Cinema History: On Film

“Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out

— Martin Scorsese


Cinema can be both an exciting escape from reality as well as a fascinating reflection of society. From across the decades, we are proud to offer clips of classic cult masterpieces, such as Nosferatu, Metropolis and Charlie Chaplin, as well as rare footage of pioneering early filmmakers at work.


Hollywood & America


To many, Hollywood is the centre of the film industry today, and it isn’t hard to see how. Our archive contains footage of Hollywood and famous US locations from the then and now, but highlights include behind-the-scenes footage of Hollywood film sets and studios, as well as colour footage of the Academy Awards 1965. There’s also footage of the film districts of NYC and clips of the stars of the 1920s.


Early Filmmaking


Watch Edison preparing and filming some scenes on his custom equipment, or marvel at the wacky experimentation of early performance and video artists. See footage of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, or watch clips of vaudeville acts. Many of Edison’s short clips are also present. We also present some animated Eadweard Muybridge images from his motion series. These were played in quick succession, giving the illusion of movement.


Weimar Cinema


The weimar culture of post WW1 Germany was a rich environment of experimentation and achievement. Epic masterpieces on film, such as director Fritz Lang’s Nieblungen, Metropolis and M are represented in clip form, as is Nosferatu from F.W. Murnau. Insightful footage behind the scenes and of film sets and studios gives us a unique glimpse into these classic films from a bygone era. Other clips showcase the stars of the period, as well as less glamorous social conditions for the working people.


Cult Classics


Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Anna Pavlova and Douglas Fairbanks all feature in our cult classics lightbox, which contains segments of longer episodes, as well as cuts of classic scenes. Laurel and Hardy clips are also available, as well as early Hollywood features.


Movie Posters & Stills


Our massive stills and posters archive can be explored with ease online – this lightbox an introduction to our wide selection of content from all eras of film and  a large array of countries. Iconic classics, such as Casablanca and Gone with the Wind can be found here, as well as stills and screenshots from contemporary films.


Contemporary Clips


While much of our content from this feature is drawn from the history of cinema, we also have more contemporary footage within our theme: For example, clips of directors in conversation, such as Hitchcock on Fear, or colour clips of Hollywood and documentary extracts. Cinema is a worldwide phenomenon and this is reflected in the many locations from which this footage was taken.


History of Cinema


Discover the history of cinema in a nutshell with Halas and Batchelor. We are proud to present a portion of the H&B archive on Bridgeman Images.

In this short movie, a timeline of historic events is presented taking the viewer through the history of the moving image.


That’s all we have time for now – but if your appetite for film clips isn’t satisfied, know that our archive of exclusive footage clips is growing all the time so there is always something new to discover.

We offer free research, so please contact us if you need help sourcing anything from the archive.

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