In recent discussions, and in doing the small research I do for various reviews, I figured it was at least worth clarifying exactly how I decide on the year of release for films that have widely varying release dates in different countries. Except in the extraordinary situation in which a film is denied a release soon after its completion, I go by the first documented premiere date. My research in finding this date is pretty basic – checking it on sites like IMDB or Wikipedia, which have always matched and have yet to steer me wrong in the course of this countdown. So, I go by the date of its initial premiere (usually meaning in its country of origin, although not always), not when it was completed. But in those rare circumstances where a movie is completed and is for whatever reason denied an official release, I’ll go with what is generally accepted to be its debut year. For example, take Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep. It was filmed in 1977, but did not receive widespread release until this decade. Even though it was not put out in that year, this is one that will be classified as a 1977 film. This is obviously a unique situation, which will not be an issue with most films.
I might be beating a dead horse, but for the sake of uniformity I thought it was at least worth restating.