If you follow my blog, you all know I’ve just turned the big 21. Being that I’ve been in the mode for movies made in the 1970s lately, I’ve been going through a list of all the movies I’ve seen from the decade and saw a recurring pattern. Some of these films have really taught me a valuable lesson, which I think I’ll carry with me for the rest of my twenties. Being in your twenties are a confusing and life defining time in one’s life. I wanted to share some of these lessons that I’ve learned from cinema. I hope that you all take the time to see these movies because I promise they are masterpieces in their own right. Here are the Important Lessons I’ve Learned from these movies:
DISCLAIMER: SPOILER ALERT!
In the case of Al Pacino in “Dog Day Afternoon”, it’s most certainly obvious that “the bad guys” really don’t win, like, ever. Pacino plays psychopathic bank robber, Sonny Wortzik, who (on a not-very-special-day) decides to rob a bank, and hold everyone in it for ransom. As Sonny gets closer to getting his demands fulfilled, we learn that his evil ways and selfish desires will lead to his ultimate downfall.
9. ALL THAT JAZZ (1979)
Lesson: You’re vices will most definitely kill you.
Roy Schnieder plays Joe Gideon in the semi-autobiographical film based on the life of director / choreographer / performer Bob Fosse. Fosse dives into his life, which focuses mainly on his many different vices that lead to his ultimate death. Not only do we deal with Joe’s messed up personal life (with an ex-wife, young daughter, a mistress and lovers everywhere) but also his addiction to drugs and cigarettes, which puts his talented life to a sad end. It happened to Fosse in real life, too.
8. SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (1977)
Lesson: Friendship is most certainly earned.
Though the movie seems like it’s only really focused around dancing and the grit of the 1970s night life, that really isn’t true. For me, the movie is really about the friendship between Tony (John Travolta) and Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney). Tony is the Disco King, and to win a dance competition, he teams up with Stephanie, someone completely different from him. As their friendship blossoms, they reach an ultimate low point because of Tony’s pride and terrible behaviour. That’s where Tony ends up asking himself: “How deep is your love?”
7. COMING HOME (1978)
Lesson: Being kind and understanding will bring you happiness.
Sally (Jane Fonda), a nurse volunteering at a local hospital, re-meets an old highschool school mate named Luke Martin (Jon Voight). However, Luke has just arrived home from Vietnam, where his legs have become completely paralysed. Here, an unexpected relationship blossoms as the two get to know each other during the final years of the war. “Coming Home” turns into one of the most sentimental and sweetest movies I’ve ever seen. The great lesson about it isn’t only the war time propaganda that America is trying to show their audience, but also the warmth and kindness of people to one another, that people in their twenties should always keep intact within them. Understanding one another is the key to a happy life.
6. NETWORK (1976)
Lesson: The work force is a cruel and lonely world.
“Network” is a disaster of the movie. Not the actual film, because it’s a masterpiece. But everything going on within it is pure disastrous and overwhelming fun. The lesson that you learn from the film is from the lead female character, Diane Christensen, played by powerhouse actress Faye Dunaway. She portrays a ruthless TV producers who will do anything and everything to reach the top. And that, she just does. But in the end, Diane feels nothing but loneliness and cruelty as people begin to hate her and the love of her life leaves her. Something that she will regret forever.
5. THE WAY WE WERE (1973)
Lesson: Be who you are…never conform.
Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford electrify on screen as a couple that is so different form each other but can’t really give each other up. He’s the handsome, jock-type with dreams of Hollywood grandeur. She’s the nerdy, political activist with a very, very, VERY strong opinion about almost everything. Still, the two make screen magic in a romance that will be remembered forever. But their differences obviously finds them on opposite sides of the rope, where Hubble and Katie, step up as adults and realize that they’re not meant to be. They can’t change themselves for someone else. But they don’t regret the love they found for one another.
4. ALICE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE (1974)
Lesson: It’s never too late to make something of yourself.
When Alice’s (Ellen Burstyn) uncaring husband suddenly dies from a car accident, she decides to pack up her thanks and hit the road, to try and fulfil her girlhood dream of becoming a famous singer. On the road with her little boy, she meets a a handful of colourful characters that makes the trip not only something to remember, but a life defining era as well. Alice’s strength will surely inspire those in their twenties. Though she’s already in her thirties in the film, her young actions and passion for getting what she wants really makes you realize that you’re not worthless, and that there’s a reason for you in life.
3. LOVE STORY (1970)
Lesson: Cherish every moment with the person you love.
She dies. Ha! Big spoiler there. Don’t get mad, they say it 30 seconds into the movie. But what the movie taught me was that no matter if you’re gonna stay together forever or end up breaking up or whatever, you should always cherish the one you love with all your heart. That includes every moment of being together or being apart. Cherishing isn’t so hard. In the case of Oliver (Ryan O’Neal) and Jenny (Ali McGraw), they did just that. From their college years, to her fatal end as a young adult, they never looked back. The platform of their relationship made everything work too: “love means never having to say you’re sorry”.
2. KRAMER VS. KRAMER (1979)
Lesson: Being a good parent is a job on its own.
Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) is an upcoming star is the advertising world. But when his wife (Meryl Streep) surprisingly leaves him one day, Ted must suddenly raise their little boy Billy (Justin Henry) on his own. Ted’s life then becomes a disaster as he tried to balance out work and being a good father. This when he realizes that raising a chid and being a good dad, takes just as much responsibility as raising to the top of the workforce.
1. THE GODFATHER (1972)
Lesson: Family is everything.
Such a typical choice to be number one, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Al Pacino plays Michael Corleone, the youngest son from Italian Mafia Corleone family. Michael, a war hero and college boy, doesn’t expect to follow the life of crime that his family has chosen. But his world is shaken when hit man attacks his father Don Vito (Marlon Brando) and he must start making decisions for the family. Though the context may not be for everyone, the entire “Godfather” series is all about love and loyalty to the family. In everybody’s case, especially in their twenties, don’t loose your way, because in the end, your family might be the only one’s who will be there. Never ever turn your back on them.