Let’s Look Behind the Curtain at the ‘Most Influential Film Ever’

There are a few notable lists that echoes authority in Hollywood and for cinephiles everywhere. The “bests” from the American Film Institute (AFI), Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), Internet Movie Database (IMDB), and well-read entertainment sources like EW, Rolling Stone, and THR come to mind. 

But, what about the AAAS? Yes, the American Association for the Advancement of Science? Does that hearken back to the icons of the silver screen? Yeah, not so much, but they have released a study that is making headlines everywhere. 

These stem-cell scholars at the University of Turin, Italy, calculated an influence score for 47,000 films listed in IMDb. And their revelation is The Wizard of Oz is the most influential movie of all time, besting other champions of clout like Star Wars (for visual effects and sci-fi) and Psycho (for character development and horror). 

We propose an alternative method to box office takings – which are affected by factors beyond the quality of the film such as advertising and distribution – and reviews – which are ultimately subjective – for analyzing the success of a film. 

Dr. Livio Bioglio, the study’s lead author

The analysis of film and actor influence is this enigmatic algorithm that uses “references between movies as a measure for success, and which can also be used to evaluate the career of directors, actors and actresses, by considering their participation in top-scoring movies.” 

So, while you imagine how “We’re not in Kansas anymore” has more stroke in Hollywood than all that ‘pew pew pew’ stuff in outer space, here are some of the other most influential movies in history, according to this algorithm: 

  • King Kong (1933) 
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) 
  • Metropolis (1927) 
  • Citizen Kane (1941) 
  • The Birth of a Nation (1915) 
  • Frankenstein (1931) 
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) 

Combined with the aforementioned first three, that is a salty list of influencers in movie-making lore. So why is Oz the “most influential”? 

The film has been remade more than a dozen times, ranging from the urban classic The Wiz with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson to a Tom & Jerry knockoff. Did you know the movie has been referenced more than 3,000 times in other films and TV shows? Just think about how many times people have sang “Over the Rainbow” in their shows or albums. 

Directors? Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, and Stanley Kubrick are among the top five spots. 

Actors? Samuel L. Jackson, Clint Eastwood, and Tom Cruise are the top three. Ever. The only woman to crack the Top 10 was Lois Maxwell, who played the recurring role of Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond franchise. 

Yeah, well, we really aren’t in Kansas anymore, are we? 

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