An account of the historical development of both movies and television series.

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98
votes
8answers
21k views

Why are films where the bad guy “wins” at the end so rare?

It seems that there is a rarity in films where the bad guy wins at the film's conclusion ("bad guys" being defined by the culture of the movie makers). By "win" I mean the good guy(s) have been ...
49
votes
4answers
8k views

Hollywood movies that no longer exist in any form

Has there been a case in which a widely famous Hollywood movie was lost and there is no longer a copy of it in existence (physically nor electronically)? Edit: let's define "famous" as - known enough ...
46
votes
5answers
7k views

What makes The Shawshank Redemption so cinematically important?

The Shawshank Redemption is ranked as the "Top Rated" movie according to IMDB's Top 250 List. What makes it so important and unique in the world of cinema? Does it have to do purely with ...
43
votes
7answers
2k views

When/Why did American television change from primarily episodic to primarily serialized?

My recollection of the prime-time television I watched growing up -- the 70s and 80s plus whatever were on at the time -- are almost invariably of episodic television. At the end of each episode, ...
33
votes
3answers
3k views

Why do old movies sound like old movies?

There seems to be a distinctive "old movie" sound. The accents (often British, or some weird American-British hybrid), the delivery of lines (if I talked to somebody the way these lines are delivered, ...
32
votes
5answers
3k views

What was the first crossover movie like The Avengers, using only movie franchises?

The Avengers is taking 4 separate movie franchises (Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America) and combining them all into one huge movie with all the main characters from each movie. Doing some ...
31
votes
2answers
14k views

Why did Michael Richards refuse to portray himself?

In the 1999 film "Man on the Moon" starring Jim Carrey as the infamous comic Andy Kaufman, the movie takes great pains to recreate specific points in Kaufman's life. In a somewhat unorthodox fashion, ...
30
votes
4answers
4k views

Why do some movies start with a big rotating circle and countdown?

Why do some movies start with a big rotating circle and countdown? Sometimes after 1, a woman is also shown as well. What is her purpose?
25
votes
2answers
7k views

Why would a movie that appears pornographic via it's rating (X) receive an Academy Award?

When looking at the IMDb page for Midnight Cowboy, it says that the movie is rated X but won 3 Oscars. I always assumed an X-rated movie is a pornographic movie. Does this mean that Oscars can also be ...
25
votes
8answers
15k views

What is the longest, single take, tracking shot in cinema/TV?

In episode four of True Detective, there was a 6-minute long, single take, tracking shot sequence. What is the longest, scripted, single take (no cuts) sequence in movies / television? I am not ...
21
votes
7answers
8k views

Era of profanity in movie scripts?

The quote "Frankly, my dear I don't give a damn" from Gone with the Wind was famous largely because of the early use of profanity in the script. In films from the 90s to the present, many movies are ...
21
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the sweariest movie ever?

I recently re-watched the Samuel L Jackson vehicle 51st State where he is also surrounded by some very sweary British actors (like Robert Carlyle). So I expected a lot of profanity. Obviously Jackson ...
20
votes
2answers
3k views

What's the record for highest number of biographies on a single person?

I recently realized that so far there have been 4 movies about Steve Jobs' life, however ridiculous that might be, it made me wonder if there was another person that has enjoyed the same amount of ...
18
votes
1answer
7k views

What is the world's first movie?

What is the world's first movie? I am curious.
16
votes
2answers
2k views

What technology did each Pixar movie introduce?

I recall reading years ago that each Pixar film included some new technology or capability to their internal rendering software that they they'd developed as part of making that film. Monsters Inc. ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Frame rates of early movies

If I am correct, films run at 24 fps. Early, we saw jerky and rapid movements of people. This was, I think, 16 fps. However, we have seen earlier films (like the first kiss) at 24 fps it seems. Also ...
15
votes
1answer
528 views

Who was McGuffin?

Most storytelling concepts that have names that sound like the name of a person can be traced to an actual person, real or fictitious. (Foley, Mary Sue, etc.) But I've never come across an ...
14
votes
3answers
6k views

What was the first full-length feature film shot completely with digital cameras?

Nowadays almost every movie is shot with digital cameras. I would like to know what was the first full-length feature film shot completely with digital technology instead of celluloid.
13
votes
3answers
529 views

What was the first case of a celebrity playing a fictionalized version of her/himself?

James Van Der Beek in Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 is one of the more recent examples of celebrities playing a fictionalized version of themselves To be clear, I'm not talking about a ...
13
votes
1answer
561 views

What was the first film to have a fight on top of a moving train?

The earliest I could locate was a Mexican film El Tren fantasma as described here. The General (1926) starring Buster Keaton was known for its action in a train, but I am unable to reliably establish ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Did George Lucas try to acquire the rights to 'The Lord Of The Rings' / 'The Hobbit'?

  [Source] This review of the movie Willow, which was produced by George Lucas, claims: George Lucas was desperately attempting to secure the rights to the Lord of the Rings series and its ...
13
votes
2answers
737 views

To which degree were Spaghetti Westerns influenced by Italian Neorealism?

After the chaos of WWII and the Mussolini-government the largely devastated Italian film industry developed the so-called Italian Neorealism, which distanced itself from the epic studio productions ...
12
votes
2answers
265 views

Was Dr. Strangelove originally intended to be serious?

The legendary Kubrick comedy Dr. Strangelove is based on the book Red Alert which is in no way comedic. At the time of release, not long after the Cuban Missile Crisis, apocalyptic pessimism was the ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

What was the first film shot completely with a subjective point of view?

What was the first full-length feature film shot completely with a subjective point of view, that is, with a subjective camera where shots simulates what a character actually sees (audience, ...
11
votes
1answer
970 views

When and why did the decline of Musicals in American Cinema happen?

It seems to me that musicals are much less common in the American Film Industry these days in comparison to the 30's, 40's, and 50's. Of course, I'm not saying that they never make musicals (e.g. ...
11
votes
1answer
257 views

Did John Wayne ever shoot first?

In a recent interview, George Lucas has stated the following: I said, ‘Yeah, he should be John Wayne.’ And when you’re John Wayne, you don’t shoot people [first] — you let them have the first ...
11
votes
1answer
386 views

What is the first movie to show slicing through a candle to show sword prowess

The nearest I can find is The Mark of Zorro. It shows the villain (played by the wonderful Basil Rathbone) slicing through a candle with rage and then the hero slicing through a candle but seemingly ...
10
votes
1answer
433 views

What is the most commercially successful Alan Smithee film?

As you can read on Wikipedia, Alan Smithee is an official Hollywood pseudonym which can be used by directors who wish to disown a film which they have lost creative control on. They maintain a list ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the source of Truffaut's famous anti-war movie quote?

Francois Truffaut famously said it is impossible to make an anti-war film. This is cited numerous times by Ebert, and there is even the trope "Truffaut was right". But what is the source for this ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Which film or TV-Show was the first to use a '555-' phone number?

[Image from Toy Story 3] Using a fictional '555-' phone number is not uncommon in American films and television shows. Which film or television show was the first to use a '555-' phone number?
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Annual revenue for film industry by year adjusted for inflation

Have a theory about my question about the reasoning behind the average length of feature length films, but that theory is based on finding the annual revenue for film industry by year adjusted for ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the first instance of a disaster movie coming true?

Think movies like Twister, Dante's Peak and Hard Rain as general examples, but feel free to expand on them. Avoid movies like The Day After Tomorrow because they're not as clear-cut and may lead to a ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

When was the first use of nudity on the silver screen?

With the exception of pornography (which I don't think makes it to the "silver screen"), which movie first made use of nudity? I realize that the term "nudity" is much different now than it was back ...
8
votes
1answer
502 views

What is the worst month to watch movies in United States?

First of all, this question is not about the influence of the critics in the media, it is about when (statistically) the good movies are released. While everyone has different types of tastes, "good" ...
8
votes
1answer
7k views

What is the first appearance of the F-bomb in a movie?

Having seen the incredible statistics on the frequency of the use of the word "fuck" in movies in this question: What is the sweariest movie ever?, I thought it might also be worth recording the first ...
8
votes
1answer
170 views

Was casting adults as teenagers more common in the past?

I've think I've noticed that decades ago, Hollywood seemed to be more okay casting actors in their 30s as teenagers. In Grease, for example, Stockard Channing was 34, Jamie Donnelly was 31, Michael ...
7
votes
2answers
578 views

What is the longest timespan depicted in a movie?

Most movies depict a few days to a week's worth of real-time. What movie depicts the longest amount of time?
7
votes
3answers
1k views

First appearance of a weapon with the power of a nuclear bomb?

Atomic Bomb Predicted Before It's Time Written literature that predated the atomic bomb made references to man creating a weapon that could set the sky on fire. H.G. Wells book The Time Machine ...
7
votes
2answers
994 views

How were zombies first depicted in film?

I would like to know in what ways and why the concept, appearance, and manner of the zombie has changed from its original conception (early 20th century) to today's?
6
votes
6answers
642 views

What is the shortest timespan depicted in a movie?

Based on this question, what feature-length movie* (about 80 minutes or longer) covers the smallest amount of time? I'm thinking along the lines of Run Lola Run which only covers about 20 minutes. ...
6
votes
2answers
383 views

The first human robot?

Can anyone find an example of the first robot that was human in appearance? The earliest I can think of is in the 1973 film Westworld. I'm looking for the first cinematic android that was created ...
6
votes
2answers
568 views

Highest number of collabrations between an actor and a director

I want to know, what is the record for the highest number associations/collaborations between an actor/actress and a director. Not encompassing porn films for movies or extras for actors.
6
votes
2answers
672 views

When did theaters first start showing matinees or giving matinee discounts?

I'm trying to figure out if matinees (and the subsequent matinee prices) have always been a part of movie history or if they were adopted later on. I know matinee was adopted by the English from the ...
5
votes
5answers
4k views

Unwritten rule that you never show a child getting seriously injured or killed?

I just discovered the anime Genocyber. The Wikipedia states that it breaks the unwritten rule that you never show a child getting seriously injured or killed. So I was wondering if this rule ...
5
votes
1answer
343 views

What is the earliest movie in which “it all turns out to have been a dream”?

What is the earliest movie in which the status of the events as reality is doubted or denied at (or toward) the end? I will limit the case to movies in which almost all of the movie events are ...
4
votes
1answer
233 views

What is the first mockumentary style show?

There are a lot of great mockumentary style comedy shows such as The Office, Parks and Recreation, Modern Family, etc. My question is who invented this style? Who was the first to make a show or a ...
4
votes
3answers
155 views

First movie remake of an original motion picture

What is the first movie remake of another original movie (wholly written for the screen, not based on a book or play)? This question is very close, but not a duplicate as The Squaw Man was originally ...
4
votes
3answers
532 views

Why do some movies originally shot on film have notably vivid reds and skin tones?

Many older movies seem to have vivid reds and particularly realistic or noticeable skin tones (they certainly seem to stand out from typical skin tones on TV or the majority of movies). This applies ...
4
votes
2answers
945 views

Why were the 90's considered cynical in the US when most Hollywood output I remember seemed optimistic?

I didn't grow up in the US so I don't have a perspective of this. But why were the 90's considered such a cynical time? I personally do NOT perceive it this way, but a few random reads led me to a ...
4
votes
0answers
201 views

Why do so many movies still use the Wilhelm scream?

Why do so many movies still use the Wilhelm scream? Is it sort of a running joke throughout cinema? It seems like you could find thousands of other audio files of screams. The Wilhelm scream is a ...