10 Classic Movies to Watch During Quarantine

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Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

James Dean, Sal Mineo, and Natalie Wood star in the 1955 film "Rebel Without a Cause."

Sarah Bryden, Junior Editor

As Hingham students now enter the fourth month of online learning, continuing to stay isolated from an increasingly-turbulent world, boredom and frustration seem to be universal. If you find yourself in need of a brief escape, consider stepping back in American history and enjoying one of these ten classic Hollywood movies!

  1.       The Wizard of Oz, Victor Fleming, 1939

Now a beloved cultural cornerstone, this “Technicolor triumph” tells the story of Dorothy Gale, who is swept away from her Kansas farm to the magical land of Oz in a tornado. With its memorable characters and catchy score, featuring hits such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” the movie was an instant classic in 1939 and remains popular today. Alex Denning, a sophomore at Hingham High School, recently saw the movie and said, “I loved characters like the Tin Man and Toto, and the yellow brick road scene.”

  1.       Gone With The Wind, Victor Fleming, 1940

Adapted from Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel of the same name, this sweeping historical romance film stars Vivien Leigh as Southern Belle Scarlett O’Hara and Clark Gable as her love interest. The film is as notable for its masterful storytelling as for its acting: supporting actress Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American Oscar winner, and though the movie has since come under fire for its racial politics, it remains an excellent portrait of the Civil War era.

  1.       Citizen Kane, Orson Welles, 1941

 With Orson Welles serving as writer, producer, director, and star, this quasi-biographical film examines the life of Charles Foster Kane, a newspaper tycoon widely considered to be based on American magnate William Randolph Hearst. Often hailed as the most influential film of all time, Citizen Kane is credited with revolutionizing cinematography, lighting, and narrative structure in film. Countless directors, from Stanley Kubrick to Martin Scorsese, list it as a favorite, and for good reason: with its unprecedented narrative arc and innovative filming techniques, Citizen Kane is undoubtedly one of the best movies ever made.

  1.       Casablanca, Michael Curtiz, 1942

Easily one of the most-quoted movies of all time (“Here’s looking at you, kid”), this WWII-era romantic drama tells the story of lovers torn apart and reunited. With its memorable lines, lead characters, and music, Casablanca has become an icon of American culture and is often considered one of the greatest films of history.

  1.       Roman Holiday, William Wyler, 1953

 Gregory Peck, a journalist, and Audrey Hepburn, an incognito princess, explore Rome together in this beloved romantic comedy. Hepburn’s American debut, Roman Holiday launched her legendary career and helped set the standard for modern rom-coms.

  1.       Rebel Without a Cause, Nicholas Ray, 1955

Starring the almost-mythical James Dean, this drama is one of the earliest Hollywood depictions of teenage angst, and arguably also one of the best. At the time of its release, the film was groundbreaking in its portrayal of generational conflict and its criticism of parents of the 50s; since then, it has reached legendary status, in part due to the infamously early deaths of all three starring actors, Sal Mineo, Natalie Wood, and James Dean.

  1.       Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock, 1960

Perhaps the most famous movie by the Master of Suspense, Psycho tested the tolerance of American audiences to violence and sexuality, and in doing so set a new precedent for films. With its genuinely-terrifying score, masterful acting, and the now-famous shower scene, the film helped create the slasher genre and has now become a cornerstone of American culture.

  1.       The Sound of Music, Robert Wise, 1965

One of the greatest musicals and WWII stories of all time, The Sound of Music stars Julie Andrews as the free-spirited, enthusiastic Von Trapp family governess. After bringing love and music to the family, she must help them survive the Nazi annexation of Austria and the subsequent loss of their home. Inspired by the real story of the Von Trapp family singers, the film features memorable songs and acting, and remains beloved by people across the world today.

  1.       2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968, Stanley Kubrick

Hailed as the “ultimate science fiction movie” by none other than George Lucas, 2001: A Space Odyssey has been tremendously influential, establishing sci-fi as a legitimate Hollywood genre and even inspiring David Bowie’s classic song, “Space Oddity.” The film tells the story of a voyage to Jupiter by sentient computer HAL, and with the recent news of SpaceX’s successful manned launch, Kubrick’s story seems more relevant than ever.

  1.   The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola, 1972

Perhaps the most iconic film of all time, The Godfather catapulted Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro to stardom and inspired countless impressions of Marlon Brando’s Don Corleone. The movie is credited with sparking significant interest in the experiences of Italian-American immigrants, reflected by later Hollywood productions such as GoodFellas and The Sopranos, as well as in the testimony of sophomore Ella Potter, who said that “watching The Godfather increased my interest in my Italian roots.”