Most Influential Movies of the Twentieth Century

Most Influential Movies of the Twentieth Century

Every year the motion picture industry is getting more and more competitive. This race will never stop as it is one of the most profitable arts in the world. You can earn up to one billion dollars with one really good movie!

To make another classic movie, you need to get back to basics and learn what movies changed the industry forever. This will help you understand why The Godfather or Star Wars quotes can still be heard and seen everywhere. Here is a list of the best movies of the twentieth century that influenced the whole industry:

Citizen Kane (1941)

“Citizen Kane” is a drama film directed by Orson Welles. It is often regarded as the greatest film ever made, and it received many awards: Best Writing (Original Screenplay), Best Director, Best Actor (Orson Welles), Best Supporting Actress (Agnes Moorehead), and Best Cinematography.

The story revolves around a man named Charles Foster Kane. At the very beginning of the movie, he barely makes two ends meet, but then, he becomes famous and incredibly rich. He has everything he wants, but he is deeply unhappy. He tries to make people love him, but when he dies, he is not mourned by anyone. Before he dies, Mr. Kane utters, “Rosebud”.

This film became so popular because of its innovative use of editing, which allowed Orson Welles to tell a complex story and show flashbacks in a continuous narrative structure without using intertitles. He also used deep-focus photography, in which everything could be in focus at the same time, and the transitions between shots were very smooth and easy to follow.

Casablanca (1942)

Casablanca is a romantic drama by Michael Curtiz that stars Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, an American expatriate who owns a nightclub in Casablanca during World War II. He’s caught up with his past when Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), his ex-lover, shows up with her husband and asks for his help to get them out of Europe.

Along with Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains), they try to protect Rick from the Nazis as they attempt to capture him after he refuses to turn in Ilsa and her husband. You will see some great scenes of World War II, such as an airplane being shot down over Casablanca’s harbor or a scene where Captain Renault is threatened with execution as he tries to convince his soldiers not to shoot at the Germans who are trying to get into the cafe where Rick is hiding.

Casablanca was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Writing. You should definitely watch this film if you haven’t already because it’s full of memorable quotes.
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Some Like It Hot (1959)

Billy Wilder directed this comedy film starring Marilyn Monroe as Sugar Kane Kowalczyk and Tony Curtis as Joe/Josephine. Joe and Jerry are two men on the run after witnessing gangsters murder a mob boss named Spats Colombo, so they disguise themselves as women and join an all-female band headed to Florida to perform at a club owned by a man called Osgood Fielding III.

They fall in love with Sugar Kane, who falls for Joe as well, but she doesn’t realize that he’s really a man until she finds out that Jerry had written letters to her pretending to be Joe, who had also fallen for her too.

It was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Costume Design, Best Music Score of a Musical Picture, and Best Writing, while Marilyn Monroe was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her role.

Psycho (1960)

In this thriller-horror film, Alfred Hitchcock directed Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates. His character is a shy man who works in his family’s motel. He takes care of his elderly mother, who he keeps hidden from the rest of the world because she has a mental disorder.

He also has a split personality and is often confused about whether he is Norman or his mother. One day, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), a woman on the run after stealing money from her employer, decides to stay at the motel for the night.

This movie is one of the most famous horror films of all time with its legendary shower scene.

Jaws (1975)

Jaws is a suspense-drama film directed by Steven Spielberg starring Roy Scheider as Chief Martin Brody, Richard Dreyfuss as Hooper, and Robert Shaw as Quint. They play a group of people whose job is to protect Amity Island from getting attacked by sharks.

This movie is considered an American classic as it won lots of awards. Some things might have changed since 1975, but this movie will still capture your attention.

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Francis Ford Coppola directed this epic war drama that stars Martin Sheen as Captain Benjamin Willard, who is sent on a mission by Colonel Lucas (Marlon Brando) to find and kill Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando).

Benjamin travels upriver by boat with two other men, Chef (Frederic Forrest) and Lance (Sam Bottoms), up towards Cambodia, where he plans to finish his mission so he can finally go home to his wife and children.

This movie blew audiences away because it was so different from anything else at the time as it was very experimental with its filming techniques, such as having long takes without any cuts (which gave it an almost documentary-style feel).

The Shining (1980)

Stanley Kubrick directed this psychological horror film starring Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, who is hired to work as an off-season caretaker at The Overlook Hotel where his wife (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd) are going to stay with him for the winter season.

When Jack arrives at The Overlook, he starts to have premonitions about the hotel being haunted, and this makes him go crazy throughout the film. He then tries to kill his family because he believes that the ghosts are trying to take away Danny and that if he doesn’t kill them, then they will kill him.

The movie was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Director, Best Writing, and Best Production Design, while Jack Nicholson won the Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance as Jack Torrance in this film.

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

This science fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg stars Henry Thomas as Elliott, a boy with many problems at home. His parents are about to get a divorce, and his father (Cary Guffey) has recently lost his job, so they can’t move into their new apartment because they owe too much money.

Elliott’s problems are multiplied when his best friend is diagnosed with leukemia. At that point, Elliott finds a little alien who has escaped from an alien ship that was hidden on Earth. Elliott and his siblings hide him in their house and try to figure out how to get rid of the government agents who want to take him back because they think he is dangerous.

The alien looks like a lovable boy with large eyes and long fingers. He is called E.T., which stands for extra-terrestrial. He can extricate himself from difficult situations by teleporting himself or using his magic powers, such as flying.

The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won four: Best Original Score, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, and Best Visual Effects. It also received three Golden Globe Awards: Best Picture – Drama, Best Director, and Best Screenplay.

Back To The Future (1985)

Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg came together to present a film that changed the terrain of time travel films forever. They showed us that time travel doesn’t have to be serious and boring. And instead, it could be fun and humorous without compromising on the complexity of the plot. The duo of Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd was so amazing to watch on screen, their chemistry is magical. Thomas F. Wilson shines as the bad guy in the film.

The plot sees a scientist building a time machine out of a DeLorean and a young man inadvertently travels back in time by 30 years and interferes with an event that puts his existence in danger. The movie saw two sequels in 1989 and 1990. The three movies come together to form a lovely trilogy that remains the best time travel movies of all time.

The Matrix (1999)

This Matrix upped the game for the entire science fiction and action films genre. The Wachowskis delivered a masterpiece that to date ranks on top for blending genres and presenting a concept so mind-boggling that it made the audience question their own reality. The casting was brilliant with Keanu Reeves,  Carrie-Anne Moss and Laurence Fishburne in the leading roles and the fantastic Hugo Weaving playing the bad guy. The story is centered on a hacker who is met by a group of shadowy people who reveal the true nature of life as he knows it.

The Matrix excelled in every field of filmmaking – set design, costumes, fight choreography, visual design, CGI, screenplay, music, sound… you name it! The film also introduced bullet time to the world where we got to see a scene slowed down so much we could trace the path of bullets. And last but not least – the concept. This still stands to be one of the most complicated films with so many layers of philosophy from various parts of the world. If you have trouble understanding the film, you should check out this article by This Is Barry – The Matrix Explained Simply.

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