The 20th century saw the film industry evolved and grown into what we know today. From humble beginnings as short, silent black and white films, it has become a dominant and mainstream art form that is more accessible than ever before.
Furthermore, each decade offered new and exciting innovation that pushed the medium forward, allowing things to be created that could have never before been possible. As a result of this, every decade has its own unique style, which reflects both the technology and trends of the period. With this in mind here are the best films of each decade.
10 The 1900s: A Trip to the Moon (8.2)
Released back in 1902 A Trip to the Moon utilized the best effects the age had to offer and created an innovative sci-fi tale. The film was ahead of its time, and despite its age has made its way into pop culture through parodies and homages.
Unlike so many films from this period, A Trip to the Moon has aged reasonably well, despite being made 112 years ago. It's fun and whimsical sense of humor is timeless and represents the best the decade had to offer.
9 The 1910s: Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (7.8)
Released way back in 1916 Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages is an epic drama that pushed the narrative possibilities further than most films of this period. Clocking in at two hours forty-three minutes the film tells the tale of a young woman separated from her husband and baby, interwoven with flashbacks of intolerant acts from history.
The film isn't for everyone, and time hasn't improved its slow pace and unusual structure, but there's no denying that it innovated the medium live no other films from this period.
8 The 1920s: The Kid (8.3)
Charlie Chaplin starred in 1921's The Kid, which received critical acclaim upon its release, and also marked his first feature film. The film took five and a half months to shoot, which at the time was a huge amount of time for a film production.
The film sees Charlie Chaplin as a tramp trying to look after a child but they are continually subjected to dangers. The film effortlessly blends drama with Chaplin's timeless style of comedy.
7 The 1930s: Modern Times (8.5)
Charlie Chaplin continued to dominate the '30 and took his trademark comedy to even higher highs in 1936's Modern Times. The film has gone down in history as one of the greatest and has aged brilliantly. And is just as watchable today as it was upon its release.
The elaborate sets and death-defying comedic stunts are awe-inspiring, and could never be replicated today. The silent film was released at a time when everyone else was producing movies with sound, and Modern Times itself is a commentary on culture itself.
6 The 1940s: It's a Wonderful Life (8.6)
From its creation back in 1946, It's a Wonderful Life, has endured like only a handful of films can. The Christmas film is a staple of the holiday and has endured in popularity, and is still known by everyone today.
It's a Wonderful Life has been parodied numerous times over the decades, but the timeless tale of desperation turned to hope is a universal message that is just as relevant today as ever before. Due to its enduring legacy, there's no doubt that for decades to come the film will remain as culturally relevant as ever.
5 The 1950s: 12 Angry Men (8.9)
12 Angry Men was released in 1957 and has the simple concept of a jury debating whether a man is guilty or innocent of murder. The film delves into complex moral and ethical debates and treats the adult audience with a respect that only a few films afford them.
In addition to 12 Angry Men features some of the finest and most intense performances of the century. The film received universal acclaim upon its release and went on to be nominated for three academy awards.
4 The 1960s: The Good the Bad and the Ugly (8.8)
The Good the Bas and the Ugly is the definite western and sees Clint Eastwood return to the genre to deliver one of the finest performances of his career. The film is famous for its iconic finale which sees all three characters face off in a quick draw.
The sequence has gone on to be parodied numerous times and has influence action movies as few films can. Despite receiving critical acclaim the film failed to earn a single Oscar nomination.
3 The 1970s: The Godfather (9.2)
1972's The Godfather is one of the most influential movies of all time, and despite clocking in at almost three-hours long has endured mainstream appeal. The timeless story shows a reluctant son take over as the head of the Corleone crime family.
The film is filled with violence and brutality, but despite this emphasize the bond between the family about all else. The Godfather marked the start of a trilogy and earned three Oscars.
2 The 1980s: Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (8.7)
The original Star Wars was a global phenomenon that changed the movie industry forever, surely the follow-up would always pale in comparison? Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back was released in 1980, three years after the original.
Continuing Luke Skywalker's story but this time it was darker and explored the mythology of Star Wars further, to top that all of it delivers a shocking cliff-hanger ending that left audiences wanting more. Empire is generally regarded as not only the best Star Wars movie but one of the all-time greats.
1 The 1990s: The Shawshank Redemption (9.3)
1994's The Shawshank Redemption is widely regarded as the greatest movie ever made and tells the story of life behind bars and two men trying to find redemption.
Despite its enduring legacy, upon its release, Shawshake was a flop at the box-office and failed to make its production budget back. The film is filled with iconic moments and career defying performances, including one of Morgan Freeman's best. The film was nominated for seven Oscars and continues to influence filmmakers today.
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