The Wizard of Oz, a timeless creation, remains the most influential film of all time, according to a study conducted by researches at the University of Turin in Italy. The 1939 American musical fantasy is followed by Star Wars and Psycho.
The Researchers listed 47,000 films in the internet movie database (IMDb) and calculated an influence score based on how much each film had been referenced by subsequent films.
"The idea of using network analysis for ranking films is not completely new, but to our knowledge this is the first study that uses these techniques to also rank personalities involved in film production," Livio Bioglio, the lead author of the study that was published in the journal Applied Network Science.
"We propose an alternative method to box office takings -- which are affected by factors beyond the quality of the film such as advertising and distribution -- and reviews -- which are ultimately subjective -- for analysing the success of a film’’, Bioglio said.
"We have developed an algorithm that uses references between movies as a measure for success, and which can also be used to evaluate the career of directors, actors and actresses, by considering their participation in top-scoring movies’’, Bioglio said.
Directors Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick ranked third, fifth and sixth respectively according to the algorithm. However, when the researchers used another approach to remove the bias of older movies --which, because they were produced earlier, can potentially influence a greater number of subsequent films -- Hitchcock, Spielberg and Brian De Palma held the top spots instead.
When the algorithm was applied to actors, Samuel L Jackson, Clint Eastwood and Tom Cruise took the top three spots. The researchers found a strong gender bias towards male actors. The only female in the top 10 was Lois Maxwell, who played the recurring role of Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond franchise.
"The scores of top-ranked actresses tend to be lower compared to their male colleagues," Bioglio said, adding that "the only exceptions were musical movies, where results show moderate gender equality, and movies produced in Sweden, where actresses ranked better compared to actors".
The researchers, however, caution that the data on IMDb are strongly biased towards films produced in Western countries. In fact, the top 20 most influential films were all produced before 1980 and mostly in the US, according to the study