10 Old Movies That Do Not Pass The Vibe Check


The vibe check is a process where something has to face a test to determine how it effects the mental or emotional state of a person. This becomes especially problematic when it comes to entertainment from the past, specifically movies and TV shows.

Because people didn’t take others into consideration as much in the past, many of these forms of entertainment do not pass the vibe test for today’s viewers. In many cases, it often falls to racial or sexual depictions in movies and TV shows and in other cases it comes down to the action or drama and how it fails to live up to the expectations of the general public in modern times.


Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961) – Available To Stream On Hoopla

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is the movie that really made Audrey Hepburn a major star and is still beloved by people of a certain age. However, if a new audience sits down to watch the movie, there is no way it would pass the vibe check. This is all because of Mickey Rooney.

Rooney, an American actor, played an Asian neighbor named Mr. Yunioshi. Rooney used every Asian offensive trait to portray the man, turning him into a comic caricature of an Asian person, and something that remains very uncomfortable to watch today.

The Searchers (1956) – Available To Rent On Apple TV

When looking back at classic western movies, most lists would put The Searchers near the top of every list of the best in its genre. However, the John Wayne movie is highly problematic and would in no way pass the vibe check in today’s world.

This is easily Wayne’s greatest role, but his character of Ethan Edwards is extremely racist and sees all Native Americans as lesser people. While the movie does show that his views are wrong, all the Native Americans in the movie are either savage or comical.

The Silence Of The Lambs (1991) – Available To Stream On Prime Video And Fubo

The Silence of the Lambs is a movie that won a lot of awards, and deservedly so. It is one of the only horror thrillers to win Best Picture and also swept every major category. While most people remember Hannibal Lecter from the movie, he was not the main villain. The villain was actually Buffalo Bill.

That is where the problem list. Bill is a man who has killed multiple people, and while he is not transgender, the way he dances around and tucks his genitals clearly makes it a point to tease that he is, and makes it look wrong, easily failing any vibe check for viewers seeing it for the first time today.

Dirty Harry (1971) – Available To Stream On HBO Max

Clint Eastwood has been in several movies over the years that hint at problematic themes. However, his role as Dirty Harry was one that remains his most iconic, spawning many sequels, and in no way would pass the vibe test in today’s world.

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There have been so many problems with law enforcement over the past decade. Seeing Dirty Harry gleefully brutalizing bad guys, mocking liberals, and violently killing anyone who gets in his way is shocking and disturbing to watch today.

Sixteen Candles (1984) – Available To Stream On Hulu

For many people of a certain age, Sixteen Candles is a beloved movie that they relate to on many levels. However, there are also some serious problems in this movie that are hard to overlook. One of these is the portrayal of an Asian foreign exchange student used simply for comic relief.

However, even worse in Sixteen Candles is the character of Ted Farmer, played by Anthony Michael Hall. He asks for Sam’s panties to help him become more popular with the other kids in school and then takes advantage of a very drunk Caroline after a party. It is demeaning and is something the #MeToo movement has worked to eliminate in Hollywood.

Grease (1978) – Available To Rent On Apple TV

When looking at classic musicals, many of them are problematic in today’s society, and several wouldn’t pass the vibe test.  One of the most popular is Grease, and it really starts to fall apart when looking at the movie and songs in retrospect.

The plot revolves around a girl who has to entirely change who she is if she wants to win the boy of her dreams. As bad as that is, the songs are not much better with lyrics like « did she put up a fight » and the entire song « Greased Lightning. »

The Jazz Singer (1927) – Available To Rent On Apple TV

There is a real discomfort today when seeing a classic movie with someone wearing blackface that immediately fails a vibe check. Many stars today have found themselves in hot water when old photos or movie roles resurface with them in black face and this all really started with The Jazz Singer.

While it wasn’t the first movie to include blackface, being the first major movie with actual sound after years of silent films, it is the most memorable. Al Jolson is almost more known for the blackface as he was as the first man to sing in a movie.

The Children’s Hour (1961) – Available To Stream On Hoopla, Tubi, and Pluto TV

The Children’s Hour is a movie based on a stage play and starred Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine as longtime friends who open a private school for girls. When the two women face accusations of having romantic feelings toward each other, things spiral to eventual doom.

The clearly anti-LGBTQ+ story in this movie is hard to miss and causes this movie to fail most vibe tests. The worst part came when one of the women admitted she might be gay and ends up taking her own life after her revelation.

Pretty Baby (1978) – Available To Rent On Apple TV

It is impossible to watch Pretty Baby today without feeling disturbed, causing this to fail a vibe test for just about anyone. This was the movie that helped make Brooke Shields a star, but there was one huge problem. She was only 11 years old when she starred in the movie.

She plays a young girl living in a brothel with her mother. She has her virginity auctioned and there is a romantic plot of her with a much older photographer. Add in Shields’ nude scenes, and this is a movie that could never get made today.

Revenge Of The Nerds (1984) – Not Available To Stream

For many years, Revenge of the Nerds stood as a beloved comedy classic. However, watching the movie back today shows how problematic it really is. The entire movie is full of scenes in poor taste, playing out under the excuse of nerds getting back at their tormenters.

No amount of torment excuses the scene where one of the nerds in a mask has sexual relations with a girl while pretending to be her boyfriend, which is clearly sexual assault. Most of the revenge comes in the form of sexual exploitation, all done for laughs, clearly an abject failure of the vibe check.

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