In your opinion which era or decade produced the best films?
And also tell us why you feel that way.
The 2040's. It was right before films were replaced with virtual dreamwiggles.
The 1970s was the pinnacle. Up until then, people had been building upon what had gone before.
There were two things that happened in the 70s that would ensure that it was the end of good movie-making.
First was the birth of the made-for-TV movie. This meant that many films (mostly b-movies) didn't make it to theaters. B-movies weren't necessarily bad, but they added to the culture, occasionally, they were great. But they added to the possibility that if you went to the movies you might see something different, or even interesting.
The real thing that ruined movies after the 70s was "Star Wars." After that movie appeared, the key to success became to replicate its kind of success, by creating a bigger and better CGI experience, accompanied by a cult following, merchandise and co-marketing.
Now that the post-DVD-world is about to kill Hollywood, you're not going to see any good movies at the movies--only cartoons that are not quite as entertaining as Bugs Bunny was in the 50s.
It is said that 1939 was the best year for film.
From the early thirties (Red Dust, Little Women) into the mid-forties (Double Indemnity, Hail the Conquering Hero) and then from the late sixties (The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde) through the mid-seventies (Annie Hall, Close Encounters).
70s I think. But the scripts were maybe sharper in the golden age when it was all "read between the lines".
Films were real, smart, intense. There was a sense of authenticity that was lost by the early 80's. The filmmakers of the 70's didn't insult your intelligence and they assumed audiences could keep up.
Then throwaway consumerism and corporate culture became enmeshed in the 80's and corporations began taking over film studios. And because the leaders of those corporations think we're all idiots, they started spoonfeeding us Pablum on celluloid, making films that were thought of as products to be consumed by the masses.
The '30s. So many good films. 1939 was considered the Golden Age of Hollywood.
1960s, because I am looking internationally. European art house was at its height in the 1960s and Hollywood films started getting good by the late 60s as well.
Like the music, 80s films are totally time capsules of the era. The great pop was the best thing about the 80s, the films are fluffy and fun entertainment but don't stand up as well artistically as other eras. I mean even the 90s were a lot better when Harvey Weinstein enters the frame.
I do love that evocative feel of 70s stuff as well, like how Cruising captures the pre-AIDS NY gay scene.
The 1970s, because 70s American films trump 60s European art house.
So were the 50s shit, r4?
And what were the ones to stand alongside Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind in glorious '39?
What R10 said.
Godfather, part II
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
An Unmarried Woman
Blume in Love
Welcome to LA
The French Connection
All the President's Men
The Way We Were
The Deer Hunter
Heaven Can Wait
The Turning Point
And that's just off the top of my head--no googling.
Another vote for the 70s in the USA PLUS British cinema of the 60s.
Feels weird to even write the words British cinema.
The American movies of the 70s were a continuation of it.
The 40s were a wasteland because of the war.
Don't forget Klute, R12.
You know, R15, I don't think I ever saw Klute. But you've reminded me of M*A*S*H.
Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
A Woman Under the Influence
Oh, I was trying to think of Alice, R18. And also Five Easy Pieces.
I went to the movies every week in the '70s and '80s. The ones in the '70s were so much better.
There was a cinema reissue of Scarecrow with Al Pacino I missed. :(
Also from the '70s
The Exorcist (best of its genre)
Jaws (a classic)
And R20 reminds me I forgot
Dog Day Afternoon
and all those Jack Nicholson movies before he became Jack Fucking Nicholson:
The Last Detail
The King of Marvin Gardens
The Long Goodbye
McCabe & Mrs. Miller
and the already-mentioned Nashville
The Last Picture Show
More from the 1970s (sorry for any repeats, can't keep up with the posts)
Days of Heaven
Harold and Maude
Kramer vs Kramer
I think it's hard to pick a best decade because the parts that make up a film are on such different trajectories. Acting has improved as film history moves along and writing has plummeted.
I hate essay questions.
The 1970s seems to win this one.
IN addition to all the fine films of that era, we had ones like
All That Jazz
Massacre At Central High (Heathers took from this)
And THIS classic:
the 40s, when art and entertainment together made great films
Children of Paradise
The Maltese Falcon
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
The Great Dictator
The Philadelphia Story
His Girl Friday
It's A Wonderful Life
The Red Shoes
The Third Man
The Bicycle Thief
The Little Foxes
The Grapes of Wrath
The Magnificent Ambersons
Stairway to Heaven
To Be Or Not To Be
Rome, Open City
Day of Wrath
The Lady Eve
The Miracle of Morgan's Creek
Out of the Past
The Best Years of Our Lives
The Palm Beach Story
Meet Me in St. Louis
The Shop Around the Corner
The Ox-Bow Incident
The Lost Weekend
The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3
Saturday NIght Fever
And THIS classic:
I would have to say two decades. The 1940's and the 1970's. The war did not create a film "wasteland' but rather enhanced filmmaking. We were fighting for American values and these were expressed so passionately in the films of the time.
[R28] Thanks for listing one of my all time favorite comedies. What a great script.
‘Serpentine, Sheldon, serpentine’ LOL