Given that the word "critic" is a shortened version of "critical," it’s no surprise that very few movies receive 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Of course, when you peep at that coveted 100% list, it’s even rarer to find films from the 21st Century. The classics are classic for a reason, and they make up a good chunk of the highest-rated movies in cinematic history.
Sure, we all love a good blockbuster hit and genre movie. But sometimes, it’s fun to sit down and rewatch (or watch for the first time) some of Hollywood’s most highly regarded films. Luckily for Max subscribers, the streaming service has plenty of classic movies. Between movies like Singin’ in the Rain and The Gold Rush, here are five of the best classic movies on Max with 100% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.
Singin’ in the Rain
It’s the film that made the world fall in love with Debbie Reynolds: Singin’ in the Rain. Now, if you can't read the title without hearing Gene Kelly’s vocals in your head, it’s time to watch the classic movie-musical. Kelly plays Don Lockwood — a silent film star who falls for Reynolds’ chorus girl, Kathy Selden.
While Reynolds was still a relatively new face in Hollywood, Kelly had starred in the hit An American in Paris a year before the release of Singin’ in the Rain. Kelly also co-directed the movie alongside Stanley Donen. Meanwhile, Betty Comden and Adolph Green brought the story to life. Not everyone is a musical fan, but if there’s just one to watch, many film buffs would argue that this is it.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “I’ll be back” is one of the most iconic and parroted lines in movie history — his role as the Terminator in the self-titled 1984 film made sure of it. The James Cameron-directed masterpiece seamlessly blends time travel with robots in this sci-fi classic. Cameron wrote the movie alongside Gale Anne Hurd.
For anyone who needs a time shock to the system, we’re inching up to 2029: the year that the Terminator and his soldier nemesis Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) travel from to get to the '80s. Kyle’s mission? To stop the Terminator from killing a woman named Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) before she gives birth to the future leader of the rebellion against sentient AI.
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The Gold Rush
Charlie Chaplin is arguably one of the most notable names in early Hollywood. Most people who haven’t actually seen a full Chaplin picture can still cite him as a silent movie star. And though he pushed back against talking pictures long after spoken dialogue became commonplace, even Chaplin’s first spoken feature film, The Great Dictator, is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Yet 15 years before that, in 1925, Chaplin released one of his most beloved silent pictures: The Gold Rush. As the title might suggest, the movie takes place in the 1890s during the Klondike Gold Rush. Chaplin plays The Lone Prospector, who seeks a fortune in gold (like everyone else during this time period). As was the case for most of his projects, he wrote, starred in, and produced the feature.
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Before a group of teens were thrown together for detention in The Breakfast Club, John Wayne’s 1939 movie Stagecoach helped turn the Western genre into the art form that it is today. Alongside Wayne’s character, Ringo Kid, are a group of primarily wayward characters from all walks of life — including a gambler and a white dove.
Naturally, the group finds commonality in the human condition even though they never would have associated with one another under different circumstances. In between the bonding is a healthy dose of gunslinging fit for a Western.
Given the time period of the film’s setting and its release, many aspects, (particularly the Native American components), haven’t aged very well. However, it's worth reflecting on and analyzing those issues. John Ford directed Stagecoach, which was adapted from Ernest Haycox’s book Stage to Lordsburg by Dudley Nichols.
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Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds
Mother-daughter duo Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds were bright lights in Hollywood that dimmed too soon. Losing both actresses just a day apart sent family, friends, and fans into a collective morning that’s still palpable today.
While Fisher is best known for her role as Leia Organa in the Star Wars franchise, she was a beacon for the mental health community by way of her candid discussions about Bipolar disorder during interviews and her three memoirs. Meanwhile, Reynolds has been onstage and on the screen since the ‘40s. To say that they both changed the course of Hollywood would be a massive understatement.
It was nice to see Fisher’s humor honored when her family placed her ashes in a giant Prozac urn, but fans were itching for a tribute. They didn’t have to wait long. A little over a month after Reynolds and Fisher took their final bows, HBO released a documentary to honor the pair. Luckily, filming for Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds began in 2014.
Not only is the documentary full of lively footage of mother and daughter, but both women consented to and seemed to enjoy sharing their lives and love for each other. In other words, this wasn’t a tasteless cash grab thrown together after a tragedy, but a labor of love they partook in while both women were still alive.
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