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What makes a movie a "classic"?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Bill Balcziak, Jan 23, 2002.

  1. Bill Balcziak

    Bill Balcziak Supporting Actor

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    I've noticed a lot of threads referring to movies as "classics" and I wonder what criteria a film needs to meet to be considered one.

    What piques my interest is a series of unrelated posts that apply "classic" status to movies that were, at best, mediocre (both critical and box office flops).

    I'm starting to believe the term "classic" is used simply to describe films that the viewer liked at one time, is still fond of, and wants others to like as well. The word seems to have no relation to artistic merit, box office success or critical praise--it simply suggests likeability, as in "Dude, that movie rocks!"

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Depends on who's doing the defining of "classic". One thing I can ensure you is that box office has nothing to do with it, no matter who's doing the defining. Some of the best classic films ever made barely made a dime at the box office "The Night of the Hunter" for instance. Personally, a film is not a classic until 20 years have passed since it's theatrical run.

    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  4. Terrell

    Terrell Producer

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    My definition is great films that stand the test of time. That's my simple definition.[​IMG]
     
  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Actually it used to be 25 years but I'm getting easy in my old age.[​IMG] By the way, the film doesn't necessarily has to be a good film to be noted as a classic film in some corners of society. However, critical acclaim and my own personal high grade are required attributes in my definition.
    Crawdaddy
     
  6. StephenA

    StephenA Screenwriter

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    A classic movie could be a movie that is remembered by people for decades, one the defines the genre, one that breaks the molds, one that goes into new territory, one that inspires others to make movies, one that touches people's souls, and so on. Some it's just hard to explain why they are classics.
     
  7. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  8. Paul Richardson

    Paul Richardson Second Unit

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    For the general public, a "classic" indicates a film that is:

    1. In Black and White

    2. Boring
     
  9. Terrell

    Terrell Producer

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    [​IMG]
     
  10. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    To elaborate on 'standing the test of time' I would say that for a film to truly be a classic that after a period of at least 25 years, the film still commands, and continues to find an audience.

    Some examples:

    "Gone With the Wind" is a classic.

    "Star Wars" is a classic.

    "This is the Army" would not be much of a classic. It was the biggest box office draw of 1943, but I doubt that many people remember it, and it isn't gaining new audiences today. It's mostly forgotten.

    "The Greatest Show on Earth" won the Oscar for 1952 and was popular with audiences, but it's largely forgotten today, and not what I'd call a classic.

    "Titanic" is a potential classic. It needs more time to determine if it will still find new audiences 20 years from now.

    Yes, even "Lord of the Rings" is a potential classic. Give it time and I think it will, but you just never know for sure.
     
  11. Terrell

    Terrell Producer

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    Eh, Casablanca. We could go on and on. I would agree with Robert in that a film need not necessarily have great critical acclaim, but instead a great fan following and appreciation. For instance, some Cult classics fit this mold. For instance, I doubt The Army of Darkness is a classic in the general sense, nor did it probably garner great acclaim from critics. But I would definitely call it a cult classic.
     
  12. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  13. Terrell

    Terrell Producer

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  14. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Did I mention how great Star Wars was? [​IMG]
    Regards,
     
  15. Terrell

    Terrell Producer

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  16. Rick Deschaine

    Rick Deschaine Stunt Coordinator

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    Standing the test of time is the main criteria. But what makes up 'Standing the Test of Time'?

    A film has to withstand repeated viewings. In many cases it will set some new standard or garner influence on other filmmakers. It will also invite discussion, and introspection on moviegoers for time immemorial.

    Later,

    Rick
     
  17. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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  18. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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  19. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    Crawdaddy,

    I knew when I picked that movie I'd get a little flak.

     
  20. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Noone really knows. If they did, every movie Hollywood released would become a classic. Or perhaps not since they're not always the most profitable...
     

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