During the Mads livestream, they were asked which movie decade they favored… and yeah, the 70s is probably the right answer, not only for the reasons given, but also for what was going in world cinema from Tarkovsky, Fassbinder, Saura, etc.
I thought it might be fun to ask the film buffs here the same question.
What would chose, if you could only select one decade of cinema?
The 1950s gave birth to my favorite movie and my favorite actor (pictured above, with his cat). And while Bunuel, my favorite director’s best work came in the 60s, he still produced some bona fide classics from his Mexican period. Bergman was coming into his own, and Satyajit Ray made his debut in a big way.
It was a strong decade for classic Japanese masters, and in France, the New Wave/Left Bank took its first steps (Resnais Hiroshima Mon Amour is my favorite from that group). There was the rise of Hammer films, the American western was at its peak, and you’re seeing a break from old Hollywood, with directors unafraid to criticize their own industry (Sunset Boulevard)
Then there was 1954, what it might lack in quantity, it makes up for in quality… There’s my #1 Kazan (On The Waterfront), #1 Kurosawa (Seven Samurai) Mizoguchi (Shansho the Bailiff) and Naruse (Sound of the Mountain), my #2 Hitchcock (Rear Window) and my #3 Fellini (La Strada), all that and you get the debut of Godzilla!
Here are a few other favorites that best represent the decade for me.
Best Film: On The Waterfront
Best Short: Night and Fog
Best Actor: Marlon Brando (also Mifune, Stewart)
Best Actress: Maria Schell (also Audrey Hepburn)
Best Director: Alfred Hitchcock (also Kurosawa, Mann)
Best Cinematographer: Kazuo Miyagawa
Best Composer: Bernard Herrmann
That, and the 50s really put you in the sweet spot as far as the filmographies of the movie gods are concerned, for the stuff from Fellini, Bergman, Kurosawa, Ozu, and Hitchcock.
My only reservation about picking the 50s means that you’re juuuuuuuust edging out Bergman’s Faith Trilogy from the 60s (Through a Glass Darkly,Winter Light, and The Silence), and I ADORE those movies.
BUT THEN AGAIN, picking the 60s gets you La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2 from Fellini, Yojimbo and Sanjuro AND High and Low from Kurosawa, Psycho and The Birds and Marnie from Hitch, and Late Autumn from Ozu.
I got hooked on AMC and TCM in my late childhood, so I have a fondness for 1940s-era movies. I also find myself returning to childhood favorites as well. I’m calling 1985-1995 a decade for that reason. I’m not super selective, though.
Geeesh, that’s tough. There’s some really great stuff from the ‘50s and ‘80s, and would probably say the ‘70s were the “best”…
But I gotta go with the 1990s. I love well done action movies, and man, the ‘90s had them. Speed is my favorite action flick of all time, and the ‘90s also had peak Schwarzenegger, so yep, I’m going with that.
It also gave me my beloved Apollo 13 and Jurassic Park.
This is very, very tough. More of my favorite movies are from the forties, so I have to pick that as favorite. I’m with most others, though, in that the decade I think contains the best movies is the seventies.
But also, what was happening in Germany (Lang, Murnau and expressionism like The Cabinet of Dr. Calgary), Russia (Eisenstein, Vertov), France (the French impressionism of Abel Gance), and Sweden (though America would contribute to the end of their golden age by bringing their directors and performers to Hollywood).
There were the other great clowns, Chaplin, Lloyd and Langdon
Classic actors like Gish, Swanson, Pickford, Fairbanks, Garbo, Gilbert, Anna-May Wong… “We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces!” - Sunset Blvd
Instinctively I want to blurt out the 1940s because of my love of film noir, but I can get that just as well from the 1950s plus so many more great films.
In a Lonely Place (1950) Them! (1954) The Night of the Hunter (1955) Wild Strawberries (1957) Twelve Angry Men (1957) Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
But it’s really hard to pass up the New Wave of the 1960s, with Godard at peak in Alphaville and Weekend. And I concur that the 1970s are probably the richest ferment of experimental filmmaking, with so many pioneering works, plus Tarkovsky at the top of his game in Solaris and Stalker.
Oh, and one thing I’ll say in support of the 1930s - The Marx Brothers.
I’ve said this elsewhere, but my western big 3 is Unforgiven, The Searchers and Once Upon and Time in the West.
Throw Shane into that mix somewhere, I adore Shane
Boetticher and Scott did some good westerns in the 50s as well, I liked the Tall T.
And of course, Anthony Mann, who borrowed from his 40s noirs to create his psychological westerns in the 50s (and showed that Jimmy Stewart could be a downright imposing badass if you gave him the opportunity)