5 Historic Films that helped Pave the Way for Filmmaking

Movieby Joey Paur

Being the film geek that I am, of course when I went to college I took film courses. In these classes we would watch a lot of movies, and then analyze them to death. I loved these classes; it was through them that I was introduced to some of the great films that have been made throughout the years. I thought it would be a great opportunity to share some of these movies with you.



This D.W. Griffith directed 1916 film was the most expensive and epic silent films ever made. The movie is considered a masterpiece and serves as a landmark and milestone in cinematic history. There are 4 parts to the movie which follow the fall of Babylon, the crucifixion of Jesus, The St. Batholomew’s Day Massacre, and how capitalists and striking workers help ruin American lives. The scale of the film is huge and the story gives the viewer something to think about.

Citizen Kane


This was the first feature film directed by Orson Welles in 1941. It really didn’t do to well when it came out in the theaters when it was originally released and I am convinced it was because the way the story was told was ahead of its time. The story is based on a fictional character that was created from the life of William Randolph Hearst and Welles himself as it follows him through his life and career in the publishing world. The story is mostly told in flashbacks as a reporter is trying to find out the meaning behind the main characters dying word ‘Rosebud’. The film was shot beautifully and the direction was fantastic and new. Welles experimented allot with the camera and it turned out to be one of the great American films.

The Birth of a Nation

birth of nation

Here is another silent movie directed by D.W. Griffith in 1915. The story is set in the time of the Civil War and was extremely controversial due for the fact it portrays the Ku Klux Klan in a positive light. The movie is considered Hollywood’s first blockbuster film and other than the controversy of the subject matter it is known for it’s innovation technically and the way the story was told. It’s a very powerful film.

A Trip to the Moon


This 1902 French film was the first Sci-fi movie ever made. It is only 14 minutes long and was known for it’s advancements in special effects and animation being used in the art of filmmaking. It is best known for the scene where a rocket ship land in the eye of the moon. But there’s so much more to it than that. It is about 6 astronomers who build a space ship and shoot it out of a giant cannon to the moon. Once on the moon they are attacked by aliens who reside there. It really a fun and imaginative movie especially for the time it was made.

The Godfather


I know this is quiet a jump in time from the previous silent films listed above, but ‘The Godfather’ was a film we really tore into. This is the perfect example of a perfect movie. No matter how many ways you look at this movie has so many layers to it, to look out for and study. The film was executed with precision and care.

There are several other films that I did not mention on this list but these are the films that really made an impact on filmmaking, and the way I look at film from a historical point. What are some movies that you have seen that you think should be studied in film school?

Most of the films mentioned about can be found in Netflix's Instant Watch catalog.

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