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Classical Hollywood cinema is a term used in
film criticism Film criticism is the analysis and evaluation of film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying ...
to describe both a narrative and visual style of filmmaking which became characteristic of
American cinema The cinema of the United States, often called Hollywood, has had a large effect on the film industry The film industry or motion picture industry comprises the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking, i.e., film production ...

American cinema
between the 1910s (rapidly after
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
) and the 1960s. It eventually became the most powerful and pervasive style of filmmaking worldwide. Similar or associated terms include classical Hollywood narrative, the Golden Age of Hollywood, Old Hollywood, and classical continuity.


Development of the Classical style


Early narrative film (1894–1913)

For centuries the only visual standard of narrative storytelling art was the
theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The p ...

theatre
. Since the first narrative films in the mid-late 1890s, filmmakers sought to capture the power of live theatre on the cinema screen. Most of these filmmakers started as directors on the late 19th century stage, and likewise most film actors had roots in vaudeville (e.g.
The Marx Brothers The Marx Brothers were an American family comedy act that was successful in vaudeville Vaudeville (; ) is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 19th century. A vaudeville was originally a comedy witho ...
) or theatrical melodramas. Visually, early narrative films had adapted little from the stage, and their narratives had adapted very little from vaudeville and melodrama. Before the visual style which would become known as "classical continuity", scenes were filmed in full shot and used carefully choreographed staging to portray plot and character relationships. Editing technique was extremely limited, and mostly consisted of close-ups of writing on objects for their legibility.


The maturation of silent films (1913 – late 1920s)

Though lacking the reality inherent to the stage, film (unlike stage) offers the freedom to manipulate apparent time and space, and thus to create the illusion of realism – that is temporal linearity and spatial continuity. By the early 1910s, filmmaking was beginning to fulfill its artistic potential. In Sweden and Denmark, this period would later be known as a "Golden Age" of film; in America, this artistic change is attributed to filmmakers like
D. W. Griffith David Wark Griffith (January 22, 1875 – July 23, 1948) was an American film director. Widely considered as the most important filmmaker of his generation, he pioneered financing of the feature-length movie. His film ''The Birth of a Nation ...
finally breaking the grip of the Edison Trust to make films independent of the manufacturing monopoly. Films worldwide began to noticeably adopt visual and narrative elements which would be found in classical Hollywood cinema. 1913 was a particularly fruitful year for the medium, as pioneering directors from several countries produced masterpieces such as ''
The Mothering Heart ''The Mothering Heart'' is a 1913 American short drama film In film and television show, television, drama is a category of narrative fiction (or docudrama, semi-fiction) intended to be more serious than humour, humorous in tone. Drama of t ...
'' (D. W. Griffith), ''
Ingeborg Holm ''Ingeborg Holm'' (''Margaret Day'') is a 1913 Events January * January 1 – The British Board of Film Classification, British Board of Film Censors receives the authority to classify and censor films. * January 5 – First B ...
'' (
Victor Sjöström Victor David Sjöström (; 20 September 1879 – 3 January 1960), also known in the United States as Victor Seastrom, was a pioneering Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swed ...

Victor Sjöström
), and ''L'enfant de Paris'' (
Léonce Perret Léonce Joseph Perret (14 March 1880 – 12 August 1935) was a prolific and innovative French film actor, director and producer.The Museum of Modern Art(retrieved 7 June 2007) He also worked as a stage actor and director. Often described as avant- ...
) that set new standards for film as a form of storytelling. It was also the year when
Yevgeni Bauer Yevgeni Franzevich Bauer (russian: Евгений Францевич Бауэр) (1865 – ) was a Russian film director A film director controls a film's artistic and dramatic aspects and visualizes the screenplay (or script) while guiding t ...

Yevgeni Bauer
(the first true film artist, according to
Georges Sadoul Georges Sadoul (4 February 1904 – 13 October 1967) was a French journalist and cinema writer. Once a surrealist Surrealism was a cultural movement which developed in Europe in the aftermath of World War I World War I or the First ...
) started his short, but prolific, career. In the world generally and America specifically, the influence of Griffith on filmmaking was unmatched. Equally influential were his actors in adapting their performances to the new medium.
Lillian Gish Lillian Diana Gish (October 14, 1893February 27, 1993) was an American pioneering actress of the screen and stage, and a director and writer. Her film acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912, in silent film A silent film is a film with no s ...

Lillian Gish
, the star of ''The Mothering Heart'', is particularly noted for her influence on screen performance techniques. Griffith's 1915 epic ''
The Birth of a Nation ''The Birth of a Nation'', originally called ''The Clansman'', is a 1915 American silent Silent may mean any of the following: People with the name * Silent George, George Stone (outfielder) (1876–1945), American Major League Baseball out ...
'' was ground-breaking for film as a means of storytelling – a masterpiece of literary narrative with numerous innovative visual techniques . The film initiated so many advances in American cinema that it was rendered obsolete within a few years. Though 1913 was a global landmark for filmmaking, 1917 was primarily an American one; the era of "classical Hollywood cinema" is distinguished by a narrative and visual style which began to dominate the film medium in America by 1917.


Classical Hollywood cinema in the sound era (late 1920s – 1960s)

The narrative and visual style of classical Hollywood style developed further after the transition to sound-film production. The primary changes in American filmmaking came from the film industry itself, with the height of the
studio system A studio system is a method of wherein the production and distribution of films is dominated by a small number of large s. It is most often used in reference to motion picture studios during the from the 1920s to 1960s, wherein studios produce ...
. This mode of production, with its reigning star system promoted by several key studios, had preceded sound by several years. By mid-1920, most of the prominent American directors and actors, who had worked independently since the early 1910s, had to become a part of the new studio system to continue to work. The beginning of the sound era itself is ambiguously defined. To some, it began with ''
The Jazz Singer ''The Jazz Singer'' is a 1927 American musical drama film In film and television show, television, drama is a category of narrative fiction (or docudrama, semi-fiction) intended to be more serious than humour, humorous in tone. Drama of th ...

The Jazz Singer
'', which was released in 1927, and increased box-office profits for films as sound was introduced to feature films. To others, the era began in 1929, when the silent age had definitively ended. Most Hollywood pictures from the late 1920s to 1960s adhered closely to a genre – Western,
slapstick Slapstick is a style of humor Humour (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, wh ...

slapstick
comedy, musical, animated cartoon, and
biopic A biographical film, or biopic (; abbreviation for ''biographical motion picture''), is a film that dramatizes the life of a Nonfiction, non-fictional or History, historically-based person or people. Such films show the life of a historical person ...
(biographical picture) – and the same creative teams often worked on films made by the same studio. For instance,
Cedric Gibbons Austin Cedric Gibbons (March 23, 1890 or 1893 – July 26, 1960) was an American Art director#In film, art director for the film industry. He also made a significant contribution to motion picture theater architecture from the 1930s to 1950s. ...
and
Herbert Stothart Herbert Pope Stothart (September 11, 1885February 1, 1949) was an American songwriter, arranger In music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbr ...
always worked on MGM films; Alfred Newman worked at
20th Century Fox 20th Century Studios, Inc. (also known as 20th Century for short, and nicknamed 20th Pictures, formerly Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation) is an American film studio A film studio (also known as movie studio or simply studio) is a maj ...
for twenty years; Cecil B. DeMille's films were almost all made at
Paramount Pictures Paramount Pictures Corporation (common : Par) is an American film and television and company and a subsidiary of . It is the fifth oldest in the world, the second oldest film studio in the United States (behind ), and the sole member of the ...

Paramount Pictures
; and director
Henry KingHenry King may refer to: People In order of birth * Henry King (poet) (1592–1669), English poet, Bishop of Chichester * Sir Henry King, 3rd Baronet (1681–1740), Anglo-Irish politician * Henry King (pirate), Henry King (fl. 1699), English pirate c ...
's films were mostly made for Twentieth Century Fox. Similarly, actors were mostly contract players. Film historians and critics note that it took about a decade for films to adapt to sound and return to the level of artistic quality of the silents, which it did in the late 1930s . Many great works of cinema that emerged from this period were of highly regimented filmmaking. One reason this was possible is that, with so many films being made, not every one had to be a big hit. A studio could gamble on a medium-budget feature with a good script and relatively unknown actors. This was the case with ''
Citizen Kane ''Citizen Kane'' is a 1941 American drama film In film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice o ...
'' (1941), directed by
Orson Welles George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) was an American director, actor, screenwriter, and producer who is remembered for his innovative work in radio, theatre and film. He is considered to be among the greatest and most in ...

Orson Welles
and regarded by some as the greatest film of all time . Other strong-willed directors, like
Howard Hawks Howard Winchester Hawks (May 30, 1896December 26, 1977) was an American film director, producer and screenwriter of the classic Hollywood era. Critic Leonard Maltin Leonard Michael Maltin (born December 18, 1950) is an American film critic ...
,
Alfred Hitchcock Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was an English film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is one of the most influential and widely studied filmmakers in the history of cinema. Known as the "Master of S ...
and
Frank Capra Frank Russell Capra (born Francesco Rosario Capra; May 18, 1897 – September 3, 1991) was an Italian-born American film director, producer and writer who became the creative force behind some of the major award-winning films of the 1930s ...

Frank Capra
, battled the studios in order to achieve their artistic visions. The apogee of the studio system may have been the year 1939, which saw the release of such classics as ''
The Wizard of Oz ''The Wizard of Oz'' may refer to: *''The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'', a 1900 American novel by L. Frank Baum **Wizard of Oz (character), from the Baum novel series The Wizard of Oz may also refer to: Adaptations of the novel Film * The Wonderful ...
'', ''
Gone with the WindGone with the Wind may refer to: * Gone with the Wind (novel), ''Gone with the Wind'' (novel), a 1936 novel by Margaret Mitchell * Gone with the Wind (film), ''Gone with the Wind'' (film), 1939 adaptation of the novel * Gone with the Wind (musical), ...
'', ''
The Hunchback of Notre Dame ''The Hunchback of Notre-Dame'' (french: Notre-Dame de Paris, translation=''Our Lady of Paris'', originally titled ''Notre-Dame de Paris. 1482'') is a French Gothic novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative A narrative, story ...
'', ''
Stagecoach A stagecoach is a four-wheeled public transport Public transport (also known as public transportation, public transit, mass transit, or simply transit) is a system of transport Transport (commonly used in the U.K.), or transportation ...
'', '' Mr. Smith Goes to Washington'', ''
Destry Rides Again ''Destry Rides Again'' is a 1939 American Western (genre), Western film directed by George Marshall (director), George Marshall and starring Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart. The supporting cast includes Mischa Auer, Charles Winninger, Brian ...
'', '' Young Mr. Lincoln'', ''
Wuthering Heights ''Wuthering Heights'' is an 1847 novel by Emily Brontë Emily Jane Brontë (, commonly ; 30 July 1818 – 19 December 1848) was an English novelist and poet who is best known for her only novel, '' Wuthering Heights'', now considered a class ...
'', ''
Only Angels Have Wings ''Only Angels Have Wings'' is a 1939 American adventure drama film In film and television show, television, drama is a category of narrative fiction (or docudrama, semi-fiction) intended to be more serious than humour, humorous in tone. Dram ...

Only Angels Have Wings
'', ''
Ninotchka ''Ninotchka'' is a 1939 American romantic comedy Romantic comedy (also known as romcom or rom-com) is a subgenre of comedy and slice-of-life fiction, focusing on lighthearted, humorous plot lines centered on romantic ideas, such as how true ...
'', ''
Beau Geste ''Beau Geste'' is an adventure novel by British writer P. C. Wren, which details the adventures of three English brothers who enlist separately in the French Foreign Legion following the theft of a valuable jewel from the country house of a rel ...
'', ''
Babes in Arms ''Babes in Arms'' is a 1937 musical comedy with music by Richard Rodgers Richard Charles Rodgers (June 28, 1902 – December 30, 1979) was an American Musical composition, composer, known largely for his work in musical theater. With 43 ...
'', ''
Gunga Din "Gunga Din" is an 1890 poem by Rudyard Kipling set in British Raj, British India. The poem is much remembered for its final line: "You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din". Background The poem is a rhyming narrative from the point of view o ...
'', '' The Women'', ''
Goodbye, Mr. Chips ''Goodbye, Mr. Chips'' is a novella about the life of a schoolteacher, Mr. Chipping, written by the English writer James Hilton (novelist), James Hilton and first published by Hodder & Stoughton in October 1934. It has been adapted into two cin ...
'', and ''
The Roaring Twenties ''The Roaring Twenties'' is a 1939 American crime thriller film Crime films, in the broadest sense, is a film genre inspired by and analogous to the crime fiction literary genre. Films of this genre generally involve various aspects of crime a ...
''.


Style

The visual-narrative style of classical Hollywood cinema as elaborated by
David Bordwell David Jay Bordwell (; born July 23, 1947) is an American film theory, film theorist and film historian. Since receiving his PhD from the University of Iowa in 1974, he has written more than fifteen volumes on the subject of cinema including ''Nar ...

David Bordwell
, was heavily influenced by the ideas of the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
and its resurgence of mankind as the focal point. It is distinguished at three general levels: devices, systems, and the relations of systems.


Devices

The devices most inherent to classical Hollywood cinema are those of
continuity editing Continuity editing is the process, in film and video creation, of combining more-or-less related shots, or different components cut from a single shot, into a sequence to direct the viewer's attention to a pre-existing consistency of story across bo ...
. This includes the
180-degree rule In filmmaking, the 180-degree rule is a basic guideline regarding the on-screen spatial relationship between a character and another character or object within a scene. By keeping the camera on one side of an imaginary axis between two characters, ...
, one of the major visual-spatial elements of continuity editing. The 180-degree rule keeps with the "photographed play" style by creating an imaginary 180-degree axis between the viewer and the shot, allowing viewers to clearly orient themselves within the position and direction of action in a scene. According to the
30-degree rule The 30-degree rule is a basic film editing Film editing is both a creative and a technical part of the post-production process of filmmaking. The term is derived from the traditional process of working with film stock, film which increasingly ...
, cuts in the angle that the scene is viewed from must be significant enough for the viewer to understand the purpose of a change in perspective. Cuts that do not adhere to the 30-degree rule, known as
jump cut A jump cut is a cut in film editing Film editing is both a creative and a technical part of the post-production process of filmmaking. The term is derived from the traditional process of working with film stock, film which increasingly invo ...
s, are disruptive to the illusion of temporal continuity between shots. The 180-degree and 30-degree rules are elementary guidelines in filmmaking that preceded the official start of the classical era by over a decade, as seen in the pioneering 1902 French film ''
A Trip to the Moon A, or a, is the first Letter (alphabet), letter and the first vowel letter of the English alphabet, modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is English alphabet#Letter names, ''a'' (pronounced ), plural En ...
''. Cutting techniques in classical continuity editing serve to help establish or maintain continuity, as in the cross cut, which establishes the concurrence of action in different locations. Jump cuts are allowed in the form of the axial cut, which does not change the angle of shooting at all, but has the clear purpose of showing a perspective closer or farther from the subject, and therefore does not interfere with temporal continuity.


Systems


Narrative logic

Classical narration progresses always through psychological motivation, i.e., by the will of a human character and its struggle with obstacles towards a defined goal. This narrative element is commonly composed of a primary narrative (e.g. a romance) intertwined with a secondary narrative or narratives. This narrative is structured with an unmistakable beginning, middle and end, and generally there is a distinct resolution. Utilizing actors, events, causal effects, main points, and secondary points are basic characteristics of this type of narrative. The characters in classical Hollywood cinema have clearly definable traits, are active, and very goal oriented. They are causal agents motivated by psychological rather than social concerns. The narrative is a chain of cause and effect with the characters being the causal agents – in classical style, events do not occur randomly.


Cinematic time

Time in classical Hollywood is continuous, linear, and uniform, since
non-linearity In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). I ...
calls attention to the illusory workings of the medium. The only permissible manipulation of time in this format is the
flashback Flashback or flashbacks may refer to: * Flashback (narrative), in literature and dramatic media, an interjected scene or point that takes the narrative back in time from the current point * Flashback (psychology), in which a memory is suddenly and ...
. It is mostly used to introduce a memory sequence of a character, ''e.g.'', ''
Casablanca Casablanca ( ar, الدار البيضاء, ad-dār al-bayḍāʾ; ber, ⴰⵏⴼⴰ, anfa) is the largest city of Morocco. Located in the central-western part of Morocco bordering the Atlantic Ocean, it is the second largest city in the Maghreb ...
''.


Cinematic space

The greatest rule of classical continuity regarding space is object permanence: the viewer must believe that the scene exists outside the shot of the cinematic frame to maintain the picture's realism. The treatment of space in classical Hollywood strives to overcome or conceal the two-dimensionality of film ("invisible style") and is strongly centered upon the human body. The majority of shots in a classical film focus on
gesture A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact Eye contact occurs when two people look at each other's eyes at the ...
s or
facial expression A facial expression is one or more motions or positions of the muscle Skeletal muscles (commonly referred to as muscles) are organs An organ is a group of tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that ...
s (medium-long and
medium shot In a movie a medium shot, mid shot (MS), or waist shot is a camera angle Shot (filmmaking), shot from a medium distance. Use Medium shots are favored in sequences where dialogues or a small group of people are acting, as they give the viewer a p ...
s).
André Bazin André Bazin (; 18 April 1918 – 11 November 1958) was a renowned and influential French film critic Film criticism is the analysis and evaluation of film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visua ...

André Bazin
once compared classical film to a photographed play in that the events seem to exist objectively and that cameras only give us the best view of the whole play. This treatment of space consists of four main aspects: centering, balancing, frontality, and depth. Persons or objects of significance are mostly in the center part of the picture frame and never out of focus. Balancing refers to the visual composition, i. e., characters are evenly distributed throughout the frame. The action is subtly addressed towards the spectator (frontality) and , lighting (mostly
three-point lighting Three-point lighting is a standard method used in visual media such as theatre, video Video is an electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal ...
, especially
high-key lighting High-key lighting is a style of lighting Lighting or illumination is the deliberate use of light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be visual perception, perc ...
), and costumes are designed to separate foreground from the background (depth).


Relations of systems

The aspects of space and time are subordinated to the narrative element.


Criticism

This style of cinema is not without its critics, ranging from racial stereotypes (especially of
African Americans African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being t ...
) to the lack of realism which resulted in a more realistic post-WWII cinema.


Legacy

The
New Hollywood The New Hollywood, also referred to as the American New Wave or sometimes called the Hollywood Renaissance, refers to a movement in American film history from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s, when a new generation of young filmmakers came to prom ...
of the 1960s–70s was influenced by the romanticism of the classical era, as was the
French New Wave The New Wave (french: La Nouvelle Vague) is a French art film An art film is typically an independent film An independent film, independent movie, indie film, or indie movie is a feature film or short film that is produced outside the ...
.


List of major figures from Classic Hollywood cinema

Those listed in bold were recognised on the American Film Institute's list ranking the top 25 male and 25 female greatest screen legends of American film history. The top stars of their respective genders are
Humphrey Bogart Humphrey DeForest Bogart (; December 25, 1899 – January 14, 1957), nicknamed Bogie, was an American film and stage actor. His performances in Classical Hollywood cinema Classical Hollywood cinema is a term used in film criticism Film c ...
and
Katharine Hepburn Katharine Houghton Hepburn (May 12, 1907 – June 29, 2003) was an American actress of film, stage and television. Hepburn's career as a Hollywood leading lady spanned over 60 years. She was known for her headstrong independence, spirited ...
, who starred together in the classic adventure 1951 film ''
The African QueenThe African Queen may refer to: Horticulture * African Queen, a cultivar of ''Osteospermum'', a member of the sunflower family Vessels * African Queen (boat), the vessel used in the 1951 film "The African Queen" * African Queen (ship), including a ...
''. However, actors were not the only creators of the world of Classic Hollywood. Also listed are important producers, directors, choreographers, costume designers, portrait photographers and hair stylists of the era. *
Carl Laemmle Carl Laemmle (; born Karl Lämmle; January 17, 1867 – September 24, 1939) was a German-American film producer and the co-founder and, until 1934, owner of Universal Pictures Universal Pictures (legally Universal City Studios LLC, also kn ...
(1867-1939) *
Marie Dressler Marie Dressler (born Leila Marie Koerber, November 9, 1868 – July 28, 1934) was a Canadian stage and screen actress, comedian, and early silent film and Great Depression, Depression-era film star. In 1914, she was in the first full-lengt ...
(1868-1934) *
Adolph Zukor Adolph Zukor (January 7, 1873 – June 10, 1976) was an Austro-Hungarian-born American film producer best known as one of the three founders of Paramount Pictures Paramount Pictures Corporation (common : Par) is an American film and televi ...
(1873–1976) *
D. W. Griffith David Wark Griffith (January 22, 1875 – July 23, 1948) was an American film director. Widely considered as the most important filmmaker of his generation, he pioneered financing of the feature-length movie. His film ''The Birth of a Nation ...
(1875-1948) *
Lionel Barrymore Lionel Barrymore (born Lionel Herbert Blythe; April 28, 1878 – November 15, 1954) was an American actor of stage, screen and radio as well as a film director. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor The Academy Award for Best Actor is an award ...

Lionel Barrymore
(1878–1954) * Cecil B. DeMille (1881–1959) *
Samuel Goldwyn Samuel Goldwyn (born Szmuel Gelbfisz; yi, שמואל געלבפֿיש; August 27, 1882 January 31, 1974), also known as Samuel Goldfish, was a Polish-American Polish Americans ( pl, Polonia amerykańska) are Americans Americans are the ...
(1882–1974) *
Douglas Fairbanks Douglas Elton Fairbanks Sr. (born Douglas Elton Thomas Ullman; May 23, 1883 – December 12, 1939) was an American actor, screenwriter, director, and producer. He was best known for his swashbuckling A swashbuckler is a genre Genre () is ...
(1883–1939) * Louis B. Mayer (1884–1957) *
Wallace Beery Wallace Fitzgerald Beery (April 1, 1885 – April 15, 1949) was an American film and stage actor. He is best known for his portrayal of Bill in '' Min and Bill'' (1930) opposite Marie Dressler, as Long John Silver in ''Treasure Island (1934 film) ...
(1885-1949) *
Sessue Hayakawa Kintarō Hayakawa (; June 10, 1886 – November 23, 1973), known professionally as Sessue Hayakawa (), was a Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_fl ...

Sessue Hayakawa
(1886-1973) *
Michael Curtiz Michael Curtiz ( ; born Manó Kertész Kaminer; December 24, 1886 April 10, 1962) was a Hungarian-born American film director, recognized as one of the most prolific directors in history. He directed classic films from the silent era and nume ...
(1886-1962) *
Henry KingHenry King may refer to: People In order of birth * Henry King (poet) (1592–1669), English poet, Bishop of Chichester * Sir Henry King, 3rd Baronet (1681–1740), Anglo-Irish politician * Henry King (pirate), Henry King (fl. 1699), English pirate c ...
(1886-1982) *
Chico Marx Leonard Joseph "Chico" Marx (; March 22, 1887 – October 11, 1961) was an American comedian, musician, and actor. He was a member of the Marx Brothers The Marx Brothers were an American family comedy act that was successful in vaudeville ...

Chico Marx
(1887–1961) *
Harpo Marx Arthur "Harpo" Marx (born Adolph Marx; November 23, 1888 – September 28, 1964) was an American comedian, actor, mime artist, and musician, and the second-oldest of the Marx Brothers. In contrast to the mainly verbal comedy of his brothers Gr ...

Harpo Marx
(1888–1964) *
Charlie Chaplin Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin Jr. (16 April 188925 December 1977) was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the era of silent film. He became a worldwide icon through his screen persona, the Tramp, and is consider ...

Charlie Chaplin
(1889–1977) *
Victor Fleming Victor Lonzo Fleming (February 23, 1889 – January 6, 1949) was an American film director, cinematographer, and producer. His most popular films were ''Gone with the Wind (film), Gone with the Wind'', for which he won an Academy Award for Best ...
(1889-1949) * Robert Z. Leonard (1889-1968) *
James Whale James Whale (22 July 1889 – 29 May 1957) was an English film director, theatre director and actor, who spent the greater part of his career in Hollywood Hollywood is a neighborhood A neighbourhood (British English, Hiberno-En ...

James Whale
(1889-1957) *
Clarence Brown Clarence Leon Brown (May 10, 1890 – August 17, 1987) was an American film director. Early life Born in Clinton, Massachusetts, to Larkin Harry Brown (1866–1942), a cotton manufacturer, and Katherine Ann Brown (née Gaw; 1865–1954), Brown ...

Clarence Brown
(1890–1987) *
Groucho Marx Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx (; October 2, 1890 – August 19, 1977) was an American comedian, actor, writer, stage, film, radio, and television star. He is generally considered to have been a master of quick wit and one of America's greatest com ...

Groucho Marx
(1890–1977) *
Harry Cohn Harry Cohn (July 23, 1891 – February 27, 1958) was a co-founder, president, and production director of Columbia Pictures, Columbia Pictures Corporation. Life and career Cohn was born to a working-class Jewish family in New York City. His father ...
(1891-1958) *
Edmund Goulding Edmund Goulding (20 March 1891 – 24 December 1959) was a British screenwriter A screenplay writer (also called screenwriter for short), scriptwriter or scenarist, is a writer who practices the craft of screenwriting, writing screenplays o ...
(1891-1959) *
Jack L. Warner Jack Leonard Warner (born Jacob Warner; August 2, 1892 – September 9, 1978) was a Canadian-American film executive who was the president and driving force behind the Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California California is a U.S. sta ...
(1892–1978) *
Ernst Lubitsch Ernst Lubitsch (; January 29, 1892November 30, 1947) was a German-born American film director, producer, writer, and actor. His urbane comedies of manners gave him the reputation of being Hollywood's most elegant and sophisticated director; as ...
(1892-1947) *
William Powell William Horatio Powell (July 29, 1892 – March 5, 1984) was an American actor. A major star at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (also known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, initialized as MGM; often referred to as Met ...
(1892–1984) *
Mary Pickford Gladys Marie Smith (April 8, 1892 – May 29, 1979), known professionally as Mary Pickford, was a Canadian-American film actress and producer with a career that spanned five decades. A pioneer in the American film industry, she co-founded Pic ...

Mary Pickford
(1892–1979) *
Harold Lloyd Harold Clayton Lloyd Sr. (April 20, 1893 – March 8, 1971) was an American actor, comedian, and stunt performer who appeared in many Silent film, silent comedy films.Obituary ''Variety Obituaries, Variety'', March 10, 1971, page 55. Llo ...

Harold Lloyd
(1893-1971) *
Mae West Mae West (born Mary Jane West; August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980) was an American stage and film actress, playwright, screenwriter, singer, and sex symbol A sex symbol is a person or character widely considered Sexual attraction, sexu ...
(1893–1980) *
Lillian Gish Lillian Diana Gish (October 14, 1893February 27, 1993) was an American pioneering actress of the screen and stage, and a director and writer. Her film acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912, in silent film A silent film is a film with no s ...

Lillian Gish
(1893–1993) *
Hattie McDaniel Hattie McDaniel (June 10, 1893October 26, 1952) was an American actress, singer-songwriter, and comedian. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as "Mammy” in '' Gone with the Wind'' (1939), becoming the first Afric ...
(1893–1952) *
Edward G. Robinson Edward G. Robinson (born Emanuel Goldenberg; ; December 12, 1893January 26, 1973) was a Romanian American, Romanian-born American actor of stage and screen during Classical Hollywood cinema, Hollywood's Golden Age. He appeared in 30 Broadway pla ...

Edward G. Robinson
(1893–1973) *
Norma Talmadge Norma Marie Talmadge (May 2, 1894 – December 24, 1957) was an American actress and film producer of the silent era. A major box-office draw for more than a decade, her career reached a peak in the early 1920s, when she ranked among the most popu ...

Norma Talmadge
(1894-1957) *
John Ford John Martin Feeney (February 1, 1894 – August 31, 1973), known professionally as John Ford, was an American film director and naval officer. He is renowned both for Western (genre), Westerns such as ''Stagecoach (1939 film), Stagecoach'' (19 ...

John Ford
(1894–1973) *
King Vidor King Wallis Vidor (; February 8, 1894 – November 1, 1982) was an American film director, film producer, and screenwriter whose 67-year film-making career successfully spanned the silent and sound eras. His works are distinguished by a vivid, ...
(1894–1982) *
Josef von Sternberg Josef von Sternberg (; born Jonas Sternberg; 29 May 1894 – 22 December 1969) was an Austrian-American filmmaker whose career successfully spanned the transition from the Silent film, silent to the Sound film, sound era, during which he worked w ...
(1894-1969) *
Travis Banton Travis Banton (August 18, 1894 – February 2, 1958) was an American costume designer. He is perhaps best known for his long collaboration with actress Marlene Dietrich Marie Magdalene "Marlene" DietrichBorn as Maria Magdalena, not Marie Magd ...
(1894-1958) *
Rudolph Valentino Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filiberto Guglielmi di Valentina d'Antonguella (May 6, 1895 – August 23, 1926), known professionally as Rudolph Valentino and nicknamed The Latin Lover, was an Italian actor based in the United States who ...

Rudolph Valentino
(1895–1926) *
Buster Keaton Joseph Frank Keaton (October 4, 1895 – February 1, 1966), known professionally as Buster Keaton, was an Americans, American actor, comedian, film director, producer, screenwriter, and stunt performer. He is best known for his silent films, in w ...

Buster Keaton
(1895–1966) *
Lewis Milestone Lewis Milestone (born Leib Milstein (Russian: Лейб Мильштейн); September 30, 1895 – September 25, 1980) was a Russian-American Russian Americans ( rus, ру́сские америка́нцы, links= y, r= rússkiye amerikántsy ...
(1895-1980) *
Busby Berkeley Busby Berkeley (born Berkeley William Enos; November 29, 1895 – March 14, 1976) was an American film director and musical film, musical choreographer. Berkeley devised elaborate musical production numbers that often involved complex geometric ...
(1895-1976) * José Mojica (1895–1974) *Clarence Sinclair Bull (1896-1979) *Marion Davies (1897-1961) *Hal B. Wallis (1898-1986) *Henry Hathaway (1898-1985) *Mitchell Leisen (1898-1972) *Irene Dunne (1898–1990) *Randolph Scott (1898-1987) *Fred Astaire (1899–1987) *Gloria Swanson (1899–1983) *Colleen Moore (1899-1988) *Irving Thalberg (1899-1936) *James Cagney (1899–1986) *
Alfred Hitchcock Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was an English film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is one of the most influential and widely studied filmmakers in the history of cinema. Known as the "Master of S ...
(1899–1980) *
Humphrey Bogart Humphrey DeForest Bogart (; December 25, 1899 – January 14, 1957), nicknamed Bogie, was an American film and stage actor. His performances in Classical Hollywood cinema Classical Hollywood cinema is a term used in film criticism Film c ...
(1899–1957) *George Cukor (1899–1983) *Ramon Novarro (1899–1968) *Spencer Tracy (1900–1967) *Jean Arthur (1900–1991) *Helen Hayes (1900–1993) *Mervyn LeRoy (1900–1987) *Clark Gable (1901–1960) *Gary Cooper (1901–1961) *Marlene Dietrich (1901–1992) *Walt Disney (1901–1966) *Irene (costume designer), Irene (1901-1962) *Darryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979) *David O. Selznick (1902-1965) *William Wyler (1902–1981) *Norma Shearer (1902–1983) *Walter Plunkett (1902-1982) *Bing Crosby (1903–1977) *Bob Hope (1903–2003) *Claudette Colbert (1903–1996) *Adrian (costume designer), Adrian (1903-1959) *Vincente Minnelli (1903–1986) *Joan Crawford (1904–1977) *Cary Grant (1904–1986) *Dolores del Rio (1904–1983) *George Stevens (1904–1975) *Greer Garson (1904–1996) *Helen Rose (1904-1985) *George Hurrell (1904-1992) *Clara Bow (1905–1965) *Henry Fonda (1905–1982) *Greta Garbo (1905–1990) *Myrna Loy (1905–1993) *Anna May Wong (1905-1961) *Louise Brooks (1906-1985) *Janet Gaynor (1906-1984) *Billy Wilder (1906–2002) *John Huston (1906–1987) *Fred Zinnemann (1907–1997) *
Katharine Hepburn Katharine Houghton Hepburn (May 12, 1907 – June 29, 2003) was an American actress of film, stage and television. Hepburn's career as a Hollywood leading lady spanned over 60 years. She was known for her headstrong independence, spirited ...
(1907–2003) *Laurence Olivier (1907–1989) *John Wayne (1907–1979) *Rosalind Russell (1907–1976) *Barbara Stanwyck (1907–1990) *Sydney Guilaroff (1907-1997) *Jean Louis (1907-1997) *Bette Davis (1908–1989) *Carole Lombard (1908–1942) *David Lean (1908–1991) *James Stewart (1908–1997) *Lupe Vélez (1908–1944) *Rex Harrison (1908–1990) *Tito Guízar (1908–1999) *Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (1909–2000) *Errol Flynn (1909-1959) *Carmen Miranda (1909-1955) *Hermes Pan (1909-1990) *Elia Kazan (1909–2003) *Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1909–1993) *David Niven (1910-1983) *Luise Rainer (1910-2014) *Irene Sharaff (1910-1993) *Vincent Price (1911–1993) *Jean Harlow (1911–1937) *Ginger Rogers (1911–1995) *Gene Kelly (1912–1996) *Vivien Leigh (1913–1967) *Burt Lancaster (1913–1994) *Loretta Young (1913-2000) *Tyrone Power (1914-1958) *Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) *
Orson Welles George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) was an American director, actor, screenwriter, and producer who is remembered for his innovative work in radio, theatre and film. He is considered to be among the greatest and most in ...

Orson Welles
(1915–1985) *Ingrid Bergman (1915–1982) *Frank Sinatra (1915–1998) *Anthony Quinn (1915–2001) *Alice Faye (1915-1998) *Betty Grable (1916–1973) *Gregory Peck (1916–2003) *Olivia de Havilland (1916–2020) *Kirk Douglas (1916–2020) *Van Johnson (1916-2008) *Jane Wyman (1917–2007) *Joan Fontaine (1917–2013) *June Allyson (1917-2006) *Lena Horne (1917–2010) *Robert Mitchum (1917–1997) *Susan Hayward (1917–1975) *William Holden (1918–1981) *Rita Hayworth (1918–1987) *Jennifer Jones (1919–2009) *Mickey Rooney (1920–2014) *Maureen O'Hara (1920–2015) *Gene Tierney (1920–1991) *Montgomery Clift (1920–1966) *Ricardo Montalbán (1920-2009) *Shelley Winters (1920–2006) *Yul Brynner (1920-1985) *Esther Williams (1921–2013) *Deborah Kerr (1921–2007) *Jane Russell (1921–2011) *Cyd Charisse (1921–2008) *Lana Turner (1921–1995) *Dorothy Dandridge (1922-1965) *Doris Day (1922–2019) *Judy Garland (1922–1969) *Ava Gardner (1922–1990) *Charlton Heston (1923–2008) *Marlon Brando (1924–2004) *Lauren Bacall (1924–2014) *Stanley Donen (1924-2019) *Katy Jurado (1924–2002) *Jack Lemmon (1925–2001) *Paul Newman (1925–2008) *Rock Hudson (1925–1985) *Tony Curtis (1925–2010) *Marilyn Monroe (1926–1962) * Janet Leigh (1927–2004) *Shirley Temple (1928–2014) *Audrey Hepburn (1929–1993) *Grace Kelly (1929–1982) *James Dean (1931–1955) *Elizabeth Taylor (1932–2011) *Debbie Reynolds (1932–2016) *Natalie Wood (1938–1981)


Notable living actors from Classical Hollywood

Those listed in bold were either awarded a position or nominated on the American Film Institute's list ranking the top 25 male and 25 female greatest screen legends of American film history. See. AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars. * Marsha Hunt (actress, born 1917), Marsha Hunt – born 1917 (age ) * Caren Marsh Doll – born 1919 (age ) * Margia Dean – born 1922 (age ) * Janis Paige – born 1922 (age ) * Glynis Johns – born 1923 (age ) * Eva Marie Saint – born 1924 (age ) * Angela Lansbury – born 1925 (age ) * Carleton Carpenter – born 1926 (age ) * Irene Papas – born 1926 (age ) * Terry Kilburn – born 1926 (age ) * Sidney Poitier – born 1927 (age ) * Harry Belafonte – born 1927 (age ) * Gina Lollobrigida – born 1927 (age ) * Nancy Olson – born 1928 (age ) * Ann Blyth – born 1928 (age ) * Terry Moore (actress), Terry Moore – born 1929 (age ) * Vera Miles – born 1929 (age ) * Tippi Hedren – born 1930 (age ) * Joanne Woodward – born 1930 (age ) * Mamie Van Doren – born 1931 (age ) * Claire Bloom – born 1931 (age ) * Carroll Baker – born 1931 (age ) * Leslie Caron – born 1931 (age ) * Mitzi Gaynor – born 1931 (age ) * Angie Dickinson – born 1931 (age ) * Rita Moreno – born 1931 (age ) *Piper Laurie – born 1932 (age ) * Joan Collins – born 1933 (age ) * Kim Novak – born 1933 (age ) * Shirley MacLaine – born 1934 (age ) * Sophia Loren – born 1934 (age ) * Margaret O'Brien – born 1937 (age )


See also

*
New Hollywood The New Hollywood, also referred to as the American New Wave or sometimes called the Hollywood Renaissance, refers to a movement in American film history from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s, when a new generation of young filmmakers came to prom ...
– overlapping/succeeding age from 1965 to 1983 * Golden Age of Television – overlapping age from 1947 to 1957 * Golden age of American animation – overlapping age from 1928 to 1969 * Poverty Row – B movies during this era * Maximalist film, Maximalist and minimalist film, minimalist cinema * Modernist film


References


Further reading

* * * Fawell, John. (2008) ''The Hidden Art of Hollywood''. Westport Conn.: Praeger Press. * * *


External links

* David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson
"Happy Birthday, classical cinema!"
December 28, 2007. Analysis of classical continuity in narrative film from 1917 to this day.


The Golden Age of Hollywood: Crash Course Film History #11 by Crash Course on YouTube
{{Modernism 1910s in film 1920s in film 1930s in film 1940s in film 1950s in film 1960s in film 20th century in American cinema Cinema of the United States Film genres particular to the United States Film styles Hollywood history and culture Modern art