10 Films That Changed Filmmaking


'Shame' (2011)

Actor Michael Fassbender is shown on location in one of the less-racy scenes from 'Shame,' the first NC-17 film to get wide release. Bobby Bank/WireImage/Getty Images
Actor Michael Fassbender is shown on location in one of the less-racy scenes from 'Shame,' the first NC-17 film to get wide release. Bobby Bank/WireImage/Getty Images

"Shame" is unlike any film on this list. It's an NC-17 movie about sex addiction. Viewers will be forgiven if they choose to check this one out with the lights off and the doors locked, slowly curling into the fetal position as Michael Fassbender goes further and further down the rabbit hole of meaningless physical intimacy [source: Lack].

Yes, it's a compelling and disturbing film, thanks largely to Fassbender. But the lasting impact of "Shame" is sure to be that it was the first NC-17 film to see a broad release in theaters around the globe. In that sense, the film picks up the torch of sorts from "The French Connection," the 1971 hard-boiled detective thriller starring Gene Hackman and the first R-rated film to win Best Picture. But that's where the similarities stop. Hackman's Detective Popeye Doyle saw some things in his day, but probably nothing like what's going on in "Shame" [source: Lack].

Author's Note: 10 Films That Changed Filmmaking

The "Battleship Potemkin" might be responsible for the birth of the montage, but -- for my money -- the best use of the technique was by Menaham Golan in the 1987 arm wrestling action flick "Over the Top." Sylvester Stallone as truck driver Lincoln Hawk vanquishes his foes, saves his relationship with his estranged son and wins a new big rig, all while Robin Zander's "In This Country" plays in the background. If that doesn't make you want to go out and wrestle some arms, get behind the wheel of a truck and be American, nothing will.

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