Films That Define Us Blog-a-Thon

Marc from Go-See-Talk invited a bunch of movie bloggers to take a trip down memory lane to list movies that ‘define’ our taste in movies. The films in question are those I saw at a young age and the ones I constantly refer back to as ‘classics.’ Not having grown up in America, I didn’t have as much access to movies when I was a kid, so without a doubt my taste was highly influenced by what my late mother exposed me to. In fact, three of the movies listed here I saw with my family before I could barely speak/understand much English, so she had to translate most of the story for me. I’ve since gone back and re-watched them as adults, and found that they are still as enjoyable and meaningful to me then as they did before. I will forever treasure these movies for years to come!

  1. My Fair Lady (1964)

    This is the movie that made me adore Audrey Hepburn. I was in awe by her beauty and grace, even when she was playing a lowly flower girl who encountered a misogynistic and snobbish phonetics professor Higgins and his buddy Col. Pickering one fateful night. It’s a fairy-tale musical, with wonderful tunes, affecting performances and whimsical scenes that stay with you for years (who could forget Eliza yelling “Come on, Dover, move yer bloomin’ arse!” and the lady next to her fainted!). George Cukor’s masterpiece is truly one of Hollywood’s best musicals, though this movie easily transcend just one genre, it’s a comedy/romance/drama that will delight anyone of all ages.

    On a related note, I know Hollywood’s still circling the remake of this, last I heard John Madden might take the helm with possibly Carey Mulligan as Eliza? Well, I think Alan Rickman might make a great Professor Higgins wouldn’t you think? He’s got that pompous air about him (a la Professor Snape in Harry Potter) and that voice… I wouldn’t mind him as my phonetic teacher! 😀
  2. Gone with the Wind (1939)

    Interestingly enough, George Cukor almost directed this movie, but a dispute with the shrewd but brash legendary producer David O’Selznick dismissed him from the production. Is this a chick flick? Even Clark Gable himself reportedly dislike his most famous movie, calling it a ‘woman’s picture.’ Well, I never see it that way the many times I’ve seen this movie, I’ve always regarded it as an epic drama. The first time I saw this, despite my mother translating it extensively, I had no idea what it was about, yet it didn’t stop me from being dazzled by it… and Rhett Butler 🙂 For the life of me I could not figure out what it was that Scarlett see in Ashley, and upon repeated viewings later I just figure that the only reason she was crazy for him was because she couldn’t have him. The production, the costume, the sets, one iconic scene after another, everything about this movie is done in a grand scale. A quintessential classic in every sense of the word, one might dislike this movie, but it’s hard to dispute its key place in the history of cinema. On a related note, here’s my Top Five Favorite GWTW scenes.
  3. The Sound of Music (1965)

    Another musical that sets the bar for future movies decades later, this movie never cease to delight me. It has become ‘my favorite things’ I’ll treasure forever. It’s hard not to be dazzled by the lush opening scene, the highly uplifting Reverend Mother’s Climb Every Mountain, cheerful Do-re-mi, patriotic Edelweiss and the romantic Something Good. I seriously think this movie is extremely tough to remake, so I hope Hollywood would never attempt no matter how dry their creativity well is. The musical genre is a tough one to do well at (I mean look at Nine that even all those actresses and Daniel Day-Lewis could not save), which makes Robert Wise’s masterpiece all the more impressive. The music is as much the star of this movie as Julie Andrews, but Christopher Plummer and all seven kids deliver wonderful performances to support the inspired screenplay and top-notch direction.

  4. Superman: The Movie (1978)

    I’ve mentioned several times that this is the first movie I saw a the theater… and I think I’ve gone more than once. I remember my uncle finally buying me the VHS as I kept renting it over and over again. This is probably what makes me love the superhero genre, so even if the technology looks dated now, it’s got all the ingredients that makes this one stand the test of time: the perfect actor to play Superman, a rousing score and epic, memorable scenes that truly made us believe that yes, a man can fly! To this day, Hollywood still has yet to capture the indelible charm that the first Superman movie had. The inspiring John Williams’ score is pretty much the only thing intact in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, but not much else comes close to matching the beauty of this classic superhero movie.
    This chopper scene is one of my faves of all time, never fails to get me clapping and cheering as I watched it 🙂  As I said in that post, Christopher Reeve will always be Superman in my heart, inimitable and unrivaled to this day.
  5. Sleeping Beauty (1959)

    This wasn’t the first Disney Princess’ flicks I saw, but it’s one I still love to this day. I used to doodle as a kid which often got me sent to detention, and I remember always using Princess Aurora as my model. I thought the illustrations were so beautiful then, but as I just watched it not too long ago, I was still dazzled by it. The colors are so vivid and gorgeous, and I love Mary Costa’s voice as the Princess, easily one of Disney’s best voice work. I also love the fact that Prince Philip has a bit more screen time than the other love interests in previous Princess’ flicks. And who can forget one of the best Disney villains, the self-proclaimed Mistress of all Evil, who’s as graceful as she is sinister. Reportedly, Tim Burton and Angelina Jolie are interested in a spin-off adaptation of the evil queen. In any case, though the sub-genre of Animated Princess Movies might not be as popular these days, this stands as at the top of that genre.
  6. Ben-Hur (1959)

    If you read my blog long enough, you’d know how much I LOVE Gladiator. I guess you could say that Ben Hur is the reason I have a penchant for swords and sandals epic. The first time I saw this, I was not only dazzled by the visual effects and grandiose scale of this movie, but I was tremendously moved by the story as well. It’s a fictional story of a Jewish prince falsely imprisoned and came back with a vengeance, intertwined with a true story of the King of Kings who was also falsely sent to His death but came back to forgive. There isn’t many movies out there that moved me as much as this one, two of the scenes in particular are on this list. Even with all the advanced CGI technology of the movies today, the chariot race scene is still a tough one to match! I have not yet seen the TV adaptation, but from what I heard/read so far, it’s nowhere close to this masterpiece on so many levels.

So that’s my list of films that defined me. So what about you?

27 thoughts on “Films That Define Us Blog-a-Thon

  1. Oh man… the inclusions of SLEEPING BEAUTY, SUPERMAN, and BEN-HUR are definitely speaking to my heart. I have long believed that of all the classic Disney films, that BEAUTY had by far the best art…and I have to wonder if seeing it quite a bit as a kid was what inspired me to pick up my crayons and develop my artistic side.

    Wonderful list for wonderful reasons – well done!

    1. Well glad to hear that Hatter! Yes, I still marvel at the art even today, it has that timeless quality about ’em and every frame is like a painting! If only I were that talented to work on such a thing for a living. I appreciate CGI of course, but sometimes I miss the lost art of drawing/coloring things by hand. The behind-the-scenes featurette of SB was as spectacular as the movie.

  2. Beautiful choices Ruth. My fave probably has to be My Fair Lady, I must have seen it about 20 times by now. And have The Sound of Music on DVD, what a great uplifting movie.

    1. Thanks Olive! Just left you a comment on your post.

      My Fair Lady is just so wonderful… so many great songs to sing along to and great costumes as well.

  3. Audrey Hepburn = an all time great! Beautiful, talented and a great personality off screen.

    Superman is still the best film version of a comic book hero in my opinion. The Citizen Kane of Superheroes (something Empire magazine said about Watchmen months before anyone had seen it. Silly, silly people!)

    1. Yes, Hepburn is one of those rare class act who is beautiful inside and out.

      Superman was done before we get the fatigue of seeing soo many superhero flicks, and even amongst a plethora of them, it still stands out and will always be remembered fondly. Empire said Watchmen was the Citizen Kane of superheroes?? Wow, talk about a hyperbole.

  4. As always Ruth I ask for a little and you give more than 110%!! Great list as it looks like you were influenced by simply legendary films…the ones that should populate the Earth showing the fantastic achievements of American Cinema (as opposed to something like Observe and Report). Thanks for participating Ruth:)

    1. Why thanks for asking me, Marc, it’s such an honor to be listed first on your post, too 🙂 Y’know, I’m sometimes puzzled as to why I’m not into classic movies more given that my mom was into that genre a lot. Hey, I like frivolous movies as much as the next gal too, Marc. I mean, we all have our guilty pleasures don’t we? Movies won’t be fun without them!

    1. Thanks Heather… I never thought of myself as hugely romantic, but I guess I am. Looks like we have something else in common besides loving sexy Brits & Aussies! 🙂

  5. Wow Ruth! I had no idea I was dealing with a “proper lady” this whole time! Classier picks of pics I have not seen anywhere else and it’s awesome. Superman has not aged well for me, but I remember sitting down to watch it when I brought the DVD home from the store and being so excited. My 3 year old and I sat down to watch Sleeping Beauty for the first time last week (1st time for both of us!) and I was right that Toy Story 3 isn’t nearly the darkest of the Disney movies. Some heavy themes are laid in there, so beautifully too. I’m reading the book to her now to fill it out a little more.

    A great list, Ruth! Way to edumacate the masses!

    1. Oh sheesh Steve, I think the ‘proper lady’ was my late mom who introduced me to these. I’ve got my share of guilty pleasures that definitely can’t be put into the same category as this list 🙂 Yeah I know what you mean about Superman being dated, I mean CGI has come a loooong way since then, but the beauty of it is in the relationship between Supes/Clark and Lois which is quite timeless to me (except for the absurd turn-back-the-world-to-bring-Lois-back bit) and the music of course.

      Oh that’s cool that you’re reading SB to your daughter, talk about a timeless piece. I think if I have a kid one day I’ll be doing the same thing.

  6. Ted S.

    I love the original Superman, I saw it at some old theater in Phillipines, I think I was about 8 or 9 years old at the time. It was my favorite super hero flick until Batman Begins came along. Too bad they fired Richard Donner before he finished the second movie. I wonder when he’ll start making good movies again, the last good movie he directed was Lethal Weapon 3.

    Believe it or not, I’ve never seen the other films on your list.

    1. Yeah, I think BB has tied with Superman I as being my fave superhero flicks.

      You really should watch Ben-Hur. I know you don’t watch classic movies, but this one is worth making an exception for.

  7. Some great classic movies here. Oh, how I love Julie Andrews! And Hepburn 🙂 I remember seeing them as some sort of role model. Much better than than any 21st century role models…

    It’s great to see a Disney film listed. I have to admit – Disney was a major part of my childhood, especially films based on classic fairytales. And The Little Mermaid too, with all its tunes. I used to adore swooning at the romance and being scared by the darker scenes. Ursula from TLM still scares me a little…

    1. Hi Roisin! Funny you said that, I was thinking about the same thing when I wrote this, how the two actresses were not just good actors but are doing good things for the world that make them worthy role models. They’re both classy in every sense of the word.

      I could not exclude at least one Disney princess flick as I grew up watching them and still have fond memories of them. People are now saying how those movies have negative effect for young girls as they create unrealistic expectations about love. Rubbish I say! I think if their parents educate them well enough, girls should appreciate those movies as art (like I do) and not get their hopes up about finding their real-life ‘prince.’

  8. That’s not true at all! I’ve just never been a fan of Superman particularly. I tend to go for more “human” characters, so the truly “super” ones don’t interest me as much. And, well, those movies are … kinda bad. 😀 Also, I think that I was scarred as a child by the pure evilness of Gene Hackman. Now I can admit that he is clearly an awesome actor to have affected me that way, but I just hated him for years! LOL

  9. Brittani Burnham

    Wonderful list! Princess Aurora was always my favorite Disney princess too. I still love hearing “Once Upon A Dream.”

  10. Pingback: Musings on the first trailer of the new Ben-Hur (2016)

  11. Pingback: Weekend Roundup: RIP Charmian Carr – My tribute to her performance as Liesl in ‘The Sound of Music’

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