Modern Classics: These 5 Movies Turn 20 This Year

We recommend five films that are 20 years old and can already be considered modern classics .

Still from the films 'Kill Bill Vol. 1', 'A Crazy Friday'

Photos: iMDb

LatinAmerican Post | Juan Andrés Rodríguez

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Leer en español: Clásicos modernos: estas 5 películas cumplen 20 años

In the euphoria of the premiere, many films are classified by critics as “a masterpiece” and "an instant classic", but only time shows which ones truly deserve those titles. Groundbreaking visuals, epic conclusions, unforgettable performances and iconic scenes have seen these five films pass that test and 20 years after their release they are still thrilling moviegoers around the world.

"Finding Nemo"

The odyssey of Marlin, an overprotective clownfish and father, marked an immersive ocean experience for audiences. Marlin swam across the Great Barrier Reef to be reunited with his son Nemo, who was captured by a diver and is trapped in a doctor's fish tank. Andrew Stanton, in his directorial debut, was inspired by childhood memories, particularly imagining that the fish in the dentist's office came from the ocean and wanted to go home.

The animation team took courses in oceanography and marine biology to authentically portray the movement of the fish and their environment, bringing the visual aspect that made the film an animation milestone since its release. It was the second highest-grossing film of the year and the first Pixar film to win the Oscar for animation. In 2016 its sequel "Finding Dory" was released. Available on Disney+.

" Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"

Filmed simultaneously, on a shoot that lasted more than a year, the three films in this epic trilogy directed by Peter Jackson changed the history of literary adaptations. The latest installment was the second film in history to gross more than a billion dollars and equaled the record of eleven Oscar wins. It was also the first of the fantasy genre to win Best Picture.

In the final chapter of their Middle-earth adventure, Frodo and Sam approach Mount Doom to destroy the Ring of Power, led by Gollum, who plans to betray them to retrieve his precious. In Gondor, Aragorn and Gandalf gather their armies for the final battle against Sauron and the forces of Mordor. Available on HBO Max.

"Kill Bill Vol. 1"

As Quentin Tarantino prepares to shoot his tenth and (supposedly) final film, entitled "The Movie Critic", fans of the director prepare to celebrate 20 years of his homage to martial arts cinema. After surviving an attack by the team of assassins she was a part of, Beatrix "the Bride" Kiddo begins a bloody journey to exact revenge against each of the assassins and their leader, Bill. Although it was conceived as a single film, the director decided to divide it into two volumes so as not to have to delete scenes, and the second part was released six months later.

A fan of genres such as anime, western, blaxploitation and samurai cinema, Tarantino took advantage of his encyclopedic knowledge of cinema to fill this epic quest for revenge with references to classics such as "Game of Death" (1978), the last film of Bruce Lee, Akira Kurosawa's “Yojimbo” (1961) and especially “Lady Snowblood” (1973), which made its cast and crew watch during breaks in filming. Available for rent on digital platforms.

Also read: April 2023: The 7 most Anticipated Premieres on Streaming Platforms

"Love Actually"

The “popularity” and overproduction of ensemble-structured seasonal films can be attributed to the success of this romantic comedy that brought together much of Britain's acting royalty. During the Christmas season in London, 10 stories occur simultaneously and are interconnected by some characters, which show different facets of love and heartbreak in relationships as a couple, friends, and family.

Although initially met with a mixed reception from critics, it was a box office success and garnered Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations. Plus, there's no denying the contribution of the iconic poster scene to the careers of Andrew Lincoln and Keira Knightley. In 2017 part of the cast reunited for a sequel short film in support of the Comic Relief Foundation, aired during “Red Nose Day Actually”. Available for rent on AppleTV.


Although Park Chan-wook was already a recognized director in South Korea, the release of “Oldboy” marked his transition to worldwide recognition as a master of the thriller. In the second installment of the revenge trilogy, Oh Dae-su is imprisoned in a hotel room without knowing the identity of his captor, who has framed him for the murder of his wife. After 15 years, he is released and sets out to discover the name of who was behind his kidnapping in order to exact revenge.

The film won the 2004 Cannes Grand Prix (it premiered in 2003 in South Korea) with a jury chaired by Quentin Tarantino, who has declared it one of his favourites. Chan-wook returned to the festival with “The Maiden” (2016) and “The Decision to Leave” (2022), which won the best director award and was expected to receive his first Oscar nomination, but was ignored by the Academy. Available for rent on digital platforms.

"Freaky Friday"

The third adaptation of the novel by Mary Rodgers and its most successful version. Tess, played by recent Oscar winner Jaime Lee Curtis, is a psychologist who has a difficult relationship with her daughter Anna, played by Lindsay Lohan. Before Tess's wedding, mother and daughter swap bodies and while they figure out how to reverse it, they must experience a day in each other's lives. Annette Bening was originally cast in the role of Tess, but left the production a week before shooting began, so Lee Curtis was contacted at the last minute. The actress commented that the lack of time to rehearse allowed her to improvise a lot with a role that today is considered one of the best of her career. Available on Disney+.


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