A Film For Every Year (1915-1938)

This is a Year best left forgotten!

Every year we have a load of decent films that are released, but one may notice that the amount of good movies released each year is beginning to lower. It’s times like these we need reminder that each year does present us with good films, whether the number is two or twenty. So, I’m going to present a list of films, one for every year from 1915 to 2010, to remind us that there are such things as good films, and that they do happen. This is the first part of four, listing films from 1915 to 1938. Enjoy.

1915:

The Birth of a Nation

Whether or not it is blatantly racist (which I’m sorry to say, it is), one can’t deny the artistic value that D.W. Griffith’s three-hour picture presented in 1915.

1916:

Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Throughout the Ages

The masterful flow and presentation of this true epic more than makes up for the travesty of racist comment present in its predecessor.

1917:

Cleopatra

The highest-grossing and most expensive movie of the year, this picturesque picture reigned supreme in an otherwise uneventful year.

1918:

Mickey

F. Richard Jones’s 1918 movie was the highest-grossing box office hit of the year, and earns its place on the list as perhaps the year’s best movie.

1919:

Broken Blossoms or: The Yellow Man and the Girl

My favourite film of the 1910s decade is D.W. Griffith’s film about a Chinese man who saves a young girl from her brutal father. Definitely worth seeing.

1920:

Way Down East

Yet another D.W. Griffith movie! Yes it’s true, he is great, and this compelling film outshines that of all the year’s others as a true classic.

1921:

The Kid

A Charlie Chaplin classic, this great film is full of emotion and tone, a perfect silent movie.

1922:

Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens

F.W. Murnau’s horror movie remains to this day one of the scariest, and definitely worth a look on a dark Halloween night. This was the film that got me into silent movies.

1923:

Safety Last!

The image of Harold Lloyd hanging from that clock is one of many reasons this silent comedy is forever a classic. Welcome home!

1924:

Greed

One of my favourite silent films, Erich von Stroheim’s Greed is a timeless, long tale of exactly that, a chain reaction of events following a lottery win. Spectacular.

1925:

Battleship Potemkin

What else? This dramatic account of a naval mutiny is filled to the brim with spectacular imagery and is truly unforgettable.

1926:

The General

It’s about time Buster Keaton made an appearance on this list, and a film like The General is a perfect way to do so. He really proves that he’ll risk it all for the laughs, and that is sadly so rare.

1927:

Metropolis

Fritz Lang hits the list with this great thriller that manages to stand out even amongst the other greats of this tricky year.

1928:

The Cameraman

While not the best Keaton film, it still stands out to me to be an exemplary film for 1928. Keaton’s attempt at becoming a cameraman is amusing, as it should be.

1929:

Un Chien Andalou

A surrealist masterpiece and the best silent film ever made, Luis Bunuel’s 1929 collaboration with Dali is a memorable excersize in artistic fun and shocking imagery.

1930:

L’Age d’Or

The surrealist style of Un Chien Andalou is revisited in this equally masterful excersize in disturbing images. Similar, but different.

1931:

M

Fritz Lang’s masterpiece and the oldest film on my Top 50 films list is this riveting, amazing tale of murder and redemption. Vigilante justice… ain’t it sweet?

1932:

Scarface

This brilliant, original gangster movie is not to be confused with its 1983 counterpart (even though the 1983 film is superior). Great gangster moments and terrific performances paint the screen.

1933:

King Kong

Who could forget this great adventure film, in all its black-and-white monstrous glory? The official monster movie.

1934:

It Happened One Night

Sweeping the Oscars and practically reinventing the romantic comedy, this swell road-trip ride through countless comic situations is original and funny.

1935:

The Triumph of the Will

Please don’t take this choice the wrong way. This is a hugely artistic, valuable film that has been misunderstood time and time again. A documentary about Nazis, this film is not pro-Nazi, but rather quite the opposite.

1936:

Modern Times

Another great Charlie Chaplin classic, this is a refreshing comedy that was undoubtedly the highlight of the year… as you can see.

1937:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

An animated joy, this age-old fairy tale is brought to spectacular life and ingrained forever in the memories of us and our children. Great stuff!

1938:

Bringing Up Baby

A fantastic comedy from Howard Hawks starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, this is a rare treat from one of the true masters.

So there you have it, the first twenty four films of ninety six spanning nearly a hundred years. Leave me a comment with your thoughts; whether you agree or disagree. Next time I’ll be listing films from 1939 to 1962.

Thanks for reading.

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About Tyler

Patient observer of all things film and music, from Béla Tarr to Boards of Canada. Foul mouthed and clinging to the edge of sanity.

Posted on April 15, 2011, in Lists, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You’ve got some tough choices to make for 1939.

    Love the back-to-back Buñuel selections.

    I reaaaally need to find a copy of “Greed”.

    • 1939 is indeed a tough year to choose, but rest assured it will not be The Wizard of Oz.

      I had to have those two Bunuel movies. I just love them!

      Greed is my third favourite silent movie, after Un Chien Andalou and Nosferatu.

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