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An early film being shownAn early film being shown In 1895 two French brothers, Louis and Auguste Lumière, showed moving pictures to a paying audience. Their groundbreaking invention, the Cinématographe, could record pictures on to film, and then project them on to a screen for viewing. Audiences watched movies of people leaving their work at a factory, and a train pulling into a station. A multi-billion-dollar industry, as well as a dynamic new art form, has grown up from these small beginnings in only a little more than a century.

Filmmakers shooting a drama in the early days Filmmakers shooting a drama in the early days

The birth of movies

Early movies were only a few minutes long, and in black and white. These "silent movies" had no sound, but a pianist beside the screen played background music. Soon cinemas started up, such as the early Nickelodeons in the USA, where it cost five cents (a nickel) for a ticket.

In time, movies became longer with more exciting storylines and characters. The first full-length movie, called a "feature film", was made in 1914. It was a Western (cowboy drama) called The Squaw Man. In France, Charles Pathé showed newsreels—short documentaries about the events happening at the time—and soon introduced colour instead of black and white.

Mickey Mouse was originally called Mortimer Mouse. He didn’t speak in his first eight movies.

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