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My daughter and I are watching The Wonder Years. It makes me nostalgic. I didn’t grow up in the 70s, I’m an 80’s baby. But I grew up watching some great film classics that I would watch again and again. 

These are in no particular order, and this is by no means a comprehensive list because I’m sure I’ll think of at least 20 more when I finish this post.

10. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. Need I say more? Except maybe that it’s based on a Tennessee Williams play. 

The family drama is palpable throughout this movie. It resonates with me in many ways. People trying desperately to come to terms with their relationships. With themselves. 

Did I mention Paul Newman? I love that man. 

9. The Rainmaker

Humor and a flawless performance by Katherine Hepburn. Burt Lancaster, larger than life. These two steal every scene they’re in and Hepburn’s monologue about the kind of man she wants brings me to tears every time.

I want him to be able to tell me who he is, and tell me who I am, too. I want to do things for him. All kinds of things and we never have to say “thank you” because “thank you” is our whole life together. 

I’ve always wanted to see it performed on stage. 

8. The Heiress

Olivia De Havilland and Montgomery Clift. I didn’t discover Clift until I was older, but God, what an actor. This movie has one of the best “in your face” endings of all time. I get chills every time I watch it.

7. To Kill a Mockingbird

It’s my favorite book of all time, and one of those rare instances where the film did the book poetic justice. 

I’m perpetually in love with Gregory Peck and his performance as Atticus Finch. 

This movie was so beyond its time in terms of subject matter. Socially conscious with some of the best juvinelle performances by young actors that I’ve ever seen.

6. John Wayne

Some actors are so much a part of my nostalgia, I can’t pick just one of their movies to share. I grew up on a lot of John Wayne. Between my Dad, my Pawpaw, and my male cousins, I was destined to love him or hate him.

I love him. 

My favorites include:

True Grit

The Cowboys

Rooster Cogburn

North to Alaska

Cahill, U.S. Marshall

His one liners are part of my vocabulary forever. His heroic persona one that I hold with great affection.

5. Yankee Doodle Dandy

Most years, without fail, my family watched this movie every Independence Day. 

I know nearly every line, every song, by heart. 

4. Harvey

I could probably do an entire post on Jimmy Stewart, another of my all time favorite actors. This is a quirky little film that is chock full of humor and mystery. A grown man with an imaginary friend that happens to be a 6 foot white rabbit?

I don’t have a copy of this one. I need to get it. I haven’t seen it in years.

3. Musicals

Oh man do I love musicals. Since I couldn’t pick just one here either, here’s another list of some of my favorites:

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers


Calamity Jane

The Unsinkable Molly Brown

They don’t make musicals like they used to. La La Land came as close as anything I’ve seen since my childhood as being something that I would include as part of a list of true musical, artistic masterpieces.

2. You Can’t Take it With You

I’ve always loved Jean Arthur. She was in several movies that I enjoyed. This one is my favorite of hers and it also stars, you guessed it, Jimmy Stewart.

This is a hilarious Frank Capra film that, like all of his movies, leaves you with the warm fuzzies. I like watching movies that make me feel like that. Sometimes you just need to see a happy ending. Even if it’s cheesy, or unrealistic. Life is hard enough without everything being so harsh. And speaking of life…..

1. It’s a Wonderful Life

Hey, so I’m in love with Jimmy Stewart. Get over it. 

I relate to George Bailey. I know what it’s like to have dreams and then life just sort of takes over and before you know it you’ve got a family and a mortgage and are put in situations that try to force you to compromise. 

And it’s tempting to give in. Or give up. 

But George is reminded of the impact his life has had on others. That though his dreams may not have come to pass, his life is and has been a gift. To others. To himself. 

So he chooses to live. He chooses thankfulness. 

It’s a beautiful story. 

I love movies and don’t get to watch them as much as I’d like. Not reruns like these, anyway. But I might have to treat myself to a few Amazon purchases. I listed several that I don’t have that I’d love for Reagan to see. Would love to hear about some of your favorite movie classics in the comments!