First Movie in the world-The Great Train Robbery (1903)


In 1903, an employee of Thomas Edison’s motion picture company produced a first movie in the world. It was called The Great Train Robbery. It told a simple story of a group of western criminals who steal money from a train. Later they are killed by a group of police in a gunfight. The movie was extremely popular.

The First movie(Great Train Robbery) was directed and photographed by Edwin S. Porter – a former Thomas Edison cameraman. It was a primitive one-reeler action picture, about 10 minutes long, with 14-scenes, filmed in November 1903 – not in the western expanse of Wyoming but on the East Coast in various locales in New Jersey (at Edison’s New York studio, at Essex County Park in New Jersey, and along the Lackawanna railroad).The film was originally advertised as “a faithful duplication of the genuine ‘Hold Ups’ made famous by various outlaw bands in the far West.”

The plot of the world’s first movie was inspired by a true event that occurred on August 29, 1900, when four members of George Leroy Parker’s (Butch Cassidy) ‘Hole in the Wall’ gang halted the No. 3 train on the Union Pacific Railroad tracks toward Table Rock, Wyoming. The bandits forced the conductor to uncouple the passenger cars from the rest of the train and then blew up the safe in the mail car to escape with about $5,000 in cash.

Many innovative techniques were used in the thin first movie, many of them for the first time, including parallel editing, minor camera movement, location shooting and less stage-bound camera placement. Jump-cuts or cross-cuts were a new, sophisticated editing technique, showing two separate lines of action or events happening continuously at identical times but in different places.

In the film’s fourteen scenes, a narrative story with multiple plot lines was told – with elements that were copied repeatedly afterwards by future westerns – of a train holdup with six-shooters, a daring robbery accompanied by violence and death, a hastily-assembled posse’s chase on horseback after the fleeing bandits, and the apprehension of the desperadoes after a showdown in the woods. The steam locomotive always provided a point of reference from different filming perspectives. The first cowboy star, Gilbert M. ‘Broncho Billy’ Anderson played several roles: a bandit, a wounded passenger, and a tenderfoot dancer.

Share ur view in comments: Do you like watching old movies? What is your favorite old movie?

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Cynthia Levin
Cynthia Levin
2 years ago

“First movie”???????? Ummmmmmm…not even close. ‘Miss Jenny’ from 1894 is likely the first movie by definition.