I turn 40 today. Happy birthday. More importantly, some AMAZING movies turn 40 this year. Several classic films were released in 1974, and will celebrate an anniversary this year. It’s part of the reason why I consider 1974 to be, not only the year of my birth, but "The Greatest Year in Movie History."
You might not agree. Cinema historians regularly cite 1939 as the best year, as films like The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Stagecoach and Gone With the Wind reached theaters during that frame. Others point to the years 1982 and 1984 as seminal years for remarkable films. Others argue that 1977 was shockingly fantastic, with Annie Hall, Close Encounters and Star Wars rolling out.
There are even a few movie journalists making the argument that 2013 will be one of those years we point back at to say, "Look at how good we had it back then." Could a year that provided us with Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, Her, American Hustle, Iron Man 3, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen suddenly rank up there with the greatest movie years in Hollywood history?
It’s a fun discussion, and one that I happily turn over to you guys. Tell us which movie produced the greatest output of overall films. Was it one of the ones I mentioned above? Was it something completely different? Could it be 1974? If so, then we should spend all of 2014 honoring this amazing crop of cinematic classics, all of which – like me – turn 40 this year. (And hopefully, age very well.)
Let us know in the comments section below. What is your choice for the Greatest Year in Movie History, and what was the bets movie released that year. I’ll go first, telling you that it’s 1974, and Chinatown. Agree to disagree?
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.