A History of Film

  • Eadweard Muybridge: Sallie Gardner at a Gallop

    Eadweard Muybridge: Sallie Gardner at a Gallop
    As an expermient, British photographer Eadweard Muybridge filmed the horse Sallie Gardner running. The purpose to prove the theory of Muybridge's friend, Leland Stanford, that a horse running will actually lift all four feet off the ground. The twelve photographs, when shown together, inadvertently produced the first film footage. Two years later, Muybridge presented the photographs to an audience in what is widely considered the very first motion picture.
  • The Kinetoscope

    The Kinetoscope
    The Kinteoscope is unveiled to the world. Engineered by William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, working under the Thomas Edison, the Kinetograph incorporated the two principals of the modern motion picture camera: a “stop-motion device to insure the intermittent but regular motion of the film strip through the camera and projector engineering,” and “a perforated celluloid film strip consisting of four sprocket holes on the bottom edge of each frame on a three quarter wide strip.” (Cook 6)
  • Lumieres Brothers Exhibit

    Lumieres Brothers Exhibit
    The Lumieres Brothers, Auguste and Louis, present a series fo short films to a Paris audience. Apparently, the audience was so taken by this new memium, there were stories of people scrambling for their lives when the train film was shown, thinking the trian itself would smash through the screen and hit them. either way, the show was a success, and a new art form was born.
  • Le Voyage Dans La Lune

    Le Voyage Dans La Lune
    Georges Meliere's groundbreaking film "A Trip to the Moon" is released, heralding a major change in the use of motion picture technology: he proves that film can present narrative. The film deals with a fictional journey to the moon and the subsequent battle that ensued between the Earthlings and the aliens found there. The special effects Melieres pioneered remain a vital link between early cinema and today.
  • The Great Train Robbery

    The Great Train Robbery
    Often considered the world's first Western, Edwin S. Porter's "The Great Train Robbery" is famous for its innovative use of location shooting, camera movement, and cross cutting. It remains a landmark film today.
  • Universal Studios is Founded

    Universal Studios is Founded
    Among the classical Hollywood "Big Six," Universal did not achieve the financial and critical successes of some of its rivals, though it did master the Americna horror genre. In recent years, Unviersal has been a major force, with hits such as "Jaws," "E.T.," and "Jurassic Park."
  • The Kid Auto Races at Venice

    The Kid Auto Races at Venice
    Thoough not one of Charlies Chaplin's masterpieces, "The Kid Auto Races at Venice" is notable for one thing: the birth of "the Tramp," Chaplin's iconic persona. The Tramp would become Chaplin's main character for the next decade, and would catapult Chaplin to international stardom. By the end of the First World War, he was likely the most famous person on Earth.
  • Cabiria

    Cabiria
    Giovanni Pastrone's "Cabiria," originally running to three hours and ten minutes, is one of the longest silent films ever made. An international hit, it cemented Pastrone as a master storyteller. According to Martin Scorcese, Pastrone is the father of the epic film.
  • Birth of a Nation

    Birth of a Nation
    Perhaps no film is more heralded and hated than D.W. Griffith's "The Birth of a Nation." a more turbulent reputation. On the one the film was a munumental success both financially and critically; likewise, Griffith today is heralded as an innovator of storytelling. On the other hand, the film's overt racial depictions of black Americans led to riots and the rise of a new wave of Ku Klux Klan members. Today, one can't help but feel repulsed by the film's racism.
  • Intolerance

    Intolerance
    D.W. Griffith's second epic in less than a year is much more politically correct than "The Birth of a Nation." At over three hours, the film follows four narratives--ancient Babylon, Biblica Judea, Renaissaince France, and modern America--each stiving to personify the human race's intolerance of others throughout the ages. It is ironic that Griffith makes such a political statement, since his "Birth" demonstrated so well what intolerance can look like.
  • United Artists is Founded

    United Artists is Founded
    United Artists was founded by four heavyweights of the silent era: Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford, DOuglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffiths. With numerous films to its name, UA produced many of Fairnbanks' most memorable films, as well as Chaplin's "Gold Rush." A new form of UA is today part-owned by Tom Cruise.
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
    Still chilling to this day, Robert Wiene's "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" is infamous for spawning the film technique known as German Expressionism. Wiene attempted to convey the chaotic feel of an asylum inmate's mental state; he did so by positioning the camera in unusual angles, painting dramatic shadows on walls, and having walls themselves appear twisted and leaning.
  • Nosferatu

    Nosferatu
    Bulding on the success of Robert Wiene and others, F.W. Murnau's terrifying "Nosferatu" incorporates German Expressionism with pure horror. In fact, it is often credited as being the first true film of the horror genre. Based unofficially on Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula" (names and events were altered so as to avoid law suits), the film nonetheless earned the enmity of Stoker, and a judge ordered all prints destroyed However, as history has shown, not all prints were disposed of.
  • Robin Hood

    Robin Hood
    The most expensive film of the 1920s, Allanb Dwan's "Robin Hood" was also the first film ever to have a premiere. Here, Douglas Fairbanks showcased his physical prowess and swrodmanship. The original swashbuckling star of the silver screen, Fairbanks starred in several other notable action films of the 20s, including "The Mark of Zorro," "The Three Musketeers," "The Thief of Bagdad," "The Black Pirate," and "The Iron Mask." With the advent of sound, his career declined rapidly.
  • Warner Brothers Studios is Founded

    Warner Brothers Studios is Founded
    One of the "Big 5" of the studio era, Warner Bros. was founded by four brothers by the name of Warner, former Polish immigrants. When the studio released "The Jazz Singer," they made cinematic history.
  • Colombia Pictures Studios is Founded

    Colombia Pictures Studios is Founded
    In Hollywood's Golden Age, there were eight main studios: the "Big 5" consisted of Fox. MGM, RKO, Paramount, and Warner. Columbia was one of the "Little 3" that filled out the eight, along with United Artists and Universal Pictures. Though it took years to grow, names such as Frank Capra, Cary Grant, Rita Hayworth, and William Holden helped make Columbia a major world player in motion picture production.
  • MGM Studios is Founded

    MGM Studios is Founded
    Another of the "Big 5," MGM made some of the most famous films ever until its eventual disspolution decades later. Films such as "Gone With the Wind," "The Wizard of Oz," "Ben-Hur" have left their mark on cinema history. With a pledge by original president Louis B. Mayer to produce one full-length feature every week, no studio was more productive than MGM during its hieght in the 1930s and 1940s.
  • Greed

    Greed
    Clocked in at a whopping 424 minutes in its initial viewing, "Greed" is the longest American theatrical film ever made. Its German director, Erich Von Stroheim, laboured over its editing for almost an entire year, unheard of at the time. In the end, the studio ordered cuts, and the film was dramatically shortened to a mere 140 minutes upon its official release.
  • The Lost World

    The Lost World
    Based on Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 novel, "The Lost World" is the story of a group of British adventurers who travel to Venezuela to prove the existence of prehistoric creatures. A landmark production in its use of stop-motion photography, "The Lost World" would go on to influence a generation of special effects experts.
  • The Gold Rush

    The Gold Rush
    The most ambitious film of director/actor Charles Chaplin's career, "The Gold Rush" was the film he most wished to be remembered by. The longest comedy ever made up to that point, the film garnered strong reviews and huge international audiences.
  • Battleship Potemkin

    Battleship Potemkin
    Sergei Eistnstien's 1925 opus, based on the real-life 1905 mutiny by crewmembers of the actual Battleship Potemkin against their officers, has been solidified as among the most influential films of all time. In particular, the rousing "Odessa Steps Sequence" has been used and parodied numerous times over the years. Filmed using his own theories of film montage, Potemkin is a much more complex film when studied than it is when viewed for purely entertainment purposes.
  • Rudolph Valentino Dies of Peritonitis

    Rudolph Valentino Dies of Peritonitis
    The major sex symbol of the 1920s, Italian-born Rudolph Valentino starred in several successful films of the decade, including "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" and "The Sheik." On August 15, 1926, he inexplicably collapsed in the Hotel Ambassador in New York. Eight days later, he was dead. An estimated 100 000 people lined the streets of the city to pay their respects, and femaile everywhere were devastated,
  • The General

    The General
    Though only a moderate success at the time of its release, "The General" is now considered one of the very best films ever made. It is certainly the pinnacle of Buster Keaton's career. Keaton, never the star attraction of rival Charles Chaplin, faded quickly once sound came to movies. However, like his film, he is today regarded as one of early Hollywood's best talents.
  • Metropolis

    Metropolis
    Considered among the pioneering greats os filmmaking, German Fritz Lang directed this early science fiction masterpiece. "Metropolis" set the tone for the genre, as well as incorporating elements of German Expressionsim. The film can also be viewed as a social commentary, as the underpriviedged struggle against society's elite. Lang would eventually move to America, where he embarked on a long and successful directorial career there,
  • The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is Founded

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is Founded
    The creation of the AMPAA came about with MGM owner Louis B. Mayer looking for a way to mediate disputes between studios. He got his wish, and the Academy was born. Its first president was Douglas Fairbanks, the swashbuckling star of the decade. Today, the AMPAA is known for the Oscars, which began two years after its foundation, in 1929,
  • Wings

    Wings
    "Wings" holds the distinction of being the first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Its highly realistic aerila special effects became the standard with which aerial films would be measured.
  • The Jazz Singer

    The Jazz Singer
    One of the most important films ever made, Alan Crosland's "The Jazz Singer" effectively changed cinema forever. It was the very first film to feature synchornised sound. While much of the film is actually silent, the musical sequences (featuring the popular Al Jolson) were recorded. Audiences were amazed to see and hear someone on screen playing and singing in synch with music. From this point on, all major studios clamoured for sound. The "talkie" was born.
  • RKO Pictures is Founded

    RKO Pictures is Founded
    One of the "Big 5," Radio-Keith-Orpheum Studios lured young, enterprising executive David O. Selznick away from MGM, and RKO went on to enjoy several years of quality production. Stars like Katharine Hepburn, as well as films like "King Kong" have helped seal RKO's fate among the other legendary studios of Hollywood's Golden Age.
  • Steamboat Willie

    Steamboat Willie
    The world's first fully synchronised talking cartoon, Walt Disney's "Steamboat Willie" also featured the international debut of Mickey Mouse, A monumental success, "Steamboat Willie" no doubt convinced Disney of the success talking cartoons could have on an audience.
  • Blackmail

    Blackmail
    Alfred Hitchcock's "Blackmail" was the very first British film with synchronised sound. Though he was still years away from his legendary run of consecutive Hollywood classics, "Blackmail" is among his most apprecaited British films.
  • The Big Trail

    The Big Trail
    While Raoul Walsh's 1930 early talkie-Western wasn't especially popular, "The Big Trail" is notasble for two reasons: first of all, it launched the career of young Marion Morrison--who had been recently renamed "John Wayne;" this was Wayne's first starring role. As well, the film was the first attempt at widescreen, as a special camera was brought in to capture the look of the west. The idea didn't catch on, however; it would be years before anyone tried to shoot with a wide angle again.
  • Dracula

    Dracula
    "Dracula," directed by Tod Browning, was produced by Unviersal Studios. The film, along with "Frankenstien" later that year, cemented the studio as the premier horror producer. "Dracula" features Bela Lugosi, a recent Hungarian immigrant, who sported the iconic black cape and white tuxedo costume for the first time. Several sequels and parodies follwoed, though the appearance of the Count remains an iconic throwback to classical Hollywood.
  • Frankenstein

    Frankenstein
    Directed by James Whale, "Frankenstein" was based more on a stage play than the original novel; regardless, it was a major hit of its day, and its popularity continues today. The first film to portray the creature in with its iconic costuming, "Frankenstein" was followed by sequels and parodies, and more modern reinventions have been attempted.
  • King Kong

    King Kong
    The original "KIng Kong" was produced by RKO in early 1933 and drew huge crowds. Building on the successful special effects of 1925's "The Lost World," King Kong told a very different story, of a giant ape living in the jungles of an unknown Pacific Island, and his subsequent infatuation with Ann Darrow (played by Canadian Fay Wray). The film has been repeated twice since: in 1976, starring Jeff Brydges and Jessica LAnge, and in 2005, with Naomi Watts and Adrian Brody.
  • Twentieth Century Fox Studios is Founded

    Twentieth Century Fox Studios is Founded
    One of the "Big 5," Fox Studios came into being during the heat of the Depression. Later renamed 20th Century Fox, the studio continues to thrive today. Famous for its "series" films, Fox is credited with the first two "Star Wars" franchises, the "X-Men" films, the "Planet of the Apes" series, and "Ice Age."
  • Grand Illusion

    Grand Illusion
    Widely considered among the greatest films ever made, Jean Renoir's French masterpiece "Grand Illusion" delas with the various relationships between French prisoners of war in a German camp. GErman actor Erich Von Stroheim later moved to the US, where he made a decent career as a director and actor.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

    Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
    Sound had been with Hollywood for close to ten years when RKO released "Snow White." Apparently, fans wanted animation: the film set a new box office record with over $8 million in earnings. The American Film Institute named it the greatest animated film of all time in 2008.
  • The Wizard of Oz

    The Wizard of Oz
    Arguably the most-watched film for youngsters, "The Wizard of Oz," based on the 1900 L. Frank Baum novel, was released in the magical year of 1939. Starring a teenaged Judy Garland, the film would catapult her into the status of superstar. Today, "The Wizard of Oz" remains one of the most loved films ever made.
  • Gone With the Wind

    Gone With the Wind
    MGM and RKO combined to create the most successful box office film of all time--when adjusted for inflation. Simply put, "Gone With the Wind" was and is a phenomenon. Based on Margaret Mitchell's novel, the film starred the immortal Clark Gable as Rhett Butler and relative unknown Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara.
  • Rebecca

    Rebecca
    Legendary British director Alfred Hitchcock arrived in America in the summer of 1939, and he immedeately began work on his first Hollywood film. In the end, "Rebecca" was his only film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Coincidentally, the same year of its release, another of Hitchcoc's films, "Foreign Correspondent," was also nominated.
  • Citizen Kane

    Citizen Kane
    Considered by many the best film ever made, "Citizen Kane" was written and directed by Orson Welles. Lured from New York with one of the most lucrative contracts ever given to someone with absolutely no acting or directing experience, Welles chose the story of news tycoon William Randolph Hurst, changed some names and locations, and "Citizen Kane" was born. Much of the film's success is actually due to director of photography Gregg Toland, whose use of deep focus remains legendary.
  • The Maltese Falcon

    The Maltese Falcon
    Cementing Humphrey Bogart as a household name, John Huston's "The Maltese Falcon" is also considered among the best--if not the best--film noirs of all time. While the term "film noir" can be problematic in its definition, the gererally-perceived characteristics of dark, brooding shadows, uncomfortable subject matter, voive-over narration, and sexual motivation are all on display with perfection in "The Maltese Falcon."
  • Carol Lombard is Killed in a Plane Crash

    Carol Lombard is Killed in a Plane Crash
    On the early morning of January 16, 1942, Hollywood heavy weight Carol Lombard, er mother, and others boarded a Transcontinental and Western Air Douglas DST for a return flight from Indiana to Los Angeles. Lombard had travelled back east to rais emoney for War Bonds, the US. having just entered the Second World War. After refuleing in Las Vegas, their plane struck Doulbe Up Peak and crashed, killing all 22 on board. Lombard was married to CLark Gable at the time,.
  • Casablanca

    Casablanca
    If "Citizen Kane" is considered the greatest american film ever made, Michael Curtiz' "Casablanca" is generally considered number two. Indeed, the iconic film spawned the infamous movie lines, "Play it again, Sam," as well as "We'll always have Paris," and "Of all the jin joints in all the world, she walks into mine." The song "As Time goes By" also has its place among the greatest Hollywood has ever produced.
  • It's a Wonderful Life

    It's a Wonderful Life
    Though it received little fanfare at the time of its release, Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" has gone on to become the qunitessential Christmas classic for television. The story of George Bailey actually spends much of its time in seasons other than Christmastime, but the film has endeared nonetheless.
  • Sunset Boulevard

    Sunset Boulevard
    Written and directed by star German immigrant Billy Wilder, "Sunset Boulevard" is a mix between film noir, drama, and black comedy. The story of Norma Desmond, a former Hollywood great of the silent era, and her attempts at a comeback, speaks more to the real-life struggle of so many silent stars once sound came into being, Starring Gloria Swanson, herself a largely forgotten former star, "Sunset Boulevard" is often considered among the greatest films ever made.
  • All About Eve

    All About Eve
    Joseph L. Mankiewicz's "All About Eve," a smash hit in its day, had the distinction of the msot Oscar nominations--14 in all--until 1997's "Titanic." The interplay between Beete Davis and Anne Baxter is legendary, and the film also contains a bit part by an eventual star in ehr own right: Marylin Monroe, who plays a beautiful but unintelligent blonde, a role she would be thrust into time and time again in the coming years.
  • Singin' in the Rain

    Singin' in the Rain
    For many, Gene Kelly/Stanley Donan's "Singin' in the Rain" is the very best musical of all time. Certainly the sequence in which Gene Kelly sings the trademark song the film was named after has passed into Hollywood immortality. As with so many classics, "Singin' in the Rain" was not an instant success; critics in late ryears have praised it non stop, earning it is place as among other film greats.
  • High Noon

    High Noon
    Considered by many as one of the greatest Westerns ever produced, Fred Zinnemann's "High Noon" stars Gary Cooper as Will Kane, a town marshall forced to take on a gang of murderous thugs singlehandedly. What is remarkable about "Nigh Noon" is its adherance to time: the film was produced in "real time," in which narrative events are synchronised to actual time.
  • Chaplin's Re-entry Permit to the United States is Revoked

    Chaplin's Re-entry Permit to the United States is Revoked
    Long considered to be a Communist sympathiser, Charles Chaplin had lived in the USA for forty years and had never attained American citizenship. This was the perfect combination for country's attorney general to revoke his re-entry Visa. Unable to return, Chaplin and his wife and children settled instead in Swtizerland, at their home the Manoir de Ban, where they would remain. Chaplin died in 1977.
  • Rear Window

    Rear Window
    "Rear Window" is one of Alfred Hitchcock's most famous films. It was released at a time when it seemed the director could do no wrong. In the 50s alone, Hitchcock made "Strangers on a Train," "Rear Window," "Dial M for Murder," "To Catch a Theif," "The Man Who Knew Too Much," "Vertigo," and "North By Northwest." Each and every of these represents, like "Rear Window," hitchcock at his very best. And lost in all this is the major classic he produced in 1960--"Psycho."
  • James Dean is Killed in a Car Accident

    James Dean is Killed in a Car Accident
    After James Dean's first film, "East of Eden," he began pruchasing cars. His passion for cars grew over the coming months, and he became a driver in various races around the Los Angeles area. On the morning of September 30, 1955, he and friends were on their way to Salinas to take part in a race there. His Porsche 550 Spyder was truck by a Ford Tudor pickup. Witnesses said the Spyder cartwheeled several times before stopping. Dean was rushed to hospital but pronounced dead upon arrival.
  • Rebel Without a Cause

    Rebel Without a Cause
    Nicholas Ray's iconic film about dissoluionsed teenage youth hasn't aged particularly well, but in 1955, it captured the angst and emotion of that audience perfectly. It also featured James Dean, an actor with heavyweight written all over him. Dean would only make three films before his untimely deatha t age 24 less than a year later.
  • The Searchers

    The Searchers
    One of over 20 films by the legendary team of John Ford (director) and John Wayne, "The Searchers" is another example of a film whose stock has risen considerably over the years. STeven Spielberg has gone so far as to call it the most important film ever due to the complexities of Wayne's character, Ethan Edwards. Regardless, many people today consider "The Searchers" to be among the pinnacle of Westerns.
  • Grace Kelly Marries Prince Rainier, Leaves Hollywood Forever

    Grace Kelly Marries Prince Rainier, Leaves Hollywood Forever
    In a surprising move, Hollywood starlet Grace Kelly retired from acting forever to marry Rainier, Price of Monaco. The two would remain married until 1982, when Kelly was killed in a car accident.
  • Humphrey Bogart Dies of Esophageal Cancer

    Humphrey Bogart Dies of Esophageal Cancer
    A heavy drinker and smoker, Humphrey Bogart eventually developed cancer in his esophagus. He delayed seeing a doctor, and when he eventually did, the cancer had already spread. He lost weight rapidly in the ocming months, and when he died on January 14, 1957, he weighed only 80 pounds. Several of Hollywood's biggest stars attended his funeral. In 1997, Entertainment Weekly named him the greatest film star of all time.
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai

    The Bridge on the River Kwai
    The first of British director David Lean's three epic masterpieces, "The Bridge on the River Kwai" is the story of Allied POWs in Burma during the Second World War. A massive production starring William Holden, Jack Hawkins, and Alec Guinness (who would also appear in Lean's other two epic classics), the story is laregly fictional. Regardless, it is often considered among the greatest war films ever made.
  • Some Like it Hot

    Some Like it Hot
    Billy Wilder's "Some Like it Hot" stars three heavyweights of 1959: Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marylin Monroe. The film has been called by some critics the greatest comedy ever made. Certainly, in the case of Monroe, it is her finest work, even if she technically isn't its main star. Barely three years later, Monroe would be dead, leaving "Some Like it Hot" as the pinnacle of her career.
  • Ben-Hur

    Ben-Hur
    "Ben-Hur" set a record at the 1960 Oscars for winning eleven awards. Two films have matched this feat since, but none have bettered it. The film's chariot race sequence, which took most of a year to plan and execute, is still considered among the greatest action sequences ever filmed.
  • Psycho

    Psycho
    "Psycho" is the culmination of a decade of work by Alfred Hitchcock perhaps unrivaled by anyone in Hollywood of yeateryear. The film follows the murderous intentions of psychotic Norman Bates, and the infamous shower scene has become among the most iconic in film history. Coincidentally, "Psycho" was the first film to show a toilet on screen--strange but true!
  • Clark Gable Dies of Coronary Thrombosis

    Clark Gable Dies of Coronary Thrombosis
    The co-star of "Gone With the Wind," Clark Gable remained box office gold until his death in 1960. The star of films such as "Mogambo," "It Happened One Night," "Red Dust," and "The Misfits," Gable was only 59 at the time of his death. His last film, "The Misfits" (also featuring Marylin Monroe in her last film) wrapped only 12 days before his death.
  • Marylin Monroe Dies of a Drug Overdose

    Marylin Monroe Dies of a Drug Overdose
    Perhaps the most iconic actress of all time, Marylin Monroe found stardom difficult to deal with. Her private life was forever in the spotlight, and the pressures her celebrity status forced upon her led her down a dark, destructive spiral. Her superstardom was a phenomenon for the ages.
  • Dr. No

    Dr. No
    "Dr. No," released in 1962, was the first of twenty-plus James Bond films. Based on the novel by Ian fleming, and directed by Terence Young, the film earned praise and money, as well as making Sean Connery a household name. Young would return for two other Bond films: "From Russia with Love" and "Thunderball."
  • Lawrence of Arabia

    Lawrence of Arabia
    Widely regarded as the greatest Hollywood epic, "Lawrence of Arabia" is in fact a UK production. Based on T.E. Lawrence's years working in the Middle East during the First World War, the film is the second of director David Lean's three masterpieces, others being "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and "Doctor Zhivago." "Lawrence" was a monster to produce: filming alone took a year and a half in Jordan, Morocco, Spain, and England.
  • Cleopatra

    Cleopatra
    A film almost as famous for its production off screen as for what was delivered onscreen, 1963's "Cleopatra" was also among the longest movies ever screened. At just over four hours, and featuring a then-record 65 costume changes by Elizabeth Taylor, "Cleopatra" holds another distinction: it was the highest-grossing film of the year, but because of so many cost overruns, it actually operated at a loss.
  • Promises! Promises!

    Promises!  Promises!
    Jayne Mansfield made history in 1963 with "Promises! Promises!" by bearing it all. Flying in the face of the out-of-date and heavyhanded Hays Code, the film defied film etiquette by filming Mansfield without clothing not once, but several times. Banned in several cities, "Promises! Promises!" no doubt changed forever the way sex was viewed on the big screen.
  • Doctor Zhivago

    Doctor Zhivago
    The third of David Lean's big-budget epics, "Doctor Zhivago" is based on the book by Russian novelist Boris Pasternak. The film deals with the life of Yuri Zhivago, a Russian doctor caught up in the world of the Russian Revolution. Because of Yuri's noncommittal stance on revolution, Pasternak was unable to publish the novel in the Soviet Union; hence, the manuscript was smuggled into Italy, where it was published in 1957. Pasternak received the Nobel Prize for Literature the following year.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
    Many a critic have named "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" as the greatest Western ever made. The film's success helped cultivate the "Spaghetti Western" genre, and it has inspired filmmakers all around the world ever since its 1966 release. Directed by renowned Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone, and featuring a stellar soundtrack by composer Ennio Morricone, "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" will remain forever celebrated.
  • Jayne Mansfield is Killed in a Car Accident

    Jayne Mansfield is Killed in a Car Accident
    On her way to New Orleans overnight, Jayne Mansfield, her boyfriend, driver, and three of her children were all involved in a major car accident. Their 1966 Buick collided at high speed into the rear of a slowed tractor trailer in front. The three adults in the front, including Mansfield, were killed instantly, though the children survived. As a result of the accident, all tractor trailers were ordered to insert a bar at the rear of their vehicles. This bar is known as the Mansfield Bar.
  • Bonnie and Clyde

    Bonnie and Clyde
    A fine example of the lack of restrictions on Hollywood films, Bonnie and Clyde was a film about sex and violence. The climactic finale, in which two notorious bank robbers are gunend down, remains an iconic symbol of the new Hollywood. Only a few years earlier, such violence would never have appeared in a Hollywood film.
  • Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

    Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
    Groundbreaking in subject matter, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" is the story of biracial love at a time when civil rights were still a hot topic across the United States. It was also Spencer Tracy's final film. The film was remade as "Guess Who" in 2005, with the racial roles of the protagonists reversed.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey

    2001: A Space Odyssey
    When "2001" was released, it was not a huge hit. However, university students, lured by psychodelia, soon began to attend screenings. Their conenction to the film caused its reputation to spread, and today, "2001" is often considerd the seminal science fiction film.
  • The Hays Code is Officially Abandoned

    The Hays Code is Officially Abandoned
    Since February 1930, the Hays Code had outliend the perametres all Hollywood films were to be constucted within. Nudity, swearing, references to sex and homosexuality, etc., had all been officially banned for years. However, in the 1960s, new and innovative filmmakers routinely ignored the Code to construct what they saw an unhindered art. As well, audiences were listening, and in 1968, all major film studios officially abandoned the out of date Code for a new classification system.
  • The Wild Bunch

    The Wild Bunch
    Sam Peckinpaw's groundbreaking Western "The Wild Bunch" is much like "Bonnie and Clyde" in how it symbolises the changing world of movie making in the late 1960s. Featuring graphic violence (in slow motion), "The Wild Bunch" tells the story of bank robbers in the early 20th century who are lured to Mexico while being hunted by U.S. marshalls.
  • Judy Garland Dies of a Drug Overdose

    Judy Garland Dies of a Drug Overdose
    The one-time star of "The Wizard of Oz," Judy Garland remained a popular musical star well into the 1940s, but offscreen, she battled several inner demons. The epitmoe of studio manipualtion, Garland was forced to conform to a physical look due to her perceived lack of natural beauty. Beginning in the 1940s, she turned to drugs and alcohol to cope. Her death at 47 remains a tragic reminder of the dark side of stardom.
  • Easy Rider

    Easy Rider
    The epitome of counter culture psychodelia, 1969's "Easy Rider" was groundbreaking in its use of profanity, sex, and drugs on the big screen. Featuring songs from the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Steppenwolf, perhaps no film better demonstrated the hippie movement of the late 1960s.
  • Woodstock

    Woodstock
    BAsed on the August 1969 weekend music festival, "Woodstock" was a major box office success. Though it heavily excits the performers (excluding many), and it palys with the chronology of the weekend, the film did manage to capture the essence of what Woodstock was. Highlights include Sly and Family Stone with "I Wanna Take You Higher," Ten Years After with "I'm Going Home," and Jimi Hendrix and his rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner."
  • Dirty Harry

    Dirty Harry
    Clint Eastwood had already become a household name with his reputation as a Western star--films like "Hang 'em High" and "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" has taken care of that. But his role as detective Harry Calahan in Don Seagle's action-packed "Ditry Harry" ttransformed both Eastwood and cinema forver. Now a full-fledged action star, Eastwood took on a more complete role as a true action star. The fim would be followed by four sequels throughout the coming decades,
  • The Godfather

    The Godfather
    Produced in 1972, "The Godfather" ranks as one of the very best American films ever made. Featuring aging supterstar Marlon Brando in an almost unrecognisable role, and young up-and-comer Al Pacino, the film secured director Francis Ford Coppola as one of the very best young directors in the country. Coppola would go on to perform an Oscar miracle two years later, when "The Godfather Part II" followed its predecessor with the Oscar for Best Picture.
  • Charles Chaplin is Welcomed Back in Hollywood

    Charles Chaplin is Welcomed Back in Hollywood
    AFter 20 years of banishment from the United States, the 1972 Oscars finally payed tribute to one of its most important members. Charles Chaplin was invited back, and fter initially thinking agaisnt it, he did indeed return. He received an unprecedented twelve-minute standing ovation, a clear message that the damage done to his reputation in 1952 by a Communist-obsessed FBI had been forgotten,
  • The Exorcist

    The Exorcist
    Still considered among the most frightening films of all time, "The Exorcist" tells the story of a 12-year-old girl possessed by the Devil, as well as the epic struggle by two priests to free her of her curse. Shocking in tone and featuring disturbing visuals, "The Exorcist" almost singlehandedly redefined the horror genre for all time. Pig squeals were used for the Satanic voice the possessed Regan makes--pigs about to be slaughtered in real life, that is.
  • The Godfather Part II

    The Godfather Part II
    Unitl the 1975 Oscars, never had a sequel won the Oscar for Best Pictrue. In fact, never before or since has an original film and its sequel both won. Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather Part II" is even considered by some a better film than the original. Either way, it is at the very least an excellent film, as well as a perfect sequel.
  • Jaws

    Jaws
    Young rising star director Steven Spielberg was given the opportunity of turning Peter Benchley's smash hit novel into a film. The result was one of the most infamous films ever. Though not quite a horror film, Jaws continues to pack the smae thrills it did all the way back in 1975. As well, it ushered in the modern concept of the summer blockbuster. In only 78 days, it overtook The Godfather as the highest-grossing film of all time, as well as the first film to earn $100 million.
  • Star Wars

    Star Wars
    Possibly the most influencial film of all time, George Lucas' "Star Wars" received only minimal distribution in its frst week of release. However, once the crowds began packing movie houses, its exhibition increased and before long, it became the highest grossing film up to that time. "Star Wars" spawned two excellent sequels, though the prequels some years later, while financial successes, did not capture the same adoration amongst fans and critics.
  • Death of Charles Chaplin

    Death of Charles Chaplin
    The most popular man on the planet during the Great War, Charles Chaplin was a somewhat unusual star in that he was able to remain relevant during the transition from silent films to sound. His tramp persona ranks among the most recognisable in cinematic history. In 1952, while abroad promoting a film, his U.S. re-entry visa was revoked; Chaplin, a suspected Communist, chose instead to move to Swtizerland, where he remained with his family until his death.
  • Apocalypse Now

    Apocalypse Now
    One of the best war films ever made, "Apocalypse Now" is a perfect companion to the Vietnam War. The film is a shocking psychological thriller set deep in the jungles of Vietnam/Cambodia, based on the Joseph Conrad novel "Heart of Darkness." With so many adventures in the making of the film, a documentary entitled "Hearts of Darkness" was even produced.
  • Mary Pickford, "America's Sweetheart," Dies of a Cerebral Hemorrhage

    Mary Pickford, "America's Sweetheart," Dies of a Cerebral Hemorrhage
    Although Toronto-born, Gladys Louise Smith (aka "America's Sweetheart") was the female major star of early Hollywood. Upon her marriage to swashbuckling hero Douglas Fairbanks in 1920, Pickford was catapulted to superstardom. She is also famous for being a founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, along with Fairbanks and Charles Chaplin. In later life, she turned to alcoholism and became reclusive.
  • John Wayne Dies of Stomach Cancer

    John Wayne Dies of Stomach Cancer
    Always outspoken, firecely Conservative, John Wayne epitomised the action hero of old Hollywood. With 178 credits to his name, he was certainly among the most prolific actors of all time. Known mostly for Westerns, Wayne also appeared in several popular war films beginning in the 1940s. His attack on Communists in that decade earned him both praise and enmity, but he remains an icon to this day regardless.
  • Alfred Hitchcock Dies of Kidney Failure

    Alfred Hitchcock Dies of Kidney Failure
    Perhaps the most popular director of all time, Alfred Hitchcock has left behind a legacy none will likely ever match. With films such as "Rear Window," "The Birds," "Rope," "Strangers on a Train," "Vertigo," "North By Northwest," "Rebecca," "Shadow of a Doubt," and, of course, "Psycho," it's easy to see why.
  • E.T. : The Extra Terrestrial

    E.T. : The Extra Terrestrial
    Steven Spielberg is known for some of the greatest films ever made. In 1982, he went where he had previously never gone before: in the direction of a noticably younger audience. That's not tos ay that "E.T." isn't for anyone; and indeed, there are scenes in the film that scare young ones. Surpassing "Star Wars" to become the highest-grossing movie for the next 11 years, "E.T." has become a classic for the ages.
  • Ingrid Bergman Dies of Breast Cancer

    Ingrid Bergman Dies of Breast Cancer
    One of the most infamous actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age--as much for her roles onscreen as off), Ingrid Bergman was 67 at the time of her death. Famous for extra-marital flings, it was her decision to leave her husband for Italian director Roberto Rossellini that largely destroyed her Hollywood career, though she remained active onscreen for years afterward. Her most iconic film is likely "Casablanca."
  • Grace Kelly is Killed in a Car Crash

    Grace Kelly is Killed in a Car Crash
    Grace Kelly's last film has been in 1956; from that year on, she had been Princess Grace of Monaco. However, the world was chocked to learn of her death in September 1982. It appeared Kelly had suffered a stroke while driving, and her car careened off the side of a mountain. Her dauther Stephanie was present with her at the time, though she survived.
  • Cary Grant Dies of a Cerebral Hemorrhage

    Cary Grant Dies of a Cerebral Hemorrhage
    Cary Grant retired from filmmaking at age 62 in 1966. Although he received offers throughou tthe years, he never rrturned to the silver screen, instead touring America in his one-man "A Conversation with Cary Grant" routine. On November 29, 1986, while preparing for a show in Davenport, Iowa, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died. He was 82 years old.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbitt

    Who Framed Roger Rabbitt
    Based on the 1981 novel "Who Cencored Roger Rabbit?", 1988's "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" was not the first ever live-action animated film, but it certainly broke new ground in its use of special effects. It is also conceivable that the film reignited the world's interest in animation. A few years later, "Toy Story" would make history with its use of computer animation, but there is no doubt "Roger" helped inspire that other modern classic.
  • The Silence of the Lambs

    The Silence of the Lambs
    The only horror film ever to win Best Picture, Jonathan Demme's "The Silence of the Lambs" also only one of three films to win all of the top five Oscar categories: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Adapted Screenplay.
  • Audrey Hepburn Dies of Appendiceal Cancer

    Audrey Hepburn Dies of Appendiceal Cancer
    A survivor of the Second World War in Europe and the woman once credited for single-handedly changing women's fashion in the early 1960s, Audrey Hepburn died at the age of 63 in 1993. Though she hadn't acted regularly on screen in years, she had never been forgotten. The star of "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "Roman Holiday," and "Sabrina," Hepburn's impact remains today.
  • Jurassic Park

    Jurassic Park
    1993 was a banner year for Steven Spielberg. Not only did he release the acclaimed "Schindler's List," he also set box office records with his rendition of the successful Michael Critchon dinosaur resurrection novel "Jurassic Park." The film grossed over $900 million, stopping just short of becoming the first-ever billion-dollar film. That distinction would go to 1997's "Titanic."
  • Toy Story

    Toy Story
    "Toy Story" revlutionised animated filmmaking, no doubt about it. The first full-length all-computer generated feature, featuring the voices of Tom Hanks and others, "Toy Story" has inspired every animated feature since. A massive success, the film has spawned two sequels. "Toy Story 3" went on to earn over $1 billion at the box office.
  • James Stewart Dies of a Blood Clot

    James Stewart Dies of a Blood Clot
    On July 2, 1997, one of Hollywood's most celebrated actors died. Not only did James Stewart star in some of the most popular films of the classical era--"Rear Window," "It's a Wonderful Life," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," and "The Philadelphia Story"--but he served in in the US air force during the Second World War, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam War.
  • Titanic

    Titanic
    After years in the making, James Cameron's "Titanic"--an epic love story set agaisnt the back drop of the infamous mritime disaster--broke the four-year old box office record held by "Jurassic Park." "Titanic" became the first film to break the $1 billion threshold, and feat that has only rareyl been repated since. It remained king of the box office for six years, until the final installment of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy unseated it.
  • Katharine Hepburn Dies of a Tumor

    Katharine Hepburn Dies of a Tumor
    Katharine Hepburn passed away in 2003 at the age of 96, one of the all-time longest-living Hollywood stars. Always controversial, Hepburn became a symbol of feminity during her prime, eschewing the spotlight, dressing however she pleased, and voicing her opinion whenever she felt it necessary. She was truly a star of Hollywood's Golden Era.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
    The third and final installment in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "The Return of the King" succeeded where its two predecessors did not: it captured the Oscar for Best Picture. It also grossed over $1 billion, only the second film to do so (after "Titanic."
  • Marlon Brando Dies of Respiratory Failure

    Marlon Brando Dies of Respiratory Failure
    One of the greatest actors ever to grace the screen, Marlon Brando starred in such films as "On the Waterfront," "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Julius Caesar," "Last Tango in Paris," and "The Godfather." He also had prominent roles in "Superman I and II," as well as "Apocalypse Now."
  • Avatar

    Avatar
    Still the highest-grossing film of all time, "Avatar's" $2.76 billion earings may never be beaten. An allegory, the film detailed humanity's attempts to exploit the resources of an alien world for their own selfish needs. With "Titanic," "Avatar" is the second film by James Cameron to top $1 billion. No one else has accomplished that feat.
  • Elizabeth Taylor Dies of Complications From Heart Failure

    Elizabeth Taylor Dies of Complications From Heart Failure
    The first actress ever to be paid $1 million for a film (1963's "Cleopatra"), Elizabeth Taylor defied age, remaining a popular figure her entire life when so many of her contemporaries faded into the spotlight. She was married eight times to seven different men--she and Richard Burton actually wedded twice!
  • The Artist

    The Artist
    A silent film, "The Artist" defied the odds in 2011, when it captured the hearts of moviegoers around the world. The film dominated the 2012 Oscars, winning for Best Picture, Director, Costumes, Music, and Actor. In all, "The Artist" was nominated for 185 international awards, winning 94.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    After 32 years, many of the original players from the first "Star Wars" trilogy reunited for "The Force Awakens." Fans have responded: "The Force Awakens" holds several records, and is only the third film ever to gross more than $2 billion worldwide. It is safe to say the Force has been reborn.