Before you read this, let me tell you that this is not an article about whether older movies are better than newer movies or vice-a-versa. New and old films have their own merits in entertainment when it comes to directing, acting and storytelling. Rather, this is about the benefit of introducing old movies to your family.
No family is perfect, that's for darn sure. But one of the things that can help keep a family together is healthy traditions and one of the best traditions is watching old movies together.
EVERY GENERATION HAS SOMETHING IN COMMON
I grew up in a home that loved old movies and music. Nelson Eddy, Jeanette MacDonald, Danny Kaye, Laurel & Hardy were all household names. We talked about them like they were a part of the family.
It all began with a mother who had a passion for the golden age of Hollywood. I found out later that it was because of my Grandpa's background in the entertainment business that actually started my mother’s love for old films.
He would show her movies he enjoyed, then she showed them to us, and so on and so on for 5 generations now. This has created a bond between the youth and the elderly, and no matter our differences, we at least have one thing we all agree on; we all love old movies.
WATCHING TOGETHER VS SEPARATELY
Besides bringing generations together, there is something else about old movies that makes your family closer.
It's a well-known fact that older movies are cleaner. This is because every film from the mid 30’s to the mid 60’s went through a censorship before being presented to the public. This meant that your whole family could walk into a theater or sit in front of the TV and watch it together.
Nowadays we have the rating system of G to NC-17. When you really think about it, the rating system separates a family at the movie theater or even on the family couch. The toddlers can't watch the PG's and above and the young adults are bored with the G films.
Again, this is not to say that there are no good movies to watch in our day. All I am saying is that you generally don’t need to research a movie from 1940 to see if it’s appropriate for everyone to see.
EVERY MOVIE HAS A MESSAGE
With the increase of technological advancements, the entertainment industry has been able to introduce us to worlds only imagined before. As wonderful as this is, no matter how beautiful the picture, there needs to be a story.
Stories are intended to move and inspire you and movies of the past did this very well. From Dorothy gaining a new appreciation for what she already had to Mr. Smith defending the truth to the end, you can find a lot of great inspirational messages within the stories of classic films.
This is because of what was happening at the time the films were created. Two world wars had terrorized everything they held dear. The great depression left them penniless and often hopeless. Going to the movies was an escape from the tragedy that surrounded them. In the darkness of the theater they laughed and cried as the characters rose above their surroundings.
HOW DO I START?
If you want to start the tradition of watching old movies with your kids, begin by showing them the ones you love the most. They will see how much you love it and they will always associate you with that film. Someday they will find a movie you've never seen and they will want to show it to you. That film has now become a treasure to them, because they found it first.
I’m telling you this because I had a mother who showed me old movies. I knew she loved them and when she had me watch them it was like she gave me something special to her. Now that I have kids of my own, I understand more of why she wanted to share them with me. Maybe you'll find out too?