why I love old movies


Reason #1: No Objectionable Content – This is huge for me and my family and one of the main reasons that I watch as many old movies as I do.  I don’t have to worry about massive amounts of swearing, gratuitous violence, or bedroom scenes (I mean, honestly, old movies make it seem like every married couple slept in separate beds). (There is an awesome website that filters stuff like that in modern movies, and my family uses quite often.)  It’s so relaxing to watch a good film and not having to worry about fast-forwarding scenes or having one’s ears assaulted with profanity every minute.  Plus, old movies prove that it’s possible to tell a great story without a bunch of inappropriate stuff that supposedly panders to the masses.


Reason #2: The Outfits – All those glorious, glamorous clothes that the heroines wear.  All the guys wear suits, whether they’re lawyers or restaurant managers or hardened criminals.  And it’s not just the main characters!  Everyone in the background is dressed in the old clothes that Retro Girls tend to swoon over, ’cause it was just a way of life back then.  The gloves, the hats, the high heels…ohhhhh, it’s wonderful.

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Reason #3: “IN COLOR” – I don’t know if anyone shares my opinion on this, but there’s just something about the richness and glowiness of Technicolor that the color in modern films can’t match.  All those swashbucklers with the crimson reds of pirates’ clothes and blues of cresting waves and lustrous jewels spilling out of hulking wooden chests.  Period films where the soft candlelight reflects off the glossy silks and satins of ladies’ dresses.  And Westerns, where you can almost taste the sandy, yellowish dust billowing up in the air and see the sun glinting off silvery spurs. (Black and white was awesome as well, though.  Especially for all those war movies and film noirs.)


Reason #4: Manners of Days Gone BySort of goes with the clothes thing, as far as the time capsule angle is concerned.  Men hold doors open for women, help them with their parcels, stand up when they enter a room, tip their hats, etc.  People actually say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and ‘excuse me’.  Can you imagine how awesome the world would be if that were the norm today?

Reason #5: The War Movies – Oh, I know it’s easy to be cynical about those old movies made during WWII (after all, so many of them are quite blatant propaganda), but there’s something about them that gives me a warm feeling inside.  All that patriotism and optimism (after all, when many of those films were made, the final outcome of WWII was still up in the air) and just plain awesomeness.  LOVE IT.  The people who worked on those movies were all involved in the war to some degree or another and that lends an air of credibility and emotion that modern war films just can’t match, in my opinion.

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Reason #6: Music – Those amazing soundtracks.  The Best Years of Our Lives, The Magnificent Seven, Robin Hood (Errol Flynn version, of course), Casablanca, High Noon, Around the World in 80 Days, Laura…and those are just a few, a very few of my favorites.  Composers actually made music back in those days, and most films had an excellent score.  Of course, there are some modern movies soundtracks that I love (most of which, surprisingly, come from animated movies), but there are so many good films these days with forgettable scores.  The richness of the old soundtracks never fails to stir my imagination.


Reason #7: The Actors And ActressesHad to put them on the list, because it’s SO true.  (Disclaimer: I’m fully aware of the fact that the people in old Hollywood were sometimes just as bad as modern actors and actresses today – I’m not excusing or ignoring that at all).  There are a few modern actors and actresses that I like, but almost all of the people on my list come from the days of old Hollywood.  Harrison Ford and Matt Damon are awesome, but I think I’ll always prefer Gregory Peck and Dana Andrews and Steve McQueen.  And Audrey Hepburn will ALWAYS be my favorite actress.  Everyone has their own preferences, and mine are firmly planted in the 40s and 50s (and, to some extent, the 60s).  There’s a classiness about the old actors and actresses that hasn’t been matched since and I don’t think ever will be.  And I think my heart belongs, at least for the moment, in another century.



13 thoughts on “why I love old movies

  1. Loved this!!! I love old movies, too, and for all of the reasons you stated. The stories were often better then, too, because the filmmakers had to rely on the story instead of special effects.

    Take care, though, not to romanticize another century. It’s something I struggle with, especially thinking, “Gee, everything was so much better then – why can’t I live in the post-WWII world?” But God made us born on the exact date that we were born on for a reason.

    Maybe we can use our desires for the days gone by to push us to change the culture. 🙂


    1. Exactly! (About the stories.) So many movies these days are just a bunch of explosions held together by a paper-thin plot.

      Sometimes it’s tough for me, too, but I know that God never makes a mistake, so He obviously had an excellent reason for putting me (and you) into this century. It’s still hard sometimes, though. 😛


  2. Absolutely agree on all points – especially 1 through 4! So you’ve noticed that about old color film too? I’ve always thought so; it just seems to have a vividness that whatever they use nowadays doesn’t match. The three most beautiful color films I’ve seen so far (going just on visuals here, not anything else about the film) are Little Women (’49), The Searchers and A Date With Judy.

    I’d add one more reason: The Dialogue. Films where characters actually have long, intelligent conversations that you have to pay attention to, instead of just quick-flashing action and really short basic speeches. Often we’ve watched a film like 12 Angry Men or Executive Suite where basically the whole film is built around intelligent dialogue, and agreed that films like this would never be popular with today’s short attention spans!


    1. Oooh, I should’ve remembered the dialogue! Casablanca is one of the best films, in my opinion, dialogue-wise. And there are so many other great ones as well. (12 Angry Men is amazing, isn’t it?)


  3. jessica prescott

    I know what you mean about black-and-white–color is great, of course, but I do think there’s something special about B&W. Maybe someone should make a contemporary movie shot entirely in B&W? Just as an experiment?


  4. Kat

    What I love about old movies is the dialogue , stories and
    Scenery . Every scene has pretty shrubs or something evocative and the characters are built up in stories and developed in dialogue – the action is secondary . Most movies now don’t teach you anything . I watched a movie today had nice scenery but literally , there was no story ; it went around in endless circles and some of the camera work is becoming dizzy and strangely rapid paced .

    I’ve learnt a lot about charm from these old movies and how to speak correctly . I enjoy reading old
    Books too . Occasionally, I like a current movie or book but it’s rare . Btw I don’t idealise any era , it’s just that in film and in books, there was much more substance to offer . You can learn a lesson from most of these old movies but from current ones , you learn nothing and it’s like an indulgence in add . Additionally , most people shown as rich and glamorous and sometimes were in the old movies too but less often . Of course it’s fantasy and we all want to escape and see glamour but it’s good to see a story and people struggling just as we are .

    I have a few Current films on my fave list but few and far between . I really enjoyed your article and hope you enjoyed my thoughts .


  5. “Reason #1: No Objectionable Content”
    In my opinion this is a very controversial statement. Personally, I love horror movies, as well as fantastic films, adventures, “sword and sandals,” thrillers and stuff like that. And if you take for example horror films from the studio Hammer, or some B movies from the 50s, then there the ladies wear dresses with a deep neckline. But films about antiquity or the ancient East can give a head start here – “exotic dances”, etc. Don’t forget about Pre-Code Hollywood, which, although not as “dirty” as the films of the 70s or 90s, but still was very provocative.
    P.S. – There is still need to clarify – what is meant by the old movies? It’s just a very relative definition. For example, for some films of the early 2000s, they are already old (a bore!) Even in the context of the Hollywood Cinema, this may mean “film shot before the 68th” or “films shot between 1927 and 1948”.


    1. Well, there will always be some content in any movie that different people object to, but on the whole classic films (at least those made before the late sixties – which is how I classify most ‘old films’) are cleaner than the filth that Hollywood puts out today.


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