Two classic films I’ve been wanting see for a long time were “West Side Story” (1961) and “American Graffiti” (1973).  Now that I’ve finally seen them on TCM, I love both of them for their great elements throughout.  Of course, they have some common factors: teen / young adult experiences, the cool guy image, relationships, etc.  However, each of these two classic films has particular elements different from the other.

Watching “West Side Story,” I was especially impressed by Natalie Wood as she sang and danced in various scenes.  I’ve seen her in other films and was already a fan based on those; she was amazing as Maria.  There was a lot of great emotion between Maria and her love, Tony, set within the dramatic storyline of clashing gangs.  I also loved the overall choreography of the dancing.  It’s incredible to me because of the talent it takes for the dance moves, the timing, etc.

In “American Graffiti,” the classic cars and music were among my favorite elements.  Some of my longtime favorite actors starred in it as well: Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford as well as now both actor / director Ron Howard.  I loved the cool guy who drove around in the bright yellow hot rod; he had that Marlon Brando / James Dean style and manner about him.  There are a lot of other movies and TV shows in which the cool rebel guy is my favorite character as well.

If you haven’t seen one or either of these, definitely check out these must-see classics sometime.  I want to get my own copy of each on DVD.  It’s hard to believe it took so long for me to see these movies.  I would sometimes seen them listed on TV, but unfortunately it was always when they were halfway through.  Like many other classics, these deserve to be watched from the beginning.