Movies From the Past That are Worth Watching Today

Abbi Prieto, Columnist

Movies from the 1900s might be old, but that does not mean they are not good. Many of the best movies were from the 1900s. With this list, found using “101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up” by Suzette Valle, you’ll have a blast from the past.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Director: Robert Mulligan

Release Date: March 16, 1963

About: Based on the 1930s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) is an honest, respected attorney. Without a wife, Atticus raises his two kids, six-year old Scout (Mary Badham), and ten-year old Jeremy “Jem” (Philip Alford) in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. Scout is the narrator of the story of her family. While the Finch kids spy on their mysterious neighbor, Arthur “Boo” Radley (Robert Duvall), Atticus is assigned a case. The case is to defend a black man named Tom Robinson (Brock Peters), who is accused of attacking a white woman. Will Atticus win the case? What will happen to the kids and Boo? Watch To Kill a Mockingbird to find out.

E.T the Extra-Terrestrial

Rating: PG for language and mild thematic elements

Director: Steven Spielberg

Release Date: June 11, 1982

About: Elliot (Henry Thomas) is ten years old when he finds a little goblin-like alien in his backyard. Elliot, his older brother Michael (Robert McNaughton), and his little sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore), hide E.T in their house. Elliot begins to feel a strange connection to the alien. One day when the kids are at school, E.T gets the idea to create a device to call home. Elliot helps E.T to build the device. Soon E.T’s health starts to weaken, and Elliot also feels sick. What will happen to E.T and Elliot? Grab your flying bike,and soar over to the television to find out. Watch E.T The Extra-Terrestrial to find out.


Rating: PG-13 for some language, suggestive humor, and frightening images 

Director: Ivan Reitman

Release Date: June 8, 1984

About: A trio of unemployed university parapsychologists (investigators of paranormal and psychic phenomena) create a business to investigate and exterminate ghosts. They invent high-tech equipment to trap the ghosts, and set up at an old abandoned fire station in New York City. When they are hired and catch their first goblin, they are suddenly on high demand throughout the city. Doctors Venkman (Bill Murray), Stantz (Dan Aykroyed), and Spengler (Harold Ramis) find themselves in some funny, and frightening, situations when the Big Apple becomes a literal ghost town. Will the Ghoustbusters catch the spirits? Or will the phantoms take over? Grab your extermination gear, and join the doctors to find out.

Life is Beautiful (La Vita E Bella)

Rating: PG-13 for Holocaust related thematic elements 

Director: Roberto Benigni

Release Date: December 20, 1997 (Italy); February 12, 1999 (USA)

About: Guido Orefice (Roberto Benigni), a joyful man, lives in a small Italian town with his wife and son. When World War II comes, his town is invaded by Nazis, and he and his family are taken to a concentration camp. Guido, a child in a man’s body, helps his son Joshua (Giorgio Cantarini) go through the unbearable stages of their captivity by turning it into a game. He tells his son that the prize is a real tank. Guido shelters Joshua from the cruel event of the camp, while leading Joshua through his game. How will the game turn out for Guido and Joshua?  Go through the game with Guido and Joshua to find out.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Rating: PG for intense sequences of violence, graphic images, brief language and sensuality. 

Director: Steven Spielberg

Release Date: June 12, 1981

About: Dr. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is hired by the U.S. government to stop a Nazi plan to dig up a priceless biblical artifact, the Ark of the Covenant. Legend has it that whoever finds the Ark will have infinite power, which Hitler wants to use. Now Indiana Jones must find the Ark before the enemy. Who will get to the treasure first? Grab your bullwhip and treasure map, and join Dr. Jones to find out.

Back to the Future

Rating: PG for adult situations, language and violence

Director: Robert Zemeckis 

Release Date: July 3, 1985

About: Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) finds himself 30 years in the past, in his hometown of Hill Valley. While wandering around, Marty finds his nerdy dad, George Mcfly (Crispin Glover) being bullied by a meat head named Biff (Thomas F, Wilson). Marty tries to toughen up George so he can charm Lorraine (Lea Thompson) Marty’s mother. But instead of falling for George, she starts liking Marty. Now Marty needs to make his parents fall in love before it’s too late. His very existence depends on it. Will Marty succeed? Get in your time machine and go to 1955 to find out. Just make sure you get back in time.

Jurassic Park

Rating: PG-13 for intense science fiction terror

Director: Steven Spielberg

Release Date: June 11, 1993

About: John Hammond is a rich CEO of a bioengineering company who discovers how to clone dinosaurs from fossils. To show off his invention, he builds Jurassic Park, a theme park located on an isolated island off the coast of Central America for tourists to admire the prehistoric animals safely behind 10,000 volt electric fences. However, when an employee is killed by a velociraptor the park is deemed unsafe. Certified experts must approve the park before opening again. Hammond invites archaeologists Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), along with the mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), to tour the park and support his cause against the government safety officials. However, scientists are not convinced  bringing dinosaurs back to life is such a good idea. When the power is hijacked, things spiral out of control. Will they be able to get things back in order? Grab your gear and “Welcome to Jurassic Park.”

The Wizard of Oz

Rating: G

Director: Victor Fleming

Release Date: August 25, 1939

About: After Dorothy (Judy Garland) and her little dog Toto are swept away by a tornado, they’re magically transported to the Land of Oz, where Dorothy meets Glinda (Billie Burke), the good witch and learns that only the Wizard of Oz can send her home to Kansas. Along the way she stumbles into three new friends, a scarecrow (Ray Bolger) who thinks he lacks intelligence, a tinman (Jack Haley) who thinks he lacks heart, and a lion (Bert Lahr) who thinks he lacks courage. This group of friends overcome many obstacles together, but will Dorothy ever make it home? Join Dorothy and her friends on the yellow brick road to find out.

The Karate Kid

Rating: PG for adult situations, language, and violence 

Director: John G. Avildsen

Release Date: June 22, 1984

About: Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) moves from New Jersey to Los Angeles with his mother. In a new city and new high school, the mild-mannered teenager faces a group of bullies who study karate at the Cobra Kai dojo. The sensei at Cobra Kai teaches his pupils a vicious form of karate. After getting beat up regularly by Johnny Lauren (Williams Zabka) and his group of thugs for dating Johnny’s ex-girlfriend Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue), Daniel decides it’s time to take matters into his own hands. Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), the janitor at Daniel’s apartment complex, is a peculiar man at first. One day he shocks Daniel when he intervenes and single-handedly takes down Daniel’s teenage attackers, revealing his superior karate skills. When Daniel asks him to teach him karate, at first he refuses, but after the sensei at the Cobra Kai dojo offends him, he agrees. How far will Daniel’s karate skills take him? Will they save him or fail him? Put on your blackbelt and join Daniel and Mr. Miyagi on this epic karate adventure to find out.

The Parent Trap

Rating: G

Director: David Swift

Release Date: June 21, 1961

About: Separated at birth when their parents divorced, Susan and Sharon grew up  living with one parent, unaware of the other twin’s existence. Sharon lives in Boston with her mother, while Susan lives with her father in California. They bump into each other for the first time at summer camp and their first encounter is awkward. After some initial rivalry leads to campground mischief, they become friends and realize their sisters. Together, they scheme to switch places to get to know the opposite parent and get rid of their Father’s fiancee. Will their plan work and will their parents get back together? Join the twins on this adventure on friendship and family. Maybe you’ll find your long lost twin along the way.