Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 1969

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

The Year 1969
Year
Event and Significance
1969
Midnight Cowboy (1969), starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight, became the only X-rated picture to ever win an Oscar for Best Picture (the rating was later changed to an R). More and more mainstream films contained sexual content that was unacceptable only a few years earlier.
1969
Stand-up comic, writer and part-time actor Woody Allen made his directorial feature film debut in the comedy Take the Money And Run (1969), serving as the film's director, actor, and co-scriptwriter. He had shared directorial duties for an earlier film, What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966), composed of rearranged and redubbed scenes from two Japanese spy films.
1969
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) was the first (and last) film with Australian-born actor George Lazenby as Agent 007, the youngest (at age 29) of the actors to portray Bond at the time of filming. This was the only film in which Bond married one of his romantic conquests - although his bride was murdered in a drive-by shooting shortly afterwards on her wedding day by villain Blofeld's assistant Irma Bunt (Ilse Steppat).
1969
ABC-TV programmer Barry Diller created "The Movie of the Week." By 1971, ABC was airing Tuesday and Wednesday night versions.
1969
Sony introduced a new device -- the videocassette recorder (VCR) for home use.
1969
Kinney National Company, a New York conglomerate whose interests included parking lots and funeral homes, acquired Warner-Seven Arts and in 1972 renamed the company Warner Communications Inc.
1969
Director Costa-Gavras' French-Algerian co-produced thriller Z (1969) received the Oscar as the Best Foreign Language Film by the Academy. It was also the first nominee in the Best Foreign Language Film category to be nominated for Best Picture.
1969
After her last film, Fox's Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949), former child star Shirley Temple entered politics after raising a family - she was appointed U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Later, she served as U.S. ambassador to Ghana (1974-1976) and Czechoslovakia (1989), and during the late 70s was the U.S. Chief of Protocol.
1969
Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather was published in March of 1969, becoming the basis for director Francis Ford Coppola's monumental duo of Godfather films in the 1970s: The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather, Part 2 (1974).
1969
The first of four theatrical feature film releases based on the popular Peanuts comic strip characters created by Charles Schulz, the animated A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969), appeared - directed by Bill Melendez. The other three feature films were: Snoopy, Come Home (1972), Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977), and Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (1980).
1969
The establishment of the "First Artists Production Company" was an attempt by Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman, and Barbra Streisand to form their own studio and control their own projects. Steve McQueen joined in 1971 (and later Dustin Hoffman in 1976). The first effort of the short-lived studio (until 1980 when the company was sold) was Streisand's own Up the Sandbox (1972). [Streisand's other two films for First Artists were A Star is Born (1976) and The Main Event (1979).] Approximately two dozen films and television shows were produced by First Artists, among them Paul Newman's The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) and Steve McQueen's The Getaway (1972).
1969
A new wave of independent film-making in Hollywood (dubbed "The New Hollywood") was signaled by Dennis Hopper's anti-Establishment release of the low-budget "road film" Easy Rider (1969). Its phenomenal success shook up the major Hollywood studios, and spawned many imitators - as well as made supporting actor Jack Nicholson a star. This movement was termed Hollywood's New Wave (fashioned after the earlier French New Wave), and would last through the next decade. Hopper's next experimental film The Last Movie (1971) was less successful, both commercially and critically, and sounded a death-knell for his own ambitious film-making efforts.
1969
Sam Peckinpah's ultra-violent western The Wild Bunch (1969) was exceptional for its non-glorification of bloodshed, and its slow-motion, heavily-edited, stylized views of multiple deaths -- it was influential for other filmmakers ranging from Martin Scorsese to John Woo to Quentin Tarantino in years to come. Due to its violence, the film was originally threatened with an X-rating by the newly-created MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), but an R-rating was its final decision. A so-called 'director's cut' version of the film, threatened with an NC-17 rating when submitted to the MPAA ratings board in 1993 prior to a re-release in 1994, held up the film's re-release for many months.
1969
Director Roman Polanski's 26 year-old pregnant wife/actress Sharon Tate was brutally murdered with four others in her Hollywood Hills home, by members of Charles Manson's 'Family.' The accused were convicted of the heinous crime in 1971 and ultimately sentenced to life in prison.
1969
Iconic 61 year-old western films actor John Wayne - after an almost forty year career - received his first and only Academy Award - Best Actor - (presented in 1970) for his role as feisty, drunken gunfighter Marshall Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn in True Grit (1969). He was previously nominated for his performance in Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) and as producer of Best Picture nominee The Alamo (1960).
1969
MGM musical star Judy Garland died at the age of 47 on June 22, 1969 in her London home, from the eventual effects of a life-long addiction to prescription drugs - an accidental overdose. Her life was marked by five marriages (and four divorces), suicide attempts, and numerous personal problems. She was best known for her roles as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz (1939), her three teamings with Mickey Rooney in a series of Andy Hardy films (in 1938, 1940, and 1941) and other musicals such as Babes in Arms (1939), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Easter Parade (1948), The Harvey Girls (1946), and a comeback performance in A Star is Born (1954) - for which she received her first and only Best Actress nomination (and lost to Grace Kelly for The Country Girl (1954)).
1969
African-American film-maker and cinematographer Gordon Parks directed his own autobiographical The Learning Tree (1969), and became the first black director of a major feature film for a major US studio. This laid the groundwork for Parks' next film -- the landmark blaxploitation action film Shaft (1971) with Richard Roundtree - a very successful cross-over film.
1969
English-born actor Boris Karloff (aka William H. Pratt) died at the age of 81 in his native England, of pneumonia. The star-making role of his career was in Universal's horror classic Frankenstein (1931), in which he was cast as The Monster. He reprised his role in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Son of Frankenstein (1939). Another iconic role was as the ancient Egyptian priest Imhotep in The Mummy (1932). He also appeared in Howard Hawks' Scarface (1932), and The Black Cat (1934) opposite Bela Lugosi.
1969
A three-day rock music festival, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, simply dubbed Woodstock, occurred in a large farming field in upstate New York in August of 1969, attracting 400,000 young people for an outdoor concert marked by drug use, nudity, food shortages and profanity, as well as superb performances by the rock stars of the era. The landmark concert was captured in director Michael Wadleigh's successful widescreen (and split-screen) rockumentary Woodstock: 3 Days of Love & Music (1970) - winning the Best Documentary Academy Award.
1969
For her performance in director Ken Russell's Women in Love (1969, UK), actress Glenda Jackson became one of the earliest performers to win an Academy Award for Best Actress (presented in 1971) for a role in which she appeared significantly nude. [Jackson was pregnant during the film shoot and commented about how her breasts ("wonderful bosom") had never before been so full.] The first Oscar-winning performance for a short, backside nude scene was for Julie Christie's portrayal of Diana Scott in Darling (1965, UK). It was also one of the first films to feature male full-frontal nudity in the wrestling scene between Oliver Reed and Alan Bates.
1969
The satirical sex comedy Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969) was the successful debut film of writer/director Paul Mazursky. It reflected the 'free love' era of the late 60s sexual revolution and the notion of bed-hopping-swinging. The film was noted for its publicity - a view of couples in bed together readied to experience group sex. The two couples were Bob and Carol Sanders (Robert Culp and Natalie Wood) and Ted and Alice Henderson (Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon). It also featured music of the period including one of the 1960’s most popular singles -- Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s "What the World Needs Now Is Love."
1969
The sexploitation film The Stewardesses (1969) was the first soft-core (actually hard-core adult film) 3D (Stereovision) feature film. The sex comedy was first shown in 1969 and unique for any film, it was reshot and edited as it was shown for a few more years. It became the most profitable 3-D film in history (a budget of $100K brought in box-office of approx. $25-30 million), although eventually superseded by Avatar (2009). It was originally released with a self-imposed X-rating (although it was actually only soft-core), then re-cut for an R, and finally released again later as a porno film with hardcore inserts of completely different actors.
1969
There were two influential TV program debuts in 1969: the first episode of "Monty Python’s Flying Circus" debuted on BBC One on October 5, 1969 - the original surreal sketch comedy showcase for the Monty Python troupe, and the children's TV show "Sesame Street" made its broadcast debut on PBS-TV on November 10, 1969, including Jim Henson's Muppets.
1969
On December 6, 1969, hundreds of thousands of people gathered at the Altamont Speedway in Northern California for a free concert headlined by the Rolling Stones. It was mostly remembered for the violence that erupted, including the onstage killing of a gun-wielding teenager by a member of the Hells Angels (serving as the security force), captured and documented in the film Gimme Shelter (1970).


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