What makes a film important? It can’t simply be that it’s good as it’s even more complicated to figure out what “good” means than “important.” Sure, I find most “important” films to be “good,” but a few are dreadful.
An important film is one that changes the art of filmmaking, changes society, or is simply so well known that it (or some part of it) has become part of normal communication. The Jazz Singer is an important film, though I do not call it good, because it was the first “talking” picture. Citizen Kane is important as it introduced new camera techniques. Casablanca is important because dialog from the film has entered our normal speech, scenes have become icons, and the story has been copied or parodied many times.
I’m going to take a look at some of the genres and sub-genres of film—mainly because it’s more fun to study the genres than the “mainstream,” whatever that may be—and give you my list of the ten most important films in each.
I’ll start with some of my favorites: