Author Topic: The most influential movies and films in history  (Read 1346 times)

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Online CarbShark

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The most influential movies and films in history
« on: March 14, 2017, 02:15:46 PM »
What follows is a list of movies that had a broad influence on the movie industry and the art of film. Movies that were artistic triumphs, but had little effect on the box office or the business side of the industry ("Citizen Kane," "It's a Wonderful Life" for example) are not included. Neither are movies that changed the business side but had little artistic impact ("Cleopatra," "Heaven's Gate").

Any films on this list that don't belong? Any omitted films that should be included?

The Great Train Robbery - 1903
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Train_Robbery_(1903_film)

The Birth of a Nation
- 1915
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birth_of_a_Nation

Wings - 1927
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wings_(1927_film)

The Jazz Singer - 1927
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jazz_Singer

It Happened One Night - 1934
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Happened_One_Night

Snow White - 1937
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_White

Stagecoach - 1939
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stagecoach_(1939_film)

The Wizard of Oz - 1939
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wizard_of_Oz_(1939_film)

Gone with the Wind  - 1939
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gone_with_the_Wind_(film)

Psycho - 1960
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psycho_(1960_film)

The Sound of Music  - 1965
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sound_of_Music_(film)

Jaws - 1975
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaws_(film)

Star Wars - 1977
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_(film)

Toy Story - 1995
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toy_Story

Edits:
The Star Wars
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 05:13:09 PM by estockly »
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Offline Jeremy's Sea

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Re: The most influential movies and films in history
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2017, 02:45:42 PM »
The Star Wars franchise in general pretty much changed movies via merchandising. Ultimately they gave rise to toy based movies.
They also really birthed the entire idea of bigger sequels as viable. (Besides The Godfather was there any notable sequels pre-SW? I mean, not character based movies like Chaplain, etc)
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Offline amysrevenge

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Re: The most influential movies and films in history
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2017, 02:51:02 PM »
The Star Wars franchise in general pretty much changed movies via merchandising.

I was trying to find a way to count Star Wars - hadn't thought of merchandising, but that's clearly it.
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Re: The most influential movies and films in history
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2017, 02:53:24 PM »
Not a fan of Star Wars but they did change the business and influenced culture generally, probably more than Jaws.

I'd suggest Blade Runner but its debatable.  It was right there with neuromancer at the birth of cyber punk and and heavily influenced films like the matrix, dark city and a mess of lesser films in the late 90s.    Not very influential outside of Sci Fi but for the, "enhance.....enhance.....enhance....." bit.

Ironman and the MCU gave rise to the notion of shared universe in film which looks like it might be expanding. 

Shouldn't there be a spaghetti western in there, they popularized the anti hero.

Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: The most influential movies and films in history
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2017, 03:06:53 PM »
I think Birth of a Nation needs inclusion there. I guess it was inevitable that at some point someone would say "hey, we have these things called plays and we have film, so why don't we film plays?", but the first feature-length film went a step beyond that, writing a work that is first and foremost a screenplay as opposed to something written primarily for the theater. It would take, jeez, a good 30-40 years at least before most movies made this transition. It's also, by the way, racist as fuck - it's literally about how awesome the Klan is - so I do not blame anyone who says "pass".

Citizen Kane is also super-influential in ways that I think make it almost underrated as a film now. I mean, parts of it seem so cliche... but you have to realize, they're cliche in movies because dozens of directors and writers saw what Orson Welles did, thought it was amazing, and copied it into their own work. Also, Star Wars totally kick-started the use of special effects in modern cinema, which in and of itself makes *that* film super influential, but Kane actually used more effects than Star Wars did. Yep. Totally true. Granted, Welles used the effects to make a relatively small budget film look bigger and more bombastic, meaning that the effects themselves are a *lot* more subtle than those of our favorite space opera, but Welles did a crap-ton of really interesting things with the movie. I can't recommend Roger Ebert's commentary on it enough; in fact, I might even go so far as to say that you should watch the movie with the commentary on *first* before you watch it for itself.

There's a similar parallel, I feel, with most of Hitchcock's movies but especially Psycho, North by Northwest, Rear Window, Vertigo, and I guess Rebecca. I've said this in another thread but if you want to get a taste of what Hitchcock might have felt like to contemporary audiences I recommend watching Rope, a movie that for whatever reason was not as popular as his other films (I think maybe because it's static - the whole thing takes place inside of one house and mostly within one room - but I think also it must have been kind of hard to show back in the day). The puzzle-within-a-movie for this is that at the time that Rope was filmed, reels only lasted I believe 6 minutes and so that was the longest any single "take" could be. However, through the use of lots and lots and lots of directorial tricks, from swinging doors to momentarily changing focus from a character to a painting, Hitchcock makes the whole thing look like it was shot in one take. It's also a finely wrought work in its own right, if lending itself a bit to being as much of a stage play as a screenplay, and since it's not as popular it hasn't been copied to death and as such still feels "fresh".

But, like, NxNW practically invented the modern spy film and Psycho the modern psychological horror movie. Okay, sure, you can see Norman Bates coming from a mile away and the Vivien Leigh scene is a bit corny (honestly I kind of love North by Northwest because it's so silly in places - that cropduster scene tho).

Apropos to nothing, but I actually kind of like the movie "Heaven's Gate". Yes, it's best known as the movie that bankrupted United Artists but "flop" does not always mean "terrible movie"... hmm, that sounds like a good topic of its own...
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Offline Paul Blevins Jr.

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Re: The most influential movies and films in history
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2017, 03:07:56 PM »
STAR WARS cemented the Summer Franchise. Before JAWS and STAR WARS summer was the throw-away season for films. Hollywood believed no one seriously went to the movies when it was nice outside. JAWS in summer of 1975 could have been a fluke but then just two years later STAR WARS repeated. With the two highest grossing movies of all time being summer releases, the game was permanently changed.

Also, Science Fiction movies were considered "B" pictures with a limited niche audience. It wasn't until after STAR WARS that they became "A" pictures and the tent poles that prop the studios up.

And while the Marvel movies were the first to overtly promote a shared universe, the concept technically began with Universal's FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN in 1941. The second shared universe would have to be Toho Studios beginning with GHIDORAH, THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER in 1965.

Offline Paul Blevins Jr.

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Re: The most influential movies and films in history
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2017, 03:14:45 PM »
ANd maybe THE GODFATHER PART 2 should be on the list? It was the first movie to legitimize the sequel concept. GODFATHER 2 was the first sequel considered to be made with artistic integrity and regarded as art more than product by critics. Until then, sequels were solely considered hack movies made only to cash in with much smaller budgets. Today sequels routinely have bigger budgets than the original and are considered "A" projects in their own right often (tho not always) 
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 03:17:09 PM by Paul Blevins Jr. »

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Re: The most influential movies and films in history
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2017, 03:19:05 PM »
ANd maybe THE GODFATHER PART 2 should be on the list? It was the first movie to legitimize the sequel concept. Until then, sequels were solely considered hack movies made only to cash in with much smaller budgets. Today sequels routinely have bigger budgets than the original and are considered "A" projects in their own right often (tho not always) 
What about the Bond movies? Niche but the sequels weren't lower budget than the original.  I think sequels have always been a thing and always been a bit spotty in quality and production value.

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Re: The most influential movies and films in history
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2017, 03:33:30 PM »
The Star Wars franchise in general pretty much changed movies via merchandising.

I was trying to find a way to count Star Wars - hadn't thought of merchandising, but that's clearly it.

Yup. That makes it.

Also, I'd add that the "Star Wars: A New Hope" had the best sound of any movie ever. I wish that more movies had learned to do sound that way (or that Lucas and ILM had kept it up).

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Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: The most influential movies and films in history
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2017, 03:34:13 PM »
ANd maybe THE GODFATHER PART 2 should be on the list? It was the first movie to legitimize the sequel concept. GODFATHER 2 was the first sequel considered to be made with artistic integrity and regarded as art more than product by critics. Until then, sequels were solely considered hack movies made only to cash in with much smaller budgets. Today sequels routinely have bigger budgets than the original and are considered "A" projects in their own right often (tho not always)
There's a very strong argument that can be made that Godfather Part II > Godfather.
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Re: The most influential movies and films in history
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2017, 03:37:50 PM »
(Besides The Godfather was there any notable sequels pre-SW? I mean, not character based movies like Chaplain, etc)

You mean like "The Thin Man"?
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Re: The most influential movies and films in history
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2017, 03:46:39 PM »
I think Birth of a Nation needs inclusion there.

Second on the list.

Quote
I guess it was inevitable that at some point someone would say "hey, we have these things called plays and we have film, so why don't we film plays?", but the first feature-length film went a step beyond that, writing a work that is first and foremost a screenplay as opposed to something written primarily for the theater. It would take, jeez, a good 30-40 years at least before most movies made this transition. It's also, by the way, racist as fuck - it's literally about how awesome the Klan is - so I do not blame anyone who says "pass".

 Agree with the caveat that it was simply first to the finish line. Others were working on moving from shorts to what's now considered feature length.

Quote
Citizen Kane is also super-influential in ways that I think make it almost underrated as a film now. I mean, parts of it seem so cliche... but you have to realize, they're cliche in movies because dozens of directors and writers saw what Orson Welles did, thought it was amazing, and copied it into their own work.

Again, artistic and creative influence is not enough. It has to also change the way movies are made, financed and or released.


Quote
Also, Star Wars totally kick-started the use of special effects in modern cinema.

Added for the effect on merchandising, but agreed it should get an honorable mention for sound, visual effects and special effects.

Quote
There's a similar parallel, I feel, with most of Hitchcock's movies but especially Psycho, North by Northwest, Rear Window, Vertigo, and I guess Rebecca.

Psycho is on the list. Those are all great movies, masterpieces, better than some on the list, but that doesn't mean they sparked the kind of sea-change in the art and the industry those on the list did.

Quote
Apropos to nothing, but I actually kind of like the movie "Heaven's Gate". Yes, it's best known as the movie that bankrupted United Artists but "flop" does not always mean "terrible movie"... hmm, that sounds like a good topic of its own...

Agreed, and while it had little artistic influence, it did have a profound impact on the business end. (Like Cleopatra before it, nearly put the studio out of business, and caused Hollywood to shy away from big budgets and exercise more control over production).
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Re: The most influential movies and films in history
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2017, 03:49:09 PM »
ANd maybe THE GODFATHER PART 2 should be on the list? It was the first movie to legitimize the sequel concept. GODFATHER 2 was the first sequel considered to be made with artistic integrity and regarded as art more than product by critics. Until then, sequels were solely considered hack movies made only to cash in with much smaller budgets. Today sequels routinely have bigger budgets than the original and are considered "A" projects in their own right often (tho not always)
There's a very strong argument that can be made that Godfather Part II > Godfather.

Sequels Better than The Original
Godfather Part II > Godfather.
Aliens > Alien
The Road Warrior > Mad Max

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Offline Jeremy's Sea

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Re: The most influential movies and films in history
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2017, 04:49:31 PM »
ANd maybe THE GODFATHER PART 2 should be on the list? It was the first movie to legitimize the sequel concept. GODFATHER 2 was the first sequel considered to be made with artistic integrity and regarded as art more than product by critics. Until then, sequels were solely considered hack movies made only to cash in with much smaller budgets. Today sequels routinely have bigger budgets than the original and are considered "A" projects in their own right often (tho not always)
There's a very strong argument that can be made that Godfather Part II > Godfather.

Sequels Better than The Original
Godfather Part II > Godfather.
Aliens > Alien
The Road Warrior > Mad Max
Definitely ESB > New Hope
It's funny, I like Alien and Aliens equally as they were almost completely different films. Alien was more classic monster movie and Aliens more of a sci-fi war movie. Both excellent in their own rights!
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Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: The most influential movies and films in history
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2017, 04:51:18 PM »
ANd maybe THE GODFATHER PART 2 should be on the list? It was the first movie to legitimize the sequel concept. GODFATHER 2 was the first sequel considered to be made with artistic integrity and regarded as art more than product by critics. Until then, sequels were solely considered hack movies made only to cash in with much smaller budgets. Today sequels routinely have bigger budgets than the original and are considered "A" projects in their own right often (tho not always)
There's a very strong argument that can be made that Godfather Part II > Godfather.

Sequels Better than The Original
Godfather Part II > Godfather.
Aliens > Alien
The Road Warrior > Mad Max
Definitely ESB > New Hope
It's funny, I like Alien and Aliens equally as they were almost completely different films. Alien was more classic monster movie and Aliens more of a sci-fi war movie. Both excellent in their own rights!
I mean, if you wanted to get teeeeeeechnical, there are lots and lots of Bond movies better than Dr. No.
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