The Most Important "Firsts" In Film History  

Ann Casano
2.4k votes 400 voters 37.8k views 22 items

List Rules Vote up the coolest "firsts" in the history of film.

We can trace the history of filmmaking back to the 1890s. Motion pictures were initially considered a novelty, a peep show booth at a fair. Technology in film moved fast, and within 20 years, filmmakers figured out how to edit scenes together to make a comprehensible story and properly light a set. By 1926 motion pictures were already using sound. There are so many cool firsts in film history that are often overlooked.

This film firsts list is not just a technical account of the history of cinema. It's a combination of movie history firsts and cool firsts. When was the first time a cellphone was used? When was virtual reality first introduced on the silver screen? Movies have always been one step ahead of history, breaking down walls and tearing down stereotypes. The first cinematic interracial kiss came in 1957, 10 years before Loving v. Virginia legalized interracial marriage nationwide. Hollywood was sending characters to the moon in 1902, decades before NASA.

Tropes are also on this list of film firsts. What was the first film to use body-swapping as a plotline? You know, like when an uptight father doesn’t understand his son and the son doesn’t get why his dad is such a grump all the time, so they switch places in order to see what it’s like to live in the other person’s shoes. What about the nerdy girl makeover trope? A mousy gal with glasses, a bad haircut, and no sense of style suddenly becomes totally gorgeous with a few makeover tips and contact lenses.

Read about those Hollywood firsts in film and more. Also, make your voice heard. Be sure to vote up the coolest movie history firsts.
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The Blues Brothers is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Important "Firsts" In Film History
Photo: Universal Pictures
Saturday Night Live has produced a lot of sketches that turned into movies. Some are great (Wayne's World), some are not so great (MacGruber). The first sketch-turned-movie was 1980's The Blues Brothers, starring original SNL cast members Dan Akroyd and John Belushi as the Elwood Brothers, two men on a mission from God. There has been a total of 12 SNL-inspired movies, but it's hard to top the first. 

Actors: Carrie Fisher, Aretha Franklin, Steven Spielberg, Ray Charles, Dan Aykroyd, + more

Released: 1980

Directed by: John Landis

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Island in the Sun (1957), a film about race relations, featured the silver screen's first interracial kiss. Despite the controversy surrounding the movie, it was still a box office success. One of the film's stars, Joan Fontaine, said that she received hate mail for portraying a woman in a mixed-race relationship.

Actors: Joan Collins, Dorothy Dandridge, Joan Fontaine, Harry Belafonte, Stephen Boyd, + more

Released: 1957

Directed by: Robert Rossen

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Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 horror classic Psycho was the first time a toilet was shown being flushed in a movie. The scene occurred just before Marion (Janet Leigh) stepped into the shower. So this first was actually the last time that Marion Crane would ever use a toilet. Violently killing off the lead character halfway through the movie was also a pretty big deal as well.

Actors: Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Martin Balsam, + more

Released: 1960

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

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Alexander Sokurov's Russian Ark (2002) is a historical drama filmed at the Winter Palace of the Russian State Hermitage Museum using one uninterrupted 96-minute Steadicam shot. That means there are no edits, no cuts, and absolutely no room for error. If there were a mistake 95 minutes into the shot, the entire movie had to be filmed again.

Actors: Valery Gergiev, Alexander Sokurov, Sergei Dontsov, Vladimir Baranov, Leonid Mozgovoy, + more

Released: 2002

Directed by: Alexander Sokurov

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