10 Classic Movies Everyone Should See

No matter if you are a seasoned movie buff or are just looking to expand your cinematographic knowledge, there are some films you just cannot overlook. While many movies can be considered classics, there are several that stand out from the fold and remain popular to this day.

Here is a list of 10 classic movies everyone should see:

Casablanca (1942)

Set in 1941 Casablanca, Morocco, this film follows the life and antics of Rick Blaine (portrayed by Humphrey Bogart), an American expatriate and former freedom fighter, who runs the most popular nightspot in town. One night, however, Blaine’s world is shaken when his former lover, Ilsa (portrayed by Ingrid Bergman), and her husband walk into his establishment. This turn of events leads to unforeseen complications, heartbreak, and an excruciating decision that became one of the world’s most famous cinematic sequences.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Set against the backdrop of sprawling New York City, Breakfast at Tiffany’s follows the story of Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn), a flighty party girl who expects abundant rewards for her companionship. Golightly aspires to lead a life of wealth and glamor, which is exhibited through her habit of eating her breakfast beside the famous Tiffany’s storefront — hence the film’s title. However, her progress is thrown off upon the arrival of her brother’s friend, writer Paul Vorjak (George Peppard). Golightly and Vorjak quickly become friends but, in spite of their chemistry, their future remains uncertain.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

Set in the American Civil War, this legendary Clint Eastwood film tells the story of a professional gunslinger who teams up with a Mexican outlaw to get a slice of $200,000 worth of buried gold. Each character represents the Good (Blondie, portrayed by Eastwood), the Bad (Angel Eyes, portrayed by Lee Van Cleef), and the Ugly (Tuco, portrayed by Eli Wallach) in this tale of adventure, somewhat forced companionship, and an inevitable battle for wealth.

Rocky (1976)

Set in Philadelphia, this film follows the journey of struggling boxer, Rocky Balboa, who desires to find fame. In spite of his natural talent and strength, many believe he will never make it to the big time. However, Balboa trains to prove them wrong and fight legendary heavyweight boxing champion Apollo Creed. Along the way, Balboa falls for his best friend’s sister, Adrian, and finds a new motivation to go the distance and conquer Creed.

The Breakfast Club (1985)

Set in suburban Shermer High School in Shermer, Illinois, this film follows the day-long story of five students who were sentenced to the ultimate punishment: Saturday morning detention. In spite of their identical consequences, the teens — Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez), Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall), John Bender (Judd Nelson), Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald), and Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy) — appear to have nothing else in common. Although they did not utter a word to each other at the beginning of the day, their similarities shone through and united them by their 4 p.m. release time.

The Godfather (1972)

Set in mafia-run New York City, this film follows the story of “Don” Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), the aging patriarch of a renowned crime family. Due to his failing health and the potential he sees in his sons, Vito ultimately decides to retire and pass his responsibilities on to an heir. However, due to an unforeseen chain of events, the youngest — and most reluctant — Corleone boy, Michael (Al Pacino), ends up taking the reins. In spite of the generational gap between Michael and his father, Michael’s goal must match the goals of all who came before him: to act only for the sake of the family.

Back to the Future (1985)

This film is centered around the antics of Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), a typical teenager of the 1980s who lands himself in an extraordinary situation. Upon receiving a call from a whacky friend, Dr. “Doc” Emmet Brown (Christopher Lloyd), McFly heads to the Twin Pines Mall at 1:15 a.m., where Doc unveils his latest creation: a time machine in the form of a classic DeLorean. McFly accidentally triggers the time machine and is sent back 30 years, where he accidentally prevents his then-teenage parents from meeting — thus preventing his own existence. Chaos ensues and McFly must scramble to unite his parents and get back to the future.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

When it comes to Christmas movies, this one is a must-see. It’s a Wonderful Life follows the tale of George Bailey (James Stewart), a young man who is struggling with giving up his dreams of building skyscrapers for the benefit of his town. Bailey ultimately feels left behind as his family members all reach their goals, which leads him to wonder what life would be like if he never existed. Bailey is then visited by an angel named Clarence (Henry Travers), who shows him that he has touched many lives in a positive manner and leads a pretty wonderful life himself.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

This film follows the antics of Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick), a sharp-witted high school student who is, once again, playing hooky. After convincing his parents he was ill, Bueller sets off for a day filled with adventure; driving expensive cars through Chicago; getting into trouble with his best friend, Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck), and girlfriend, Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara); and outrunning his principal, Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), who is determined to bring Bueller back to school.

Star Wars (1977)

What list of classic movies would be complete without the epic film Star Wars? George Lucas’ original epic film, whose franchise continues to this day, follows the story of a young man named Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who lives with his aunt and uncle on the planet Tatooine. After his family has been murdered in an attack by the Imperial Forces, Skywalker joins a Jedi Knight, two droids, a self-centered pilot and his wookiee companion to rescue Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and destroy the Empire’s greatest weapon: the Death Star.

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