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Why We Rewatch Old Movies Again And Again

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More movies are being released now than ever before. So why do so many of us go back to watching old films we’ve seen many times before? Data website FiveThirtyEight surveyed 1,169 people in 2016 to discover the top 25 most rewatched movies.

Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music were the movies that came out on top. BBC journalist Claire Thorp suggests that quality assurance could be a possible reason for our desire to rewatch old films. We rewatch films that we are certain won’t disappoint us in any aspect whether that’s storyline, music or the actor’s performance. Another explanation could be that rewatching old movies is easier as it takes up less mental energy than a new one. We already know the storyline so we can just sit back and relax rather than scrolling through Netflix for hours.

A psychological phenomenon known as ‘The Mere-Exposure Effect’ could also be at play. This is when we develop a preference for familiar things so the more you watch a movie the more you want to watch it again. A 2012 study by the University of Arizona found that rewatching movies can make us reflect on how we’ve grown. It is part of human psychology to want to have some sense of continuity, to feel connected to where we come from. There are certain cultural and personal experiences that we like to return to as a way to anchor ourselves, Clay Routledge, a Professor of Psychology - BBC

"We like to make films that we want to see on the screen, and even if that means they don't exist or even that means that the world might not be ready for them," said Kwan. "That's what we're chasing. Luckily for us, the movie took so long to make that by the time it was finished or by the time now that it's done, so much has changed."

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