50 Years of American Cinema

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Created by Fidelio.

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Since its first publication in the early sixties and over various updates, "50 ans de cinéma américain" has become the Holy Book of most french cinephiles. Initially published by Jean-Pierre Coursodon and Yves Boisset (with Bertrand Tavernier writing some unsigned articles) as an opuscule called "20 ans de cinéma américain", the book has been totally restructured by Coursodon and Tavernier in the early seventies as "30 ans de cinéma américain", then in 1991 as "50 ans de cinéma américain" and finally updated - for the time being - in 1995.
Due to its form and long sedimentation, division into many sections and the piling up of informations over the years, none list here can really do justice to this book. The highlight and largest section of the book is indisputably the "Dictionary of filmmakers" in which the authors virtually discuss the whole filmographies of more than 250 american directors (this part can't be materialized into a list).
The present list focuses on the first part of the book, a timeline between 1939 and 1993 including the most important and noteworthy movies of each year ("works"). Please note that this section also includes other comments ("facts" and "talents") impossible to transpose here.
The two authors bring up the unmissable masterpieces and commercial triumphs but also a lot of personal picks from overlooked directors or victims of the blacklist (residue of their early years as fervent publicists). They deliberately include some turkeys ("le coin du nanar") and obscurities ("à redécouvrir"), with a strong attention to short features (mainly cartoons).

I hope this list, despite its flaws and restriction to american movies, could be of some utility to ICM users and bring to light which is my favorite book about movies (along with the "Dictionary of Films" from Jacques Lourcelles).
The authors are currently working on a definitive edition of their book - presumably entitled "100 ans de cinéma américain" - that will considerably enlarge the scope, starting from 1914 and to likely reach 2014. Needless to say that most of the previously summoned french cinephiles are awaiting for this like men of God were devotedly expecting the Parousia back in the days.


Missing : "Seven lively arts" (John Hubley, 1959) ???

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  1. 1 new

    The Great McGinty

    1940, in 4 top lists Check
  2. 2 new

    Remember the Night

    1940, in 1 top list Check
  3. 3 new

    Arise, My Love

    1940, in 1 top list Check
  4. 4 new

    The Grapes of Wrath

    1940, in 21 top lists Check
  5. 5 new

    The Long Voyage Home

    1940, in 3 top lists Check
  6. 6 new

    The Sea Hawk

    1940, in 2 top lists Check
  7. 7 new

    The Westerner

    1940, in 0 top lists Check
  8. 8 new

    The Letter

    1940, in 6 top lists Check
  9. 9 new

    The Great Dictator

    1940, in 26 top lists Check
  10. 10 new

    His Girl Friday

    1940, in 19 top lists Check
  11. 11 new

    Pinocchio

    1940, in 15 top lists Check
  12. 12 new

    Fantasia

    1940, in 19 top lists Check
  13. 13 new

    The Shop Around the Corner

    1940, in 13 top lists Check
  14. 14 new

    Turnabout

    1940, in 0 top lists Check
  15. 15 new

    A Wild Hare

    1940, in 0 top lists Check
  16. 16 new

    Knock Knock

    1940, in 0 top lists Check
  17. 17 new

    You Ought to Be in Pictures

    1940, in 1 top list Check
  18. 18 new

    Citizen Kane

    1941, in 36 top lists Check
  19. 19 new

    The Little Foxes

    1941, in 6 top lists Check
  20. 20 new

    The Maltese Falcon

    1941, in 25 top lists Check
  21. 21 new

    Meet John Doe

    1941, in 3 top lists Check
  22. 22 new

    Sergeant York

    1941, in 7 top lists Check
  23. 23 new

    How Green Was My Valley

    1941, in 11 top lists Check
  24. 24 new

    The Sea Wolf

    1941, in 1 top list Check
  25. 25 new

    The Lady Eve

    1941, in 18 top lists Check
  26. 26 new

    Sullivan's Travels

    1941, in 24 top lists Check
  27. 27 new

    Man Hunt

    1941, in 4 top lists Check
  28. 28 new

    High Sierra

    1941, in 6 top lists Check
  29. 29 new

    Suspicion

    1941, in 4 top lists Check
  30. 30 new

    The Shanghai Gesture

    1941, in 2 top lists Check
  31. 31 new

    Among the Living

    1941, in 1 top list Check
  32. 32 new

    The Face Behind the Mask

    1941, in 1 top list Check
  33. 33 new

    Chef Donald

    1941, in 0 top lists Check
  34. 34 new

    The Trial of Mr. Wolf

    1941, in 0 top lists Check
  35. 35 new

    The Magnificent Ambersons

    1942, in 13 top lists Check
  36. 36 new

    Mrs. Miniver

    1942, in 9 top lists Check
  37. 37 new

    Woman of the Year

    1942, in 7 top lists Check
  38. 38 new

    The Black Swan

    1942, in 2 top lists Check
  39. 39 new

    Wake Island

    1942, in 1 top list Check
  40. 40 new

    The Major and the Minor

    1942, in 1 top list Check
  41. 41 new

    Gentleman Jim

    1942, in 3 top lists Check
  42. 42 new

    To Be or Not to Be

    1942, in 21 top lists Check
  43. 43 new

    Yankee Doodle Dandy

    1942, in 12 top lists Check
  44. 44 new

    Cat People

    1942, in 13 top lists Check
  45. 45 new

    Keeper of the Flame

    1943, in 0 top lists Check
  46. 46 new

    Native Land

    1942, in 2 top lists Check
  47. 47 new

    The Affairs of Jimmy Valentine

    1942, in 0 top lists Check
  48. 48 new

    Blitz Wolf

    1942, in 1 top list Check
  49. 49 new

    Casablanca

    1942, in 36 top lists Check
  50. 50 new

    Shadow of a Doubt

    1943, in 11 top lists Check