2023 experienced some clear standout films—such as Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, Barbie, Oppenheimer, and Poor Things. There were also plenty of other popular and well-made movies like John Wick: Chapter 4, Trolls Band Together, Saltburn, and The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Despite these successes, dozens of films released in 2023 now sit with a status of forgettability.
Every year, new movies are released, and while some gain recognition and appreciation from fans, many will fall between the cracks. This phenomenon happens over and over, as consumers decide which movies they love the most. However, in the last few years, films have experienced a decline in quality, depth, and memorability. Movies have begun to lack the prosperity producers hope for.
Despite this trend, some movies don’t go unrecognized—and likely never will. “Classic” films seem timeless and are well-known and loved by American culture. These films stay fan favorites, regardless of the years since they were made. Some may wonder why these movies are special, especially with the new downfall of viewer satisfaction from movie-goers.
Interestingly enough, there is not one singular quality that makes a movie beloved and timeless. Classic films span different periods, genres, styles, and story arcs. But there is commonality found in their well-thought-out storyline, depth of emotions, and either relatable or lovable characters. The following list compiles and ranks some of the best classic films based on their impact on the country’s culture and critical ratings.
- The Notebook
One of the most well-known and heartbreaking romantic films, The Notebook is a deeply emotional and charming love story that will likely never lose its “classic” status.
- The Goonies
The Goonies is a light and charming comedy about friends who fight to keep their homes. This movie is paired with riddles, light romance, and a pirate legend, creating a fun movie to last through the years.
The Grease soundtrack is one of the major reasons why this movie is so iconic. The music is recognizable to most people and loved by many. Along with the songs, the cast of Grease can balance levity and depth to make a beloved and sweet love story.
- The Shining
Regarded as one of the best horror movies ever made, The Shining is unique in its impact on American culture. Nearly everyone knows the word “Redrum” and can picture the unmistakable yellow wallpaper and bright red elevator from the terrifying Overlook Hotel.
- Back to the Future
Back to the Future is an exciting and lighthearted film brought to life by the quick and humorous banter between Marty McFly and Doc Brown. Their endearing relationship in the movie is what makes this movie stand out among others.
- Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park is simply an extremely well-made movie. The film’s sound design, soundtrack, special effects, and original concept (based on the novel by Michael Crichton) made the movie stand apart from the crowd as an exciting and intriguing action film.
Both beautiful and tragic, Titanic is widely regarded as a cinematic masterpiece. The film tells the story of an enchanting romance while exploring themes of class struggle, grief, and the importance of living life to the fullest.
- The Breakfast Club
- The Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of Oz is a film that arguably had one of the biggest impacts on all movies that followed it. Its use of color revolutionized the film industry, and therefore, it is cemented into movie history.
- The Godfather
The Godfather is iconic, and will most likely remain so for a long, long time. The themes the movie explores are deep and relatable, and the film has inescapably impacted American culture.
Overall, classic films prove that movies can still be made in a way that has a lasting impact. They set an example of what a film has the opportunity to be and show that when a movie tells its story well, time doesn’t diminish it.