I think the one thing that I can always look forward to doing during my free time is watch old Hollywood movies. There is something intriguing and enigmatic about the black and white film, the makeup, the dialogue, the fashion, and acting. It gives you a feeling of longing, for a time that has long gone and during the raining season, this is all I long to do, with a cup of tea and some fried up onion pakodas on the side.
In this post, I will be sharing with you 10 old Hollywood movies that you can binge on rainy days. This list is in no way a top 10, these are just my favorite picks.
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
This film tells the story of a southern belle, Blanche DuBois, who after facing a series of personal losses, decides to leave her aristocratic background behind and seek refuge with her sister and brother in-law, who live in a dilapidated New Orleans tenement.
From the day she arrives, Blanche disapproves of her brother in-law, Stanley, due to which they constantly spar with one another.
Vivian Leigh’s performance as Blanche is enticing, borderline perfect, and full of sassy dialogue which leaves the viewer engrossed in the movie till the very last minute.
And let’s not forget the charm and charisma that a young Marlon Brando brought to the screen either.
Roman Holiday (1953)
Roman Holiday is a movie about a bored and sheltered princess (Audrey Hepburn), who is sick and tired of having to live the perfect life where she doesn’t get to do anything on her own, and where she gets to visit all these marvelous cities of the world but doesn’t really get to see it.
So, she decides one night to escape her guardians and explore the city of Rome, and it is during this adventure of hers, she meets an American journalist (Gregory Peck) and falls in love with him. The story is as romantic as it is sad, because in the end she must choose between the man she loves or her country and her responsibilities towards it.
How to Steal a Million (1966)
When I saw this movie as a young girl, it was Peter O’ Toole who caught my eye, and when I saw this movie again as an adult, it was Peter O’ Toole. How to steal a million tells the story of Charles Bonnet, a French artist who makes forgeries of priceless pieces of art and has made a fortune out of selling them. His daughter, Nicole, implores him to retire from this while he still can, but he is still not ready to give up his brushes. However, things get particularly bad for the family when Bonnet lends a renowned Cellini statue of Venus to the museum for an important exhibition, only to find out later that the statue is going to be tested for its authenticity. Nicole, in order to protect her father, schemes to steal that statue with the help of a burglar, before the museum finds out that the Venus is actually a fake. Set entirely in Paris, this movie is smart, it is funny, and it has a to-die-for Givenchy wardrobe worn by his muse, Audrey Hepburn.
Mackenna’s Gold (1969)
A classic tale of bandits, Apaches, and gold, set in the wild wild west. Sheriff Mackenna (Gregory Peck) is a US Marshall who has seen a map showing a path towards a vein of hidden gold on Indian lands. Shortly after a group of bandits led by John Colorado (Omar Sheriff) kidnap him and force him to take them to the location of the gold. Mackenna doesn’t believe that the gold actually exits but in order to escape the bandits, shows them the way anyway. However, there are other groups who are looking for this gold and the Apaches trying to keep the secret location undisturbed.
Butterflies Are Free (1972)
All Don Baker wants is a place of his own away from his over-protective mother. Don’s been blind since birth, but that doesn’t stop him from setting up in a San Francisco apartment and making the acquaintance of his off-the-wall, liberated, actress neighbour Jill. Don learns the kind of things from Jill that his mother would never have taught him! And Jill learns from Don what growing up and being free is really all about. This movie is one of those feel-good films which are perfect for days when the weather has you down.
The Deer Hunter (1978)
Movies that do not shy away or hold back from controversial subjects is something I have always admired. The Deer Hunter is a film that tells you the story of the Vietnam war, and how it impacted on the minds of the soldiers who fought in it. Christopher Walken’s performance as Nick was simply a great and grounded, the shell of a man that Nick has become by the end not so much breaking your heart as shattering it.
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
You can expect nothing less than fireworks when you put Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep on screen together. Kramer vs. Kramer tells the story of Ted Kramer, whose wife leaves him, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple’s son, deepening the wounds left by the separation. The story is bitter-sweet, and as a viewer you will feel happy for Ted and Billy’s growing relationship dynamic and at the same time feel sad for the loss that is to come.
The Shining (1980)
Don’t be surprised to find out that a lot of Stephen King’s books have been turned into movies. However, there are only a few of them who have gained such prominence like the Shinning did. Perhaps because of the star cast of Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall being spearheaded with the directorial experience of Stanley Kubrick. This film tells the story of a family who heads to an isolated hotel for the winter because the father (Jack Nicholson) has been appointed as the caretaker. However, things start to get murky when an evil presence starts to influence the father into committing violent acts towards his family, all the while his psychic son seeing horrific forebodings from the past and of the future. This movie has an eerie feel to it that latches itself to the viewer and makes you shiver to the bone.
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Who can resist a bit of serial killer thriller during a gloomy day? Anthony Hopkins plays the role of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer, whose help is taken by a young FBI trainee, Clarice Sterling (Jodie Foster), to apprehend another serial killer known only as “Buffalo Bill”.
Death Becomes Her (1992)
The last film on this list is a dark comedy starring Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn. Death becomes her is a movie about two narcissistic rivals, who drink a potion to stay young and immortal, but this immortality comes with a price of taking care of their “dead” bodies, which continues to suffer from decay. The story mainly tries to show that sometimes the things people are willing to do for vanity is not only bizarre, but also downright doomed.