The First Movies Ever Made
Film Criticism

The First Movies Ever Made? A Must-Read For Film Enthusiasts

You are a movie-enthusiast and have watched hundreds of movies in your life! Staring at the screen, you admired how the alluring acting, the props, the storylines all harmoniously create these beautiful masterpieces.

And, above all, you gazed at those technical-sophisticated effects and realized how much they contributed to such a realistic watching experience.

“How could all these start”- your inner voice spoke up, filled you with curiosity and wonder. Let me guide you in an adventure to unravel the past and to take a peek at the first movies ever made!

In the late 1800s, many people experimented with photos and cameras with the aim of creating motion pictures.

The earliest form of motion pictures is known as chronophotography, and as times goes by, this process became more and more sophisticated, hence the invention of film-making as we know today.

Of course, some of the very first movies are built upon this theory. Today, I will introduce you to the three most popular ones!

“The Horse In Motion”(1878)

The Horse In Motion

This movie, taken by Eadweard Muybridge – photographer, is technically a chain of pictures featuring a rider on a galloping horse. Sponsored by a landlord, the project’s original purpose was to answer the ongoing question then: Can all four feet of a running horse off the ground at the same time?

Arranging the photoshoot with a row of cameras along a 27- inch part to feature the track of the horses, Eadweard Muybridge managed to prove that their feet were sometimes off the ground while running in twenty-four pictures taken during the movement.

These photos became phenomenal at that time, thus known as the earliest presentation of a motion picture.

“Roundhay Garden Scene” (1888)

Roundhay Garden Scene

Not only regarded as one of the earliest movies, “Roundhay Garden Scene” is also the shortest with a duration of 2.11 seconds. This silent film, directed by Louis Le Prince, depicts a conversation between his family members on a leisure walk in their front garden.

An interesting fact about “Roundhay Garden Scene” is, after the filming, its director, Le Prince, mysteriously disappeared before revealing his invention to the public. His son was killed two years after testifying his father’s invention.

Despite the tragic ending of Louis’s family, “Roundhay Garden Scene” was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest surviving film in existence.

“Arrival Of A Train”(1895)

“Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat” or “Arrival of a Train” signified the Auguste and Louis Lumière brothers’ reputation, two of the pioneers in the history of cinematography.

This is a silent 50-second movie recorded in 1895. The movie illustrated a steam locomotive entering a train station in the coastal town of La Ciotat, France. For this daily life scene, “Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat” was considered the first documentary ever.

However, it was not until 1896 that the film was displayed in front of the audience. The film was projected in a coffee shop, where people paid money to enter the room and watch.

And this was how cinemas were born. The images of the movie were as large as the real one, surprising the audience with its realistic feeling of a “train” approaching them from the screen. Realistic to the point that some even yelled and stormed to the back of the room.

On February 2nd, 2020, the modern restoration version of the film was public on Youtube and went viral with over 1.1 million views and counting in less than a week. The 21st century’s “Arrival of a Train” was displayed in 4K and at 60 frames per second, as sharp as the current video.

The First Movies Ever Made – Interesting Facts

From experimenting to publishing these first movies, the film-making industry quickly spread to other parts of the world, giving birth to different genres of film and the development of film-making from then on. For example:

In 1900, the first full feature movie was published, named ” In the Army”.

Cinemas in the early days went with music only. Actors/ actresses did not have to speak any words. The image was just black and white and not sharp.

The first color film introduced in 1918 was “Cupid Angling”. However, the technique of hand-coloring had been around for roughly 15 years at that time.

After “Cupid Angling“, color movies were still unpopular until the arrival of “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone With The Wind”.

It was not until 1927, with the release of “The Jazz Singer”, that audiences could hear any sound in movies .

A very long time afterward, the world witnessed the development of computer science and as a result, digital film was born. The first digital movie was an Italian one named “Julia and Julia”, introduced in 1987.

The Bottom Line

“What are the first movies ever made?” is an intriguing but quite complex question. The three aforementioned films provided a precondition for the appearance and blooming of the filmmaking.

Hopefully, knowing this vintage news could widen your knowledge and deepen your passion for the cinema industry. Thanks for your time!

I’m Manuel Veach, the author at in movie reviews and movie news section. I mainly focus on old film footage synthesizing and evaluating them so their values don't fade away. Then maybe I will make a separate section for modern cinema.

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