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.

When 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 Classic Chick Flicks.

This is my list of 25 Classic Chick Flicks. If you haven’t seen all of these movies, check them out on iTunes, Amazon or Netflix.

They are essential viewing for all Chick Flick fans.

The Essentials

 Philly Story grant-hepburn

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Starring my favorite actress, the great Katharine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant.

Sabrina (1954)

Starring Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and William Holden. Sabrina is directed by Billy Wilder, the director of some of our greatest classic movies, likeSome Like It Hot, Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, The Seven Year Itch and The Apartment. Wilder loved his leading ladies. You can tell by the wonderful way he filmed them.

All About Eve (1950)

bettedavis_allabouteveStarring Bette Davis, Eve Arden and featuring a cameo role of a young blond starlet (Marilyn Monroe).

Bette Davis was 42 years old when she starred in All About Eve. Which make the story all the more interesting. Bette plays Margo Channing, a Broadway legend who  is  getting older and  no longer able to play the younger roles. She is   struggling to keep her successful career and her relationship with a younger man (Gary Merrill) who is also the plays director.

 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.

 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.

Adam’s Rib (1949)

tracy hepbun Adams_Rib

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. Click here for  more about Tracy-Hepburn films.

Woman of the Year (1942)

This time Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy deal with the problems of marriage and competing careers.

The African Queen (1951)

Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn star in this classic adventure, directed by John Huston.

The Women (1939)

Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer and too many actresses to name and not a man in sight. Skip the 2002 modern version of The Women, trust me you will be disappointed.


Roman Holiday (1953)

Audrey Hepburn is a runaway princess on the loose in Rome with Gregory Peck as her tour guide.

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. Be prepared to cry your eyes out.

Stella Dallas (1937)

Barbara Stanwick is wonderful in this tear-jerker about a mother who makes the ultimate sacrifice for her daughter’s happiness. Stella Dallas is a classic chick flick about the sacrifices a mother makes for her daughter.  Stanwyck stars as the working class girl with big plans, Stella Martin.

Mildred Pierce (1949)

Joan Crawford plays the hardworking mother of the most ungrateful daughter ever.

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. This movie usually plays on television around Christmas time, however you will enjoy it anytime of year.

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.

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.

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!”

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1954)

Elizabeth Taylor in a slip  and Paul Newman in pajamas. Nuff said!

Wuthering Heights (1939)

Based on Emily Bronte’s novel and starring Lawrence Olivier and Merle Oberon as the tragic lovers,  Heathcliff and Kathy.

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 as a very sexy Mr. Rochester.

Pride & Prejudice

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

Laurence Olivier & Joan Fontaine in Rebecca (1940)

Rebecca (1940)

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

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.

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 on Facebook
I would love to know what Classic Chick Flicks you like.

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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.


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