100 years of film


All information from filmsite.org.



The year of 1918 marked the end of World War I, introducing the Tarzan we all know and love, and seeing color in a movie for the first time.  Many of the films of this time were influenced by the political climate as the war was coming to an end. Propaganda fled from the front page to the big screen. The government used this form of entertainment to their advantage, as they made subliminal messages promoting the support of the war, according to npr.org.



1928 was the year that would change the animation business forever. Mickey Mouse made his first big appearance. The iconic mouse was spotted in his first short animated film, “Plane Crazy”, that was debuted on May 15. Later in the year, Disney released “Steamboat Willie” and “Galloping Gaucho”, which were the first popularized animated cartoons with synchronized sound.


“Sound revolutionized the film industry,” senior Matt Montagne said. “It gave movies more depth, drawing the reader in.”



1938 was the year of change for the American film industry. This was the first time ever that a group of movie stars organized a committee, the Motion Picture Democratic Committee, to support a political party. The racial division was also noted when African-American leaders publicly called on the Hays Office to make roles other than doormen, maids and porters available to people of color.



In 1948, the first colored newsreel was released, which is a short film of news and current affairs, by Warner Bros. Its subject was the Tournament of the Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl. Many movies of the time had a significant impact on society, such as Olivia de Havilland’s role in the ‘The Snake Pit’. This graphically depicted the treatment of the mentally-ill. While many disagreed with the patient’s cure, to become a wife and mother, it did propel the movement to improve conditions in some U.S. mental health institutions.



In 1968, famous actress Lana Turner’s boyfriend was fatally stabbed with a butcher knife by Turner’s 14 year-old daughter, Cheryl Crane, during an incident of abuse in their Beverly Hills home. Turner made a dramatic testimony and nearly fainted on the stand. This incident  actually jump-started Turner’s career with her most successful film ever, “Imitation of Life”. While scandals arose in Hollywood, drive-in theaters reached their peak at nearly 5000 around the country, displaying the iconic genres of the time, horror and syfy.



The modern day rating system was established in 1968 by Jack Valenti. This gave many directors more artistic freedom due to the abolishment of the Hays code, that enforced strict censorship laws. A lot of the iconic science fiction films that many know and love were premiered on the big screen, such as “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “Night of the Living Dead”, and “Planet of the Apes”. Each of these movies made humongous strides in the syfy industry, redefining the genre.  




The classic everyone knows and loves, “Grease”, was released in 1978. This continued the explosion of rock-music hit films like “School of Rock” and “Almost Famous” by having a worldwide gross of over 394 million dollars. Due to the political climate involving the Vietnam War, vietnam era film began to appear at the end of the 70s. One of the notable Vietnam based motion pictures was Michael Cimino’s “The Deer Hunter”. This film, yet controversial, won 13 awards including the Academy Award for Best Picture. Meryl Streep received her first Oscar nomination for her supporting role in “The Deer Hunter”.



Many well known films were released such as, “Rain Man”, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, “Akira”, “Die Hard” and “Working Girl”. This was also a big year for female directors. Penny Marshall has been dubbed the first female director of a Hollywood blockbuster, after she directed the well-known comedy “Big” that grossed over $100 million.




Some of the legendary films that many have grew up watching made their big debut in 1998. Movies such as “Bug’s Life”, “Mulan”, “The Wedding Singer”, “Antz” and “The Parent Trap” were just a few of the famed films of this time. The highest grossing domestic motion picture of the year was “Saving Private Ryan” at $216.5 million. Not only was this Steven Spielberg’s last movie of the 20th century, it earned him his second Best Director Oscar.



“High School Musical 3: Senior Year” bop bop bopped its way to the top by breaking the U.S. record for the highest-scoring musical opening, earning over $42 million. The much anticipated film “The Dark Knight” made history by shattering the box office record, making it the biggest three-day opening weekend of all time with 158.4 million dollars. Sadly, just six months before the premiere of the film “The Dark Knight” , Heath Ledger, who played the Joker, died due to an overdose.  




2018 has made vast strides in providing a more diverse and fair film industry. Movements like the #MeToo Movement have made various steps to create a safer environment in Hollywood by exposing the sexual predators behind the screen. The industry has also accomplished huge milestones by making productions such as “The Lion King” and “Black-ish”, that features a crew of almost all people of color.


“Early film set the standard for how movies can look,” Montagne said. “I showed how a story can come in different forms.”