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.


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Robert Reineke

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.

Mythical Monkey

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!


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.