This month in film history: May 




May 7, 1901
Gary Cooper born. The renowned actor is most famous for his performances in “A Farewell to Arms,” “The Pride of the Yankees,” and “High Noon.”

May 20, 1908
James Stewart born. One of the greatest actors to have ever lived, Stewart is known for portraying the everyman in most of his films, most notably in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “Rear Window.”

May 6, 1915
Orson Welles born. The acclaimed director made Citizen Kane at only 25 years of age, and later was responsible for “Touch of Evil,” “The Lady from Shanghai,” and “F for Fake.”


May 18, 1927
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre opens.

May 15, 1928
The first Mickey Mouse cartoon, Plane Crazy, is released.

May 16, 1929
The inaugural Academy Awards banquet is held. Wings is the first Best Picture winner.

May 31, 1930
Clint Eastwood born. He got his start working on Westerns with Sergio Leone- “A Fistful of Dollars,” “For A Few Dollars More,” “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”- before becoming a director himself, a career move that included his own Western, “Unforgiven,” which yielded him a Best Director Oscar.

May 17, 1936
Dennis Hopper born. The iconoclast filmmaker acted in classics like “Blue Velvet” and “Apocalypse Now,” as well as directed “Easy Rider,” for which he was awarded the Best First Work Award at the Cannes Film Festival.


May 9, 1940
James L. Brooks born. The writer/director is known for making “Terms of Endearment” and “Broadcast News,” as well as producing “The Simpsons.”

May 14, 1944
George Lucas born. The director made a name for himself with “THX-1138” and “American Graffiti” before cashing in with the “Star Wars” series.


May 24, 1974
“Jaws” begins production.

May 10, 1975
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” has its U.S. premiere.

May 25, 1977
“Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope “(then simply titled Star Wars) premieres.


May 21, 1980
“Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” premieres.

May 23, 1980
“The Shining” premieres.

May 19, 1999
“Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace opens,” earning $28 million its opening day before a mix of disappointment and anger set in.


May 26, 2002
The Cannes Film Festival employed a jury to judge films from 1939, the planned first year of the festival but postponed due to World War II. The retrospective Palme d’Or went to Union Pacific.

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