New TCM Survey Compares Classic Hollywood Figures With Today’s Stars

With the start of their new, seven-part documentary series, Moguls & Movie Stars: A History Of Hollywood, TCM has announced the results of their Moguls & Movie Stars survey, and some interesting results have arisen.

Taken over the week of October 18, the poll includes 1,000 adults, with 43% of them saying that they are ‘classic film enjoyers.’

Personally, the most interesting part of this survey comes in the comparison to Marilyn Monroe portion.   The majority of voters said that none of the given options are contemporary counterparts to the legendary blonde bombshell, proving that while many may try, no one truly holds of to the beauty.

Two obvious choices were made, with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie winning the most iconic Hollywood couple, and Denzel Washington being named a contemporary to legendary thespian Sidney Poitier.   Steven Spielberg was named the most influential modern filmmaker, drawing a comparison to Hitchcock, and Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow was the most comparable counterpart to the someone like Errol Flynn.

Personally, I think that all of these, given the options, are just about dead on perfect.   I especially like that Joel and Ethan Coen garnered 7% of votes for most influential filmmakers, particularly after a rise in filmmakers like Rian Johnson, who are inherently inspired by the Coen’s and their work.

What do you think about this poll?

Source: Press Release (see below)

TCM Survey Reveals How Modern Hollywood Compares to Film Legends

A new Turner Classic Movies (TCM) poll gauges how modern movies, stars and filmmakers stack up against Hollywood icons. The sometimes surprising results show that Johnny Depp fills Errol Flynn’s shoes, and Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt capture some of the glamour of power couple Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. But, when it comes to sex symbols, no one is quite like Marilyn Monroe.

TCM’s survey ‘“ conducted during the week of Oct. 18 ‘“ is part of the build-up to the Monday, Nov. 1, premiere of the new, seven-part documentary series MOGULS & MOVIE STARS: A HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD. 

TCM’s MOGULS & MOVIE STARS survey included 1,000 adults, with 43% who identified themselves as ‘classic film enjoyers.’ The findings include the following:

  • 41% said Johnny Depp’s performance in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy is today’s best example of the swashbuckling tradition that was the trademark of stars like Errol Flynn.
  • Denzel Washington is one of today’s top box-office draws. An overwhelming 71% also chose Washington as the contemporary figure who carries on Sidney Poitier’s tradition as a pioneering black actor.
  • Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were chosen by 36% as the most iconic Hollywood couple in the tradition of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
  • When it came to choosing a contemporary counterpart to Marilyn Monroe, 33% chose none of the options.
  • Steven Spielberg was the choice of 61% of respondents in terms of directors with the level of influence exercised by Alfred Hitchcock.
  • ‘None of the above’ was the #1 or #2 choice on six of the 10 survey questions, indicating that many fans see legendary stars and filmmakers as without compare.

The following is a complete list of TCM’s survey results:

The Marx Brothers were comedy pioneers in the 1930s and 1940s. Among the following, who do you think best represents their crazy style today? 

  • (tie) Jim Carrey 33%
  • (tie) None of the above 33
  • Will Ferrell 18
  • Steve Carell 9
  • Sacha Baron Cohen 5
  • Seth Rogen 2

Errol Flynn was famed for his heroics in films like The Adventures of Robin Hood. Among the following, who do you believe best carries on the swashbuckling tradition today? 

  • Johnny Depp in The Pirates of the Caribbean series 41%
  • Antonio Banderas in The Mask of Zorro 24
  • Russell Crowe in Robin Hood 18
  • None of the above 12
  • Cary Elwes in The Princess Bride 6

Edward G. Robinson, Paul Muni and James Cagney portrayed gangsters in the early 1930s. Among the following, who do you think is the best modern-era gangster? 

  • Robert DeNiro in Goodfellas 47%
  • Al Pacino in Donnie Brasco 26
  • None of the above 10
  • Johnny Depp in Public Enemies 9
  • Jack Nicholson in The Departed 9

Alfred Hitchcock was a prolific film pioneer. Among the following, which of today’s filmmakers are as influential? 

  • Steven Spielberg 61%
  • Clint Eastwood 34
  • Martin Scorsese 30
  • Ron Howard 27
  • Quentin Tarantino 25
  • Spike Lee 10
  • None of the above 8
  • Joel and Ethan Coen 7

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were Hollywood royalty. Among the following, which celebrity couple is just as iconic today? 

  • Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt 36%
  • None of the above 27
  • Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones 16
  • Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith 15
  • Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes 4
  • Jennifer Lopez and Mark Anthony 2

Judy Garland became a star at age 16. Among the following, who do you think had the biggest breakout role among today’s young stars? 

  • Drew Barrymore in E.T. The Extra Terrestrial 44%
  • None of the above 18
  • Dakota Fanning in I Am Sam 16
  • Natalie Portman in The Professional 8
  • Ellen Page in Juno 6
  • Kirsten Dunst in Interview with the Vampire 5
  • Anna Paquin in The Piano 3

Marilyn Monroe was an iconic star and sex symbol. Among the following, who would you consider to be today’s ‘Marilyn?’ 

  • None of the above 33%
  • Angelina Jolie 25
  • Scarlett Johansson 16
  • Halle Berry 14
  • Charlize Theron 10
  • Uma Thurman 3

Singin’ in the Rain is one of the most famous musicals of all time. Among the following, which modern day musical would you consider to be the greatest? 

  • (tie) Chicago 27%
  • (tie)None of the above 27
  • Mamma Mia 17
  • Dreamgirls 12
  • Hairspray 10
  • Rent 8

Charlie Chaplin was an iconic comedic actor and renowned director. Among the following, which modern-day star do you think is best-known for this double duty? 

  • Clint Eastwood 38%
  • Woody Allen 21
  • Ron Howard 17
  • None of the above 14
  • George Clooney 10

Sidney Poitier was a pioneering black actor. Among the following, who do you think carries on that tradition today? 

  • Denzel Washington 71%
  • None of the above 9
    Forrest Whitaker 7
  • Eddie Murphy 7
  • Jamie Foxx 6

Source: Turner Research; based on results from the Synovate e-Nation Omnibus Study; conducted 10/20-10/22/10; total sample represents 1,000 respondents among adults 18+; 43% of the total sample were ‘classic film enjoyers.’


TCM will tell the comprehensive story of the men and women who built the American film industry in this groundbreaking, seven-part documentary series premiering Monday, Nov. 1, at 8 p.m. (ET).

MOGULS & MOVIE STARS features rarely seen photographs and film footage; clips from memorable American movies; and interviews with distinguished historians and major Hollywood figures, including Sidney Lumet, Richard Zanuck, Samuel Goldwyn Jr., Peter Bogdanovich, Gore Vidal, Robert Osborne and Molly Haskell. Spanning from the invention of the first moving pictures to the revolutionary, cutting-edge films of the 1960s, this ambitious production is an epic history of Hollywood, detailing the personalities, inter-personal relationships, collaborations and conflicts that created an industry and an art form. The series also serves as a history of America, looking at how moviemakers responded to such major events as the Great Depression, World War II and the Civil Rights movement. MOGULS & MOVIE STARS is executive-produced by Bill Haber (TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles; Broadway’s The History Boys and Monty Python’s Spamalot) and written and produced by Jon Wilkman.

About Turner Classic Movies

Turner Classic Movies is a Peabody Award-winning network that presents great films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world. Currently seen in more than 85 million homes, TCM features the insights of veteran primetime host Robert Osborne and weekend daytime host Ben Mankiewicz, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests. As the foremost authority in classic films, TCM offers critically acclaimed original documentaries and specials, along with regular programming events that include The Essentials, 31 Days of Oscar and Summer Under the Stars. TCM also stages special events and screenings, such as the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood; produces a wide range of media about classic film, including books and DVDs; and hosts a wealth of materials at its Web site, TCM is part of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

Joshua Brunsting

Josh is a critic, a member of the Online Film Critics Society, a wrestling nerd, a hip-hop head, a father, a cinephile and a man looking to make his stamp on the world, one word at a time.

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