There are many things that I love in this world, but there is truly nothing better than girls night and a great movie (along with popcorn and M&Ms, obviously). The hard part? Picking a movie to watch.
When I was growing up I used to love going to this funky independent video rental shop because the people working there gave me the best recommendations. Many of these were classic films that I was told I “must see,” and so I did. I watched all of them! While there are endless films to choose from, sometimes going with the classics is the most fun. Old-timey movies can be so romantic, dreamy, and dramatic —you just don’t get that kind of exaggerated emotion in movies these days, you know?
While there may be too many classic films to list, here are a few to get you started for your next girls night or Netflix binge.
1.The Thin Man starring William Powell and Myrna Loy (1934)
I first saw this movie as a teenager and quickly fell in love with the amazing chemistry between the two stars. The rest of the world did too: in its day, this film was so popular that it encouraged five whole sequels. The story revolves around Nick and Nora Charles. Nick is a hard drinking (remember it was the 1930s) retired detective and Nora is a wealthy heiress from San Francisco. The pair also have a feisty dog named Asta. In this first film, Nick and Nora solve a case of the missing “Thin Man.” While they look for a missing person and suspected murderer, they exchange some of the wittiest banter ever written. The film also shows Nick and Nora as equal partners in their marriage and in the crimes they solve together, which was unheard of at the time.
“Waiter will you serve the nuts… I mean will you serve the guests the nuts.” -Nora Charles
Watch with: your girlfriends who love a good mystery and a great Martini.
2. Sabrina starring Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and William Holden (1954)
When most people think Audrey Hepburn, they probably think of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which is an amazing film in in its own right. But the first Audrey film I ever watched was Sabrina. Audrey Hepburn plays Sabrina, the daughter of a Chauffeur to the wealthy Larrabee family. The Larrabees have two sons: serious Linus (Humphrey Bogart) and idle playboy David (William Holden.) Sabrina has been in love with David Larrabee for most of her life, but he doesn’t even know she exists. When Sabrina returns to the Larrabee household after two years in Paris for culinary school, she has blossomed into a sophisticated and attractive lady. David throws caution and his latest fiancé to the wind to try to woo Sabrina. Practical Linus can’t allow this to happen, so he steps in to try to stop the relationship, and ends up falling in love instead.
This movie is great choice for so many reasons, but first up is the direction. Billy Wilder, he crafts a beautiful story that is both simple and timeless. While people at the time might have considered the casting of Humphrey Bogart in a romantic comedy as strange, his chemistry with Audrey Hepburn is nothing less than brilliant. Additionally, the costumes designed by Hollywood legend, Edith Head, and designer Hubert de Givenchy help transform the young and naive Sabrina into a confident and beautiful woman.
“Sabrina, Sabrina, where have you been all of my life” -David
“Right over the Garage” -Sabria
Watch with: Your friends who love Audrey but can’t name any of her other movies besides Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Pairs great with Champagne or anything that sparkles.
3. How to Marry a Millionaire, starring Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, and Lauren Bacall (1953)
Long Before Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte were looking for love in NYC, there were three working models looking for love and money in Manhattan. How to Marry a Millionaire is about three ladies who rent a Manhattan high rise hoping to use the apartment to attract rich men and marry well. Each girl eventually pairs off with a rich man, but they all learn that in the end, money and love have very little to do with each other. How to Marry a Millionaire was a box office smash and one of highest grossing films of the year. And while the concept may seem a little tired —three gold digging women searching for husbands—it is the way this story is told that makes it refreshing and fun to watch time and again. Watching Betty Grable fall ill with the measles during a secret rendezvous with a married man, or Mariyln Monroe say over and over again that “Men aren’t attentive to girls who wear glasses,” as she stumbles blindly into another wall, are just a few of the things that make this movie, both hilarious and timeless.
“Do you seriously believe that having money automatically brings you happiness?” -Tom
“Well no. . .but it doesn’t automatically depress me either.” -Schatze
Watch with: Your friends who love a good laugh and believe in true love.
Pairs great with a Cosmopolitan.
4. To Catch a Thief starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly (1955)
While the other films on this list can clearly be classified as romantic comedies, this one is more of a romantic thriller. The acting, story and amazing costumes place it high on any movie list. Cary Grant stars as John Robie a retired jewel thief known as the “Cat,” who now tends vineyards in the French Riviera. When the jewels of millionaires start disappearing, the police assume that he is involved. In order to prove his innocence he enlists the help of Frances Stevens, (Grace Kelly) a wealthy American heiress who is a prime target for this new copycat burglar. While John is trying to clear his name, Frances is not entirely sure that he is innocent.
“You want a leg or a breast?” -Frances
“You make the choice.” -John
Watch with: Your girl friends who love a good thriller, great dresses and of course Grace Kelly.
Pairs great with a wine that aged well just like Cary Grant.
5. Some like It Hot starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis (1959)
This film is made up of many elements that make it a classic. Is it hilarious? Yes. Does it feature gangsters, speakeasies and men in drag? Yes, yes and yes. With an all-star cast, this film is certain to knock your socks off. Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) are working musicians who accidentally witness a mob shooting. Fearing for their lives, they decide they need to leave town and book a job with a jazz band that is heading for Florida. The only hitch is the job is with an all-girl jazz band. So with the help of some secondhand dresses and some great makeup, Joe becomes Josephine and Jerry becomes Daphne. Both of the men are instantly smitten with sweet Sugar Kane( Marilyn Monroe) who is the band’s lead singer. Each go to great lengths to woo her, but it is Joe who finally succeeds at winning Sugar’s heart. Jerry /Daphne ends up with a problem of his own when he attracts a playboy millionaire of his own.
“You don’t understand! I’m a man.” -Daphne
“Well nobody’s perfect.” -Osgood
Watch with: any girl friend who needs a good laugh, loves the 1920s, and Marilyn, of course.
Goes will with a Manhattan.
6. Charade starring Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, and Walter Matthau (1963)
I first saw this movie in high school and it’s still is my favorite Audrey Hepburn movie, hands down. The story is set in Paris, and as we all know, Audrey and Paris go together like peanut butter and jelly. As the film opens we meet Reggie (Audrey Hepburn) who declares to her friend Sylvie that she wants a divorce from her husband Charles. After all, they don’t really know each other —she doesn’t even know his real last name! While on vacation, she meets a handsome stranger named Peter Joshua (Cary Grant) who ends up sparking a load of trouble for Reggie. When she returns home, she finds out that not only has her husband been murdered, but he was living a double life. When three men who used to know him show up to his funeral demanding to know what happened to the money he had, Reggie is stumped. She then finds out from a CIA agent (Walter Matthau) that her husband was involved in a plot to steal money from the French government, and that these three men were after her husband and now are after her.
“I already know an awful lot of people and until one of them dies, I couldn’t possibly meet anyone else.” -Reggie
Watch With: Your friend who is a Francophile.
Pairs well with Scotch —which was Audrey’s signature drink.
7. The Apartment starring Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon (1960)
The Apartment is famous for introducing us to Shirley MacLaine, and was the inspiration behind the musical Promises Promises. I was introduced to this movie by my college boyfriend and while the boyfriend is long gone, this movie is still one of my go-to films. This story starts out light enough by introducing us to C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon), a helpless office worker with a great apartment on the Upper West Side. In fact, it’s so great, his bosses like to borrow it to meet up with their various mistresses. Which leads his neighbors to falsely believe that he is bringing home a different girl every night. This all starts to change when C.C. meets a charming elevator operator named Fran who he asks out on a date. Little does he know that Fran is actually the former mistress of his boss. Director Billy Wilder leads us through a complex story of love, friendship and ambition. And while this film certainly has its darker moments, it is more realistic than any of the others on this list.
“Shut up and deal.” -Fran
Watch With: Your girlfriends who are total film buffs.
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