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Today in Movie History: November 19

We top the pole position with one of the greatest movies of all time: Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai hit U.S. theaters today in 1956. The unparalleled Eastern-Western mash-up — entailing an impoverished village menaced by bandits who hire seven wandering ronin to save them — influenced everything from The Magnificent Seven to Star Wars to A Bug’s Life, and includes …

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Today in Movie History: July 26

I was the exact wrong age for Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure when it first came out: 13 and oh so ready to stop being a kid. But every other age should be delighted by Pee-Wee’s ramshackle journey to find his beloved bicycle: reminding us in his unique Pee-Wee way to look at the world the way a child does from time to …

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Today in Movie History: June 18

There aren’t a whole lot of great Part 3s out there — the third movie tends to be the point where the wheels come off the franchise in question — but of those that earn mention, Toy Story 3 has earned a place among them. Pixar’s banner property finds an entirely new dilemma for its cast of sentient playthings, as Andy …

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Today in Movie History: March 30

It’s all about the 80s today with a trio of iconic films from that era. No one expected a movie like Beetlejuice to do anything when it first opened. Indeed, the question remains how the darn thing got made in the first place: a second-time director with a truly strange point of view given free rein to pursue his vision, and a star …

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Today in Movie History: March 5

It’s a quiet day post Oscars, with a couple of interesting (but not necessarily great) films to note. The first is Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton’s wildly profitable “sequel” to the original Lewis Carroll story. It is, to put it mildly, a mixed bag. Stand-out performances and Burton’s wild imagination (to say nothing of a fantastic theme from Danny Elfman) clash badly …

Snow White

Today in Movie History: December 21

There’s no question which movie tops our charts today: Walt Disney premiered Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on this date in 1937, and transformed the entire animation field as a result. 80 years later, it’s still the greatest cartoon of all time: a stunning triumph in every sense of the word, cementing Disney’s fortunes and single-handedly creating the animated feature …

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Today in Movie History: December 7

People were still trying to figure out Tim Burton in the winter of 1990. Having watched him direct an unexpected hit with Beetlejuice and then taken the world by storm with Batman, everyone wondered whether he was for real or just some quirky hiccup. He responded with Edward Scissorhands, a modern fairy tale that cemented his distinctive style, evinced a gentle shift away from …

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Today in Movie History: June 23

A brutally full day in movie history always seems to be followed by a nearly empty one. Fortunately, today’s single entry — while a deeply flawed film in many ways — also ranks as one of the most fascinating in history. Tim Burton’s Batman arrived in an era when superhero films began and ended with Christopher Reeve, and initially, no one …

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Today in Movie History: September 30

Tim Burton has recovered from his recent (and lengthy) slump with the modestly delightful Miss Peregrine opening today. It’s fitting, then, that today would also mark the anniversary of hands-down his best movie ever. Ed Wood, the affectionate biopic about the worst filmmaker ever made, paints the infamous shlockmeister as an earnest misfit who’s so madly in love with what …