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The Wizard Of Oz beats Star Wars as most influential movie of all time

The 1939 classic has made the most impact in Hollywood, according to a report in the journal Applied Network Science.

The Wizard Of Oz beats Star Wars as most influential movie of all time

Judy Garland plays Dorothy, alongside Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly-Lion in the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz. (Photo: Wizard of Oz)

Who knew Dorothy had it in her to take down Darth Vader?

Researchers at the University of Turin have declared The Wizard Of Oz the most influential film of all time, with George Lucas’ beloved Star Wars landing in the runner-up spot.

The team in Italy came to their conclusion after assessing more than 47,000 films across 26 genres. They found that 1939’s The Wizard Of Oz starring Judy Garland topped the list, outstripping all the others in how much it has inspired and been referenced in the film industry.  It was followed by the original Star Wars film and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

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Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo in the beloved 1977 Star Wars. (Photo: Star Wars)

How exactly the study was conducted could be a potential point of controversy. The team developed a computer programme that measures the success of a film not by box-office takings or positive reviews, but by how many times it is referenced in other films, how many spin-offs it engendered, and whether the films that referred back to it were themselves influential.

The algorithm used the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) website. Since IMDB is user-edited, some might question the veracity of the information.

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“The success of a film is usually measured through its box-office revenue or through the opinion of professional critics; such measures, however, may be influenced by external factors, such as advertisements or trends, and are not able to capture the impact of a film over time,” the researchers said in a news report, adding that their method challenges the idea that “the best movies are simply the ones that sell more, like any other product".

The results that were presented in the journal Applied Network Science, reveal the top 20 influential films were all made before 1980 – perhaps unsurprising given that older films have had longer to make a mark. Other high entries include 1933’s King Kong, 1968’s 2001: A Space Oddessy, 1941’s Citizen Kane, 1942’s Casablanca and 1937’s Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. 

The authors of the report noted that the database is biased towards films from the West, with the majority produced in the US.

Interestingly, when the study came to ranking most influential actors, the top pick was rather unexpected: Samuel L Jackson, likely due to starring in a whopping 82, often popular, movies throughout his career. Jackson was followed by Clint Eastwood, Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Wayne.

Source: CNA/gl