TCM's Ben Mankiewicz on the Best American Movies for New Fans

Aug 24 2018 -- 8:22 AM

Nobody you know has seen more movies than TCM host Ben Mankiewicz.

Since 2003, he's been presenting films and leading discussions on the premier source for classic cinema and has been on of the most trusted names by film fans the world over. So when you want to ask someone to share their classic film recommendations for people who maybe haven't seen too many, you can find no one better. Mr. Mankiewicz was kind enough to sit down with me to talk about movies and politics for a good long while, and though the conversation went all sorts of places, we kept coming back to movies from a particular period: 1967 to 1976, a decade which Mankiewicz called the "best decade of American movies."

"There was the French New Wave, and the Italian New Wave—that decade was ours," Mankiewicz explained. "When we let the directors run the show. The studio system created so many great films. I mean, you don't get Singin' in the Rain without the studio system. You don't get Casablanca, you don't get Random Harvest. Everything about them is perfect. Every single craftsman and artist is just doing the thing they do and crushing, right? But it was unbelievably restrictive. It was clearly, brutally unfair—to say nothing of minorities, that's too obvious—but to women. Like, oh, you're 40. We're not gonna write any parts for you anymore. You can be this person's mom in a role that will remind everyone that you were once a starlet. Now, you're not."

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"We shook the bottle and the genie came out."
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