ALL-TIME BOX OFFICE (by dollars) The charts below show the top ten movies of  All-Time Box Office, as they would have been calculated at the end of each calendar year. The dollar amounts are for domestic gross only. (U.S. and Canada) Many high-ranking films have been released multiple times over the past century, and the [...]
New York City’s Liberty Theater in 1935

D. W. Griffith’s evil, racist film The Birth of a Nation is widely regarded as the most popular silent movie ever made. I believe this reputation is based on a misinterpretation of its box office records. The Birth of a Nation indeed made an awful lot of money. It had an estimated $18 million gross [...]

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Hollywood. That's no coincidence. The first true blockbuster - the movie that helped create the modern industry - was director D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation. If it had been any other film, [...]

Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler aka Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (1922) dir. Fritz Lang Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse aka The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) dir. Fritz Lang It is impossible to see any movie made during Weimar Republic Germany outside the lens of the rise of Nazism. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, released in [...]

12 Years a Slave (2013) - dir. Steve McQueen Hollywood has released more movies about slavery in ancient Rome than slavery in America. And the rare popular films that do directly discuss the issue, such as Amistad and Lincoln, are more concerned with the political battles fought by the white leading characters than they are [...]

Imitation of Life (1959) dir. Douglas Sirk Imitation of Life could almost be a parody of everything Americans find embarrassing about our social attitudes in the 1950's. The woman who chooses a career over marriage finds herself empty and her family falling apart. The teenage girl listening to records finds herself seduced into a life [...]

Shoah (1985) - dir. Claude Lanzmann The 9 1/2 hour film Shoah consists of eyewitness testimony of those who participated in and were the victims of the slaughter of 6 million European Jews by the Nazi regime.  Claude Lanzmann interviews survivors, former Nazis, train drivers, and neighbors.  There is no archival footage - Lanzmann overlays [...]