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Last Updated:  Friday, 21 March, 2003, 12:37 GMT
Star Wars wins your vote
The Star Wars series of films have been voted the most influential movies of the last 75 years, in a poll for BBC News Online to mark the 75th Academy Awards.

The five science fiction films created by George Lucas, released between 1977 and 2002, were picked as the most influential by more than a third of the 18,000 people who voted online.

Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings films were second in the poll, chosen by almost a quarter of voters.

Orson Welles' acknowledged masterpiece Citizen Kane was third, followed by The Godfather series in fourth spot and the 20-strong James Bond film series fifth.

'Mass audience'

"This was a truly interactive vote, completely run by our readers who chose the shortlist as well as voting on it," said BBC News Online entertainment editor Jackie Finlay.

"With so many Star Wars fans out there, we expected those movies to feature highly - and the poll result underlines the influence they had on a mass audience as well as on subsequent film-making.

"The other films on the shortlist are a revealing snapshot of which movies the public see as influential, rather than the usual critics' lists."

BBC News Online users sent in their recommendations, and the films with the most votes were compiled into a shortlist of 10 for a final poll.

The Star Wars film series is the most lucrative in movie history and will be completed with the release of a sixth film in 2005.

Star Wars
10 Oscars and counting for the series
Its loyal fans were in no doubt as to why the films, which have won 10 Academy Awards, should be hailed as the most influential.

"Star Wars is the film that changed cinema and film making altogether," said News Online user Omer Jamal, from the United States.

Dan Jolin, of Total Film magazine, agreed that Star Wars has had a significant impact on today's film-makers.

"It created a whole new look and paved the way for massive commercial spin-offs tied into every major movie since," he said.

The first Lord of the Rings film, The Fellowship of the Ring, won four Oscars in 2002 and director Peter Jackson is set to discover if his film series can add to its tally this year.

The Two Towers is nominated for six Oscars, including best picture.

The Two Towers
Will Two Towers add to the Oscar tally?
"The Rings films must be the greatest endeavour any director could possibly attempt and pull off with credibility," said News Online user Jane McGowan, from New Zealand.

Although The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars dominated the poll, taking more that 60% of all votes, more established classics were also selected.

Welles' 1941 film Citizen Kane earned 8.65% of the vote, while Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather trilogy took 7.22% of votes.


The James Bond films earned 6.81% of the poll votes, followed by 2001: A Space Odyssey with 5.4% of votes.

Science fiction blockbuster The Matrix was seventh in the poll, followed by prison drama The Shawshank Redemption in eighth spot.

Gone with the Wind
Gone with the Wind only managed ninth spot
All of the films and collective film series have won Oscars, with the exception of the Shawshank Redemption.

Gone With The Wind, winner of 10 Oscars, more than any other single film in the poll, took only ninth position while Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, winner of one Oscar, was tenth.

The Godfather trilogy won nine Oscars, the third highest tally on the list of films.

The Matrix won four Oscars, the James Bond films have managed only two so far, while Citizen Kane and 2001: A Space Odyssey only won one Oscar each.

A selection of your comments are below.

So many! But there's one movie a lot of people overlooked called The Day the Earth Stood Still. It's not brilliant acting but it's a brilliant topic considering that it was made in the 1950s. Very advanced for its time asking the world to stop fighting with each other and how ridiculous war is. Still too advanced for this new century!
Alex Cage, The Netherlands

I would have to say that The Sound of Music is the most influential film in my life.
Jamie Harris, England

Without a doubt for me personally, The Rat Catcher by Ken Loach. Also recently Sweet Sixteen - powerful stuff.
Bazil Stander, South Africa

Terminator: A classic. Just because a film is an "unplug your brain" movie doesn't mean it has nothing to offer. Terminator set a precedent for sci-fi actions movies.
Monkey Boy, Scotland

Gladiator. What other film has shown how CG, epic and intimate, heartrending emotion can be balanced to produce a film of power and scope? The upcoming Alexanders and other historical epics would never otherwise have been mooted.
Severin, UK

Bond movies have got to be the most influential of all time. Just look at how long they have lasted. Even within the Bond movies I think Tomorrow Never Dies is the most influential. Jane
Jane Nthenda, Malawi

Come on, let's hear it for Saturday Night Fever, the biggest musical film of them all - icon for a genre, icon for a generation, cult for generations to come.
Maddie, Denmark

The Godfather would be my choice for the most influential film as it has set the benchmark for all post-1972 top-class mafia and crime films: Scarface, Goodfellas, Heat, Carlito's Way, The Untouchables...
Wallace, Pakistan

It would have to be One Flew over the Cuckoos nest, the best adaptation of a novel I have ever seen or Saving Private Ryan, which captured the horror and futility of war in a way, no other film had managed prior to it's screening.
Stephen Mundy, UK

John Ford's Stagecoach. Two other great directors - Orson Welles and Akira Kurosawa - freely acknowledged how influential Ford was to their own works.
Robert del Valle, USA

It's difficult to choose just one film that has influenced cinema. The Battleship Potemkin, Citizen Kane, Gone With The Wind and Snow White have all had a major influence on film makers and audiences, ever since they were originally released in the early part of the last century.

In the modern era of cinema there are the obvious choices of Star Wars, Jaws, Reservoir Dogs & Schindler's List.
Umesh Solanki, England

Pulp Fiction - the film generated a new level of cinema where the film of consists of a number of stories which link into one final outcome, of the viewers desire.
John Edwards, Britain

Definitely Citizen Kane. It just reinvented the language of cinema.
Mitkal, Greece

In my opinion, the most (hidden) influential film is Forrest Gump. This movie makes it clear how easily reality can be modified via digital editing. In addition, the performance of Tom Hanks and the rest of the gang is astonishing.
Esko Jantti, Hungary

The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston - this movie we watch every year at Easter and it's like seeing it for the first time. What about the parting of the Red Sea scene. It's way ahead of its time. Great story, great performances and great production.
David Attong, Trinidad

The Great Escape (1963) is the greatest war film ever made. They don't make films like that any more!
Isabel, Norway

It's hard to determine a "most influential film", unless you categorise in what area the decision rests (ie technology, social mores, race relations, newsworthy reconstructions, etc). However, one of the most influential films, for the whole industry, occurred when Al Jolsen made the first "talkie", The Jazz Singer.

That film changed the world of silent motion pictures and all the former silent era stars, whose voices could not be used in film. A new era began, and initiated a search for pleasing, acceptable stars whose voices would sound normal and believable on film.
Kathy Bell, USA

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