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. 800 new

    Back to the Future

    1985, in 23 top lists Check
  2. 678 new

    Star Wars

    1977 — a.k.a. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, in 36 top lists Check
  3. 925 new

    Jurassic Park

    1993, in 23 top lists Check
  4. 723 new

    Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

    1980, in 23 top lists Check
  5. 891 new

    The Silence of the Lambs

    1991, in 32 top lists Check
  6. 882 new

    Home Alone

    1990, in 5 top lists Check
  7. 755 new

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

    1982, in 27 top lists Check
  8. 726 new

    The Shining

    1980, in 26 top lists Check
  9. 600 new

    The Godfather

    1972, in 38 top lists Check
  10. 739 new

    Raiders of the Lost Ark

    1981, in 26 top lists Check
  11. 910 new

    Reservoir Dogs

    1992, in 24 top lists Check
  12. 645 new

    Jaws

    1975, in 26 top lists Check
  13. 926 new

    Schindler's List

    1993, in 31 top lists Check
  14. 868 new

    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

    1989, in 13 top lists Check
  15. 591 new

    A Clockwork Orange

    1971, in 33 top lists Check
  16. 710 new

    Alien

    1979, in 27 top lists Check
  17. 785 new

    Ghostbusters

    1984, in 13 top lists Check
  18. 927 new

    Groundhog Day

    1993, in 18 top lists Check
  19. 883 new

    Edward Scissorhands

    1990, in 8 top lists Check
  20. 648 new

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    1975, in 33 top lists Check
  21. 888 new

    Goodfellas

    1990, in 29 top lists Check
  22. 629 new

    The Godfather: Part II

    1974, in 27 top lists Check
  23. 407 new

    Psycho

    1960, in 37 top lists Check
  24. 748 new

    Blade Runner

    1982, in 31 top lists Check
  25. 672 new

    Rocky

    1976, in 19 top lists Check
  26. 662 new

    Taxi Driver

    1976, in 32 top lists Check
  27. 867 new

    Batman

    1989, in 9 top lists Check
  28. 530 new

    2001: A Space Odyssey

    1968, in 42 top lists Check
  29. 835 new

    Full Metal Jacket

    1987, in 17 top lists Check
  30. 611 new

    The Exorcist

    1973, in 25 top lists Check
  31. 818 new

    Aliens

    1986, in 20 top lists Check
  32. 11 new

    Pinocchio

    1940, in 15 top lists Check
  33. 770 new

    Scarface

    1983, in 17 top lists Check
  34. 790 new

    Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

    1984, in 8 top lists Check
  35. 702 new

    Apocalypse Now

    1979, in 37 top lists Check
  36. 848 new

    Who Framed Roger Rabbit

    1988, in 15 top lists Check
  37. 855 new

    Rain Man

    1988, in 14 top lists Check
  38. 841 new

    The Princess Bride

    1987, in 18 top lists Check
  39. 49 new

    Casablanca

    1942, in 36 top lists Check
  40. 908 new

    Batman Returns

    1992, in 7 top lists Check
  41. 12 new

    Fantasia

    1940, in 19 top lists Check
  42. 866 new

    Dead Poets Society

    1989, in 10 top lists Check
  43. 354 new

    12 Angry Men

    1957, in 28 top lists Check
  44. 485 new

    The Sound of Music

    1965, in 21 top lists Check
  45. 475 new

    Mary Poppins

    1964, in 14 top lists Check
  46. 469 new

    Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop...

    1964, in 33 top lists Check
  47. 445 new

    To Kill a Mockingbird

    1962, in 19 top lists Check
  48. 18 new

    Citizen Kane

    1941, in 36 top lists Check
  49. 112 new

    It's a Wonderful Life

    1946, in 29 top lists Check
  50. 721 new

    Airplane!

    1980, in 13 top lists Check