I love movies that make me feel slightly uncomfortable in the end. Life is Beautiful is a movie about the absurdity and tradegy of the Holocaust, and yet it uses humor and the vitality of life and the human will to address that important story. The movie is both heartbreaking and uplifting. It's sad and beautiful, utterly. I recommend it to anyone.
I have a lot more to say about my tastes and movies I love, and I hate for anybody to just have to pick just one, but this is one I can say is worth anybody's time. It's awesome. More later on the others as I must get this example up.
As far as the Golden Era, there is no one I admire more than Charlie Chaplin, who created the Little Tramp character. He showed the power of everyday courage and pluck, and his comedic timing and wit was unmatched in his time. He was his star, but he used his celebrity for good, and I admire that. Here is a clip of the famous factory scene from Modern Times. http://youtu.be/tfw0KapQ3qw