Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 2021

Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones and Turning Points
(by decade and year)
Introduction | Pre-1900s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s
1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s | 2020s
2020, 2021

The Year 2021
Year
Event and Significance
2021
Acclaimed actor Hal Halbrook died at the age of 95 on January 23, 2021. His most honored character role was playing Mark Twain in a one-man stage show - a signature performance. Films he starred in included All the President's Men (1976) as Deep Throat, and Into the Wild (2007).
2021
Cloris Leachman died at the age of 94 on January 27, 2021. She had a memorable Best Supporting Actress role as Ruth Popper in The Last Picture Show (1971), and also starred in Young Frankenstein (1974) as Frau Blücher. She also had a bit role in the opening of the classic film noir Kiss Me Deadly (1955).
2021
Canadian actor Christopher Plummer died at the age of 91 on February 5, 2021. His most well-remembered and notable performance was opposite Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music (1965). Plummer also had roles in The Man Who Would Be King (1975), The Insider (1999), and The Last Station (2009), among others. He had two notable Academy Award-related honors. At the age of 82, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Beginners (2010), becoming the oldest person to win an acting award. At the age of 88, he also received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for the crime-thriller All the Money in the World (2017), making him the oldest person to be nominated in an acting category.
2021
The 93rd Academy Awards were scheduled about two months later than usual, broadcast on April 25, 2021, to allow for a longer eligibility period for films (from January 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021), due to the COVID-pandemic. Nominations were scheduled for March 15, 2021.
2021
Due to the unpredictable pandemic, release dates for films were still being revised and adjusted. Some release dates for films to be traditionally shown in theatres changed, while some movies were being released to streaming services (Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and Disney +, for example). With almost 65% of US movie cinema houses closed in the early part of the year (while markets in LA and NYC remained locked down), it was difficult to justify a theatre-release for many films. Most of the major blockbuster releases were scheduled for the summer of 2021. Some films were released as hybrids - simultaneously on a subscription streaming service and in movie-houses.
2021
MGM's next Bond film, No Time to Die (2021), the 25th, has been rescheduled multiple times - first it was pushed from April 2020 to November 2020, and then rescheduled for the spring of 2021 (on April 2, 2021), although its ultimate play date remained fluid.
2021
The latest example of renewed scrutiny of classic films from the past occurred when Disney+ removed several movies from its streaming service, including animated features Dumbo (1941), Peter Pan (1953), and The Aristocats (1970), and the live-action Swiss Family Robinson (1960). The fore mentioned films were restricted from children's (kids) profiles (under age 7) because of negative depictions and outdated stereotypes. Young children could no longer access the films without parental consent. Earlier, Disney had placed 10-12 second content warnings for the unedited films, citing: "This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people and cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together." In Dumbo (1941), Disney explained that the crows (led by Jim Crow) and their musical number referenced racist minstrel shows. In Peter Pan (1953), the complaint was about the portrayal of Native peoples (referred to as 'redskins'). In Disney's 20th feature film animation, The Aristocats (1970), the last animated feature to be approved by Walt Disney himself, the main argument was against a Siamese cat that was portrayed with an East Asian caricature. And Swiss Family Robinson (1960) was criticized for its depiction of menacing, dark-faced and foreign pirates - deemed barbaric and stereotypical.
2021
The so-called 'cancel culture' movement to reassess problematic cultural images was evidenced by the WarnerMedia-owned cable channel Turner Classic Movies (TCM). It was announced that the channel's primetime programming on Thursdays (in the month of March 2021) would start a new series titled: "Reframed: Classic Films In The Rearview Mirror." Before airing 18 selected (and much-loved) culturally-significant classic films (from the 1920s to the 1960s), host-commentators would introduce each film and explain its cultural and historical context. The main issues were with alleged racism, sexism, portrayals of LGBTQ issues and more. It was cited that "We often see problems now that we might not have seen when they were made, whether it's about race, gender or LGBT issues." The films to be aired included The Jazz Singer (1927), Tarzan the Ape Man (1932), the Astaire-Rogers dance musical Swing Time (1936) (with a blackface number), Gone With the Wind (1939), The Four Feathers (1939), Gunga Din (1939), Stagecoach (1939), the Tracy-Hepburn comedy Woman of the Year (1942), Dragon Seed (1944), Sinbad the Sailor (1947), Hitchcock's Rope (1948), Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (1954), John Ford's classic John Wayne western The Searchers (1956), Psycho (1960), the romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), The Children's Hour (1961), My Fair Lady (1964), and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967).


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