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Study: Older Movies Are More Creative Than New Ones

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(Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

(Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

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LAS VEGAS (CBS Las Vegas) – A new study has found that films created during the 1960s belong to the most creative era in cinema history.

Physicist Sameet Sreenivasan of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York conducted a detailed data analysis of novel and unique elements in movies throughout the 20th century.

Sreenivasan analyzed keywords used on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) to observe trends.  A novelty score was given based on the number of times any given keyword was used to describe another film.

Films that had higher novelty scores featured a word that was rarely used to describe it.  While films with lower novelty scores had a keyword used to describe a variety of them.

A range from zero to one was applied as the novelty score, with the least novel being zero.  To depict the evolution of film culture over time, Sreenivasan then lined up the scores chronologically.

“You always hear about how the period from 1929 to 1950 was known as the Golden Age of Hollywood,” Sreenivasan said to Wired. “There were big movies with big movie stars. But if you look at novelty at that time, you see a downward trend.”

After studio systems fell in the 1950s, film makers burst with new ideas which enhanced the movies during the 1960s.  Films like Bonnie and Clyde in 1967, Breathless in 1960, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in 1966 were all very well received.

In addition, plot lines, novel styles and film techniques helped create the increase in Sreenivasan’s analysis of that period.

The films analyzed spanned a  70 year period and the study appears in Nature Scientific Reports.

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