Top 10 Classic Movies That Were Ahead of Their Time

Why were these movies ahead of their time? These movies are judged as being ahead of their time originally  because of their technical aspects, unique and influential story telling and visual effects achievements. Most of these became the staple for referencing great visual effects when they were released. It’s not necessarily that their subject matter or content was not well received until years later.

I have seen thousands of movies throughout my life and I am one of those guy who enjoys movies from every single genre. But some will be works of art that continue to challenge, enlighten, or amaze me long after I turn them off. These 10 as the greatest examples of movies ahead of their time when they came out.

Note: The list contain movies which were released before 1980s.

10. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

The 1960s was when motion pictures were starting to get realistic, and I mean that with every sense of the word. This picture, Bonnie and Clyde, is one of the first to depict violence in a graphic matter while telling the life and death story of one of America’s most notorious bank robbers of the 1930s.

Both Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway did an impressive job in their characters, as they seemed to fill every attribute of the real Bonnie and Clyde themselves. I found this love story a little different due to Clyde’s hesitation and display of emotions, but it was something different that I found somewhat interesting.

If you’re offended films that change history for their own gain then you might not be too partial to the film, but if you could care less then just sit back and enjoy Bonnie and Clyde.

9. Psycho (1960)

“Psycho” is the most astounding, daring, and successful scary film ever made on multiple personality disorder… Hitchcock uses pure cinema to arouse audience emotions.

Janet Leigh plays Marion Crane, a respectable 30-year-old spinster steals $40,000 from her workplace and takes off on a solo car journey to nowhere. She makes the fateful mistake of staying overnight at the Bates Motel and her conversations with its owner, Norman Bates, and ends with her murder in the famous shower scene. If there was any doubt the time this movie was made, `Psycho’ once and for all proved that Hitchcock was, indeed, the Master of Suspense. There have been many imitators before and since, but all of them, good and bad alike, only serve to point out that nobody does it better than Hitchcock.

8. 8 ½ (1963)

“8 ½ a.k.a Otto e Mezzo” is of the most original and spellbinding films I know of. One of the beauties of cinema is to merge the artist’s memory and fantasy; Fellini certainly utilized this magic to present his story and characters that embody both humanity and mystery.

The film is about a film director who finds himself unable to complete the process of creating the ultimate masterpiece, a movie that is designed to represent his will to the world. The movie title symbolizes a miscarriage, because, unlike a mother, who, after 9 months of pregnancy, gives birth to her child, Guido is unable to finalize his project and kills himself when feeling at odds with the people around him and his own creation.

Time has not lessened its impact in any way. It remains a tour de force work of cinema magic that merits comparison to Welle’s Citizen Kane. “8 1/2” is as good as it gets.

7. Jaws (1975)

“Jaws” is one of the best Spielberg films of all time. Everything from the opening title sequence to the credits is non-stop brilliance, the acting for one is immense, Shieder’s Brody is edgy and paranoid but endearing and charismatic.

The story is set on the fictitious Amity Island in the mid 70s. The film focuses on a series of shark attacks and a subsequent shark hunt. Jaws is based on a bestselling novel Peter Bentley, who also wrote the screenplay for the film. The groundbreaking 1975 film has won Academy Awards for Film Editing, Music, and Sound. Its cast is full of talented actors, including Roy Schneider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss.

This one here is great entertainment with plenty to love about it. A must-see film, not only for genre and creature-feature but for movie fans in general. Highly recommended.

6. Alien (1979)

Almost thirty three years have passed since Alien made its first appearance, becoming an instant classic, opening the doors of Hollywood to director Ridley Scott and starting one of the best-known franchises to have ever graced the screen. The movie is still as fresh, brilliant and scary as it was back in 1979, perhaps because no other film (except James Cameron’s superb sequel, Aliens) has yet been able to match its claustrophobic mood and moments of sheer, unadulterated dread.

“Alien” is a landscape in horror survival where it plays like a silent motion picture where we don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s creepy, very effective, and it’s the kind of film you don’t want to watch in the dark.

5. Jason and the Argonauts (1968)

“Jason and the Argonauts” is a tale of love and betrayal, friendship and fortune. It is nearly 40 years old but it still holds up as one of the semi-classic mythological fantasy which provides a framework for some splendid stop-frame animation. “Ray Harryhausen” is the man of the moment here, and his stop-go animation of miniatures has never encountered serious competition. Each work is a perfect artistic miracle of painstaking attention to detail. The giant guardian statue of Kalos is particularly well suited to his technique.

I would recommend the movie to anyone who likes cinema that’s enjoyably superficial like “The Lord Of The Ring Trilogy”. It’s the cinematic equivalent of eating your dessert without having to eat your dinner. The movie never feels weighed down the romance or the melodrama, it’s mostly just all about transporting you to the fantasy world.

4. King Kong (1933)

One of the most imaginative, creative, and spectacular action/horror films ever made. It was decades ahead of its time in many ways. It influenced Spielberg, Jackson, you name it; a whole generation of filmmakers. As a kid in pre-Star Wars days, it was breathtaking to watch on TV.

This 30s Hollywood twist on the Beauty and the Beast story starts when a pretty young girl is picked to star in the next film producer of Carl Denham, known for his exotic locations and animal photography. This film has been so successful that a couple remakes have been made, and it has spawned a few video games. The scene where Kong climbs the Empire State Building is probably one of the most memorable and classic moments in cinema.

3. Star Wars (1977)

Almost thirty three years have passed since Alien made its first appearance, becoming an instant classic, opening the doors of Hollywood to director Ridley Scott and starting one of the best-known franchises to have ever graced the screen. The movie is still as fresh, brilliant and scary as it was back in 1979, perhaps because no other film (except James Cameron’s superb sequel, Aliens) has yet been able to match its claustrophobic mood and moments of sheer, unadulterated dread.

“Alien” is a landscape in horror survival where it plays like a silent motion picture where we don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s creepy, very effective, and it’s the kind of film you don’t want to watch in the dark.

What can I say about George Lucas’s “Star Wars” that hasn’t already been said? It’s one of the most authentically shot films, the great things about “Star Wars” is the visuals, the opening shot where the Star Destroyer flies over while chasing the Rebel Blockade Runner is amazing. The music is also fantastic, it evokes early epic movie scores the likes of Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Miklos Rozsa and also hearkens back to Classical music in the romantic period, especially to Wagner and Holst.

Lucas also studied motifs of Greek mythological creatures to design the aliens, sets and robotic character shots of many of the fictional characters. Therefore, these styles of thematic elements were carried into many other space action creations that Lucas has directed in future films, including the Star Wars Trilogy.

2. Metropolis (1927)

“Metropolis” is a fantastic futuristic view of the fight of classes in society. When “Metropolis” was shot, it was a romantic revolutionary period of mankind history, with socialist movements around the world. Fritz Lang directed and wrote the screenplay of this masterpiece certainly inspired in this historical moment and defending a position of agreement and understanding between both sides, showing that they need each other. I wonder how this great director was able to produce such special effects in 1927, with very primitive cameras and equipment.

t is a landmark film and an ignition for the evolution of the science fiction/fantasy film genre. The story itself is simple,a Biblical allegory, about how people with a vision should share that vision in order to make it happen. The film is anything but simple. It is immense, and a rich legacy that director Fritz Lang has left us.

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Hands down, and without a shadow of a doubt, So much has been said about “2001: A Space Odyssey” and how revolutionary it is. Even if something similar is attempted today, it will inevitably still be streets behind Stanley Kubrick’s influential masterpiece. After making a name for himself with classic films such as Paths of Glory (1957), Lolita (1962) and Dr. Strangelove (1964), Kubrick bolstered and cemented his reputation as one of the greatest and influential filmmakers ever to grace our planet with the release of 2001, at a time when space exploration looked real and promising.

“2001: A Space Odyssey” is triumphant film that asks a lot out of you. You are asked to accept lengthy scenes of apes, long scenes of spacecraft and classical music, and many other drawn-out sequences. I loved every second of it.

Honorable Mentions:

As you know, the list contain movies which were released before 1980s. There were so many that I had to include at least a few honorable mentions (random selection)…

Solaris (1972), Forbidden Planet (1956) , Jurassic Park (1993), The Fifth Element (1997), Starship Troopers (1997), The Matrix (1999), WarGames (1983), Tron (1982), Blade Runner (1982), A Scanner Darkly (2006), The Fountain (2006), Children of Men (2006)…

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John Smith

This site is run a passionate young developer who loves to tinker around stuff learning what's under the hood. He is currently doing his Engineering and these web apps help him with it. He likes hiking, table tennis and basketball

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