Happy #ClassicMovieDay! My 5 Movies on an Island


May 16th is National Classic Movie Day.

Rick of CLASSIC FILM & TV CAFE chose to honor this with the 5 Movies On An Island Blogathon. As Rick states, “the intent is for participants to write about the five classic movies they’d want to have with them if stranded on a deserted island. (Yes, you can assume you have electricity, a projector, big screen, and popcorn!)” I’m so glad Rick allowed us the popcorn. I’ll take it a step further and assume a comfy couch, dark chocolate and my family and friends.

Five Movies Blogathon

I’ve thought long and hard on this daunting task. Daunting, that is, for any true classic film fan whenever asked to narrow down their top films. Especially when one enjoys such an eclectic variety of film. But to add to the challenge, this isn’t as simple as listing off your favorite five films. Au contraire. One must consider these would be your ONLY five films.

So I thought of all the factors that must be considered. What films could be watched hundreds of times over? Staying power… check. What if you have nothing but the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, the warm sand, gentle ocean breezes and cocoanuts to entertain you? Alright, obviously that sounds beyond terrific, but even in paradise we Old Movie Weirdos need our cinema. Entertaining, got it. Also, what films (and charismatic stars) would keep you company over the years stuck on that island? Even Gilligan had an entourage after all. So, a large ensemble of cast may be in order. Hmmm… check.

Comedy has always been my favorite genre, especially when the chips are down. As my predictament of being separated from society would more than likely present an earnest challenge to my serious need for socialization, comedies would be a must. Check. But then I paused for a moment… I needed the inclusion for inspiration of the human spirit. It may be the magic elixar for the optimism required to keep hope of being rescued someday. Ah yes, that would be a nice feather in the cap, too.

Noting all of these factors with this belaboured process, I reached the following results:

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 6.31.50 PM

  1. THE GREAT RACE (1965). It’s no secret this has been a favorite of mine since childhood. It hit most of the check marks too. Definitely a comedy. And not just any comedy, but a comedy dedicated to the great Laurel & Hardy and director Blake Edward’s own way of paying homage to that entire wonderful era of comedic filmmaking. Ensemble cast. And what a terrific cast- Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood in their prime, with Jack Lemmon and Peter Falk that make me laugh until I cry, and a team of funny character actors like Keenan Wynn, Larry Storch and Vivian Vance, too. For for a full review and details on this one, click HERE.


2.  IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (1963). Here’s another film that I’ve seen countless times over and have no issue in seeing it another hundreds of times more. Additionally, this one also checks the boxes for both comedy and ensemble casting. With a terrific sense of adventure, I know all of these comedy legends would keep me laughing and company on those lonesome nights with only the gritty sand in my toes. Click HERE for more details on why I think this film would be perfectly suited in my island of five.


3. ARSENIC and OLD LACE (1944). I wouldn’t dare be stuck on a stranded island without my Cary Grant, of course. And a screwball or romantic comedy would be just the ticket. But the Sophie’s Choice faced me down. Which Cary Grant film? THE PHILADELPHIA STORY? BRINGING UP BABY? THE AWFUL TRUTH? MY FAVORITE WIFE? It was practically a coin toss but I finally came to the decision to go with the screwiest one of the lot. And while it may be Grant’s least favorite of his films, in many ways it’s my most. Besides, nothing makes you feel better about your crazy predicament than knowing at least you’re not with a bunch of murderers where insanity runs in the family so much that it “it practically gallops.”


4. GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 (1933). I knew a musical would be on my list. Oh sure, a grand and technicolor MGM sort would be delightful, or perhaps the SOUND OF MUSIC would be a fine choice for something uplifting with a plethora of earworms to sing along on the beach. Or even some Ginger and Fred or Gene Kelly? For me, a Busby Berkley vehicle from the deliciously naughty PreCode era is more my style. But again, the task of narrowing it down faced me. FOOTLIGHT PARADE ? 42nd STREET? Truly tough options but GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 was my first BB love. And with a cast that includes Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon, Warren William, Ginger Rogers, Dick Powell, Guy Kibbee, Ned Sparks, Ruby Keeler (hello, PreCode dream team!) with toe-tapping tunes as “We’re In The Money,” “Pettin’ In The Park” and “Remember My Forgotten Man,” my lonely troubles would easily melt away.

It's a Wonderful Life banner

5. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946). When addressing the very last slot, it’s a real toughie. I won’t deny that films like THE THIN MAN, CITY LIGHTS and a variety of Hitchcock films ran through my mind. I wanted to pick an inspirational film. One that moves me to tears. One that’s so classic it will feel moving every time. With just the right amount of comedy and still uplifting in the end, despite the dark tones, Frank Capra’s IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE fits the bill. When straddled with a bleak outlook and challenging obstacles, George Bailey is my go-to guy.

Hope you enjoyed my list and process. As you can see, I enjoyed it too but it was not an easy endeavor. What are your classic five films if stranded on a deserted island? And why? Whatever your picks may be, go enjoy National Classic Movie Day this May 16th by enjoying one or several cinema treasures. If you’re a classic film freak like me, it’s a holiday to celebrate all year long.


  1. With a list like this Kellee, you will have cruise ships passing by your island seeing the reflection of your films on the water, and hearing you laugh. Lets hear it for classic films.


  2. Both of my all-time favorites of Frank Capra make your five? And the severely under-appreciated THE GREAT RACE, too, you are awesome, Kellee. 😀


  3. Some wonderful choices, Kellee, and a few delightfully surprising ones. I’m with you on ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, which doesn’t get its due as one of Cary’s funniest films (in fact, the whole cast is in top form). And I can certainly understand why George Bailey is your “go-to guy.” Thanks for participating!


  4. Charge!!

    What fun you will have on your island with all those goofball greats giving their all for your entertainment. And Bedford Falls – wonderful.


  5. We share one movie in common on our lists! It was a very hard task to narrow choices to only five movies. Fun to read why you chose the ones you did!


  6. It seems we quite often thought about the same movies – I was seriously considering Arsenic and Old Lace, I didn’t know it was Grant’s least favourite, but it’s a shame, there’s nothing to hate about it! It’s also a great decision to include a Christmas movie – how else could you celebrate on an island :)?


  7. Fun post! GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 and SOME LIKE IT HOT are two of my favorite comedies. I *need* to see THE GREAT RACE!


  8. I’ll easily come and join you on your island Kellee with your impressive choices. I love “Arsenic And Old Lace”.

    I also invite you to check out my list for the blogathon. Here it is below.



  9. John Greco says:

    Great choices Kelle! I especially, like Arsenic and Old Lace, Gold Diggers/1933 and It’s a Wonderful Life.


  10. It’s weird to see we’d only have one in common IF I’d chosen IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, which was a back-up for every single choice I made. Terrific list and SO YOU!! 🙂



  11. Oooh Arsenic and Old Lace! Good one! Fun list!


  12. Fabulous choices Kellee! Love Arsenic and Old Lace which almost made it to my list, but I went with My Favorite Wife instead… BUT then again, I could easily change my mind 🙂


  13. Your island won’t be deserted for long – way too much fun going on there!


  14. You’re going to be living and laughing high and wild on your island, Kellee, maybe I can drop by for some of the fun.


  15. christmastv says:

    I’m so pleased you picked a Christmas movie too! I honestly thought I’d be the lone writer to select holiday films. It’s great to know others love these films as much as I do. This 5 movies list making has been such fun!


  16. Love seeing that both Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart have a place on your island, Kellee! Laughter and tears are an important part of life.


  17. Cool list! I also laugh until I cry (and my cheeks start to ache) with The Great Race. And of course there needs to be Cary Grant in your island! I’m starting to feel a bit jealous because there is no Cary in mine…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: