18 films that marked the history of cinema


Cinema is one of the most powerful forms of art, capable of transporting us to different worlds, arousing deep emotions and leaving an indelible mark on our collective memory. Over the years, various cinematographic works have stood out not only for their technical quality, but also for their cultural influence and lasting impact on the entertainment industry. 

Remember the films that marked the history of cinema

From the dawn of the seventh art to the present day, cinema has played a crucial role in our culture, shaping the way we see the world and connect with the stories around us. Over the decades, various cinematic works have emerged as icons of the industry, leaving an indelible mark on the history of cinema.

1. The Birth of a Nation (1915)

"The Birth of a Nation", directed by D.W. Griffith and released in 1915, is a film that, despite its controversial legacy, cannot be ignored when discussing the history of cinema. This monumental work was a milestone both technically and narratively, and its influence is still felt today.

The film narrates the American Civil War and post-war Reconstruction from a deeply racist perspective, glorifying the Ku Klux Klan and portraying blacks as crude stereotypes and threats to white society. This outrageous and damaging representation makes "The Birth of a Nation" a product of its time and a grim reminder of the racist attitudes prevalent at the time.

However, it is impossible to deny Griffith's technical skill as a director. He introduced innovative cinematographic techniques, such as the use of close-ups, quick cuts and complex camera movements, which helped shape modern film language. In addition, the film is one of the first examples of an epic cinematic narrative, with a complex plot spanning decades and multiple generations of characters.

2. Citizen Kane (1941)

"Citizen Kane", directed by Orson Welles and released in 1941, is an undisputed milestone in the history of cinema. This revolutionary film not only changed the way stories were told on screen, but also left an indelible mark on popular culture and influenced generations of filmmakers.

One of the most notable characteristics of "Citizen Kane" is its non-linear and innovative narrative. The film begins with the mysterious death of the protagonist, Charles Foster Kane, and then moves back in time to explore his life and career through the memories of people who knew him. This narrative structure breaks the traditional conventions of cinema at the time and challenges the viewer to put together the pieces of the puzzle of Kane's life.

3. Casablanca (1942)

"Casablanca", directed by Michael Curtiz and released in 1942, is one of the most iconic and beloved films in the history of cinema. Set during the Second World War, this movie classic is a story of love, intrigue and sacrifice that has captured the hearts of generations of viewers around the world.

At the center of the plot is Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, the owner of a famous café in Casablanca, a city full of refugees and spies during the war. Rick's life is turned upside down when his old flame, Ilsa Lund, played by Ingrid Bergman, enters his café accompanied by her husband, a resistance leader on the run from the Nazis. Rick and Ilsa's reunion triggers a series of exciting events, including difficult decisions about love, loyalty and sacrifice.

4. Singing in the Rain (1952)

"Singing in the Rain", directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen and released in 1952, is one of the most celebrated and beloved musicals in the history of cinema. With its brilliant choreography, catchy songs and enchanting story, the film is a celebration of Hollywood's Golden Age and a source of timeless joy and entertainment.

The plot of "Singing in the Rain" revolves around the transition from silent to sound film, following the adventures and misadventures of Don Lockwood, played by Gene Kelly, and his colleagues in the film industry. The story is a perfect blend of comedy, romance and drama, with hilarious moments, such as the umbrella scene in the rain, and touching moments, such as the emotional musical performances.

5. Psychosis (1960)

"Psycho", directed by Alfred Hitchcock and released in 1960, is a milestone in the suspense and horror genre, and remains one of the most influential and celebrated films in the history of cinema. Based on the novel of the same name by Robert Bloch, the film is known for its intriguing plot, surprising twists and the iconic shower scene, which has become one of the most famous in movie history.

The story of "Psycho" follows Marion Crane, a secretary who steals a large sum of money and flees to a remote motel run by Norman Bates and his controlling mother. What unfolds is a series of disturbing and shocking events that defy audience expectations and keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

Alfred Hitchcock demonstrates his genius as a master of suspense in "Psycho". His ability to create an atmosphere of tension and unease is unparalleled, and each scene is meticulously crafted to heighten the sense of suspense and paranoia. Bernard Herrmann's soundtrack adds to the film's unnerving atmosphere, further intensifying the cinematic experience.

6. The Godfather (1972)

"The Godfather", directed by Francis Ford Coppola and released in 1972, is considered by many to be one of the greatest films ever made. Based on the novel by Mario Puzo, the movie is an epic saga of the Corleone family, a powerful Italian mafia family in New York, and their rise to power and corruption.

At the center of the plot is Don Vito Corleone, played masterfully by Marlon Brando, the patriarch of the family and respected leader of the criminal underworld. When Don Corleone is wounded in an attack, his sons, especially Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, are forced to take control of the family business and deal with their enemies.

What makes "The Godfather" so striking is the depth of its characters and the complexity of their relationships. Francis Ford Coppola delves into the lives of the Corleones and presents us with a story of love, loyalty, betrayal and revenge. Each character is carefully developed and played by an all-star cast, including James Caan, Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton.

7. Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

"Star Wars: A New Hope", directed by George Lucas and released in 1977, is the movie that started one of the most iconic and beloved franchises in cinema history. This science fiction epic transported viewers to a galaxy far, far away, presenting a universe of heroes, villains, intergalactic adventures and an epic struggle between good and evil.

The story is set in a period of civil war, where the tyranny of the Galactic Empire oppresses the galaxy and the Rebel Alliance fights for freedom. At the center of the plot is Luke Skywalker, a young farmer who inadvertently becomes a reluctant hero when he joins Princess Leia, smuggler Han Solo and wise Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi on a mission to destroy the Death Star, the Empire's ultimate weapon.

8. E.T. - The Extraterrestrial (1982)

"E.T. - The Extraterrestrial", directed by Steven Spielberg and released in 1982, is one of the most beloved and exciting films in the history of cinema. This cinematic masterpiece captures the imagination and hearts of audiences with its story of an unusual friendship between a human boy and a lost alien.

The plot revolves around Elliott, a lonely young man who discovers a friendly and curious alien who has been left behind on Earth. Known as E.T., the alien and Elliott form a special bond as they try to find a way for E.T. to return home. The film explores themes of friendship, empathy, family and adventure, captivating viewers of all ages.

"E.T. - The Extraterrestrial" is notable not only for its gripping narrative, but also for its extraordinary visual effects and thrilling soundtrack. E.T.'s charismatic and expressive creature was brought to life through a combination of practical effects and animation techniques, which resulted in a character that became instantly recognizable and loved all over the world.

9. Scarface (1983)

"Scarface", directed by Brian De Palma and released in 1983, is a movie that has become a pop culture icon, known for its raw and brutal depiction of Miami's criminal underworld. This cinematic masterpiece is a reinvention of the 1932 film of the same name and stars Al Pacino in the iconic role of Tony Montana, a Cuban immigrant who becomes a powerful and ruthless drug kingpin.

The plot of "Scarface" follows Tony Montana's meteoric rise in the world of organized crime, from his humble origins as a Cuban refugee to his position of power and wealth as one of Miami's leading drug dealers. However, Tony's success is accompanied by a downward spiral of violence, paranoia and moral decay, which leads to his inevitable downfall.

10. Pulp Fiction: A Time for Violence (1994)

"Pulp Fiction: A Time for Violence", directed by Quentin Tarantino and released in 1994, is a milestone in the history of modern cinema. This revolutionary film not only redefined the gangster film genre, but also influenced a whole generation of filmmakers with its non-linear narrative, razor-sharp dialog and distinctive visual style.

"Pulp Fiction" is made up of a series of interconnected stories centered around characters like Vincent Vega, played by John Travolta, and Jules Winnfield, played by Samuel L. Jackson, two hitmen who work for a powerful crime boss. The film presents a series of absurd and violent situations, which are presented in a non-linear way, challenging the traditional conventions of cinematic narrative.

11. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Based on the work of J.R.R. Tolkien and directed by Peter Jackson, this fantasy epic transported viewers to a world of magic and adventure. With stunning visual effects and a thrilling story, "The Lord of the Rings" redefined the fantasy genre in cinema.

12. Matrix (1999)

Directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, "The Matrix" is a landmark in science fiction cinema. With its innovative vision and revolutionary visual effects, the film challenged the conventions of the genre and left a lasting mark on popular culture.

13. City of God (2002)

Directed by Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund, this Brazilian drama is a powerful exploration of life in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. With its impressive cinematography and authentic performances, "City of God" is one of the most internationally acclaimed films in Brazilian cinema.

14. The Labyrinth of the Faun (2006)

Directed by Guillermo del Toro, this dark fairy tale is a masterpiece of imagination and emotion. With its unique blend of fantasy and reality, "The Labyrinth of the Faun" has captivated audiences and won numerous awards, including three Oscars.

15. The Origin (2010)

Directed by Christopher Nolan, "Inception" is a fascinating journey into the human subconscious. With its complex plot and impressive visual effects, the film challenges the notions of reality and dream in a truly innovative way.

16. Black Panther (2018)

Directed by Ryan Coogler, "Black Panther" is a milestone in the representation of superheroes in cinema. With its predominantly black cast and culturally relevant approach, the film has become a global phenomenon and a symbol of empowerment.

17. Parasite (2019)

Directed by Bong Joon-ho, "Parasite" is a searing social satire that tackles issues of class and inequality. With its gripping narrative and surprising twists, the film became the first non-English language film to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

18. Nomadland (2020)

Directed by Chloé Zhao, "Nomadland" is a poetic journey through contemporary America. With its documentary approach and authentic performances, the film captures the essence of life on the road and the struggles of the marginalized.

These are just a few examples of the many films that have left an indelible mark on the history of cinema. Each one has contributed to the rich tapestry of cinematic culture, inspiring and influencing filmmakers and viewers around the world. As cinema continues to evolve, it is important to recognize and celebrate these masterpieces that have moved us, challenged us and transported us to new worlds.

See also: 10 best thriller movies you need to watch

April 1st, 2024