Whether it be Academy Award winners or cult classics, movies are a cornerstone of culture. Few things bring people together the way a great movie does, whether it be a classic from decades ago or a modern masterpiece. Here’s a look at both timeless classics and modern masterpieces when it comes to great movies.

Timeless Classics

The term “timeless classic” applies to certain movies that are still regularly watched and talked about decades after their release. These movies often have a lasting legacy, with elements or characters that have become timelessly iconic. Here are some examples of movies that fit into the category of timeless classics:

• The Godfather (1972): Francis Ford Coppola’s timeless and influential crime epic introduced the world to the Corleone family. Starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino in legendary roles, The Godfather has been selected by the American Film Institute as the second best movie ever made, a ranking it still holds today.

• Casablanca (1942): Set during World War II, this romantic classic has been named one of the greatest movies of all-time. Starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the lead roles, Casablanca is known for its memorable quotes and philosophical musings, ones which are still quoted today.

• Star Wars (1977): The Force. Lightsabers. Darth Vader. These are all words that are now part of pop-culture due to the lasting influence of George Lucas’ space saga. While special effects have been improved upon in the decades since, the Star Wars movies still remain popular, having spawned a franchise that encompasses video games, TV shows and books.

• Psycho (1960): Alfred Hitchcock’s revolutionary thriller changed the face of horror, introducing the world to a shower-stabbing madman named Norman Bates. Starring Anthony Perkins in an iconic role, Psycho set a precedent for horror that has been endlessly copied and referenced.

Modern Masterpieces

While some timeless classics were released decades ago, many great movies are still being made today. These are movies that are heavily influential, with characters and storylines that continue to be talked about many years later. The following movies stand out as modern masterpieces:

• The Shawshank Redemption (1994): Based on a Stephen King novella, Frank Darabont’s drama is now widely considered to be the best movie of all-time according to the IAFI. Starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, The Shawshank Redemption is an engrossing movie which transcends its prison setting to tell a timeless story of hope and resilience.

• The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003): Peter Jackson’s fantastic retelling of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel trilogy launched a franchise which stands as one of the most successful ever made. The casting, effects and cinematic vision of Jackson’s movies brought Middle Earth to life and has created a franchise that still thrives today.

• The Dark Knight (2008): The second of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight managed to take the superhero genre to a higher level. Led by a legendary Oscar-winning performance from the late Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight pairs heart-stopping action scenes with captivating drama to create a movie which stands out above the rest.

• The Social Network (2010): Based on the true story of the creation of Facebook, The Social Network is a riveting drama which features a great performance by Jesse Eisenberg and commentary on the modern age of technology. Directed by David Fincher, The Social Network remains a relevant movie even years after its initial release.

Whether it is a timeless classic or a modern masterpiece, movies have a way of capturing the attention of audiences around the world. As long as people are creating compelling stories, great movies will continue to be made. Movies have the power to entertain, educate, challenge, provoke and inspire. As long as there is movie-making, there will be great movies to watch for generations to come.

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