40 must-watch movies to consider yourself a film buff

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Sullivan’s Travels (1941)

Some might say the 1941 movie to include is Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, and for a list on how to be a film buff, I can understand this is a controversial omission. But part of being a film buff is also one’s ability to talk about movies off the beaten path, films that people who know the heavy-hitters might not know. I’m not saying don’t watch Citizen Kane, but there needs to be some room for other must-sees.

This is the long way of saying seek out Preston Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels. Sturges was well-regarded as a screenwriter whose work often was dark, provocative, and political. Sullivan’s Travels tells the story of a jaded Hollywood movie producer (played by golden boy Joel McCrea), who wants to tell a true story about the forgotten man. So in order to understand the viewpoint he hopes to write about, McCrea’s Sullivan casts off the trappings of wealth to go on the road like a hobo. Along the way there’s a girl — beautifully played by ‘40s femme fatale Veronica Lake — and Sullivan learns the real art of humor. With people just coming out of the grips of the Depression and entering WWII, Sullivan’s Travels said humor was is sometimes the only way to get through the hard times.

Where to Watch It: Rent it now on Google, Apple, YouTube, or Vudu.