Topic 5: The world film productions from the 80s to the present time

● typical features – themes, genres, characters, budget, format, audiences ● main representatives ● technological developments

<< back to absolutoria topics list

The decade of the 1980s continued to develop the genres of the seventies and didn’t really create many new trends. Film production was designed for mass audiences’ appeal, with the aim to make strong blockbuster success. The invention of the video opened up the possibility of VHS distribution for buying, lending recording and home viewing of films. Also dubbed as the decade of the sequel with many classic action, sci-fi or comedy films in more parts.

Rocketing production costs for expensive mega-stars and the need for extra-high box-office earnings didn’t leave much room for experimentation, creativity or originality, but the decade of the 1990s produced some of the most expensive, successful, as well as the most flopping films in movie history. The decade also saw the switch from analogue to digital technologies (e.g. DVDs, digital cameras, digital post-production techniques and visual effects, etc.). The Internet and the growing influence of independent production companies brought on new freedoms and new approaches to film production and distribution. In the late 90s, this resulted in more intelligent plots, fresher presentation of themes, employment of post-modern, music video or advertisement techniques, with revolutionary visual effects, editing and stylization, combining different elements (drama, action, sci-fi, comedy, martial arts, etc.) breaching previous filmmaking stereotypes, often with cool music soundtracks

All these trends have continued and intensified well into the naughties. Digital post-production technologies have become available, lowering production costs. The crossover between mainstream and independent production, as well as the rising importance of Indian, Chinese and other world film industries have created an open environment for film production. With the influence of the Internet, the film industry has been changing continuously to adapt to the new, freer and richer atmosphere, where Hollywood is no longer seen as the only center of film production for the world, sometimes self-parodying and subverting the previous aesthetics, finding new ways of storytelling and entertainment by re-visiting the old and re-creating the new. There were many comic books adaptations, many successful 3-D animation features, sequels, prequels and re-makes of old classics with digital technology creating visually astounding spectacles, with fantasy films, (historical) dramas, musicals and comedies rounding it up. The focus of the noughties has been movie franchises: The Matrix, The Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Twilight, etc. On the other side of the spectrum, the rise of independent film-making has been supported by various social and video sharing sites, such as YouTube, creating new possibilities of making and sharing film. Lowering production costs and new Internet possibilities have lead to many new genres, such as fan film productions (independent voluntary productions of fans based on various films, such as Star Wars, Lord of The Rings, etc.), which are changing the way films are being made, distributed and viewed all over the world

A list of the Best films of the naughties by Alex Simon



Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Steven Spielberg

Blade Runner (1982), Ridley Scott

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Steven Spielberg

First Blood (1982), Ted Kotcheff

Amadeus (1984), Milos Forman

Ghostbusters (1984), Ivan Reitman

Back to the Future (1985), Robert Zemeckis

Aliens (1986), James Cameron

Blue Velvet (1986), David Lynch

Platoon (1986), Oliver Stone

Dirty Dancing (1987), Emile Ardolino

Lethal Weapon (1987), Richard Donner

The Predator (1987), John McTiernan

Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin) (1987, W.Ger/Fra), Wim Wenders

My Neighbour Totoro (Tonari no Totoro) (1988), Hayao Miyazaki

Rain Man (1988), Barry Levinson

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Robert Zemeckis

Batman (1989), Tim Burton


Edward Scissorhands (1990), Tim Burton

Home Alone (1990), Chris Columbus

Pretty Woman (1990), Garry Marshall

Goodfellas (1990), Martin Scorsese

Total Recall (1990), Paul Verhoeven

The Double Life of Véronique (La double vie de Véronique, Podwójne życie Weroniki) (1991), Krzysztof Kieślowski

The Fisher King (1991), Terry Gilliam

The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Jonathan Demme

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), James Cameron

Reservoir Dogs (1992), Quentin Tarantino

Unforgiven (1992), Clint Eastwood

Jurassic Park (1993), Steven Spielberg

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Tim Burton

Philadelphia (1993), Jonathan Demme

The Piano (1993), Jane Campion

Schindler’s List (1993), Steven Spielberg

Three Colors: Blue, White, Red (Trois Couleurs: Bleu, , Trzy kolory. Niebieski) (1993, 1994, Fr/Pol/Switz.), Krzysztof Kieślowski

Dumb and Dumber (1994), Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994, UK), Mike Newell

Forrest Gump (1994), Robert Zemeckis

Léon (1994), Luc Besson

Pulp Fiction (1994), Quentin Tarantino

Shawshank Redemption (1994), Frank Darabont

Apollo 13 (1995), Ron Howard

Braveheart (1995), Mel Gibson

Seven (1995), David Fincher

The first 3D computer animation feature:
Toy Story (1995), John Lasseter

The Usual Suspects (1995), Bryan Singer

The English Patient (1996), Anthony Minghella

Fargo (1996), Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Independence Day (1996), Roland Emmerich

Trainspotting (1996), Danny Boyle

Romeo + Juliet (1996), Baz Luhrmann

Titanic (1997), James Cameron

American History X (1998), Tony Kaye

The Big Lebowski (1998), Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

π (Pi) (1998), Darren Aronofsky

American Beauty (1999), Sam Mendes

Being John Malkovich (1999), Spike Jonze

The Blair Witch Project (1999), Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez

Fight Club (1999), David Fincher

Magnolia (1999), Paul Thomas Anderson

The Matrix (1999), Wachowski brothers

The Sixth Sense (1999), M. Night Shyamalan

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999), Trey Parker


Gladiator (2000), Ridley Scott

Dancer in the Dark (2000), Lars von Trier

O Brother, Where Are Thou? (2000), Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Memento (2000), Christopher Nolan

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), Steven Spielberg

Amelie (Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain) (2001), Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Donnie Darko (2001), Richard Kelly

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Chris Columbus

Monsters, Inc. (2001), Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich, and David Silverman

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Peter Jackson

Mulholland Drive (2001), David Lynch

Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Steven Soderbergh

Waking Life (2001), Richard Linklater

Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi) (2001), Hayao Miyazaki

Catch Me If You Can (2002), Steven Spielberg

Chicago (2002), Rob Marshall

The Hours (2002), Stephen Daldry

Minority Report (2002), Steven Spielberg

Secretary (2002), Steven Shainberg

Big Fish (2003), Tim Burton

Dogville (2003), Lars von Trier

Finding Nemo (2003), Andrew Stanton, Co-Director: Lee Unkrich

Lost in Translation (2003), Sofia Coppola

Les Triplettes de Belleville (2003), Sylvain Chomet

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Gore Verbinski

The Aviator (2004), Martin Scorsese

Closer (2004), Mike Nichols

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Michel Gondry

The Passion of the Christ (2004), Mel Gibson

Troy (2004), Wolfgang Petersen

Batman Begins (2005), Christopher Nolan

Brokeback Mountain (2005), Ang Lee

Pride & Prejudice (2005), Joe Wright

Sin City (2005), Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Special Guest Director: Quentin Tarantino

Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (2005), Tim Burton, Mike Johnson

Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

Wedding Crashers (2005), David Dobkin

Children of Men (2006), Alfonso Cuarón

Apocalypto (2006), Mel Gibson

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Guillermo del Toro

The Queen (2006), Stephen Frears

300 (2007), Zack Snyder

The Pink Panther (2006), Shawn Levy

No Country for Old Men (2007), Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Persepolis (2007), Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud

Ratatouille (2007), Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava

3:10 to Yuma (2007), James Mangold

Rambo (2008), Sylvester Stallone

Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan

Kung Fu Panda (2008), Mark Osborne, John Stevenson

Wall-E (2008), Andrew Stanton

The Dark Knight (2008), Christopher Nolan

Doubt (2008), John Patrick Shanley

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), David Fincher

Milk (2008), Gus Van Sant

Frost/Nixon (2008), Ron Howard

Revolutionary Road (2008), Sam Mendes

Watchmen (2009), Zack Snyder

Monsters vs. Aliens (2009), Conrad Vernon, Rob Letterman

Up (to be released in May 2009), Pete Docter, Bob Peterson

  • examples of Internet, independent, voluntary fan film projects
  • Threads of Destiny

    Future Shorts Channel on YouTube

    << back to absolutoria topics list

    Of course, there’s much more to choose from in each decade

    For absolutoria, choose one from each and be ready to talk about it in English, explaining your choice

    As always, feel free to comment, share, recommend ; )



    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


    Connecting to %s