Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 1966

Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones and Turning Points
(by decade and year)
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1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969

The Year 1966
Year
Event and Significance
1966
Sweeping revisions were made in the Hays Code regarding the standards of decency for films, suggesting restraint in questionable themes, rather than forbidding them completely. In the new code of the Motion Picture Association of America, virtue and the condemnation of sin were still encouraged. However, it eliminated previous prohibitions of "lustful kissing" and "passion that stimulates the base emotions," and permitted certain films to be labeled "recommended for mature audiences."
1966
Originally considered bold and ground-breaking (but now only self-conscious, tame, and dated), the UK Swinging 60s comedy film Georgy Girl (1966) starring Lynn Redgrave as the title character, became the first film to carry the label "suggested for mature audiences" - or M rating, only a month after the Production Code was revised.
1966
The first Matt Helm film, the comic secret agent film The Silencers (1966), starring Dean Martin as the light-hearted super-spy (loosely based on Donald Hamilton's 1960 novel), opened. It was the first of four James Bond spoof films from 1966-1969, including Murderers' Row (1966), The Ambushers (1967), and The Wrecking Crew (1969).
1966
Mike Nichols' directorial debut film was the dramatic Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) adapted from Edward Albee's 1962 play - with only four major characters. Nichols received an Oscar nomination as Best Director, although the ultimate winner was Fred Zinnemann for A Man For all Seasons (1966).
1966
Director Otto Preminger's controversial courtroom drama Anatomy of a Murder (1959) was involved in a court case in 1966 involving whether it should be edited for television and broadcast with commercials. Preminger brought an injunction against Columbia Pictures Corp. and Screen Gems Inc. to prevent them from interrupting the film with commercials when it was televised. Preminger charged that if the film was cut and interrupted by commercials, his reputation would be damaged and its "commercial value challenged." The court ruled that the producer's right to final cutting and editing was limited to a film's theatrical release and not its televised showing.
1966
After an appeal by Warner Bros., Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) became the first film containing profane expletives and frank sexual content (ie., "Hump the Hostess") to receive the MPAA's Production Code seal of approval, although the most extreme profanity was removed (i.e., "Screw you" became "God damn you!"). It was the first American film to use the expletive 'goddamn' and 'bugger'. It was also the first film to be released with an M-rating ("Suggested for Mature Audiences") warning. [The film was noted for its four acting nominations (one for every member of the four-person cast).] The second film to receive an MPAA exemption (and seal of approval) shortly afterwards was Alfie despite the use of the forbidden word "abortion." These exemptions marked the beginning of the breakdown of the existing system of industry self-regulation and censorship, and the relaxing of code standards.
1966
MGM distributed Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up (1966), the director's first non-Italian feature, in defiance of demands that it make cuts. The film was released without a seal of approval. Jane Birkin and Gillian Hills, acting as teenaged groupies in the film, displayed glimpses of full-frontal female nudity, introducing American film audiences to their first view of pubic hair.
1966
Paramount's purchase by Gulf & Western marked the beginning of a trend toward studio ownership by diversified, multi-national conglomerates. It was the first instance of a Hollywood studio being acquired by a corporate conglomerate.
1966
The Legion of Decency changed its official name to the National Catholic Office for Motion Pictures and, in respect to Pope John XXIII's policy of modernizing Catholic thought, announced a more progressive attitude.
1966
The 'Oscars' or Academy Awards ceremony (honoring films of 1965) was the first broadcast of the ceremony in color.
1966
Former actor Ronald Reagan, who had retired two years earlier with his last screen appearance in the post-noir crime thriller The Killers (1964) - his first villainous role - was elected governor of California. He served two four year terms from 1967 - 1975 as the state's 33rd governor.
1966
American comic actor and director Buster Keaton died at the age of 70, due to lung cancer. During his film career stretching from the silents to the talkies, Keaton's trademarks included a porkpie hat, a stoic manner (he was known as "The Great Stone Face") and adept physical comedy. His most notable films included Sherlock, Jr. (1924), The Navigator (1924), The General (1927), and Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928).
1966
The first indigenous African (Senegalese) feature film was writer/director Ousmane Sembene's debut feature-length film Black Girl (1966). It was also regarded as the first sub-Saharan African film from an African filmmaker to receive international attention and acclaim.
1966
The ABC-TV network paid a record $2 million for airing rights to The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) - the screening attracted over 60 million viewers, and set a precedent for higher fees for hit theatrical films sold to television.
1966
The Star Trek TV series had its debut on NBC network television on September 8, 1966 -- this popular and most successful science-fiction series of its kind was extremely influential in future years for various other versions, including the release of a Saturday morning animated version from 1973-74, and the first of many big-budget theatrical feature films in 1979 (there were a total of eleven Star Trek-related feature films by 2009).
1966
The character of Batman made his first appearance in film since two Batman serials in 1943 and 1949, in the feature film Batman (1966). It was a campy, zany, silly, and comical film, spun-off from the 1966-68 TV show, with cheap special effects and tongue-in-cheek humor, starring Adam West as Gotham City's caped crusader Bruce Wayne and Burt Ward as the Boy Wonder Robin (aka Dick Grayson), along with a host of villains. It featured trademark exclamations displayed on the screen, such as "Splat!", "POW!", and "Ouch!"
1966
Famed animator, theme-park originator, multi-Oscar winner, and producer/studio head Walt Disney died at the age of 65 on December 15, 1966, from lung cancer. He was in the process of producing the studio's next animated feature film The Jungle Book (1967). During his career, he had received 59 Academy Award nominations and had received 29 awards, with a record of 4 in one year (1954). One of the persistent untrue urban legends about him was that his body was cryogenically-frozen.
1966
Troubled actor Montgomery Clift died at the age of 45, the result of a heart attack. Ever since a major car accident in 1956, he had suffered from substance abuse, and his self-destructive and unhealthy lifestyle led to his early death. He never won an Oscar, but was nominated three times as Best Actor for The Search (1949), A Place in the Sun (1951), and From Here to Eternity (1953), and once as Best Supporting Actor for Judgment at Nuremberg (1961).


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