Top 15 Classic European Films Introduction

I know a lot of people have difficulty when confronted with older European cinema.  To watch one, you not only have to read subtitles, but, more often than not, you have to adjust to a different type of filmmaking.  What some of us don’t understand is that the American style of filmmaking is not the style of filmmaking.  In fact, many European directors go out of their way to set themselves apart from the American mainstream.  As Jean Renoir described it, American films reach the conclusion by following a straight line, whereas European films go off in every direction like lines on a sphere until the different storylines come together at the end.  For the casual movie fan, getting into European classics can be a challenge also because there’s so much out there.  To help out the casual fan then, I’ve created a list of the top 15 classic European films.

By classics, I should specify that the list goes from 1930 through the 1960s.  I didn’t include silent films for two reasons.  1)  It’s asking too much from casual fans to make them sit through a bunch of silent stuff and 2) I frankly haven’t seen enough silent films to be a good judge of them.  Sooner or later I’ll make a list just of silent films, but for now let’s keep it 30s-60s.*


*If you are interested in silent European classics, from what little I’ve seen, I’d recommend you watch Metropolis by Fritz Lang as well as his lesser known film Destiny.  I’d also recommend Rene Clair’s A Nous la Liberte, the silent dramedy that helped inspire the Chaplin film modern times.

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