15 Surprising Films That Boomers Watched in High School

Did you watch a film in high school you were surprised you were shown there? I remember watching the film Grease in high school and thinking the lyrics to the song “Greased Lightening” were surprising. After someone polled an online entertainment community for films they watched in high school, here are their top confessions.

1. Citizen Kane (1941)

Citizen Kane
Image Credit: RKO Radio Pictures.

“I took a high school film class my senior year, taught by a Jesuit priest. He thought Citizen Kane was the greatest cinematic achievement ever committed to film and actually got mad at me for guessing what the ending meant based on the first few scenes of the film,” confesses one.

2.  The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953)

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Another user admits, “They showed us The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. in 4th or 5th grade. Gave me nightmares for weeks. I haven’t thought about it since the 70s.

I just now watched a YouTube clip to see if I remembered correctly or if it was some kind of bizarre fever dream. Anyway, the clip I just now watched was called ‘Dungeon Song,’ and it was as creepy as I remember. Probably gonna have nightmares about it again tonight.”

3. The Savage Innocents (1960)

The Savage Innocents
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

“High school started with The Savage Innocents (1960). Horrible movie, no business showing that as an educational film in the 90s,” one person shares. It follows an Inuk hunter killing a Christian missionary who rejected his traditional food offer and his wife’s company. He is then pursued by white policemen, and after saving one’s life, things get complicated.

4. Romeo and Juliet (1968)

Romeo and Juliet
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Every high schooler knows the Shakespearean romantic tragedy about two young lovers from opposing families. One former student remembers having to take home a permission slip for the onscreen nudity, while others did not need parental permission.

5. Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land (1959)

Donald in Mathmagic Land
Photo Credit: Buena Vista Film Distribution.

Numerous people admit to loving this film and being delighted to see it in school. Donald embarks on an adventure where he discovers the importance and usefulness of numbers in our everyday life. On this journey through numbers, Donald learns that numbers and shapes are ingrained in our day-to-day activities.

6. The Red Balloon (1956)

The Red Balloon
Photo Credit: Films Montsouris.

The Red Balloon is a 34-minute short film that follows a boy and a newly discovered sentient balloon. This movie details the events as this mute balloon trails this little kid all around Paris and the escapades they get into. One boomer notes, “My biggest memory was seeing the French no-dialogue short film “The Red Balloon” at least ten times during my K-6 years in elementary school.”

7. Psycho (1960)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Someone says, “Psycho in junior high 8th grade, around 1972, for the entire school. That’s the only actual movie I remember.” Another confesses, “8th-grade special viewing before graduation. I didn’t want to shower for a week!”

After a secretary embezzles over $40,000 from her employer’s client, she goes on the run and winds up at a remote hotel. Here she meets the peculiar young man who runs the hotel. From here, things take a horrible twist for the worst.

8. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

All Quiet on the Western Front
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

This epic anti-war film depicts the mental, physical, and emotional tolls war has on a person. This picture follows a group of German schoolboys who are convinced by their extremely patriotic teacher to join the fight that was World War I. Through the eyes of these young men, we see the nuances and tragedies of war and how they affect everyone.

A former student explains, “There was a version made in the early 30s and another made in the 70s, both of which follow the book commendably well. It’s interesting to see the advancements in filmmaking style between the two.”

9. Where the Red Fern Grows (1974)

Where the Red Fern Grows
Photo Credit: Crown International Pictures.

Where the Red Fern Grows shows the story of an ambitious young man and his journey to coming of age. The young boy is in pursuit of the ownership of his own red hound. He saves up his money and gets himself two puppies in Oklahoma. “We used to call that Where the Dead Fern Grows.”

10. Little Big Man (1970)

Little Big Man
Photo Credit: National General Pictures.

After word spreads about a 121-year-old man, an oral historian learns of the only white man to survive the Battle of the Littlehorn. This centenarian tells stories of being rescued by the Cheyenne, working for General Custer, being a gunslinger, and a snake oil salesman. One boomer expresses, “Little Big Man is a masterpiece. And the book is fantastic too.”

11. The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975)

The Apple Dumpling Gang
Photo Credit: Buena Vista Distribution.

“We would get movies like The Apple Dumpling Gang just before a holiday break. They were generally terrible movies and actually came on film projectors.” The plot tells the story of a group of bandits known as the Apple Dumpling Gang and their hijinks. A smooth gambler by the name of Russell Donovan is manipulated into watching over a group of orphans. But to his benefit, the three kids that Russell is watching strike gold.

12. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Photo Credit: EMI Films.

“We had a history teacher who had us watch Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail. He said it was to show us what medieval life was really like. It was awesome and led to a lifelong love of Monty Python and British humor,” explains one. King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table are sent on a mission by God to search for the Holy Grail. On their perilous journey, they encounter the Black Knight, the Black Death, and a three-headed giant.

13. Fail Safe (1964)

Fail Safe
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

During the Cold War, U.S. bomber jets were equipped with a fail-safe box that alerted the crew whether to drop a bomb or not. A major technical malfunction sends the signal to drop a load on Moscow. Can the President of the United States avert all-out nuclear war before it’s too late?

Several people admit to seeing this one is school before one says, ” Man, we talked about that movie for days. We were deep in the Cold War and lived next to the biggest Air Force base in the USA.”

14. Shane (1953)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

A mysterious and exhausted gunslinger rides into a Wyoming town in hopes of leaving the cowboy life behind. Aside from falling in love with a farm owner’s wife, this gunslinger has to battle with the idea of getting back into the life or leaving it behind for good.

15. Cat Ballou (1965)

Cat Ballou
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

When a hired gun kills her father, Cat Ballou goes from schoolteacher to outlaw on the hunt for revenge. Cat strikes out at the land development company responsible for her father’s death, only to get tangled up in a corporate scheme.

26 Once Hilarious Comedy Films That You’re Not Allowed To Laugh at Today

Revenge of the Nerds
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Although comedy movies have always been a source of amusement and laughter, society’s expectations and sensibilities have changed over time. What was previously seen as hilarious and acceptable may be viewed as improper or offensive today. Let’s look at some once brilliant comedy movies that are unlikely to be produced or laughed at in the current cultural climate (unless you grew up watching them).

25 Fan Voted Greatest Television Episodes of All Time, Do You Agree?

The Twilight Zone
Image Credit: United Paramount Network.

With thousands upon thousands of television episodes over the decades, it is difficult to narrow down the best. However, one entertainment forum tried to do just that. Do you agree with their picks?

15 of the Worst Series Finales of Your Favorite Shows on Television

How I Met Your Mother
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

Have you ever been disappointed with a TV series finale? You’re not alone. After someone asked a popular online entertainment forum what the worst series finales are, here is what they had to say. Do you agree?

15 Beloved Fictional Characters Who Are Terrible and Have No Business Being Glorified

Indiana Jones
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Are there any fictional characters people love and revere that you can’t stand? I think you can rip apart just about any cast on a sitcom. I’m looking at you How I Met Your MotherSeinfeld, and The Big Bang Theory. After someone asked an online forum for examples of terrible fictional characters that people love, here are their most interesting responses.

10 Magnificent Performances That Tricked Us Into Loving Terrible Movies

Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures.

Ready for some controversy? First, let me preface that I do NOT agree with several of the films listed on this list. Recently, an online film forum member asked about amazing performances in terrible films. Again, don’t hate the reporter. These are not my picks.

Source: Reddit.


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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and Jesus.