The culture surrounding nostalgic films

Everyone has a favorite movie genre, whether it be humor, romance or action. There are, of course, some films that just cannot fit a specific genre because the general public cannot bear to have the film confined by the restrictions a single category. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Wizard of Oz, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Home Alone, Back to the Future— the list just goes on and on. Long ago, these films have transcended the regular movie genre barrier. In fact, these films and many others like them have formed their own new category, the classics!
Upon hearing the phrase “classics,” many think of iconic works of literature. Some common classic books include: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye and even The Communist Manifesto. All of these books vary drastically in their style and themes, but this is certainly not the case when it comes to classic films.
With classic films, there is a clear cookie cutter standard when giving a movie the honorable title of being called a “classic.” But some may ask themselves, what exactly makes a film a classic? Well Diane Cairn, a Motion Picture and Startup Executive, was asked this exact question by the Director’s Guild of America for their February 1992 issue. In which she responded with what perfectly encapsulates what it means for a movie to be a classic.
“A film that captures a past generation’s heart, challenges a present generation’s mind and nourishes a future generation’s soul,” said Carin in her emailed response to the Director’s Guild of America.
It is crucial to note that a classic movie must be recognized as one throughout multiple generations, which usually becomes the biggest challenge for most aspiring films. It becomes ever more apparent over time that the majority of complications that so many films run into popularity wise are due to the innovations of the 21st century.
The 21st century has given rise to a new era of fast and readily available access to hundreds of films. In addition, new equipment and improvements throughout the movie industry means more and more films are being made and released each year than the previous year. Taking into account all of these new improvements and changes in the 21st century, it is clear that becoming a classic is an uphill struggle for many films.
However, people still may disagree when it comes to which films can be considered a classic, which is why I have developed three main criteria for this exact issue. Although everyone’s individual criteria may differ from person to person, the following paragraphs attempt to best provide a translation for the social status of a classic movie.
First, the movie in question must have “transcended time and trends.” Therefore, if it was made recently, then there is no way that it can be considered a classic. A classic needs to requires the approval of multiple generations. Such as movies like Ocean 11, whose popularity paved the way for a sequel to be made, Ocean 8.
Second, it must be ingrained into American culture. One sign that a movie is a classic is if references from the movie can be found years later in homes across America. A great example of this is the Star Wars Saga. Even though the first movie of the series was made in 1977, one can find instances of the movie’s legacy inextricably engraved in parts of American pop culture, such as Darth Vader’s “no, I am your father” line.
Finally, it must have and still be able to inspire and nurture a generation’s worth of creativity. This means that it must be a film that can be universally accepted as a hallmark of inspiration, like The Godfather and Forrest Gump.
So to everyone who feels like when watching films such as Peter Pan and Singing in the Rain, keep on searching for more classics!