Interesting The Most Important "Firsts" In Film History  

Ann Casano
1.7k votes 313 voters 34.5k 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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Pixar has made so many great movies. Toy Story (1995) was the very first feature-length animated movie to be made entirely using CGI. The three films in the Toy Story franchise have grossed nearly $2 billion worldwide and a fourth installment is expected in 2018. Pixar's CGI set a very high bar for the animation boom that occurred in the two decades after Toy Story's release.

Actors: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Penn Jillette, Annie Potts, + more

Initial Release: 1995

Directed by: John Lasseter

Also Ranked

#2 on The Best Animated Films Ever

#19 on Animated Movies That Make You Cry the Most

#29 on The Most Rewatchable Movies

#95 on The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

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Jaws is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Important "Firsts" In Film History
Photo:  Universal Pictures
Steven Spielberg was only 27 years old when he directed Jaws (1975), and the film totally changed cinema forever. Jaws pretty much invented the concept of the summer blockbuster. During its initial run, the horror movie brought in $260 million, which may not seem like a lot of money for summer films today. However, when adjusted for inflation, Jaws has earned a total of $1,098,916,300. Before Jaws, films were traditionally released only in major markets, then slowly rolled out across the country. Jaws opened nationwide right away and distributors took notice of the massive box office success.

Actors: Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, John Searle, + more

Initial Release: 1975

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Also Ranked

#15 on The Best Movies Based on Books

#49 on The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time

#39 on The Most Rewatchable Movies

#59 on "Old" Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

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Lethal Weapon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Important "Firsts" In Film History
Photo: Warner Bros.
It barely resembles the tiny cell phones we're used to, but Danny Glover's character Roger Murtaugh has a cell phone in Lethal Weapon (1987). The two-pound cell known as "the brick" actually became quite popular in the 1980s. You may also remember Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) had one for all his on-the-go financial wheelings and dealings in Wall Street (1987).

Actors: Mel Gibson, Gary Busey, Danny Glover, Joan Severance, Darlene Love, + more

Initial Release: 1987

Directed by: Richard Donner

Also Ranked

#72 on The Most Rewatchable Movies

#19 on The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked

#60 on The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

#14 on The Greatest Movies for Guys

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The Blues Brothers is listed (or ranked) 4 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

Initial Release: 1980

Directed by: John Landis

Also Ranked

#58 on The Best Musical Movies of All Time

#33 on Musical Movies With the Best Songs

#97 on The Most Rewatchable Movies

#57 on The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked

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