Innovative Movies

Filmmakers, similiar to writers, painters, architects and most any other type of artist, follow things that came before them. Techniques used in movie making evolve through original ideas that add to each other over time, progressing the medium to where it is today. This is a list of films I have seen that I believe to be unquestionably innovative, whether through style, technique, or presentation. enjoy!
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Requiem for a Dream (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island people are shattered when their addictions run deep. (102 mins.)
“ I don't usualy like to start a list on a down-note, but seeing this movie for the first time recently inspired me to make this list. One of the most riveting movies I've ever seen, I felt emotionally involved from beginning to end. Heart-wrenching, dark, claustrophobic; this movie is one of the few I've seen to actually use it's surreal style as less of a gimick, and more of an essential technique in properly presenting the power of it's story. Undoubtedly in my mind, the techniques used throughout this film led the way for many of the movies to come later in the same decade. (after this entry, I'll continue the list in chronological order) ” - ashton-hynes
Metropolis (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences. (153 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
“ It still blows my mind that this movie did what it did, when it did. One of my favorite movies, and definetely ahead of it`s time ” - ashton-hynes
Un Chien Andalou (1929 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí present seventeen minutes of bizarre, surreal imagery. (16 mins.)
Director: Louis Bunuel
“ Made by surrealist painter Salvador Dali and soon to be famed filmmaker luis bunuel, this was the first in nearly a century long line of surrealist films. Groundbreaking at it's time, the film featured random, juxtaposed , almost offensive images. Laying the groundwork for every movie ever made that had any sort of larger than life theme, Un Chien Andalou , while disturbing, is a very, very important film. ” - ashton-hynes
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A screenwriter is hired to rework a faded silent film star's script only to find himself developing a dangerous relationship. (110 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
“ Although not the first film noir, it represents the golden age of the genre and is probably the best of the best. Besides a deep story and characters that imprint into your mind, this movie, along with the maltese falcon, is what cartoons parody whenever a character goes into "film noir" mode and begins to narrate in a charming, mysterious "detective" voice. The American Film Institute has rated this movie very high on it's list of the 100 greatest american movies of all time. ” - ashton-hynes
North by Northwest (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive. (136 mins.)
“ I once read that the script writer for this film said that he wanted to make "the Hitchcock film to end all Hitchcock films." The epic tale of a man who goes on a cross country adventure to clear his name, and save his newfound love along the way, started a revolution in action adventure plots to come. And it's still the best ever. ” - ashton-hynes
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically try to stop. (95 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ I don't know enough to say if this movie is innovative or not, so correct me in the comments. For the sake of the benefit of the doubt, I'll keep it on the list for now. It is one of my all time favorite movies, and I'm yet to see a movie from it's time, or before, that was presented the way this gem was. ” - ashton-hynes
The Battle of Algiers (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In the 1950s, fear and violence escalate as the people of Algiers fight for independence from the French government. (121 mins.)
“ maybe not as famous as the others on this list, the Battle of Algiers was definetely innovative in every sense of the word. Funded by the Algerian government just years after the country's civil revolution, The Battle of Algiers did something few historical films have ever done- it shamelessy told both sides of the story completely, and truthfully. Watching the movie feels like watching archived footage-it is done so well, every scene feels like it could look exactly the way the actual events would have looked in real time. ” - ashton-hynes
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these flesh eating monsters. (96 mins.)
“ the beginnings of a pop culture phenomenon. The minds of two men(I assume both filmmakers wrote the script as well?) began a completely original idea that would be emulated, copycated, parodied, and etched into the minds of entire cultures for decades later. Night of the Living dead made modern day zombies, and the survival horror movie, household names. ” - ashton-hynes
Black Christmas (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
During their Christmas break, a group of sorority girls are stalked by a stranger. (98 mins.)
Director: Bob Clark
“ I'm a huge horror movie fan, so I'm the right person to hear this from-whether this is the first slasher movie or not, it is almost definetely the greatest ever! It is known by most nerds of the genre to be the movie that pioneered the slasher movie genre. It may not be the first widely succesful slasher flick, but it is known(correct me if I'm wrong!) to have influenced the likes of Halloween, and later down the road, Friday the thirteenth. And it is truly more scary than any of those. ” - ashton-hynes
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader. (121 mins.)
Director: George Lucas
“ I`ll only include the original movie, although all six movies for me were really amazing. I couldn`t say everything that needs to be said for this movie`s inclusion on this list, though mostly anyone reading this will know all the reasons without me having to say so. ” - ashton-hynes
Halloween (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield to kill again. (91 mins.)
Director: John Carpenter
“ Maybe including this movie contradicts my earlier inclusion of Black Christmas, but Halloween is the film that made slasher flicks the cultural phenomenon that it was. It presented for the first time to a mainstream audience the classic atmosphere that scary movie fans now love more than anything and, admittedly, it was very scary. ” - ashton-hynes
The Evil Dead (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons. (85 mins.)
Director: Sam Raimi
“ This underdog film changed the shape of scary movies forever after. As I've said, im a horror movie geek- I love being scared. I had seen every movie from every era, style,director;I'd seen classics, unkown gems, and everything inbetween before I'd finaly gotten the chance to see this one. It was the best thing I had ever seen! Everything I wanted a horror movie to be when I was younger when my parents banned them, and everything that I was disapointed that they weren't when I was finaly old enough, was all in this movie. Every scary movie since has tried to be this movie, but it is still on top. An unknown director went to a cabin with a camera crew, newbie kid actors, and a scary-small budget(the amount of improvisation done in this movie behind the scenes is unreal!) and changed the world of scary movies as we know it. ” - ashton-hynes
The Breakfast Club (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Five high school students meet in Saturday detention and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought. (97 mins.)
Director: John Hughes
“ This movie was THE original teen movie as we know it today. John Hughes was a master at understanding the every day teenager on the deepest possible level, and although this wasn`t his first great teen movie(sixteen candles was really ,really good a year before) it was the movie that put him on the map as a teen idol and changed the genre for ever ” - ashton-hynes
Toy Story (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A cowboy doll is profoundly threatened and jealous when a new spaceman figure supplants him as top toy in a boy's room. (81 mins.)
Director: John Lasseter
“ Besides being one of pixar's many amazing movies, and being one of my favorite movies when I was little, Toy story was the first movie EVER to be made entirely from computer generated images. There is no debate that movies upon movies have followed from what this one single film started. ” - ashton-hynes
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action. (169 mins.)
“ How could I not include this movie? The opening scenes of the invasion of Normandy on D-day during the second world war are the most true to live, unabashedly graphic scenes in a war movie I have ever seen-and this wasn't even made this century! It's been said that when veterans of the landing watched the movie, they cried during the famous scene , saying that it looked so much like the way things were that they found it hard to watch. ” - ashton-hynes
Fight Club (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more. (139 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
“ (MAJOR spolier alert! DONT read ahead if you want to see this movie) This might be a little controversial, as many people believe this movie is highly overrated. Although, for the sake of an amazing surprise/twist ending, I'll include it. Fight Club does have a great visual style throughout, but the ending, where we find out Brad Pitt's character isn't real, and is all in Edward Norton's character's head, is beyond amazing. We realize upon second viewing(Which most of us probably did immediately after the first view) that all the obvious signs are there- the other characters never look at Brad Pitt, when he talks they don't respond, and things in general that happen don't really make sense if you look really, really closely. But I will bet there is noone out there who watched this movie, without knowing the twist already, and picked up on these details the first time through. Amazing, and copycatted beyond count. ” - ashton-hynes
Memento (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A man juggles searching for his wife's murderer and keeping his short-term memory loss from being an obstacle. (113 mins.)
“ After eleven years, this one remains unique. Memento is the story of a man with a rare form of amnesia who lives to avenge the murder of his wife. Basically every few minutes, the man would forget everything he ever learned. He has to keep notes for himself in places he`ll see whenever his memories `start over`so that he`ll relearn what he`s trying to remember about the killer . Eventually he begins to find reason to doubt if he can even trust his personal mementos to tell him the truth his memory can`t. The first scene in the movie is the last scene in the story chronologicaly. The movie is unique because it plays backwards, we see the end first and the beginning of the story last, but because the protagonist has no memories, we only learn the truth when we go all the way back to the beginning. ” - ashton-hynes
Donnie Darko (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident. (113 mins.)
Director: Richard Kelly
“ I don't know if this movie has influenced many movies after it; I definetely have never seen another movie that even compares. But since the word I used for this list is "innovative", no one who's seen this can argue against the fact. The movie is surreal, mind-blowing... I don't know anyone who casually likes this movie. either you've never seen it, or it's one of your favorites. The movie has a stylish, surrealist technique, and never answers your questions even when you watch it from beginning to end- I've read entire essays online about what this movie could mean! ” - ashton-hynes
Elephant (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Several ordinary high school students go through their daily routine as two others prepare for something more malevolent. (81 mins.)
Director: Gus Van Sant
“ Many people give the Coen Brothers this title, but I call Gus Van Sant the modern master of suspense. Besides being a recent teen icon, touching on a difficult- but- important- issue in a realist, yet sensitive way, Elephant is also a showcase for Van Sant's technique for movie suspense. Elephant gives no warning or clue to the viewer that something bad is about to happen- no dramatic music, no tension build up, no slow motion. Rather, we are shown a typical every-day at a high school. The violence interupts it with no warning, almost feeling out of place. Because there is no build up or hinting to us as an audience, which is something almost unheard of even from the best directors, we feel as though we should still be in the happy, peaceful silence of the earlier scenes, even when that silence has been interrupted. This creates a feeling close to what the real life horror of this moment would be, and allows Elephant to reach the audience's empathy and creates an almost unbearable sorrow throughout the movie. This "quiet suspense" technique can be seen in good use in one of the final scenes in Milk, which is also very unforgettable. ” - ashton-hynes
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. But it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with. (108 mins.)
Director: Michel Gondry
“ My favorite movie, hands-down. Although it was probably influenced by the many great indie movies that had come out at this point in the 21st century, Eternal Sunshine's presentation has remained unmatched and entirely unique. Beautiful all the way through, the dream-like imagery, dialogue, and indie story-telling technique are unrivalled in it's depth and heartfelt sincerity. ” - ashton-hynes
Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A listless and alienated teenager decides to help his new friend win the class presidency in their small western high school, while he must deal with his bizarre family life back home. (96 mins.)
Director: Jared Hess
“ Whether you love it or hate it, there was something genius about the way this film was made. Completely unique, above and beyond anything that`s been done before or since in the comedy, or teen comedy film. ” - ashton-hynes
No Country for Old Men (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande. (122 mins.)
“ Similiar to Elephant, this movie was groundbreaking in it's unique, and unimitatable, style of suspense. People who say the latest action blockbuster was "edge-of-your-seat-thrilling" don't know what they're talking about- this movie is truly pulse pounding. The build-ups of inevitable scenes of violence feel so life like that you nearly have a heart attack watching every five minutes of this movie. The Coen Brothers' style here is completely unseen before No Country for Old Men. ” - ashton-hynes
The Dark Knight (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
When the menace known as the Joker emerges from his mysterious past, he wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, the Dark Knight must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice. (152 mins.)
“ Not many action movies can be called innovative, but the Dark Knight was an exception. This is a thriller that is genuinely thrilling. hopefully more movies in the genre learn from the unique presentation that made this movie beyond exciting from beginning to end. ” - ashton-hynes
Inception (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
A thief, who steals corporate secrets through use of dream-sharing technology, is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO. (148 mins.)
“ I don't normally like movies that go overboard with special effects and CGI because I believe that in most cases it's a cover up for a poor plot. This is the exception. The effects were used artfully, and the plot was both unique and genius. We haven't seen anything like this movie before, and even if some critics say it is overrated, take it from me, they're wrong. The definition of the word innovative! ” - ashton-hynes
The Social Network (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business. (120 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
“ I LOVED last year`s oscars because there were so many unique, innovative movies. This and inception were the most important to me, but that`s entirely opinion based ” - ashton-hynes
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend's seven evil exes in order to win her heart. (112 mins.)
Director: Edgar Wright
“ The movie that was also a graphic novel/video game. This movies mix of mediums (style-wise, of course) blended so well and looked so good that it's the only movie EVER to make that work at a top quality level. Very, very fun to watch! ” - ashton-hynes
Bridesmaids (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Competition between the maid of honor and a bridesmaid, over who is the bride's best friend, threatens to upend the life of an out-of-work pastry chef. (125 mins.)
Director: Paul Feig
“ Although not yet proven, this is one I'm hoping will be influential to movies made in the next few years. This was seriously one of the genuinely funniest movies I've seen since Napoleon Dynamite. I'm hoping it has broken the trend of bad, shottily written blockbuster comedies, and hopefully will make the genre great again with a very unique, new style of humor that is truly laugh- out- loud funny. ” - ashton-hynes