Wednesday, February 07, 2007

What makes a 'classic'?

I wondered about this after watching Kelly's Heroes last night.

I was board out of my skull scrolling down the TV guide. Nothing worth watching was on and then I saw the title, smiled, said "that will do", and pressed ok. I've watched it more times than I can remember and have been entertained with every viewing. Kelly's Heroes to me is a "classic" film. A film you love and will watch at any time (even if there are only 20 minutes left to play), and be really entertained.

But what makes it a classic (assuming you agree that is the case here)?

The characters don't really present any acting challenges, so I doubt any Oscars were picked up for the performances (although you have to love Donald Sutherland's Sgt. Oddball), the story is good even if it is a little unbelievable that they could have pulled it off, in fact if you step back an look at it you see nothing more than just above average. But there is something else there.

I remember watching this as a kid. To me back then it was exciting with action and tension. I wanted to be Oddball and started telling people to "knock it off with them negative waves". People did die in the film, but the horrors of war were hidden from me.

So, is it nostalgia that makes a film become a classic? Can only films that we remember fondly become a classic in our hearts?

There have been many good, possibly even great films since I cast off my childhood, but I wouldn't go as far as calling any of them classics. At the end of the day perhaps "classic" is in the eye (or mind) of the viewer.


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