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Welcome to the Films for Filmmakers Wiki

(Created by Eric Rogers for the Fine Arts Center's Digital Filmmaking Class in Greenville, SC )

D-w-griffith

There are certain films all filmmakers & film students should be aware of. Not all of them are great films. In fact, some are terrible (i.e. Plan 9 From Outer Space, Evil Dead 2, Troll 2, The Room). Some have racist overtones (Birth of a Nation), some contain excessive violence (Pulp Fiction, The Wild Bunch, Bonnie and Clyde) but students of film history should at least have an awareness of them. Some of the films on this list are known primarily for being bad. Others are known for great editing, beautiful cinematography or innovative story telling, but may be weak in other regards. Therefore this list should not be regarded as a "Best of" list.

Disclaimer

Young filmmakers be forewarned that some films on the list may contain material some would find objectionable. 

Films Filmakers Should be Aware of.

Fred Ott's Sneeze

Release Date: 1894
Directed by William Dickson
Black and White
Silent
5 seconds
Known for: One of the earliest motion pictures still avialable today and the first to be Copyrighted in the United States.
Watch on-line

The Lumiere Brother’s Films

Release Date: 1996
Directed by August and Louis Lumiere
Black and White
Silent
6:35 minutes total
Known for: Some of the earliest known short films. Produced by the brothers who are often created with being the founders of cinema. 
Watch on-line

The Kiss

Release Date: 1896
Directed by William Heise
Black and White
Silent
1 minute
Known for: One of the earliest films still available today.
Watch on-line

Gradma’s Reading Glasses

Release Date: 1900
Directed by George Albert Smith
Black and White
Silent
2 minutes
Known for: First known film to use a close-up and minor editing.
Watch on-line

Oldest Color Film 

Release Date: 1900-1901
Directed by Edward Turner
Color
Silent
24 seconds
Known for: First known film to use a chemical color process to create color film.
Watch on-line

Trip to the Moon

Release Date: 1902
Directed by  Georges Méliès
Black and White and Color (Depending on which version you watch. Color was hand tinted frame by frame.)
Silent
15 minutes
Known for:  One of the first special effects films, first to use frame by frame colorization, and one of the first narrative films with actors and editing.
Watch on-line

Life of an American Fireman

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Life of an American Fireman

Release Date: 1903
Directed by Edwin S. Porter & George S. Fleming
Black and White
Silent
6:03 minutes
Known for: First film to use extensive editing, including cross cutting.
Watch on-line

The Great Train Robbery

Release Date: 1903
Directed by Edwin S. Porterl
Back and White
Silent
11 minutes
Known for: One of the first films to use extensive editing.
Watch on-line

The Story of the Kelly Gang

Release Date: 1906
Directed by Charles Tait
Back and White
Silent
70 minutes
Known for: First feature length film.
Watch on-line (Fragments of original.)

Birth of a Nation

Release Date: 1915
Directed by D.W. Griffith
Back and White
Silent
165 minutes
Known for: First epic film. Large crowd scenes. Massive battle scenes. First extensive use of close-ups. Racist overtones tha promote the KKK.
Watch on-line

Intolerance

Release Date: 1916
Directed by D.W. Griffith
Back and White
Silent
197 minutes
Known for: One of the first films with large crowd scenes and huges sets. One of the first to show non-linear storytelling. 
Watch on-line

Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Release Date: 1920
Directed by Robert Wienne
Black and White
Silent
67 minutes
Known for: Best known example of German Expressionism in film
Watch on-line

Nosferatu 

Release Date: 1922
Directed by F.W. Murnau
Black and White
Silent
81 minutes
Known for: Early version of Bram Stoker's Dracula; German Expressionism
Watch on-line

Nanook of the North

Release Date: 1922
Directed by Robert J. Flaherty
Back and White
Silent
79 minutes
Known for: First full length documentary. 
Watch on-line

Greed

Release Date: 1924
Directed by Eric Von Stroheim
Black and White
Silent
1:4o minutes
Known for: Shot eniterly on location. Stroheim built a fake town and had his actors live in it for the duration of the shooting.
Watch on-line

Gus Visser and his singing duck

Release Date: 1925
Directed by Theodore Case
Black and White
Sound
1:32 minutes
Known for: Early sync sound test
Watch on-line

Napolean

Release Date: 1927
Directed by Abel Gance
Back and White
Silent
240 minutes
Known for: Extensive use of moving camera, sometimes hanging from a cable.

The Jazz Singer

Release Date: 1927
Directed by Crosland Abel Gance
Black and White
Silent
88 minutes
Known for: First feature film to contain sync sound.  
Watch on-line

Sunrise

Release Date: 1927
Directed by F.W. Murnau
Black and White
Silent
94 minutes
Known for: Cinematography ahead of its time.
Watch on-line

Steamboat Willie

Release Date: 1928
Directed by Walt DisneyUbi Werks
Back and White
Silent
8 minutes
Known for: First cartoon with sync sound. Debut of Mickey Mouse. 
Watch on-line

Blackmail

Release Date: 1929
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Black and White
Silent
85 minutes
Known for: First successful Brittish talkie. Intersting use of sound to tell the story. 
Watch on-line

Un Chien Andelou

Release Date: 1929
Directed by Luis Bunuel
Black and White
Sound
16 minutes
Known for: Experimental film with shocking imagery.
Watch on-line

Vampyr

      Release Date: 1932

Directed by Carl Dryer
Black and White
Sound
75 minutes
Known for: Classic horror; German Expressionism
Watch on-line

Triumph of the Will

Release Date: 1935
Directed by Leni Riefenstahl
Black and White
Sound
1:45 minutes
Known for: One of the best known examples of the use of propaganda. 
Watch on-line

Reefer Madness

Release Date: 1936
Directed by Louis J. Gasnier
Black and White
Sound
66 minutes
Known for: One of the best known examples of the use of propaganda. 
Watch on-line

Stage Coach

Release Date: 1939
Directed by John Ford
Sound
Black and White
minutes
Watch on-line

Gone With the Wind

Release Date: 1939
Directed by Victor Fleming, George CukorSam Wood
Color
Sound
139 minutes
Watch on-line

The Wizard of Oz

Release Date: 1939
Directed by Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Tauron, King Vidor
Sound
Color
102 minutes

High Noon

Release Date: 1952
Directed by Fred Zinneman
Black and White
Sound
85 minutes
Watch on-line

The Sound of Music

Release Date: 1952
Directed by Robert Wise
Black and White and color
Sound
174 minutes
Watch on-line

The Seventh Seal

Release Date: 1957
Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Black and White
Sound
96 minutes
Known for: Classic allegory
Watch on-line

The 400 Blows

Release Date: 1959
Directed by Francois Truffaut
Black and White
Sound
99 minutes
Known for: Monumental French New Wave film from the director who came up with the Autuer Theory
Watch on-line

Ben Hur

Release Date: 1959
Directed by William Wyler
Color
Sound
212 minutes
Known for: Classic allegory
Watch on-line

Breathless

Release Date: 1960
Directed by Jean Luc Godard
Black and White
Sound
90 minutes
Known for: One of the best examples of French New Wave cinema. 
Watch on-line

La Dolce Vita

Release Date: 1960
Directed by Fedrico Fellini
Black and White
Sound
174 minutes
Watch on-line

Last Year at Marienbad

Release Date: 1961

Black and White

Sound

94 minutes

8 ½

Release Date: 1963
Directed by Fedrico Fellin
Black and White
Sound
138 minutes
Release Date: 1963

 Alphaville

Release Date: 1965
Directed by John-Luc Godard
Black and White
Sound
99 minutes
Known for: French New Wave Sci-Fi
Watch on-line

The French Connection

Release Date: 1971
Directed by William Friedkin
Color
Sound
104 minutes

Eraserhead

Release Date: 1977
Directed by David Lynch
Black and White
Sound
89 minutes
Known for its bizarreness
Watch on-line

The Elephant Man

      Release Date: 1980

Directed by David Lynch
Black and White
Sound
124 minutes

Blue Velvet

Little Shop of Horrors (Original)

Heaven's Gate

Grease

Amblin

Saturday Night Fever

Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Last Picture Show

Paper Moon

The Graduate

Boyz in the Hood

Do the Right Thing

Fight Club

Blazing Saddles

Hoop Dreams

Koyansquatsi

Jaws

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

Easy Rider

Terminator

Wild Strawberries

Slacker

Mean Streets

Wuthering Heights

Schindler’s List

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Tootsie

North by Northwest

MASH

Psycho

Dr. Strangelove

The Usual Suspects

The Wild Bunch

Pulp Fiction

Reservoir Dogs

Do the Right Thing

Rear Window

The Best Year of Our Lives

The Deer Hunter

The Birds

E.T.

Bullitt

Release Date: 1968
Directed by Peter Yates
Color
Known for: Great Car Chase
Watch on-line

The Godfather

The Godfather Part 2

The Shining

Platoon

Rocky

The Wall

Terminator

The Life of Brian

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

This is Spinal Tap

The Last Emperor

The Conformist

Back to the Future

The Breakfast Club

A Streetcar Named Desire

The Maltese Falcon

Apocalypse Now

Taxi Driver

Goodfellas

Troll 2

Release Date:  1990
Directed by  Claudio Fragasso
Color
Sound
95 minutes
Known for: Often listed as one of the worst movies ever made. 

Edward Scissorhands

Tree of Life

Citizen Kane

Touch of Evil

The Evil Dead

Sunset Boulevard

The films of Stan Brahkage

Blow Up

The Untouchables

Little Caesar

Scarface – Hawkes Version

Scarface – DePalma Version

My Dinner with Andre

Rope

The Battleship Potemkin

The Great Dictator

Night of the Living Dead

Patton

Midnight Cowboy

The Hustler

Paper Moon

Clerks

El Mariachi

Pi

Roger and Me

Super Size Me

Annie Hall

Radio Days

Rosemary’s Baby

The Exorcist

Carrie

Dracula

Frankenstein

Napoleon by Abel Gance

The Untouchables

There Will Be Blood

Caddy Shack

2001: A Space Odyssey

Raging Bull

Ashes and Diamonds

Babel

American Beauty

Rebel Without a Cause

Dances with Wolves

The Third Man

Driving Miss Daisy

Star Wars

Empire Strikes Back

Return of the Jedi

Star Trek 2

Toy Story

Tron (1982)

Pinochio

Bambi

Chinatown

Dog Day Afternoon

Plan 9 From Outer Space

Duck Soup

Man With a Movie Camera

Freaks

Edward Scissorhands

The Last Emperor

Trainspotting

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

King Kong

It’s a Wonderful Life

To Kill a Mockingbird

The Producers

Grapes of Wrath

Life of Brian

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Blazing Saddles

Bonnie and Clyde

JFK

Fantasia

Snow White

Beaty and the Beast - Disney

Beauty and the Beast – Jean Cocteau

Blair Witch Project

The Exorcist

Titanic

Terminator

The Breakfast Club

Stand By Me

Driving Miss Daisy

Blood of a Poet

It’s a Wonderful Life

The Best Year of Our Lives

The Third Man

The Big Sleep

Modern Times

Casablanca

The Bicycle Thief

The Ten Commandments

Seven

Alien

Aliens

City Lights

Terminator

Rashomon

Throne of Blood

The Seven Samaria

The Magnificent Seven

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Carrie

Scarface – Howard Hawkes

Scarface – Brian DePalma

On the Waterfront

Streetcar Named Desire

Man With a Movie Camera

Lawrence of Arabia

Bridge on the River Kwai

Serpico

Blade Runner

Full Metal Jacket


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