1939's Best Movies: 80 Years Later

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Rankings come from the overall list of the top 1,000 films at They Shoot Pictures, Don't They. Plus, due to popular demand, the movies also featured in slots 1,001-2000.

I am surprised there aren't actually more movies in this year's batch.

Poll Results

OptionVotes
THE RULES OF THE GAME (Jean Renoir, France) [#4] 17
THE WIZARD OF OZ (Victor Fleming, USA) [#105] 10
THE STORY OF THE LAST CHRYSAMTHEMUMS (Mizoguchi Kenji, Japan) [#254] 6
ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS (Howard Hawks, USA) [#224] 4
STAGECOACH (John Ford, USA) [#138] 3
YOUNG MR. LINCOLN (John Ford, USA) [#629] 2
LE JOUR SE LEVE (Marcel Carné, France) [#860] 2
NINOTCHKA (Ernst Lubitsch, USA) [#565] 1
THE ROARING TWENTIES (Raoul Walsh, USA, 104m, BW) [#1646] 1
MIDNIGHT (Mitchell Leisen, USA, 94m, BW) [#1314] 1
GONE WITH THE WIND (Victor Fleming, USA) [#109] 1
MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (Frank Capra, USA) [#665] 0
GUNGA DIN (George Stevens, USA) [#1789] 0


Pauline Male (Eric H.), Thursday, 11 July 2019 12:50 (three months ago) link

rules

american bradass (BradNelson), Thursday, 11 July 2019 12:51 (three months ago) link

This is most definitely Rules, but Only Angels Have Wings and Last Chrysanthemums are as strong as any movies I've not voted for in these polls.

Pauline Male (Eric H.), Thursday, 11 July 2019 12:53 (three months ago) link

Stagecoach - one of the best action movies of all time

. (Michael B), Thursday, 11 July 2019 12:59 (three months ago) link

The Rules of the Game would get my vote if Midnight weren't on the list.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 11 July 2019 13:00 (three months ago) link

The Wizard of Oz.

clemenza, Thursday, 11 July 2019 13:03 (three months ago) link

The Roaring Twenties is almost as great as Manny Farber makes it out to be, also.

Pauline Male (Eric H.), Thursday, 11 July 2019 13:24 (three months ago) link

The Rules of the Game
Midnight
Only Angels Have Wings
The Wizard of Oz
Stagecoach
Young Mr. Lincoln
Mr. Smith
The Roaring Twenties
Gunga Din
Ninotchka
Gone with the Wind
Le Jour se Leve

Haven't seen Last Chrysanthemums

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 11 July 2019 14:07 (three months ago) link

In a total cultural vacuum, I'd probably rank Gone with the Wind as a more significant storytelling achievement than The Wizard of Oz. But only in a vacuum would I make that claim.

Pauline Male (Eric H.), Thursday, 11 July 2019 16:00 (three months ago) link

In any case, we already have Only Angels Have Wings to clobber both of 'em to filth.

Pauline Male (Eric H.), Thursday, 11 July 2019 16:00 (three months ago) link

I really have to see Last Chrysanthemums. I've only seen a handful of Mizoguchis but feel like he might be the best director ever.

jmm, Thursday, 11 July 2019 16:06 (three months ago) link

when I saw Young Mr. Lincoln at a revival a couple months ago, the audience applauded at the end. it was awesome. throwing it a vote

flappy bird, Thursday, 11 July 2019 16:31 (three months ago) link

Stagecoach better than ever in this year's rewatch

it's with Rules and Only Angels at the top (wd have to see Mizoguchi again)

Lincoln is indeed an excellent work, but at times anticipates Perry Masonism

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 11 July 2019 17:48 (three months ago) link

I'd probably rank Gone with the Wind as a more significant storytelling achievement

Leaving all the, y'know, Stuff to the side, I think the last quarter in particular flags significantly until the final flourish. Saintly Melanie's death was done to slapstick perfection by Dinah Shore in Carol Burnett's parody.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 11 July 2019 17:51 (three months ago) link

Not half as funny as the death of Bonnie Blue Butler in the real movie.

Pauline Male (Eric H.), Thursday, 11 July 2019 18:05 (three months ago) link

In the much ballyhooed first TV broadcast in 1976, Bonnie's accident was followed by an aspirin ad.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 11 July 2019 18:12 (three months ago) link

saw The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums within the last year and it really made an impression on me. I'm voting for that

I was so frightened by The Wizard of Oz as a 5 year old that I hid behind the sofa with my 4 year old sister when the flying monkeys appeared

Dan S, Friday, 12 July 2019 00:12 (three months ago) link

There are so many excellent films here in so many genres that choosing among them must be reduced to a whimsically chosen basis for the winner's presumed superiority. Therefore, I'm voting for Wizard of Oz because I am a sucker for films with great and memorable songs and it has the best songs of any film on the list.

A is for (Aimless), Friday, 12 July 2019 04:58 (three months ago) link

this is an incredible list, yeah. i've seen 10 of these films and could imagine voting for at least 8 of them. but yeah, had to go with rules of the game.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Friday, 12 July 2019 05:17 (three months ago) link

Will do a 1929 poll and a 2009 poll and then, in the style of ILM, poll the winners from each decade.

Pauline Male (Eric H.), Wednesday, 17 July 2019 13:57 (three months ago) link

Rewatched parts of Stagecoach and ... I just think everything people like about it is done better in Only Angels Have Wings.

Pauline Male (Eric H.), Wednesday, 24 July 2019 14:54 (two months ago) link

I watched it last night, liking it less than I did twenty years ago, but I've watched more and better Ford since.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 24 July 2019 14:55 (two months ago) link

I don't get Renoir tbh

flappy bird, Wednesday, 24 July 2019 17:20 (two months ago) link

What is there not to get?

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 24 July 2019 17:33 (two months ago) link

Whatever made him THE GREATEST... Rules of the Game made no impression on me and Grand Illusion, well, I should rewatch it. But he reminds me of Cukor - DULL

flappy bird, Wednesday, 24 July 2019 17:51 (two months ago) link

bring my cat o nine tails

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 24 July 2019 17:56 (two months ago) link

Now that Criterion has released practically every one of his major 1930s films, I recommend re-starting your reeducation with La Chienne, The Crime of Monsieur Lange, La Bete Humaine, etc.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 24 July 2019 18:08 (two months ago) link

Will do! thanks

flappy bird, Wednesday, 24 July 2019 18:13 (two months ago) link

and they're fun!

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 24 July 2019 18:21 (two months ago) link

I do sympathize. When I screened TROTG for students last week I carefully avoided mentioning it often ranked #2 in many polls.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 24 July 2019 18:22 (two months ago) link

wizard of oz

k3vin k., Wednesday, 24 July 2019 19:02 (two months ago) link

Hoping Criterion gets around to TCoML someday soon.

Pauline Male (Eric H.), Wednesday, 24 July 2019 19:05 (two months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 1 August 2019 00:01 (two months ago) link

xp really liked La Chienne, Boudu Saved from Drowning, La Bete Humaine, haven't been able to see The Crime of Monsieur Lange yet

Dan S, Thursday, 1 August 2019 00:12 (two months ago) link

I prefer TCoML to TRotG. But it has been a long time since I've seen TRotG.

Anne Hedonia (j.lu), Thursday, 1 August 2019 13:15 (two months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Friday, 2 August 2019 00:01 (two months ago) link

Good show, Wizard of Oz. Ninotchka would have been my second choice. Use to play the Garbo-laughs scene for my students every year.

clemenza, Friday, 2 August 2019 00:15 (two months ago) link

my best friend from college is writing another book about Garbo, am looking forward to it

Dan S, Friday, 2 August 2019 00:25 (two months ago) link

The right movie won, and I feel even better now having thrown my vote toward Only Angels Have Wings.

Pauline Male (Eric H.), Friday, 2 August 2019 00:53 (two months ago) link


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