The Dawn of Film (1878-1929)

by bjm-975-850236 | created - 29 Aug 2012 | updated - 3 weeks ago | Public

The motion pictures that molded the film industry.

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1. The Great Train Robbery (1903)

TV-G | 11 min | Short, Action, Western

A group of bandits stage a brazen train hold-up, only to find a determined posse hot on their heels.

Director: Edwin S. Porter | Stars: Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson, A.C. Abadie, George Barnes, Justus D. Barnes

Votes: 14,427

2. The Great Train Robbery (1904)

Short, Western

The first scene shows the chief as he explains to his followers the plan of the great train robbery. Two masked robbers enter and compel the operator to stop the approaching train. They ... See full summary »

Director: Siegmund Lubin | Star: Emily Lubin

Votes: 313

3. A Trip to the Moon (1914)

Animation, Short, Comedy

Two members of the Never-Drop Aero Club claim that they can reach the moon by the aeroplane. They get an astronomer to get his telescope out and see how the conditions are on the moon. He ... See full summary »

Director: Vincent Whitman

Votes: 158

4. Greed (1924)

Not Rated | 140 min | Drama, Thriller, Western

The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved.

Director: Erich von Stroheim | Stars: Gibson Gowland, Zasu Pitts, Jean Hersholt, Dale Fuller

Votes: 8,041 | Gross: $0.16M

5. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Not Rated | 67 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.

Director: Robert Wiene | Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover

Votes: 47,615

7. Lights of New York (1928)

Approved | 57 min | Crime, Drama

Two men are conned into bootlegging business.

Director: Bryan Foy | Stars: Helene Costello, Cullen Landis, Mary Carr, Wheeler Oakman

Votes: 638 | Gross: $1.20M

9. The Birth of a Nation (1915)

Not Rated | 195 min | Drama, History, War

The Stoneman family finds its friendship with the Camerons affected by the Civil War, both fighting in opposite armies. The development of the war in their lives plays through to Lincoln's assassination and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Henry B. Walthall, Miriam Cooper

Votes: 19,596 | Gross: $10.00M

10. Metropolis (1927)

Not Rated | 153 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

98 Metascore

In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge

Votes: 136,738 | Gross: $0.03M

11. Faust (1926)

Not Rated | 85 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

The demon Mephisto wagers with God that he can corrupt a mortal man's soul.

Director: F.W. Murnau | Stars: Gösta Ekman, Emil Jannings, Camilla Horn, Frida Richard

Votes: 12,160

12. Edison: The Invention of the Movies (2005 Video)

730 min | Documentary

A history of the Edison Company, the pioneering film production company begun by Thomas A. Edison. Included are more than 140 complete films produced by the company between 1891 and 1918, ... See full summary »

Stars: Thomas A. Edison, Steven Higgins, Paul Israel, Patrick Loughney

Votes: 45

13. Wings (1927)

PG-13 | 144 min | Drama, Romance, War

Two young men, one rich, one middle class, who are in love with the same woman, become fighter pilots in World War I.

Directors: William A. Wellman, Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast | Stars: Clara Bow, Charles 'Buddy' Rogers, Richard Arlen, Jobyna Ralston

Votes: 9,667 | Gross: $6.59M

14. The Kid (1921)

Not Rated | 68 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

The Tramp cares for an abandoned child, but events put that relationship in jeopardy.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Jackie Coogan, Carl Miller

Votes: 90,559 | Gross: $5.45M

15. The Gold Rush (1925)

Not Rated | 95 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

A prospector goes to the Klondike in search of gold and finds it and more.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Mack Swain, Tom Murray, Henry Bergman

Votes: 85,218 | Gross: $5.45M

16. Winsor McCay, the Famous Cartoonist of the N.Y. Herald and His Moving Comics (1911)

Not Rated | 7 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Cartoon figures announce, via comic strip balloons, that they will move - and move they do, in a wildly exaggerated style.

Directors: Winsor McCay, J. Stuart Blackton | Stars: Winsor McCay, John Bunny, Maurice Costello, George McManus

Votes: 1,337

18. Boulevard Anspach (1897)

1 min | Documentary, Short

Add a Plot

Directors: Alexandre, Alexandre Promio

Votes: 51

20. New York: Broadway at Union Square (1896)

Not Rated | 1 min | Short, Documentary

A stationary camera captures the hustle and bustle of Manhattan on Broadway at Union Square in Greenwich Village. As streetcars pass with rapid regularity, two police officers make sure ... See full summary »

Director: Alexandre Promio

Votes: 547

21. Accordion Player (1888)

1 min | Short

A very brief film of a man playing the accordion.

Director: Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince | Star: Adolphe Le Prince

Votes: 844

22. Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge (1888)

Documentary, Short

A shot of people walking on The Leeds Bridge.

Director: Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince

Votes: 2,355

23. Roundhay Garden Scene (1888)

Not Rated | 1 min | Documentary, Short

In the garden, a man asks his friends to do something silly for him to record on film.

Director: Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince | Stars: Annie Hartley, Adolphe Le Prince, Joseph Whitley, Sarah Whitley

Votes: 4,657

24. Man Walking Around the Corner (1887)

1 min | Documentary, Short

A frame sequence featuring a man walking around a corner.

Director: Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince

Votes: 813

25. The '?' Motorist (1906)

3 min | Fantasy, Short, Comedy

A British trick film in which a motorist ends up driving around the rings of Saturn.

Director: Walter R. Booth

Votes: 757

26. The Derby (I) (1896)

1 min | Documentary, Short, Sport

The Derby is an 1896 British short black-and-white silent documentary film, produced and directed by Birt Acres for exhibition on Robert W. Paul's Kinetoscopes, featuring the end of the 29 ... See full summary »

Director: Robert W. Paul

Votes: 251

27. Blackfriars Bridge (1896)

1 min | Documentary, Short

An actuality record of Blackfriars Bridge, London, taken from the southern end looking northwards over the Thames by R.W.Paul in July 1896. It was screened as part of his Alhambra Theatre ... See full summary »

Director: Robert W. Paul

Votes: 196

28. A Chess Dispute (1903)

Not Rated | 1 min | Short, Comedy

A stationary camera looks on as two dapper gents play a game of chess. One drinks and smokes, and when he looks away, his opponent moves two pieces. A fight ensues, first with the squirting... See full summary »

Director: Robert W. Paul | Star: Alfred Collins

Votes: 525

29. A Kiss in the Tunnel (I) (1899)

1 min | Short, Comedy, Romance

A humorous subject intended to be run as a part of a railroad scene during the period in which the train is passing through a tunnel.

Director: George Albert Smith | Stars: Laura Bayley, George Albert Smith

Votes: 1,060

30. As Seen Through a Telescope (1900)

1 min | Short, Comedy

An elderly gentleman in a silk hat sits on a stool in front of a store on the main street of town. He has a telescope that he focuses on the ankle of a young woman who is a short distance ... See full summary »

Director: George Albert Smith

Votes: 546

31. Grandma's Reading Glass (1900)

2 min | Short

A boy looks through glasses at various objects, seen magnified.

Director: George Albert Smith | Star: Harold Smith

Votes: 828

32. Mary Jane's Mishap (1903)

4 min | Short, Comedy

Smith casts his wife as a sluttish housewife who is mutilated by lighting her oven with paraffin.

Director: George Albert Smith | Star: Laura Bayley

Votes: 609

33. Alice in Wonderland (1903)

8 min | Fantasy, Short

Alice dozes in a garden, awakened by a dithering white rabbit in waistcoat with pocket watch. She follows him down a hole and finds herself in a hall of many doors. A key opens a small door... See full summary »

Directors: Cecil M. Hepworth, Percy Stow | Stars: May Clark, Cecil M. Hepworth, Blair, Geoffrey Faithfull

Votes: 2,060

34. Rescued by Rover (1905)

Not Rated | 7 min | Short, Drama, Family

A dog leads its master to his kidnapped baby.

Directors: Lewin Fitzhamon, Cecil M. Hepworth | Stars: Blair, May Clark, Barbara Hepworth, Cecil M. Hepworth

Votes: 862

36. The Basilisk (1914)

28 min | Short, Horror

A mesmerist, obsessed with putting a beautiful woman under his power, hypnotizes her to try to force her to kill her fiance. His plans are altered with the appearance of a deadly serpent.

Director: Cecil M. Hepworth | Stars: Tom Powers, Alma Taylor, William Felton, Chrissie White

37. La guerra ed il sogno di Momi (1917)

37 min | Animation, Short, Fantasy

An old man explains a war story to his grandson, who sleeps and dreams about a battle scenes performed by puppets.

Directors: Segundo de Chomón, Giovanni Pastrone | Stars: Guido Petrungaro, Alberto Nepoti, Valentina Frascaroli, Enrico Gemelli

Votes: 58

39. Metamorphoses (1912)

Short, Comedy

The most famous magician is outdone in this film, for, by the simple means of a wand and an empty glass, toys are transformed into animals, animals into flowers and flowers into a bevy of beautiful girls.

Director: Segundo de Chomón | Star: France Mathieu

Votes: 100

41. La roue (1923)

273 min | Drama

Sisif, a railwayman, and his son Elie fall in love with the beautiful Norma (who Sisif rescued from a train crash when a baby and raised as his daughter), with tragic results. Originally ... See full summary »

Director: Abel Gance | Stars: Séverin-Mars, Ivy Close, Gabriel de Gravone, Pierre Magnier

Votes: 1,494

42. J'accuse! (1919)

Not Rated | 166 min | Drama, Horror, War

The story of two men, one married, the other the lover of the other's wife, who meet in the trenches of the First World War, and how their tale becomes a microcosm for the horrors of war.

Director: Abel Gance | Stars: Romuald Joubé, Maxime Desjardins, Séverin-Mars, Angèle Guys

Votes: 1,156

43. The Dog and His Various Merits (1908)

Not Rated | 2 min | Short, Documentary

We see a working dog, a beggar's dog, a shepherd's dog, and a milkman's dog. The working dog is locked inside a large wire wheel; the dog runs inside the wheel, turning it to run a machine.... See full summary »

Votes: 370

44. À la conquête du pôle (1912)

Not Rated | 33 min | Short, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Scientists from all over the world are meeting to discuss the best way to reach the North Pole. Professor Maboul demonstrates for them the innovative equipment that he has designed for the ... See full summary »

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Georges Méliès, Fernande Albany

Votes: 662

45. A Photographic Contortion (1901)

1 min | Comedy, Short

A man, objecting to being filmed, comes closer and closer to the camera lens until his mouth is all we see. Then he opens wide and swallows camera and cinematographer. He steps back, chews, and grins.

Director: James Williamson | Star: Sam Dalton

Votes: 1,240

46. An Interesting Story (1904)

Not Rated | 4 min | Short, Comedy

The adventures of an inattentive man. He's at his kitchen table, reading. A woman brings his hat and points to the clock. He continues reading and pours coffee into his hat. He leaves, ... See full summary »

Director: James Williamson

Votes: 450

47. Fire! (1901)

5 min | Drama, Short