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DVDs to Start a Home Movie Collection

By Editorial Staff

by Info Guru Thomas Farley

How to start a home movie collection?

It’s as simple as picking a theme and then finding those movies that complement it. This article will give an example. I’ll look for an Academy Award Best Picture winner from each of the last ten decades. And I’ll concentrate on family friendly fare.

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10. The 1920s. The General (1926)

The General

Right away I have to make an exception. The Academy did not start awarding films until 1927, consequently, much of Charlie Chaplin’s and Buster Keaton’s best works did not qualify for recognition.

The 1927 winner, Wings, is a silent film distinguished by the lovely Clara Bow and remarkable aerial dogfight sequences using dozens of period biplanes. But I can’t compare it to The General, which I think is the film of the decade.

The General, also a silent, features the most audacious and rambunctious scenes ever filmed on top, around, and on the bottom of a speeding steam locomotive. The plot isn’t much, someone’s stolen Johnnie Gray’s (Buster Keaton) train, but the action will keep you enthralled. Even kids will be fascinated by the stunts which are appalling and amazing in their danger. Few actors were ever as physical as Keaton. Don’t like silent pictures? Try this film. You will.

9. The 1930s. Gone With The Wind (1939)

Gone With The Wind

Little can be added to the praise Gone With The Wind continues to receive to this day. A sweeping pageant of almost four hours, this Civil War piece has a majesty about it that is hard to describe. The real thrill of owning a copy at home is that one can view it in peace and privacy, unbothered by commercials or needless editing. Children may get bored but you can break it up into several viewings.

8. The 1940s. Casablanca (1942)


Casablanca is at its simplest a melodrama. But few melodramas ever had such actors or such a script. Humphrey Bogart is outstanding as is Claude Rains and many others. In this film are inspiring scenes of courage, generosity and friendship. Watch the singing of La Marsellaise and try not to cry.

7. The 1950s. Ben Hur (1959)

Ben Hur

Another Metro-Goldwyn-Myer period epic, this time set in the Middle East. Charlton Heston’s character falls from favor but is eventually redeemed. It’s another movie featuring outstanding bravery in stunt making. A stuntman actually died during the long shooting of the chariot race scene. Speaking of which, you’ve heard the saying about horses, “the thundering of hooves”? You’ll hear that glorious sound in the chariot race. Reportedly, some 2,500 horses were used in this film. Epic.

6. The 1960s. The Sound of Music. (1965)

The Sound of Music

The 1960s brought us many great Best Picture Award winners. Lawrence of Arabia and West Side Story are just two. But The Sound of Music is undoubtedly the most family friendly film. While an older teenager may sulk through it, most families will be engaged from start to finish. Besides the film’s immediate and lasting popularity, the musical score itself sold millions of records. Who knew running away from the Nazis could be such fun?

5. The 1970s. The Sting (1973)

The Sting

Beautiful and bloody, the 1970s really belong to the Godfather and its sequel. But for us, these two must be passed in favor of the feel good movie The Sting. Robert Redford and Paul Newman once again share the leads as they did in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. And again, the same great chemistry. If you’ve seen it before, make sure not to give away the ending.

4. The 1980s. Rain Man (1988)

Rain Man

Tom Cruise’s seedy character is reformed and humanized by his special needs brother, whom he takes on a cross country journey. It’s never clear whether the autistic Raymond understands his brother Charlie, but we do know Raymond can experience fear and anxiety. Despite Charlie’s unsettling bad behavior toward Raymond, Rain Man may be one to watch with older children as a teaching lesson on how to treat people who are different.

3. The 1990s. Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump

Sweet and sad, Forrest Gump portrays a man lost to the past yet still successful in facing the present. This contradictory tale is beautifully acted by Tom Hanks and Sally Field. Perhaps all of us have at least one unrequited love. And perhaps that’s why so many people love and identify with this film.

2. The 2000s. The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Rings (2001)

The Lord of The Rings

Okay, I admit it. I haven’t seen this movie. Nor its two sequels. But the reviews are good and a trilogy always means popular success. Personally, I could never read Tolkien. His many characters outnumber those in War and Peace. The Lord of The Rings, though, may be one to take a chance on, especially if you have teenagers in the house.

1. The 2010s. The King’s Speech (2010)

The King’s Speech

This is a quiet and beautifully done Academy Award winning picture. England’s Prince Albert finds himself unexpectedly thrust into the position of King during the World War II. He has a speech impediment problem which has made him feel rejected and apart from others since his childhood. It is necessary, however, to give confident speeches to his nation’s subjects as England struggles against the Nazis. A speech therapist is employed to help and the relation between the two men forms the body of this movie. There is some vulgarity but it is brief and not gratuitous. I highly recommend this film.

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Are you still wondering how to start a home movie collection? What would your theme be? I wish you luck in finding your favorite movies and sharing them with your friends at home.


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