A movie that changed the way that movies are made; that's a tough thing to categorize. Throughout the history of film, there have been countless movies that have made an impact on the industry. With some, their impact is clear and measurable, while others are nearly impossible to track. It would make sense that almost every movie from the early days of cinema effectively changed the way film was made, each new movie throwing their influence in the stew for the next contributor to pull from. But I don't want to focus only on movies from the early days when we still have films and filmmakers making a difference today.
Almost every year, a film does something that affects the industry as a whole, whether it's using a new camera technique or technology or changing the traditional narrative structure of film. Some films even go backwards, pulling from a time and a technique that had almost already been forgotten. Does that count as changing the way movies are made? It's hard to say.
On this list, we have left off some of the greats, The Robe, The Godfather, Bullitt, Raging Bull and Battleship Potemkin. We can't fit them all, but they've all done their part. Film is a collaborative process. It takes years of trying and failing, adding and subtracting from what those before you have done. Some make some changes to what worked before, others take gigantic leaps. The films on this list are the ones that took steps forward for the film industry as a whole. Not all of them were "firsts" but they were the most visible and, therefore, the most influential of the "close-to-firsts." In trying to spread out the love, this list includes films that influenced film in a range of areas, from filming techniques to sound, narrative structures to genre and screenplays. These are the films that will never be forgotten no matter how far we move forward. Not all of them are masterpieces, but they're all springboards to something bigger. As Newton once said, "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Well, these are the giants from Hollywood. These are 15 movies that changed the way movies are made.
15 Gone with the Wind
14 Terminator 2: Judgement Day
13 The Jazz Singer
12 Toy Story
11 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
10 The Blair Witch Project
9 The Great Train Robbery
8 The Lord of the Rings
6 Star Wars
5 Birth of a Nation
3 Kid Auto Races at Venice
2 2001: Space Odyssey
1 Citizen Kane
Often thought of as the greatest film of all time, Citizen Kane (1941) completely changed the way films were conceived. The use of lighting and camera angles, fade ins and fade outs were totally unique and innovative at the time. Most importantly, Orson Welles, the director, played with the structure of a story, using flashbacks, non-linear plot lines and twists to impact the mood of his audience and perception of the film. Ever since Citizen Kane was released, directors and screenwriters have used devices like Welles to try and accomplish even half of his success and greatness. Today, we like to compare films to Citizen Kane, but, in all honesty, there will never be another film that changes movies the way that Citizen Kane did. It was this movie that made film a malleable art form. It showed us that film can be many different things all at once, and that understanding of its flexibility has made film one of the most beloved art forms in the world.
Sources: Wikipedia; Rotten Tomatoes; IMDB
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