40 must-watch movies to consider yourself a film buff

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Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Bringing Up Baby is one of the funniest films ever made. Howard Hawks was an incomparable director, and while he dabbled in practically every genre, he excelled at comedy. Bringing Up Baby is a prime example of the screwball comedy, with its emphasis on a daffy heiress (played by Katharine Hepburn) and the poor, put-upon archeologist (Cary Grant) she drags into her orbit. The screwball comedy would dominate the 1930s, ironically, as an attempt to prove that the wealthy were “just folks,” and that despite the Depression they were quirky, funny, and worth laughing at.

Katharine Hepburn’s dizzy Susan certainly makes you laugh, mainly because of how she torments Grant’s David. The two don’t necessarily have sexual chemistry, but the point is that they balance each other out; she forces him to live life to the fullest and he compels her to find a happy medium with her personality that isn’t so over-the-top. The film’s script is crackling, with the rapid-fire dialogue that came to define features of the ‘30s and all of its funny.

From Susan pretending she’s being attacked by a leopard to get David to come over — “Be brave, Susan!” — to David losing his clothes and being forced to wear a fluffy nightgown because “I just went gay all of a sudden” is subversive and hilarious. If you don’t crack a smile once during Bringing Up Baby you might need to get your funny bone checked.

Where to Watch It: It’s available on FilmStruck now, and will air on TCM August 5 at 8 pm ET. You can also rent it from Amazon, Google/Apple, Vudu, YouTube and PlayStation.