Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 1998

Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones and Turning Points
(by decade and year)
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1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999

The Year 1998
Year
Event and Significance
1998
The American Film Institute (AFI) announced its list of the Top 100 American Films of All Time or 100 Years...100 Movies - the start of its annual series, 100 Years.... Orson Welles' classic Citizen Kane (1941) was ranked # 1. Billed as the 10th Anniversary edition in 2007, the chosen list of 100 Greatest American Films from 1998 was revised or updated.
1998
Director Steven Spielberg's and Dreamworks' epic war film of D-Day, Saving Private Ryan (1998), starring Tom Hanks, gave its director his second Best Director Oscar. It was Spielberg's last directed feature film of the 20th century. It was also the highest-grossing (domestic) film of the year, at $216.5 million. The film was noted for its half-hour, spectacularly-bloody, realistically-filmed opening of the Omaha Beach landing. It also inspired dialogue between generations regarding the events of World War II. Younger film-goers became acquainted with the great military sacrifice and horrors of D-Day during WWII. The film's opening Omaha Beach landing scene was especially dramatic, authentic-looking and stirring.
1998
After the FCC approved the digital television standard in late 1996, the first HDTV receivers were introduced to consumers, and HDTV broadcasts began to regularly appear in the US.
1998
Google filed for incorporation in California on September 4, 1998, by Stanford University graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The two opened a bank account with the new company name, and deposited Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim's $100,000 check. By December of 1998, Google had already been recognized by PC Magazine as the search engine of choice.
1998
Consumers modified their movie-watching practices when Netflix, a revolutionary online DVD movie rental service established in 1997, first began to offer postal shipping of rented DVDs on its website to subscribers in 1998. Netflix was the first subscription service to also offer online video downloading/streaming of rental movies directly onto one's computer screen. Early on, Netflix experienced competition (and market-share business) from brick-and-mortar video rental stores Blockbuster and Wal-Mart, and then from cheap $1 DVD-rental kiosks or automated vending machines in grocery and discount stores. A changing landscape of digital movie delivery forced Netflix to also team up with consumer electronic companies to provide a range of devices that can instantly stream films, including TV shows, to Netflix members' TVs and other devices. It faced further competition with other video on demand (VOD) services available from cable and satellite companies and from Web giants.
1998
Miramax turned its release Life Is Beautiful (1997, It.), the wildly successful, bittersweet, comedy-drama Italian Holocaust fable, into the most successful foreign-language film in US history, up to that time. It was the first foreign language film to receive seven Academy Awards nominations - the most-honored foreign-language film in Oscar history up to that time (until surpassed by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) with 10 nominations). In 1998, the film had three wins (awarded in 1999) - and was the first film since Z (1969) to be nominated for both Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film. Its three wins were for Best Actor (for Roberto Benigni), Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Dramatic Score. Miramax backed both Life is Beautiful (as distributor) and Shakespeare in Love (as producer) with millions of dollars in an expensive publicity blitz before Oscar time, and their aggressive efforts paid off handsomely - with a total of 20 nominations between the two films (and 10 wins, including Best Picture).
1998
Bruce Willis became the first prominent actor to act in a Sony PlayStation arcade-style game when he had his voice and movements digitized for the action-oriented, shoot-'em-up Apocalypse game published by Activision.
1998
The Farrelly Brothers' audacious, gross-out, and bad-taste R-rated comedy There's Something About Mary (1998) was an unexpected hit (due in part to its widely-advertised 'hair-gel' scene between its two relatively unknown stars: Ben Stiller and Cameron Diaz), eventually earning $176.4 million (domestic). Comic actor Ben Stiller created a loser-persona that remained his trademark. The film was the precursor to even cruder teen films such as the R-rated American Pie films (1999 and 2001), and other successful non-PC films such as The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005).
1998
Wes Anderson's coming-of-age comedy Rushmore (1998) told of a love triangle between a rich, middle aged businessman (Bill Murray), a widowed elementary schoolteacher (Olivia Williams), and an eccentric Rushmore Academy student (Jason Schwartzman). The film launched comedian Murray's 'second' career as a serious actor in independent films.
1998
Cheyenne-Arapaho director Chris Eyre's road comedy Smoke Signals (1998) was the first commercially-released American feature that was written, directed, and co-produced by Native Americans.
1998
The Last Broadcast (1998) was the first film to be directly broadcast into theatres via satellite for its premiere screening (to five US theatres) on October 23, 1998 - and shown on digital cinema projectors. It was also the first feature-length video 'film' to be made entirely digitally (in its filming, editing, and screening, using personal, consumer-level digital video equipment) - without the use of celluloid film. Its theatrical debut was less than three months before The Blair Witch Project (1999) was shown at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival - with a similar storyline told in faux documentary style.
1998
DreamWorks' Antz (1998) was the first computer-animated film to receive a PG rating. It was also the first computer-animated feature film to use computer software to simulate the properties of water -- hence, digital water.
1998
"King of the Cowboys" (after Gene Autry) and B-western film acting star Roy Rogers died at the age of 86, of heart failure. He appeared as the singing star of radio and television (The Roy Rogers Show) and film, often with cowgirl/wife Dale Evans, partner "Gabby" Hayes, and his palomino horse Trigger. He was most known for the song "Happy Trails to You."
1998
Blaxploitation cinema experienced a revival in the late 1990s, with Larry Cohen's Original Gangstas (1996), reuniting stars from the earlier era. The director of Pulp Fiction (1994), Quentin Tarantino, paid homage to the blaxploitation genre with Jackie Brown (1998), starring Pam Grier - it was released 27 years after Melvin Van Peebles' groundbreaking Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song! (1971).
1998
The big-budgeted science-fiction monster film Godzilla (1998) from director Roland Emmerich was a major CGI remake of Ishiro Honda's classic original film Godzilla (1954, Jp.) (aka Gojira). With a massive production budget of $130 million and star-power with Matthew Broderick, it was received mostly negatively, and grossed only $136.3 million (domestic) and $379 million (worldwide). It did not lead to a sequel by Emmerich. It was nominated for five Razzie Awards (including Worst Director, Worst Picture, and Worst Screenplay) and won two (Worst Supporting Actress - Maria Pitillo, and Worst Remake or Sequel - tied with Psycho (1998) and The Avengers (1998)). The next film in the franchise would be the campy Godzilla 2000 (1999, Jp.), followed many years later by director Gareth Edwards' Godzilla (2014) starring Bryan Cranston.
1998
Legendary singer and actor Frank Sinatra died at the age of 82 following heart attacks. His acting career further blossomed after he received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Maggio in From Here to Eternity (1953). He was also nominated as Best Actor for The Man With the Golden Arm (1955), and received praise for his dramatic role in The Manchurian Candidate (1962). He was the leader of Hollywood's "Rat Pack" in the early 1960s with Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. He also appeared in musicals such as On the Town (1949), Guys and Dolls (1955), High Society (1956), and Pal Joey (1957).
1998
Acclaimed and influential Japanese director/producer/writer Akira Kurosawa, the most celebrated Japanese filmmaker of all-time, died at the age of 88. His most exceptional films included his breakthrough film Rashomon (1950), Ikiru (1952), Seven Samurai (1954) (the basis for The Magnificent Seven (1960)), Throne of Blood (1957), The Hidden Fortress (1958), Yojimbo (1961) (remade as A Fistful of Dollars (1964)), Sanjuro (1962), Kagemusha (1980), and Ran (1985).


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