The best that cinema has to offer can be watched and enjoyed decades beyond the initial release date — this is for sure.
People watch and rewatch certain films over the years for very good reason. A truly successful piece of art only grows in relevance and quality. It can age like a fine wine if done correctly.
Here is a look at five movies that are worth rewatching this summer if you haven’t seen them in a while.
Enjoying these stories in 2018 will give you an entirely new appreciation for them.
1.) “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994). Actor Tim Robbins nailed the lasting popularity of “The Shawshank Redemption” in an interview in which he broke down how the film “earned” its positive ending.
“A lot of happy endings are tacked on[to] a film. They’re not earned through the long process of a journey. And this one got that. You got to the end of this thing and you went, ‘Oh my God, this is hopeful. This is life-affirming.’ It was a struggle to get there, but at the end it’s about something. It’s about the human capacity to survive intellectually, spiritually and physically … It’s a message we don’t often hear in a genuine way from our entertainment,” the actor told “The Off Camera Show.”
Based on the novella by Stephen King, “The Shawshank Redemption” follows the story of Andy Dufresne, a man accused of killing his cheating wife — and who is thrown into the world of the Shawshank Prison in Maine. It’s a powerful film about self-reliance, friendship, and perseverance.
While it is, to be certain, a look at the dark world of prison and corrupt bureaucracy, the actual Shawshank Prison is, in the end, a metaphor. Someone’s Shawshank Prison can be a bad relationship, a bad job, or anything in life holding a person back.
2.) “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939). Before the president ever uttered the words “drain the swamp,” political bureaucracy was shown for all it is in this classic film.
James Stewart stars as Jefferson Smith, an Everyman who finds himself lobbed into the United States Senate. His desire to do actual work and make real progress is derailed when difficult bureaucracy and political corruption hit him at every turn.
This film is still sadly relevant today. The world needs more Jefferson Smiths today. Seeing the world of D.C. through his eyes is a strong reminder to hold fast to one’s beliefs — and to never back down, even in the face of impossible odds.
3.) “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962). In the age of #MeToo and the growing groupthink on certain cultural and political issues, this is an incredibly important film to see today. Lawyer and father Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) never wavers or backs down in the face of threats and groupthink as those things overtake a town gripped with fear and hatred.
Told through the perspective of his children (just as in the Lee Harper novel on which it’s based), the story takes Finch through the defense of a black man accused of rape — as those around him vilify his quest for truth and justice.
4.) “Saving Private Ryan” (1998). No film arguably serves as a better salute to America’s veterans, especially those who served in WWII, than “Saving Private Ryan.”
The film to this day sports one of cinema’s most powerful sequences and best presentations of what the brave souls who stormed the beaches of Normandy went through in 1944.
After that nail-biting sequence (which alone makes the film worth rewatching), we see a group of soldiers (led by Tom Hanks, in one of his signature performances) tasked with a special assignment: Find a young Private Ryan, the last surviving son of his family.
The men debate the merits of their mission, but they follow with a loyalty typically found only in those who wear military uniforms. At a time that our military is often forgotten or overlooked, “Saving Private Ryan” reminds us of the cost and the value of military service.
No movie does it better.
5.) “Rocky” (1976). If you ever need reinvigorated faith in the American dream and the perseverance of the human soul, watch this film — the first one in the series.
Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is a simple but golden-hearted Philadelphia man with a dream. He wants to be a professional boxer — and never veers from that goal through his hard work and determination.
A story of love, struggle and the American dream, “Rocky” celebrates individualism and ambition. And even though it’s over 40 years old now, there’s not a moment that doesn’t ring true. Stallone injected a grittiness into his screenplay and treatment that still holds up today.
While the country is so divided in so many ways, this is the perfect movie to revisit. There is still much that is special about our country — including our right to pursue our own happiness with a freedom no other country allows. Plus, with “Creed II” dropping this year, it’s a good time to see the beginnings of Balboa’s story.
Disagree with our list? Want to share your choices? Drop us a note in the comments section below!