Classic Chick Flicks 101: The Essentials

It has been almost a year since I started my blog, Just Chick Flicks. But why ‘just chick flicks‘? I love all types of  movies;  science fiction, mysteries, action.  I will watch almost anything, except horror.

Barbara_StanwyckWhen I think of chick flicks, I think not only about today’s quirky love stories, but about the movies that old Hollywood moguls used to call “women’s movies“.

They were talking about movies that appealed to women. These movies touched my emotions, made me laugh, inspired me and sometimes, they even made me cry. They were not always love stories, but there was always a strong female lead.


Great actresses like Kathryn Hepburn, Barbara Stanwick, Bette Davis and Judy Holliday were stars who played women who could handle their business. They wanted love, but on their own terms.  These movies were made in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s and they are classics.

Many of them, like Stella Dallas and The Women have even been remade to appeal to our modern tastes, but the originals are still the best. Let’s think of these movies as your basic education in Chick Flicks 101.

This is my list of 25 Classic Chick Flicks. If you haven’t seen all of these movies, check them out on Netflix. These are essential viewing for all Chick Flick fans.

The Essentials


1. The Philadelphia Story (1940) Starring my favorite actress, the great Katharine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant.

2. Sabrina (1954) Starring Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and William Holden.

3. All About Eve (1950) Starring Bette Davis, Eve Arden and featuring a cameo role of a young blond starlet (Marilyn Monroe).

4. Gone with the Wind (1939) Margaret Mitchell’s epic novel of the Civil War comes to the screen with Vivian Leigh, Clark Gable, Olivia de Havilland and Hattie McDaniel.

5. Jezebel (1938) Bette Davis and Henry Fonda star in another Civil War drama about a woman who gets whatever she wants, except the man she loves.

6. Adam’s Rib (1949)  Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy are a great as a pair of married lawyers on opposite sides of the courtroom. The movie also features the wonderful Judy Holliday. More Tracy-Hepburn films.

7. Woman of the Year (1942) This time Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy deal with the problems of marriage and competing careers.

8. African Queen (1951) Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn star in this classic adventure,  directed by John Huston.

9. The Women (1939) Too many actresses to name and not a man in sight.

10. Roman Holiday (1953) Audrey Hepburn is a runaway princess on the loose in Rome with Gregory Peck as her tour guide.

11. Dark Victory/Now Voyager (1939/1942) These two Bette Davis movies are a tie. I couldn’t decide which one to include, so I added them both to the list.

12. Stella Dallas (1937) Barbara Stanwick is wonderful in this tear-jerker about a mother who makes the ultimate sacrifice for her daughter’s happiness.

13. Mildred Pierce (1949) Joan Crawford plays the hardworking mother of the most ungrateful daughter ever.

14. The Shop Around The Corner (1940) Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan star as co-workers who a have a love hate relationship, without knowing that they are pen pals.

15. Ball of Fire (1941) A wise-cracking Barbara Stanwick causes quite a stir when she hides out from her mob boyfriend in a house full of old college professors.

16. Double  Indemnity (1944) Barbara Stanwick works her feminine wiles on insurance adjuster, Fred McMurray to convince him to murder her husband for the insurance money.

17. The Rainmaker (1956) Katharine Hepburn stars as a ‘spinster’ (I hate that word) who falls for a handsome con man, played by Burt Lancaster. Best dating advice in a movie is also one of  my favorite movie lines: “You got to get a man the way a man gets got!”

18. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1954) Elizabeth Taylor in a slip  and Paul Newman in pajamas. Nuff said!

20. Wuthering Heights (1939) Based on Emily Bronte’s novel and starring Lawrence Olivier and Merle Oberon as the tragic lovers,  Heathcliff and Kathy.

21. Jane Eyre (1944)  Joan Fontaine and Orson Wells star in this film version of Charlotte Bronte’s novel. You might also like the remake of Jane Eyre, starring Michael Fassbender.

22. Pride & Prejudice There have been many versions of the Jane Austin novel. If I have to pick one, the Keira Knightly version is my favorite.

23. Rebecca (1940) Daphne Du Maurier’s chick lit  novel comes to life with the brooding Lawrence Olivier and Joan Fontaine.

24. It Happened One Night (1934) Clark Gable at his best with Claudette Colbert  this classic romantic comedy about a reporter on the trailer of a runway socialite.

25. Born Yesterday (1950 ) Broderick Crawford is a tycoon who hires William Holden to teach his ‘dumb blond’ girlfriend some class.

This is  is not complete. I’m  sure I’ve left some of your favorites off the list. If so,  leave a comment.
I would love to know what your favorite Classic Chick Flicks are.

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About Clara Mathews

Clarabela (Clara Mathews) is freelance web content copywriter, professional blogger and Hugh Jackman fan. In addition to writing about her love of movies at, Clarabela is also a regular contributor to DignityZine.  Follow Just Chick Flicks on Facebook.