This Week in Film History Banner 17th May
This Week in Film History Banner 17th May

17th – 23rd May: Discover This Fascinating Week in Film History

This week we cover the period between 17th – 23rd May as we look back at the the fascinating past of the film industry. We love to celebrate the history of cinema here at More Movies and we really enjoy delving into and highlighting some of the most interesting moments in the world of movies, including milestone releases, births and deaths of the industry’s most notable characters, along with other historic happenings.

23rd May

American actor Douglas Fairbanks Sr., famous for his roles in The Mark of Zorro, The Three Musketeers and Robin Hood, was born in Denver, Colorado
23rd May, 1883

American actor Selmer Jackson, famous for his roles in The Grapes of Wrath and Devil Goddess, was born in Lake Mills, Iowa
17th May, 1888

The first public display of Thomas Edison’s prototype kinetoscope took place in front of members of the National Federation of Women’s Club
20th May, 1891

Italian-American film director Frank Capra, famous for his films It Happened One Night, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It’s a Wonderful Life, was born in Bisacquino, Italy
18th May, 1897

American actress Dorothy Tree, famous for her roles in Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Confessions Of A Nazi Spy and The Asphalt Jungle, was born in Brooklyn, New York
21st May, 1906

English actor Laurence Olivier, famous for his roles in Rebecca, Hamlet and The Jazz Singer, was born in Dorking, Surrey
22nd May, 1907

American actor Jimmy Stewart, famous for his roles in Vertigo, Mr Smith Goes to Washington and It’s a Wonderful Life, was born in Indiana, Pennsylvania
20th May, 1908

The first horror movie, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, premiered in Chicago
21st May, 1908

American actor John Payne, famous for his roles in The Restless Gun, Miracle on 34th Street and Kansas City Confidential, was born in Roanoke, Virginia
23rd May, 1912

British actor Peter Copley, famous for his roles in Victim, Kingdom of Heaven and King & Country, was born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, England
20th May, 1915

Scottish actor James Donald, famous for his roles in The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Vikings and In Which We Serve, was born in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
18th May, 1917

Italian actor Massimo Girotti, famous for his roles in Last Tango in Paris, In the Name of the Law and Theorem, was born in Mogliano, Marche, Italy
18th May, 1918

Walt Disney incorporates his first film company, Laugh-O-Gram Films
23rd May, 1922

American actor Dennis Hopper, famous for his roles in True Grit, Blue Velvet and Easy Rider, was born in Dodge City, Kansas
17th May, 1936

English actor and wrestler Pat Roach, famous for his roles in Conan the Destroyer, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Red Sonja, was born in Birmingham, England
19th May, 1937

American actor Paul Winfield, famous for his roles in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, The Terminator and Mars Attacks!, was born in Los Angeles, California
22nd May, 1941

French professional wrestler André the Giant, famous for his roles in The Princess Bride, Trading Mom and Conan the Destroyer, was born in Grenoble, France
19th May, 1946

American singer and actress Cher, famous for her roles in Burlesque, Moonstruck and The Witches of Eastwick, was born in El Centro, California
20th May, 1946

American actor Mr. T, famous for his roles in Rocky III, D.C. Cab and Spy Hard, was born in Chicago, Illinois
21st May, 1952

American actor Bill Paxton, famous for his roles in Twister, Titanic and True Lies, was born in Fort Worth, Texas
17th May, 1955

Hong Kong actor Yun Fat Chow, famous for his roles in God of Gamblers, A Better Tomorrow and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, was born in Lamma Island, Hong Kong
18th May, 1955

British actor Ronald Colman, famous for his roles in Random Harvest, Lost Horizon and A Double Life, died aged 67
19th May, 1958

American actor Bronson Pinchot, famous for his roles in Beverly Hills Cop, Risky Business and True Romance, was born in New York City
20th May, 1959

American actor and director Nick Cassavetes, famous for his films The Notebook, My Sister’s Keeper and John Q., was born in New York City
21st May, 1959

Silent film actor Pat O’Malley, famous for his voiceover work in The Wind in the Willows, The Jungle Book and 101 Dalmatians, died aged 75
21st May, 1966

American actor Philip Coolidge, famous for his roles in The Sharkfighters, The Tingler and North by Northwest, died of aged 58
23rd May, 1967

American actress and comedian Tina Fey, famous for her roles in Mean Girls, Soul and Date Night, was born in Upper Darby Township, Pennsylvania
18th May, 1970

NBC paid $5 million dollars for rights to show Gone with the Wind one time
17th May, 1975

Danish actor Torben Myer, famous for his roles in The Black Room, Sullivan’s Travels and Judgment at Nuremberg, died aged 90
22nd May, 1975

Smokey & the Bandit, starring Burt Reynolds, Sally Field and Jackie Gleason, premiered in New York City
19th May, 1977

Star Wars Episode V – Empire Strikes Back, produced by George Lucas, opened in cinemas in UK and North America
21st May, 1980

Horror film The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, was released in the U.S.
23rd May, 1980

British actor and author Peter Bull, famous for his roles in The African Queen, Tom Jones and Dr Strangelove, died aged 72
20th May, 1984

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the second in the film series, directed by Stephen Spielberg and produced by George Lucas, starring Harrison Ford, opened in the U.S.
23rd May, 1984

Crime epic Once Upon a Time in America, directed by Sergio Leone and starring Robert De Niro and James Woods, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival
23rd May, 1984

A View to a Kill, the fourteenth James Bond film and the last one to star Roger Moore in the lead role, premiered in San Francisco
22nd May, 1985

President Ronald Reagan awards Jimmy Stewart the Presidential Medal of Freedom and promotes him to Major General on the Retired List
23rd May, 1985

Do the Right Thing, directed by Spike Lee and starring Danny Aiello and Ossie Davis, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival
19th May, 1989

American actor Robert Webber, famous for his roles in 12 Angry Men, The Hired Killer and Hysteria, died aged 64
19th May, 1989

American actor John Holland, famous for his roles in The Naked Brigade, My Fair Lady and Chinatown, died aged 65
21st May, 1993

Braveheart, directed by and starring Mel Gibson premieres at the Seattle Film Festival
18th May, 1995

American actor Elisha Cook Jr, famous for his roles in The Maltese Falcon, Shane and Born to Kill, died aged 91
18th May, 1995

American actress Elizabeth Montgomery, famous for his roles in Johnny Cool, Bewitched and The Victim, died aged 62
18th May, 1995

English actor and entertainer Jon Pertwee, the third Doctor in Doctor Who, famous for his roles in Carry On Cowboy, Just Joe and Ladies Who Do, died aged 76
20th May, 1996

The Lost World: Jurassic Park, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Jeff Goldblum and Julianne Moore, premiered in the U.S.
19th May, 1997

American actor Henry Jones, famous for his roles in The Bad Seed, 3:10 to Yuma and Vertigo, died aged 86
17th May, 1999

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, directed by George Lucas and starring Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Liam Neeson was released in cinemas
19th May, 1999

British stage and screen actor and director Sir John Gielgud, famous for his roles in Arthur, Julius Caesar and The Elephant Man, died aged 96
21st May, 2000

Shrek, starring Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz in voice-over roles, was released in the U.S.
18th May, 2001

Fahrenheit 9/11, directed by Michael Moore, wins the Palme d’Or at the 57th Cannes Film Festival – the first documentary to win.
22nd May, 2004

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, directed by Gore Verbinksi and starring Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom, premieres in Anaheim. It was the most expensive film ($300 million) made at the time.
19th May, 2007

No Country for Old Men, directed by the Coen brothers and starring Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival
19th May, 2007

British actor Roger Moore, the third James Bond, famous for his roles in Live and Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me and A View to a Kill, died aged 89
23rd May, 2017

Well there we have our picks for this week in film history between 17th – 23rd May.

Be sure to check back next week for some more fun film facts and tidbits. If you think we missed something important, be sure to let us know in the comments.

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David Roberts
Dave is a digital content creator, web and software developer and keen filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @drobertsdigital.