Each year, classic movie fans from around the world gather in Los Angeles for a weekend of celebrating all things film. TCM Film Fest is the Super Bowl for cinephiles, a place for film fans to gather and nerd out. Movie buffs come in all forms of course, and the festival this year caters to every kind of film fanatic. Classic sci-fi, 1940s noir, silent era essentials, and modern 1970s masterpieces—there’s something sure to strike your fancy at this year’s fest. The theme of the festival this year, “Moving Pictures,” invites moviegoers to explore the moments in film that awaken us, bring joy, move us to tears, and inspire. Here’s our picks for essential films to seek out at this year’s festival that have left an impact on us throughout the years:
Band of Outsiders
A beloved film of the French New Wave, director Jean-Luc Godard’s 1964 movie is a joy to watch. In the film, a language student (Anna Karina) is recruited by two robbers (Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur) obsessed with Hollywood B-movies to help them commit a robbery. Not only is Band of Outsiders a charming heist movie, it’s also a love letter to fellow obsessive movie fans.
The Passion of Joan of Arc
One of the most influential movies of all-time, seeing this film on the big screen is a treat itself. Not only will the essential silent film be show in 35mm at the fest, but it will be accompanied by a live orchestra. If there’s one way to see silent films, it’s definitely as cinemagoers saw them when back they were originally released: with musicians scoring the film right in front of you. Experience the story of this historical icon the way it was intended to be seen back in 1928.
The Long Goodbye
Robert Altman is regarded as one of the most famous American directors of all-time, and for good reason. The Long Goodbye brings Raymond Chandler’s 1953 detective novel to life flawlessly. A modern day noir, the film follows private investigator Philip Marlowe (Elliot Gould) who seeks to help out a friend by finding a famed missing novelist. Altman takes the old-school film noir and updates it for the modern era, making it dreamlike and surreal. Elliot Gould’s performance as Marlow is so good, you won’t be able to take your eyes off him.
The Big Sleep
Two Philip Marlowe movies at one festival! Get your classic noir fix with Howard Hawks’ film version of Chandler’s 1939 novel. This time around, Humphrey Bogart stars as PI Philp Marlowe, hired by a wealthy family to resolve the gambling debts of their daughter. Along the way, Marlowe gets thrown into a world of murder, intrigue, blackmail, and what may be love with the family’s eldest daughter, played by Lauren Bacall. No couple had better chemistry onscreen than Bogey and Bacall, who were married only a few months before the film was released in 1945.
A 1950s classic, Forbidden Planet was the first science fiction film to take place entirely on another world in outer space. The film chronicles a starship crew, their commander (Leslie Nielsen), and faithful robot Robby, who encounter two survivors on a mysterious planet. Visually stunning, suspenseful, and with an epic, ominous electronic score, Forbidden Planet continues to influence science fiction movies 60 years on.
What’s your favorite classic movie? What are you excited to see at this year’s TCM Film Fest? Drop us your thoughts in the comments below!
Images: MGM, The Criterion Collection, United Artists, Warner Bros.
Michelle Buchman is the social media manager at Nerdist Industries. She’s also a huge cinephile. Feel free to follow and chat movies with her on Twitter, @michelledeidre.