Friday's Top Five: Nostalgic movies
September 23rd, 2011
10:55 AM ET

Friday's Top Five: Nostalgic movies

Today’s the first day of fall, and there’s something about this season that makes you feel nostalgic. Maybe it’s the falling leaves, the cooler weather or the chance to wear your favorite hooded sweatshirt. Whatever the reason, autumn has the mysterious ability to conjure memories of the past, and so do movies.

Have you ever watched "The Godfather" and swore you could smell Clemenza’s gravy cooking on the stovetop? Does watching "Rocky" during this time of year make you crave Thanksgiving turkey? Adrian’s bird looked pretty tasty before Paulie went ape-s-- and ruined it. It’s clear that movies can tap into our senses.

I’m sure everyone has favorite films that, for personal reasons, remind you of fond memories. This week’s list is devoted to movies that make you feel nostalgic and the classics that take you back in time. Tell us what movies make you nostalgic and why - here are my favorites:

1. "The Wizard of Oz" (1939): “There’s no place like home.” – Dorothy (It’s impossible to not get swept away when Dorothy sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.")

2. "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980): “No. Try not. Do…or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda ("Empire" was the first film I ever saw in a movie theater when I was 3 years old…suffice it to say, the cinematic experience left a lasting impression.)

3. "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins" (1985):  “I am Chiun…master of Sinanju.” – Chiun (I discovered this cult classic while playing hooky from Rosh Hashanah services one year. It’s now an annual holiday tradition right next to dipping apples in honey.)

4. "Avalon" (1990):  "You cut the turkey without me!?!?" – Gabriel Krichinsky (Thanks to Barry Levinson's family portrait, no holiday is complete in my family without someone performing a variation of this line.)

5. "Manhattan" (1979): “Corn beef should not be blue.” – Isaac David (All of Woody Allen’s films have a touch of nostalgia because they sift through significant moments of characters’ relationships, but "Manhattan" tops them all with an opening scored by Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”  Plus, the images of NYC completely in black and white are simply beautiful.)

Honorable Mention:

"Back to the Future" (1985): “Time circuits on.  Flux Capacitor…fluxing.  Engine running.  All right!” – Marty McFly (Aside from the fact that this film juxtaposes the cultural differences between '80s and '50s America, there’s no doubt that this classic is at the top of the time travel movie genre.)

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Filed under: Friday Top Five • movies

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. jillmarie

    Hard to pick a top five, but off the top of my head:

    1) Wizard of Oz

    2) Pretty Woman

    3) American Beauty

    4) Knocked Up

    5) All About Eve

    September 26, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mom

    Does Remo Williams make you remember the smell of brisket cooking?

    September 24, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Phillygirl

    Nostalgia: I saw The Sound of Music in downtown Philadelphia when I was 14. My music teacher thought I looked like Liesel, the oldest daughter. That was 46 years ago. If only we could stay young forever!

    September 24, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. LL

    When Harry Met Sally
    Always reminds me of the holidays and I love the old couples telling about how they met.

    September 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. GottaLoveTheseMovies

    Never saw Avalon, but love the other 4.

    1. The Last Starfighter (Watched every Saturday when deployed to Germany back in the '80s
    2. Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope (Got in line 2 showings early, there were no megaplexes)
    3. Raiders of the Lost Ark (No better crumpled hero in history)
    4. Avatar (I've NEVER seen better CGI special effects)
    5. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (You have to really understand British humor of the '70s)

    September 23, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Hindsight

    My top five would be as follows:

    1. Enter the Dragon
    2. The Challenge (the equals)
    3. The Circle of Iron
    4. Remo Williams; and
    5. Somewhere in Time

    September 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. tracie

    1 Fields of Doodoo
    2 The Diarreah Chronicles
    3 Frostys Poopie New Year
    4 Maya Turdangelo-Profit of Poo
    5 Tuuurd Wranglers Revenge

    September 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Observer

    1. Casablanca
    2. Scent of a Woman
    3. Requiem for a Dream
    4. The Last Samurai
    5. Babel

    September 23, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Hazard

    Great list, but my top five would be:

    1. Moonstruck
    2. Hello! Dolly (Don't hate, my grandmother was an aging actress before she passed)
    3. River of No Return
    4. Wizard of Oz
    5. Rio Lobo

    September 23, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. PUFFDADDY

    Great list–great column–great day–I may even go to a movie this afternoon–MONEYBALL looks good and Field of Dreams is one that is on my list.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. San Jose

    I agree with #1... have only seen #1 & #2.
    My 5 are:
    1. Big
    2. Muppets Take Manhatten
    3. Labyrinth
    4. Wizard of Oz
    5. Top Gun

    September 23, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. timmie

    Oh yeah – HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. with Holly Hunter. sorry for typing in caps but this was a super movie. funny.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. timmie

    I guess im a dud. I wouldnt want to see any of these movies again. oh well. My list would be:
    1 Logans Run original version
    2 Young Guns
    3 The Omen original version
    4 Rosemarys Baby original vers
    5 Mad Max maybe ?

    September 23, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |

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