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Top Five Single Best Years for American Films

Updated on July 20, 2014

Best Years for the Pictures...

Every year in America a bunch of movies come out and we are left to determine which were the best of that year. But some years are better than others. Some years are revolutionary and provide us with more great films than we know what to do with. The following article examines five of those great years when movies in America were at their best.



1927 was a transformative year for American film. It was the year in which the groundbreaking movie The Jazz Singer introduced America to the concept of movies with sound. The "Talkies" as they were referred to at the time were a bold new step in the American film industry. They gave birth to the way movies are made to this day and they ended the Silent Era of American film that lasted from film's inception in the 1890s until 1927. This year also gave us some of the masterpieces from the waning Silent Era with films such as Wings, Sunrise: A Story of Two Humans, and the German Sci-Fi master film Metropolis. This was also the first year in which the films released were eligible for the first ever Academy Awards held in early 1929. 1927 was truly one for the record books for the pictures.



1939 is largely considered the greatest year ever for movies in America. It was the year audiences were given the cinematic masterpiece Gone with the Wind which wasn't the first film released in color but was definitely the biggest color movie America had seen at that point. In less than 12 years America had gone from hearing actors for the first time to seeing them in vivid color. The Wizard of Oz, a children's classic also in brilliant color, was released that year and it is still considered one of the most of iconic films ever made. The year also gave us timeless classics such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Wuthering Heights, Goodbye Mr Chips, and the groundbreaking John Wayne Western Stagecoach. The year provided many other classics that sat standards for American film for decades to come.



1967 was a groundbreaking year in which American films began to break all the rules and it set standards still followed to this day. The year gave us a breakdown in the Hays Production Code which had governed the content of films in America since 1933. Movies in 1967 challenged and eventually broke that code in every manner with stunning pictures like the sex driven coming-of-age film The Graduate, the race driven crime picture In the Heat of the Night, a story of interracial marriage in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and Bonnie and Clyde, the very violent crime picture that established the concept of the anti-hero in American film. Like with everything else in America film changed a lot in the 1960's and in no year was that more evident than in 1967.



1976 may not be seen as one of the greatest years for film by most critics but it actually contained some of the more groundbreaking films of the 70's. There was Martin Scorsese's hardcore and gut-wrenching movie Taxi Driver in which Robert De Niro gave one of the best performances of his career. There was also the news satire Network which predicted how violent and irresponsible the American news media would become in the future. The most popular film of the year was the inspirational boxing classic Rocky which won the Oscar for Best Picture and the year also gave us other classics such as All the President's Men, The Omen and a popular remake of the film A Star is Born. The 1970s were a frank and realistic time period for movies and 1976 sums all of this up.



1999 was a year that everyone awaited and feared as it was the last year of the 20th century. The year also gave us some of the finest films of the 1990s and ended the century on a high note. There were many psychological films such as the groundbreaking Sci-fi movie The Matrix which changed film forever with its visual effects and mind-blowing concept as well as the controversial David Fincher film Fight Club which became a cult classic with the many twists and turns in its plot. The year gave us huge blockbusters such as Toy Story 2, The Sixth Sense, and the return of Star Wars with the prequel film Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Angry men were portrayed in films such as the aforementioned Fight Club, Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead, and the Best Picture winner American Beauty. It was clearly a year filled with the best film has to offer.


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    • kotobukijake profile image


      4 years ago

      It's interesting to see which years really got the lion's share of great cinema, and I'd say you've done a pretty good job of noting them. I'd be tempted to say that 1957 should join the cut, but most of the iconic films of that year were foreign (the British film The Bridge on the River Kwai, the Japanese film Throne of Blood, the Swedish films Wild Strawberries and The Seventh Seal)--the year did, however yield 12 Angry Men, and is almost worth including for that alone. I'd also note, for starters, 1987 (Raising Arizona, The Princess Bride, Good Morning, Vietnam, Full Metal Jacket), 1994 (Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump, The Hudsucker Proxy, Quiz Show, Bullets Over Broadway, The Lion King, Maverick), 1995 (Se7en, The Usual Suspects, Dead Man Walking, Braveheart, Twelve Monkeys, Mighty Aphrodite, Toy Story), and 2000 (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Chocolat, Traffic, Gladiator, State and Main, Requiem for a Dream, Shadow of the Vampire). Many of those are not iconic films, I admit, but to me they all contribute to those being standout years, and I think you'd be hard-pressed to deny that most people would agree with 1994 making the cut. Also, some great films missed the cut in your justifications for each year; let's not forget that 1999 also gave us Sweet and Lowdown, The Cider House Rules and Boys Don't Cry. Anyway, this was an enjoyable hub, and further evidence that I REALLY need to see Network.

    • snerfu profile image

      Vivian Sudhir 

      4 years ago from Madurai, India

      Movies form the back bone of entertainment. It is good to read about their formation and how they new ones continue to enthrall us.


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