What are the most influential movies.

This is a spin off from the influential music thread.

I know all directors must have been influenced by previous films but some movies are just so different that they inspire a new generation of cheap knock offs and brilliant movies.

I know the original Scarface inspired most of Scorsese’s works, not to mentions the remake of Scarface and every movie that has a gangster rise to fame and fall. And then I’m sure Scorsese’s work will soon inspire other great works and other cheap knock offs.

So what films have [del]been ripoff[/del] influenced the most?

I’ll go ahead and get this one out of the way, even though I don’t personally agree with all the critics who say so: Citizen Kane.

The Big Chill - aging boomers gettin’ reflective, not to mention the soundtrack
Pulp Fiction - time sequence arrangement

This can surely be debated, but the way that action replaced dialog in crime dramas began for me with Bullitt, which despite the trend-setting car chase and the bit at the end with the foot race across the airfield while dodging a plane in takeoff taxiing, the way that the viewer gets let in on the thoughts of the characters by way of visual cues, instead of snappy dialog, either hadn’t been done before or, if it had, hadn’t worked as well before.

I first saw it when it first came out and had been in a self-imposed moratorium against movies in general for several years. Thus the trend may have already been established by the time I got on board with it. But that’s my story.

Another film from the era was Cool Hand Luke which was equally good as a movie, but I can’t really think of how it’s been emulated or copied.

Now, The Sting may not have been the first movie to toy with the audience to the point of making the real sting be on them, but it surely did inspire lots of copycats.

The Great Train Robbery. The first real story film.

The Life of an American Fireman. Often credited with inventing the close-up.

Birth of a Nation. On the positive side, it pointed the way for any feature length film. On the negative side, it created all the offensive racial stereotypes that lasted for 50+ years (and some still exist).

The Jazz Singer. Sound.

Citizen Kane. Lots of unusual filmmaking tricks that are commonplace nowadays.

Psycho. Invented the slasher film.

I came in also to mention The Great Train Robbery, remembering a documentary I saw years ago. From Wiki:

Yea, me! After all these years, 1000 posts.

Well, we’ve gotta give a shout-out to Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, the first animated feature. And it set the bar very very high. “Snow White” is miles ahead of any previous animated short, not just in length, but with gorgeous painting, full animation of all movement (remember the shorts that invariably have characters “dancing” and repeating the exact same movements over and over and over again?), music, everything.

The template for animated movies created by “Snow White” is still followed today, just look at the last two dozen Disney releases.

I’m curious as to why you would say this, especially since to claim to not agree with it. I can’t remember the last modern picture to heavily use chiaroscuro lighting or mise-en-scene filming techniques, and forget about finding a movie nowadays that opens up with a newsreel.

I think, even 65 years later, Kane still stands out as pretty unique. If anything, it has more in common with the films that came before it, not after it.

Okay. Try this: I realize that many critics and movie buffs rate Citizen Kane as high as #1 on their all-time best movies lists. It’s now down the stack some on the IMDB list of top 250, but that’s more a matter of the IMDB voting population than the movie’s worth.

It took me at least four attempts to make it all the way through it without falling asleep, although it came out around the time I was born. I got to see the effects of all the copying of its many contributions to cinema long before I ever saw “the original” (to be able to understand and appreciate it) so my appreciation of CK was tainted by not being there when it was brand new. I have similar problems with other classics like the silent movies, Marx Brothers, and any number of other “firsts.”

I simply meant to be sure CK made the list, even though I can’t really cite from my own experience why that must be true.

The flip side of this is that many movies I would have put on a greatest list when I was in my teens or 20’s (and even later) I now see as being basically worthless. I just saw one the other night: Robert Mitchum in Man With The Gun. My memory of it was that it was a good-to-great Western. It’s not!

The Godfather.

My husband’s family (who are…um…Family) tell me that before that movie came out, Mafiosi didn’t even talk like that, dress like that, etc. The whole idea was to blend in with your neighbors. Then the movie came out and - baddabing - everyone starts talking and dressing like a Wise Guy, youknowwhatImean? The movie changed the way real life worked, not to mention every Mafia movie ever made after that.

I don’t have any cites handy, but I’ve read the same thing in print media.

I will second the Godfather.

I will add Jaws. I think Jaws influenced every big budget movie that came later. This might not have been for the best, but it changed movie making.

I am not a fan, but **Star Wars ** push Sci-Fi from B movies to Blockbuster.
I realize that Star Trek, Close Encounters and even 2001 helped. However, it was the phenomenon of Star Wars that should get most of the credit.

**American Graffiti ** seemed to change coming of age movies. You can see strong parallels between this and movies like Dazed and Confused.

**Airplane ** almost created the genre of wacky parody movies. It went much further than the fantastic Mel Brooks movies. I like Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein better, but the dozens of mostly shoddy joke a second parodies owe far more to airplane.

Al Jolsen’s the **Jazz Singer ** should be mentioned for making the talkies main stream. It is hyperbole, but this movie effectively killed the silent film era and many careers.

**The Poseidon Adventure ** set of a run of big budget disasters films in the seventies.

I am getting out of my comfort zone now, but I believe **The Longest Day ** inspired many large cast war movies.


Blade Runner’s “look and feel” has been copied by innumerable dystopian science fiction movies in the decades since its release. Ridley Scott must be so proud.

I almost posted about Blade Runner mostly for the fact that until it I had little use of sci-fi and futuristic movies because they were so limited to the gadgets and “advanced science” aspects. But BR managed to inject some pretty heavy philosophical ideas without being as preachy as Star Trek had been on TV. I like Star Trek (original series) but its treatment of big issues was a little less potent.

  • “It Happened One Night”*

Capra claimed in his autobiography that it was the first “Road” film.
Wiki calls it the first “screwball comedy.”

Whatever, it developed legs, won 5 oscars and started a trend.

The Matrix.

Bullet time mostly, but also kicking acceptance of asian fighting techniques up a notch (in the US), and maybe (not sure of this because it isn’t my genre) introducing a more pure comic book/graphic novel visual sense into movies.

Another Star Wars trope: the cantina with the varied aliens.

I’m going to say The Exorcist. This was the first movie I remember seeing where The Devil, or Satan, or whoever was treated as a real-life threat, not as a metaphor or a cartoonish boogey man. Granted, Rosemary’s Baby did also, to an extent, but The Exorcist spawned (hah!) a plethora of possessed-by-the-devil knock offs. It definitely hit a nerve, just as Jaws did.

Seven Samurai: group of bad guys coming over a hill into view.


Rocky: the underdog sports movie

However, I think more influencial (in the sports genre):

Bad News Bears: the underdog sports team movie. Consider:
[li]Lose first game in embarrassing fashion[/li][li]Set aside differences and improve as a team (with a montage) [/li][li]Win (or barely lose) the big game in nailbiter fashion; last play in slo-mo[/li][/ul]

Since them, EVERY single team sports movie (of varying quality) follows that formula (Hoosiers, Remember the Titans, Longest Yard, Major League, Little Giants)
Errr, was Bad News Bears (1976) the first to do this?

Angels in the Outfield (1951) and then Damn Yankees! (1958) were similar plot devices. Underdog overcoming great odds.
Even Knute Rockne All American (1940) had the core of the idea in it.

I understand but do not know of examples, that there were dozens of Boxing and Wrestling underdog B movies in the 30s and 40s with similar underdog concept that Rocky perfected.