POSTED May 20 2013

Movie showdown: The 1940s v. the 1970s

017153100792When my learned colleague Glen Macnow, sports radio host, movie geek, and author of The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies, tweeted that the 1970s were the best movie decade, my inner film historian balked. Surely the 1940s equalled or surpassed the 1970s? Interesting decades, both.

The 1940s were the last great decade of Old Hollywood, before the rise of television and the slow collapse of the great studios. The 1970s marked the birth of New Hollywood and the reconsolidation of the studios. The 1940s were the decade when 1970s auteurs Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg were born.

So, is Body and Soul better than Rocky? Dirty Harry greater than High Sierra? Are apples greater than oranges? You help us decide. Starting this Saturday, every day for 25 days we’ll pit two movies against each other. We want your votes and comments.


  1. I’ll take BODY AND SOUL (the *Rossen* version) over ROCKY, and HIGH SIERRA over DIRTY HARRY. It’s a case-by-case thing, though … since I’ll akso take THE LONG GOODBYE over MURDER MY SWEET.

  2. wwolfe says:

    Neither the 1940s nor the 1970s. I prefer the wisecracking 1930s, with its skeptical view of authority inspired by the Great Depression and the lingering hangover from the Great War.

  3. Richard Iaconelli says:

    I’m enjoying this but I think you are both wrong! The 1930’s was both the most fertile period for Hollywood (over 5,000 feature films) and the period when the great style in each genre was created (Example: Universal and horror films.) In fact, if you look at the films of 1939 alone, you would have a decade’s worth of classics.

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