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The Film List Project #3: On the Waterfront and The 400 Blows

I said in my last post that I was going to watch something lighter this week. I lied.

I struggled when thinking about how to write about these two films side by side. While On the Waterfront and The 400 Blows are both classics, they have very little in common on the surface. The come from two different countries, the minds of two very different directors, and deal with protagonists in very different times in their lives.

Once I got past those differences, though, I did begin to see some similarities. Both deal with family trouble and crime. Both male protagonists are grossly misunderstood and wear plaid. Both movies have water in them...this is where my ideas run out...

The differences these movies have don't stop anyone from calling these movies classics. Watching both (and agreeing with the title of classic for both) made me think about just how wide the range of classic movies is.

Every genre and subgenre has its own set of classics. Both movies I watched this week are classic dramas, but that's not all they are.

On the Waterfront is considered a classic for both stars Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint and director Elia Kazan, as well as a classic film about workplace struggle and unions.

The 400 Blows is a classic of the French New Wave and adolescence. In fact, I immediately saw parallels between the character of Sourpuss in this movie and Mr. Vernon from The Breakfast Club, another classic film about adolescence.

The wide range of classic films is exciting, as it means there are so many more left to watch. It also means that anything made well can be dubbed "classic". That means to me that films will never stop existing, evolving, and influencing.

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