40 must-watch movies to consider yourself a film buff

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Splendor in the Grass (1961)

Classic films are often maligned for their presumed lack of sexiness, and this is a total misnomer. Watching Elia Kazan’s Splendor in the Grass will more than prove there was plenty of sex in Hollywood. Splendor in the Grass follows two Kansas teens, good girl Deanie (Natalie Wood) and the wealthy Bud (Warren Beatty). The two love each other deeply, but the conflicting double standards about sex threaten to tear the two apart.

Natalie Wood had been a child star since the ‘40s, and she struggled to assert herself in adult roles. As the mentally fragile Deanie, Wood showcased exactly why she was so amazing. She’s polished and poised, yet a delicate flower torn between her own desires and the social messages she’s receiving from her mother. At one point Deanie finds herself in a bathtub declaring “I’m not spoiled,” the frustrated call of a young girl completely confused about sex and love.

This was also the first glimpse most audiences got of Warren Beatty, who is the living embodiment of perfection as Bud. There are also great character parts for the likes of Pat Hingle and Barbara Loden. The latter plays Bud’s wayward sister, Ginny.

Where to Watch It: Stream it now on Filmstruck or rent it via Amazon, Google Play, Apple or YouTube.