Film Studies Job Interview: Select One Film From Each Decade


Let’s play make-believe.

One day, you arrive home from your deadbeat career to discover a mysterious letter postmarked from a prestigious local high school. In the envelope stands a job opportunity:

“Dearest you, after searching the world high and low for a Film Studies teacher, we have been flat-out astonished by your breadth of knowledge concerning the history of cinema as demonstrated in your comments on various movie blogs around the interwebs. We welcome you to apply for this instructional position for the upcoming school year. All my love, Principal Smith.”

Folded neatly with the letter is the application. It isn’t concerned with your education, your past employment, or your involvement in criminal enterprises. Instead, it asks only that you select one film from each decade that you will view in class for the students to dissect, study, and discuss.

The application stresses is does not have to be the so-called best film of that decade, but you’ll be expected to defend your choices come interview time.

So, ladies and gentlemen, if you dare… fill out your application in the comments.


Jonathan is a writer and teacher constantly in pursuit of his fortune and glory. In the meantime, he graciously volunteers his genius to the internet, providing his insight on cinema and showering lessons of life upon all of those who stumble into the third row.


  1. I’ll play.

    Intro to Horror Films

    1910s: The Golem
    1920s: The Phantom of the Opera
    1930s: The Bride of Frankenstein
    1940s: Cat People
    1950s: Horror of Dracula
    1960s: Night of the Living Dead
    1970s: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (tough choice over The Exorcist, Alien, and Halloween)
    1980s: The Fly (again tough over The Thing and countless slashers)
    1990s: Scream (in which we take a look at the slasher genre)
    2000s: [Rec](got to get some found footage in there although J-horror was an option)
    2010s: Cabin in the Woods (bringing it all together)

    Not necessarily my favorites, but I think I hit most of the bases and can cover the others. Halloween, to me, clearly owes a debt to Horror of Dracula, for instance.

    • What an even more fun prospect: breaking the lists down by genre. I’d love to show the evolution of the action film, from the swashbuckling days of Douglas Fairbanks to… well… Michael Bay and Marvel movies.

      Of course, the 80s would win.

  2. Good God, this is the sort of thing I could literally spend a year thinking about. I mean, I’ve been thinking about alternate Oscars since 1992! Trying to pick, say, a film that represents the key developments of a decade, one film from each genre, a film that might stand in for an entire country’s body of work … sheesh!

    I jotted down some notes on the back of an envelope and without thinking about it too much …

    1910s: Broken Blossoms
    1920s: Sherlock, Jr.
    1930s: M
    1940s: The Big Sleep
    1950s: Vertigo
    1960s: La Dolce Vita
    1970s: Chinatown
    1980s: This is Spinal Tap
    1990s: Unforgiven
    2000s: Spirited Away
    2010s: The Artist

    Well, I don’t know … ask me tomorrow and I’d give you an entirely different list.

    • Great list!

      To best honest, I am a teacher and may be starting a “movie club” after school, which is part of the reason why I decided to do this. I thought of showing a movie from each decade each week, which is pretty much an impossibility. Otherwise, I’d only be showing films from the 60s and 70s.

      But okay… I’ll come out with my choices here soon. Maybe tomorrow!

  3. The beginning of my list will fly in the face of the written letter.

    1910-20: N/A (dont think I have seen a movie from either decade)
    30s: M
    40s: The Third Man
    50s: The Seven Samurai
    60s: Harakiri(this was a brutal task)
    70s: Alien
    80s: The Terminator
    90s: Ghost in the Shell
    00s: Kill Bill Vol 1

    All from the gut.


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