Each decade has produced some fantastic films, and picking the one best film from each of those ten years is a difficult choice. However, I’m going to voice my opinion, and make an attempt.
The 1910s: Intolerance (1916)
After the disaster that was Birth of a Nation, D.W. Griffith repented for its racist overtones with this blockbuster hit, one of the first ‘epics’ of all time, and towering overtop any other effort of the era.
1920s: Un Chien Andalou (1929)
A 16-minute masterpiece of surreal, deep, imaginative imagery, headlined with a nonsensical title and opened with a striking image of a woman’s eye cut open by a razor, Luis Bunuel’s debut motion picture is probably his best, and easily the highlight of the decade, whether you think you understand it or not.
1930s: M (1931)
Fritz Lang’s follow-up to the monstrously awesome Metropolis is the even better (in fact, fantastic) thriller about vigilante justice and the crazed mind of a serial killer, played with perfect unease by Peter Lorre. Who can forget his fantastic final monologue, and even more difficult to dismiss is the fantastic scenes that lead up to it. A masterpiece, and probably the best movie of the first 50 years of the 1900s.
1940s: Citizen Kane (1941)
Okay, this decade was easy to pick. Proclaimed by many including AFI to be the best movie ever made, that statement is not far from the truth. And when you consider that it was made by new-to-cinema Orson Welles in his twenties, it makes its presence all the more surprising and mighty. It towers over all of cinema with a formidable presence.
1950s: Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Filled with quotable lines, memorable scenes, fantastic cinematography and stunning acting, Billy Wilder’s masterpiece is one awesome movie, full of everything a decent Hollywood film should have. A “parody” of Hollywood life and existence (reflected later in Altman’s The Player, among others), it’s brilliant to watch and marvellous to behold.
1960s: Persona (1966)
Better than any Hollywood movie of the era (many of which were the dawn of exploitation), the exploitative enough Swedish film from Ingmar Bergman contains a lot of strange, deeply rich imagery (reminiscent at times of the Bunuel selection on this list), a strong plot, decent acting performances, beautiful monologues and fantastic filming techniques.
1970s: Network (1976)
Although the best film of the 1970s is probably The Godfather, I think that’s a little too obvious, so I’m going to settle for the runner up, which is equally as good (if not better?). A thought-provoking analysis of the television industry whose revelations about the truth of the newsroom are as relative today (if not moreso) than they were thirty-five years ago.
1980s: Fanny and Alexander (1982)
While the 80s were a decade that provided a difficult choice, I find myself falling back on Bergman again with this epic masterpiece that spans one year into three magnificent hours filled with glorious imagery and some of the best cinematography ever filmed (thank you, Sven Nykvist), as well as a compelling, classic tale. The perfect way to end Bergman’s career in feature films.
1990s: Goodfellas (1990)
This decade is possibly the hardest one to pick. While I admit it isn’t exactly my favourite movie of the ten years, but it’s certainly the most deserving and socially accepting. Scorsese deserves an Oscar which he was cruelly robbed of for this excellent, compelling gangster tale which is probably the best of its time, inspiring a legion of others and confirming Scorsese as a force to be reckoned with.
2000s: There Will Be Blood (2007)
I’ve already written that this is my favourite film of the recent decade, and I stand by that statement. Daniel Day-Lewis is brilliant, giving an amazing performance as charismatic, narcissistic oil man Daniel Plainview whose control and hatred for humanity overcomes him in a spectacular Paul Thomas Anderson hit, which is nowhere near as recognized as it should be.
Leave a comment below with what you thought of my choices, and tell me what your favourite movies of the decade/s are.
Thanks for reading.
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.
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.
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.
The highest-grossing and most expensive movie of the year, this picturesque picture reigned supreme in an otherwise uneventful year.
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.
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.
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.
A Charlie Chaplin classic, this great film is full of emotion and tone, a perfect silent movie.
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.
The image of Harold Lloyd hanging from that clock is one of many reasons this silent comedy is forever a classic. Welcome home!
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.
What else? This dramatic account of a naval mutiny is filled to the brim with spectacular imagery and is truly unforgettable.
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.
Fritz Lang hits the list with this great thriller that manages to stand out even amongst the other greats of this tricky year.
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.
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.
The surrealist style of Un Chien Andalou is revisited in this equally masterful excersize in disturbing images. Similar, but different.
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?
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.
Who could forget this great adventure film, in all its black-and-white monstrous glory? The official monster movie.
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.
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.
Another great Charlie Chaplin classic, this is a refreshing comedy that was undoubtedly the highlight of the year… as you can see.
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!
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.
I’ve been thinking about what to post next, how to keep the ideas entertaining, and I’ve got a few notes down for future posts, but for today, I’m going to stick to a subject many have attempted to tackle and often, succeeded in getting laughs. That’s right, the movie title mash-up. You know, where you combine the titles of two movies to make one super-movie and keep the laughs rolling in. If you know your cinema, its not a hard thing to do. Here’s my attempt at some movie title mash ups:
Lost Highway in Space
Star Wars of the Roses
Dead Silence of the Lambs
2001: Homer’s Odyssey
The Princess Bride Wars
Boogie Nights in Cabiria
A Clockwork Orange County
After the Sunset Blvd.
The Lost Weekend at Bernie’s
Shaun of the Dead Snow
The Man with the Naked Gun
An Andalusian Dogtooth
I Am Legend of the Falls
Inland Empire of the Sun
The Elephant Man with the Iron Mask
The Basketball Diaries of a Wimpy Kid
Mao’s Last Dancer in the Dark
Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Throughout the Age of Innocence
Last Tango in Paris, Texas
The Wild One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Groundhog Day the Earth Stood Still
Let me know what you think of these in the comments, and as usual…
Thanks for reading.