Ageism and Classic Films

I’m angry… And I have to empty my bag.

You know, to love classic films is a thing, but to love classic films as a Millennial is another. It’s a situation that has both its bright and dark sides, the brightest one being that you feel unique with your distinct passion that only a few people of your generation share with you. Because yes, most Millennials don’t watch classic films or only the obvious one, or the not-so-old ones. I mean, who hasn’t seen The Wizard of Oz (the obvious) or Forrest Gump (the not so old one)?

But I want to focus on the dark side. Actually, if Millennials don’t have the tendency to watch classic films, I believe it’s because they are “unconsciously” discouraged by the older generations to do so. I say “unconsciously” because if those people are like “ah Millennials should watch more classics.” They actually don’t do much about it. Maybe it is easier to say than to do…

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Take my example. If I started watching classic films, it’s not because of my parents or anyone older than me. Anyway, my parents don’t watch a lot of classics and I know more about them than they do. It’s a fact. No, I pretty much discovered them by my own and this articleexplains more precisely how I discovered them. Basically, just buying a book with beautiful movie star photos helped a lot. And, of course, when you are a Millennial watching classic films, you want to spread the love among people of your age because they are so wonderful (the films), right? My best friend has now seen a few classic films that she truly enjoyed thanks to who? To ME, a Millennial. My mother saw a lot of classic films that she’d loved because I wanted her to watch them with me.

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I have to admit my parents made me discover a few classics such a Thelma & Louise, The Birds, Cinema Paradiso, and more. But there aren’t 30s classics either.

Now, I just probably sound like I’m overpraising myself, but it’s just a way to show you that Millennials know about classics, perhaps more than some older generations. And I’m talking about me because I’m my best judge, but I know I’m not the only one. When I go see classics at the movies I see a lot of young people.

And just look at the classic film blogging community. Many Millennials here:

Critica Retrô

The Old Hollywood Garden

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood

Wolffian Classics Movies Digest

The Flapper Dame

Love Letters to Old Hollywood

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies

Back to Golden Days

Maddy Loves her Classic Films

Cinema Cities

And many more! These are just a few examples.

Go read their blogs. These are Mellinnial’s passion for classics is contagious.

Moral of the story, don’t draw conclusions too fast. Don’t put us all it the same bag. Some Millennials do watch and love classic films. More than you might think!

***

But why?Why writing such an article right now when it’s like 11 pm. I just came across a post in a Facebook movie group where someone was asking which classics we should show to Millennials. At first, I had a very normal reaction and thought it was a common classic film group question. Then, I thought ‘hey are you assuming there are only non-Millennials in the group?” After all, Facebook is a Generation Y thing…

Me in my head: “Eh, I’m sure you haven’t seen Give Us the Moon!” Ok, major weird obsession with this film.

And there was this person assuming that they (we) should just stick to Marry Poppins as if we were hopless cases. Ugh. We’re not.

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And it seems that, recently, I’ve encountered a lot of similar situations, so I guess my patience has limits!

While I was writing this text, I came across this article that pretty much sums up my thought on the situation but in a more orderly way. I particularly agree when the author says “ Shaming young people for not doing something is the sure fire way to make them not do it.” Go read it:

Millennials Do Care About Classic Movies, But Need More Exposure to Them

Furthermore, Julia from Cinema Crossroads has some wise advice to give us in her article “How to encourage Millenials to watch classic movies“.

You might think that “ageism” is a too strong word for this situation, but as that particular situation is due to prejudices like racism, or sexism, it is exactly the right word.

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***

I’ve been watching classic since I was 15 and I’m not ready to stop! And hey, let’s make this clear once and for all, no generation is better than another!

I think that the only persons who can blame Millennials for not watching classics are… Millennials themselves!

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19 thoughts on “Ageism and Classic Films

  1. Couldn’t agree with you more! Very well said, Virginie. If I could like this post more than once I would do. 🙂 Just because many young people (their loss I say)don’t watch the classics, it certainly does not mean that ALL young people don’t watch them.

    It really annoys me when some people make statements such as young people don’t watch old films, or old people don’t watch new films or series. That’s total rubbish.

    Perhaps we as young classic film lovers need to do more to encourage others in our age groups to check the classics out?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, I’ve been a classic film fan for over 25 years and still haven’t seen The Wizard of Oz all the way through (hangs my head in shame). I think many people might have the wrong assumption that classic films have nothing relevant to say, but we all know that is not true. Yes, some films are dated. But it’s up to us fans to be ambassadors for classic films. Not everyone is going to fall in love with them like we are, but they can still enjoy watching them from time to time. My mom and sister will watch them with me occasionally but they aren’t passionate about them like I am. And that’s okay.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Film is that most accessible of art forms, available to all. Classic movies of the past are readily available through cable, dish, YouTube, and so many, many more platforms. The Millennial Generation has a much greater chance to discover these great pieces of art (and history) than my generation did, when staying up late to watch a rare gem at 3 o’clock in the morning was our only option! My kudos to you and others for helping to keep classic films alive, and continuing to spread the word that black and white movies aren’t just “old movies”, but can be just as relevant today as they were when first released (example: ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’). Keep fighting the good fight!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for including me in your post! I was lucky to grow up pretty much only watching classic movies (we were homeschooled). We had say, 15 – 20 classic movies on vhs, most recorded by my uncle, who then got my older sister hooked on them (she has Down’s syndrome) so we spent many a Saturday morning with John Wayne, Julie Andrews, or Hayley Mills. As a teen our collection expanded as our uncle would bring us more movies when he visited or when we came across cheap public domain DVDs at the dollar store. My obsession really started in college. The library had a good classic movie selection and I was also discovering the wonders of YouTube. Then I fell in love with William Powell, started my blog, and have become more and more passionate about them ever since!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never been able to figure this out either 😦

    I remember when I discovered many of my classic film fan Twitter mutuals weren’t just millennials, but they’d seen more (and better) classic films than I have NOW, not just when I was their age. I too got heavier into classic film in my late teens, but I still had to hunt stuff down. Even working at a video store for some of that time. Millennials have had ready access to the most movies of any generation ever. And they’ve taken advantage of it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This phenomena is not unique to classic film fandom. I build and sell model railroad vehicles, primarily in the area of urban transit. That means everything from vintage streetcars up to today’s modern light-rail vehicles.

    If you were to attend a trade show in this hobby, you’d notice that the average age of the traction modeler is somewhere between 55 and 200-something. These old guys say exactly the same kind of crap; they complain about young people’s lack of interest in the hobby and yet do NOTHING about it. Worse yet, when we started making the new light-rail vehicles, the old guys spewed a bunch of non-sense about “nobody is interested in those damn things.”

    I’m betting the first movie either of us saw as a kid was not a “classic.” You likely started with whatever was in theaters when you were a kid and went from there. It works the same way with the 20-somethings buying my LRVs, and then coming back for my New Orleans Perley-Thomas cars…Streetcar Named Desire, anybody? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I always promote a recommended film by explaining how it relates to today. For example, “My Man Godfrey” notes the Depression, homelessness, the gap between rich and poor, etc. Millennials can empathize with and relate to that.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Shaming young people for not doing something is the sure fire way to make them not do it.”

    Uh boy! Guilty as charged. Good points you’ve made. As a Baby Boomer I might’ve made s remakes or two. Well no more. I will welcome ‘into the club’ any young person who shows an interest in these great old films.

    Nice write~up!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I can relate. My friends are all in contemporaries. I don’t deny that they are interesting and all, but classics have that mysterious charm… The actors are so elegant too!

    Liked by 1 person

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