Film critics pick the 50 best movies of all time

From film critics Gail Kinn and Jim Piazza's new book 'The Greatest Movies Ever,' their picks for the 50 greatest films

9. 'Chinatown'

"One of the most creatively contentious, groundbreaking glories of the golden 1970s, a noir-oriented (pun intended) puzzler for a more cynical generation featuring a deviously kinetic poster boy for the era, Jack Nicholson," Kinn and Piazza wrote of the 1974 film directed by Roman Polanski.

In an interview with "Chinatown" screenwriter Robert Towne, CNN reporter Todd Leopold noted that the film seems to reflect Watergate but that the movie was actually written and shot during the late '60s and early '70s, before the true repercussions of the scandal would be felt. "But these things are in the air," Towne told CNN. "There was... that sense of the disparity between what you were told was happening and what was really going on."

In addition, Towne said of the contemporary movie industry (the interview was conducted in 2009), "I think the script of 'Chinatown' would be hard to get made today, [with] its complexity and its darkness."

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