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Never watched a classic film? Ben Mankiewicz gives tips on where to start

If you've never watched a classic film before, what's a good one to start? We asked Ben Mankiewicz, television host for Turner Classic Movies, who will be in town Oct. 21 for a TCM Backlot showing of "The Natural" at North Park Theatre.

He didn't have a simple answer; the question is deceptively nuanced.

"There's so much risk with it," he said. "If you're introducing someone to these movies, you run the risk that your choice alienates them and then they're gone forever. I would want to know a little about what the person's interest is."

TCM host Ben Mankiewicz loves Buffalo – and wants more movies set here

And so he offered several suggestions:

  • For people who are news junkies or enjoy politics: “A Face in the Crowd.”

Andy Griffith plays a drifter who gets caught up in his unexpected political fame in "A Face in the Crowd."

  • For the romantic: “Casablanca.” (This will be shown as part of the TCM Big Screen Classics series at 2 and 7 p.m. Nov. 12 and 15 at the Regal Elmwood and Transit theaters.)
  • For the romantic who likes to laugh: “It Happened One Night” or “The Thin Man.”
  • If you're media-inclined: “Sweet Smell of Success.”
  • If you're a fan of westerns or enjoy characters with Clint Eastwood-like swagger: “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
  • For theater lovers, or people who appreciate the making of movies: “All About Eve.”
  • For those who are deeply interested in film: “Citizen Kane.”
  • If you're a crime-thriller fan: “Double Indemnity” or “The Postman Always Rings Twice," or “Crossfire,” a different type of crime film that digs into the issue of tolerance.
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