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10 Classic Movies People Lie About Watching

Be honest: how many of these have you really watched?

The GodfatherVia

The Godfather trilogy

Since this trilogy has a cult-like following, people might have heard through the grapevine about the infamous horse or baptism scenes, or various other fun facts about this film series. Knowing all of that information, however, doesn’t mean someone’s actually seen the movie. One reason people might put off watching this classic mafia film is that the first installment is 175 minutes long. That said, the cast alone—including Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, and Diane Keaton—is reason enough to tune in.

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Citizen KaneVia

Citizen Kane

Don’t let the black and white picture in this film scare you off; the engaging storyline will hold your attention more than any wild graphics could. This classic 1940’s film works backward—the story starts with the death of the main character and then follows the events that lead to his eventual demise. Reporters try to decipher the meaning of his last words. The storyline is reportedly loosely based off of real-life newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst.

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Gone with the windVia

Gone With The Wind

Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, the Civil War, romance, money, and gorgeous southern views are just a few reasons to actually watch this classic. The film, adapted from a book of the same name, is a whopping 238 minutes long, so it’s fair that some people might not have the patience to sit through it all at once. The drama, however, is worth it. This includes multiple marriages, affairs, and war-time issues. Plus, Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar for her role as Mammy—the first ever for an African-American.

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This film has lots of classic quotes and even people who haven’t seen the movie botch them. People often attribute “Play it again, Sam,” to the movie, when the line is really, “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.'” Repeating the former only shows that you haven’t really watched this movie. In addition to great one-liners, the storyline pulls you in: Humphrey Bogart stars as a cynical nightclub owner who reconnects with an old flame in Morocco during World War II. It’s not unreasonably long either, at 102 minutes. It won three Academy Awards including best picture, best director, and best screenplay.

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If you like crime, mystery, or detective movies, Chinatown should be on your to-watch list. Jack Nicholson plays a private eye in Los Angeles, California, hired to investigate an infidelity case that ends up being more complex than anticipated. Some people consider it the best film of all time, The Guardian reports. It even has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 98 percent. Plus, it’s also one of the more widely studied screenplays thanks to lots of red herrings and unexpected plot twists. These are the 14 hidden messages you probably missed in your favorite movies.

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All the President's MenVia

All the President’s Men

Some people might skip this movie based on real events simply because it’s based on things already know. Journalists and history buffs alike should still commit to this 138-minute-long film starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. The movie covers their deep dive into the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s and has a 93 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So even if you know all the facts, this retelling from a journalists’ perspective is refreshing.

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The Shawshank RedemptionVia

The Shawshank Redemption

Based on Stephen King’s short story, “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” this film takes you inside the prison life of a former successful banker and the people he meets along the way to “redemption.” The 1994 movie stars Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman and is chock-full of life lessons and quotable tidbits. Here are 15 movies you never knew were banned in the United States.

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Taxi DriverVia

Taxi Driver

This Martin Scorsese movie stars Robert De Niro as a Vietnam war vet turned taxi driver who takes the law into his own hands in New York. He tries to clean up the scum off the streets and slowly loses his mind as he obsesses over liberating a presidential campaign worker and an underage prostitute. At the very least, tune into this film to hear the answer to the famous quote, “Are you talking to me?”

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If you’ve seen or lied about seeing The Godfather, chances are you’ve seen or have lied about seeing Goodfellas, too. This story, however, is a little less dense than The Godfather trilogy and is based on real events. Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro team up again for this movie following the story of Henry Hill, played by Ray Liotta, and his life in the Italian mob. According to Nicholas Pileggi, the screenwriter and author of the book the film was adapted from, some real mobsters were hired as extras to make the scenes more authentic. They reportedly used fake social security numbers to get on set.

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A Space OdysseyVia

2001: A Space Odyssey

Science fiction fans and film buffs love analyzing and interpreting this 1968 film. But with so many new special effects and alien or futuristic films, this one might be lower on your to-watch list. It’s time to bring it back to the top so you can start overanalyzing it too. The director, Stanley Kubrick, refused to explain the film and encouraged people to speculate and come up with their own ideas or theories. The book of the same name is a little less open to interpretation and explains the ending more clearly. The film follows a voyage to Jupiter and touches on everything from human evolution to extraterrestrial life. Next, check out the most iconic movies set in every state.

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Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is a former staff writer at Reader’s Digest. There’s a 90% chance Emily is drinking tea right now, but when she’s not writing about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts and liking one too many astrology memes.