What Was the Best Decade for Filmmaking?

As far as modern films are concerned, none of them would be possible without the previous groundbreaking and innovative stylings for filmmaking. Since the eruption of filmmaking in the early 20th century, the craft has shifted and changed throughout the numerous styles presented along the way.

Taking a look at the history of film is always a fascinating subject to do, especially if you’re a filmmaker yourself or someone who is generally considered to be a movie fanatic. No matter what your leanings on the topic are, it’s vital to see how films became where they are today.

Nevertheless, begging the question of what the best decade was for filmmaking typically ties into the best genre since particular styles naturally come and go within a decade. Still, as subjective as this might be, let’s take a close look at some of the best decades for filmmaking.

Italian Neorealism (1940s – 1950s)

If you’ve ever taken a film course in your life or even an Italian language course in high school, you more than likely have stumbled upon the term Italian Neorealism before. Italian Neorealism was a film genre that erupted post-World War II in Italy with brutally realistic stories of lower-class civilians.

After World War II, Italy was in ruins and relied on amateur actors and filmmakers with low budgets to continue pumping out entertainment for the masses to consume. Previously, filmmakers were forced to create propagandist films for the government, which prompted them to experiment significantly during this era once the regime collapsed.

French New Wave (1950s – 1960s)

Like Italian Neorealism, the French New Wave focused on rejecting the standard format of film through the favoritism of experimentation and separatism. The two eras are similar in the sense that they embodied heavy themes of classism and severe personal issues as opposed to the traditional makeup of film.

Other themes of French New Wave include improvised dialogue, jump cuts, location shooting, direct sound and light, long takes, and much more. The era of French New Wave filmmakers utilized what was in front of them rather than worry about what they can add.

Silent Era (1910s to 1920s)

Before Italian Neorealism and the French New Wave, the film industry truly began with the silent era during the early 20th century. When films were first created, the sound and dialogue of them didn’t occur until 1927 with The Jazz Singer.

Prior to this, films like Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The General, Metropolis, and countless others carried the film industry through the use of musical scores, cards, and visuals to tell the story in the film itself.

New Hollywood (1970s)

No matter the preference or expertise in someone’s appreciation for film, the vast majority of people have seen at least one film from the New Hollywood era in the 1970s. These classic films still remain widely relevant today as they once did, with most citing this as the ultimate mainstream component that led to how the film industry is today.

Notable directors such as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, and many others truly began their careers during this era by creating films that evoked the anti-establishment aesthetic carried throughout films in the 1970s.

You Decide

Ultimately, the best decade for filmmaking all goes back to preference, and there are many other specific decade genres and sub-genres not listed that can easily be on this list. No matter the case, it goes back to your personal subjectivity and what era you can most appreciate. Some people can only enjoy modern films, whereas others can dive deep into cinema’s extensive history.


  • Adrian Allen

    I would say 1940s. Every decade has produced timeless masterpieces, but there’s something about 1940s cinema at it’s best that never seems dated like some films of 60s or 80s, it is the pinnacle of classical Hollywood style, saw beginnings of world cinema movements such as Italian neo-realism, legendary directors at their peak, and of course film noir. I could list around 30 brilliant movies from every other decade, but over 100 from 1940s.

    Reply August 19, 2021
    • Admin

      Thanks for sharing your amazing thoughts, Adrian!

      Reply August 19, 2021

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