I thought it would be fun to choose 10 films from each decade and show you my favorite. For the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s I chose one movie per year, but the previous decades made that harder for me when some years I liked several movies and some years I didn’t like any. See my 1950s, 1960s and 1970s picks here.
Fantasia (1940) – I feel like watched this in music every year of elementary school, and then we watched the new version in 6th grade band. So this movie always takes me back to sitting in music class and watching music and animation tell a story together.
Pinocchio (1940) – This movie used to be creepy as a young kid. Then, I was in a production of Pinocchio in 5th grade that was different than the story I knew from the Disney movie that changed my perspective on it all. Now I enjoy Pinocchio – especially the Blue Fairy and Jiminy Cricket.
Citizen Kane (1941) – I first watched this movie in my 11th grade film production class. Ever since, if I see it playing on TV I stop to watch. Its not only an interesting story, but the idea that it was filmed to call out some real life shenanigans makes it even better.
The Maltese Falcon (1941) – I first watched this in that same 11th grade film class. It felt so classic and cool and you could understand the allure of old Hollywood in a new way. This is another one I will stop to watch if I see it on TV.
Holiday Inn (1942) – We bought this for my dad one Christmas and it became a family favorite; an inn that does performances around the different holidays and seasons, that features continuous dancing and singing? Yes, please! I would love to stay at an inn like this!
Bambi (1942) -I didn’t like this movie until late elementary school/early middle school. Its just so sad. But I think the animation is beautiful and its fun to see these creatures out in nature and think about the personalities this movie gave them.
Casablanca (1942) – Such a classic. I think I was in 4th or 5th grade the first time I saw this movie at a friend’s house. It has always felt so romantic and exciting and has some of the most memorable movie quotes!
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) – Clearly I love movies that feature music and dancing and tell stories. This matched up to all of that, plus it helped satisfy my parents’ need for me to watch a different Judy Garland movie than The Wizard of Oz as a kid.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – A Christmas classic that reminds us to be thankful for the blessings we have.
Little Women (1949) -Another story that has had many adaptations, but this is the first film version I remember seeing, so it holds a special place to me.