A “classic” is a book/song/film/literature or any other piece of art which is considered to have set a high quality standard in its respective genre. Classic also means a perfect or most typical example of something:
The show is a classic example of TV made for children.
It was popularized by William Feller in his classic book on probability.
As far back as 1873, in his classic book on central banking,
Sounds to me like a classic case of postpartum psychosis.
Sure, let me reach into my grab bag of classic movie lines.
You can’t just rip off one the classic movie lines of all time.
“Classical” means “traditional” or “being present for a long time”. In science, for example, a “classical theory” is a theory that has well established itself as a useful scientific theory, although it often contrasts with another “modern theory” which is able explain more than the classical one. “Classical music” refers to well established music genres of the past centuries.
We use classical to refer to the culture of the past and to art forms which belong to a long formal tradition:
We can use a classic and the classics to refer to the greatest and most famous works of literature from the past:
Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ is a classic.
I never read modern novels. I always prefer the classics, such as Dickens and Jane Austen.
Classics without an article means the academic subject which includes the study of Ancient Greek and Latin:
My sister is studying Classics at Manchester University right now.
For lack of a better word, it’s a classic.
It’s not a cliché, it’s a classic.
That old milk truck is a classic, you know?
It’s a classic of foreign cinema.
The Greek classics said that love is knowledge.
I like the classics… puccini, bach, Mozart.
I could spend every night reading the classics.