Cinema has its own process of evolution too. Ever since the birth of moving-image cinematography in the early 20th century, film products of the movie industry have changed and altered throughout each decade, learning and adapting from each other as the industry has progressed through time. So what film is considered the most influential film of all time? Well, it’s the one and only The Wizard of Oz.
Yep, that’s right. According to research carried out at the University of Turin, the 1939 fantasy musical is the most influential out of all the 47’000 films involved in their investigation. But what does this mean? How is it the most ‘influential’?
Well, the lead researcher of the study Dr. Livio Bioglio has explained the study a little further for us to understand how this film might be the most important of all time. Out of the thousands included in the research, the top influential film was decided by a computer programme that analyzed movies “as nodes in a network,” measuring how connected they were to other films after their release.
This means that instead of considering how successful it was to audiences or critics through box-office takings or the quality of reviews, it was analyzed by the amount it was referenced to by succeeding films. Dr. Livio Bioglio explained this further, describing how the algorithm he used measures success by the references between films. The success of each movie is calculated by how much the film’s content, themes, and motifs is alluded to by other future films in their genre and beyond.
All the top 20 influential films came before 1980, and most were American-made. No surprise there seen as Hollywood is cinema’s biggest producer and earlier films naturally have had more years to inspire others. Nonetheless, it was The Wizard of Oz that topped the list.
If you haven’t already seen the classic, it stars the legendary starlet Judy Garland as Dorothy who is whisked away to the magical land of Oz in a tornado. In this magnificent Adventureland, it’s here she meets a heartless Tinman, a brainless scarecrow, and a cowardly lion, all in search of themselves and companionship along the way. It’s a joyous and sentimental dream-like musical that everyone seems to love, giving us an ‘on-the-road’ journey of self-discovery that’s been conventionally mirrored across nearly every type of genre since.
Taking the second spot was the first Star Wars, released in 1977 and now known as A New Hope where we met classic characters like Luke Starwalker and Chewbacca for the first time. Star Wars being so influential comes as no surprise really, as the tongue-in-cheek sci-fi tropes and special-effects of the action sequences really did guide the sci-fi genre into its own lane through the decades after.
Third place was Hitchcock’s 1960 horror-thriller, which follows a young woman who stays the night at a roadside motel, only to find herself at the peril of its creepy owner. The suspenseful systematic direction of Hitchcock’s Psycho turned horror into what we know now, pioneering the slasher conventions that became so popular in the 1980s.
Lesson learned – not only is The Wizard of Oz the most enjoyable experience to ever hit the cinemas, but it’s actually the most important. If any cinematic producers are ever in doubt, just follow the yellow brick road!