List of years in film

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This page indexes the individual year in film pages. Each year is annotated with its significant events.

19th century in film[edit]

Before Muybridge's 1878 work, photo sequences were not recorded in real-time because light-sensitive emulsions needed a long exposure time. The sequences were basically made as time-lapse recordings. It is possible that people at the time actually viewed such photographs come to life with a phénakisticope or zoetrope (this certainly happened with Muybridge's work).

  • 1833 – Since 1833 onwards, 'animated films' or rather animated effects began to be made with the use of phénakisticopes, zoetropes and praxinoscopes.
  • 1865Revolving, self-portrait by French photographer Nadar. Around 1865 he produced this series of self-portraits consisting of 12 frames showing different angles of him sitting still in a chair. Except for a smile in 1 frame, not even a fold in his jacket or a single hair seems to change between the different angles. This could be regarded as a predecessor to the chronophotography which Marey and Muybridge started to experiment with more than 10 years later. As the sequence revolves around space rather than time it is even more related to the bullet-time effect popularized by The Matrix about 135 years later. There's no clue if more than one camera was used in the shoot, but it's certainly well-executed.
  • 1874 – First precedent of a film, Passage de Vénus. On December 9, 1874, french astronomer Pierre Janssen and Brazilian engineer Francisco Antônio de Almeida using Janssen's 'photographic revolver' photograph the transit of the planet Venus across the Sun. They were purportedly taken in Japan. It is the oldest film on IMDb and Letterboxd.
  • 1878 – British photographer Eadweard Muybridge take a series of "automatic electro-photographs" called The Horse in Motion depicting the movement of a horse. Muybridge shot the photographs in June 1878. An additional card reprinted the single image of the horse "Occident" trotting at high speed, which had previously been published by Muybridge in 1877. The most famous of these electro-photographs is "Sallie Gardner" taken on June 19, 1878. Railroad tycoon Leland Stanford hired Muybridge to settle the questions of whether a galloping horse ever had all four of its feet off the ground. Muybridge's photos showed the horse with all four feet off the ground. Muybridge went on a lecture tour showing his photographs on a moving-image device he called the zoopraxiscope.
  • 1887Man Walking Around a Corner, directed by French inventor Louis Le Prince. The oldest known film. Although according to David Wilkinson's 2015 documentary The First Film it's not film, but a series of photographs, 16 in all, each taken from one of the lens from Le Prince's camera. Pictures from the film were sent in a letter dated 18 August 1887 to his wife. Le Prince went on to develop the one lens camera and on the 14th October 1888 he finally made the world's first moving image, Roundhay Garden Scene.
  • 1888 – The earliest surviving film, the Roundhay Garden Scene, by French inventor Louis Le Prince, is shot in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, through a groundbreaking 20 frames per second. Others short films made at the same time were Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge and Accordion Player.
  • 1893Thomas Edison creates "America's First Film Studio", Black Maria; The first film shown publicly on the Kinetoscope, a system given to Edison, is Blacksmiths.
  • 1894 – According to film historian Charles Musser, Carmencita directed and produced by William K.L. Dickson, the Scottish inventor credited with the invention of the motion picture camera under the employ of Thomas Edison was the first woman to appear in front of an Edison motion picture camera and may have been the first woman to appear in a motion picture within the United States.[1][2][3]
  • 1894The Dickson Experimental Sound Film made by William Dickson in late 1894 or early 1895 is the first known film with live-recorded sound and appears to be the first motion picture made for the Kinetophone, the proto-sound-film system developed by Dickson and Thomas Edison. It is also discussed whether it is considered as the first LGBT film. Further in his book The Celluloid Closet (1981), film historian Vito Russo discusses the film, claiming, without attribution, that it was titled The Gay Brothers.[4] Russo's unsupported naming of the film has been adopted widely online and in at least three books, and his unsubstantiated assertions that the film's content is homosexual are frequently echoed.[5] In addition to there being no evidence for the title Russo gives the film, in fact, the word "gay" was not generally used as a synonym for "homosexual" at the time the film was made. A particularly relevant example of the way the word "gay" was actually used is provided by a later Edison Manufacturing Company film, directed by Edwin S. Porter. As described by scholar Linda Williams, The Gay Shoe Clerk (1903).
  • 1895 – In Paris, France on December 28, 1895, the Lumière brothers screen ten films at the Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris making the first commercial public screening ever made, marked traditionally as the birth date of the movies; Gaumont Film Company, the oldest ever film studio, is founded by inventor Léon Gaumont.
  • 1896Pathé-Frères is founded. The Lumière brothers release six more short films, one of which is L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat.
  • 1897Vitagraph is founded in New York City.
  • 1899Georges Méliès releases The Dreyfus Affair and Cendrillon (first screen adaptation of the traditional fairy tale Cinderella); earliest known use of a colour motion picture film footage by Edward Raymond Turner.[6]














See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Library of Congress American Memory". Retrieved 2007-03-10.
  2. ^ Musser, Charles (1997). Edison Motion Pictures, 1890-1900: An Annotated Filmography. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. pp. 34–35. ISBN 1-56098-567-4.
  3. ^ Ramsaye, Terry (May 1922). "The Romantic History of the Motion Picture". Photoplay. New York City: Photoplay Publishing Company. 22 (6): 32–35, 95. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  4. ^ Russo (1987), pp. 6–7. For rebuttal of Russo's claim, see, e.g., Dixon (2003), p. 53; Justin DeFreitas, "Moving Pictures: Documentary Puts Modern Gay Cinema in Context", Berkeley Daily Planet, July 7, 2006 (available online).
  5. ^ See Movies of the 90s, ed. Juergen Mueller (Bonn: Taschen, 2001), p. 147. See also Larry P. Gross, Up from Invisibility: Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Media in America (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), p. 57. Gross also erroneously calls it a "five-minute avant-garde film" and describes the men as dancing to music "played on an Edison gramophone", though he does properly state that "we don't know what Dickson intended this light-hearted scene to suggest" (ibid.). The passage is adapted from a section introduction written by Gross for The Columbia Reader on Lesbians & Gay Men in Media, Society, and Politics, ed. Larry P. Gross and James D. Woods (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), p. 291.
  6. ^ "World's first colour film footage viewed for first time". BBC News England. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  • The Silent Cinema Reader edited by Lee Grieveson and Peter Kramer
  • Movies of the 30s, edited by Jürgen Müller, Taschen
  • The Magic of Méliès, documentary by Jacques Mény, special collector's edition DVD, Spain