We guess you enjoy watching movies, obvious choice. What is your best seen movie of all time? Do you have one? If no, don’t worry, a team of scientists have done that for you already. Each year, movie pundits list out the best movies of the year. “The best,” is just a means of classifying a movie, whereas “Of the year,” is just one moment in time — this is very subjective. In a new study, researchers used network science to create a new type of list, one that’s both more epic and more scientific: the most influential movies of all time.
Related media: These Are the Most Influential Movies, Directors and Actors of All Time, According to Science
The Cinema Meets Science
People generally measure a movie’s influence based on how often it’s been referenced in another movie. In this new study, researchers argued about that thought, for instance, the “Old School” referencing “The Graduate” when Will Ferrell fall in a swimming pool, tranquilized, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” starts playing. Such scenes could point as reference, and that’s the evidence that compel movie pundits to rate the movie as influential.
These references get tracked on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), an online database of information on more than 5 million movies — it’s like the Billboard of movies. Usually, people generate some of IMDb’s content online and conveniently references the tags between movies. The study saw the researchers combing through IMDb and labeling out its network of references. The more a given film had been referenced by other films, and the more those films had been referenced by other films, the higher the original movie’s influence score.
Why did they even care about influence at all? Why does another movie’s reference influence the audience to think it’s influential? Researchers argue that films are both products and works of art, oftentimes being treated as one and not the other. Movie pundits often treat them as performing arts, whereas the Box Office charters treat them as merchandise. A movie can achieve influence if that movie was a top hit or a commercial entity, but it also can’t achieve it the movie wasn’t seen by anyone.
So What’re The Best Movies?
Overall, the researchers scored 47,000 films that had been tagged as referencing or being referenced in other films. We think that’s too small of a subset of all movies on IMDb, and the researchers even targeted only the Western culture — not considering the vast amount of Bollywood and Hong Kong movies; and even emerging African movie industries like Nollywood. IMDb has more thorough records of English-language movies.
In other words, these rankings are really a bias of the West. However, rankings are pretty awesome, and the researchers did just that. They ranked not only movies, but also directors and performers, for a good measure.
And The Academy Award Goes To
Here’s the list of the most influential movies, directors, and performers in Western culture, according to the study.
- The Wizard of Oz (1939)
- Star Wars (1977)
- Psycho (1960)
- King Kong (1933)
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
- Metropolis (1927)
- Citizen Kane (1941)
- The Birth of a Nation (1915)
- Frankenstein (1931)
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)
(Have you ever seen any of these movies?)
- George Cukor
- Victor Fleming
- Alfred Hitchcock
- Mervyn LeRoy
- Steven Spielberg
(Do you know any of these directors?)
- Samuel L. Jackson
- Clint Eastwood
- Tom Cruise
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
- John Wayne
(Do you know any of these performers?)
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Sat, Dec 29, 2018.