History of Cinema – Omissions

If you haven’t seen my History of Cinema chart, go here to check it out! With this post I will list the biggest omissions from the chart. First up, filmmakers:

In order to keep the Other Notable Filmmakers section from growing too long, I limited myself to three per country, which England hit. Additionally, because I had already listed five French movements, I was more restrictive when including French filmmakers in the Other Notable Filmmakers section; most notably I left off Jacques Tati (in my defense, he only directed five features in his entire career).

Other notable filmmakers omitted from the chart: Jean Cocteau, Marcel Carne, Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Michael Curtiz, Robert Wise, George Roy Hill, Bob Fosse, Sam Peckinpah, Mike Nichols, John Landis, Terry Gilliam, Cameron Crowe, Emir Kusturica, Billie August, Oliver Assayas, Louis Malle (lots of French filmmakers here), Stephen Chow, Robert Rodriguez, the Dardanne brothers, Alexander Payne, Danny Boyle, Spike Jonze, Gore Verbinski, Todd Phillips, Rian Johnson, Colin Trevorrow, Gareth Edwards, and Derek Cianfrance (these last four I expect will be on the chart in another five years).

Female Filmmakers: As I mentioned in the original post, there are not enough female filmmakers on this chart. I wanted to include more (Kelly Reichardt, Katherine Bigelow, Jane Champion, Nora Ephron, Sofia Coppola, Clair Denis, Mira Nair) but the sad truth is I don’t feel they’ve been as influential as the other films and filmmakers listed.

Next up, omitted films:

I wanted diversity amongst the films and filmmakers represented, which meant even more films were omitted than would have been solely from space issues. Here are the biggest omissions:

The Silent Era: I easily could have added more Chaplin or Keaton films, specifically The Gold Rush, Modern Times, and The Great Dictator (Chaplin) and Sherlock Jr (Keaton). DW Griffith’s Broken Blossoms is another deserving silent film, but he already has two films on this list (Birth of a Nation and Intolerance) which I thought was enough.

The Golden Age of Hollywood: So many. I only listed three Hitchcock films (Vertigo, Psycho, North by Northwest), but I easily could have included Rear Window, Notorious, The Birds, and several others. Kubrick also has three films (2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr Strangelove, and A Clockwork Orange in the New Hollywood section) listed, but Paths of Glory and Spartacus are also deserving here. Genre was popular in this era, specifically noir (Sunset Blvd), musicals (The Sound of Music, Singin’ in the Rain), gangster (White Heat), screwball comedy (It Happened One Night, His Girl Friday), and westerns (The Searchers). I didn’t want any specific genre to take over, which resulted in the following omissions: Double Indemnity, The Maltese Falcon, Touch of Evil, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, Little Caesar, The Public Enemy, Scarface (the original), Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, Stagecoach, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Magnificent Seven, Shane, and High Noon. Other omissions that I don’t have an excuse for other than that there just wasn’t enough space: King Kong, It’s a Wonderful Life and Mr Smith Goes to Washington (Capra is represented by It Happened One Night), Yankee Doodle Dandy, The Grapes of Wrath (Ford is represented by The Searchers), A Streetcar Named Desire (Kazan is represented by On The Waterfront), All About Eve, Night of the Hunter, To Kill A Mockingbird, Roman Holiday and The Best Years of Our Lives (Wyler is represented by Ben Hur), Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 12 Angry Men (Lumet is represented by Network in the New Hollywood section), All Quiet On The Western Front, The Manchurian Candidate, The Great Escape, and Mary Poppins.

New Hollywood: Again, I didn’t want any one filmmaker to dominate, which resulted in The Conversation being left off (Coppola is represented by The Godfather and Apocalypse Now). Same goes for The Long Goodbye and McCabe and Mrs Miller (Altman is represented by M*A*S*H and Nashville). Other omissions include: The French Connection (Friedkin is represented by The Exorcist), Dirty Harry, Deliverance, American Graffiti (having Lucas here would be confusing, since he is represented by Star Wars in The Blockbuster Era), Badlands, Days of Heaven, All The President’s Men, Carrie, The Deer Hunter, Dog Day Afternoon (Lumet is represented by Network), Kramer vs Kramer, The Sting (Hill is represented by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), Young Frankenstein (Brooks is represented by Blazing Saddles), The Shining (Kubrick is represented by A Clockwork Orange, Dr Strangelove, and 2001: A Space Odyssey; the former in this section and the latter two in The Golden Age of Hollywood), Rosemary’s Baby and Repulsion (Polanski is represented by Chinatown), Being There (Ashby is represented by Harold and Maude), Reds, and Love Story.

The Blockbuster Era: It was hard to curtail Spielberg, as his films so perfectly capture the blockbuster era; I ended up listing five of his films (Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, Jurassic Park, and Schindler’s List) but I did omit Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Saving Private Ryan. Likewise, Robert Zemeckis already had two films (Back to the Future and Forrest Gump), so Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was omitted. Other omissions include: Rocky, The Blues Brothers, Gandhi, The Right Stuff, Scarface (the remake), Flashdance, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, The Princess Bride (Reiner is represented by When Harry Met Sally), Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Platoon, JFK, Dances With Wolves, Field of Dreams, Superman, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Home Alone, The Silence of the Lambs, Se7en (Fincher is represented by Fight Club), The Shawshank Redemption, Braveheart, Heat, There’s Something About Mary, American Beauty, Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise, and Gladiator (these last three are all Ridley Scott omissions, but he is represented by Alien).

The Franchise Era: I think I got most of these. The Bourne franchise is a potential omissions, but it is still unclear whether Bourne will break out as a franchise and not just a successful trilogy (#4 was disappointing). Other franchises that could have been included are The Hangover, which I didn’t feel was big enough (although it is huge for comedy) and Saw, which belongs more in the exploitation section than here. Inception technically is not a franchise film, although it feels right in this section (and it is part of the “Nolan” franchise); other non-franchise films that could have found a home in this section include: Gravity (Cuaron is represented by Y Tu Mama Tambien in the Mexican New Wave, and he also did the third Harry Potter film), Interstellar (Nolan is represented by Inception, his DC comics Batman trilogy, and Memento in the indie film section), and Gone Girl and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Fincher is represented by Fight Club in the Blockbuster Era).

B-movie/Exploitation Films: Tarantino could easily have dominated this section, but I kept him to two films (Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill), omitting Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, Inglorious Basterds, and Django Unchained. This section is almost all genres and sub-genres, and I didn’t want any one genre to dominate. This resulted in omissions like The Day the Earth Stood Still and The Thing From Another World (b-movie sci-fi is represented by Invasion of the Body Snatchers); The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Scream, Saw, Hostel, I Spit On Your Grave, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and many more gore/slasher/torture/rape-revenge films (slasher is represented by Halloween; gore/torture/rape-revenge are represented by The Last House on the Left); Freaks and Cat People (classic low budget horror is represented by Little Shop of Horrors, although in many ways that film is a comedy, not horror); Dawn of the Dead (zombie films are represented by Night of the Living Dead); Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (blaxploitation is represented by Shaft, and Pulp Fiction kind of); and Godzilla, Paranormal Activities, and The Thing (monster movies are represented by The Blair Witch Project, and Sharknado kind of). There are also many exploitation films listed elsewhere on the chart, such as Easy Rider (outlaw biker), Penitentiary (blaxploitation, women in prison), Mad Max (Ozploitation, carsploitation), The Dollar Trilogy and Once Upon A Time In The West (spaghetti westerns), Fast and the Furious (carsploitation), Enter the Dragon (martial arts), The Exorcist/Alien/Jaws/Jurassic Park/The Host (monster movies), The Big Lebowski/Dazed and Confused (stoner films), Funny Games (torture, although it is actually a deconstruction, not exploitation), and Psycho (a pre-slasher slasher film).

Additionally, there are some exploitation genres that didn’t get represented here, either because no film was worthy, the best films are in other sections, or there simply wasn’t room. These include: cannibal (Cannibal Holocaust), carsploitation (Vanishing Point, Gone in 60 Seconds), Nazisploitation, redsploitation, sexploitation (Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!, Showgirls), women in prison, nudist and nudie-cutie, bikini beach parties, hixploitation (Deliverance, The Hills Have Eyes), nunsploitation, stoner films (Up In Smoke, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, Half Baked), and outlaw biker. There are even more exploitation sub-genres in other national cinemas, but like I said, I kept things Hollywood-centric here.

Indie Films: Like Tarantino and exploitation films, John Cassavetes could have dominated this section, but again I kept him to two films (Shadows and A Woman Under the Influence), leaving off Husbands and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Likewise, The Coen Brothers have two films (Barton Fink and The Big Lebowski), so No Country for Old Men, Fargo, and Inside Llewyn Davis were omitted (Fargo was actually a studio film, and it would have been part of the Blockbuster era, but it felt out of place there, so it was left off the chart completely). Similarly, Magnolia was also omitted in favor of two other PT Anderson films (Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood). Other omissions include: Eraserhead and Mulholland Drive (Lynch is represented by Blue Velvet), the Before Trilogy and Slacker (Linklater is represented by Dazed and Confused, and technically Before Sunrise, the first film in the Before trilogy, is a studio film), Pi and Requiem for a Dream (Aronofsky is represented by Black Swan), Elephant (Gus Van Sant is represented by Good Will Hunting, and Milk and My Own Private Idaho in the New Queer Cinema section), The Royal Tenembaums, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Being John Malcovich, Little Miss Sunshine, 500 Days of Summer, Francis Ha, Bellflower, Birdman (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is represented by Amores Perros in the Mexican New Wave section), and Whiplash. Finally, The Butler (a mini-major indie) could have been listed in the Black Second New Wave, but Lee Daniels was already represented by Precious, which I felt was enough.

Internationally: Most of the deserving international films that were omitted were done so not because of a lack of space, but because they weren’t part of a specific wave/movement and also not from one of the Other Notable Filmmakers (or, in the case of Truffaut and Kar-Wai, their omitted films were made after the movement they were listed in had ended). Omitted international films include:  The Third Man, Z, Day for Night (the Truffaut film, released after the end of the French New Wave), In the Mood For Love (Kar-Wai’s film, released after the end of the Hong Kong New Wave), Les Diabolique, Playtime, Wages of Fear (lots of French films here), The Cranes are Flying, Cinema Paradiso, Run Lola Run, Downfall, The Lives of Others, Amelie, City of God, and Let The Right One In.

International films that were omitted due to a lack of space include: Persona and Wild Strawberries (Bergman’s list in the Other Notable Filmmakers section was getting too long, see the Required Films section in the original post); Un Chien Andalou (Luis Bunuel’s list was getting too long as well); Peeping Tom (directed only by Michael Powell, but I listed Powell with his directing partner Emeric Pressburger, so I only listed the films they did together); Mother (Joon-Ho is represented by The Host and Memories of Murder); Vivre Sa Vie (Godard is represented by Breathless, Contempt, and Pierrot Le Fou), Last Year in Marienbad (Resnais is represented by Hiroshima Mon Amour), Shoot the Piano Player (Truffaut is represented by The 400 Blows and Jules and Jim), and several more French New Wave films (I already listed twelve from that wave, it really was the greatest wave in the history of film), and a lot more that I can’t think of right now.

Multiple era omissions:

  • Sidney Lumet: 12 Angry Men was released towards the end of the Golden Age of Hollywood, but I felt Lumet was better represented solely in New Hollywood, which was one of the reasons 12 Angry Men was omitted.
  • Richard Lester: I could have listed Superman in the Blockbuster Era but I ran out of room
  • Michael Bay has several Blockbuster Era films, but he really came into his own with his Transformers franchise, so I only listed him there.
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu: I could have had included Birdman in the indie film section, but it was omitted.
  • Fritz Lang released some significant work in the Golden Age of Hollywood, but none as much as his work during the German Expressionism movement. The same is true for several other foreign filmmakers who came to Hollywood, including Peter Weir, George Miller, John Boorman, Jackie Chan, and others I can’t think of right now.
  • Several indie filmmakers have made Hollywood films, including the Coen Brothers, Richard Linklater, Darren Aronofsky, David Lynch, but they all felt much more at home in the indie section so I kept them there.
  • Guillermo del Toro made Pacific Rim, which was an attempt at a franchise, but it wasn’t successful enough.
  • Likewise, David Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo could have been a franchise, but it also wasn’t successful enough. Gone Girl was super successful and is kind of a franchise film, since it was tied so strongly to the best selling book it was based on, but that film was also omitted.
  • F Gary Gray: Straight Outta Compton makes him a member of the Second Black Wave, but he was already a member of the first wave and I wanted to list new filmmakers in the second one.
  • Federico Fellini: I could have included La Strada, a Neorealist film made right at the end of that movement, but I thought it might have been confusing. Plus, he already has three films listed in the Italian New Wave, which is where I think he belongs.

The most painful omission? The Social Network. This film was so great and so influential, it is painful to not be able to include it. The reason it was omitted? I couldn’t figure out where to put it. The film was released right in the heart of the Franchise Era but it is clearly not a franchise film, it doesn’t even feel right in the Blockbuster Era where Fincher came from. It might have fit as an indie film, except it is not indie, it was a major studio film (and not even the indie label of the studio, it was made by the studio’s main label). Really, Social Network is a New Hollywood film (most of Fincher’s favorite films are from New Hollywood) made thirty years after the end of New Hollywood. And despite that, the film is still way ahead of its time. I think Social Network is one of the best and most influential films of the last twenty years, but on my chart there was nowhere to put it and so it is not there.

Documentaries, Shorts, and Animation: Entirely new charts could be made for documentary and animated filmmaking. Maybe I’ll do that one day, but until then, here’s a quick list of notable docs/shorts/animated films and filmmakers:


Films: Nanook of the North, The Man With A Movie Camera, Land Without Bread, Triumph of the Will, Listen to Britian, Night and Fog, The Sorrow and The Pity, Shoah, The House is Black, The Up Series, Sans Soleil, Titticut Follies, Gimme Shelter, Hearts and Minds, Grey Gardens, F for Fake, Harlan County USA, The Times of Harvey Milk, The Thin Blue Line, Roger & Me, Bowling For Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, Capturing the Friedmans, Hoop Dreams, Grizzly Man, Exit Through The Gift Shop, The Act of Killing

Filmmakers: Robert Flaherty, Dziga Vertov**, Leni Riefenstahl, Luis Bunuel**, Alain Resnais**, DA Pennebaker, the Maysles brothers, Frederick Wiseman, Barbara Kopple, Ken Burns, Errol Morris, Steve James, Michael Moore, Andrew Jarecki, Werner Herzog**, Alex Gibney

Movements: the City Symphony, War Propaganda, Cinema Verite, the British Documentary Film Movement


Films: Gertie the Dinosaur, early Disney shorts (Steamboat Willie, The Band Concert, The Old Mill), Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Fantasia, Russian animation (Vinni Pukh, Hedgehog in the Fog), Looney Tunes (Duck Amuck, Rabbit of Seville, One Froggy Evening), Dumbo, Cinderella, Bambi, Wallace and Grommit, Vincent, Akira, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Spirited Away, early PIXAR shorts (Luxo Jr, Knick Knack, Tin Toy), Toy Story, The Incredibles, WALL-E, Shrek, Frozen, More, Rejected

Filmmakers: Winsor McCay, Walt Disney, Max Fleischer, Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, Friz Freleng, Disney’s Nine Old Men (look them up), Fyodor Khitruk, Nick Park, Hanna and Barbera, Tim Burton**, Hayao Miyazaki, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, Brad Bird**, Jennifer Lee, Don Hertzfeldt


A Trip to the Moon, The Great Train Robbery, A Corner in Wheat, Sherlock Jr, Un Chien Andalou, The Music Box, The Red Balloon, La Jetee, An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge, Electronic Labyrinth: THX-1138 4EB, Xenogenesis, Bedhead, Cigarettes and Coffee, Bottle Rocket, Alive in Joburg, Locks

** filmmakers who would be on my documentary/animation charts (if I were to make them) who are also on my narrative chart. Quite an impressive feat, being on both (no one is on all three).


About Gabriel Bruskoff
I make movies! See gabrielbruskoff.com for more information.

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