Film can teach us a lot about ourselves and others. It can offer an escape during stressful times. Classic films in particular have such an air of pageantry that they call forward feelings of nobility and romanticism.
Even the gloomiest classics, such as Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” can draw you in and make you long for a time like theirs. While there are many elements of classic films that should remain in that era, there are also moments and characters that can resonate with us.
Here are five films perfect for anyone who has a reverence for the romanticism of classic films.
1. Roman Holiday
Starring the effortlessly elegant Audrey Hepburn, “Roman Holiday” is the story of a European princess who decides to run away from her controlled life for a day. Serendipity brings her into the acquaintanceship of American reporter Joe Bradley.
Over the course of a few days the two develop an unlikely friendship and romance, made all the more meaningful by the fact that she can’t stay forever. The fact that the film is in black and white makes it feel like a cherished memory. As you watch the film you’ll feel compelled to recall the cherished moments in your life that now only exist in memory.
2. Give a Girl a Break
Best known for her starring role in “Singing in the Rain,” Debbie Reynolds stars in the underrated musical “Give a Girl a Break.” The film is about three women, each with distinct dance styles and talents, that compete for the headlining role in a new Broadway play.
Debbie Reynolds’ optimism carries the film and makes the tedious and often disappointing audition process seem like an idealistic experience. While watching this film, feel free to view yourself as the protagonist of your life and every challenge that you face.
3. Tales of Hoffman
The “Tales of Hoffman” is the film adaptation of the French opera fantastique of the same name. It tells three stories of tragic love taken from the stories of Germanic Romantic poet E.T.A Hoffman.
The beauty of the film is in its expert ballet and operatic performances as well as its ornate sets, each so arresting that it pulls you out of your living room and into a tremendous music hall. It plays with light shadow and surrealism in such a way that some scenes appear to be straight from the dreams of Salvador Dali.
4. An American in Paris
Starring Gene Kelly, a pioneer in cinematic musicals and ballet and French-American actress and dancer Leslie Clair Margaret, “An American in Paris” is another underrated masterpiece.
Kelly stars as an ex-GI living in post-war Paris in the hopes of becoming a successful painter. It features sweeping sets only possible during the Golden Age of Film and a melancholy ending traditional for the time.
The film is fun and hopelessly romantic. Kelly’s cover of “Our Love is Here to Stay”, though premature, is a delightfully sure and unapologetic profession of love.
5. The Wiz
The 1979 rendition of the classic tale is perhaps an even more universal story than the original. Dorothy is afraid to leave her aunt’s home and build a life for herself.
A swirling blizzard of snow throws her into a phantasmagoric version of the city and she is forced to face and even embrace the things that frighten her so she can get home. Musical powerhouses such as Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Lena Horne lead the film.
Even in its more serious moments, the film is unafraid to have fun, making it a high camp experience. The way that color is used is absolutely arresting, especially in the emerald city.
The most impressive scene is one in which the citizens of Oz sing in praise of the Wizard’s favorite color, dismissing every other; that is until the Wiz changes his mind minutes later.