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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore Collection / Rex Features (1619684a)
Romeo And Juliet,  Olivia Hussey,  Leonard Whiting
Film and Television

Today in Movie History: October 8

  Shakespearean adaptations have their ups and downs. The great ones define the Bard for a generation, while the less-than-great ones tend to live on in high school classrooms if nowhere else. But few can deny the standing of Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet in their ranks: a timeless take on the age-old story that still feels as pertinent as …

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Today in Movie History: October 5

You’d think they’d release a movie like The Ten Commandments closer to Passover, when it might be more pertinent. But back in the 1950s, release dates worked differently, and films often had months or even years to play in theaters before moving on (and frankly, with the exception of network television, there was nowhere else to move on to). Hence, …

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Today in Movie History: October 4

It didn’t land Sandra Bullock another Oscar, but it came darn close, and while watching it on your TV can’t quite match the white-knuckle terror of an IMAX screening, Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity rarely disappoints when it comes to sheer movie-making prowess. And while it’s only been three years, it’s not too early to start weighing its potential status as a sci-fi …

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Today in Movie History: October 3

The Maltese Falcon belongs in that rarefied air of movies that exist solely to be loved by everyone who sees them. Besides signaling the rise of film noir in the 1940s, it made Humphrey Bogart an icon, launched the brilliant career of director John Huston, and turned its titular “dingus” into one of the most recognizable images in cinema. Small wonder it’s …

Near Dark

Today in Movie History: October 2

Before winning an Oscar for Best Director — the first woman to do so — Kathryn Bigelow undertook an ambitious attempt to redefine the vampire genre. It entailed a clan of feral wanderers (played by most of the supporting cast of Aliens, including the late great Bill Paxton) traveling across America’s forgotten highways in search of blood and pulling a hapless country boy …

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Today in Movie History: October 1

The Halloween season gets started in especially fine form with one of the greatest horror movies of all time. George A Romero made Night of the Living Dead for the princely sum of $114,000. It became a gigantic hit, while simultaneously inventing the zombie apocalypse genre and setting the stage for five more Dead films also directed by Romero. The follow-up, Dawn of the …

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, Michael Rennie, 1951, TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

CREDIT: Everett Collection

Today in Movie History: September 28

The 1950s were a Golden Age for science fiction, and few films in that era attained the resonance — both as entertainment and as a movie with something to say — that The Day The Earth Stood Still did. Robert Wise’s pitch-perfect fable of a man from outer space with a message we’re just not capable of hearing is definitely …

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Today in Movie History: September 27

Forest Whitaker has been a Hollywood staple for 20 years when he finally scored Oscar gold in The Last King of Scotland, for his unforgettable performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. The film received criticism for a typically Hollywood tactic of including a white guy to serve as an audience surrogate, but considering the West’s support of the Amin regime — and considering …

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Today in Movie History: September 26

There are good movies, there are bad movies, and then there are movies that achieve immortality through sheer, all-powerful weirdness. They don’t get any weirder than The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the one, true midnight cult classic whose gender-bending, genre-destroying uniqueness has guaranteed it a place in the canon by default. It officially opened today in 1975, but its midnight run began at …

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Today in Movie History: September 25

Like a surprising number of classics, The Princess Bride didn’t do particularly well when first released in theaters. Audiences weren’t sure what to expect from the combination of gentle satire and straight-faced romance, and largely stayed away… only to discover it on video like so many other films of the era. Today, of course, it’s an indispensable part of the canon: one of …