Great Movies List

compiled by Gary Gordon


A Partial List Of Very Good To Great Movies By Year, 1939-1980, inspired by the comment: "I think 1999 ranks as the best year for movies since 1939."

     1939

     Destry Rides Again
     Gone With The Wind
     The Wizard Of Oz
     Drums Along The Mohawk
     Stagecoach
     Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

     1940

     The Grapes Of Wrath
     His Girl Friday
     The Westerner
     The Philadelphia Story
     The Great Dictator

     1941

     Sullivan's Travels
     The Maltese Falcon
     Meet John Doe
     Sergeant York
     Citizen Kane

     1942

     Casablanca
     Mrs. Miniver

     1943

     The Ox-Bow Incident

     1944

     To Have And Have Not

     1946

     The Best Years Of Our Lives
     The Big Sleep
     The Razor's Edge
     It's A Wonderful Life
     My Darling Clementine

     1947

     Gentleman's Agreement
     Body And Soul

     1948

     The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre
     Red River
     Sorry, Wrong Number

     1949

     Twelve O'clock High
     All The King's Men

     1950

     Sunset Boulevard
     The Asphalt Jungle

     1951

     The Day The Earth Stood Still
     A Place In The Sun
     Detective Story
     The African Queen
     Steel Helmet
     The Big Carnival (Ace In The Hole)
     A Streetcar Named Desire

     1952

     High Noon

     1953

     From Here To Eternity
     Stalag 17
     The Naked Spur
     Shane

     1954

     On The Waterfront
     Executive Suite
     The Bridges At Toko-Ri
     Caine Mutiny
     Salt Of The Earth

     1955

     Rebel Without A Cause
     Bad Day At Black Rock
     The Man With The Golden Arm
     Blackboard Jungle
     Mr. Roberts

     1956

     The Searchers
     Giant
     The Killing
     The Wrong Man
     The Ten Commandments

     1957

     Paths Of Glory
     12 Angry Men
     3:10 To Yuma
     The Bridge On The River Kwai
     A Face In The Crowd

     1958

     Touch Of Evil
     The Buccaneer
     The Young Lions
     The Defiant Ones

     1959

     Some Like It Hot
     Ben-Hur
     On The Beach
     Horse Soldiers
     Operation Petticoat
     North By Northwest
     Anatomy Of A Murder

     1960

     The Magnificent Seven
     Inherit The Wind
     The Apartment
     Elmer Gantry
     Psycho
     Sink The Bismarck!
     Spartacus
     Murder, Inc.
     Exodus

     1961

     The Hustler
     One-Eyed Jacks
     Judgment At Nuremberg

     1962

     To Kill A Mockingbird
     Lawrence Of Arabia
     Hell Is For Heroes
     The Longest Day
     Days Of Wine & Roses
     Birdman Of Alcatraz
     The Miracle Worker
     The Manchurian Candidate
     Advise and Consent
     The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
     Lonely Are The Brave

      1963

     The Great Escape
     Bye Bye Birdie
     Dr. No
     The Ugly American
     Lilies Of The Field
     From Russia With Love

     1964

     Dr. Strangelove
     The Americanization of Emily
     Goldfinger
     Fail-Safe
     Seven Days In May
     Zulu

     1965

     Cat Ballou
     Flight Of The Phoenix
     The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
     The Train

     1966

     The Russians Are Coming...
     The Sand Pebbles
     After The Fox
     A Man And A Woman
     The Professionals
     Blow-Up
     Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

     1967

     Bonnie And Clyde
     Don't Look Back
     Cool Hand Luke
     Hombre
     The President's Analyst
     The Dirty Dozen
     In The Heat Of The Night
     The Graduate

     1968

     The Producers
     Rosemary's Baby
     Planet Of The Apes
     2001: A Space Odyssey

     1969

     Z
     Midnight Cowboy
     Alice's Restaurant
     The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
     Oh! What A Lovely War
     The Wild Bunch
     Easy Rider
     The Bed-Sitting Room
     Medium Cool
     Take The Money And Run
     Monterey Pop
     Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
     The Reivers
     Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
     They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

     1970

     Five Easy Pieces
     M*A*S*H
     Patton
     Kelly's Heroes
     The Magic Christian
     The Great White Hope
     Woodstock
     Little Big Man
     Brewster McCloud
     Fellini Satyricon
     Catch-22
     Zabriskie Point

     1971

     The Last Picture Show
     McCabe And Mrs. Miller
     The French Connection
     Sunday, Bloody Sunday
     Carnal Knowledge
     Dirty Harry
     200 Motels
     Zachariach
     Husbands
     Klute
     Johnny Got His Gun

     1972

     The Godfather
     The Sorrow And The Pity
     A Clockwork Orange
     Sounder
     The Candidate
     The Ruling Class
     Deliverance
     The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid
     Harold And Maude
     Slaughterhouse-Five

     1973

     Cries And Whispers
     Last Tango In Paris
     The Exorcist
     Bang The Drum Slowly
     High Plains Drifter
     American Graffiti
     Emperor Of The North
     The Long Goodbye
     Save The Tiger
     Mean Streets
     A Touch Of Class
     Badlands
     The Paper Chase
     Steelyard Blues
     Papillon
     Serpico

     1974

     Day For Night
     The Last Detail
     Blazing Saddles
     Chinatown
     Amarcord
     Parallax View
     My Name Is Nobody
     The Three Musketeers
     The Conversation
     The Godfather, Part II
     A Woman Under The Influence
     Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

     1975

     Nashville
     Night Moves
     Shampoo
     Jaws
     Love And Death
     The Rocky Horror Picture Show
     Dog Day Afternoon
     One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

     1976

     All The President's Men
     Network
     The Front
     Bound For Glory
     Taxi Driver
     Marathon Man
     Rocky
     Bingo Long...
     Buffalo Bill And The Indians
     The Man Who Would Be King
     The Shootist

     1977

     Annie Hall
     Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
     Saturday Night Fever
     Equus
     Sorcerer
     Harlan County, U.S.A.
     Star Wars

     1978

     An Unmarried Woman
     Days Of Heaven
     American Hot Wax
     The Big Fix
     The Wild Geese
     Blue Collar
     The Buddy Holly Story
     Interiors
     Opening Night
     Coming Home
     Halloween
     National Lampoon's Animal House
     Superman
     Who'll Stop The Rain?
     The Last Waltz

     1979

     Hair
     Apocalypse Now
     Kramer Vs. Kramer
     Breaking Away
     All That Jazz
     Norma Rae
     Real Life
     Starting Over
     North Dallas Forty
     The Deer Hunter
     Manhattan
     The Onion Field
     The China Syndrome
     Time After Time

     1980

     Raging Bull
     Ordinary People
     Brubaker
     Airplane
     Coal Miner's Daughter
     One-Trick Pony
     Being There
     Stardust Memories
     Serial
     Where The Buffalo Roam
     Return of the Secaucus 7
     The Great Santini
     The Stunt Man


This partial list does not include several Noir films, cult classics, is light on pre-50's films; does not include Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, Martin & Lewis, Jerry Lewis, Buster Keaton, the Marx Bros., or Charlie Chaplain films, or musicals, has few horror films, contains almost no "teen" films (like the multitude of wayward youth or beach movies), and it contains very few foreign movies. Personally, I'd put any of these years up against 1999 (except maybe 1977), including just the one listing each from 1952, 1943, and 1944.
           
     



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