Amadeus Movie Poster Image
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This multiple Oscar winner uses the real-life figures and the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and lesser-known composer Antonio Salieri in an ornate, if lengthy, tale of envy, talent, and wicked manipulation. Some scholars may wince at the distorted history -- but the movie rocks.

Goldfinger Movie Poster Image
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James Bond is asked to monitor Auric Goldfinger, an international gold merchant the British government suspects to be plotting something vaguely fiendish. With an emphasis on gadgetry, womanizing, and humor in dire circumstances, this third installment is the template for all subsequent Bond films.

Rebel Without a Cause Movie Poster Image
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This landmark depiction of teen alienation and delinquency was an iconic screen drama of the 1950s, serious-minded and superbly acted. With James Dean, Sal Mineo, and Natalie Wood, it has plenty of don't-try-this-at-home moments, but in a Disney world Rebel remains forceful and un-phony.

Annie Hall Movie Poster Image
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Woody Allen's sophisticated take on relationships is lively and fleet, with a plethora of one-liners and hilarious, attention-getting narrative devices, such as flashbacks that let the adult Woody go back to his elementary school. Watchable for older teens but not for kids (casual sex and drug use). 

Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Movie Poster Image
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American General Jack D. Ripper goes mad and sends planes to drop nuclear bombs on the Soviet Union. Officials scramble to deal with the situation, but can the attack be stopped in time? The blackest of black comedies, with a sophisticated mix of satire and politics. Teens will need some context.

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Common Sense Tips

Common Sense Tips

  • Ask your kids why they think these movies have lasting value. What makes a movie a "classic"?
  • These films were released from 1955 to 1984. Which issues do people always seem to grapple with?