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

Posted by · 2:00 pm · April 29th, 2009

Alright, we’ve moved on and three more films have survived: “The Birth of a Nation,” “The Godfather Part II” and “Metropolis.”  Color me confused on the inclusion of Coppola’s film.  Chalk it up to popularity, I guess, because it’s a shame to see truly deserving films like “The Jazz Singer,” “sex, lies and videotape” and even “Die Hard” get passed over for something that no one (I think) can argue as more influential (even if it is a masterpiece).  But that’s how it crumbles.

Next up, a new set of ten and your choice of three to continue.  As always, check out the background on this series here.  Give us your vote in the sidebar and feel free to cut loose in the comments section below with your thoughts on the series so far.

This poll will close in one week, Wednesday, May 6 at 2:00pm PST.

→ 23 Comments Tags: , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

23 responses so far

  • 1 4-29-2009 at 2:24 pm

    chad said...

    If the list were for films that most inspired lame jokes in spoofs and commercials, The Matrix would win.

  • 2 4-29-2009 at 2:35 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Great Train Robbery for its editing and switching of locale. The Maltese Falcon because it’s a text book noir and definitive of an era. And Star Wars because it re-defined a lost genre that few people ever took really serious and for creating LucasArts.

  • 3 4-29-2009 at 2:37 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Great Train Robbery, Star Wars, and The Rules of the Game.

  • 4 4-29-2009 at 3:04 pm

    Jester said...

    Hope everyone knows that there are common trends in the romantic comedy even today that come directly from It Happened One Night.

  • 5 4-29-2009 at 3:48 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    What Jester said. It’s a shame to see “It Happened One Night” so low.

  • 6 4-29-2009 at 4:07 pm

    Steen said...

    The Great Train Robbery, It Happened One Night and Star Wars

  • 7 4-29-2009 at 4:18 pm

    Sound Designer Dan said...

    Is this list only limited to American films? I would’ve put any of the Woo classics before the Matrix: A Better Tomorrow, the Killer, or Hard Boiled.

  • 8 4-29-2009 at 4:26 pm

    Ben said...

    Hard Boiled as one of the most influential films of all time?

  • 9 4-29-2009 at 4:41 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    And of course, the popular movies are beating some of the most influential films of all time.

    By the way, this may be the last time you guys see me here in a while. I’m leaving for South America tomorrow to continue my education, and the ship I’ll be serving on (I have to be part of the crew to do this) has no internet.

    Anyway, I’ll be back here bothering you guys in two months. Peace!

  • 10 4-29-2009 at 5:27 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Bon voyage.

  • 11 4-29-2009 at 5:56 pm

    Chris said...

    “Is this list only limited to American films?”

    Yeah, that’s why “The Rules of the Game” and “Mad Max” are on it.

  • 12 4-29-2009 at 6:43 pm

    McGuff said...

    Can I ask if there are any fans of the TV show Chuck that, like I, are hoping that we see an announcement of renewal from NBC come May 4?

    However, if the show sees an unfortunate cancellation, I find it rather appropriate that the last line was: “I know kung-fu.”

  • 13 4-29-2009 at 9:06 pm

    Zac said...


    I’m a huge fan of Chuck and I’m anxiously awaiting Monday’s announcements. The show went from pretty darned good at the end of Season 1 to the best show on television along with The Office at the end of Season 2.

    Back on topic:

    Star Wars.

    The Matrix.

    The Maltese Falcon.

    I haven’t seen The Great Train Robbery, The Rules of the Game and It Happened One Night so I can’t vote for those.

  • 14 4-29-2009 at 10:38 pm

    Homero said...

    Haha, when did this poll suddenly turn into “If I saw and liked it, I picked it?”

    I’ve never seen it Happened One Night but have seen/heard so many references and articles about it to this day that its influence is undeniable.

    I also voted for The Maltese Falcon and Rules of the Game. I actually had to write a 6-page paper analyzing Falcon for a History of Film class that had me amazed at how many films it’s affected since its release. Rules of the Game…it’s Renoir, need I say more? This is one of the first great ensemble films that would later influence Altman, P.T. Anderson and many more.

    Such a shame to see them so low, especially when they’re losing to Casablanca and The Matrix.

    Mad Max is kinda difficult because the credit really has to go to Australian cinema.

  • 15 4-30-2009 at 2:01 am

    Glenn said...

    It’s sad to see “Mad Max” so low since you’ll be hard pressed to find an action director today that isn’t indebted to it and it’s sequels in some way shape or form. “The Matrix” is overflowing with influences from it. Whether it be the leather clad post-apocalyptic world they live in or the big giant car crashes. “Gladiator” is actually kinda “Mad Max” in ancient Rome. Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof” was actually an ozploitation flick in disguise and so much of that was based around the “Mad Max” movies.

    Bah, I shouldn’t have expected it though. I voted “Mad Max”, “Star Wars” and “It Happened One Night”.

  • 16 4-30-2009 at 2:43 am

    Derek 8-Track said...

    Think of how the first X-Men movie has shaped the box office these past 9 years… and comicbook/fanboy movies are just gonna keep on coming.
    maybe the credit should be given to Blade for giving fox and marvel the money and confidence to make x-men.

  • 17 4-30-2009 at 5:35 am

    John H. Foote said...

    In defense of ‘The Godfather Part II” — it took a great story and deepened it, making the Michael Corleone a much darker character and gave us insight into the rise of Vito Corleone — Coppola made it clear that sequels could be as good if not better than the original films, and the film’s metaphorical look at the mafia as corporate America and the fact absolute power corrupts absolutely were merely astounding — have always believed, and stand by the fact “The Godfather Part II” was a better film than the first, and if the first belongs, then certainly this magnificent film belongs. Perhaps Coppola’s work inspired other directors of sequels to at least make the attempt to make a strong film, and without this film would we have had “The Empire Strikes Back” (stronger than the first) , “Toy Story 2”, “Spiderman 2” or “Return of the King” …all stronger than the first. The manner of thinking in the seventies was clearly that sequels will never be remotely as good as the first, and Coppola silence them…I guess I cannot imagine a list such as this WITHOUT “The Godfather Part II”. In my opinion, “The Godfather Part II” is the greatest film ever made…but that’s just me.

  • 18 4-30-2009 at 8:38 am

    Jester said...

    Might I add that people seem to be divided by what influential means. Some, like myself, are voting for movies that influenced how films are made, which is usually a positive element. Others are voting for films that influenced what kinds of films are made. This has led Derek 8-Track to comment on how influential X-Men is because it triggered the greedy minds of Hollywood to realize that comic book films bring in the big bucks. Meanwhile, The Rules of the Game is astonishing in its photography, which influenced Welles, and countless others to expand the possibilities of film. The Interplay between the sexes in It Happened One Night is a formula still used today. The Maltese Falcon: it’s the birth of true film noir, as a respectable, pyschological mechanism to illuminate themes of greed and desperation. Also, the use of the camera, which is basically reduced to filiming in a few rooms is ingenious and influential. I can’t help feeling that Star Wars did not actually influence anything. Casablanca? great movie, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of the mixture of romance and despair is kind of there in The Rules of the Game. (?)

  • 19 4-30-2009 at 11:29 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “Altman, P.T. Anderson and many more.”

    Funny thing is, I can’t really put a finger on who the “many more” would be.

  • 20 4-30-2009 at 4:33 pm

    Derek 8-Track said...

    When voting, I’ve been trying to keep on track with influence based on how films are made. I just find it interesting how X-Men has left its mark on shaping a large portion of the history (as short as its history is) of popular cinema.

  • 21 4-30-2009 at 8:56 pm

    Speaking English said...

    ***Casablanca? great movie, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of the mixture of romance and despair is kind of there in The Rules of the Game. (?)***

    Yep. “Casablanca” as most influential of anything is kind of perplexing to me.

  • 22 5-01-2009 at 12:57 am

    Glenn said...

    I take the “influental” tag more as the “what kinds of films are made”. As I’ve said before, a movie can employ all sorts of whizbang never before seen stuff or have some brand spankin’ original plot, but if nobody likes the movie then it’s not really doing anything until somebody applies it to something people actually want to see and that, then, snowballs into studios making a certain type of movie. There had been horror movies for years, but with stuff like “Nosferatu”, “Halloween” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” they themselves changed the way horror pictures were seen and made even though there are probably elements of those movies in movies made earlier.

    er, make sense? Probably not. sorry.

  • 23 5-03-2009 at 6:45 am

    Eric said...

    The Rules of the Game is easily the most influential film from this bunch and it’s second to last in the poll? The hell?