This list of years in film
indexes the individual year in film
pages. Each year is annotated with the significant events as a reference point.
19th century in film
See also: 19th century in film
- 1886 - Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince is granted an American dual-patent on a 16-lens device that combined a motion picture camera with a projector.
- 1888 - The Roundhay Garden Scene, shot in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England by Le Prince, is credited as the first film. It is recorded at a groundbreaking 20 frames per second and is the earliest surviving film. Thomas Edison describes the concept of the Kinetoscope, an early motion picture exhibition device.
- 1889 - Eastman Kodak is the first company to begin commercial production of film on a flexible transparent base, celluloid. The first moving pictures developed on celluloid film are made in Hyde Park, London by William Friese Greene.
- 1890 - William Dickson completes his work for Thomas Edison on the Kinetograph cylinder either in this year or 1889. Monkeyshines No. 1 becomes the first film shot on the system.
- 1891 - Thomas Edison files for a patent of the motion picture camera. Thomas Edison holds the first public presentation of his Kinetoscope for the National Federation of Women's Clubs.
- 1892 - The Kinetoscope is completed by W.K. Dickson, at the employ of Thomas Edison. In France, Charles-Émile Reynaud begins to have public screenings in Paris at the Theatre Optique, with hundreds of drawings on a reel that he wound through his Projecting Praxinoscope, similar to the Zoetrope, to construct moving images that continued for 15 minutes. The Eastman Company becomes the Eastman Kodak Company. Max Skladanowsky develops a camera and shoots his first footage this year, but its unusual interleaved image format leaves him ultimately unable to exhibit it until work is completed on the Bioskop projector in late 1895.
- 1893 - Thomas Edison is granted Patent #493,426 for "An Apparatus for Exhibiting Photographs of Moving Objects" (The Kinetoscope). Edison builds "America's First Movie Studio", the Black Maria, in West Orange, New Jersey. The premiere of the completed Kinetoscope is held on May 9 at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences: The first film publicly shown on the system was Blacksmith Scene (aka Blacksmiths).
- 1894 - W.K. Dickson receives a patent for motion picture film. Thomas Edison records Fred Ott's sneeze. Auguste and Louis Lumière patent the Cinématographe, a combination movie camera and projector.
- 1895 - The cinématographe is patented. First footage ever to be shot using it is recorded on March 19. The Lumière brothers hold their first private screening of projected motion pictures on March 22. The Lumières give the first public screening at L'Eden, the world's first and oldest cinéma (theater), located in La Ciotat, France, on September 28. Gaumont Pictures is founded by the engineer-turned-inventor, Léon Gaumont. In the US, the Dickson Experimental Sound Film presents two men dancing to the sound of a violin player, in what the The Celluloid Closet calls the first gay cinema reference. The first screening of movies at which admission was charged takes place on December 28, in Paris, at the Salon Indien du Grand Café. This historical screening is based on ten short films, in the following order (and respective length): Sortie de l'usine Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory), 46 seconds; La Voltige ("Horse Trick Riders"), 46 seconds: La Pêche aux Poissons Rouges ("Fishing for Goldfish"), 42 seconds; Le Débarquement du Congrès de Photographie à Lyon ("The Disembarkment of the Congress of Photographers in Lyon"), 48 seconds; Les Forgerons ("Blacksmiths"), 49 seconds; Le Jardinier (l'Arroseur Arrosé) ("The Gardener, [The Sprinkler Sprinkled]"), 49 seconds; Le Repas (de Bébé) ("Baby's Meal"), 41 seconds; Le Saut à la Couverture ("Jumping Onto the Blanket"), 41 seconds; La Place des Cordeliers à Lyon ("Cordeliers Square in Lyon - a Street Scene"), 44 seconds; La Mer (Baignade en Mer) ("The Sea [Bathing in the Sea]"), 38 seconds. In Germany, Emil and Max Skladanowsky develop their own film projector - they project from November 1 in Berlin. The American Mutoscope and Biograph Company motion pictures was founded in New Jersey by the KMCD Syndicate of William Kennedy Dickson, Henry Marvin, Herman Casler and Elias Koopman. Woodville Latham and his sons develop the Latham Loop - the concept of loose loops of film on either side of the intermittent movement to prevent stress from the jerky movement. This is debuted in the Eidoloscope, which is also the first widescreen format (1.85:1). Herman Casler of American Mutoscope Company, aka American Mutoscope and Biograph Company manufactures the Biograph 68 mm camera, which will become the first successful large format 68 mm (70 mm) film.
- 1896 - Pathé Frères is founded. In Britain, Birt Acres and Robert W. Paul developed their own film projector, the Theatrograph (later known as the Animatograph). Georges Méliès buys an English projector from Robert William Paul and shoots his first films. A projector called the Vitascope is designed by Charles Francis Jenkins. The first theater in the US dedicated exclusively to showing motion pictures is Vitascope Hall, established on Canal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana. The first screen kiss takes place between May Irwin and John Rice in The Kiss. The first female film director, Alice Guy-Blaché, presents The Cabbage Fairy. Cinema reaches India by way of The Lumière brothers ' Cinematography, unveiling six silent short films at the Watson Hotel in Bombay, namely Entry of Cinematographe, La Mer (Baignade en Mer), L'Arrivée d'un Train en Gare de la Ciotat, A Demolition, Ladies & Soldiers on Wheels and Sortie de l'usine Lumière à Lyon. The tour of the Lumière brothers covers also London and New York.
- 1897 - Vitagraph is founded in New York. In England, the Prestwich Camera is patented. Harischandra Sakharam Bhatvadekar, alias Save Dada, imports a cine-camera from London at a price of 21 guineas and films the first Indian documentary film, a wrestling match in Hanging Gardens, Bombay. Daily screenings of films commence in Bombay by Clifton and Co.'s Meadows Street Photography Studio. 125 people die during a film screening at the Charity Bazaar in Paris after a curtain catches on fire from the ether used to fuel the projector lamp.
- 1898 - Méliès starts producing under the brand Star Film and directs brief commercials. Hiralal Sen starts filming scenes of theatre productions at the Classic Theatre in Calcutta.
- 1899 - The first film long footage (over 100 meters) films with montage are made: The Dreyfus Affair and the first film version of Cinderella are both released by Méliès; the latter it is the first film to use a photographic dissolve (or fades). Georges Méliès also writes and directs Jeanne d'Arc, a film about Joan of Arc, which removes the viewer from spatial relations and institutionalized the use of the close-up.
See also: 1900s in film
- 1900 - The first French Union Cinematography Chamber is founded by Georges Méliès.
- 1901 - Edison's Black Maria shuts down.
- 1902 - A Trip to the Moon by George Méliès is released. Pathé acquires the Lumière brothers patents. The first permanent structure designed for screening of movies in the US is Tally's Electric Theater, in Los Angeles, California.
- 1903 - The Great Train Robbery by Edwin S. Porter, has a cowboy firing a gun at the camera. The movie is a breakthrough in techniques: cross cutting, double exposure composite editing, camera movement and on location shooting. The three elder Warner Bros. begin in the exhibition business. Gaston Méliès, Georges' brother, opens a branch of Star Film in New York to defend its production's copyrights.
- 1904 - The Great Train Robbery, a remake by Siegmund Lubin. Loews Theaters is founded by Marcus Loew; it will be the oldest theater chain operating in North America by the time it merges with AMC in 2006. Touring cinema begins in India, as Manek Sethna starts the Touring Cinema Co. in Bombay. All Méliès films begin being made with two negatives, the second of which is sent to New York to serve the American market.
- 1905 - The first "Nickelodeon" is born when Harry Davis and John P. Harris open their small, storefront theatre under that name on Smithfield Street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Swamikannu Vincent, a draughtsman for the railways in India, sets up a touring cinema going around small towns and villages in the South of India. Maurice Costello, who will become the first of the matinee idols, stars in his first film, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
- 1906 - The world's first feature film, The Story of the Kelly Gang, released in Australia.
- 1907 - Ben Hur, directed by Sidney Olcott. Louis B. Mayer opens his first movie theater in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Pathé opens an office in India. Florence Turner, the "Vitagraph Girl", makes her debut in Cast Up by the Sea.
- 1908 - Thomas Edison forms the Motion Picture Patents Company, also known as the Edison Trust, also known as the First Oligopoly, a trust of all the major film companies (Edison, Biograph, Vitagraph, Essanay, Selig, Lubin, Kalem, American Star -Méliès-, American Pathé), the leading distributor (George Kleine) and the biggest supplier of raw film, Eastman Kodak. Pathé invents the newsreel that was shown in theaters prior to the feature film. In Paris, Méliès presides over the first International Cinema Congress, attended by all major producers in the world. Jean, the Vitagraph Dog and the first Dog Hero of the silver screen, makes his screen debut with Director / Trainer Laurence Trimble.
- 1909 - Matsunosuke Onoe, who would become the first superstar of Japanese cinema, appears in his first film, Goban Tadanobu. Carl Laemmle starts the Yankee Film Company with partners Abe and Julius Stern, the seed to what will be Universal Studios. Again in Paris, Méliès presides over the second International Cinema Congress, obtaining the landmark decision of standard perfuration for film, enabling international projection.
- 1910 - The first film shot in Hollywood is D. W. Griffith's In Old California, starring Mack Sennett in a supporting role. The first film version of Frankenstein is released. Florence Lawrence, then known as the "Biograph girl", is promoted by Carl Laemmle in what may be the first instance of a studio using a film star in its marketing.
- 1911 - Nestor Studios opens the first motion picture studio in Hollywood, at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street. The distribution of the Méliès productions is given to Pathé.
- 1912 - Lillian Gish, who would be hailed as "The First Lady of the Silent Screen", stars in her first movie. From the Manger to the Cross, directed by Sidney Olcott, is shot on location in Palestine. It earned a reported $ 1 million vs. its $ 35,000 production cost. The first American feature film, Oliver Twist, is made. Laemmle merges IMP with eight smaller companies to form the Universal Film Manufacturing Company (the name will be soon shortened to Universal Pictures Company). The Famous Players Film Company is launched by Adolph Zukor. Jesse L. Lasky opens his Lasky Feature Play Company with money borrowed from his brother-in-law, Samuel Goldfish (later to be known as Samuel Goldwyn). Lasky hires a stage director with no film experience, Cecil B. DeMille, who shoots his first film, The Squaw Man in Hollywood. Mack Sennett founds Keystone Studios in Edendale, California; his first commedienne is Mabel Normand. The United States Supreme Court cancels the patent on raw film, dealing a blow to the MPPC. Enrico Guazzoni's Quo Vadis?, often regarded as the first successful feature-length motion picture, is released in Italy, with over 60 minutes.
- 1913D. G. Phalke's Raja Harishchandra is the earliest Indian fiction film made by an Indian director. Traffic in Souls is the first feature released on Broadway not based on a famous novel or play and also the first film of more than three reels produced by IMP (it was a six-reel movie). This year is called the highpoint in European cinema: Victor Sjöström's masterpiece Ingeborg Holm is released in Sweden; Mario Caserini's Ma l'amor mio non muore, Léonce Perret's L'Enfant de Paris and Stellan Rye and Paul Wegener's Der Student von Prag, are released across Europe.
- 1914 - W. W. Hodkinson starts Paramount Pictures, the first successful nation-wide distributor. Pathé launches the very popular silent The Perils of Pauline cliffhanger serial, shown in weekly installments and featuring Pearl White. Its success prompts The Exploits of Elaine, another film serial in the genre of The Perils of Pauline, also featuring Pearl White, that will outgross that serial in ticket sales. Tillie's Punctured Romance produced by Mack Sennett, stars Marie Dressler, Charlie Chaplin, and Mabel Normand. Gloria Swanson begins her career as an extra in The Song of Soul. A masterpiece of European cinema, Giovanni Pastrone's Cabiria, is released. The Photo-Drama of Creation, or Creation-Drama was a religious film (4 parts, altogether 8 hours) produced under the direction of Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the Bible Student movement. It has the distinction of being the first major screenplay which incorporated synchronized sound, moving film, and color slides.
- 1915 - The Clansman, based on the novel and play by Thomas W. Dixon and directed by D.W. Griffith, premieres in Los Angeles. Later, Dixon suggests that the film be retitled The Birth of a Nation. Charles Chaplin signs with Essanay Studios, releasing thirteen films featuring Charlie and becoming a star. The Country Girl, starring Florence LaBadie. Louis B. Mayer and Richard A. Rowland create Metro Pictures Corporation based in New York City. The world's largest motion picture production facility, Universal City Studios is opened in Hollywood. Sennett, Griffith and Thomas Ince join efforts to form the Triangle Pictures Corporation. Again, the United States Supreme Court deals a blow to the MPPC, cancelling all MPPC patents.
- 1916 - D. W. Griffith's second monumental production, Intolerance is released. Zukor maneuvers a three-way merger of his Famous Players, the Lasky company, and Paramount, in what will be the company of the stars, Paramount Pictures. Universal Pictures sets up Hollywood's first Indian agency. The first South Indian feature is Rangaswamy Nataraja Mudaliar's Keechaka Vadham.
- 1917 - Technicolor is introduced. Final blow to the MPPC, as the United States Supreme Court under the Sherman Antitrust Act ends the oligopoly. Ufa, Germany's largest film studio in the 1920s, is founded. Charles Pathé, distressed with the relatively artisanal stage of French movies, writes an article called "La crise du cinéma". Mack Sennett organizes his own company, Mack Sennett Comedies Corporation, producing longer comedy short films and a few feature-length films. Rangaswamy Nataraja Mudaliar makes Draupadi Vastrapaharanam, featuring Anglo-Indian actress Marian Hill.
- 1918 - The Warner Bros. studio opens on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. My Four Years in Germany is the first Warner Brothers production. First National releases the first Tarzan film, starring Elmo Lincoln. Sid Grauman begins the trend of theatre-as-destination with his ornate Million Dollar Theater, which opens on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles.
- 1919 - United Artists is founded by Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and D. W. Griffith. Emelka, a German film studio who would become the second largest in the 1920s, is founded.
See also: 1920s in film
- 1920 - Buster Keaton begins starring in shorts and in The Saphead, his first feature and his last smile ever on screen, at Metro. Erich Von Stroheim's The Devil's Passkey stars Mae Busch at Goldwyn. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, one of the earliest, most influential and most artistically acclaimed German Expressionist films, is released in Germany. Irving Thalberg becomes in charge of production at Universal City.
- 1921 - Laurel and Hardy's first film together, A Lucky Dog. Charles Chaplin directs, produces and stars in The Kid. Rudolph Valentino stars in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and The Sheik, appealing almost exclusively to women audiences, and into stardom.
- 1922 - F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu, the first vampire film, is released in Germany. Also, Our Gang series begins at Hal Roach studios. Nanook of the North, considered the first feature-length documentary, is released. Rin Tin Tin has its first big break in The Man From Hell's River.
- 1923 - Harold Lloyd's Safety Last produced by Hal Roach, released by Pathe. Charles Chaplin releases A Woman of Paris. In Germany, Erich Pommer becomes head of production at Ufa.
- 1924 - Irving Thalberg leaves Universal to join the Mayer venture. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer begins with Louis B. Mayer at the helm, as a result of Marcus Loew's acquisitions of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures and Mayer Pictures. Erich von Stroheim's magnum opus, Greed, is released. In Sweden, a star is born when Mauritz Stiller directs Greta Garbo in The Story of Gösta Berling. In Germany, Ufa releases Michael/Chained and Der letzte Mann/The Last Laugh. Fritz Lang's two-part epic The Nibelungs premieres in February and April, in Berlin. Léonce Perret's Madame Sans-Gêne, an adaptation of the eponymous stage play starring Gloria Swanson, is the first joint Franco-American film production.
- 1925 - Lon Chaney's The Phantom of the Opera is released by Universal with color sequences. Sergei Eisenstein directs Strike! and The Battleship Potemkin in the Soviet Union. Warner Bros. buys Vitagraph. The Big Parade, directed by King Vidor, is Thalberg's first major triumph at MGM. Ufa premieres Tartuffe and Variety. In financial stress, Ufa borrows 4 million dollars from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Paramount, in exchange of 50% of the screen time of its cinemas. The first film version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World (also the first film to portray prehistoric creatures, like dinosaurs, and based on the book of the same) is released.
- 1926 - First Vitaphone feature, Don Juan starring John Barrymore, released by Warner Brothers. Greta Garbo begins her American career with The Torrent, The Temptress and Flesh and the Devil. Valentino's last film, The Son of the Sheik, is released posthumously. Ufa releases F. W. Murnau's Faust. Grauman's Chinese Theater opens its doors. Pudovkin's Mother is released in the Soviet Union.
- 1927 - Al Jolson movie The Jazz Singer popularizes sound motion pictures. Buster Keaton stars in The General. In Germany, Fritz Lang's groundbreaking Metropolis is released by Ufa; at the time, it was the most expensive movie ever made. The Hugenberg group takes over Ufa and reorganizes it to meet customer demand, effectively ending "the centre of creative filmmaking". In the UK, the Cinematograph Films Act 1927 introduces protective measures, leading to a faltering production recovery.
- 1928 - First talkie cartoon, Dinner Time is produced. The second talkie cartoon, Steamboat Willie, by Walt Disney, is released a month later. The first all-talking feature, Lights of New York, is released by Warner. MGM releases the first all-color sound feature (in Technicolor and including a synchronized score and sound effects but no spoken dialogue), entitled The Viking. Sergei Eisenstein releases October. The First Party Conference on Cinema is held in the Soviet Union, as a first step to a Five Year Plan for Cinema.
- 1929 - The first Academy Awards, or Oscars, are distributed: Wings wins the Best Production or Best Picture and Sunrise the Academy Award for Unique and Artistic Production. In France, Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí make Un chien andalou (An Andalusian Dog), the most famous of surrealist movies. In Germany, Louise Brooks stars in G. W. Pabst's Pandora's Box. On with the Show, the first all-color, all-sound movie is released by Warner Bros.; it's soon followed by Gold Diggers of Broadway, that became the most successful film of the year and went on to play in theatres until 1939. In the Soviet Union, Eisenstein releases Old and New. Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail is regarded as the first British sound feature. It was a part-talkie with a synchronized score and sound effects. Later, the first all-talking British feature, The Clue of the New Pin, is released.
See also: 1930s in film
- 1930 - The first Busby Berkeley musical film, Whoopee! starring Eddie Cantor, is released by Goldwyn in color. The Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors Association (MPPDA), which later became the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), adopts the Production Code. Marlene Dietrich stars in Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel, the first German-language talkie. At Warner Bros., the Looney Tunes cartoons begin, starring Bosko. MGM releases The Rogue Song, which becomes their first all color all-talking feature (in Technicolor). They purchase the rights to distribute a series of cartoons that star a character named Flip the Frog - the first cartoon in this series (entitled Fiddlesticks) was also the first sound cartoon to be produced in Technicolor. The first all-colour all-talking British feature, Harmony Heaven, is released.
- 1931 - Laurel and Hardy's first feature, Pardon Us, is released by MGM. Fritz Lang's M starring Peter Lorre is released in Germany. Darryl F. Zanuck becomes head of production at Warner Bros.. The Merrie Melodies cartoons begin, distributed by Warner. Manoel de Oliveira, still active in 2007, directs his first film, Douro, Faina Fluvial, a silent documentary. The first Portuguese sound film, is Leitão de Barros's A Severa.
- 1932 - Shirley Temple's film career begins. Katharine Hepburn, to date (2007) the holder of the Academy Award for Best Actress record with four golden statuettes, stars in her first movie, George Cukor's A Bill of Divorcement. An officially christened Betty Boop begins a cartoon serial in short Minnie the Moocher. The Venice Film Festival (Italian Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica di Venezia), the oldest film festival in the world, begins.
- 1933 - The box office is ruled by Mae West, taking the #1 position with I'm No Angel and the #3 with She Done Him Wrong; the musical 42nd Street takes the #2, starring Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler and Ginger Rogers. Walt Disney's Flowers and Trees premieres, the first film produced in the three-strip Technicolor process. The Czech film starring Hedy Lamarr, Ecstasy, which shows simulated sex, shocks audiences. Fred Astaire's first acting role pairs him with Ginger Rogers as supporting characters in Flying Down to Rio. King Kong, directed by Merian C. Cooper, and the first debut for film title character, King Kong is released. Other releases include a pre-Code edited Baby Face, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Duck Soup, starring the Marx Brothers, Dinner at Eight, featuring an all-star cast, Dancing Lady, starring Joan Crawford and Clark Gable and Queen Christina, starring Greta Garbo. Mary Pickford stars in her last film, Secrets. Twentieth Century Pictures is founded by Darryl F. Zanuck. The Private Life of Henry VIII becomes the first British film to win an American Academy Award. The British Film Institute is founded. The first Portuguese sound comedy film, Cottinelli Telmo's A Canção de Lisboa, is released and its success sparks the "Golden Age of Portuguese cinema". Popeye the Sailor theatrical cartoon shorts for Paramount Pictures begin. To battle the Great Depression's effect on box office attendance (shrunk by one third from 1930), the studios begin the double-bill: the B-movie is born. Unable to counter the effects of the Depression, Mack Sennett goes bankrupt. The first drive-in theater opens, in Camden, New Jersey.
- 1934 - It Happened One Night sweeps the five major Oscars - Best Picture, Best Director (Frank Capra), Best Screenplay, Best Actor (Clark Gable) and Best Actress (Claudette Colbert), a first ever achievement that would not be matched until 1975. Samuel Goldwyn purchases the film rights to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from Frank J. Baum. Shirley Temple becomes a star. The Production Code is amended to require all films to obtain a certificate of approval. The code is effectively enforced for the first time with the removal of nude scenes from the movie Tarzan and His Mate. Top of the box office is occupied by Viva Villa, a biopic of Pancho Villa, followed by The Black Cat, starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Other releases include Cleopatra, directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Claudette Colbert, The Gay Divorcee, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, L'Atalante, directed by Jean Vigo, Of Human Bondage, starring Leslie Howard and Bette Davis (who becomes a star), The Scarlet Empress by Josef von Sternberg starring Marlene Dietrich and the first of The Thin Man series, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. The Venice Film Festival starts awarding "The Mussolini Cup" for Best Picture and Best Foreign Picture. From 1938 to 1942, the winning Best Foreign films are all from Germany.
- 1935 - Top Hat with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers leads the box office. Clark Gable's Mutiny on the Bounty earns Best Picture. Greta Garbo is Anna Karenina. Triumph of the Will, a Nazi propaganda film directed by Leni Riefenstahl, is released. The first feature-length motion picture in three-strip Technicolor, RKO's Becky Sharp, is released. Twentieth Century Pictures buys Fox Studios to become Twentieth Century-Fox.
- 1936 - San Francisco starring Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Jeanette MacDonald is the top gross movie of the year, followed by another Jeanette MacDonald film Rose Marie, co-starring Nelson Eddy. The Great Ziegfeld, starring William Powell, Myrna Loy and Luise Rainer (who wins the first thespian Award for playing a real-life person), earns Best Picture. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers star in both Follow the Fleet and Swing Time. Greta Garbo is Camille. The first Porky Pig animated cartoon is released. Thelma Todd's An All-American Toothache, co-starring Patsy Kelly and Mickey Daniels, is released. The Flash Gordon serial, starring Buster Crabbe, is released. The UK witnesses an all-time production high of 192 films.
- 1937 - Luise Rainer is the first thespian to win two Academy Awards, back-to-back. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first American feature-length animated movie, is released to occupy the year's top at the box office. The second highest-grossing movie is Conquest and two French movies make the top seven (La Grande Illusion by Jean Renoir - the first foreign movie to be nominated for a Best Picture award - and Pépé le Moko). Other releases include A Star Is Born, starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March, Stella Dallas, starring Barbara Stanwyck and The Awful Truth, starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. The Rank Organisation, a British entertainment company, is formed. Wings of the Morning, Britain's first colour feature film in the new three colour Technicolor process, is released. In the UK, the replacement Cinematograph Films Act 1938 provided incentives for UK companies to make fewer films of higher quality and, influenced by world politics, encourages American investment and imports.
- 1938 - Spencer Tracy stars in Boys Town and Bette Davis is Jezebel. They both earn Academy Awards for their performances. The Adventures of Robin Hood, a Technicolor extravaganza starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, and Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky are released. Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn star together in both Howard Hawks's Bringing Up Baby, released to a cold box-office reception, and George Cukor's Holiday. A poll taken by motion picture exhibitors elects performers as "box office poison": Katharine Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Fred Astaire, Marlene Dietrich and Mae West make the list. Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia wins the Mussolini Cup.
- 1939 - Hollywood's Annus Mirabilis: Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh star in what is arguably the most popular film of all time, Gone with the Wind; Judy Garland sings Over The Rainbow in The Wizard of Oz; John Wayne rides the Stagecoach; Jimmy Stewart stars in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; Garbo laughs in Ninotchka; Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon star in Wuthering Heights; Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers tell The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle; Jean Renoir directs The Rules of the Game (La Règle du Jeu); Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard and Joan Fontaine are The Women for director of women George Cukor; and Bette Davis achieves a Dark Victory. The Cannes Film Festival is founded, with the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film going to Cecil B. deMille's Union Pacific. Due to the break-out of World War II, the Festival would only resume in 1946.
See also: 1940s in film
- 1940 - The world at war is reflected upon the movie industry. Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator, a satire social commentary film on Nazi Germany's Hitler, is released. Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca earns the Best Picture Oscar. Walt Disney's Pinocchio is released and takes the top of the American box office. Tom and Jerry and Bugs Bunny make their official debut. Walt Disney also releases Fantasia, the first film to be released in a multichannel sound format. Fantasia also marks the first use of the click track while recording the soundtrack, overdubbing of orchestral parts, simultaneous multitrack recording and leads to the development of a multichannel surround system. Columbia releases Charley Chase's last film, South of the Boudoir. Broadway Melody of 1940, starring Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell, is the final film of the series. Boom Town, His Girl Friday, The Philadelphia Story and The Shop Around the Corner are released.
- 1941 - War propaganda movies rule the box office, which is topped by Howard Hawks' Sergeant York, a biographical film about the life of Sergeant Alvin York, the most decorated American soldier of World War I, followed by Abbot and Costello's Buck Privates. Top Academy Awards are won by John Ford's How Green Was My Valley, Sergeant York (Gary Cooper, Best Actor) and Suspicion (Joan Fontaine, Best Actress). Other war-driven movies include Michael Powell's 49th Parallel, In the Navy, Bob Hope's Caught in the Draft and Keep 'Em Flying. Orson Welles' Citizen Kane and John Huston's The Maltese Falcon, starring Humphrey Bogart, premiere. Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda star in The Lady Eve. Disney releases Dumbo and the animated short film series for Woody Woodpecker begins.
- 1942 - Inspirational war film Mrs. Miniver, by William Wyler, rules the box office and takes six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Greer Garson) and Best Screenplay (garnering another six nominations). Yankee Doodle Dandy earns Best Actor for James Cagney. A special Academy Award is given to In Which We Serve, a David Lean film war film that tells the story of the British destroyer HMS Torrin, as told in flashbacks by the survivors as they cling to a life raft. Bambi is released. Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, is released. Orson Welles releases The Magnificent Ambersons. The Venice Film Festival awards its last Mussolini Cup. It will resume in 1947.
- 1943 - The 1st Golden Globe Awards, honoring the best achievements in 1943 filmmaking, are held late in January 1944: The Song of Bernadette wins the top honor. The box office is led by For Whom the Bell Tolls, starring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman, followed by The Song of Bernadette, This Is the Army and Stage Door Canteen. Casablanca wins the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director (Michael Curtiz). Lassie Come Home introduces Lassie. The Laurel and Hardy short film series comes to an end. Animated short film series for Chip and Dale and Droopy Dog begin. In Italy, Ossessione (Obsession) based on the novel, The Postman Always Rings Twice, by James M. Cain, is Luchino Visconti's first feature film and is considered by many to be the first Italian neorealist film.
- 1944 - Going My Way, a light-hearted drama about a new young priest (Bing Crosby) taking over a parish from an established old veteran, takes the box office and wins seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Leo McCarey), Best Actor (Crosby) and Best Screenplay. The last of the Our Gang shorts, produced by MGM, is released. Other releases include Gaslight, that earns Ingrid Bergman the Best Actress Academy Award, Meet Me In St. Louis, starring Judy Garland, war movie Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Double Indemnity, starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson, Laura starring Gene Tierney, Laurence Olivier's Henry V and the first part of Ivan the Terrible, directed by Eisenstein in the Soviet Union.
- 1945 - The Bells of St. Mary's, a Leo McCarey sequel to previous year's successful Going My Way and starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman, takes the top of the box office, followed by Mom and Dad, produced by the exploitation filmmaker and presenter Kroger Babb. Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend wins Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor Oscars (Ray Milland), with Joan Crawford winning Best Actress for Mildred Pierce. A strike between the set decorators' union and the studios boils over and became what is now considered Hollywood Black Friday, on October 5. Also released are Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound, with a Salvador Dalí designed-scene and starring Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman, Leave Her to Heaven, starring Gene Tierney, David Lean's Blithe Spirit and Brief Encounter, and Roberto Rosselini's Rome, Open City (Roma Città aperta). 1944-released National Velvet brings Elizabeth Taylor to prominence. Casper debuts in The Friendly Ghost.
- 1946 - Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life premieres to a lukewarm reception. The year's box office belongs to 1945-released The Bells of St. Mary's and Leave Her to Heaven. The Best Years of Our Lives wins the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (William Wyler) and Best Actor (Fredric March). The Cannes Film Festival resumes, with 11 movies from different countries receiving the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film. Also released are Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) with Jean Marais, The Blue Dahlia, The Big Sleep, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, the western Duel in the Sun, directed by King Vidor and starring Gregory Peck, Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten, Notorious, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, The Razor's Edge, starring Tyrone Power and Gene Tierney, The Postman Always Rings Twice and The Spiral Staircase.
- 1947 - The United States House of Representatives of the 80th Congress votes 346 to 17 to approve citations for contempt of Congress against the "Hollywood Ten." The Waldorf Statement is released by the executives of the United States motion picture industry, marking the beginning of the Hollywood blacklist. The Best Years of Our Lives and Duel in the Sun, released in the previous year, rule the US box office. Elia Kazan's Gentleman's Agreement wins Best Picture and Best Director. Also released are Black Narcissus, Miracle on 34th Street, Quai des Orfèvres and Cecil B. DeMille's Unconquered. The Actor's Studio is founded by Elia Kazan, Robert Lewis, and Cheryl Crawford, and Oskar Fischinger films Motion Painting No. 1. The Venice Film Festival resumes, with the attribution of the Gran Premio Internazionale di Venezia (Grand International Prize of Venice) to the Best Picture. The year's award is won by Siréna, a Czechoslovakian film about striking miners.
- 1948 - Laurence Olivier's Hamlet becomes the first British film to win the American Academy Award for Best Picture, winning also the Venice Film Festival's award. Olivier won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Other releases include The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Key Largo, both starring Humphrey Bogart, Johnny Belinda, starring Jane Wyman and earning her the Best Actress Oscar, Easter Parade and The Pirate, both starring Judy Garland, Red River with John Wayne and Montgomery Clift, The Red Shoes by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, Rope by Alfred Hitchcock with James Stewart, Joan of Arc, starring Ingrid Bergman and Vittorio de Sica's Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di biciclette). Edgar Kennedy's final short for RKO is released.
- 1949 - Robert Rossen's All the King's Men wins the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Actor (Broderick Crawford). Joseph L. Mankiewicz wins Best Director for A Letter to Three Wives. George Cukor's Adam's Rib, starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, rules the American box office. Also released are Sands of Iwo Jima, directed by Allan Dwan, The Heiress, starring Olivia de Havilland (Academy Award winner for her role) and Montgomery Clift, Twelve O'Clock High starring Gregory Peck and UK's black comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets. The Barkleys of Broadway reunites Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers after ten years apart, for their last film together and the only one shot in color. Jacques Tati releases Jour de Fête. The Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix du Festival International du Film is awarded to Carol Reed's The Third Man. The award of the Venice Film Festival changes its name into the Golden Lion of St. Mark - the first recipient is France's Manon, directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot.
See also: 1950s in film
- 1950 - The growth of television prompts the studios and companies to seek new motivations to put audiences back in theaters, using grandiose technology, epics and new genres, most notably B movies and science fiction. Samson and Delilah, produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr, rules the US box office. Joseph L. Mankiewicz's All About Eve breaks Academy Award records by earning 14 nominations. It wins 6 Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Judy Holliday wins Best Actress for Born Yesterday. Sunset Boulevard wins the Golden Globe for Best Picture, with star Gloria Swanson winning Best Actress and Billy Wilder winning Best Director. Disney's Cinderella is released. Laurel & Hardy's final film, Atoll K, is made in Europe. Destination Moon inaugurates a decade of science-fiction B movies. In France, Orpheus (Orphée), directed by Jean Cocteau and starring Jean Marais. In Italy, Roberto Rosselini directs Ingrid Bergman in Stromboli. In Japan, Akira Kurosawa directs Rashomon. In Italy, Federico Fellini has his directorial debut with Luci del Varietà (co-credited with Alberto Lattuada).
- 1951 - Historical epic film David and Bathsheba and musical Show Boat take the top spots at the US box office. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's An American in Paris wins Best Picture at the Academy Awards, with Best Director going to George Stevens for A Place in the Sun, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift, Humphrey Bogart winning Best Actor for John Huston's The African Queen, also starring Katharine Hepburn, and Vivien Leigh winning Best Actress for Elia Kazan's A Streetcar Named Desire, also starring Marlon Brando. On the Riviera, earns Danny Kaye a Best Actor Golden Globe, also starring Gene Tierney. Other releases include Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train and Quo Vadis, starring Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr. The Cannes Film Festival resumes. Rashomon, directed by Akira Kurosawa, wins the Golden Lion. The Berlin Film Festival begins.
- 1952 - Cinerama is introduced. Cecil B. DeMille's circus epic, The Greatest Show on Earth wins the Best Picture Oscar and is #1 at the box office, followed by Quo Vadis and Ivanhoe, starring Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Fontaine. Also released are The Snows of Kilimanjaro, starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Susan Hayward, 5 Fingers, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, High Noon, Charles Chaplin's Limelight, Orson Welles' Othello and musical Singin' in the Rain.
- 1953 - The Robe debuts as the first anamorphic, widescreen CinemaScope film and takes the top of the box office. It stars Richard Burton and Jean Simmons. It is followed by Best Picture Academy Award winner From Here to Eternity, starring Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, and Frank Sinatra; Shane, starring Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon de Wilde, and Jack Palance; How to Marry a Millionaire, starring Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, and William Powell; Peter Pan (Disney); Hans Christian Andersen, starring Danny Kaye and Farley Granger; House of Wax, the first 3-D movie to ever make the box office top ten, starring Vincent Price; Mogambo, starring Clark Gable, Grace Kelly, and Ava Gardner; and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, starring Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe. Audrey Hepburn wins Best Actress Oscar for Roman Holiday, also starring Gregory Peck and William Holden wins for Stalag 17. Cartoon serial Speedy Gonzales debuts. The Academy Awards are televised for the first time.
- 1954 - On the Waterfront wins the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director Elia Kazan and Best Actor Marlon Brando. Judy Garland and James Mason star in A Star Is Born. The box office is led by White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, followed by the The Caine Mutiny, starring Humphrey Bogart, Jose Ferrer, Van Johnson, Fred MacMurray and Lee Marvin, The Glenn Miller Story, starring James Stewart and June Allyson, The Egyptian, in CinemaScope, and Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, starring James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter, Wendell Corey and Raymond Burr. Godzilla makes his debut by appearing in Godzilla (1954 film). Other releases include 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 3 Ring Circus, starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Désirée, Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder, starring Grace Kelly (who won the Best Actress Academy Award in The Country Girl), musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Marilyn Monroe's vehicle River of No Return, Sabrina starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden and Federico Fellini's La strada.
- 1955 - The top grossing films are Disney's Lady and the Tramp and Cinerama Holiday. The Best Picture is won by Marty, winning also Best Director (Delbert Mann), Best Actor (Ernest Borgnine) and the Palme d'Or (Cannes Film Festival). Italian star Anna Magnani wins the Best Actress Oscar The Rose Tattoo. Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden, starring James Dean (who would die later this year), are released, as are Bad Day at Black Rock with Spencer Tracy, Guys and Dolls, starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra, The Night of the Hunter, Picnic with William Holden and Kim Novak, Rififi (Du rififi chez les hommes), The Seven Year Itch with Marilyn Monroe, Sissi with Romy Schneider, Summertime, directed by David Lean, with Katharine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi and Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief and The Trouble with Harry. The last ever Republic serial, King of the Carnival, is released. The Golden Lion (Venice Film Festival) is won by Ordet (The Word), directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer, Denmark.
- 1956 - The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston, is the top grossing film, followed by Guys and Dolls and The King and I, starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr. The Best Picture Academy Award is won by Around the World in Eighty Days. Best Director is George Stevens, for Giant, starring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. Other releases include High Society, Ingrid Bergman's Anastasia, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Moby Dick, The Searchers with John Wayne, Douglas Sirk's Written on the Wind and War and Peace, starring Audrey Hepburn. Elvis Presley's first film, Love Me Tender, opens. The Palme d'Or (Cannes Film Festival) is won by The Silent World (Le monde du silence), directed by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Louis Malle, from France. The Golden Bear (Berlin Film Festival) goes to Invitation to the Dance, directed by Gene Kelly.
- 1957 - The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston, is again the top grossing film of the year, followed by previous year's Best Picture winner Around the World in Eighty Days and Giant. The Bridge on the River Kwai earns Best Picture, Best Director (David Lean) and Best Actor (Alec Guinness). Joanne Woodward wins Best Actress with The Three Faces of Eve. Nights of Cabiria (Le Notti di Cabiria), directed by Federico Fellini, Italy, wins Best Foreign Film. Friendly Persuasion, directed by William Wyler, wins the Cannes Film Festival and 12 Angry Men, directed by Sidney Lumet, wins Berlin's Golden Bear. Jailhouse Rock, starring Elvis Presley, is released. Also released this year are An Affair to Remember starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, A Farewell to Arms with Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones, Funny Face with Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn, and Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries.
- 1958 - The Bridge on the River Kwai rules the box office; Gigi earns Best Picture honours at the Oscars. Mon Oncle (My Uncle), directed by Jacques Tati, France, earns Best Foreign Film. Soviet Union's The Cranes Are Flying (Летят журавли, Letyat zhuravli), directed by Mikheil Kalatozishvili, wins the Palme d'Or. Bergman's Wild Strawberries wins the Berlin Festival. The Rickshaw Man (Muhomatsu no issho), directed by Hiroshi Inagaki, Japan, wins the Venice Golden Lion. Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo is released. Rosalind Russell stars in Auntie Mame and wins Best Actress honours at the Golden Globes. Other releases include Otto Preminger's Bonjour Tristesse, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof based on the Tennessee Williams play and starring Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor, The Defiant Ones with Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier, Oscar and Hammerstein's South Pacific and Orson Welles' Touch of Evil. The year marks the end of short film series Tom and Jerry and Droopy, both from the early 40s, as well as the last installment of The Bowery Boys series which began in 1946.
- 1959 - Ben-Hur premieres to win an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It will also lead the box office, followed by Auntie Mame. Other releases include the first of three vehicles for Doris Day, Rock Hudson and Tony Randall, Pillow Talk, Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest, Some Like it Hot with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Disney's Sleeping Beauty, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Suddenly, Last Summer, starring Katharine Hepburn, Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor and Black Orpheus, from Brazil, which earns Best Foreign Film and the Palme d'Or. The Three Stooges make their 180th and last short film, Sappy Bullfighters.
See also: 1960s in film
See also: 1970s in film
See also: 1980s in film
- 1980 - Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Friday the 13th, Caddyshack are released
- 1981 - The George Lucas/Steven Spielberg collaboration, Raiders of the Lost Ark, premieres
- 1982 - Porky's premieres
- 1983 - Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, The Big Chill, and The Right Stuff are released
- 1984 - Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Ghost Busters, Amadeus, and The NeverEnding Story are released
- 1985 - Steven Spielberg's film version of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple premieres Back to the Future released
- 1986 - Hoosiers and David Lynch's Blue Velvet premieres
- 1987 - Fatal Attraction premiers and The Princess Bride is released
- 1988 - Rain Man starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise
- 1989 - Batman, directed by Tim Burton, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade starring Sean Connery, The Abyss directed by James Cameron
See also: 1990s in film
- 1990 - Goodfellas and TMNT is released. Dances with Wolves takes Best Picture
- 1991 - The Silence of the Lambs & Terminator 2: Judgment Day is released
- 1992 - Unforgiven
- 1993 - Schindler's List, Jason Goes to Hell, and Jurassic Park are released
- 1994 - Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, and Street Fighter
- 1995 - Mel Gibson directs and stars in Braveheart; Mortal Kombat and Batman Forever are released; Pixar releases Toy Story, the first fully 3-D computer animated movie to be released
- 1996 - Fargo, The English Patient, iD4, and The Stupids are released
- 1997 - Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Titanic and Men in Black
- 1998 - Matt Damon & Paul Giamatti stars in Saving Private Ryan; Dreamworks releases The Prince of Egypt and Antz altering animated film market
- 1999 - Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, The Matrix, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut and Fight Club are released
See also: 2000s in film
- 2000 - Gladiator, X-Men
- 2001 - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Shrek, Osmosis Jones, A Beautiful Mind
- 2002 - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Spider-Man, Star Trek: Nemesis.
- 2003 - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
- 2004 - The Punisher, The Day After Tomorrow, Alien vs. Predator.
- 2005 - Batman Begins, King Kong,The Devil's Rejects, Domino, Doom, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,
- 2006 - Miami Vice, The Departed, See No Evil, Casino Royale, Superman Returns
- 2007 - Transformers, 300, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, Hannibal Rising, The Simpsons Movie.
- 2008 - films scheduled to be released in 2008
- 2009 - films scheduled to be released in 2009
- 2010 - films scheduled to be released in 2010
- 2011 - films scheduled to be released in 2011
- 2012 - films scheduled to be released in 2012
- 2013 - films scheduled to be released in 2013
- 2014 - films scheduled to be released in 2014
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