1975-1976: The Best Two-Year Period in Movie History?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Colin Jacobson, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    Everyone applauds 1939 for its 10 renowned Best Picture possibles. However, look at the 10 Oscar Best Picture nominees from 1975-1976:

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
    Jaws
    Barry Lyndon
    Dog Day Afternoon
    Nashville
    Network
    All the President's Men
    Bound for Glory
    Taxi Driver
    Rocky

    Can any two-year period equal or top 1975-1976 for great films?
     
  2. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    I'm not certain I'd be willing to go with the Oscar nominations as the determinant of best films of a period.

    While there will never be agreement, if I had to pick a 2 year period it would probably be 1959-1960:

    North by Northwest
    Some Like It Hot
    Psycho
    The Apartment
    Ben-Hur
    The 400 Blows
    Anatomy of a Murder
    Floating Weeds
    La Dolce Vita
    Spartacus
    Pillow Talk
    The Magnificent Seven

    but you could surely list a number of great films from any 2 year period.
     
  3. rich_d

    rich_d Cinematographer

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    True, any two year period will get a pretty decent list of films. Plus two years seems kind of arbitrary.

    For one year period, I must admit a certain fondness for 1974 which includes:

    Chinatown
    The Conversation
    The Godfather - Part II
    Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
    A Woman Under the Influence
    The Front Page
    Profumo di donna (Scent of a Woman)
    Young Frankenstein
    Blazing Saddles
    Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
    The Great Gatsby
    Murder on the Orient Express
    The Man With The Golden Gun
    Amarcord (technically 1973 but released in the states in 1974)
    Harry and Tonto
    Lenny
    The Longest Yard
    The Parallax View
    The Sugerland Express
     
  4. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    François Truffaut, Yasujiro Ozu and Federico Fellini!

    Brook, how did you mange to post using George’s ID?
     
  5. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Lew,

    For this particular exercise it seemed more appropriate to list 'concensus great' films, rather than my 'personal opinion great' films, though of course there is a lot of overlap. I was trying to be more in the spirit of the "best" period in movie history, rather than my personal favorite. On that basis, it would be either 1967-1968 or 1941-1942.
     
  6. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I too think that you could come up with an equally impressive list from any 2-year period, but I think George's pick is great. Personally, I'm not a very big fan of 70s cinema.

    Here is one of my favorite periods. And these are just some of the films that I own from this period. I'm sure with a more detailed search, you could find many, many more from this same 2 year stretch.

    1954-1955

    On the Waterfront
    Rear Window
    Sabrina
    Seven Samurai
    A Star is Born
    Them!
    East of Eden
    Bad Day at Black Rock
    Blackboard Jungle
    Guys & Dolls
    Marty
    Mister Roberts
    Night of the Hunter
    Rebel Without a Cause
    The Seven Year Itch
    To Catch a Thief
    The Trouble With Harry
     
  7. BrettGallman

    BrettGallman Screenwriter

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    I would have to go with '77-'78 as my favorite.

    Star Wars
    Superman
    The Hills Have Eyes
    Dawn of the Dead
    Halloween
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind
    Suspiria

    It seems like a lot of my favorites came out during those two years. In fact, Star Wars and Superman are my two favorite movies of all time. It was a good couple of years for horror movies too.
     
  8. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    This is a great thread idea BTW, but man its hard to say which year span I prefer??? Just right off the bat I would say 1996-1997 that gave me 2 of my favorite films, Titanic and Jerry Maguire. Those aren't my #1 films but their in the top 5 and top 10...

    Need to give this one more thought and might have to edit this post too. [​IMG]

    Again, cool thread Colin! [​IMG]
     
  9. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    I went with 1975-76 because of the concept that the Oscars theoretically represent the cream of the crop. If the 10 films from those two years are better than the 10 nominees from any other two years, then it's not a stretch to see those two years as the best.

    I know this is an imperfect concept since it assumes consistency on the part of the Academy, but that's where I drew my comparison. The 10 Oscar nominees from 1975-76 can't be topped, and I'd take that as an indication that those two years were at or near the top of the heap...
     
  10. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    Except that they do make films outside the United States.

    1957

    The Seventh Seal
    Wild Strawberries
    Throne of Blood
    Nights of Cabiria
    Paths of Glory
    La Notti Bianche
    Bridge on the River Kwai
    12 Angry Men
    Birds Anonymous
    The Cranes are Flying


    Then I'll add 1958 just for:

    Mon Oncle
    The Big Country
    Vertigo


    That's not even mentioning well regarded films like Tokyo Twilight, Equinox Flower, Il Grido, Kanal, Night of the Demon, The Hidden Fortress, The Tin Star, Heaven Knows Mr. Allison, Pyaasa & The Devil Strikes at Night.

    But you could do this for most year combinations if you've seen enough film. If you want to change your thread title and only take the Oscars into consideration, maybe you have an argument. I'm not up enough on what was nominated every year to know.
     
  11. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    I think it has a lot more to do with the fact that during the early to mid 70s, the Oscars were getting it right a lot. Historically they have been very hit and miss. I'm not sure I agree that 75-76 was the best year even for Oscar nominees (I personally don't care for a number of those films), but even if it were it would mean it's the best year for Oscars' taste, not the best year of movies.

    I mean consider some of the films that the Oscars have considered among the 5 best in the year they were released (along with a film that wasn't considered one of the 5 best):

    Doctor Dolittle (instead of Cool Hand Luke)
    Gigi (instead of Vertigo)
    The Turning Point (instead of Close Encounters)
    Peyton Place (instead of the Seventh Seal)
    Love is a Many Splendored Thing (instead of Bad Day at Black Rock)
    Cleopatra (instead of Charade)
    The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming (instead of the Good, the Bad & the Ugly)
    Oliver! (instead of 2001)
    Out of Africa (instead of Back to the Future)
    Working Girl (instead of Who Framed Roger Rabbit)
    The Prince of Tides (instead of Terminator 2)

    etc., etc., etc.

    Some of those may have been good movies (not in my opinion), but it's hard to think that many people nowadays would consider them among the best 5 of their year.
     
  12. Mike.B

    Mike.B Stunt Coordinator

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    I wholeheartedly agree with this. What a phenomenal year. Includes 3 films in my top 20 of all-time (the first three on the list: Chinatown, The Conversation, The Godfather Part II) plus a number of other great movies. [​IMG]
     
  13. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    While I agree with most of your selections (as opposed to those nominated), it is important to remember the nomination process—at least as it exists today.

    Current rules almost guarantee that (from many individuals perspective), deserving movies will not be nominated, and inferior ones will be selected.

    I admit that I can’t remember if the nomination process was similar to today’s in the 70s or other time periods, as it is hard enough to wrap my head around the current, convoluted nomination rules.

    Another reason that Oscar nominations are no guide to quality (at least from any one perspective).
     
  14. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    Actually the rules would possibly benefit smaller films like In the Bedroom or Gosford Park if there is a tremendously popular big film like Lord of the Rings or a Beautiful Mind in the running.

    Here's how the balloting works, a film needs to earn 1/6 of the total number of ballots in order to get a nomination.

    Each ballot has five nominations in ranked order (number one choice through number 5 choice)

    Round one of nominations
    all ballots are sorted according only to number one votes. If any film gets more than 1/6 they get a nomination. And these ballots are taken out of the counting, so nominations 2-5 on these ballots are never considered.

    In this example let's say that both A Beautiful Mind and Fellowship of the Ring earned about 22.5% of the ballots. That means that 55% of the original ballots are left to determine the remaining nominated films.

    Now the totals each film earned in the first round (but didn't get 1/6 the vote) remain, and any votes in the second round add to these

    this means that say if a voter is inclined to vote for a popular selection (rather than a more art/serious film) then most of their votes are probably also popular films, so someone who voted for LOTR is likely to have also voted for the other popular title ABM, but only one vote on their ballot is counted for the popular film, for the film they chose as their number one.

    On the other hand, if a voter is more inclined to independent/art/serious films, it's likely their top two or three choices will all be considered, because those films are less likely to accumulate a full 1/6 in the first and second rounds of voting, but they do get in because they're given the possibility of a handicap by limiting the field in not counting all 5 votes on all the number of ballots. An independent voter might have his nominations counted two, three or sometimes even four times, compared to the one or maybe two times a popular voter might be counted.
     
  15. Tommy G

    Tommy G Screenwriter

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    Considering that a huge portion of my dvd collection are movies from the 40's and 50's I am one who believes that 2003-2004 was probably the best 2 year period. Here are some of the films put out during these 2 years:

    Return of the King
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    The Downfall: Hitler and the End of the Third Reich
    Hotel Rwanda
    Million Dollar Baby
    Crash
    The Incredibles
    Kill Bill Vol. 1
    Finding Nemo
    Oldboy
    Kill Bill Vol. 2
    Before Sunset
    Finding Neverland
    Mystic River
    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
    Big Fish
    The Sea Inside
    The Station Agent
    The Barbarian Invasions
    Sideways
     
  16. MichaelBA

    MichaelBA Supporting Actor

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    It's pretty damn hard to improve on 1961-1962:

    THE ABSENT-MINDED PROFESSOR
    ADVISE AND CONSENT
    BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S
    CAPE FEAR
    DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES
    DR. NO
    ELEKTRA (Sophocles, not Frank Miller!)
    EL CID
    THE GUNS OF NAVARONE
    THE HUSTLER
    LA JETEE
    JULES AND JIM
    JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG
    KING OF KINGS
    LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD
    LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
    THE LONGEST DAY
    THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE
    THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE
    MR MAGOO'S CHRISTMAS CAROL
    ONE HUNDRED AND ONE DALMATIANS
    ONE-EYED JACKS
    A RAISIN IN THE SUN
    REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT
    SANJURO
    SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS
    TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
    WEST SIDE STORY
    WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?
    YOJIMBO
     
  17. Nathan Phillips

    Nathan Phillips Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, I agree, what on earth was going on that year, anyway??

    In general I don't really think in these terms, but my favorite movie decade is the '30s, I don't know about any specific year. And my favorite two-year period for all pop culture -- movies, music, TV, whatever -- is 1964-65.

    - Movies: Dr. Strangelove, A Hard Day's Night, Help!, The Pink Panther AND A Shot in the Dark, Marnie, Mary Poppins, The World of Henry Orient, Fail-Safe, etc.
    - TV: Get Smart!! Do you need anything else?? Okay, A Charlie Brown Christmas.
    - Music: Too obvious to even mention, really.
     
  18. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Was GB&U even eligible for Best Picture? It was an Italian film, origianlly released in Italian. Maybe as Best Foreign Film, but as Best Picture?
     
  19. Tommy G

    Tommy G Screenwriter

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    For that matter, The Seventh Seal would not be eligible as well as it was a Swedish film. However, I would disagree with the academy that a foreign film should not be eligible for best picture.
     

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