A 915 minute documentary film charting the entire history of world cinema. This landmark documentary is the first ever to tell the history of innovation in cinema. Filmed on every continent, it describes the thrill of silent cinema, the emergence of Hollywood and the star system, and the artistic evolution of film in Russia, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Scandinavia and the USA.
How cinema was born – the story of the very first movie stars, close-ups and special effects, and travels to Hollywood to show how it became a myth.
The movies in the roaring twenties, when Hollywood became a glittering entertainment industry, and star directors such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton emerged.
The 1920s was the golden age for world cinema when movie makers were pushing the boundaries of the medium and the emergence of passionate new film movements.
The arrival of sound in the 1930s that changed everything for cinema and the birth of new types of film: screwball comedies, gangster pictures, horror films, westerns and musicals.
How the trauma of war made cinema more daring. The story starts in Italy, and moves to Hollywood, from Orson Welles to the darkening of American film and the drama of the McCarthy era.
The story of sex and melodrama in the movies of the 50s. From James Dean in On the Waterfront and the glossy weepies of the period, but also travels to Egypt, India, China, Mexico, Britain and Japan, where movies were also full of rage and passion.
The explosive story of film in the late 50s and 60s. From Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman and Bernardo Bertolucci - how the new wave swept across Europe.
In Hollywood, Easy Rider and 2001: A Space Odyssey begin a new era in America cinema. In world cinema – examines the films of Roman Polanski, Andrei Tarkvosky and Nagisa Oshima., and Black African cinema is born.
The remarkable story of the maturing of American cinema in the late 60s and 70s. From cinematic icons including The Graduate, Taxi Driver and Chinatown to the birth of Black American cinema.
Movies that tried to change the world in the 70s. From Germany with Wim Wenders, Britain with Ken Loach, the birth of new Australian cinema and the bigger, bolder questions about film were being asked in Africa and South America.
Star Wars, Jaws, The Exorcist and the creation of the multiplexes. From India where Bollywood was doing new things in the 70s and how Bruce Lee movies kick-started the kinetic films of Hong Kong.
With Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in power the 1980s was a decade of protest in the movies. Whilst in Beijing, Chinese cinema blossoms before the Tian'anmen crackdown and in the Soviet Union, the past wells up in astonishing films and the emergence of master director Krzysztof Kieslowski.
World cinema enters a golden age in the 90s. The story starts in Iran with Abbas Kiarostami, who rethought movie making and made it more real. In Japan, Shinji Tsukamoto, lays the ground for the bold new Asian horror cinema.
The brilliant, flashy, playful movies in the English-speaking world in the 90s. From Tarantino's dialogue and the edge of the Coen brothers. Baz Luhrmann talks about Romeo & Juliet and Moulin Rouge!
In the final episode, movies come full circle. They get more serious after 9/11, and Romanian movies come to the fore. Meanwhile, David Lynch's Mulholland Drive becomes one of the most complex dream films ever made and Inception turns film into a game. And the program goes beyond the present, to look at film in the future.