POLL: The most influential films of all time, round one, part one

Posted by · 1:47 pm · April 16th, 2009

Earlier in the week we told you about TCM’s list of the 15 most influential classic films of all time.  I decided to use that news item as a spring board for another giant poll, something akin to the “Which Oscarless director deserves it more?” query last summer that saw Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick in a fight to the death.

Rather than just stick with films from the “classic” time frame, I thought we’d just go all in and collectively decide on the top 10 most influential films of ALL TIME.  I’ve taken all suggestions from our commenters on the TCM thread and tossed my own ideas in for a massive slate of 66 films.  So this will take some time.

We’ve kicked it off today with the largest poll of the lot, a 16-film query with the titles taken at random.  Your task: pick up to five of the films list in the left sidebar that you think deserve to move on to the next round.  Next week we’ll settle the rest with five more polls, each with 10 titles and allowing no more than three choices per voter.  The idea is, by the end of this first round of voting, we’ll have 20 films that can move on until we narrow it to a definitive list of the 10 most influential films ever, as voted on by the In Contention readership.  So make your vote count!

(Brendon Connelly at /Film, by the way, has taken a different approach, listing what he feels will one day be viewed as the most influential films of the last 10 years.  Devin Faraci at CHUD takes considerable umbrage.)

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20 responses so far

  • 1 4-16-2009 at 1:58 pm

    Mr. Harmonica said...

    Well, it’s most influential, not best, so Battleship Potemkin, Citizen Kane, Rashomon, Bonnie and Clyde, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. So those are what I voted for.

    But, I’ll wank myself and list my five favorites too: Citizen Kane, Persona, Bonnie and Clyde, Last Tango in Paris, and Apocalypse Now.

    And of those, only two are some of my favorites ever.

  • 2 4-16-2009 at 2:14 pm

    Brian said...

    I agree with Devin (whaaaaaaat?!) that the Slash Film list is poor. His logic would make Young Sherlock Holmes one of the most influential movies of all time.

  • 3 4-16-2009 at 2:18 pm

    Troy said...

    Went with Bonnie and Clyde, Rashomon, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Wild Bunch, and Last Tango in Paris.

  • 4 4-16-2009 at 2:37 pm

    Jester said...

    If Battleship Potemkin does not make it past this first round than this whole thing is just silly (a list like this is inherently silly anyway; pointless too), and you might as well call it in early.

  • 5 4-16-2009 at 2:51 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    It’s almost unfair that you would list Citizen Kane and Battleship Potemkin in the first round of voting, because that limits the choices for any rational voter down to just three.

  • 6 4-16-2009 at 2:57 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “a list like this is inherently silly anyway; pointless too”

    So why did you participate if it’s so silly and pointless? What’s the harm, really?

    Anything to be a downer, I guess….

  • 7 4-16-2009 at 2:58 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Robert: That’s the way it crumbles. I just went through and prepared the next few polls in this round and believe me, there’s a Sophie’s Choice toward the end that’ll kill us all.

  • 8 4-16-2009 at 2:59 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    And I agree, it’ll be sad indeed if Battleship misses. But this is a readership poll, after all. My guess is the film hasn’t been seen by enough of today’s film-goers to truly understand its impact. I even had to toss “Man with the Movie Camera” on the big list for later in the poll because no one mentioned it (shockingly).

    That’s just the way it is, I guess.

  • 9 4-16-2009 at 3:02 pm

    Vito said...

    This is awesome Kris. It should be an interesting journey.

  • 10 4-16-2009 at 3:27 pm

    chad said...

    Man With the Movie Camera is a snooze. A far more interesting take on similar ideas (and actually predating Vertov’s film by two years) is Berlin: Symphony of a Great City. You can stream it on Netflix currently.

  • 11 4-16-2009 at 3:38 pm

    Georgie said...

    Voted for Citizen Kane, Bonnie and Clyde, Gone with the Wind, Apocalypse Now, and Last Tangon is Paris.

  • 12 4-16-2009 at 3:53 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    chad: Not about quality, about innovation. And I don’t think it’s arguable that “Man with a Movie Camera” (which I agree is a snooze) did more for the form than “Berlin.”

  • 13 4-16-2009 at 5:32 pm

    Zac said...

    I voted for Apocalypse Now, Bonnie and Clyde, Citizen Kane, The Hidden Fortress and Rashomon. If I had a 6th choice, I would have included Battleship Potemkin.

  • 14 4-16-2009 at 9:25 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    Pulp Fiction

  • 15 4-17-2009 at 2:56 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    I think there’s a big difference between “Influential” and “favorite” here folks. No matter how boring some of those films might be in content (indeed, Man With A Movie Camera. Imagine scraping through that on a big screen!) it’s the (technical) influence that matters.

  • 16 4-17-2009 at 6:47 am

    Gustavo H.R. said...

    Out of the poll list, in no particular order: SHADOWS, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, GONE WITH THE WIND, WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? and RASHOMON.

  • 17 4-17-2009 at 1:43 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Sadly, it seems “influential” is a term lost on much of the readership. I’m struggling to come up with one film that seems to owe anything at all to “E.T.” While the majority of modern cinema is largely indebted to “Rashomon” and “Battleship.”

  • 18 4-17-2009 at 2:27 pm

    Jester said...

    Sorry Kris, really just upset about Battleship. But to be fair, there seems to be a disconnect between landmark films and influential films. I mean, Apocalypse now is a milestone landmark film, but if was really that influential wouldn’t the world be a greater place today? Nobody films with that kind of ambition (Apocalypse in itself was probably influenced by Aguirre). And ET, the only movie that influenced was Mac and Me. Also, it’s unfair to have two Kurosawa films in the same round.

  • 19 4-17-2009 at 3:05 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Jester: Unfair or not, suck it up. That’s the way the random cookie crumbles. To mix and match according to what’s “fair” would be to rig the game, no?

    Anyway, these will be week-long polls. Maybe it’ll turn itself around. Maybe.

  • 20 4-17-2009 at 7:18 pm

    Glenn said...

    I voted for “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, “Saving Private Ryan” (unfortunately), “Citizen Kane”, “Rashamon” and “Bonnie and Clyde”.

    I haven’t seen “Battleship Potemkin”, sadly, so I can’t really guage it’s influence.

    I really liked “Man with a Movie Camera”, actually. I saw it on the big screen in a double bill with the Oscar-nominated animated show “The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello”, which was a very bizarre experience to say the least.