3. "Man With A Movie Camera" (1929)

If you like your action movies with whip-crack editing, the first person you can thank for the approach is Soviet maverick Dziga Vertov. His look at a day in the life of three Russian cities tossed out the static style early cinema borrowed from stage presentation and leaned heavily on editing for effect (as Roger Ebert pointed out, Movie Camera and Michael Bay's Armageddon have the same average shot length). Vertov's distinctive mode of visual language highlighted the motion and easy manipulation that were among the young medium's unique strengths, a lesson not lost on future filmmakers like Leni Riefenstahl.