Significant Events in the History of Film

Timeline created by tannerfenton
In Film
  • Creation of the Motion Picture

    Creation of the Motion Picture
    The motion picture camera, or the kinetograph, was invented by one of Thomas Edison's lab assistants in 1888 by the name of William Kennedy Laurie Dickson. His discovery made film a possibility in the world and it wouldn't of been possible without him. His creation only improved and it led to the kinetoscope which started the earliest movie theater.
  • The Bet

    The Bet
    A group of English gentlemen watching a horse race came up with a theory that when a horse is running, all of its feet are off the ground at some point. Some were skeptical, so they put a bet on it. They lined up cameras along the track and took the shots of the horse and two discoveries were made: the theory about a horse's feet when running turned out to be true and the images taken by the cameras formed a series of photos that made the horse appear to move which started the concept of film.
  • The First Movie Theater

    The First Movie Theater
    The first movie theater's debut was in the 1890's and it was also known as a kinetoscope parlor. It consisted of individual booths where the audience could watch a series of moving pictures that appeared life-like through a peephole. They were not very practical, but marked the first establishment of film viewing where we still see it today.
  • The Lumiere Brothers

    The Lumiere Brothers
    In France, the Lumiere brothers did what Edison couldn't do: they began public displays of the projection of films. They started in 1895, charging admission where people would go and see a 30-60 second film and it dazzled them. The projector they devised which showed moving pictures through a lens was called the cinematographe.
  • Thomas Edison

    Thomas Edison
    The famed inventor of the lightbulb, also invented those peephole kinetoscopes with his company to make money. He liked the fact that only person could the films at a time because he thought he could make more money that way. He had invented the projector which could showcase the films to many, but he decided to hide so he could make more of a profit.
  • Vaudevilles

    Vaudevilles
    During this time, theaters would present a short film in between short musical numbers and comedic skits until the act got booed off stage and then the next film would start. These theaters called vaudevilles, started calling the pictures nickelodeons because they only cost a nickel to see during a performance and its also where the television channel got its name. These theaters were quite popular in the demonstration of short films and started to move away from live numbers.
  • The Great Train Robbery

    The Great Train Robbery
    The first narrative film, a picture that told a full-length story, was directed by Edwin Porter who was actually an employee of Thomas Edison. The film was titled, The Great Train Robbery, and it lasted 12 whole minutes, so it was actually considered an epic. It had a real storyline, and introduced camera angles, scenes, and camera distances to film, so it is a huge landmark.
  • Popularity of Films

    Popularity of Films
    Nickelodeons and vaudevilles had become so popular over the course of 10 years, that they were seeing numbers as big as 26 million viewers attending each week! Five years later, that number had doubled! The popularity of film had grown so much that investors began to see an opportunity. They wanted to make a profit off of films and what better way than to create a monopoly.
  • MPPC

    MPPC
    Many companies during this time were located in New York and they wanted to make a profit, including Edison's company. They created MPPC, Motion Picture Patents Company, so they could control every part of filmmaking including the actors, raw film stock, projection equipment (cameras, etc.), the film distribution, sets, etc. They hated independent studios and raided them, destroying equipment and threatening employees, but they established film standards and created an international film market.
  • Why Los Angeles?

    Why Los Angeles?
    Film started in New York but moved to California to make the process better. Most films were shot outside and New York is almost always dreary and cloudy outside so it wasn't the most ideal location. It was also far from the MPPC's control so when they did find them, they would pack up all of their equipment and actors and just head to Mexico over the border. They could publicly announce the names of actors to where they could make them stars that people would want to see unlike the MPPC.
  • The Beginning of Stardom

    The Beginning of Stardom
    The MPPC didn't allow their actor's names to be presented during films, in fear that they may make more money than them. In LA however, the filmmakers decided to pay them tons of money in order to make them memorable stars that people would love and come to see films over and over again just for them. Two big star names include Mary Pickford (known as "America's Sweetheart") and Charlie Chaplin (the silent movie genius).
  • Lois Weber

    Lois Weber
    Lois Weber was the first female American director in history as well as a silent film actress, producer and screenwriter. She directed many pictures like The Blot, The Hypocrites, Where are my Children?, and Shoes. She is momentous because she was one of the first female directors in history and one of the most involved women in the film industry during that time.
  • Charlie Chaplin

    Charlie Chaplin
    Charlie Chaplin was hands down one of the biggest stars in the early 20th century. He started out only making $150 a week, but as he became more popular, he started piling in over a $1 million a year. He was the king of silent films and were often filled with humorous entertainment, but that wasn't all he was trying to convey. He conveyed messages of good and evil in society and the difference between needs and necessities.
  • Sound in Film

    Sound in Film
    The first feature film originally presented that had sound was The Jazz Singer, released in October 1927. A major hit, it was made with Vitaphone, which was at the time the leading brand of sound-on-disc technology. Before this film, there was no built in sound to movies, they would either be silent or have live orchestras in the theater like in the nickelodeons.
  • Steamboat Willie

    Steamboat Willie
    Animation began as early as 1906, creating drawings that resemble a story and Walt Disney was beginning to make his rise. He had created a the mouse and now just needed a story. He loved making short films in animation and in 1928, in his debut performance, Mickey Mouse was introduced to the world in Steamboat Willie, one of the first successful animated shorts. Walt did all the voices and his animation inspired a generation and as we all know, was only the beginning of a great storyteller.
  • The Oscars

    The Oscars
    The Oscars, also known as the Academy Awards, gave out its first award in 1929. The film awards give out nominations for Best Director, Best Picture, Best Actor/Actress, etc. They define what the best movies are of the year and heavily determine the outcome of most movies.
  • Flowers and Trees

    Flowers and Trees
    Walt Disney's first film in technicolor animation was his creation, Flowers and Trees and it told the story of nature in harmony. It was one of his biggest accomplishments and broke many barriers for the Disney company. The picture was also the first animated one to be nominated for an Academy Award and win. The technicolor was a huge landmark in all films.
  • The Greatest Year in Film

    The Greatest Year in Film
    1939 was landmarked as the greatest year in all of film history. 10 movies were nominated for Academy Award's and it produced films such as The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, Of Mice and Men, and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This year in film had so many incredible actresses and actors and timeless movies throughout its run and Gone with the Wind took home most of the awards.
  • Theater Attendance

    Theater Attendance
    Due to the invention of the television being a at "home theater", many people stayed indoors enjoying TV. However, this led to a severe decline in attendance in movie theaters, causing many to shut down country-wide. This means many films were not able to be viewed and therefore was a major economic impact to the film business.
  • New Wave

    New Wave
    French new wave films burst on the film scene experimenting with new styles and techniques. Some of the new films include Breathless, Purple Moon, and Tomorrow is my Turn. The French also worked a lot more with sexy elements and exposing shots, leading to a common phrase of today, "sex sells".
  • Modern Blockbuster

    Modern Blockbuster
    The phenomenal success in the 1970s of Jaws and Star Wars in particular, led to the rise of the modern blockbuster. Hollywood studios increasingly focused on producing a smaller number of very large budget films with massive marketing and promotional campaigns. This led to what we have now, small numbers of big-budget movies that almost always end in success because it allows for better equipment, better actors, and more time to go into the project.
  • Avatar

    Avatar
    Avatar became the highest grossing film of all time thanks to James Cameron, the brilliant director. It was a 3D film and won several Academy Awards and Golden Globe awards for the beautiful design. The movie ended up grossing about $2.7 billion, more than any film country worldwide could dream of.
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    Nickelodeons

    These theaters based on vaudevilles only cost a nickel to enter and they were small store-front theaters that featured films. These theaters were equipped with a live orchestra and sound effects because sounds in films were unheard of until much later. Some theaters included one or two vaudeville acts but centered around the silent short films.
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    Vaudevilles

    During this time, theaters would present a short film in between short musical numbers and comedic skits until the act got booed off stage and then the next film would start. These theaters called vaudevilles, started calling the pictures nickelodeons because they only cost a nickel to see during a performance and its also where the television channel got its name. These theaters were quite popular in the demonstration of short films and started to move away from live numbers.
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    Wartime

    As World War II came to a close, the depression and chaos inspired many great pictures to be released. Many titles such as Casablanca, Fantasia, and It's a Wonderful Life became immensely popular and were used to lift people's spirits. This era also became a booming hit for the British, sparking their new creativity in films and producing many war movies that won Academy Awards.
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    Classics

    The film companies were growing at an exponential rate and produced many titles we still consider favorites today. Classics include, Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders, of the Lost Ark, E.T., Batman, and Back to the Future. These films set a new standard for the motion picture arts and inspired many more to come, including sequels.
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    Independent Studios

    Many independent film companies were rising and becoming very notable such as Lionsgate and Miramax. The home-video market became a major factor in total revenue for a film, often doubling the total income for a film. Many featured films were also very popular during this time such as Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump, Titanic, and Toy Story, the first full length feature film to be completely computer animated.
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    A New Audience

    Film companies began creating new style sand forms of movies. For example, The Avengers, one of the most successful superhero movies and now La La Land, a spectacular musical that was up for many awards, is now musically inclined and modern at the same time. 3D gained a lot of popularity and almost all animated features were computer made.