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Ten Films From Ten Decades

Ten Films From Ten Decades

There’s a thousand movies worth watching, some more some less essential viewing, but here’s ten films from each of the ten decades since the first “talkie” (film with sound - where the characters can actually speak). The top ten below is based on a poll of 212 complete responders i.e. those who provided at least one movie from each of the decades, by way of proving a little film savoir-faire.

It’s interesting the impression the list gives, as movies gain sound and colour and quickly get into their stride - quality of movie making on arguably an upward trajectory all the way to the advent of the special effects blockbuster in the late 1970s. It doesn’t take many years into the 1980s for Hollywood to be transformed into a crapfactory, profitable dross in search of formulae. Small wonder the best movies start to become majority foreign language. Far as the poll goes, it seems there’s a two distinct criteria for the cinephile: extreme spectacle, which Hollywood does best, and auteur films, which it doesn’t.


WINNER: “Moonlight” Barry Jenkins 2016

NOMINATED: “The Tree of Life” Terrence Mallick 2011 / “Winter Sleep” Nuri Bilge Ceylan 2014 / “Harry Potter” 2001-2011 / “Lord of the Rings” Peter Jackson 2001-2003


WINNER: “Dancer in the Dark” Lars von Trier, 2000

NOMINATED: “Elephant” Gus van Sant 2003 / “The Class” Laurent Cantet 2008 / “Slumdog Millionaire” Danny Boyle 2008


WINNER: “Underground” Emir Kusturica 1995

NOMINATED: “Naked” Mike Leigh 1993 / “Dazed and Confused” Richard Linklater 1993 / “Heat” Michael Mann 1995 / “The Matrix” 1999


WINNER: “Time of the Gypsies” Emir Kusturica, 1988

NOMINATED: “Bladerunner - Directors Cut” Ridley Scott, 1982 / “Scarface” Al Pacino, 1983 / “The Terminator” 1984


WINNER: "One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” Jack Nicholson, 1975

NOMINATED: “The Godfather” Al Pacino, 1972 / “The Exorcist” Max von Sydow, 1973 / “Rocky” Sylvester Stallone, 1976


WINNER: “La Dolce Vita” by Federico Fellini, 1960 / “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” by Sergio Leoni 1966

NOMINATED: “Psycho” by Alfred Hitchcock, 1960 / “If…” Lindsay Anderson, 1968 / “Easy Rider” Peter Fonda, 1969


WINNER: “Night of the Hunter” Robert Mitchum 1955

NOMINATED: “Rebel Without A Cause” James Dean 1955 / “The 400 Blows” 1959 / “Forbidden Planet” 1956


WINNER: “The Third Man” 1949 / Orson Welles

NOMINATED: “Key Largo” 1948 / “Casablanca” 1942 both Humphrey Bogart + Lauren Bacall


WINNER: “Angels With Dirty Faces” with James Cagney, 1938.

NOMINATED: “King Kong” with Faye Wray 1933 / “Petrified Forest” with Bette Davis 1936


WINNER: “The Kid” with Charlie Chaplin, 1921.

NOMINATED: “The Jazz Singer” Al Jolson, 1927

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