10 Classic Movies Every Millennial Should See

With the introduction of video streaming and social networking, kids who grew up using smartphones are being exposed less and less to classic movies. Many young people refuse to watch films that aren’t shot in 4k, much less black and white. For many millennials, watching an “old” movie means streaming Clueless or The Breakfast Club. But youngsters are missing out on some of the greatest cinematic feats ever created.

1. Citizen Kane

Orson Wells’ masterpiece about the pitfalls of unbridled capitalism and greed in America applies perfectly to modern society more than any other recent movie. Citizen Kane is a reflection of how the American Dream can become dark and twisted.

2. Roman Holiday

Most people know Audrey Hepburn for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but Hepburn had an impressive career before that. In this charming black-and-white film, Hepburn plays a repressed princess who just wants to live her life to the fullest, and it is probably her most endearing role.

3. La Dolce Vita

Italian director Frederico Fellini’s most famous film, La Dolce Vita, literally translates as “the sweet life” in Italian (not to be confused with The Sweet Life of Zach and Cody). This iconic black-and-white film showed the world how to live life to the fullest over half a century before YOLO.

4. Night of the Living Dead

Despite being made in the 1968, this film is scarier than most horror movies made in the 21st century and was one of the first zombie movies ever created. The plot pioneered the prevailing “teenagers trapped in a cabin” genre that has permeated horror movies. Every zombie flick that has followed tried to capture the essence of Night of the Living Dead, but none have fully succeeded.

5. Sunset Boulevard

“I am big. It’s the pictures that got small,” as said by Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. This film was made when the entertainment industry was experience a revolution: television. It’s ironic that nowadays, television is dying in favor of watching webseries and streaming services like Netflix. History is cyclical, and that’s what Sunset Boulevard teaches us.

6. All About Eve

In many ways All About Eve was a feminist film: it doesn’t center around finding a man, stars strong female leads, and highlights the sexism that actresses faced back then (and still do). Although the film premiered in 1950, the plot and writing is more progressive than most “feminist” movies currently coming out.

7. High Noon

If you love old westerns, High Noon is a must-see. Although the film does not have the stereotypical fights, scenery, and chases that most Westerns had back then, it stood out due to the emotional and moral dialogue throughout the movie. The movie focuses more on a conflict of conscience rather than all action (or CGI) like movies nowadays.

8. Metropolis

Some consider German director Fritz Lang’s Metropolis to be the best silent film ever made; if you love the 1920s, art deco, and science fiction, that is. But who doesn’t love those things? Metropolis was technologically and cinematically groundbreaking with its grandiose sets and stunning cinematography that will make you think it is an arthouse movie shot in 2016. The film also parallels modern times and how technology and wealth disparity are affecting our lives.

9. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

This movie will give you beautiful, twisted nightmares that you will replay in your head like a malignant brain tumor whenever you close your eyes. But you will keep your eyes closed because even though it’s a nightmare, you don’t want it to stop. What else is there to say? Dr. Caligari is like a veritable circus of moving images that will haunt your dreams.

10. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

If you’re a fan of suspenseful thrillers, this unassuming and underrated film by Robert Aldrich will leave you on the edge of your seat. Although the title of the film seems more like a Lifetime made-for-tv-movie, it’s actually one of the best thrillers ever created. Betty Davis makes a creepy villain in a film that was mostly shot within the confines of a chateau. The minimalistic cinematography and subtle tension throughout the film is something that modern-day movies severely lack.

What’s your favorite old, classic movie?




Zara Zhi
Zara Zhi
Zara is a freelance writer and filmmaker who has worked for numerous magazines and news sites. When not coming up with puns or writing screenplays, she enjoys having blind children read to her and donating plasma TVs. Follow her on Twitter: @zarazhi