Help me make an Evolution of Movies collection.

Please help me to make what I think is a great movie collection. I want to make a collection that lists in chronological order the movies that made a mark in movie technology.

This is my list so far:
Metropolis (1927)
Steamboat Willie (1928) (first cartoon synchronised with sound)
King Kong (1933)
Flash Gordon (1936)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) (first full length animation)
Jason and the Argonauts (1963) (first stop motion?)
2001 (1968)
Star Wars (1977)
Tron (1982)
The Last Starfighter (Maybe)(1984)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Terminator 2 (1991)
Toy Story (1995)
Matrix (1999)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Maybe) (2000)
Final Fantasy (2001)

I hope that I don’t have to explain why these are on the list. They should speak for themselves. But if you think one of these doesn’t belong on the list then by all means, please tell me what is wrong with it. I can see dropping The Last Starfighter. I seem to remember it being the first to do “something” (don’t remember what) with cgi. But then there’s Tron. I started dreaming about this list a long time ago and Starfighter was on it from the beginning.

I know that I’m missing a whole lot, like Anime, Horror, Westerns, and Indies. And my movie knowledge isn’t what it could be. I am obviously missing some VERY important early classics. And naturally there are some MAJOR early works I don’t have access to. For example Thomas Edison’s sneezing movie. But I’ll keep a slot open for them. Maybe I can record them from TV one day.

So what movies should I add to my “Evolution of Movies” Collection and why do you think it should be on the list? Let me give you an example of what I am looking for. What was the first movie to use HUGE amounts of extras like in a crowd scene. This was a major step in movie making history. This is the kind of example I am looking for.

Here are some ideas for you to think about.
First movie with sound
First color movie
First animation (non-live action) movie that used SOME cgi. (Beauty & the Beast?)
First “Bad” movie that was supposed to be bad. Not really technology, but I might add it just for fun.

Let me just point out that Jason and the Argonauts is not the first stop motion. You’ve got an earlier example on the list - King Kong - and even that’s not the first example, I don’ think.

Other earlier examples, also from Willis O’Brien, include 1925’s The Lost World and the 1916 short film The Missing Link.

Jurassic Park should be on that list. That was a technological breakthrough in its time.

Oops. I can’t believe I totally forgot to include Jurassic Park in this post. Thanks ProjectOmega.

I will of course research every movie before it goes in my collection. If Jason isn’t the first stop motion then out it goes. Fibber, is that 1916 one The Dinosaur and the Missing Link (1915 according to IMDB)?

That’s the one. It’s available on DVD as part of the Origins of Film box set. That and The Movies Begin - A Treasury of Early Cinema are definately DVDs you should check out if you’re interested in starting a collection of landmarks in the history of cinema.

Blacksmith Scene (1893).* First U.S. film made for commercial distribution.

La sortie des ouvries de l’Usine Lumière (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory) (1894).* First film presented publicly on a screen.

Demolishing and Building Up the Star Theatre (1901). First U.S. use of time-lapse photography. Viewable at the Library of Congress’ “American Memory” site as “Star Theatre”.

Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906).* First cartoon film.

From the Manger to the Cross (1912).* Second U.S. feature film, and earliest extant.

Toll of the Sea (1922).* Earliest extant color feature. (Two-strip Technicolor)

The Jazz Singer (1927).* First feature with synchronized dialogue sequences.

Flowers and Trees (1932).* First cartoon made in full color. (Three-strip Technicolor)

Becky Sharp (1935).* First feature made in full color. (Three-strip Technicolor). Home video copies of this movie are terrible; wait to see the restored version on television instead.

Fantasia (1940).* One of the first feature films with multi-channel sound.

The Three Caballeros (1945).* First feature film in which live action was combined with animation throughout.

Forbidden Planet (1956).* First feature film with an all-electronic score.

By the way, the first cartoon talkie for theatrical release was Max Fleischer’s Come Take a Trip in My Airship (1924). The first all-talking cartoon was Paul Terry’s Dinner Time (1928), released two months before Disney’s Steamboat Willie (1928).

  • Available on home video.

These aren’t “firsts” of anything, but do represent what I consider essentials of the silent era:

Melies the Magician (1997), compilation of Georges Méliès fantasy films.
The Birth of a Nation (1915), directed by D.W. Griffith.
Intolerance (1916), directed by D.W. Griffith.
Broken Blossoms (1919), directed by D.W. Griffith.
The Kid (1920), with Charlie Chaplin.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), directed by Robert Wiene.
Nanook of the North (1922), directed by Robert Flaherty.
Nosferatu (1922), directed by F.W. Mureau.
Sherlock Jr. (1923), with Buster Keaton.
Greed (1924), directed by Erich von Stroheim.
He Who Gets Slapped (1924), directed by Victor Sjöström (Seastrom).
The Last Laugh (1924), directed by F.W. Murnau.
Battleship Potemkin (1925), directed by Sergei Eisenstein.
The Gold Rush (1925), with Charlie Chaplin.
Faust (1926), directed by F.W. Murnau.
Metropolis (1926), directed by Fritz Lang.
October (1927), directed by Sergei Eisenstein.
Sunrise (1927), directed by F.W. Murnau.
Napoleon (1927), directed by Abel Gance.
Berlin, Symphony of a Great City (1927), directed by Walter Ruttmann.
The Cameraman (1928), with Buster Keaton.
The Wind (1928), directed by Victor Seastrom.
The Circus (1928), with Charlie Chaplin.
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), directed by Carl Dreyer.
Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928), with Buster Keaton.
The Wedding March (1928), directed by Erich von Stroheim.
Pandora’s Box (1929), directed by G.W. Pabst.
Man With the Movie Camera (1929), directed by Dziga Vertov.
Earth (1930), directed by Dovzhenko.
City Lights (1931), with Charlie Chaplin.
Tabu (1931), directed by F.W. Murnau.

I have omitted titles that are not available on home video.

I think the difference between Walloon’s two posts raises an important point. Are you looking for films that represent mere technological breakthrough or films that contain artistic innovation?

Yeah man, what’s the point of building an “evolution of movies” collection anyway? Just because a movie represents an important step in the evolution of cinema doesn’t make it worth owning.

If you’re a film student/future film maker or a film scholar or admirer of film as an art form that’s one thing. If you’re just an average joe collecting movies then I gotta ask, who you trying to impress?

I’m not trying to impress anybody. I just want the collection. Is there anything wrong with that? I love movies and I would love to have a record of the progres. Do you know what strange things people collect? They don’t DO it for anybody but themselves.

Jabba, I was expecting this to come up. THIS collection is geared to technological innovation. I might make another collection
(when this is -mostly- complete) that contains the films that had artistic vision. So maybe I should call this the “Evolution of Movie Technology” collection.

A few more silent essentials that I overlooked:

The Lumière Brothers’ First Films, compilation.
Landmarks of Early Film, Vol. 1, compilation.
D.W. Griffith: Years of Discovery, 1909-1913, compilation.
Animation Legend: Winsor McCay, compilation.
Les Vampires (1914), directed by Louis Feuillade.
The General (1926), with Buster Keaton.
Un chien andalou (1929), directed by Luis Buñuel.

All available on home video.

Sorry Jabba, that second quote should start:
Originally posted by Jabba

Charlie Brown’s dog Snoppy would be shocked that Citizen Kane isn’t at the top of the list!

** Children’s Hour.

12 Angry Men.

Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge.

Pulp Fiction.

Kiss Me Deadly.

Maltese Falcon.

Gimme Shelter.


The Entire Fox Movietone Newsreel Series.

How Green Was My Valley.

Citizen Kane.


Little Children.

Bless The Beasts And Children.

Rosemary’s Baby.

Harold And Maude.

Being There.

American Beauty.

Wuthering Heights.

Tron. ( Early C.G. )


The Shining ( Shot 50 % Steadicam ).

Dark Journey.

Yellow Submarine.

The Point.

And, although it was just mentioned…

Un Chien Andalou.**

I think that’s a fair start. There are other films I own, even though I don’t consider them to be classic or landmark films.


The Matrix may have been the most popular example of a three dimentional still shot, but it wasn’t the first.
Enemy of the State, a 1998 movie with Will Smith and Geme Hackman, employed this technique. Was this one the first? I couldn’t tell you, but it was earlier than The Matrix.

Ah, you are concentrating on technological innovations. OK, some more recommendations.

The Big Trail (1930), earliest extant widescreen feature.
The Old Mill (1937), first use of Disney’s multi-plane camera. Available on Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies.
The Robe (1953), first anamorphic widescreen feature (i.e., using an anamorphic lens to squeeze a widescreen image onto a conventional width negative).
A Clockwork Orange (1971), first film recorded and mixed with Dolby sound.
Westworld (1974), first computer-generated imagery in a feature.
Lizstomania (1975), first film with a Dolby-encoded stereo soundtrack.
Star Wars (1977), first use of motion-control camera.
Luxo Jr. (1986), first film made entirely with computer-generated animation.

I have omitted films not available on home video.

Walloon, I salute your extensive knowledge. Where did you get your info? Is it all in your head or might there be a source you would like to share?

The Great Train Robbery (1903) is generally credited as being the first film to tell a story. Up until then, motion pictures only offered passing scenes, like a train arriving at a station or, as alluded to above, factory workers walking out of the factory. This twelve minute gem, filmed way out west in New Jersey, details the robbing of a train and its passengers by a gang of four, and the gang’s swift collision with justice. The final scene, a gunman drawing, cocking, and firing a pistol directly at the camera must have scared the bejeebers out of the audiences that saw it.

Oh, and Beauty and the Beast was not the first animated film to have some CGI elements. I don’t know if it was the first, but Disney’s previous year’s entry The Rescuers Down Under had some painfully bad CGI in a few spots and a pretty nifty opening sequence over a sea of grass.

Thanks, prisoner6655321. I’ve seen several thousand movies. Most of the movie trivia knowledge is in my head, although in my last post, the two items about Dolby sound came from The Guinness Book of Movie Facts & Feats by Patrick Robertson.

If you’ve used the Internet Movie Database, most of the several thousand U.S. movies in the period 1891-1901 are there because I put them there. Likewise most of the U.S. features in the period 1911-1920.

Although The Great Train Robbery (1903) has been called a lot of things, it’s not the first western, nor the first movie to tell a story. For example, Kit Carson (1903), released more than two months before The Great Train Robbery, is a western with a plot, and it runs several minutes longer. Likewise, Life of an American Fireman (1903), directed by Edwin S. Porter before he directed The Great Train Robbery is a narrative about a fire run, using editing, close-ups, etc. Or the previous year’s Jack and the Beanstalk (1902), which tells the story in nine scenes and ten minutes.