5 Classic Movies To Watch In 2024

A good film, like any piece of art, is timeless. Its story, characters, themes, and performances have the ability to transcend time. It can not only be enjoyed and resonate emotionally, but also be actively relevant, irrespective of the calendar year. Even though the technology surrounding filmmaking is constantly evolving, and the industry has grown to incredible heights with VFX (for better and for worse), there are some films that still stand the test of time on a technical, cinematic level due to their direction and cinematography. Though I could list dozens upon dozens of films that illustrate this point to great effect, here are a few to give you a taste of some of the greats that have come in decades past.

1. The 400 Blows


This directorial debut was made by one of the fathers of The French New Wave, Francois Truffaut. The 400 Blows is a semi-autobiographical film about Truffaut’s own childhood, his life at school with terribly harsh teachers, and his life at home with negligent parents. Though plenty of films had already been made by this time where children were the focus, this one is different due to Truffaut’s unabashed honesty in the way in which he portrays children; particularly boys who can be anything from crass to outright cruel. He also doesn’t bludgeon the audience with sentimentality, but rather allows his kids to be just that–kids.

2. 12 Angry Men


Another directorial debut, this time by one of Philadelphia’s finest, Sydney Lumet. 12 Angry Men is a 1957 courtroom drama about a jury of white men that get ready to pass judgment on a Puerto Rican teenager. It’s an incredibly tense film that critiques the American legal system, which is something that is obviously still very relevant to this day. The acting is spectacular, particularly Henry Fonda who plays the lead character and brings such a passion to his performance as Juror #8. The entire movie is shot in one room, and the way in which Lumet is able to build the drama through claustrophobic cinematography is so perfectly executed. It’s frankly remarkable that this was his first movie, as some of the techniques used were well ahead of its time.

3. Tokyo Story


This 1953 film by legendary Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu tells the melancholic story of a retired couple living in the countryside of Onomichi with their daughter, who travel to the rapidly growing city of Tokyo to visit their other children and widowed daughter-in-law. On the surface, this is a quiet drama that showcases the subtle conflicts between the members of a fairly normal family. However, to quote myself from a previous article, this is a movie that tells a far more complex story about “the Westernization of Japan post-World War II, leading to the fall of some of the traditional Japanese familial structures. It’s a story about fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, and the loneliness that inevitably comes with age.”

4. The Apu Trilogy


Directed by who many consider to be “The God of Bengali cinema,” The Apu Trilogy are a set of movies by the late great Satyajit Ray, and are considered some of his best works. These are delicate, warm, beautiful films by a master director. Set in rural Bengal, this trilogy tells the story of a young boy named Apu, as we watch him grow up and tackle the world around him. From family tragedies, to struggling through poverty, to finding unexpected love, these are quiet, sensitive slices of life films that showcase the intimacy with which Mr. Ray wielded his camera.

5. Vagabond


I began this list with one of the fathers of The French New Wave, as such it is only fitting that I end it with the mother of the same movement. Agnes Varda is one of the most influential and important figures in cinematic history, and it’s frankly outrageous that her works aren’t talked about more in modern film discourse. Though her earlier works like Le Bonheur and Cleo From 5 to 7 are important to watch to get an understanding of her technical prowess and influence, it’s in this later film of hers from the 80s that truly captures the boldness with which she tackled this medium; always unafraid of bending the rules. Vagabond, starring Sandrine Bonnaire, tells an unnerving tale of a woman’s last few days amongst the living. Varda was known to use her films to talk about an array of social issues pertaining to women, and this movie is no different. There’s an honesty in the way she portrays her female characters. An honesty that was considered not only bold, but brazen for her time. Yet the fire with which she wielded the camera remained steadfast, yet never without a thoughtful melancholy that always put femininity above all else.

Have you seen any of these movies on this list? What are some of your favourite classics from cinema’s history? Let us know in the comments below!

Shaz Mohsin

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