My Favorite Movie From Every Decade
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My Favorite Movie From Every Decade

From the 20s to the 2010s, this is my favorite film from each decade of the past century.

My Favorite Movie From Every Decade

As a long-time movie fan, one of the things I learned is that no film should be dismissed due to it's age and the time period it was made in.

Old movies may not be as appealing as current ones for not being as technologically advanced and going at a slower pace, but there are still certain classics that are timeless.

Regardless of age, every movie ever made has something entertaining to offer whether it's a good story, compelling characters, or experimental filmmaking styles.

Therefore, I have now seen enough movies to make a list of my favorite films from every decade since the silent era of the 1920s. I unfortunately have not seen a movie before 1920 so I'll save that for the next list.

Whether it's a 90 year old film or 1 year old movie, I hope you'll check out these classics I've picked out. Some you'll probably know, others you've never heard of.

1. 1920s: "The Kid"

Welcome to the Silent Movie age kids!

While it might seem impossible to watch a movie without talking, the great silent films at least had the ability to tell a story to the audience through facial expressions, music, dialogue boxes, and sets, and no filmmaker was better at that than Charlie Chaplin.

His wonderfully innocent movie titled "The Kid" shows the epitome of Chaplin's famous Tramp character as he and an abandoned little boy learn to get by together. Even as a silent movie, it still holds up a moving and engaging piece of early cinema.

Honorable Mentions:


"The Passion of Joan of Arc"

2. 1930s: "Snow White & The Seven Dwarves"

I know that compared to modern movies, "Snow White" appears to be the most harmless and simplest movie possible. But for a moviegoer in 1937, going to see Disney's "Snow White and The Seven Dwarves" was like going to see James Cameron's "Avatar" in 2009: A visual spectacle the likes of which had never been seen before.

Walt Disney had the radical and bold idea to make the first ever feature-length animated film with "Snow White", and it took non-stop production from Disney Studios and a large bank loan to get it done.

Disney put all of his marbles in a movie some critics thought would be "Disney's Folly" and word has it that things worked out pretty good for him.

Honorable Mentions:

"Gone With The Wind"

"Duck Soup"

"The Wizard of Oz"

"Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"

3. 1940s: "Casablanca"

If you were to ask me what proof there is that Hollywood can actually create something beautiful and not exploit artists and classic stories into business-driven spectacles, I would tell you to go watch "Casablanca."

"Casablanca" was based off an un-produced play and made right in the middle of World War II when no one knew how things would turn out.

What turned out was arguably the greatest movie of all-time with performances by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman that made them Hollywood immortals.

The one-liners in the film have become ingrained in the pop culture lexicon like "Here's looking at you, kid." "Play it once, Sam" and "I have a feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

Honorable Mentions:

"Citizen Kane"

"It's a Wonderful Life"




4. 1950s: "Singin' in The Rain"

For the longest time, James Dean's "Rebel Without a Cause" was my definitive 1950s movie, until I finally saw Gene Kelly's 1952 musical epic co-starring Debbie Reynolds.

This is not just your standard Golden Age Hollywood musical, it's the movie that set the bar for movie musicals period. This was made during a time where actors and actresses could act, sing and dance all at once.

"Singin' in The Rain" showcases some of the most incredible dance numbers and set pieces ever put on film and the movie is still remarkably entertaining over half a century later.

If you've ever seen "La La Land" then you should know that no movie had a greater influence on it than "Singin' in The Rain"

Honorable Mentions:

"Rebel Without a Cause"

"Rear Window"

"North By Northwest"


5. 1960s: "Breathless"

Jean-Luc Godard's groundbreaking classic broke boundaries and conventions with "Breathless" and its filmmaking style is still influential to this day.

What's the plot of this movie? It's pretty much just a guy and a girl wandering around Paris with some things to do but don't really focus on it.

It's a film you have to go into not expecting a cohesive story but a series of interesting filmmaking choices that will make you think.

While I usually don't like movies that are highly experimental to the point of looking pretentious, "Breathless" is still engaging with its dialogue and attractive characters anyway.

Honorable Mentions:

"Lawrence of Arabia"

"A Hard Day's Night"


"2001: A Space Odyssey"

"The Good, The Bad & The Ugly"

"To Kill a Mockingbird"

6. 1970s: "The Godfather"

This is the movie that made me a movie buff in the first place.

Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of Mario Puzo's novel about the fictional organized crime family named The Corleone's is more than a gangster flick, but an epic tale of morality in 20th century America.

It is both rich in its creation of 1940s New York and Italy and intimate with relationships between characters we come to know and love like they're our own family.

The performances by Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone and Al Pacino's breakout performance as his son Michael are about as iconic as it gets in movie history.

The dialogue and one-liners in the movie are too as quotable as it gets.

In other words, if you want to be a movie buff: You are required to watch "The Godfather."

Honorable Mentions:

"The Godfather Part II"

"Star Wars"

"Apocalypse Now"



"Annie Hall"

"The French Connection"

7. 1980s: "The Empire Strikes Back"

The 80s were such a fun time for movies because practical and visual effects were becoming more commonplace.

No movie franchise did that better than the one that set the tone for the 1980s movies with "Star Wars".

While the first Star Wars movie kicked off a new box-office sensation in 1977, "The Empire Strikes Back", it's 1980 sequel, raised the stakes and standard for the franchise that hasn't been matched since.

It's not just another episode of "The Adventures of Luke, Han, and Leia," but the tragic second act of a three-part epic which leads to our heroes hitting rock bottom. And the most compelling part of an epic story is always the tragic part.

"The Empire Strikes Back" redefined what genre and blockbuster movies were capable of doing in storytelling while showcasing iconic characters like Darth Vader and Yoda at their very best.

The twist at the end is so iconic that if you didn't know it already you've probably lived under a rock for your whole life.

So I won't tell you it.

Ok, I will.

Zurg was Buzz Lightyear's father the whole time.

Honorable Mentions:

"Raging Bull"

"Raiders of The Lost Ark"


"Blade Runner"

"Return of The Jedi"

"The Terminator"


"The Shining"

"My Neighbor Totoro"

8. 1990s: "Schinder's List"

There are so many great movies made during the decade I was born in.

However, it's quite tough to put them above a film as heavy and incredible as Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List."

Obviously, this is not the kind of movie you would just put on for family movie night, it's horrific subject matter and emotional toll is heavy enough for just one sitting.

That being said, as bleak as Spielberg's masterpiece is in exploring the Holocaust, it's also an uplifting story of factory boss Oskar Schindler managing to save over 1000 Jews from almost certain death.

What made "Schindler's List" my favorite 90s movie wasn't because I enjoyed it, but because it showed me how moving and powerful film can be.

It's a film that won't make you want to see it again, but it'll make you think a lot about the subjects and will appreciate it greatly.

Honorable Mentions:

"Fight Club"


"Reservoir Dogs"

"Beauty and The Beast"


"The Lion King"

"Pulp Fiction"

"The Shawshank Redemption"


"American History X"

"L.A. Confidential"

"Good Will Hunting"

"Princess Mononoke"

"Toy Story"

"Toy Story 2"

9. 2000s: "Spirited Away"

The only decade in which I lived through its entirety so far, there are so many options to pick and choose from because I was actually around to see these movies come out.

That being said, the unlikely winner for my favorite movie of the Aughts is also my favorite movie of all-time: Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece "Spirited Away."

It's a beautifully animated tale of a family who find themselves in a mysterious part of their new town before the parents turn into pigs after eating forbidden food. Their daughter is now on her own as she deals with hundreds of spirits suddenly arriving and she's forced to work with them to get her parents back and get back home.

The music, the story, and the animation is breathtaking and is simply flawless.

It doesn't matter how old you are, this is a movie you absolutely have to watch or else your life is incomplete.

Honorable Mentions:

"The Lord of The Rings" Trilogy

"The Dark Knight"


"Children of Men"


"District 9"

"Howl's Moving Castle"

"Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban"

"Finding Nemo"

"The Incredible"

10. 2010s: "Get Out"

Even though it only came out last year, my favorite movie of this current decade is Jordan Peele's phenomenal directorial debut "Get Out."

Released during the peak of racial tension during 21st Century America, "Get Out" was a remarkable blend of horror, humor, and social commentary. Our hero Chris, an African-American, visits his white girlfriend's family and his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him takes a sinister turn as he figures out their twisted plans for him.

The overwhelming critical acclaim and popularity for this instant classic took it all the way to the Oscars where it earned nominations for Best Actor, Best Director, Best Picture and winning the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay (aka The Real Best Picture in my opinion.)

As time goes on, "Get Out" will only get better with age one of the definitive pieces of cinema during one of the most tumultuous eras in world history.

Honorable Mentions:

"Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2"

"The Artist"

"Black Panther"

"The Avengers"

"Inside Out"

"Toy Story 3"

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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