Oftentimes, you not only want to watch a movie for the fun of it but also to feel nostalgic about times you didn’t know and Classics do exactly that. We prepared a list of such classic movies but with a twist. All these movies, on top of being exceptionally good, also have such strong women characters that were ahead of their time. We basically made you a Feminist Binge watch list.
During World War II, Rick Blaine, (Humphrey Bogart) a Gin bar owner in Casablanca agrees to help his former lover Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) and her husband Victor Laszio. In the process, the two struggle with their feelings and find themselves caught up in a whirlwind. Strong-headed and passionate, despite what fate throws her way makes Ilsa an endearing yet fierce character. As a whole, the movie continues to be remembered for its hauntingly beautiful dialogues and a climax that nobody saw coming.
The Women (1939)
This comedy-drama follows the life of Mary Haines, played by Norma Shearer a rich Manhattan girl, and the women in her life. Comprising an all-women star cast, this doesn’t claim to be a lesson in feminism, but it does offer a peek into the stereotypes that women face on a daily basis. Attention to detail in terms of the cinematography, costumes and body language, add to the visual experience.
Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)
60 years since its release, and it still finds a mention amongst the best romantic comedies ever made. It’s a story about Holly (Audrey Hepburn), an eccentric smart girl who lives life one day at a time and falls in love with her neighbour Paul Varjak (George Peppard) a struggling writer. We see a full character arch of her being a bubbly 20-year-old girl who dates rich men for survival and has fun while doing it to a woman who leaves all the riches that will ensure her materialistic happiness to choose a life that will actually make her happy. Holly’s character in her iconic black dress with black shades on, window-shopping in Manhattan that has now become a pop culture phenomenon.
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Based on the criminal duo, Bonnie and Clyde, this film chronicles their journey as they go on a spree of crimes like bank robberies and car thefts across the country What makes Bonnie Parker real is the way she is seen fighting the cops and shooting guns while still being vulnerable and hungry for her mother’s love and acceptance. Although it’s a morally corrupt character, Bonnie warms the heart of viewers by being an independent, strong-headed and a self-sufficient woman who just wanted to be a writer If you want to be on the edge and enjoy a good chase sequence movie, this is a no brainer.
Gone with the Wind (1939)
Plainly speaking, it’s the story of the two most compatible people coming together. This Civil drama focuses on Scarlette (Vivien Leigh) and her quest of finding the right man. The movie is about her love for Ashley and Rhett against the backdrop of the Civil war Scarlette is a woman of wits who loves to gossip, gather attention and make a drama out of the smallest things but she also handles her family business after their fortune runs out. Imperfect in all the ways possible, Leigh makes the character real and relatable. Imagine being able to relate to a woman from 1939.
Based on Manu Bhandari’s novel Yahi Sach Tha, the story is about Deepa (Vidya Sinha), a young girl fresh out of college, and in a steady relationship with Sanjay (Amol Palekar). An interview call takes her to Mumbai where she encounters her former lover Navin (Dinesh Thakur) who proves to be a great support system in the city. This leads to Deepa being conflicted about her feelings. Sinha’s character isn’t going around making bold statements but denotes strength in vulnerability.
Released a week after the real-life couple got married, Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan’s Abhimaan is about an already established singer Subir insists his wife Umapursue her hobby of singing as a profession. She goes on to become more famous than him and that gets their marriage crumbling. Amidst all the fame, Uma is often seen longing only for a family. She doesn’t say much, but Jaya Bachchan through her expressions makes her happiness and woes evident. However, Uma’s struggle to keep the marriage intact and her feeling about the whole situation is the defining point of the movie along with class acting from the actors..
Mother India (1957)
This Mehboob Khan movie serves as a benchmark for intense filmmaking. Radha (played by Nargis) is a woman marred by challenges. However, her determination and the ability to put her family before herself makes for a heartwrenching drama and speaks volumes of the strength she possesses. The film bagged a nomination at ‘Academy Awards’ as the Best Film in a foreign language.
Umrao Jaan (1981)
It is based on what is considered the first Urdu novel, Umrao Jaan Ada (1899) by Mirza Hadi Ruswa. Amiran is sold to a brothel at a tender age by a cop. Years later, she grows up to be a courtesan Umrao Jaan (Rekha). The tale follows Amrian and her struggles with men, toxic masculinity, and the way the world perceives her misfortune. Umrao Jaan is Amrian in her heart all through the film. She longs for love from Nawab Sahib (Farooq Shaikh), making all possible efforts to be with him. When that relationship falls through, she goes to her birth parents for the same and ends up getting rejected from them as well. Her vulnerability and the power to express it is the USP of Rekha’s character.
This masterpiece by R.K. Narayan is about a young woman Rosie (Waheeda Rehman) who wants to be a dancer and to achieves this, she takes a tourist guide, Raju’s (Dev Anand) help. She leaves her cheating abusive husband and pursues dancing as a career. Rosie’s character was way ahead of her time. When women in movies were shown to be dutiful and docile, Rosie was shown as a woman of mettle and ambitions. Her genuineness and decisiveness to get what she wants makes her a memorable character.