Timeline of the History of Film


Joseph Plateau invents the phenakistoscope, an early animation tool used to create the illusion of a moving picture.


The oldest surviving motion picture, ROUNDHAY GARDEN SCENE, is made using an early motion picture camera.


The “Silent Picture Era” kicks off the profitable film industry and makes a star out of slapstick comedic actor Charlie Chaplin.


The first feature-length “talkie” (talking picture), THE JAZZ SINGER, hits theaters.


Feature length colour films like BECKY SHARP start to make theatrical appearances, but aren’t very popular due to them being expensive and time consuming for filmmakers.


Early use of stop motion is used in the feature movie KING KONG.


Walt Disney releases his first feature length cartoon, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS. Every image in that film was drawn hand-by-hand, one by one, on animation cells.


Orson Welles directs and stars in the critically acclaimed “best movie of all time”, CITIZEN KANE.


As black and white home television sets become more popular, theaters begin to struggle with ticket sales. Filmmakers are forced to do more movies in colour to compete!


All major Hollywood studios begin to exclusively shoot their films on colour. Films like THE SOUND OF MUSIC, MY FAIR LADY, and MARY POPPINS are the most financially successful films of the decade.


Marc Paul Chinoy directs the first feature length clay animated stop motion film, I GO POGO. It appeared on a few American channels, but was never commercially released in theaters or on VHS.


Stop motion makes it way to music videos, appearing in the Talking Heads’ “Road to Nowhere” and Peter Gabriel’s famous music video “Sledgehammer”.


Short films like Nick Park’s WALLACE AND GROMIT and Tim Burton’s famous THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS take feature length stop motion to new heights.


James Cameron’s AVATAR becomes the highest grossing film of all time. Cameron used a number of new visual techniques and technology exclusive to the film to create the stunning visual effects. It also helped to kick off the 3D trend, but other new films have yet to match its quality and financial success.