woman and her leopard. My first screwball favorite.

 4. Rebecca (1940). Joan Fontaine plays a young, naïve bride tortured by the lingering presence of her husband’s deceased first wife. And also by the super creepy Mrs. Danvers.

5. To Have and Have Not (1944) This was Bogart and Bacall’s first film, and smolders with chemistry. Bogart rents a charter boat to tourists in Martinique and is asked to smuggle out resistance fighters. He refuses, but then has a fateful encounter with a pickpocket. Bacall was 19 (19!) when she filmed this.

6. It (1927) Clara Bow has definitely got “it” in this silent film. She plays a strong, independent working female set on getting what she wants … one of which happens to be the company’s head honcho.

7. Interrupted Melody (1955). This film is based on the life of Australian opera singer Marjorie Lawrence, who was struck by polio at the height of her career. It has fantastic famous opera scenes and stars the talented and gorgeous Eleanor Parker (the evil baroness from The Sound of Music).

 8And Then There Were None (1943) Psychological thriller based on Agatha Christie’s mystery. Ten guests are invited to a house on a lonely island and are killed off one by one. It’s creepy and suspenseful.

9. Carefree (1938) What list is complete without a film starring the iconic Astaire/Rogers duo? This one involves a psychologist, hypnosis, and skeet shooting gone hilariously awry. (Shall We Dance is another good film, and features the catchy “potato, patahto” song.)

10. Gentleman’s Agreement (1947). Gregory Peck plays a journalist who decides to experience anti-Semitism firsthand by saying he’s Jewish for two weeks. It’s thought-provoking and gives a revealing look at anti-Semitic sentiment during the 40s.

11. Seven Chances (1925). Critics and hardcore classic film buffs rave about The General, but do you ever hear much about Keaton’s Seven Chances? It’s got great visuals, obvious when the hero runs down a canyon in the midst of rocks that look like giant meatballs. Plus he gets chased by an angry horde of wannabe brides.

 12. Naughty Marietta (1935) Another film for the opera fan, starring Jeannette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. MacDonald plays a French princess who runs away to New Orleans to avoid marrying a stuffy old Spaniard. There’s a great scene with singing marionettes (they’re cute, really).

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Halloween Movie Lists!

Happy Halloween! In celebration, Liz and I have jotted down literature and film suggestions for the ghoulish holiday.

Liz: Here are some movies and a few books that would go great with a cool and windy fall night.

Films:

  • The Mummy’s Hand
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • Arsenic and Old Lace
  • Rebecca
  • The Wolfman
  • The Blob
  • The Creature from the Black Lagoon
  • The Uninvited
  • The Ghost and Mr. Chicken
  • The Canterville Ghost
  • Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man
  • Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
  • Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy
  • Ernest Scared Stupid
  • Topper Returns
Books:
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
  • Dracula by Brom Stoker
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jaz: I concur with Liz on the second, third, fourth, sixth, seventh and last films. Also Jane Eyre. The rest I can’t say because — I’m ashamed to admit this — I haven’t seen/read them.
I will only add:
  • For Jane Austen fans, Northanger Abbey (satire of gothic romances, containing a dark gloomy abbey, a mysterious death, a tyrannical father and a damsel in distress … sort of). Watch the latest BBC adaptation starring Felicity Jones if you’re watching the film version.
  • The Little Shop of Horrors (1960). Feeeed me. FEEEEED MEEE!!!
  • The Thing from Another World (1951). Great film and unintentionally humorous, as is the case with many classic horror films.

There would be more, but the truth is many horror films frighten me with so little effort that I generally avoid them, even black and whites. But I see a few classic horror B films in my future … maybe. I’ll leave the light on.