Movie Milestones

The following is a list from the book Uncle John's Bathroom Reader History's Lists.

The first movie camera was patented in the late 1800s, and motion pictures have been dazzling us ever since. Here are 14 firsts in filmmaking.

1. First Movie Shown to a Paying Audience: Young Griffo vs. Battling Charles Barnett (1895)
Fact: It lasted four minutes and was of a real boxing match filmed on the roof of Madison Square Garden.

(YouTube link)

2. First Striptease Caught on Film: Le Coucher de la Mariée (Bedtime for the Bride) (1896)
Fact: This French movie by Eugéne Pirou was also one of the first pornographic films ever made. [Ed. note: the two minutes that survive of the original seven-minute film are SFW.]

(YouTube link)

3. First Censored Movie: Fatima’s Coochie Coochie Dance (1896)
Fact: Fatima was a well-known belly dancer of the time whose gyrating hips were covered up with a white grid in this short film.

(YouTube link)

4. First Science-Fiction Film: Le Voyage Dans le Lune (A Trip to the Moon) (1902)
Fact: This 14-minute film was loosely based on two novels: From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne, and The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells.

(YouTube link)

5. First Feature-Length Film: The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906)
Fact: Made in Australia, this movie tells the story of the outlaw folk hero Ned Kelly, who was captured and hanged by Australian authorities in 1880. It was originally 70 minutes long, but only about 17 minutes still exist today. [Ed. note: skip to the 13 minute mark in the video to see Kelly being arrested in his homemade suit of armor.]

6. First Movie Reviewed by the New York Times: Pippa Passes (also called The Song of Conscience) (1909)
Fact: The film was based on Robert Browning’s 1841 poem of the same title.

7. First Film by an African American Director: The Homesteader (1919)
Fact: Oscar Micheaux wrote, directed, and produced this movie about a doomed interracial romance at a time when it was illegal in most states for blacks and whites to marry.

8. First 3-D Movie: The Power of Love (1922)
Fact: All copies of this movie have been lost to time.

(YouTube link)

9. First Movie to include a Swear Word: The Big Parade (1925)
Fact: It was a silent movie- the word “damn” appeared on a dialogue card.

(YouTube link)

10. First Feature-Length Talkie: The Jazz Singer (1927)
Fact: Originally, the film was going to only have synchronized singing, not talking. But star Al Jolson ad-libbed the line “Wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!” The director liked it and left it in. Good thing- it appears as #71 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest movie quotes.

11. First Commercially Successful Feature-Length Animated Film: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Fact: In the proposal for the film, writers suggested 50 names for the dwarfs. Some that weren’t used: Blabby, Gabby, Gloomy, Gaspy, Hoppy, Hotsy, Jaunty, Nifty, and Shifty.

12. First (and Only) X-rated Movie to Win the Best Picture Oscar: Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Fact: This movie also includes the first use of the word “scuzzy” on film. (Its rating was later changed to R.)

13. First Movie to Show an Actor on the Toilet: Catch 22 (1970)
Fact: Actors Martin Balsam and Anthony Perkins appear in the scene. In 1960, the first movie to include a shot of a toilet flushing was Psycho …which also starred Balsam and Perkins.

14. First Movie Directed by a Woman to Win the Best Picture Oscar: The Hurt Locker (2008)
Fact: To date, Kathryn Bigelow’s story of the Iraq War is the lowest-grossing Best Picture winner ever.


The article above was reprinted with permission from Uncle John's Bathroom Reader History's Lists. Since 1988, the Bathroom Reader Institute had published a series of popular books containing irresistible bits of trivia and obscure yet fascinating facts.

If you like Neatorama, you'll love the Bathroom Reader Institute's books - go ahead and check 'em out!

Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"Movie Milestones"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More