Mick LaSalle at the San Francisco Chronicle outlines six factors in cinema that propel a great movie to classic status after the test of time.
Doing what I do, I often try to project myself into the future and imagine what, of our current movies, will be of value to later generations… Looking at the films that do last, that achieve classic status, I’ve observed six tendencies:
1) Great movies were often topical when they were new, or in response to something going on in the world at the time. (This can include costume dramas that were, nonetheless, in response to something.)
2) Great movies usually embody timeless human values, things that mean the same today as they did 50 years ago and as they will 50 years from now.
3) Great movies often contain a great performance.