There’s no time like the present to binge the classic movies you’ve missed out on over the years and when we say classic, we mean the films that are so universally precious, they don’t even need to have 20 wise years behind them to contend with the Casablancas of the cinematic universe.
Next time someone says, “I carried a watermelon” the pop-culture reference will not be wasted on you.
From iconic scenes we know off by heart to the soundtracks we find ourselves humming in the shower for no apparent reason, these are the cinematic gems that rank comfortably alongside their older filmmaking greats.
So, sweatpants on, popcorn within reach (but strategically closer to you than anyone else), let’s get into our list of the modern classics everyone should watch, so that next time someone says, “I carried a watermelon” the pop-culture reference will not be wasted on you.
1 Titanic (1997)
It introduced many of us to the beautiful fresh curtain-faced Leonardo DiCaprio and gifted us with the kind of quotes that were always destined to become memes. It’s been 84 years alas, no one has drawn me like one of their French girls.
2 E.T. (1982)
Who knew a homesick alien could be such a master of emotional manipulation. This tender Spielberg family classic is movie magic done right. Even those with the most stoic of upper lips don’t stand a chance.
3 Mean Girls (2004)
It’s not like a regular high school movie, it’s a cool high school movie. Where would we be without The Plastics, you go Glen Coco, that is so fetch and you can’t sit with us? Seventeen years after its release and we’re still quoting Tina Fey’s whipsmart script like it’s an Olympic sport.
4 Pulp Fiction (1994)
Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta make for one iconic duo in this Quentin Tarantino action-packed joyride.
5 Black Panther (2018)
Starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira, Blank Panther was Marvel’s first black superhero movie and a masterful exploration of black identity, culture, tradition and most importantly, joy.
6 Dirty Dancing (1987)
Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze take to the dancefloor in the timeless cult movie that gave us the lines, “nobody puts Baby in the corner” and “I carried a watermelon.”
7 Grease (1978)
We’re not going to sugar coat it, there’s A LOT of problematic things about this movie and it hasn’t aged well but nothing gets us monopolising the mic quite like the intro to Summer Nights.
8 Mary Poppins (1964)
The iconic Julie Andrews plays the titular supercalifragilisticexpialidocious nanny with the bottomless carpet handbag and the flying umbrella in this charming feel-good Disney musical. We’re still thoroughly disappointed we can’t jump inside a pavement chalk drawing in real life. That would have come in VERY handy last year.
9 The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
It’s hard to believe this bona fide classic was a box office dud during its initial run in 1994. Now, the Stephen King prison drama adaptation has cemented itself as a modern classic and often tops perennial GOAT lists. How’s that for redemption!
10 WALL-E (2008)
Arguably one of Pixar’s greatest and most ambitious creations (we said what we said), WALL-E is so much more than a sci-fi rom-com about a goofy, lonely loveable robot. You’ll see.
11 The Bodyguard (1992)
Starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, The Bodyguard follows a former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard who is hired to protect global superstar, Rachel Marron, from an obsessive stalker. The Bodyguard holds the title of the greatest selling soundtrack of all time, thanks to a little anthem called, ‘I Will Always Love You’.
12 Notting Hill (1999)
With Richard Curtis, Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant at the helm, Notting Hill will always hold up as pure rom-com gold. “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a guy, asking him to love her.” Ooof, it’s like a weighted blanket in movie form.
13 Back to the Future (1985)
This comedy sci-fi was the ultimate ‘80s movie and in 2021, Marty Mcfly’s charm endures.
14 Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Timothee Chalamet is unmissable in this sun-soaked, gorgeously-shot adaptation of Andre Aciman’s captivating story of first love and desire.
15 Love Actually (2003)
All these years later and the necklace scene still burns. Alexa, play Joni Mitchell.