Classic Films I’ve Never Seen (and Probably Never Will)

I’ve been a movie fan ever since my parents took me to see Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” at Detroit’s historic Fisher Theater when I was four. The colors, the sounds, the fancy seats and, of course, the buttered popcorn all combined to hook me the moment I walked in.

Later, growing up in L.A., I spent many a weekend and summer vacation hanging out in the old art deco theaters that lined the Valley’s Ventura Blvd. (which, sadly, have been converted to restaurants and wholesale electronics stores). And then there was Channel 9’s “Million Dollar Move,” a program that showed the same film every night for a week and twice on Sunday. Most of the features weren’t worth a million bucks even by today’s standards (“Them” and “The Crawling Eye” come to mind), but I loved them nonetheless. I’m sure I drove my parents crazy.

In the mid-70s, I had the perfect college job, wielding an oversized flashlight as an usher (remember them?) at the now defunct Encino Theater, a flagship of the Pacific Theater chain. I’m sure I watched “Jaws” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” a hundred times. To this day, I can recite each movie nearly line for line.

I enjoy dramas, comedies, action flicks, buddy movies, sports films, sci-fi, westerns, horror, biopics, documentaries, noir, indies and pretty much any other genre you can name. And yet, there are a number of classic films I’ve never seen and have no desire to see. Films that mean my cinematic resume has big holes in it. I got into this conversation with my friend Bob a few years back when we were stuck in a trade show booth trying to sell books to a nearly empty expo hall. And I was reminded of it last week when Jimmy Kimmel discussed his own list.


There’s no overlap between Jimmy’s list and my own, probably because of the difference in our ages. Nevertheless, here’s mine. You’ll probably think less of me after reading this, but I need to get it off my chest:

  1. Dr. Zhivago – Long and cold. No way.
  1. Lawrence of Arabia – Long and ho Also no way.
  1. Schindler’s List – I’m depressed enough as it is. Might push me over the edge.
  1. Philadelphia – Ditto.
  1. The Sound of Music – Never much liked Julie Andrews, singing kids or musicals. Now I’ve got the Do-Re-Mi song stuck in my head.
  1. Titanic – I went but slept through most of Does that count?
  1. Godfather 3 – Decided to leave well enough alone.
  1. The General – It’s silent for God’s sake.
  1. Gandhi – I’d rather go to a nice Indian buffet.
  1. The Color Purple – Oprah? You must be joking.

Until recently, I could have added “Singin’ in the Rain” to that list. But a colleague shamed me into watching, even loaning me her

DVD. I enjoyed it except for all that singin’.