Home » film » Best American Films By Year, Part Three

Best American Films By Year, Part Three

Poster for The Wild Bunch (1969)

Poster for The Wild Bunch (1969)

This is the final installment of my series on The Best American Films By Year series, from 1915 to 1980. Why do I stop with 1980? Essentially, I think that by then, most of the great American directors were either not working or had passed on. As in the other postings, I begin with the choice of my friend Lee Sanders, who has seen far more films than I have.

Lee’s list stops at 1977. The choices for 1978-1980 are all my own.

When there is a second choice, it’s my selection when I have either not seen Lee’s choice or have my own preference. My choices are shown in red.

1961 – Two Rode Together (John Ford)
1962 – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford)
1963 – The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock)
1964 – Marnie (Alfred Hitchcock)
1965 – Red Line 7000 (Howard Hawks); Inside Daisy Clover (Robert Mulligan)
1966 – Seven Women (John Ford)
1967 – El Dorado (Howard Hawks)
1968 – The Legend of Lylah Clare (Robert Aldrich)
1969 – Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone); The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah)
1970 – On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (Vincente Minnelli); Patton (Franklin Schaeffner)

1971 – The Grissom Gang (Robert Aldrich); They Might Be Giants (Anthony Harvey)
1972 – Travels With My Aunt (George Cukor); The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola)
1973 – American Graffiti (George Lucas)
1974 – The Tamarind Seed (Blake Edwards); Godfather II (Francis Ford Coppola)
1975 – Night Moves (Arthur Penn); The Man Who Would Be King (John Huston)
1976 – A Matter of Time (Vincente Minnelli); Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese)
1977 – Twilight’s Last Gleaming (Robert Aldrich); 3 Women (Robert Altman)
1978 – Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick)
1979 – Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola)
1980 – Popeye (Robert Altman)

And that’s how the American Cinema ended, not with a bang but a whimper….