motion pictures

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motion pictures

motion pictures, movie-making as an art and an industry, including its production techniques, its creative artists, and the distribution and exhibition of its products (see also motion picture photography; Motion Picture Cameras under camera).


Experiments in photographing movement had been made in both the United States and Europe during the latter half of the 19th cent. with, at first, no exploitation of its technical and commercial possibilities. Serial photographs of racehorses, intended to prove that all four hooves do leave the ground simultaneously, were obtained (c.1867) in California by Eadweard Muybridge and J. D. Isaacs by setting up a row of cameras with shutters tripped by wires. The first motion pictures made with a single camera were by E. J. Marey, a French physician, in the 1880s, in the course of his study of motion.

In 1889 Thomas Edison and his staff developed the kinetograph, a camera using rolls of coated celluloid film, and the Kinetoscope, a device for peep-show viewing using photographs that flipped in sequence. Marketed in 1893, the Kinetoscope gained popularity in penny arcades, and experimentation turned to ways in which moving images might be shown to more than one person at a time. In France the Lumière brothers created the first projection device, the Cinématographe (1895). In the United States, similar machines, notably the Pantopticon and the Vitascope, were developed and first used in New York City in 1896.

At first the screenings formed part of vaudeville shows and arcades, but in 1902 a Los Angeles shop that showed only moving pictures had great success; soon “movie houses” (converted shoprooms) sprang up all over the country. The first movie theater, complete with luxurious accessories and a piano, was built in Pittsburgh in 1905. A nickel was charged for admission, and the theater was called the nickelodeon. An industry developed to produce new material and the medium's potential for expressive ends began to assert itself.

The earliest films were used primarily to chronicle contemporary attitudes, fashions, and events, and ran no longer than 10 minutes. At first, simple actions were filmed, then everyday scenes and, pivotally, gag films, in which a practical joke is staged as a simple tableau. The camera was first used in a fixed position, though soon it was pivoted, or panned, on its tripod or moved toward or away from a subject.

The medium's potential as a storytelling mechanism was realized very early in its history. The Frenchman George Méliès created the earliest special effects and built elaborate sets specifically to tell stories of a fantastic nature, usually as a series of tableaux. His Cinderella (1900) and A Trip to the Moon (1902) were major innovative accomplishments. The American Edwin S. Porter demonstrated that action need not be staged for cinema screen as for theater and early realized that scenes photographed in widely separate locales could be cut, or edited, together yet still not be confusing to the audience. His subject matter tended toward depictions of modern life; his Life of an American Fireman (1902) and The Great Train Robbery (1903) are among the first works to use editing as well as acting and stagecraft to tell their stories.

As business increased, the demand for product was met by many new companies incorporated to create the supply. Cooperation among the early filmmakers yielded to the demands of the marketplace, and each company tried to secure continued success through innovations meant to distinguish its product. Out of these efforts developed the star system, the establishment of physical plants (studios) where the films would be made, and the organization of the filmmaking process into interlocking crafts. The crafts people include actors, producers, cinematographers, writers, editors, and film laboratory technicians who work interdependently in a production effort overseen and coordinated by the director.

American Film

The Early Years

The first American studios were centered in the New York City area. Edison had claimed the patents for many of the technical elements involved in filmmaking and, in 1909, formed the Motion Picture Patents Company, an attempt at monopoly that worked to keep unlicensed companies out of production and distribution. To put distance between themselves and the Patents Company's sometimes violent tactics, many independents moved their operations to a suburb of Los Angeles; the location's proximity to Mexico allowed these producers to flee possible legal injunctions. After 1913 Hollywood, Calif., became the American movie capital. At first, films were sold outright to exhibitors; later they were distributed on a rental basis through film exchanges.

Early on, actors were not known by name, but in 1910, the “star system” came into being via promotion of Vitagraph Co. actress Florence Lawrence, first known as The Vitagraph Girl. Other companies, noting that this approach improved business, responded by attaching names to popular faces and “fan magazines” quickly followed, providing plentiful, and free, publicity. Films had slowly been edging past the 20 minute mark, but the drive to feature-length works began with the Italian “spectacle” film, of which Quo Vadis (1913), running nine reels or about two hours, was the most influential.

Directors of the day, including D. W. Griffith, Thomas Ince, Maurice Tourneur, J. Stuart Blackton, and Mack Sennett, became known to audiences as purveyors of certain kinds, or “genres,” of subject matter. The first generation of star actors included Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Marie Dressler, Lillian Gish, William S. Hart, Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Claudette Colbert, Rudolph Valentino, Janet Gaynor, Ronald Colman, Clara Bow, Gloria Swanson, Lon Chaney, and Will Rogers. During World War I the United States became dominant in the industry and the moving picture expanded into the realm of education and propaganda.

The Hollywood Studio Era

In the post–World War I period the production genius of such men as Samuel Goldwyn, Louis B. Mayer, Adolph Zukor, and Jesse L. Lasky, and the innovative talents of Cecil B. De Mille, Erich Von Stroheim, and Ernst Lubitsch were dominant. The year 1926 brought experiments in sound effects and music, and in 1927 spoken dialogue was successfully introduced in The Jazz Singer with Al Jolson. A year later the first all-talking picture, Lights of New York, was shown. With the talkies new directors achieved prominence—King Vidor, Joseph Von Sternberg, Rouben Mamoulian, Frank Capra, and John Ford. Sound films gave a tremendous boost to the careers of some silent actors but destroyed many whose voices were not suited to recording. Among the most celebrated stars of the new era were Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, W. C. Fields, and the Marx Brothers.

Also in 1927 The Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences was formed and began an annual awards ceremony. The prize, a figurine of a man grasping a star, was later dubbed Oscar. These awards did much to confer status upon the medium in that they asserted a definable quality of excellence analogous to literature and theater, other media in which awards are given for excellence. The Academy Awards also offered the bonus of gathering many stars in one place and thus attracted immediate and widespread attention. The star system blossomed: actors were recruited from the stage as well as trained in the Hollywood studios.

From the 1930s until the early 1950s, the studios sponsored a host of talented actors, foremost among whom were Ingrid Bergman, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Charles Laughton, Barbara Stanwyck, William Powell, Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart, Leslie Howard, Gary Cooper, James Stewart, Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edward G. Robinson, Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, James Cagney, Judy Garland, Bob Hope, James Mason, Fred Astaire, and Gene Kelly. Producers and directors such as David O. Selznick, Darryl F. Zanuck, Mervyn LeRoy, William Wyler, George Stevens, and Billy Wilder made significant contributions to cinematic art.

The medium had, after nickelodeon days, converted many legitimate theaters into movie houses. Later, during Hollywood's “golden age,” thousands of sumptuous movie palaces were erected all over the United States, and drive-in movie theaters became popular outside urban centers. Since their inception the movies have always been termed an industry, with good reason. In 1938 there were more than 80 million single admissions per week (65% of the population). To meet the huge box-office demand, more than 500 films were produced that year.

The industry in its heyday (1930–49) was managed by a number of omnipotent studios, including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Warner Brothers, RKO, Paramount, Twentieth Century-Fox, and Universal. They produced endless cycles of films in imitation of a few successful original types. The range of themes included the criminal underworld, behind-the-scenes newspaper dramas, westerns, musicals, costume romances, character series such as the Charlie Chan films, prison stories, mysteries, comedies, and Broadway shows. Because of their enormous investments and gargantuan rewards (the film industry's gross income for 1946, its best year, was nearly $2 billion), the studios were encouraged to repeat conventionalized formula pictures.

The Post-Studio Era

In the 1950s, two developments ended the studios' grip on the entertainment business: the overwhelming popularity of television began to eat into studio profits and the studios were forced by the federal courts to yield the control of distribution and exhibition that they had maintained by means of massive conglomerate corporations. In 1962 box-office receipts were only $900 million; by 1968 only 20 million people per week were going to a movie (10% of the population). Independent distributors and theaters took a huge cut of the industry's income after World War II, and the studios cut wages and laid off employees in a struggle to survive.

In order to compete with television the studio heads strongly urged technological innovation. In the 1950s experiments abounded with wide-screen processes, such as CinemaScope and Cinerama and stereophonic sound systems. The movies of the 1950s and 60s traded a bit of glamour for an increased sense of realism, providing vehicles for new directors, including Elia Kazan, John Frankenheimer, Stanley Kubrick, and Sidney Lumet, and for a great number of popular film stars, including Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Judy Holliday, James Dean, Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlton Heston, Doris Day, George C. Scott, Audrey Hepburn, and Sidney Poitier.

Eventually, c.1956 many studios began to produce material especially for television, including commercials, and to sell their old films for television reruns. Independent production became the norm, with the studios acting as distributors only, and new kinds of films emerged: horror, science fiction, and rock 'n' roll stories aimed at teen-agers proliferated. Concurrently, larger studio-backed films eschewed romanticism and sentimentality, fighting the long-imposed bans on depictions of a harsher reality and a more explicit sexuality.

The trend away from the glamorous celebrity image that began in the 1960s gained momentum in the 70s. The principal stars of these years include Jane Fonda, Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman, Steve McQueen, and Woody Allen. Important American directors of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s include Peter Bogdanovich, Roman Polanski, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Altman, and Martin Scorsese.

A change came with the release of Jaws (1975), an unassuming suspense picture that unexpectedly grossed over $100 million by appealing to all ages and both sexes. Filmmakers were now encouraged to speak to the widest possible audience. The result was a series of films given over to spectacle. Star Wars (1977) cracked the $200 million barrier, and E.T. (1982) earned over $300 million. While many of these films aroused criticism for representing the triumph of special effects over any kind of human values, the net effect was to draw the audience back into movie theaters, and many movies, including those without spectacular elements, succeeded during this period. This trend has continued into the 21st cent. The leading directors are Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, the latter more active as a producer.

Two developments that greatly enhanced profitability in the 1980s were the development of low-cost videocassette recorders (VCRs), which allow films to be shown at home, and the government's relaxation of the decrees separating production from distribution. The studios first felt that videocassettes would weaken the theatrical market; the reverse was true, as viewers became more interested in movie entertainment in general. Of the latter, studio co-ownership of various theater circuits assured wider distribution of films. In time, DVDs (see digital versatile disc) replaced VCRs as the preferred media for viewing films.

Beginning in the 1960s, many of the old movie palaces began to be divided into two or more auditoriums due to weakening attendance. When audiences returned in the 1980s, multiplexes, or theaters with multiple auditoriums, became the norm and mushroomed in suburban shopping malls and urban centers. In the early 1990s, however, the recession was reflected in movie attendance. By the turn of the decade, two major studios, MGM and Orion, suffered financial difficulties, and two others, Columbia and Universal, were bought by Japanese electronics companies, although Universal later became part of a French conglomerate.

One of the few positive motion-picture trends during the late 20th and early 21st cent. was the development and proliferation of IMAX. The format, which debuted in Japan in 1970, utilizes special film and projectors, features a gigantic screen and huge sound system, and has been used to take viewers on ultrarealistic trips to earthly (e.g., Everest, 1998) and outer-space (e.g., Destiny in Space, 1994) destinations. The province of museums for roughly two decades, the system was later extended to theaters and a number of films were reformatted to fit IMAX screens. By 2002, 180 IMAX films had been made, some in 3-D, and 225 large-screen IMAX theaters were in operation, 110 of them in the United States.

The development of high-definition digital and its associated production techniques altered the motion-picture industry in many ways in the early 21st cent. At the same time, cable and satellite television began to deliver channels that were largely devoted to films, and the subsequent development of streaming channels or services, available either through a cable or satellite service provider or through an independent service that often used the Internet connection offered by such a service provider, offered films and television programs that could be watched when the viewer wanted, supplanting DVDs as a means of accessing a library of films. These services benefited from the wide range of content produced in digital form, but they also began to compete with theaters (and traditional television channels) for new films (and programs) and an audience in a manner reminiscent of television's impact on motion-picture theaters decades before.


After several scandals led to the fear that the immorality perceived to be rampant in Hollywood might appear on screen, the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, headed by Will H. Hays, was established in 1922 as a film review board. The Production Code, popularly known as the “Hays Code,” a highly restrictive set of guidelines for movie content, was promulgated in 1934 and complied with by virtually every Hollywood producer. In the late 1960s, the determination of what constituted pornography was turned over to the states for enforcement at the same time that filmmakers were attempting to break away from the Production Code's bans on sexuality and violence.

In 1966, the Production Code was abandoned completely and succeeded by the Motion Picture Code and Rating Program. Adopted to avoid a threatened state-controlled system, the program has characterized itself as providing guidance for parents, not for filmmakers. The program initially assigned each film one of four ratings: G (general audiences, without restrictions), M (mature audiences, parental guidance advised), R (restricted audiences, no one younger than 18 admitted without a parent or guardian), and X (no one younger than 18 admitted). The age limit may be adjusted by individual state rulings. M was eventually supplanted by PG (parental guidance suggested), PG-13, was introduced for films that might contain material inappropriate for pre-teenagers, and NC-17 replaced X, which had become associated with pornographic films.


See G. Battcock, The New American Cinema (1967); K. Brownlow, The Parade's Gone By (1968); R. Manvell, New Cinema in the USA (1968); R. Adler, A Year in the Dark (1970); D. Shipman, The Great Movie Stars: The Golden Years (1970); P. Trent, The Image Makers: Sixty Years of Hollywood Glamour (1972); P. Gilliatt, Unholy Fools (1973); C. Higham, The Art of the American Film, 1900–1971 (1973); P. Kael, I Lost It at the Movies (1965), Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (1968), Going Steady (1970), Deeper into Movies (1974), and For Keeps (1994); E. Mordden, The Hollywood Musical (1981) and The Hollywood Studios (1988); J. Harvey, Romantic Comedy in Hollywood (1987), Movie Love in the Fifties (2001), and Watching Them Be (2014); A. Brower and T. L. Wright, Working in Hollywood (1990); R. Barrios, A Song in the Dark (1995); K. M. Cameron, America on Film (1997); W. K. Everson, American Silent Film (1998); J. Basinger, Silent Stars (1999); T. Doherty, Pre-Code Hollywood (1999); M. A. Vieira, Sin in Soft Focus (1999); D. Bardwell and K. Thompson, Minding Movies (2011); S. Griffin, ed., What Dreams Were Made Of (2011); D. Thomson, The Big Screen (2012).

British Film

Britain has produced some of the most illustrious talents in the history of film. Early efforts (c.1929) by the producer J. Arthur Rank to achieve a world market for British films were realized with the work of such postwar directors as Alfred Hitchcock, Carol Reed, David Lean, and the Hungarian-born Alexander Korda. Their films were literate and often suspenseful and brought international fame to such actors as Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, John Mills, Paul Scofield, Merle Oberon, and Michael Redgrave. Alec Guinness, Peter Ustinov, Peter Sellers, and Terry Thomas created comedies that are sophisticated and singularly British in their sense of humor.

Major British directors of the 1960s include the American-born Joseph Losey, Tony Richardson, Sidney Furie, and John Schlesinger. Among the great number of notable British actors of recent years are Dirk Bogarde, Peter Finch, Michael Caine, Vanessa Redgrave, Stanley Baker, Glenda Jackson, Richard Burton, Julie Christie, Peter O'Toole, Maggie Smith, Alan Bates, John Gielgud, Claire Bloom, Albert Finney, Kenneth More, Michael York, Tom Courtenay, and Robert Shaw.

After a long dry spell in the 1970s, the British film industry returned to life with the formation of several new production companies such as Enigma, Working Title, Handmade Films, and Palace. A new television outlet, Channel 4, also produced many movies for theatrical release. Directors whose careers were stalled by the doldrums of the previous period now produced mature works: Stephen Frears (My Beautiful Laundrette), Mike Leigh (High Hopes, Life Is Sweet), and Mike Newell (Dance with a Stranger, The Good Father) among them. A new crop of actors came to the public's attention, including Gary Oldman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Natasha Richardson, Rupert Everett, Helen Mirren, Ben Kingsley, Jeremy Irons, Bob Hoskins, Kenneth Branagh, and Emma Thompson.


See R. Low, The History of the British Film (4 vol., 1973); C. Barr, ed., All Our Yesterdays (1990); J. Caughie and K. Rocket, ed., The Companion to British and Irish Cinema (1996).; S. Street, British National Cinema (1997); A. Aldgate and J. Richards, Best of British (new ed. 1999).

French Film

In the 1920s there was enormous creative film activity in France led by Louis Delluc and a group of directors around him—Abel Gance, Jean Epstein, and Germaine Dulac. Along with such directors as René Clair, Jean Renoir, and Carl Dreyer, they created films with an impressionistic and literary flavor. Later French films reflected first the optimism and then the despair of international events, as in Renoir's Grand Illusion (1937) and Marcel Carné's Port of Shadows (1938). In the postwar era H.-G. Clouzot, René Clément, and Robert Bresson directed important films.

In the late 1950s the New Wave of young directors, including Alain Resnais, Louis Malle, François Truffaut, and Jean-Luc Godard, made innovations in cinematography and dramatic approach. Their efforts achieved a new cinematic intimacy and a relaxed mood. French film stars who attained international acclaim during this period include Jean Gabin, Arletty, Gérard Philipe, Brigitte Bardot, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve, Yves Montand, Simone Signoret, and Jean-Louis Trintignant. Among the foremost directors of this period were Claude Chabrol, Eric Rohmer, and the Greek-born Costa-Gavras.

From the 1970s to the 1990s, the filmmakers of the New Wave became curiously like the directors they had sought to replace, working on literary adaptations and stories of the occupation. A new group emerged, much more amorphous, concerned with reflecting their vision of present-day France. Among these more recent directors are Jean-Jacques Beneix (Diva, Betty Blue), Luc Besson (Subway, La Femme Nikita), and Leos Carax (Boy Meets Girl, Bad Blood).

The stars introduced by these films are notable for affectlessness: Beatrice Dalle, Christopher Lambert, Thierry Lhermitte, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Tcheky Karyo, and Anne Parrilaud, though some have found more range in subsequent works. The most successful star of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s has been Gérard Depardieu, who can make as many of five films in a year and is often credited for keeping the French cinema viable on the world market despite strong competition from the American film industry.


See R. Armes, The French Cinema since 1946 (2 vol., rev. ed. 1970) and French Cinema (1985); G. Sadoul, French Film (1953, repr. 1972); E. Ehrlich, Cinema of Paradox (1985); C. Crisp, The Classic French Cinema, 1930–1960 (1993) J. D. Andrew, Mists of Regret (1995); G. Vincendeau, ed., The Companion to French Cinema (1996).

German Film

The great era of German cinema began in 1919 with Robert Wiene's Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It was written by Carl Mayer, who was among the most influential artists working in the German film industry in the 1920s. The films of this era were expressionist in style, paralleling developments in the other arts. Other notable directors, such as G. W. Pabst, F. W. Murnau, Max Ophuls, and Fritz Lang, brought the medium to new heights of imaginative production. A decline set in c.1925 when Hollywood attracted many German directors, technicians, and actors to the United States.

The advent of Hitler drove any remaining top talent abroad, and the industry did not recover its position after the war. Beginning in the early 1970s a group of young filmmakers revitalized the industry, attaining a world audience for their films: Wim Wenders (Kings of the Road and Wings of Desire), Werner Herzog (Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo) and R. W. Fassbinder (over 40 films, including The Marriage of Maria Braun and Querelle) led the renaissance.


See R. Manvell and H. Fraenkel, The German Cinema (1971); H. H. Wollenberg, Fifty Years of German Film (1948, repr. 1972); T. Elsaesser, New German Cinema (1989); T. Ginsberg, ed., Perspectives on German Film (1996); S. Allan and J. Sandford, ed., Defa: East German Cinema, 1946–1992 (1999); T. Elsaesser and M. Wedel, ed., The BFI Companion to German Cinema (1999).

Italian Film

The films of Roberto Rossellini in the 1940s gave new impetus to the Italian cinema. Thereafter followed a cycle of exciting, compassionate, grimly realistic films from such directors as Vittorio De Sica, Luigi Zampa, Giuseppe de Santis, and Luchino Visconti. These films, usually concerned with social themes, were successful in Italy only after they had won a foreign market. In the 1950s, in order to win box-office appeal, a tendency to produce marketable and sensational movies diminished the reputation of Italian filmmakers.

Quality and international acclaim were restored by Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Bernardo Bertolucci. Italian film stars who have won popularity abroad include Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni, Giulietta Masina, Monica Vitti, Raf Vallone, and Anna Magnani. The Italian industry suffered periodic crises from the 1970s to the 1990s, but produced new films by various masters and introduced an intriguing series of comic-centered films inspired by cartoons and clowning. Cinema Paradiso (1989) became the most successful Italian film released in the United States until Roberto Benigni's Oscar-winning Life is Beautiful (La Vita e Bella, 1997), a bittersweet comedy about the Holocaust in Italy.


See V. Jarratt, The Italian Cinema (1951, repr. 1972); P. Leprohon, The Italian Cinema (tr. 1972); P. Bondanella, Italian Cinema (1993); J. Hay et al., The Companion to Italian Cinema (1996).

Japanese Film

Since World War II, films produced in the East have had an increasingly appreciative Western audience. Akira Kurosawa's films, including Rashomon, Seven Samurai, and Yojimbo, are enormously popular action stories, in effect Japanese “westerns.” Kurosawa's many productions, Kenju Mizoguchi's Ugetsu, and such delicately wrought works as Tokyo Story and The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice by Yasujiro Ozu brought worldwide acclaim to their directors and to Toshiro Mifune, who starred in many of Kurosawa's films. Japanese film became somewhat less culturally hermetic in later years, with directors such as Shohei Imamura (Vengeance Is Mine) and Juzo Itami (Tampopo) introducing a mixture of Japanese and Western influences into their work.


See D. Richie, The Japanese Movie: An Illustrated History (1982) and Japanese Cinema: An Introduction (1990); S. Galbraith, The Japanese Filmography (1996).

Russian Film

Dziga Vertov launched a weekly newsreel in 1922 urging new experiments in film technique, and Lev Kuleshov opened a cinema workshop to explore the psychological effects of film images. The result was the emergence of the Soviet epic films of the period 1925 to 1930. Encouraged by Lenin's belief that the film was of primary importance in the development of Soviet society, V. I. Pudovkin, Aleksandr Dovzhenko, and especially Sergei Eisenstein made films based on Russian history. Their superbly photographed, intensely dramatic films are classics of cinematic art.

The Soviet film industry was prolific but aesthetics were usurped by ideological heavy-handedness. Various thaws, however, produced intriguing works, including those by Sergei Paradjanov (The Color of Pomegranites) and Andrei Tarkovsky (Andrei Rublev). The breakdown of the Communist system has left the industry (now scattered among several newly independent nations) in an uncertain state.


See S. M. Eisenstein, Film Form and Film Sense (tr. 1949, repr. separately 1969) and Notes of a Film Director (rev. ed. tr. 1970); J. Leyda, Kino: A History of the Russian and Soviet Film (1960, repr. 1983); T. J. Slater, ed., Handbook of Soviet and East European Films and Filmmakers (1992).

Swedish Film

Victor Sjöström and Mauritz Stiller were the two men most responsible for the first flowering of Swedish films (c.1917–c.1924); Sjöström's Phantom Chariot (1920) was especially notable. When the Swedish film attained success and a world market, Hollywood and the German studios stepped in and hired the best technicians and artists, effectively destroying the industry. After World War II, Gösta Werner, Arne Sucksdorf, and Alf Sjöberg (especially his Torment, 1947) gained international repute. Film in Sweden was brought to unprecedented heights in the visionary works of Ingmar Bergman, a giant of modern cinema. He retired from filmmaking in 1983. Other modern Swedish directors of note include Bo Widerberg and Mai Zetterling. In 1987, Lasse Hallstrom's My Life as a Dog became the most successful Swedish film released abroad.


See J. Donner, The Personal Vision of Ingmar Bergman (1964); P. Cowie, Swedish Cinema (1966); A. Kwiatowski, Swedish Film Classics (1983); P. O. Qvist and P. Von Bagh, Guide to the Cinema of Sweden and Finland (1999).

Nontheatrical Film

Special types of films include the documentary, the newsreel, and the animated cartoon. The documentary, broadly defined, includes the newsreel, the travelogue, the educational film, and all other fact or nonfiction films, as well as some sorts of advertising. The term also includes artistic, interpretive films of the type that developed out of the work of Robert Flaherty (1920s and 30s) and Pare Lorentz (1930s) in the United States and John Grierson (1930s and 40s) in England. The documentary proved its value in the schoolroom and in training programs during World War II and has been widely used as a medium for propaganda since its inception. Documentary films on a vast range of subjects and exploiting every imaginable film technique are a primary staple of television entertainment.

The newsreel, introduced by Charles Pathé, was a series of short, generally unrelated films of current events, shown primarily as adjuncts to feature-film programs. The scope of the newsreel was broadened by the historical concept of the March of Time series (begun 1934); the newsreel was superseded by television news coverage in the early 1950s.

The animated cartoon is traditionally defined as a series of static drawings or scenes arranged and photographed and then synchronized with sound. In France in 1905, Émile Cohl produced several films with animated puppets, and in 1907, he made the first films to use animated drawings. American pioneers include Winsor McCay, who made Gertie the Dinosaur (1909); Bud Fisher, who began his “Mutt and Jeff” cartoons c.1918; Pat Sullivan, who produced “Felix the Cat” cartoons (1924); Chuck Jones, who in collaboration with Isador (Friz) Freleng, Tex Avery, and others, oversaw and animated (1930s–1960s) the Loony Tunes and Merry Melodies series (Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, et al.) at Warner Brothers (Jones also created (1949) the Road Runner series and later worked with on Dr. Seuss film cartoons; Freleng subsequently created the Pink Panther); and, of course, the celebrated Walt Disney.

Beginning with the Disney studios' Tron (1982), animation has become increasingly computer generated, largely due to the work of two California-based animation studiosa—DreamWorks and Pixar. Their early computer-made feature films include Pixar's Toy Story movies (1995, 1999) and A Bug's Life (1998) and DreamWorks' Antz (1998). By 2000, traditional cartoons were in decline and most U.S. film animation (with the exception of nearly all the features produced by Disney) was digital, seemingly three-dimensional, and computer-generated. In DreamWorks' Shrek (2001) and Shrek 2 (2004) and Pixar's Monsters, Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo (2003), and The Incredibles (2004), computer animation reached new heights of technological sophistication and complexity. Their seemingly real characters, voiced by actors but otherwise completely electronic in origin, interact in an apparently organic environment.

The Polar Express (2004) combined live action and animation, digitizing and transforming the body and face movements of actors into the actions of computerized characters that inhabit a three-dimensional, computer-generated world. The boundaries of traditional animation continued to expand as animation and live action were increasingly merged and the technology employed to combine the two became increasingly sophisticated. These advances are evident, for example, in the processed live action of Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly (2006) and in the motion-capture techniques used to change human dancers into dancing penguins in George Miller's Happy Feet (2006). Pixar's robot love story, WALL-E (2008, Academy Award), is told mainly in compelling digital images.

Although animation has been generally treated as a children's medium, some animators, such as Ralph Bakshi, have aimed their works at adults, and the Disney organization, after several moribund years, began a series of features aimed equally at kids and at their parents, such as The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), and The Lion King (1994), which have proved to be extremely successful at the box office. Another notable talent is Don Bluth, who produced An American Tail and The Land before Time, combining old-fashioned full-animation with up-to-date wit.

Late 20th-century Japanese animation, much of it computer-generated, has been extremely influential. By the early 21st cent. some 60 percent of Japanese films and many television programs were in the style known as anime (äˈnēmā) [Jap.,=animation], which usually represents a fusion of Japanese pictorial tradition, particularly wood-block prints, with characters and stories in the American idiom. The style began in the 1950s with the work of Osamu Tezuka, creator of the Astro Boy comic book (1951) and television series (1963). Characterized by somewhat jerky movements and big-headed characters (as in the well-known Pokémon series), these films do not stress realism, but attempt to capture expressive gesture and mood. Anime films range from Disney-style adventures to surrealist fantasies, and many mix genres. Particularly impressive is the work of Hayao Miyazaki, e.g., the complex and brooding Princess Mononoke (1997) and the later Spirited Away (2001). Other outstanding anime films include Katusuhiro Otomo's Akira (1988), Mamoru Oshii's Ghost in the Shell (1996), Satoshi Kon's Perfect Blue (1997), and Rintaro's Fritz Lang–inspired Metropolis (2000).


See K. C. Lahue, World of Laughter: The Motion Picture Comedy Short, 1910–1930 (1966); R. L. Snyder, Pare Lorentz and the Documentary Film (1968); A. Rosenthal, The New Documentary in Action (1971); J. Lenburg, The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons (1991); M. Barrier, Hollywood Cartoons (1999); S. J. Napier, Anime from “Akira” to “Princess Monoke” (2000); K. Paik, To Infinity and Beyond! The Story of Pixar Animation Studios (2007); D. A. Price, The Pixar Touch (2008); R. Mitenbuler, Wild Minds (2020).

General Bibliography

See K. Macgowan, Behind the Screen (1965); A. Bazin, What Is Cinema? (1967); B. Crowther, The Great Films (1967); D. Shipman, The Great Movie Stars (2 vol., 1970–72); D. Robinson, The History of World Cinema (1973); J. D. Andrew, The Major Film Theories (1976) and Concepts in Film Theory (1984); K. Brownlow, Hollywood, the Pioneers (1979); D. Cook, A History of Narrative Film (1981); G. Mast, A Short History of the Movies (1986); B. F. Kawin, How Movies Work (1987); I. Konigsberg, The Complete Film Dictionary (2d ed. 1997); D. Thomson; A Biographical Dictionary of Film (rev. ed. 2004) and The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood (2004).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Motion Pictures


Soviet film-making, born of the socialist age, has become a key element in the multinational culture of the Soviet Union. Its history has been closely linked with the life of the Soviet people, reflecting the diversity of the phenomena and processes of the development of Soviet society. A major contributor to the treasury of world culture, Soviet film-making is the most progressive in the world owing to its social role, communist ideology, humanism, and artistic qualities.

The first motion pictures to be shown in St. Petersburg and Moscow were presented not long after the invention of the Cinématographe (1895), and they soon became popular spectator events in many other Russian cities as well. In 1896–97 the professional photographer A. K. Fedetskii of Kharkov and a number of amateur photographers, such as V. A. Sashin in Moscow, made several documentary films. Beginning in 1903, permanent “electric theaters,” also called “illusions,” appeared, where the first films were shown. Along with the French film companies Pathé and Gaumont, a number of Russian entrepreneurs, including A. O. Drankov and, especially, A. A. Khanzhonkov, were actively involved in the development of motion pictures. In 1906, Khanzhonkov opened a commercial office for the sale of foreign films and equipment; in 1912 he built the largest film workshop of its time in Moscow. Beginning in 1907, local amateur film-makers made newsreels in Tbilisi, Yerevan, Baku, and numerous Ukrainian cities. Feature films were first made in 1916.

The first professional film made in Russia was the feature film Sten’ka Razin and the Princess (1908, directed by V. F. Romashkov). The first full-length film was The Defense of Sevastopol’ (1911, directed by V. M. Goncharov and A. A. Khanzhonkov). V. A. Starevich, a director and cameraman, developed a trick photography technique that he used to make the world’s first three-dimensional animated cartoon (1911–13). The leading prerevolutionary film directors were E. G. Bauer, V. R. Gardin, Ia. A. Protazanov, and P. I. Chardynin, and the leading cameramen were A. A. Levitskii, E. I. Slavinskii, and L. P. Forest’e. They made numerous films, chiefly screen adaptations of literary works, some of which, for example, The Queen of Spades (1916) and Father Sergii (1918), had considerable artistic merit. However, most of the films were melodramas and primitive farces, although motion pictures with pseudopatriotic themes were officially encouraged.

The victory of the October Revolution of 1917 marked the beginning of the development of multinational Soviet film-making. The motion picture, a powerful tool for the political and cultural instruction of the people, immediately received the full support of the Soviet state. V. I. Lenin, who highly valued motion pictures as potentially one of the most effective forms of agitation and means of dissemination of knowledge, noted that “the motion picture is the most important of all the arts for us” (see the collection “Samoe vazhnoe iz vsekh iskusstv,” 1963, p. 124). One of the state’s first tasks was the creative and technical reorganization of the film-making industry. Only a few, half-ruined film studios remained from prerevolutionary times, as well as less than 1,000 motion-picture theaters and a small number of old films.

The first Soviet state film organization, the Film Subdepartment of the People’s Commissariat of Education, was established in 1917. In 1918 motion-picture committees were set up in Moscow and Petrograd. A decree of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR, dated Aug. 27, 1919, and signed by Lenin, transferred the administration of the photography and motion-picture industry and trade to the People’s Commissariat of Education. The work of the nationalized motion-picture studios, film-rental offices, and motion-picture theaters was administered by the All-Russian Photography and Motion-picture Department, which was reorganized in 1923 into Goskino (State Motion-picture Administration), which in 1926 became Sovkino. Similar state organizations were also formed in the other republics in the period 1920–23, including the All-Ukrainian Photography and Motion-picture Department in the Ukraine, the Azerbaijani and Motion-picture Administration in Azerbaijan, the Armenian Goskino in Armenia, and Goskinoprom Gruzii in Georgia. In 1924, Belgoskino was organized in Byelorussia and Bukhkino in Uzbekistan; owing to a lack of equipment, the former shot its first films in Leningrad. The Communist Party carefully guided the development of Soviet film-making, reflected in the decisions of the Twelfth and Thirteenth congresses of the ACP(B) and the proceedings of the 1928 all-Union party conference on cinematography. A number of party and state figures, such as N. K. Krupskaia and A. V. Lunacharskii, devoted considerable attention to various aspects of film-making, helping creative workers to interpret revolutionary reality and to place their skills and experience at the service of the people.

During the Civil War of 1918–20, agitation trains and ships visited Red Army units, workers, and peasants. Lectures, reports, and political meetings were accompanied by newsreels about events at the various fronts and about the early stages of peaceful construction. The documentary film group led by D. Vertov, including I. I. Beliakov, M. A. Kaufman, I. N. Kopalin, and E. I. Svilova, blazed the trail from the conventional newsreel to the “image-centered publicistic film,” which became the basis of the Soviet film documentary. Typical of the 1920’s were the topical news serial Kinopravda (Film Truth) and the documentaries Forward, Soviet! (1926) and the film One-sixth of the World (1926) by D. Vertov, whose experiments and achievements in documentary films greatly influenced the development of Soviet and world cinematography.

Other important films of the 1920’s were E. I. Shub’s innovative historical-revolutionary films The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty (1927) and The Russia of Nicholas II and Leo Tolstoy (1928), based on archival materials, and V. A. Turin’s film-poem Turksib (1929). The film Hydropeat (1920, directed by Iu. A. Zheliabuzhskii), which received Lenin’s approval, marked the beginning of production-training and popular science films. Feature-length agitation films produced in Moscow, Petrograd, Kiev, and Odessa in the period 1918–21 were very important in the formative period of the film-making industry. They included Congestion (1918, script written by A. V. Lunacharskii, directed by A. P. Panteleev), For the Red Banner (1919, directed by V. P. Kas’ianov), and On the Red Front (1920, directed by L. V. Kuleshov), as well as A. P. Panteleev’s antireligious film The Miracle Worker (1922), which was highly regarded by Lenin.

Film-making also developed during the 1920’s in Georgia, Armenia, Uzbekistan, and Byelorussia. At first, many motion pictures were screen versions of literary works devoted to the struggle against the vestiges of the past and to the building of a new way of life, such as Arsen Dzhordzhiashvili (1921, directed by I. N. Perestiani), Namus (1925; based on A. M. Shirvanzade’s work, directed by A. I. Bek-Nazarov), and The Forest Story (1927; based on a story by M. Charot, directed by Iu. V. Tarich). The revolutionary adventure film The Red Imps (1923; based on P. A. Bliakhin’s work, directed by I. N. Perestiani), set in Georgia, proved to be a notable film-making event.

The world’s first state film-making school, the First State School of Cinematography, was established in Moscow in 1919 to train creative workers (renamed the State Technicum of Cinematography in 1925). It was headed by V. R. Gardin, who with his students made the film Hammer and Sickle (1921), the first full-length feature film on a revolutionary theme. L. V. Kuleshov, a director and one of the first Soviet film theorists, made major contributions to the development of the new motion-picture industry. With students from his workshop, Kuleshov made the films The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks (1924) and By the Law (1926), among others, which made use of new production techniques and continued the search for new montage and acting techniques.

The innovativeness of Soviet film-making was most fully and strongly manifested in the work of the director S. M. Eisenstein. In his historical-revolutionary film Battleship Potemkin (1925), the armed uprising of the sailors was transformed into a generalized image of the Russian Revolution of 1905–07. Eisenstein embodied the idea of the people’s invincibility in a monumentally moving, historically accurate, and integrally artistic form. Battleship Potemkin was outstanding for its innovative montage, the metaphorical quality of its film language, and the classical harmony of its composition. It won world acclaim, and in a survey taken at the 1958 Brussels World Fair, it was named first among the 12 best motion pictures of all time. Eisenstein developed, the principles of the heroic revolutionary epic in the film October (also known as Ten Days That Shook the World; 1927). His films Strike (1925) and Old and New (1929) were characterized by bold innovation.

In 1926 the innovative director V. I. Pudovkin adapted M. Gorky’s novella Mother to the screen, one of the best examples of world film-making, attesting to the great achievements of Soviet film-making in terms of acting and visual impact. Pudovkin continued developing the theme of revolutionary history in the films The End of St. Petersburg (1927) and Descended From Genghis Khan (1929; shown abroad as Storm Over Asia). Other noteworthy silent films were The New Babylon (1929) by G. M. Kozintsev and L. Z. Trauberg and various films dealing with contemporary life, such as S. I. Iutkevich’s Lace (1928), B. V. Barnet’s The House on the Trubnaia (1928), E. V. Cherviakov’s Girl From the Distant River (1928), F. M. Ermler’s Fragment of the Empire (1929), Iu. Ia. Raizman’s The Earth Athirst (1930), and A. M. Room’s The Ghost That Will Not Return (1930). The films of Ia. A. Protazanov, a director of the older generation, were devoted to the revolutionary struggle and the shaping of the new way of life, including His Call (1925), The Forty-first (1927; based on B. A. Lavrenev’s work), and Don Diego and Pelageia (1928). The formative period of the Soviet school of film-making is inseparably linked with the creative work of the first Soviet screenwriters (N. F. Agadzhanova, O. M. Brik, K. N. Vinogradskaia, G. E. Grebner, D. Dzhabarly, S. A. Ermolinskii, N. A. Zarkhi, B. L. Leonidov, O. L. Leonidov, V. V. Mayakovsky, V. K. Turkin, and V. B. Shklovskii), cameramen (A. D. Golovnia, A. N. Moskvin, and E. K. Tisse), and actors (N. P. Batalov, O. A. Zhizneva, I. V. Il’inskii, E. A. Kuz’mina, V. P. Maretskaia, F. M. Nikitin, N. K. Simonov, V. P. Fogel’, I. P. Chuvelev, and M. M. Shtraukh).

A. P. Dovzhenko, one of the greatest Ukrainian directors, made the historical-revolutionary film epic Zvenigora (1928), the film Arsenal (1929), and the poetic film drama Earth (1930), which depicts the struggle for a new socialist countryside. The camerman D. P. Demutskii refined his skills in Dovzhenko’s films. Ukrainian actors, such as I. E. Zamychkovskii (Two Days, 1927; directed by G. M. Stabovoi) and A. M. Buchma (Night Coachman, 1929; directed by G. N. Tasin), worked in the studios of Kiev and Odessa. A. I. Bek-Nazarov, who had begun working in Russian prerevolutionary motion pictures, played an active role as an organizer and director of Georgian, Azerbaijani, and Armenian films (in 1956 the Armenfil’m Studio was named after him). One of the pioneers of Georgian cinematography was the actor and director I. N. Perestiani. The Georgian directors N. M. Shengelaia and M. E. Chiaureli combined innovative film-making techniques with the picturesque, highly emotional heritage of the national art. Shengelaia made the historical drama Eliso (1928), while Chiaureli made the drama Saba (1929) and the film short Khabarda (Out of the Way!, 1931).

The production of animated films was begun in 1923. Among the first directors and artists of animated films were V. S. Brumberg, Z. S. Brumberg, A. I. Bushkin, A. V. Ivanov, I. P. Ivanov-Vano, Iu. A. Merkulov, N. P. Khodataev, and M. M. Tsekhanovskii.

In the 1920’s the production base of the Soviet film-making industry was strengthened considerably. The largest film studios in the country were rebuilt: Mosfil’m (established 1924; under the present name since 1935) and Lenfil’m (founded 1918; under the present name since 1935). The Kiev Studio of the All-Ukrainian Photography and Motion-picture Department (known as the A. P. Dovzhenko Kiev Film Studio since 1957) was established in 1928, followed by Tadzhikkino in Dushanbe in 1930 and others. Along with the construction of large film studios, enterprises for the production of camera equipment, chemicals, and the like were also built. By the early 1930’s, Soviet film-making was a multinational, original art form. More than 1,000 silent feature films and more than 100 animated films were made. The motion-picture network served about 300 million people annually.

The introduction of sound in motion pictures necessitated the radical technical reorganization of film-making and led to major changes in artistic practices. In 1926–27 the laboratory headed by P. G. Tager in Moscow and A. F. Shorin’s laboratory in Leningrad developed the Soviet system of sound motion pictures. The first motion-picture theater showing experimental sound films opened in Leningrad in 1929. The Institute of Sound Film Engineers was founded in Leningrad in 1930 to train workers. That same year, the State Technicum of Cinematography became the State Institute of Cinematography, which in 1938 became the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography. A number of specialized film studios were established, including Soiuzkinokhronika (1931; renamed the Central Studio of Documentary films in 1944), Mostekhfil’m (Moscow Studio of Technical Films; 1933; renamed Tsentrnauchfil’m [Central Studio of Popular Science and Educational Films] in 1966), Soiuzmul’tfil’m (All-Union Animated Films; 1936), and Soiuzdetfil’m (All-Union Children’s Films; 1936; renamed M. Gorky Central Studio for Children’s and Young People’s Films in 1948).

In 1932 the Central Committee of the ACP(B) adopted the resolution On the Reorganization of Literary and Artistic Organizations, which proved to be crucial for the development of the Soviet motion-picture industry as well. The mastery of the method of socialist realism became the fighting program of film-makers. The creative maturity of the Soviet feature film was revealed most fully in the outstanding film Chapaev (1934), directed by G. N. Vasil’ev and S. D. Vasil’ev. In D. A. Furmanov’s novel, the directors found a rich source for a heroic film drama, which revealed the beauty and strength of the Russian revolutionaries in classically perfect form and which showed the role of the people in the history-making process and in the formation of a military revolutionary leader (B. A. Babochkin played the title role). The theme of revolutionary history was developed fully in the best motion pictures of the 1930’s and early 1940’s, such as Golden Mountains (1931, directed by S. I. Iutkevich), lakov Sverdlov (1940, directed by S. I. Iutkevich), The Outskirts (1933, directed by B. V. Barnet), 1st Platoon (1933, directed by V. V. Korsh-Sablin), The Last Masquerade (1934, directed by M. E. Chiaureli), and the trilogy about Maksim comprising The Youth of Maksim (1935), The Return of Maksim (1937), and The Vyborg Side (1939), directed by G. M. Kozintsev and L. Z. Trauberg, with B. P. Chirkov in the role of Maksim. Revolutionary history was also the subject of the films We Are From Kronstadt (1936, directed by E. L. Dzigan), Baltic Deputy (1937, directed by A. G. Zarkhi and I. E. Kheifits), The Last Night (1937, directed by Iu. Ia. Raizman), Zangezur (1936, directed by A. I. Bek-Nazarov), Shchors (1935, directed by A. P. Dovzhenko), and The Horseman (1939, directed by I. A. Savchenko). Experience in the production of films about the history of the revolutionary movement laid the groundwork for films about Lenin, which were especially important with respect to ideological and artistic influence: Lenin in October (1937) and Lenin in 1918 (1939), directed by M. I. Romm, with B. V. Shchukin as Lenin, and The Man With a Gun (1938), directed by S. I. Iutkevich, with M. M. Shtraukh as Lenin. The directors of these films brought out the monumental, intensely human aspects of Lenin, the leader of the Revolution.

The life of the country, the heroic workers, and the everyday life and personalities of the builders of socialism were depicted in films of various genres. The shaping of the new man was a dominant theme of many motion pictures of the 1930’s, such as A Start in Life (1931, directed by N. V. Ekk; the first Soviet sound film), Counterplan (1932, directed by F. M. Ermler and S. I. Iutkevich), Ivan (1932, directed by A. P. Dovzhenko), The Courageous Seven (1936, directed by S. A. Gerasimov), Komsomol’sk (1938, directed by S. A. Gerasimov), The Teacher (1939, directed by S. A. Gerasimov), A Great Citizen (1938–39, directed by F. M. Ermler), Member of the Government (1940, directed by A. G. Zarkhi and I. E. Kheifits), A Great Life (part 1, 1940, directed by L. D. Lukov), and Valerii Chkalov (1941, directed by M. K. Kalatozov). The life affirming comedies of G. V. Aleksandrov, Jolly Fellows (1934), Volga-Volga (1938), and The Blazing Path (1940), reflected new traits in the psychology of the Soviet person, the enthusiasm for work, and intolerance of vestiges of the past, as did B. V. Barnet’s By the Deep Blue Sea (1936), A. I. Medvedkin’s The Wonder-worker (1937), I. A. Pyr’ev’s The Rich Bride (1938), The Tractor Drivers (1939), and The Swine Girl and the Shepherd (1941), K. K. Iudin’s A Girl With Personality (1939), V. V. Korsh-Sablin’s My Love (1940), and A. V. Ivanovskii’s Musical Story (1940) and Anton Ivanovich Is Angry (1941).

A number of films of the prewar years depicted the heroic part of the Soviet people and their struggle against foreign invaders: Peter the First (1937–39, directed by V. M. Petrov), Alexander Nevsky (1938, directed by S. M. Eisenstein), Minin and Pozharskii (1939, directed by V. I. Pudovkin), Suvorov (1941, directed by V. I. Pudovkin), Amangel’dy (1939, directed by M. Z. Levin), and Bogdan Khmel’nitskii (1941, directed by I. A. Savchenko). The antifascist films Professor Mamlock (1938; based on F. Wolffs work, directed by G. M. Rappaport and A. I. Minkin), Marsh Soldiers (1938, directed by A. V. Macheret), and The Oppenheim Family (based on L. Feuchtwanger’s work, directed by G. L. Roshal’) had broad political impact.

Literary classics offered great potential for the development of sound motion pictures. Among the films based on literary works were Judas Golovlev (1934; based on M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin’s work, directed by A. V. Ivanovskii), The Thunderstorm (1934; based on A. N. Ostrovskii’s work, directed by V. M. Petrov), Dumpling (1934; based on G. de Maupassant’s work, directed by M. I. Romm), Pepo (1935; based on G. M. Sundukian’s work, directed by A. I. Bek-Nazarov), The Poor Bride (or The Girl Without a Dowry, 1937; based on A. N. Ostrovskii’s work, directed by Ia. A. Protazanov), and M. S. Donskoi’s trilogy comprising The Childhood of Gorky (1938), In the World (1939), and My Universities (1940). Other such films were The Bear (1938; based on Chekhov’s work, directed by I. M. Annenskii), Man in a Shell (1939; based on Chekhov’s work, directed by I. M. Annenskii), and Masquerade (1941; based on M. Iu. Lermontov’s work, directed by S. A. Gerasimov).

The advances made in the children’s cinema were reflected most fully in the films Torn Shoes (1933, directed by M. A. Barskaia), Lonely White Sail (1937; based on V. P. Kataev’s work, directed by V. G. Legoshin), The Ballad of the Cossack Golota (1937; based on A. P. Gaidar’s work, directed by I. A. Savchenko), and Timur and His Team (1940; based on A. P. Gaidar’s work, directed by A. E. Razumnyi) and in the fairy tales By a Wave of the Wand (1938, directed by A. A. Rou) and The Golden Key (1939; based on A. N. Tolstoy’s work, directed by A. L. Ptushko).

Many animated children’s films were made, including It Is Hot in Africa (1937, directed by D. N. Babichenko), The Round Loaf (1937, directed by V. G. Suteev), Uncle Stepa (1938, directed by V. G. Suteev), and Moidodyr (The Washstand; 1939, directed by I. P. Ivanov-Vano). The New Gulliver, a full length three-dimensional animated film, was made in 1935 by A. L. Ptushko. The first Soviet color film, Grunia Kornakova (1936), was made by the director N. V. Ekk.

In addition to the directors, important contributions to the development of film-making were made by various screenwriters, cameramen, artists, and composers. Among such screenwriters were M. Iu. Bleiman, M. V. Bol’shintsov, V. V. Vishnevskii, E. I. Gabrilovich, A. Ia. Kapler, A. E. Korneichuk, N. F. Pogodin, E. M. Pomeshchikov, L. N. Rakhmanov, and A. N. Tolstoi. The leading cameramen were B. I. Volchek, A. V. Gal’perin, M. E. Gindin, A. N. Gintsburg, V. V. Gordanov, Iu. I. Ekel’chik, A. N. Kol’tsatyi, L. V. Kosmatov, M. P. Magidson, Zh. K. Martov, V. E. Pavlov, B. A. Petrov, F. F. Provorov, V. A. Rapoport, and V. T. Iakovlev. Among the artists who contributed to Soviet film-making were B. V. Dubrovskii-Eshke, V. E. Egorov, E. E. Enei, V. P. Kaplunovskii, I. A. Makhlis, V. V. Sidamon-Eristavi, N. G. Suvorov, M. B. Umanskii, and I. A. Shpinel’, and among the composers, I. O. Dunaevskii, D. B. Kabalevskii, G. N. Popov, S. S. Prokofiev, A. I. Khachaturian, V. V. Sherbachev, and D. D. Shostakovich.

The multinational Soviet school of realistic acting achieved remarkable successes in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Acting became the principal means through which the intellectual and artistic conception of the screenwriter and director was embodied. Among the actors noted for their vivid screen portrayals were P. M. Aleinikov, B. F. Andreev, B. A. Babochkin, M. N. Bernes, N. I. Bogoliubov, V. V. Vanin, N. Vachnadze, E. P. Garin, O. P. Zhakov, M. I. Zharov, Ia. B. Zheimo, A. Karliev, N. A. Kriuchkov, M. A. Ladynina, T. F. Makarova, N. D. Mordvinov, G. N. Nersesian, L. P. Orlova, N. P. Okhlopkov, E. V. Samoilov, L. N. Sverdlin, S. D. Stoliarov, A. K. Tarasova, N. M. Uzhvii, Z. A. Fedorova, N. K. Cherkasov, B. P. Chirkov, M. M. Shtraukh, and B. V. Shchukin. The method of socialist realism became firmly established in the best films.

Among the outstanding achievements in the Soviet documentary were D. Vertov’s film-poems The Symphony of the Donbas (1930) and Three Songs of Lenin (1934), as well as the films Cheliuskin-1 (1934; directed by Ia. M. Posel’skii, screenwriters and cameramen A. M. Shafran and M. A. Troianovskii) and Spain (1939, directed by E. I. Shub) and the popular science films Pushkin’s Manuscripts (1937, directed by S. I. Vladimirskii and A. Egorov) and In the Depths of the Sea (1938, directed by A. M. Zguridi and B. G. Dolin).

Between 1931 and the early 1940’s, the Soviet motion-picture industry made about 500 sound feature films, including 120 animated films. In 1940 there were 28,000 motion-picture projection units, while the number of viewers totaled 900 million.

During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, Soviet film-making was instrumental in instilling a fighting spirit and lofty patriotism. Front-line film groups were formed, consisting of experienced documentary film-makers, young graduates of the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography, and cameramen of the motion-picture industry. News serials and specials came out regularly. The Voentekhfil’m Studio, organized on the basis of the Mostekhfil’m Studio, made military training and educational films in the period 1941–44. Particularly important were the “Combat Film Collections,” consisting of short, acted films, documentaries, and newsreels devoted to the people’s struggle against the fascist German aggressors. Master film-makers, such as V. I. Pudovkin, S. I. Iutkevich, I. A. Savchenko, M. S. Donskoi, S. A. Gerasimov, and G. M. Kozintsev, participated in their production. Camermen at the front heroically recorded the fighting from the first days of the war until the capture of Berlin and the surrender of Japan; a number of photographers, such as N. V. Bykov, B. V. Vakar, M. I. Sukhova, V. A. Sushchinskii, and A. P. El’bert, died in the line of duty. The documentary Chronicle of the Great Patriotic War consisted of more than 3.5 million meters of film footage. About 100 documentary films and 490 assorted news serials were released.

Among the noteworthy informational films devoted to the war were Defeat of the German Armies Near Moscow (1942, directed by I. P. Kopalin and L. V. Varlamov), Struggling Leningrad (1942, directed by V. M. Solovtsov, E. Iu. Uchitel’, N. G. Komarevtsev, and R. L. Karmen), Sailors of the Black Sea Fleet (1942, directed by V. N. Beliaev), A Day of War (1942, directed by M. Ia. Slutskii; footage filmed by 160 different cameramen), Stalingrad (1943, directed by L. V. Varlamov), The Battle of Orel (1943, directed by R. B. Gikov and L. N. Stepanova), The Battle for Our Soviet Ukraine (1943, directed by A. P. Dovzhenko and Iu. I. Solntseva), People’s Avengers (1943, directed by V. N. Beliaev), The Urals Forge Victory (1943, directed by F. I. Kiselev and V. N. Boikov), Liberated France (1944, directed by S. I. Iutkevich), Berlin (1945, directed by Iu. Ia. Raizman), The Defeat of Japan (1945, directed by A. G. Zarkhi and I. E. Kheifits), and Trial By the People (or Judgment of the Nations; 1946, directed by R. L. Karmen).

The production of feature films continued during the war. The motion-picture studios of the western and central parts of the USSR were evacuated to Middle Asia and Kazakhstan. Mosfil’m and Lenfil’m moved to Alma-Ata until 1944, where the Central Associated Film Studio was organized. Soiuzdetfil’m worked in a local studio in Dushanbe, while the Kiev Film Studio worked in Ashkhabad. The first full-length feature film about the war, Secretary of the Raion Committee, directed by I. A. Pyr’ev, came out in 1942. The film’s theme of the partisans as the avengers of the people was further developed in such films as She Defends Her Country (1943, directed by F. M. Ermler), The Rainbow (1944; based on V. L. Savilevskaia’s work, directed by M. S. Donskoi), Zoia (1944, directed by L. O. Arnshtam), Prisoner No. 217 (1945, directed by M. I. Romm), and Invasion (1945; based on L. M. Leonov’s work, directed by M. I. Romm).

The films about Red Army soldiers and commanders based on the screenplays and plays of K. M. Simonov were characterized by great patriotic zeal and moral strength: A Lad From Our Town (1942, directed by A. B. Stolper and B. G. Ivanov), Wait for Me (1943, directed by A. B. Stolper and B. G. Ivanov), and In the Name of the Fatherland (1943; based on Simonov’s play The Russian People, directed by V. I. Pudovkin and D. I. Vasil’ev). Other such films were The Front (1943; based on A. E. Korneichuk’s work, directed by G. N. Vasil’ev and S. D. Vasil’ev), Submarine T-9 (1943, directed by A. G. Ivanov), Two Soldiers (1943, directed by L. D. Lukov), March-April (1944, directed by V. M. Pronin), The Deed of the Agent (1947, directed by B. V. Barnet), and Tale of a Real Man (1948; based on B. N. Polevoi’s work, directed by A. B. Stolper). The film The Great Turning Point (1945, directed by F. M. Ermler) depicted the superiority of Soviet military strategy over the adventurist plan of the fascist German invaders.

Labor heroism, the inseparable links between the front and the rear, and the steadfastness of the Soviet people were the subjects of the films Mashen’ka (1942, directed by Iu. Ia. Raizman), At Six in the Evening After the War (1944, directed by I. A. Pyr’ev), The Big Country (1944, directed by S. A. Gerasimov), There Once Was a Girl (1944, directed by V. V. Eisymont), and Native Fields (1945, directed by B. A. Babochkin and A. F. Bosulaev). The traditions of prewar historical biographical films were continued in Georgii Saakadze (1942–43, directed by M. E. Chiaureli), Kutuzov (1944, directed by V. M. Petrov), David-Bek (1944, directed by A. I. Bek-Nazarov), and Ivan the Terrible (part 1, 1945; directed by S. M. Eisenstein).

Revolutionary history and the Civil War were the subjects of The Defense of Tsaritsyn (1942, directed by the Vasil’ev brothers), Aleksandr Parkhomenko (1942, directed by L. K. Lukov), and Kotovskii (1943, directed by A. M. Faintsimmer), as well as of They Call Him Sukhe-Bator (1942, directed by A. G. Zarkhi and I. E. Kheifits), a film about the national liberation struggle in Mongolia. The satirical film comedies Antosha Rybkin (1942, directed by K. K. Iudin) and The New Adventures of Švejk (1943, directed by S. I. Iutkevich) were popular at the front and in the rear.

The victorious conclusion of the war posed new challenges for motion pictures, that of creatively reflecting the feat of all the people in the struggle against fascism and that of depicting the life of the Soviet people who had returned to peaceful labor. Among the films of the late 1940’s and early 1950’s were The Young Guard (1948; based on A. A. Fadeev’s work, directed by S. A. Gerasimov), The Legend of the Siberian Land (1948, directed by I. A. Pyr’ev), The Faraway Bride (1948, directed by E. A. Ivanov-Barkov), Konstantin Zaslonov (1949, directed by V. V. Korsh-Sablin and A. M. Faintsimmer), and The Return of Vasilii Bortnikov (1953, directed by V. I. Pudovkin). The Soviet films of the late 1950’s, including The Cranes Are Flying (1957, directed by M. K. Kalatozov), The House Where I Live (1957, directed by L. A. Kulidzhanov and Ia. A. Segel’), A Man’s Fate (1959; based on M. A. Sholokhov’s work, directed by S. F. Bondarchuk), and Ballad of a Soldier (1959, directed by G. N. Chukhrai), revealed the upsurge in Soviet film-making and the emergence of many new talented creative individuals and reflected a more profound treatment of the war theme. All won world acclaim. The best films about the war, which further developed the creative film-making achievements of the war years, were characterized by a documentary quality and a striving to re-create actual events as exactly and vividly as possible.

The growing interest in past history and in outstanding historical figures and events and military feats was reflected in a number of biographical films, such as Alisher Navoi (1947, directed by K. Ia. Iarmatov), Michurin (1947, directed by A. P. Dovzhenko), Admiral Nakhimov (1947, directed by V. I. Pudovkin), Rainis (1949, directed by Iu. Ia. Raizman), Academician Ivan Pavlov (1949, directed by G. L. Roshal’), and Mussorgsky (1950, directed by G. L. Roshal’). The Russian Question (1948, directed by M. I. Romm) and Meeting on the Elbe (1949, directed by G. V. Aleksandrov) were devoted to the pressing issue of the struggle for peace.

A profound psychological study of the people of the new postwar generation was the subject of the films Someone Else’s Relatives (1956, directed by M. A. Shveitser), Height (1957, directed by A. G. Zarkhi), It Happened in Pen’kovo (1958, directed by S. I. Rostotskii), and Poem About the Sea (1958; based on A. P. Dovzhenko’s work, directed by Iu. I. Solntseva). The comedies of the 1950’s were characterized by refined musicality and skillful acting by actors of various generations: The Dragonfly (1954, directed by S. V. Dolidze) and Carnival Night (1956, directed by E. A. Riazanov). The events of the Civil War and the first postrevolutionary years were re-created in Dokhunda (1957; based on S. Aini’s work, directed by B. M. Kimiagarov), Communist (1958, directed by Iu. Ia. Raizman), and On Lenin’s Permit (1958, directed by L. Faiziev). The diversity of genres characteristic of the 1950’s was also manifested in The Forty-first (1956; based on B. A. Lavrenev’s work, directed by G. N. Chukhrai), Othello (1956; based on Shakespeare’s play, directed by S. I. Iutkevich), The Quiet Don (1957–58; based on Sholokhov’s work, directed by S. A. Gerasimov), and the trilogy Road to Calvary (based on A. N. Tolstoy’s work, directed by G. L. Roshal’), comprising The Sisters (1957), The Year Eighteen (1958), and Gloomy Morning (1959).

The tradition of films about Lenin begun in the 1930’s was continued in the postwar years with the documentary Vladimir Il’ich Lenin (1949, directed by M. I. Romm and V. N. Beliaev), which included all the existing filmed footage of Lenin, and the feature film Stories About Lenin (1957, directed by S. I. Iutkevich).

Popular science films were also made by the studios in Kiev and Sverdlovsk, as well as by the Moscow and Leningrad studios. Among the most important films were They See Again (1947, directed by N. V. Grachev), Story of a Ring (1948, directed B. G. Dolin), First Wings (1949, directed by A. A. Gendel’shtein), and The Forest Story (1950, directed by A. M. Zguridi). The improved skills of animators were evident in such films as The Fox and the Thrush (1946, directed by A. V. Ivanov), The Little Humped-back Horse (1948; based on P. P. Ershov’s work, directed by I. P. Ivanov-Vano), Tsvetik-Semitsvetik (1949, directed by M. M. Tsekhanovskii), Fedia Zaitsev (1949, directed by V. S. Brumberg and Z. A. Brumberg), The Deer and the Wolf (1951, directed by D. N. Babichenko), and The Red Flower (1952, directed by L. K. Atamanov).

Beginning in the 1950’s, increasingly more feature, documentary, and popular science films were made, and film studios in the RSFSR and the other Union republics were rebuilt. Studios were founded in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Moldavia, and Kirghizia, all of which had no film studios before. The films made in the Ukraine, Byelorussia, and Georgia were characterized by a greater diversity of genres and themes; important motion pictures were made in Uzbekistan. The national film industries also developed in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Tadzhikistan, Kirghizia, and Kazakhstan.

In addition to the masters of the older generation, a number of new young film-makers emerged in the various studios of the country in the late 1950’s, most of whom were graduates of the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography, the Advanced Screenwriting Courses (1960), and the Advanced Directing Courses (1966). Among these were the directors T. E. Abuladze, Sh. K. Aimanov, A. A. Alov, V. P. Basov, S. F. Bondarchuk, R. A. Bykov, V. Ia. Vengerov, L. I. Gaidai, G. N. Daneliia, Iu. P. Egorov, V. P. Žalakjavičius, V. I. Ivchenko, Iu. Iu. Karasik, E. G. Klimov, A. S. Konchalovskii, L. A. Kulidzhanov, T. M. Lioznova, A. N. Mitta, V. N. Naumov, A. M. Neretniek, Iu. N. Ozerov, G. I. Panfilov, S. I. Rostotskii, E. A. Riazanov, S. I. Samsonov, A. A. Saltykov, Ia. A. Segel’, V. N. Skuibin, I. V. Talankin, A. A. Tarkovskii, L. A. Faiziev, D. Ia. Khrabrovitskii, M. M. Khutsiev, Iu. S. Chuliukin, G. N. Chukhrai, R. D. Chkheidze, M. A. Shveitser, E. M. Shengelaia, G. N. Shengelaia, and V. M. Shukshin.

New screenwriters to emerge included O. A. Agishev, Iu. T. Dunskii, V. I. Ezhov, B. A. Metal’nikov, Iu. M. Nagibin, I. G. Ol’shanskii, T. G. Sytina, N. N. Figurovskii, and V. S. Frid. Among the new cameramen were I. A. Gritsius, V. K. Derbenev, L. I. Kalashnikov, G. N. Lavrov, V. V. Monakhov, M. M. Pilikhina, S. P. Urusevskii, V. M. Shumskii, and V. I. Iusov.

Among the most important characteristics of the leading actors of the Soviet school of acting were the rigorous selection of the means of expression, intellectuality, versatility, profound psychology, and vivid characterization. Leading actors who emerged in the late 1950’s included L. M. Abashidze, Sh. K. Aimanov, N. U. Arinbasarova, V. F. Artmane, D. Iu. Banionis, A. V. Batalov, S. F. Bondarchuk, M. G. Bulgakova, R. A. Bykov, M. V. Volodina, M. A. Gluzskii, L. M. Gurchenko, A. S. Demidova, T. V. Doronina, E. A. Evstigneev, O. N. Efremov, S. A. Zakariadze, Z. M. Kirienko, M. M. Kozakov, L. V. Kuravlev, K. Iu. Lavrov, I. G. Lapikov, E. P. Leonov, I. V. Makarova, N. V. Mordiukova, G. A. Pol’skikh, N. N. Rybnikov, M. R. Ryskulov, I. S. Savvina, T. E. Samoilova, I. M. Smoktunovskii, O. A. Strizhenov, V. V. Tikhonov, M. A. Ul’ianov, E. Ia. Urbanskii; S. M. Chiaureli, I. M. Churikova, L. A. Chursina, and V. M. Shukshin.

By the early 1960’s, about 120 to 140 full-length feature films were made every year. Creative associations were organized at the major studios. More motion pictures in color were produced, and the wide screen, the Soviet panorama system kinopanorama, and stereophonic sound were introduced. The first Soviet wide-screen film, Tale of Fiery Years (based on A. P. Dovzhenko’s work, directed by Iu. I. Solntseva), was released in 1961.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Soviet film-making became more comprehensive and profound in its study of the various aspects of society. The means of expression became richer, and the language of film was refined. The Great Patriotic War continued to be a major theme, with the best films depicting the immortal deeds, moral purity, and humanism of the Soviet people with great emotional force. Among the most important such films were Peace to Him Who Enters (1961, directed by A. A. Alov and V. N. Naumov), My Name Is Ivan (1962, directed by A. A. Tarkovskii), Introduction (1963, directed by I. V. Talankin), The Living and the Dead (1964; based on K. M. Simonov’s work, directed by A. B. Stolper), Tale of a Mother (1964, directed by A. A. Karpov), The Father of a Soldier (1965, directed by R. D. Chkheidze), Nobody Wanted to Die (1966, directed by V. P. Zalakjavicius), The Apples of 1941 (1969, directed by B. Batyrov), The Dawns Here Are Quiet (1972, directed by S. I. Rostotskii), and the four-part film epic Liberation (1970–71, directed by Iu. N. Ozerov).

Films about contemporary life occupied a central place in the 1960’s and 1970’s. They painted a broad picture of life in the country, with interesting, multifaceted portraits of contemporary workers, kolkhoz members, and the intelligentsia. The best films were characterized by a diversity of themes and artistic styles and by genre and stylistic innovation. Among such films were A Simple Story (1960, directed by Iu. P. Egorov), Serezha (1960, directed by G. N. Daneliia and I. V. Talankin), Nine Days of One Year (1962, directed by M. I. Romm), I’m Twenty (1964, directed by M. M. Khutsiev), Chairman (1964, directed by A. A. Saltykov), Falling Leaves (1967, directed by O. Sh. Ioseliani), Your Contemporary (1968, directed by Iu. Ia. Raizman), Let’s Live Till Monday (1968, directed by S. I. Rostotskii), In Love (1969, directed by E. Ishmukhamedov), By the Lake (1969, directed by S. A. Gerasimov), To Love a Man (1972, directed by S. A. Gerasimov), Accused of Murder (1970, directed by B. I. Volchek), The Daughter-in-law (1971, directed by Kh. K. Narliev), White Bird With Black Markings (1971, directed by Iu. G. Il’enko), The Taming of a Flame (1972, directed by D. Ia. Khrabrovitskii), Liberty Is a Sweet Word (1973, directed by V. P. Žalakjavičius), Red the Rose Tree (1974, directed by V. M. Shukshin), Earthly Love (1974, directed by E. S. Matveev), Song of the Lovers (1974, directed by A. S. Konchalovskii), The Red Apple (1975, directed by T. Okeev), The Bonus (1975, directed by S. Mikaelian), and May I Have a Word (1976, directed by G. I. Panfilov).

The creative maturity of Soviet film-making of the 1960’s and 1970’s was reflected in the motion pictures about the Revolution and the Civil War. The films Blue Notebook (1963, directed by L. A. Kulidzhanov), Lenin in Poland (1966, directed by S. I. Iutkevich), the two-part film comprising A Mother’s Heart and A Mother’s Fidelity (1966–67, directed by M. S. Donsloi), and Sixth of July (1968, directed by Iu. Iu. Karasik) were important contributions to the treasury of films about Lenin.

The historical-revolutionary films of this period were typified by epic conception and authenticity based on actual documents. The spirit of revolutionary heroics united such creatively different pictures as The First Teacher (1965, directed by A. S. Konchalovskii), No Ford Through the Flames (1968, directed by G. A. Panfilov), and The White Sun of the Desert (1970, directed by V. Ia. Motyl’). Many historical-revolutionary films were based on Soviet literary works, for example, the films The Optimistic Tragedy (1963; based on V. V. Vishnevskii’s work, directed by S. I. Samsonov), The Iron Stream (1967; based on A. S. Serafimovich’s work, directed by E. L. Dzigan), The Commissars (1970; based on Iu. N. Libedinskii’s work, directed by N. P. Mashchenko), and Flight (1971; based on M. A. Bulgakov’s work, directed by A. A. Alov and V. N. Naumov). Screen versions of Russian and foreign classics were also made, including The Lady With the Dog (1960; based on Chekhov’s work, directed by I. E. Kheifits), Hamlet (1964; based on Shakespeare’s play, directed by G. M. Kozintsev), King Lear (1964; based on Shakespeare’s play, directed by G. M. Kozintsev), the four-part film War and Peace (1966–67; based on L. N. Tolstoy’s work, directed by S. F. Bondarchuk), Don Quixote (1967; based on Cervantes’ work, directed by G. M. Kozintsev), and the three-part The Brothers Karamazov (1968; based on F. M. Dostoevsky’s work, directed by I. A. Pyr’ev).

The best traditions of Soviet comedy were continued and significantly enriched by such films as Watch Out for the Car! (1966, directed by E. A. Riazanov), The Irony of Fate, or Hope You Had a Good Bath (1976, directed by E. A. Riazanov), The Caucasian Captive (1967, directed by L. I. Gaidai), the slapstick comedy Aibolit-66 (1966, directed by R. A. Bykov), and the lyrical film for children Someone Is Ringing, Open the Door (1966, directed by A. N. Mitta).

Animated film-making made significant advances in the 1960’s and 1970’s. About 30 animated films were made each year by the film studios of Moscow, Kiev, Tbilisi, Tallinn, and other cities. The most popular of these films were Boniface’s Vacation (1965, directed by F. S. Khitruk), The Musicians of Bremen (1969, directed by I. Kovalevskaia), Gena the Crocodile (1969, directed by R. A. Kachanov), Just Wait! (parts 1–8, 1969–74, directed by V. M. Kotenochkin), Oh, Fashion, Fashion (1969, directed by V. D. Bakhtadze), and The Island (1973, directed by F. S. Khitruk).

Documentary film-making made notable advances. The documentaries of the 1960’s and 1970’s were characterized by high emotional content and skillful artistry in the depiction of events. The trilogy comprising Lenin’s Manuscripts, The Party Banner, and Lenin: The Last Pages (1960–63, directed by F. A. Tiapkin) was a major achievement in documentary films. Other important documentaries were Multilevel America (1961, directed by G. I. Asatiani), Katiuska (1964, directed by V. P. Lisakovich), Ordinary Fascism (1965, directed by M. I. Romm), The Great Patriotic War (1965, directed by R. L. Karmen and I. V. Venzher), If Your Home Is Dear to You (1967, directed by V. S. Ordynskii), Granada, Granada, My Granada (1967, script written by R. L. Karmen and K. M. Simonov), Comrade Ho Chi Minh (1969, directed by E. I. Vermisheva), Naryn Diary (1971, directed by A. Vidugiris), The Difficult Roads of Peace (1974, directed by A. A. Koloshin), and The Heart ofKorvalan (1975, directed by R. L. Karmen).

The central and republic film studios began making increasingly more films for television, such as Operation Trust (1970, directed by S. I. Kolosov), His Excellency’s Aide-de-camp (1971, directed by E. I. Tashkov), Seventeen Moments of Spring (1972, directed by T. M. Liozmova), and The Red and the Black (1976; based on Stendhal’s work, directed by S. A. Gerasimov). The Ukrainian television film How Steel Was Tempered (1973; based on N. A. Ostrovskii’s novel, directed by R. N. Mashchenko) earned wide recognition.

Soviet film-making underwent important progressive development as a result of the beneficial influence of the resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union entitled On Measures for the Further Development of Soviet Cinematography (1972) and the decisions of the party congresses, which inspired film-makers to new achievements. These actions paved the way for the development of new ways of improving film-making techniques, encouraged the mutual enrichment of the film-making industries of the fraternal Soviet republics, and increased the role of motion pictures in the building of communism and in the cultural life of the people.

Soviet films effectively reach a broad audience in the vital ideological struggle against imperialist propaganda and show all the world’s people the advantages of the socialist way and the humanism and internationalism of Soviet society. They have exerted a beneficial influence on the development of the world cinema and have made major contributions to the enrichment of the film vocabulary. The achievements of Soviet film-making have directly influenced the development of Italian neorealism and the establishment of film-making in the socialist and developing countries and have helped arouse interest in social issues in the film-making industries of the developed capitalist countries. The theoretical heritage of the Soviet classical directors—S. M. Eisenstein, V. I. Pudovkin, A. P. Dovzhenko, and D. Vertov—has received world recognition. Relying on this tradition, Soviet motion-picture study is continuing its successful, multifaceted development. The Cinematographers’ Union of the USSR unites all the film workers in the Soviet Union.

The best Soviet films, which uphold the lofty reputation of Soviet film-making abroad, have won prizes and awards at international film festivals in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Among the representative film festivals held in the Soviet Union are the All-Union Film Festival (since 1958), the International Film Festival (since 1935, once every two years since 1959), the All-Union Festival of Sports Films (since 1966), and the international film festival of the countries of Asia, Africa (since 1968), and Latin America (since 1976) in Tashkent. The development of international ties is reflected in the joint production of motion pictures by Soviet film studios and the studios of the countries of the socialist community, including Bulgaria, Poland, Rumania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Mongolia, Yugoslavia, the German Democratic Republic, and Cuba, as well as the studios in India, Italy, France, Japan, Sweden, the United States, and other countries.

All the Union republics make feature and documentary films. In 1975, 282 full-length motion pictures were released (including 143 feature, 30 documentary, 11 popular science, and 98 television films) and 1,376 film shorts. More than 50 news serials are made annually, including The News of the Day, Pioneer Life (for children), The Fuse, an all-Union satirical serial, Agriculture News, and Science and Technology. The scientific and technological revolution has had an important effect on the development of popular science and educational films. Over the years, the Soviet motion-picture industry has made (through 1975 inclusively) about 5,000 motion pictures, including as many as 900 animated films.

Film-makers and film management and technical personnel are trained at the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography in Moscow, the Leningrad Institute of Theater, Music, and Cinematography, the Leningrad Institute of Film Engineers, the film departments at the theatrical institutes of the Union and autonomous republics, and film technicums.

In 1977, the USSR had 39 studios for the production of feature, documentary, and popular science films. There were more than 152,800 motion-picture projection units: 26,300 in the cities and 126,500 in the rural areas. More than 100,000 were widescreen units. In addition, there were 71,298 noncommercial motion-picture projection units at, for example, schools and enterprises.



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Siranov, K. Kinoiskusstvo Sovetskogo Kazakhstana. Alma-Ata, 1966.
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