13 Classic Movies To Watch When You Need A Break From Reality

Paramount Pictures

People turn to all sorts of different comforts when they just need to totally zone out. My very favorite thing to do is watch food and cooking documentaries that feature a very strong focus on soothing music, rhythmic food sourcing and preparation, and beautiful plating. But another incredibly popular approach is to watch classic movies when you need a break from reality. For many of us, there's nothing better than turning on a movie from the 1940s or '50s and diving into an older, seemingly simpler world, where people may start dancing and singing for no reason.

Movies that are in black and white, or feature really fast, smart talking reporters, sometimes seem like they're harder to "get into," but that's exactly why they're so great for taking a break from your regular life. You have to really invest in these stories to follow them, and they give your imagination and emotions a workout.

My mom always turns to classic movies when she is sick or feeling sad, so I compiled this list based on some of her absolute favorites. These are the sweet, bouncy romantic comedies, zany slapstick comedies, and suspenseful film noirs that she and countless others reach for when they need some escapism.

1. 'Singin' in the Rain'


Some argue Singin' in the Rain is the best movie-musical of all time and it is hard to disagree with them. Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly, and Donald O'Connor will make you "happy again."

2. 'Roman Holiday'


There is no better film to watch to escape from the drudgeries and stresses of your daily life than Roman Holiday, which features an absolutely delightful Audrey Hepburn as a princess and absurdly charming Gregory Peck as a journalist. The two spend the best day ever adventuring around Rome and falling in love.

3. 'Double Indemnity'


Barbara Stanwyck in femme fatale mode will mesmerize you and bring you fully into her scheming in this film noir classic.

4. 'King Kong'


There's nothing better to help you zone out than a nice old-fashioned monster movie with some super, um, "classic" special effects.

5. 'The Philadelphia Story'


1940's The Philadelphia Story, starring Kathryn Hepburn and Carey Grant, is still one of the most enduring romantic comedies of all time.

6. 'Funny Girl'


It's basically impossible not to root for Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl, especially after that roller skate scene.

7. 'Casablanca'


Casablanca isn't necessarily lighthearted fare, but it's so good at totally transporting you into its world.

8. 'The Wizard Of Oz'


It's possible you watched this movie a thousand times growing up, but that doesn't make it any less magical to watch as an adult. It's the perfect "comfort food" movie.

9. 'Bringing Up Baby'


This riot of a screwball flick features Kathryn Hepburn, Carey Grant, and a leopard named Baby. It is utterly goofy and totally lovable.

10. 'His Girl Friday'


Another Carey Grant film makes the list, and this time his leading lady is Rosalind Russell, playing a driven, clever reporter.

11. 'The Seven Year Itch'


Yep, this is the one that has the infamous scene with Marilyn Monroe standing over the subway grate. It's a really smart, self-aware comedy, and Monroe is excellent as always.

12. 'The Day The Earth Stood Still'


Super old sci-fi movies are amazing for when you want to take a break from reality, and this one has the added bonus of featuring pacifist aliens and tons of not remotely convincing special effects.

13. 'Duck Soup'


The slapstick comedy of the Marx Brothers will always be here for you when you just need to not right now with real life.

There is a time for serious topical fare, and there is a time for indulging in the classics. These films will always be here for you during the latter.