(RNN) - A study to determine the most influential movies in the history of film found that many of those movies, like the No. 1 ranked “The Wizard of Oz,” were produced before the 1940s.
Researchers at the University of Turin, Italy, studied 47,000 films using the website IMDB in an effort to determine the impact of films on modern cinema for an article published Friday in Applied Network Science.
“The Wizard of Oz” topped the list, with “Star Wars” and “Psycho” rounding out the top 3.
The researchers weren’t interested in the box office intake of the movies they studied or how critically successful they were. Instead, they looked at how many movies produced afterward referenced those movies and how influential they turned out to be.
The idea was that movies with a major cinematic impact would be highly referenced and influence other important movies that would, in turn, be highly referenced.
All 20 of the most influential films, as determined by the study, were produced before 1980 and mostly in the United States.
Aside from the top 3, these movies included the original “King Kong,” “Citizen Kane,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” The Godfather” and “Gone with the Wind.”
More than 80 percent of them belong to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, which honors “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” movies.
The researchers also parsed the data for influential directors.
The No. 1 director was George Cukor, who worked on both “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone with the Wind” and went on to direct “A Star is Born” and “My Fair Lady.”
Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick, Francis Ford Coppola and Orson Welles also made the top 20.
The researchers noted they were especially surprised by James Cameron’s inclusion on the list because his directing career didn’t start until the 1980s, which was much later than the others.
Cameron has directed such movies as “The Terminator,” “Aliens,” “Titanic” and “Avatar.”
When the researchers used a different approach to rank the most influential directors, Hitchcock and Spielberg remained at the top, but Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Tim Burton also earned spots on the list.