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

Posted by · 2:07 pm · April 22nd, 2009

Harrison Ford in Blade RunnerAnd with that, part one of the first round of voting comes to a close.  Go here for the background on our survey.

Today, we have 10 fresh titles in the left sidebar for you to rifle through on the way to choosing THREE worthy of moving forward to the next round.  Each poll throughout the rest of round one will include 10 films and choices of up to three.  Last week’s poll was the big dive, 16 titles.  The five that moved on from there were:

“Apocalypse Now” (1979)
“Battleship Potemkin” (1925)
“Citizen Kane” (1941)
“Gone with the Wind” (1939)
“Rashomon” (1959)

I must say, I was sad to see “Bonnie and Clyde” left out.  The Arthur Penn classic was in the top five for a while, but it was too close for comfort on “Battleship Potemkin” as far as I’m concerned.  Literally, a final vote right at the deadline secured it a place in the top five over “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.”  That says one thing to me: more people need to see it.  So to those of you who’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor: seek it out.

No, it is not the most captivating film of all time and no, you won’t be seeing anything “new” by your standards.  But do a little digging and find out why the film has meant so much to the practice of film editing and montage and you’ll discover why its impact is probably felt as much if not more than the most seminal titles on our massive list of 66.

Keep in mind when voting: this isn’t a popularity contest.  Don’t just rattle off votes for your favorite films (which, I imagine, has to be the main reason “E.T” was so high on the list during part one).  Take a moment to think about what the films have meant to the medium.  This list represents you, the readership, after all, so vote wisely.

This poll will close Wednesday, April 29 at 2:00 pm EST.

→ 34 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

34 responses so far

  • 1 4-22-2009 at 2:12 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Birth of a Nation, Metropolis, Jazz Singer. Easy.

  • 2 4-22-2009 at 2:18 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    My sentiments exactly, but let’s see how it turns out.

  • 3 4-22-2009 at 2:28 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Hmm, I was THIS close to voting for Blade Runner, but Metropolis is older. What really frustrates me is having to leave sex, lies, and videotape out.

    I’m gonna have to agree with Speaking English in the end, though.

  • 4 4-22-2009 at 2:28 pm

    chad said...

    Why The Jazz Singer? It was just the first film to show synch sound in use. It wasn’t invented for that film- it was invented for all films and that one luckily used it first. It earns a place in history but not on a list of influential films. Totally different than the revolutionary editing of Potemkin, for example.

  • 5 4-22-2009 at 2:30 pm

    chad said...

    And what has Blade Runner influenced besides other sci-fi films?

  • 6 4-22-2009 at 2:39 pm

    Speaking English said...

    And “The Godfather: Part II?” Don’t see the immense influence of that one, to be honest, as brilliant as it is.

  • 7 4-22-2009 at 2:47 pm

    M.Harris said...

    Well if “Bonnie and Clyde” couldn’t make it through to the next round,it’s could to see that “Battleship Potemkin” beat it out rather than E.T.

  • 8 4-22-2009 at 2:53 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    chad: First counts for a LOT in that case. Many felt audiences wouldn’t turn out for talkies and when they were proven successful with that film, it changed the course of cinema’s history quickly.

    Blade Runner has influenced a lot more than sci-fi films, by the way. Its effects innovations were used across genres.

  • 9 4-22-2009 at 2:54 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Godfather Part II is on top. No one can give me a convincing argument as to why it should move forward beyond this round, I’m certain. Clearly no one’s reading the “this isn’t a popularity contest” line, but whatever.

  • 10 4-22-2009 at 2:59 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    I recently bought Bonny and Clyde on dvd. It was good, but not as brilliant as say The Wild Bunch, which istantly became one of my favorite films ever.

    Godfather II, Jazz Singer and Birth of a Nation were my picks here btw

  • 11 4-22-2009 at 3:15 pm

    M.Harris said...

    That’s cool Jonathan.I saw “The Wild Bunch” and thought that it was good.I was just relating to Kris’s question as to “what movie had the most influence.” I’m not going to rewrite what I wrote under Kriss’s “Get your vote in” but those things that I stated there led me to believe that it should be in the top five.

  • 12 4-22-2009 at 3:29 pm

    Speaking English said...

    ***Clearly no one’s reading the “this isn’t a popularity contest” line, but whatever.***

    Or they have no idea what “influential” means.

  • 13 4-22-2009 at 3:54 pm

    chad said...

    By that logic, The Robe should be considered one of the most influential films of all time because it was the first released in cinemascope.

  • 14 4-22-2009 at 4:37 pm

    Mikey Filmmaker said...

    Sad to see Bonnie and Clyde go. That was one of the films that really ushered in the golden age of cinema in the 70s. Everyone should read “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” and “Pictures at a Revoluation”. Both books do a good job showing the influence of Bonnie and Clyde. Would have rather have seen that than Apocalypse Now.

    I also agree that most people fail to realize the purpose of this poll. Kind of defeats the purpose.

  • 15 4-22-2009 at 4:58 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    chad: Hardly. A new aspect ratio is a far cry from adding a new sense element. Come on.

  • 16 4-22-2009 at 6:11 pm

    MattyD said...

    I’m sort of shocked when I voted and saw “The Godfather: Part II” at the top of that list. More influential than “The Jazz Singer”, “Birth of a Nation”, and “sex, lies, and videotape”?!?!?!?

    Talk about a popularity contest.

  • 17 4-22-2009 at 6:46 pm

    red_wine said...

    I kinda agree with chad, the first use of surround sound is hardly reason enough to celebrate The Jazz Singer. The film should have some own individual merit to warrant that people even watch it in the first place. I have seen pretty much all of the great films but have no interest in watching the Jazz Singer. Its just a historical curiosity.

    And the Godfather films are strictly genre films. They were dignified mob films made with rare grace and stateliness. Mob films are made few and far between and even they don’t seem to have been influenced in any way by the Godfather films. Mob films with the exception of the Godfather films are always brash, violence soaked action-morality-thrillers. Like Scorsese films. But I think the Godfather films have been influential in terms of directing and character development in dramas.

  • 18 4-22-2009 at 8:20 pm

    Jester said...

    Listen Up! There would be no Blade Runner without Metropolis!

  • 19 4-22-2009 at 9:09 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    red wine, The Godfather films are in no way just genre movies/stories. The relationships between members of the family is likely the most important thematic aspect of the film. And Pt. II, all of the flashback sequences – how can you say that it is a genre film? If anything I would argue exactly the opposite- that it should really not be narrowed into anything finer than a general dramatic film.

    And if all you see Scorsese films for are “brash, violence soaked action-morality-thrillers,” then you are missing out on the point. But that could have just been a poor choice of words. I can’t tell.

    But with all that said, I definitely agree that GF II hasn’t been that influential, because very few films reach anywhere near its level.

  • 20 4-23-2009 at 3:23 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Godfather inspired a whole generation and a new sort of genre. Plus it inspired one of the greatest and most important tv shows of all time.

  • 21 4-23-2009 at 5:07 am

    Glenn said...

    *sigh* I wrote about “The Jazz Singer” in the initial entry on this “influential” series. Sure, it was an important landmark for cinema but would any filmmaker claim it was an influence on them after, say, a year after it premiered? I doubt anybody’s going “I decided to make my movie with sound because The Jazz Singer did it.” and so forth.

    I wanna know where “Halloween” is. Considering how popular the horror genre is (seemingly a new one each week and frequently opening at #1) it’s a big disappointing that it was left off for stuff like “The Godfather Part II” and even “Blade Runner”, which, as Jester said, was in actual fact a product of being influenced by “Metropolis”.

    I voted “Metropolis”, “sex, lies and videotape” (every single independent movie is indebted to it, isn’t it? and it’s still seen as a high point of the scene – unlike “The Jazz Singer”, which nobody remembers for anything other than being the first talkie) and “Die Hard”. I couldn’t vote for “Birth of a Nation” for much the same reasons as “The Jazz Singer”.

  • 22 4-23-2009 at 8:50 am

    Zac said...

    I know that the Jazz Singer is the first talkie and every sound movie is indebted to, but I couldn’t vote for it, since I haven’t seen it.

    The three that I voted for, I have seen.

    Birth of a Nation
    Blade Runner

  • 23 4-23-2009 at 11:13 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Rather shallow thinking on Jazz Singer, Glenn. It has nothing to do with a filmmaker pointing to the film and saying “that one turned me,” but it has everything – EVERYTHING to do with the fact that the film caused the industry to switch gears. Everything that came after was influenced by that switch.

    I’m not sure I understand why that’s so hard to get, but whatever.

  • 24 4-23-2009 at 12:50 pm

    M.Harris said...

    Wow a wide interpretation of what “influential” means on this site.Interesting?

  • 25 4-23-2009 at 1:01 pm

    M.Harris said...

    Speaking of influential.Hell I like “Do The Right Thing”(Crash-like way before Crash even came into existence) a little better than “Blade Runner.” But what did I think was the most influential…no doubt “Blade Runner.”

  • 26 4-23-2009 at 2:20 pm

    Jester said...

    M Harris, Blade Runner is completely influenced by Metropolis, so…

  • 27 4-23-2009 at 2:55 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    Jester I’m of a generation of young people who have yet to see Metropolis but knows Blade Runner and THX front fowards and backwards.

  • 28 4-23-2009 at 3:02 pm

    M.Harris said...

    Didn’t you say that already…Jester.How do you know that Metropolis is not in my top three? Give me something that I wrote that indicates this? I was given an example of someone liking something better but admitting that the other had more influence.

  • 29 4-23-2009 at 3:40 pm

    chad said...

    Nobody has told me how Blade Runner is influential except Kris saying it’s effects have been co-opted by all films, not just sci-fi. That’s probably true but that would still only place it equal to something like The Abyss or Jurassic Park in terms of influence. Come on, 130 people, why did you vote for Blade Runner?

  • 30 4-23-2009 at 3:46 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Jurassic Park deserves to be high on a list such as this, too.

    I’m more interested in the Godfather II voters and their reasoning.

  • 31 4-23-2009 at 3:47 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    What were your votes, chad?

  • 32 4-23-2009 at 7:27 pm

    Chad said...

    The Birth of a Nation, Metropolis and Sex Lies and Videotape

  • 33 4-24-2009 at 12:03 am

    Guy Lodge said...


    Same as mine, as it happens.

  • 34 4-24-2009 at 2:25 am

    Glenn said...

    But kris, if that’s the case – in regards to “The Jazz Singer” – then what’s the point in even doing this? Just make the top three “Birth of a Nation”, “The Jazz Singer” and “Citizen Kane” and be done with it if the point is find out which movies left the biggest impression on the physical act of making a movie. Without those three cinema would arguably not be the same as it is, true.

    But I still say, however, that “The Jazz Singer” and “Birth of a Nation” – while incredibly important to film history – layed the bricks for other films to be made and it was THOSE that truly influenced generations of filmmakers. Movies like “Metropolis” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Battleship Potemkin” (apparently, I haven’t seen it) and “Citizen Kane” and so on. Nobody listens to a movie soundtrack and goes “if it weren’t for ‘The Jazz Singer’ this ‘Transformers’ sound design might have been entirely different!” and nobody is going around saying “The Jazz Singer” changed their outlook on film unless they’re 100 years old and grew up watching silent movies. Same goes for “Triumph of the Will”, which I don’t think you included on your list. Reifenstahl pioneered certain camera techniques, but nobody will say it influenced them to make films or what have you.

    And, again, if that’s the point of this series then why not include “The Story of the Kelly Gang”, which was the worlds first ever ‘feature length’ film. But not many people know about that title because it’s Australian, so…