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Old 20-08-2005, 09:41   #1
nmirza
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What is a classic film?

We had this discussion at a dinner when we was talking about Charlie and the Chocolate factory and how it compared to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The question of what makes a classic came up.

Is a classic film a film that stands the test of time? What about instant classics?
Is a classic film one that provokes a sense of nostalgia? Again, what about instant classics?
Is a classic film a film that cannot be made better? Does this mean that the label of "classic" is not permanent? Also, who's to say that it cannot be made better?
Is a classic film a film that broke new ground in that it was a style of film never done before? If so what about classics like "Goodfellas". This is not something that broke new ground.
What about the generation gap? The latest generation watch a remake of an old "classic" and prefer the later one. Does this mean that the old one no longer qualifies as a classic?
Also, what about international borders? "Reservoir Dogs" would be considered by some to be classic Tarrantino - but this was plagiarised from a Japanese film.

Interesting discussion. Kept us busy for two and a half hours. Anyone else have a view on this?

Last edited by nmirza; 20-08-2005 at 09:44.
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Old 20-08-2005, 09:53   #2
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This is the exact reason why I generally try not to use that word! It has so many connotations that it is often hard to know what it means. People will call older films "the classics" but this seems to give the impression that they are old and dated now, and can only be regarded as 'classic'.

If a film is great, it is surely great forever, and 'classic' is just a term some people use to summarise anything which isn't a Hollywood blockbuster, however wide ranging that category is!
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Old 20-08-2005, 10:25   #3
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It's a movie that stands the test of time, at least 20 years IMHO, and that people still enjoy watching today.
I don't think there is any such thing as an instant classic.
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Old 20-08-2005, 10:56   #4
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A classic to me:

1. Can be watched at anytime.
2. Don't need to watch it from the start (i.e if it's on Sky and a hour in)
3. You learn something new about the film on each repeat viewing.

I'm sure there are classics in my collection which others can't stand...

Edit: For me Jaws meets the above... a true classic
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