Movies Out Now vs. Old Movies

By Angela Benson
Which are better, old movies or new movies? Movies out now are loaded with high speed chase scenes, explosions and violence to the point where it’s as if the violence and the speed are replacing great dialogue, deep plots and complicated characters.

Old Movies Had Great Characters

Over the last eight to ten years, it’s rare that I’ve caught a flick that didn’t use violence or car chase scenes to carry the script forward. Even old gangster movies like The Godfather, Once Upon A Time In America and Carlito’s Way were built upon great characters. believable conflict and tension and realistic dialogue.


Years ago, you walked out of a movie theater wondering if the script might have been based on real life experiences. I can still hear Penelope Ann Miller’s character, Gail, begging Carlito (played by the great Al Pacino) not to go on the boat trip. Was she ever onto something. Kleinfeld (played  by Sean Penn) couldn’t have been more of a bottom feeder if he tried.

12 Angry Men, The Color Purple, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Claudine, Shawshank Redemption, Cooley High and the Women of Brewster Place are great old movies. Watch any of these movies on Netflix or on a classic movie channel and see if the characters aren’t multi-faceted, complex, fully developed.

Their motives, personalities and inner torment are what you remember. The best of them are troubled, yet resilient. Even when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, the star players in old movies don’t give up. But, not only that. Their resolve is realistic. It’s believable, not trite and unconnected to anything else in the movie.

Movies Out Now Push for Money

color purple movie play

Picture by SpeakEasy Stage, Wikimedia Commons

How many movies out now or movies coming soon can you say that about? Sure. There are modern movies like Castaway, Traffic, The Pianist, Seabiscuit and Amelie. But, even these movies came out over a decade ago.

Could it be free movie downloads, cheaper movies on Netflix and broader entertainment options that are pushing studios to put out try to appeal to the baser parts of us? Makes sense, especially when you consider that the average cost to make a major motion film today is about a whopping $100 million. Figuring out how to cover expenses may take precedent over quality.

That same push has filtered into the literary world. Produce-produce-produce quicker and faster. Appeal to human triggers. Forget developing a great story. Funny how this push for fast money could be costing us the very thing that we go to the theater for — great entertainment.


So, what do you think? Are old movies better than movies out now? When’s the last time that you saw a movie that you just knew would become a classic, the type of movie that stands the test of time the way flicks like The Wizard of Oz, Sounder, Boyz In The Hood and It’s A Wonderful Life have.

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Movies Out Now vs. Old Movies

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