Movie recommendations by the decade (1970s - 2010s)
Updated: Feb 28
Over the past few weeks, we have been presenting to you some shows that are definitely worth a watch in Netflix once you've had some downtime. In this article, we are going to recommend some movies that you can consider watching once April ends i.e when semester ends *internal celebratory squeal* Furthermore, we are going to introduce you to popular films of their decade, starting from 1970s through to 2010s, so come along for the ride!
1970s: Saturday Night Fever (1977)
*Available on Netflix
*Trigger warning: the film contains disturbing scenes of rape and suicide, please watch at your own discretion.
Have you ever wondered why the 1970s were broadly characterized by the theme of disco, or why music from that decade seemed to be mainly disco music? The 1970s was plagued with economic downturns, but despite this, individuals from all walks of life and would congregate at discos to dance their troubles away. This is the premise of Saturday Night Fever.
Saturday Night Fever (1977) is a spectacular film that follows the journey of Tony (John Travolta), a wide-eyed 19-year old who spends his Saturday nights at a disco where he shows off his powerful dance moves. It is the only place where the youth can go to escape his mundane life. When a big dance competition is announced, he convinces the beautiful and talented Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney) to be his partner. In the process, he learns a lot more about himself and the people around him, understanding the environment he lives in, and the kind of future that he aspires towards.
Even though this movie was filmed in a time well before we were born, it will resonate with you because of the amazing acting, scripting, and relevance to our lives in the world we live in today. Oh, and if that hasn't convinced you- for those who enjoy classic songs by the Bee Gees, this is the film for you. It was this film that popularised songs like Stayin' Alive, or How Deep is Your Love, amongst others.
1980s: Back to The Future (1985)
*Available on Netflix
The idea of time travel in films was conceived long before we were. Even though modern-day science fiction movies have CGI to make them look aesthetically pleasing, a simple show like Back to the Future (1985) with simple animation still creates the same impact of a dystopian world.
In this 1980s sci-fi classic, teen Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is thrown back into the '50s when an experiment by his eccentric scientist friend Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) malfunctions. Traveling through time in a modified DeLorean car, Marty encounters younger versions of his parents (Crispin Glover, Lea Thompson), and must ensure that they fall in love with each other, or he (and his siblings) might cease to exist.
This light-hearted, yet bittersweet film is a perfect fit for us who wish to unwind after the hectic semester. Being a family friendly show, it balances beautifully on the tightrope - comedy and morals, emotions and laughter. The entire film got me rooting for the main character that was played perfectly by Fox, and I was so hooked that I immediately started watching part two of the trilogy. There isn't an incredibly large meaning to the show, neither is there a strong message that is meant to be sent... but it somehow sparked a sense of peculiar nostalgia in me, which sealed the deal for me.
1990s: Ghost (1990)
*Available on Netflix
Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) is a banker, Molly Jensen (Demi Moore) is an artist, and the two are madly in love - seriously, the chemistry between the two of them is incredible. However, when Sam is murdered by friend and corrupt business partner Carl Bruner (Tony Goldwyn) over a shady business deal, he is left to roam the earth as a powerless spirit. When he learns of Carl's betrayal, Sam must seek the help of psychic Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) to set things right and protect Molly from Carl.
For those who are die-hard romantics, or closeted romantics like me- this film will keep you on the edge of your seat even with the show's slow pacing. Even though it is a 2h 9min film, every scene moment felt integral to the plot. The reconciliation of the spirit realm and reality was breathtakingly believable. While the idea of a ghost hovering around might seem ludicrous, the film sucks you in entirely. Simultaneously, it is the kind of film that doesn't leave you wanting more, because the ending is satisfying in its own unique way.
2000s: V for Vendetta (2005)
Following a World War, London is a police state occupied by a fascist government, and a vigilante known anonymously as V (Hugo Weaving). He uses terrorist tactics to fight the oppressors of the world in which he now lives; recruiting a young woman named Evey (Natalie Portman) from the secret police and discovering an ally in his fight against England's oppressors.
What I genuinely enjoyed about the film while watching this in my General Paper (GP) class a year back, was the careful navigation of a dystopian future and politics that present an all too familiar scene that happened in 1940s Germany in the prosecution of Jews and other minorities. I think what makes a show stunning is the ability for it to gets its audience to root for evil or villainous characters, which was exactly how I felt when watching the film. V for Vendetta (2005) also forces the audience to ponder about the government that we live under, and to think about the freedom that we give up as citizens, the terrifying reality of that control. It also has a tiny hint of romance, and I really appreciate that the movie did not fall into the trope of Stockholm Syndrome, where the hostage falls in love with their captor. The movie was thus not dragged down by unnecessary subplots and was able to focus on its message of political will. But just between you and me... V is really alluring.
2010s: Get Out (2017)
Ahh... finally a decade that is slightly more familiar to us. Introducing the last recommended movie - Get Out (2017).
Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship. However, as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he never could have imagined.
I can't say more about the film, otherwise I would be spoiling too much. Nevertheless, the film sheds light on the attitudes of the white majority towards black people in an era that claims to have moved past racism. It does so in a twisted and convoluted manner, which left my head spinning by the end - did we really move on? Do we still implicitly objectify individuals who we view as "others"? The film shares similar vibes to a "A Quiet Place" or "Bird Box" but is in fact much deeper and darker than the mentioned films. It is not for the faint of heart, but at its core, it sends an incredible message that you can only find out by watching it.
And that concludes the movies that you should check out post semester. There are some that are available on Netflix, and there are others that you need to source for.
Let us know what you think about this selection in the comments below! Good luck for the rest of semester everyone!!