The Greatest Decade for Film?

The Greatest Decade for Film? The Greatest Decade for Film?

Research reveals the greatest decade for comic book films and films overall! Behold the history of film reviewed and evaluated and add your opinions!

Editorial Opinion
By MassExecutions - Jan 02, 2011 11:01 AM EST
Filed Under: Action
Source: The Mind of Mass Executions

And so it began…

So the other day I was in this most esteemed website’s chat room when I offhandedly commented that the 80’s was not a good decade for movies, especially outside of comedies. I did not realize what I was starting.
Furor erupted! “Heresy!” they screamed! I had no idea people felt so strongly about it! They listed some good movies. Could I be so wrong? WAS the 80’s a good decade for film? And that leads to a bigger question, what is the GREATEST decade for film? I had to find out!

Interlude for the Important Stuff: Comic Book Movies!

First, let’s take a moment to address the most pertinent question: what was the greatest decade for COMIC BOOK movies? I welcome argument, but I think this one is obvious.

Sorry, 70’s and 80’s. I know you tired, but even when the source material was taken seriously, the technical side just wasn’t ready yet. So despite Superman (1978), multiple made for TV Hulk’s, and Batman (1989), I just can’t hand either of you the title.

Ah, the 90’s. While you saw the decline of Batman, you hinted at greater things to come with the likes of The Rocketeer (1991), The Crow (1994), Men in Black (1997), Spawn (1997), and Blade (1998). Still, we weren’t quite there yet…
Enter the new Millennium! Wow, what a great time to be a comic book fan. From X-Men (2000) to Watchmen (2009), it was the first real decade to do the genre justice. With gems as diverse as The Dark Knight (2008), Road to Perdition (2002), Spider-Man 2 (2004), Sin City (2005), and 300 (2007), just to mention a few, the 00’s have definitely been the greatest decade for comic book movies.

Will the 10’s be better yet? While everyone (at least on this site) might argue over each films overall quality, I’m betting everybody enjoyed at least one of this years offerings. In live action we got Iron Man 2, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, The Losers, RED, and Kick-Ass. In animation we got Planet Hulk, Batman: Under the Red Hood, Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths, and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. Looking forward to the rest of the decade, we already know we’ve got Thor, Captain America, Green Lantern, and the Avengers on the way. I think it will give the 00’s a run for their money. Now, let’s take a look at…

Film Overall!

The Method: I’m a big stickler for objectivity…except when I already know that my opinion is the only one that matters…which is usually the case…but not this time! This time I’m going to get all mathy and sciencey on it! If there is anything I love besides comics and movies, it’s a good spreadsheet! (Man…I am such a nerd. Moving on!) But how does one try to objectively determine something so subjective as the quality of films in a given decade? Well, here’s what I did.

First, I pulled a whole bunch of lists of the top films of all time. Specifically:
(((IMDb Top 250)))
(((All-Time 100 Movies)))
(((The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made)))
(((Rotten Tomatoes: Top Movies)))
(((AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies)))
(((They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They?)))
(((AMC Filmsite Top Films of All-Time)))

Then I took each list and determined what percentage of movies on it came from each decade. Then I averaged each decade’s percentage across all the lists, and ranked the movies by this percentage. I also ranked each list individually and determined the average rank and median rank, and sorted them that way. Did you follow all that statistical mumbo jumbo? Doesn’t matter! Just trust me. I think its pretty darn objective. What I’m really figuring out is what decade produced the highest number of great movies. Before we get to the results, let’s look at…

The Contenders: Now, unfortunately several of the above lists were created in the midst of the 00’s, so I really couldn’t analyze this most recent decade. I know, I know, but hey, we already gave the 00’s the award for best comic book decade, right? Besides, we’re still a little to close to the subject. We need some time to digest. You’d be shock at how many classics were panned at the time. So let’s look at what we’ve got left, starting with…

The 20’s!

Yeah, probably only one of our CBM member remembers seeing them in theaters *Cough*Gusto!*Cough*, but the early days of cinema produced some great films including Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid (1921), the science fiction masterpiece Metropolis (1927), and the horror classic Nosferatu (1922). The 20’s had influence and quality, just not quantity. Things were just getting started. So we move on too…

The 30’s!

Nothing like a depression to get the creative juices flowing! A decade that opened with All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) and King Kong (1933) and ended with The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Gone with the Wind (1939) has a lot to say for itself, especially when the middle is full of the Marx Brothers and Frankenstein films. Once again, high quality, but perhaps not enough quantity to make it rise to the top. So what about…

The 40’s!

What’s that? A Great Depression not enough for you? How about a World War? That’ll get ya’ The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Citizen Kane (1942), Casablanca (1942), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) and whole bunch of screwball comedies. Now were rolling! So let’s see what happens in…

The 50’s!

Okay, we’re in the Cold War, but things are going pretty well. As a matter of fact, we’ve got a ton of money to throw at movies. Let’s see what we can get. Drama? How about A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), On the Waterfront (1954) and 12 Angry Men (1957)? Comedy? See if you can get a laugh out of Harvey (1950) and Some Like it Hot (1959). Sci-Fi? Marvel at The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and The Fly (1958)! Adventure? We got The African Queen (1952), Seven Samurai (1954), and Ben-Hur (1959). You wanna talk about Westerns? War movies? Musicals? Suspense movies with Hitchcock?!? TOUGH! We ain’t got that kinda time! It’s already…

The 60’s!

Wow, nothing like a prior decade of peace (nobody remembers the Korean War) and prosperity to make the kids go absolutely crazy with the drugs and free love and what not. What have we got in this grab bag? Just such gold as Psycho (1960), Spartacus (1960), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963)! Um, sorry…personal favorite. Also, to Kill a Mockingbird (1962), Dr. Strangelove (1964), The Sound of Music (1965), Cool Hand Luke (1967) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), and a bunch of fantastic, if long, Eastwood westerns, among other things! And the madness continues with…

The 70’s!

Hey! Check it out! Some of you readers may actually be born before long! You’re coming in with such greats as Patton (1970), A Clockwork Orange (1971), and The Godfather (1972)! Hey, there’s Sleuth (1972) and The Sting (1973)! Didn’t see that twist coming, did you? You were probably too scared by the Exorcist (1973) and Jaws (1975)! Chinatown (1974) and Taxi Driver (1976) keep it gritty while Star Wars (1977) is like nothing else! Yeah, to bad the Vietnam War sucked, but at least we got The Deer Hunter (1978) and Apocalypse Now (1979). I know what you’re thinking: Star Wars? End of discussion. That’s the answer. But we’ve still got the decade that sparked the whole debate…

The 80’s!

Where a lot of us spent our childhood. So, what made me question this decade? NOT the films I am about to address. It was all the other crap. To repeat, it was not Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Blade Runner (1982), Aliens (1986), or Die Hard (1988). Definitely not those. You also got Raging Bull (1980) E. T. (1982), and Platoon (1986). As a side note, there was a huge amount of diversity between the different lists when it came to the 80’s. Many films only appear on one list and none of the others. I guess it was a time of transition and confusion before the last decade we have enough data on…

The 90’s!

Now, I’ve heard a lot of people talk trash about the 90’s, but I think it’s our familiarity with it that makes it happen. Nobody sorted this decade out for most of us. We watched stuff ourselves as it hit the theaters, so we saw the good and the bad. Don’t let that bad stuff make you forget that the 90’s started with Goodfellas (1990) and ended with The Matrix (1999). Between those you managed to get the suspense of The Silence of the Lambs (1991), the drama of Schindler’s List (1993) and The Shawshank Redemption (1994), and the madness of Pulp Fiction (1994). The 90’s also managed to pull off a great western in Unforgiven (1992), a great war movie in Saving Private Ryan (1998), and a new era in animation with Toy Story.

The Result: We’ve looked at the contenders, sorted the lists, we’ve run the numbers, and the winner is…
The 50’s!

Here are the full results:

Decade - Average Percent - Rank
50 ------------ 17.21% ---------- 1
60 ------------ 15.24% ---------- 2
70 ------------ 13.89% ---------- 3
40 ------------ 13.49% ---------- 4
80 ------------ 13.19% ---------- 5
90 ------------ 12.62% ---------- 6
30 ------------ 10.82% ---------- 7
20 -------------- 3.55% ---------- 8

By the way, no matter how you sliced it, 50’s was on top. The median and average rank sure helped the 80’s thought! Now if only people could agree more on which movies were the good ones.

Decade - Median Rank - Decade - Average Rank
50 -------------- 2 ----------- 50 ----------- 2.29
60 -------------- 3 ----------- 60 ----------- 3.29
80 -------------- 3 ----------- 80 ----------- 3.29
70 -------------- 4 ----------- 40 ----------- 3.86
40 -------------- 5 ----------- 70 ----------- 4.29
90 -------------- 6 ----------- 90 ----------- 4.29
30 -------------- 6 ----------- 30 ----------- 5.43
20 -------------- 8 ----------- 20 ----------- 8.00

Once again, I know what you’re thinking: Your favorite movies aren’t from the 50’s are they? Mine aren’t either. Well, that’s okay. Remember, we’re just talking about the decade with the most movies that people can agree are really great. I’d say two takeaways from this little study are as follows:

1) If you haven’t seen some of the great older movies listed above, you probably should. A lot of good stuff was made before most of us started going to the theaters. That list up there for the 50’s is really pretty impressive.
2) As time goes on opinions change. On IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes the 80’s made it into the top three!

So just keep getting people to watch the movies YOU know are good, and who knows what this list might look like in another decade? The greatness you see may finally be recognized by others!

Thanks for reading! Cast your vote for the greatest decade below!
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MassExecutions - 1/2/2011, 11:43 AM
A huge shout out to Hawksblueyes for helping me get this article cleaned up and adding the pictures! Thanks for reading!
golden123 - 1/2/2011, 12:09 PM
Most people are going to play favorite for the decade there most familiar with(80's, 90's, 00's). Me, I'm not a big movie person so I won't vote.
Hawksblueyes - 1/2/2011, 1:14 PM
Great stuff Mass, you did your research for this one.
marvel72 - 1/2/2011, 1:22 PM
its got to be either the 70s or 80s for me.


the godfather
star wars
the exorcist
apocalypse now
taxi driver
the french connection
the deer hunter
close encounters of a third kind
the godfather part 2
superman the movie
all the presidents men
blazing saddles


the empire strikes back
return of the jedi
the thing
the terminator
the goonies
raiders of the lost ark
raging bull
blade runner
die hard
full metal jacket
first blood
escape from new york
back to the future
planes,trains & automobiles
nightmare on elm st
ferris beuller's day off
cpmac04 - 1/2/2011, 1:22 PM
i love this article. its so tough to say which decade was the best for film making. i love all the classics you gave nods to and have recently really taken interest in the great things they did to influence all the movies and ideas i have enjoyed throughout the 80's 90's and 00's. James from does an excellent job showing the correlation from new directors and the use of ideas from those old classics. so for me to vote would be me trying to go forget the hundreds of movies ive seen and pick major landmark movies in each decade. sorry but i cant vote brother, but i do love that you took the time and did this article!
Destroyer14 - 1/2/2011, 1:28 PM
Not only was the 2000's the best decade for comic book movies, it was also a great decade for movies in general.

Spider-Man 3
Godzilla: Final Wars
The Dark Knight
The Bourne Ultimatum

Those are just a few of the many great films of the past decade.
cpmac04 - 1/2/2011, 1:31 PM
ahahaha Cloverfield? Godzilla what?..... the Dark Knight yes, Spider-Man 3 there were some great moments in the midst of the worst film of the trilogy but my friend i hope you didnt just base your vote of the 00's because of those 4
LEEE777 - 1/2/2011, 1:33 PM
Whaoh MASS & HAWKS awesome article!!!

I'd say 80's through to now lol!

Theres good and bad through them all.

Oh yeah, one of the best cbm's ever made was made in '78 SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE!

(Yeah, I'm only talking comic book movies here lol or I'd be here all day! : P)

LEEE777 - 1/2/2011, 1:34 PM
P.S. Haha Gusto! : P
Destroyer14 - 1/2/2011, 1:36 PM
Godzilla happens to be one of the best franchises of all time. @cpmac04 Here are a few more.

Alien vs. Predator
Godzilla 2000
War of the Worlds
The Matrix Revolutions
cpmac04 - 1/2/2011, 1:42 PM
i dont disagree with you that godzilla isnt a great franchise but if i was going to pick a decade to remember godzilla id go with the time it started (50's). And wow... AVP? it all but punched the original predator movies in the face, if anything go with the newer Predators movie. War of the Worlds was a remake. Now if you said that you picked these because of all the new graphics and such, i might say ok. but even matrix was started in the 90's. none of these are ideas from the 00's
6of13 - 1/2/2011, 1:46 PM
Great article and lots of hard work researching the subject.
Has "The Fly" been remade yet again? Just asking 'cos if it hasn't, then I would not be surprised if Hollywood did just that.
Angelus - 1/2/2011, 1:47 PM
Shawshank is my personal favorite. Casablanca follows!

cpmac04 - 1/2/2011, 1:49 PM
if you mean the original fly then yes. it had sequels and then there was the remake in the 80's with jeff goldblum which kind of sucks compared to the story of the original but has some stellar special effects for its time. and actually there were sequels of that one too. so theres plenty of FLY movies out there
cpmac04 - 1/2/2011, 1:50 PM
PS not to mention Baxter Stockman from the TMNT cartoons is a direct replica :D
Hawksblueyes - 1/2/2011, 2:18 PM
itbegins: That would be my fault since I created the POLL for the article. I wish you would have held off from voting as I have now added the 80's. My mistake and thanks for pointing it out.
superbatspiderman - 1/2/2011, 2:23 PM
All of the decades have had there share of good movies so this is hard to choice. I would probably have to go with the 80s though that decade had some pretty good films.
6of13 - 1/2/2011, 2:29 PM
00 = The naughties

I have seen the Jeff Goldblum version and its sequel.

I think you could also put Jurassic Park (1993?) on the list because it really elavated the believability of CGI characters.

And The Godfather and its sequel are gems, however I don't doubt that someone somewhere in Hollywood has thought about remaking those movies.
cpmac04 - 1/2/2011, 2:43 PM
Gaston @ i couldnt agree with you more. the new bond films are nothing more than a new series of action movies that just happen to have a character also named james bond. i need sean and roger and pierce as my 007.
Hawksblueyes - 1/2/2011, 2:45 PM
Just because the cinematography or graphics are updated and the film looks better, doesn't by any means, insure that it is better. Some remakes are fantastic and just as good as the original but being different doesn't make it better.
LEEE777 - 1/2/2011, 2:51 PM
Damn @ Hawks, I'm gonna haveta vote 80's now just to up the votes for that one by one lol, yeah ain't voted yet but cbm's aside Commando, Predator, Cobra, Terminator, Aliens, Abyss, etc etc all [frick]ing epic movies!

cpmac04 - 1/2/2011, 3:04 PM
i went ahead and voted 80's for nostalgic purposes. Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Beastmaster, classic John Hughes films, Beverly Hill Cop, the best christmas movie ever... A Christmas Story,ALL the great slasher flicks that keep getting remade and destroyed by hollywood (aside from rob zombies halloween)Beetlejuice!!!! i could go on forever. i just wanna throw one more because i love it so much Coming to America! so great
fullmetal - 1/2/2011, 3:06 PM
anybody who says the 2000's clearly has no idea what true film history is! saying the 2000's is like saying rock music is the best in the 2000's, when contemporary rock sucks ass and a true music lover knows the rock music of the 50's and 60's is what defined the sound!! there are some great movies in the 2000's but the ratio for every good movie out of bad ones for me is like 2/10. for every 2 good movies there are 8 horrible ones. a lot of contemporary films suck!!! i took 3 film history classes in college and i think the 40's, 50's and 70's were the best. The 60's had a lot of weird narratives, very peculiar stuff like "midnight cowboy" and "the graduate." when the moral production code was enforced, film makers were forced to be creative in the 40's and 50's and this generated a lot of brilliant stuff. This is why the 60's were kinda wacky for me because as soon as the code was thrown out, sex and violence was just done for shock value. in the 70's theY got it right and used the sex and violence better, making films like "godfather" and "serpico" as far as science fiction though, NO ONE CAN DENY THAT THE 80'S RULED!!!! plus the teen comedies of the 80's were awesome! everything these "superbad" hacks try to do but fail at miserably...
fullmetal - 1/2/2011, 3:14 PM
@cpmac04 John Hughs!!!! Hell Yeah!! His films relate to every young person no matter what era!! You're the man for mentioning him. The Brat Pack yo!!
fullmetal - 1/2/2011, 3:18 PM
@ brazilibatman gotta disagree strongly. what kind of assessment is that? Just because a film is remade /new doesn't mean its better than the CLASSICS!! You want me to say it?!! BATMAN 1989 TAKES A FAT DUMP OF THE DARK KNIGHT!!!
Destroyer14 - 1/2/2011, 4:24 PM
@cpmac04 Alright, yet another list.

Terminator Salvation
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Gamera the Brave
Jurassic Park 3
Turtles Forever
KatanaHero - 1/2/2011, 5:00 PM
The 50's was not a good year for films, at least for the studios. They were forced to dismantle the monopolies they made in the 30's and 40's, and were under the strictest production code ever seen in film history. Why? Because this was the era of McCarthyism, the Communist witch hunts. You couldn't have anything that spoke out against anything for fear you would be blacklisted.
TheDetectiveComicRises - 1/2/2011, 5:05 PM
brazilianbatman I agree I take The Dark Knight as my top pic, I must say Batman Begins is another great one :)
LEEE777 - 1/2/2011, 5:09 PM
WATCHMEN beats both Dark Knights (Begins) but I don't know if it beats Superman: The movie!?

And yes Burton's BATMAN also up there with the greats!

(Damn, ALL DC haha)
Destroyer14 - 1/2/2011, 5:12 PM
@brazilianbatman Far from it.
tazmaniak - 1/2/2011, 5:18 PM
I would pick the 2000s.Some notable films for me are:

Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Spider-Man 2
The Dark Knight
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Mystic River
Pan's Labyrinth
There Will Be Blood
Mulholland Dr.
Children Of Men
Spirited Away
Gangs of New York
Inglourious Basterds
Brotherhood of the Wolf
Kill Bill
Donnie Darko
Monster's Ball
A History of Violence
cpmac04 - 1/2/2011, 6:49 PM
@ Destroyer... theres no way you are serious anymore. i refuse to believe it.

and @tazmaniak you have good movies but i think what is going on here is different than what you have compiled. you just picked good movies from the 2000's. the article is talking about the best decade for movies. meaning what decade had the best films that define its era. i love old boy and brotherhood of the wolf and pans labyrinth and many others you noted but when it comes down to it, in another decade someone will ask again what decade had the best films and i highly doubt someone is going to say that monsters ball or children of men defined the 2000's. make sense at all?
Destroyer14 - 1/2/2011, 7:07 PM
@cpmac04 Really, I just think those movies are great.
havoc9987 - 1/3/2011, 5:56 AM
I think the greatest decade for CBM is upon us now, 2000 to 2010 was great but the best is yet to come.
MassExecutions - 1/3/2011, 6:36 AM
Thanks for all the feed back and discussion, guys!

Double thanks to Hawks again for helping me get this done!

@itbegins2005 - Would you believe the The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari made not one single list? You are right to mention it, though.

Personally, I might have to pick the 60's, just because I am a huge Steve McQueen fan. The 80's is a fantastic decade for sci-fi, just because it produce Aliens and Predator, two of my favorite movies of all time. It its just that lots of other movies from the 80's (straight drama's mostly) I remember absolutely hating. This research has made me reconsider my position, but I still think the 80's had a lot of bad movies.
marvel72 - 1/3/2011, 6:59 AM
at the moment the voting looks like this.


sorry but films that come out in the last ten years can't even be put in the same catagory as the classic's from the 70's & 80's.

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