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    20 Old Movies That Had Surprisingly Woke Moments

    Jurassic Park actually holds up!

    We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about old movies that were actually pretty woke. Here's who they said.

    1. Mississippi Masala (1991)


    "It's one of my favourite romance movies, and it holds up way better than a lot of the other rom-coms that came out in the '80s and '90s. It's about an interracial relationship where both characters are POC. The movie also explores issues like immigration and intergenerational trauma without oversimplifying them or reducing them to old tropes."

    - a_glover

    "It was very woke and honestly way ahead of its time."


    2. Ferngully (1992)

    20th Century Studios

    "It's all about saving the planet, saving the rainforest, and way human activity affects ecosystems."


    3. Some Like It Hot (1959)

    United Artists

    "It’s about these two men who are in trouble with the mafia, so they run away and disguise themselves as women. It’s really funny and has lots of great moments, like when the men found out how women are treated and sexually harassed every day. Very non-problematic and a great movie, highly recommend!"


    4. The Great Dictator (1940)

    United Artists

    "The Great Dictator, of which has the best movie speech of all time."


    5. Heathers (1989)

    New World Pictures

    "Controversial opinion, so stay with me here. It came out in the late '80s and on the surface it just seems like a dark comedy, but if you look into it it actually deals with mental health, toxic relationships (both romantic and platonic), the dangers of toxic masculinity, and martyrdom amongst teenagers." —camerons4773f22ed

    6. The Devil and Miss Jones (1941)

    RKO Pictures

    "This film follows a grossly wealthy business and property owner who goes undercover at one of his many department stores to take down their labour union. In a short amount of time, he starts to become less staunchly capitalist and anti-union as the film makes a strong and compelling case for worker’s rights in the early 1940s. 10/10 would recommend!"


    7. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

    Columbia Pictures

    "The movie was realistic: their love for each other didn't happen overnight or in a few weeks, but in fact over 12 years. They truly were friends who cared for and respected each other. No toxic relationships at all."


    8. Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

    20th Century Studios

    "It's about a reporter who pretends to be Jewish for a story and the anti-Semitism that he and his family experience as a result."


    9. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

    Gramercy Pictures

    " I watched it as a kid and it was such a wakeup call to me that LGBTQ+ people aren't just the campy stereotypes that I had seen in the media previously. It's so funny but it also has so many deep, thoughtful, relatable moments."


    10. My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)

    Film4 Productions

    "This one is amazing because the screenwriter Hanif Kureish originally wrote a version where the two lead men were not a couple. He said he reread it, and felt that something was missing at the heart of this story. He then realised that the two protagonists obviously had to be a couple."


    11. 9 to 5 (1980)

    20th Century Studios

    "An absolute classic! It’s got a powerful message about the patriarchal BS women have to face in the workplace and the strength that can come from female solidarity. I love how the happy ending is that they create a workplace that caters to working mothers and build a sense of community. And that Dolly Parton title song is still perfection!"


    12. Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)

    20th Century Studios

    "She kicks ass and calls men out!"


    13. Bachelor Mother (1939)

    RKO Pictures

    "Ginger Rogers, a single woman, picks up an infant on the doorstep of an orphanage and everyone thinks the baby is hers. No one judges her for being a single mother, no one shames her. Nearly everyone wants to help: her boss gives her a raise, her landlady offers free babysitting – in 1939! Oh, and it's a Christmas movie."


    14. Une Femme Est une Femme (1961)

    (I can't find the distributor help)

    "The protagonist in Angela, is a young stripper, who wants to have a baby, but her husband doesn't. In the film she goes after what she wants, she claims her right to show emotions as she wants and to have her own freedom and life. It's a fun comedy, but very progressive for its time."


    15. Jurassic Park (1993)

    Universal Pictures

    "It absolutely reverses almost every gender norm in movies at that time. Alan was the one left protecting the children while Ellie was off rescuing people and evading raptors, Ian was the one in the sultry pose with his shirt open.It's also one of the most famous examples of an anti-capitalist message in film."


    16. Fast Times At Ridgemount High (1982)

    Universal Pictures

    "Hear me out. When (spoiler alert!) Damone fails to show up to drive Stacey to the abortion clinic and Linda rallies the girls to support Stacey – pretty powerful. Never once did they show another girl slut shaming Stacey or defending Damone. Nope, he's wrong. Also how they presented the subject of abortion with a completely non judgmental view."


    17. The Wiz (1978)

    Universal Pictures

    "It's adaptation of The Wizard of Oz with an all-black cast! Diana Ross plays Dorothy, Michael Jackson plays the scarecrow, and Lena Horne plays Glinda. The soundtrack is amazing and the choreography is this awesome combination of modern, ballet, and jazz. A lot of film critics consider The Wiz to be an early work of Afro-futurism!"


    18. Imitation of Life (1959)

    Universal Pictures

    "Imitation of Life was made in 1959, and while it’s a little over dramatic at times, it explores themes that are still very relevant today. Sarah Jane's struggles with her identity as a white-passing Black women, the microagrressions (and outright racism) she and her mum face, and her place in society make a great comment on how racism affected the the lives of people living in America at the time."


    19. Thelma & Louise (1991)

    Metro-Goldwyn Mayer

    "It's a fab movie that basically chronicles the various ways men can screw over women. It's entirely from the female POV and, correct me if I'm wrong, it just feels like a big F you to misogyny! I definitely think you could release that film again now – most of the plot is sadly still relevant."


    20. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

    Walter Reade

    "I don't think the director intended it, but the racial/social commentary is spot on."


    Some submissions have been edited for length/clarity.

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