If you really like a movie you can say it's 'great'. If it's widely and commonly recognized to be superior in performances, style, etc, you can call it a 'masterpiece' - but no matter how much you like a movie or how popular and successful it is, you can't call it a 'classic' until years separate it from it's own time and a generation removed from the sway and influence of the era the film was made appreciates it as much as those who originally saw it.
"Classic' suggests that young or old, rich or poor, people 50 years ago and people 50 years from now, all can appreciate it. No matter how big or popular 'Harry Potter' or teenage vampires might be, no matter how well remembered "Pretty Woman" or "Dirty Dancing" might be - you can't call them a 'classic' until people generations from now still 'get' whatever people now think is so wonderful about them.
To me a classic is a work of art, which is the best in it's field. Take 'Citizen Kane' or 'Seven Samurai'. They are both classics. Why? Because they are the height of cinema. You could have your own definition of classic, but to me a classic is something that is considered (by majority) as a masterpiece or great work.
A classic is what is cosidered by majority a masterpiece? Then, what's a masterpiece? If a masterpiece is (in this case) a movie that is well made, superior to most others, etc, then shouldn't classic mean something other than just real good? Something other than masterpiece? Masterpiece already means masterpiece - what's the point of classic meaning masterpiece well?
I think we all have our own criteria for a classic. That which is worthy of remeberance works for me. And that which stands up to the changing times, or that which is consistently popular throughout several generations.
Thanks Mickey Sr, that makes sense to me. So I guess if you really liked a movie, maybe even think of it as a masterpiece, then you could say that you believe it has potential to become a classic. Whether enough others agree is another matter entirely.
Speaking for myself Classic's in literature were the books you were asigned to read in english class. Books you never would have read on your own. As for movies too often a classic is a movie especially popular, not always especially well done.
I think a classic movie stands the test of time in terms of theme, performances, plot, etc. It can't just be popular it has to be well made. Not all classic films are popular and not all popular films are classics.