Films reflect the age they were created – all the sexism, the racism, and the biases -- that was normal during the time, but now in the 21st Century we look back at and cringe. Here are 5 films that we love but just feel like they just don’t unfortunately stand up the test of time.
1. Gone With the Wind (1939)
Gone With the Wind is one of those great American films that everybody knows. It is adapted from Margaret Mitchell’s famous Pulitzer-winning novel and was showed with accolades when it first came out in the 30s but since then has divided modern viewers. Many people see it as a glorification of slavery, even though Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American to win an Academy Award for her portrayal of a typical black maid. The award came at a personal cost, however, when she was racially segregated from her co-stars at the Oscars ceremony. This type of behaviour, thankfully, would never be unaccepted in today’s society.
2. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
Blake Edwards famously adapted Truman Capote’s novella, creating a timeless Hollywood classic and launch Audrie Hepburn into an international star. This film is so intrenched as part of our culture, it has even been selected for preservation in the US Library of Congress. However, there is a huge problem. Mr Yunioshi, Holly Golightly’s, Japanese neighbour, who is played by Mickey Rooney has a terrible accent, a hachimaki headband, prosthetic eyelids and buckteeth. While this was acceptable in the 60s as ordinary comic relief, it’s horrifying for today’s audience.
While the film still remains a classic, there has been some rethinking as of late and some discussion of how it should be placed in film history. Even Mickey Rooney himself, before his death, had cause to rethink his roll, saying he probably shouldn’t have done it.
3.Sixteen Candles (1984)
In many ways Sixteen Candles is considered a classic for its portrayal of teenage life during the 80s. However, there is also so much wrong with this film that it has since taken a back seat to some other classical teenage films like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Sixteen Candles has so many problems including date rape, racism and drunk driving. It blatantly glamorizes non-consensual sex between two teenagers with the girl passed out, what we would call rape today. A close-up reveals that Caroline’s dress has bunched around her thighs, leaving her underwear exposed. Later, we learn that Ted and Caroline have had sex, but Caroline doesn’t remember much. While the movie is lighthearted, this scene in particular makes audiences cringe.
4. The Party (1968)
This is the second Blake Edwards to make the list and for good reason. In The Party, comedian Peter Sellers plays Hrundi V. Bakshi, an Indian actor who accidentally gets invited to a lavish Hollywood dinner party and makes bad mistakes based upon so-called ignorance of Western culture. The movie is horribly for its Indian stereotype after stereotype and Seller’s particularly horrible Apu-style accent. While audiences might have found it funny at the time, it is considered inappropriate and insensitive by today’s standards
5. Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Many Disney stories have had their share of controversy from the sexualization of cartoon characters to gender stereotypes to subliminal messages written in the background. Of course, Disney is not to blame for references like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
In Sleeping Beauty, a European fairy tale has its origins in a tale of rape, back when it wasn’t considered a big crime to force yourself on a woman. Thankfully our culture has progressed a lot further since then. One of the first recordings of the Sleeping Beauty narrative is the Italian poem Sun, Moon and Talia, published in 1634, in which a king sleeps with Talia when she is unconscious – also known as rape. In this version, the princess awakens after giving birth to twins.
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