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So What Really Was the Best Movie Year?


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Its a topic that has been discussed many times before, but I feel that following the release of a new book it should be resurrected.  I was reading this article last night about a new book suggesting that 1962 was the best movie year of them all  due to films like Lawrence of Arabia, To kill a Mockingbird, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Jules and Jim, Vivre Sa Vie, Dr No, The Music Man, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, Lolita, Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Miracle Worker, The Longest Day, The Manchurian Candidate, Sundays and Cybele, Gypsy, Advise and Consent, The loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Birdman of Alcatraz,  Cape Fear, Days of Wine and Roses, How the West was Won, Lonely are the Brave,  An Autumn Afternoon, Ride the High Country, Cleo from 5 to 7, The Exterminating Angel, L'Ecclise, Harakiri, Knife in the Water, Mamma Roma,  Sanjiro, David and Lisa, The Trial, Hatari,  and  others (I'd also champion That Touch of Mink, Experiment in Terror, Lisa, The Counterfeit Traitor, Billy Budd, A Kind of Loving, Light in the Piazza, Jumbo, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and All Fall Down among the less-talked-about titles).

Of course though 1939 has long been championed as the greatest due to its own tried and true classics ranging from GWTW and The Wizard of Oz through Dark Victory and Ninotchka through The Rules of the Game. And as more time passes from the classic era, claims have arisen from certain corners for 1974 (Chinatown, Godfather Part II, The Conversation...), 1982 (ET, Tootsie, Blade Runner.....), and even 1999 ( a year where I preferred films like The Straight Story, Cookie's Fortune, and The End of the Affair to some of the more talked about films).

But what I guess I'm getting at here is the question if one of these four years does indeed hold the cornerstone on being the greatest, or is there some other year not talked about as much that silently takes the crown. I'll let you be the judge. 
 51nVFsw3kfL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

https://deadline.com/2020/03/lawrence-of-arabia-to-kill-a-mockingbird-james-bond-1962-movies-greatest-year-was-1962-the-greatest-movie-year-ever-a-new-book-says-yes-1202893779/?fbclid=IwAR200F3qrEoXZ3Ijhgsgcniq2m8hwL2-0TsATrVlWK66VN-htImjCIi-q-E

 

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It sort of annoys me when people go on and on about 1939. Typically these same people fail to acknowledge the bombs of 1939 and they never once mention the decent 'B' films from 1939. It basically becomes an excuse to talk once again about Oz and Tara.

I actually think with increasing political correctness GONE WITH THE WIND will go the way of BIRTH OF A NATION and SONG OF THE SOUTH which will put a blemish on 1939.

Personally I feel there were equally good films in 1940 and 1941, including those famous efforts from Hitchcock, Welles and Ford.

Oh, and another thing that makes me smile is how the people who rave about 1939 always fail to see that almost all the films released in the first three months of '39 were technically made in '38. And this means that films made in the last three months of 1939 have a 1940 date on them. So this obsession with 1939 is a little too narrow and uninformed for my tastes, to be honest.

As far as decades go, I think the 1990s are great years because of all the independent films that were garnering recognition. It was a creative period for the industry, an industry still dependent on formulaic blockbusters but also willing to venture off the beaten path.

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39 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

Its a topic that has been discussed many times before, but I feel that following the release of a new book it should be resurrected.  I was reading this article last night about a new book suggesting that 1962 was the best movie year

It's funny because 1939 and 1962 are my two top ranked movie years on IMDB. I gave 10/10 ratings to more in these two years. Below are my 10/10 films. Surprisingly my third highest year was 1948 with only 3 with 10/10

1. 1939

The Wizard Of Oz

Stagecoach

Son Of Frankenstein

Of Mice And Men

Gunga Din

Gone With The Wind

2. 1962

What Ever Happened To Baby Jane

Ride The High Country

The Manchurian Candidate

Dr No

Sundays And Cybele

David And Lisa

Carnival Of Souls

3. 1948

The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre

The Search

The Naked City

 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

It sort of annoys me when people go on and on about 1939. Typically these same people fail to acknowledge the bombs of 1939 and they never once mention the decent 'B' films from 1939. It basically becomes an excuse to talk once again about Oz and Tara.

I actually think with increasing political correctness GONE WITH THE WIND will go the way of BIRTH OF A NATION and SONG OF THE SOUTH which will put a blemish on 1939.

Personally I feel there were equally good films in 1940 and 1941, including those famous efforts from Hitchcock, Welles and Ford.

Oh, and another thing that makes me smile is how the people who rave about 1939 always fail to see that almost all the films released in the first three months of '39 were technically made in '38. And this means that films made in the last three months of 1939 have a 1940 date on them. So this obsession with 1939 is a little too narrow and uninformed for my tastes, to be honest.

As far as decades go, I think the 1990s are great years because of all the independent films that were garnering recognition. It was a creative period for the industry, an industry still dependent on formulaic blockbusters but also willing to venture off the beaten path.

Yes, many films are ignored in '39 like the breezy B series with Bonita Granville as Nancy Drew or even lesser known A list titles.... In some ways I prefer 1940 to 1939, but maybe that's just me.

Regarding the 90s, I thought it was a strong period too, even if the first half was better than the second half. However, I just cannot share the same enthusiasm as many for 1999, much for the same reasons that you stated about 1939, with the added element that I really didn't like a few of the praised films. The standout years of that decade for me were 1990, 1991, and 1993.

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8 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I've never given more than 3 movies in a given year a 10/10 rating, and there have been several of those, so I really don't have a favorite year.

 

Its hard for me to limit to one as well..... even after starting this thread, I find myself vascillating between several different years with no luck.

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People have to have a Number one  Some rock band or singer or actor or movie or year or team etc... has to be the absolute best, better than all the rest.  Every year has its high and low points. Its all really subjective. The studios themselves promoted 1938 as the greatest year to try and boost flagging box office.

What irritates me is when  someone gets pounced on because they don't agree with the masses. If you don't place Casablanca or GWTW or Kane or Vertigo as your number one, you are banished to never never land.

Side note: On another site there's a guy who just got into rock music. And he listed his top ten tunes he's listening to right now. More people complained that Led Zeppelin was "not" on the list than any song on the list.

 

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2 hours ago, CinemaInternational said:

Its a topic that has been discussed many times before, but I feel that following the release of a new book it should be resurrected.  I was reading this article last night about a new book suggesting that 1962 was the best movie year of them all

Oh, whew, thought it was that Millennial idiot again who wrote a book about how 1999 was the "best movie year ever" (because it had Fight Club!)

All of them failing to see the truth:  Packed for volume, 1982 was the Best Movie Year Ever:

  • E.T.
  • Blade Runner
  • The Thing
  • Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan
  • Tootsie
  • The Road Warrior
  • Das Boot
  • First Blood
  • Tron
  • Conan the Barbarian
  • Victor/Victoria
  • My Favorite Year
  • Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip
  • The World According to Garp
  • 48 Hrs.
  • Pink Floyd: the Wall
  • The Last Unicorn

...And a dozen other purely cult titles that, if listed here, would be even longer than 1981.

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1950 wasn't bad either...

  • Sunset Boulevard
  • All About Eve
  • Rashomon
  • Born Yesterday
  • Harvey
  • The Asphalt Jungle
  • Caged
  • Gun Crazy
  • No Way Out
  • Father of the Bride
  • King Solomon's Mines

I'll add The Third Man too.  Even though it was released in 1949 in the UK, it wasn't released in the US until 1950.  

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1962 was the last great year of the studio era. Definitely one of the best years. Not a fan of 1974; for me the 1970s was an era of new and commendably ambitious films that don't necessarily hold up all that well. 1950 was indeed another very good year. I've never gotten the hype for 1939, though there were many good films that year. The overlooked year to me is 1947, once you get past the nominated films like Life With Father (not to my taste). A number of films that year had remarkable emotional depth. Some of my favorites would include Black Narcissus, Deep Valley, The Long Night, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, The Macomber Affair, Out of the Past, Nightmare Alley, High Barbaree, The Private Affairs of Bel Ami, Born To Kill, Crossfire, Brute Force, Dead Reckoning, Dark Passage, Ride the Pink Horse, Night Song, Pursued, A Double Life, Body and Soul, Miracle on 34th Street, The Unfinished Dance, The Guilt of Janet Ames, to name a few, along with the great French film Les Maudits and wonderful Brit noir like Odd Man Out, Brighton Rock, It Always Rains on Sunday, So Well Remembered,  along with fun films like Golden Earrings and Green Dolphin Street. This is my favorite movie year.

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6 hours ago, GGGGerald said:

People have to have a Number one  Some rock band or singer or actor or movie or year or team etc... has to be the absolute best, better than all the rest.  Every year has its high and low points. Its all really subjective. The studios themselves promoted 1938 as the greatest year to try and boost flagging box office.

What irritates me is when  someone gets pounced on because they don't agree with the masses. If you don't place Casablanca or GWTW or Kane or Vertigo as your number one, you are banished to never never land.

Side note: On another site there's a guy who just got into rock music. And he listed his top ten tunes he's listening to right now. More people complained that Led Zeppelin was "not" on the list than any song on the list.

 

I hate that more than anything. Just because something is considered "great" doesn't mean you personally have to like it. A lot of people consider The Searchers to be one of, if not the greatest, westerns ever made. Personally, I didn't enjoy it. One of my favorite years is 1936, because it has handful of great (in my opinion) William Powell films. I don't expect many to agree with me, but why should that matter? 

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I think I'd decided 1955 was my favorite year. I don't have any of my reference books or notebooks that I've kept on hand, having been in my parents' house for nearly a month now with my place of business currently closed and having traveled here because of a medical emergency with my dad (he seems to be doing better, thank goodness) about a week before the whole world shut down and not having any idea at the time that was going to happen. So, I don't have any of my usual lists in front of me, but I remember I liked quite a few films from that year.

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For the studio era, it has to be 1939 easily. Those movies like GWTW and Oz are talked about because they stand up to the test of time as great examples of cinema as art. For post-39, I would say the "New Hollywood" years of '67 to '69 really do it for me.

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Depending on othe individual's opinions, there'sprobably many other years that are considered the "best" year for movies,  but too, let's examine a minute WHY '39 might have been considered the "best" year for movies.

WAS it because the year put out more great movies than any other year?  Well, previous posts to this one proves other years have yielded the same number(if not more) of "great" movies as '39.   

Now, until this thread I never bothered to look into if the nature of movies changed vastly due to those considered "great" movies of 1939,  which would mean the year is considered the "greatest" year for movies because the way movies were made SINCE then, due to many of the movies of that year,  is why that year was singled out.  It's the same in music....

Many point that 1969 was the greatest single year for music due to the change of direction took by many artists of the time, and the introduction of many ICONS of the decades music.  Such as...

LED ZEPPELIN

THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND

CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY( known shortly after only as CHICAGO)

YES

KING CRIMSON

CROSBY, STILLS and NASH

SANTANA

BLIND FAITH

Probably a few others I've forgotten.  And too, you'll notice that musical styles and the direction rock music went in changed at that point too.

Could it be that 1939 had the same effect on American movie making as well?   I'd disagree with totally,  but some influence, maybe.

Sepiatone

 

 

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I read an article in the last year or two that argued the case that 1968 was actually the greatest year for rock music instead of the much-celebrated 1967. I don't remember the author or publication. I'd probably never be able to find it again. I think you're the first person I've read to champion 1969 as such, although the acts you list are a good indication of how music was evolving. It was also the year of Abbey Road and Let It Bleed.

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1939 was a good year, though perhaps not necessarily the best, as if it's possible to say which is the best year. Gone with the Wind is a great achievement, but not one of my favorite films. I think the surfeit of directorial styles shows.

My picks for the best of the so-called best year:

The Light that Failed

Wuthering Heights

The Roaring Twenties

Drums Along the Mohawk

Juarez

Stanley and Livingstone

The Hound of the Baskervilles/The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Dark Victory

Stagecoach

Only Angels Have Wings

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On 3/30/2020 at 7:52 AM, Sepiatone said:

Depending on othe individual's opinions, there'sprobably many other years that are considered the "best" year for movies,  but too, let's examine a minute WHY '39 might have been considered the "best" year for movies.

WAS it because the year put out more great movies than any other year?  Well, previous posts to this one proves other years have yielded the same number(if not more) of "great" movies as '39.   

Now, until this thread I never bothered to look into if the nature of movies changed vastly due to those considered "great" movies of 1939,  which would mean the year is considered the "greatest" year for movies because the way movies were made SINCE then, due to many of the movies of that year,  is why that year was singled out.  It's the same in music....

Many point that 1969 was the greatest single year for music due to the change of direction took by many artists of the time, and the introduction of many ICONS of the decades music.  Such as...

LED ZEPPELIN

THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND

CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY( known shortly after only as CHICAGO)

YES

KING CRIMSON

CROSBY, STILLS and NASH

SANTANA

BLIND FAITH

Probably a few others I've forgotten.  And too, you'll notice that musical styles and the direction rock music went in changed at that point too.

Could it be that 1939 had the same effect on American movie making as well?   I'd disagree with totally,  but some influence, maybe.

Sepiatone

 

 

 Your list is only inclusive of rock music. Fans of other musical genres, such as jazzbos, might not be moved at all by it.

 Speaking just to rock 'n' roll in the year of 1969, you overlooked the pair of milestones that collectively brought the WHO fame 'n' fortune: TOMMY and the Woodstock Festival!

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10 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

I read an article in the last year or two that argued the case that 1968 was actually the greatest year for rock music instead of the much-celebrated 1967. I don't remember the author or publication. I'd probably never be able to find it again. I think you're the first person I've read to champion 1969 as such, although the acts you list are a good indication of how music was evolving. It was also the year of Abbey Road and Let It Bleed.

 1968?! It arguably was an awful year for rock music: CREAM disbanded, the splintering of the Beatles got well under way, etc...

 Also, '68 doesn't seem to point to the list of impressive releases of albums that the years that immediately flanked it claim.

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Hard to say anything around here without someone reacting passionately with incredulity. I think '68 was a perfectly fine year, but I'm isolated from all my reference materials because of corona, so I'd be timid about trying to assert what specifically came out that year. I'm not really thinking of events so much as the quality of music. There were The White Album and Beggars Banquet, I know. I've always thought of John Wesley Harding as a '68 album, although I think it actually came out in the final days of '67. I don't know great the album The Dock of the Bay is, but there is that song. CCR had their debut album. The Doors probably had something good that year. I'm forgetting the rest without looking them up.

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11 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

I read an article in the last year or two that argued the case that 1968 was actually the greatest year for rock music instead of the much-celebrated 1967. I don't remember the author or publication. I'd probably never be able to find it again. I think you're the first person I've read to champion 1969 as such, although the acts you list are a good indication of how music was evolving. It was also the year of Abbey Road and Let It Bleed.

 I think I found that "article" for you. Go to ebay and search: "MUSIC OF 1968 ROCK AND ROLL TIME LIFE MAGAZINE BEATLES BRAND NEW 2018"

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3 minutes ago, sewhite2000 said:

Hard to say anything around here without someone reacting passionately with incredulity. I think '68 was a perfectly fine year, but I'm isolated from all my reference materials because of corona, so I'd be timid about trying to assert what specifically came out that year. I'm not really thinking of events so much as the quality of music. There were The White Album and Beggars Banquet, I know. I've always thought of John Wesley Harding as a '68 album, although I think it actually came out in the final days of '67. I don't know great the album The Dock of the Bay is, but there is that song. CCR had their debut album. The Doors probably had something good that year. I'm forgetting the rest without looking them up.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_in_music

Just with a quick perusal, I'd list the below as albums I like from that year besides the Beatles and Stones records you already mentioned -

  • The Velvet Underground "White Light/White Heat" 
  • Steppenwolf "Steppenwolf"
  • Laura Nyro "Eli and the Thirteenth Confession"
  • Small Faces "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake"
  • Johnny Cash "At Folsom Prison"
  • Iron Butterfly "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida"
  • Pink Floyd "Saucerful of Secrets"
  • The Band "Music from the Big Pink"
  • The Doors "Waiting for the Sun"
  • CCR "Creedence Clearwater Revival"
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experiece "Electric Ladyland"
  • The Kinks "The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society"
  • Van Morrison "Astral Weeks"
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12 minutes ago, sewhite2000 said:

Hard to say anything around here without someone reacting passionately with incredulity. I think '68 was a perfectly fine year, but I'm isolated from all my reference materials because of corona, so I'd be timid about trying to assert what specifically came out that year. I'm not really thinking of events so much as the quality of music. There were The White Album and Beggars Banquet, I know. I've always thought of John Wesley Harding as a '68 album, although I think it actually came out in the final days of '67. I don't know great the album The Dock of the Bay is, but there is that song. CCR had their debut album. The Doors probably had something good that year. I'm forgetting the rest without looking them up.

 There are the "White Album" and Beggars Banquet to be sure but, yes, I was thinking of '68 in terms of the overall rock scene.

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