Chinese Civil War resumes between Communist and
Nationalist forces. March 5: Winston Churchill warns
of the descent of an Iron Curtain across Europe.
December 19: French landings in Indochina begin the
First Indochina War. They are resisted by the Viet
Minh communists who want national independence.
War II left the European film industry in ruins. 1946
- Frank Capra's It's
a Wonderful Life premieres. The Best Years of Our
Lives wins the Oscars for Best Picture. The Cannes
Film Festival resumes, with 11 movies from different
countries receiving the Grand Prix du Festival
International du Film. Also released are The Big
Sleep, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall,
Notorious, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary
Grant and Ingrid Bergman.
United States President Harry Truman announces the
Truman Doctrine. The Doctrine states that the USA will
remain committed to "contain" further
communist expansion. June 5: Secretary of State
George Marshall outlines plans for a comprehensive
program of economic assistance for the war-ravaged
countries of Western Europe. It would become known
throughout the world as the Marshall Plan. November
14: The United Nations passes a resolution calling for
the withdrawal of foreign soldiers from Korea.
States House of Representatives of the 80th Congress
votes 346 to 17 to approve citations for contempt of
Congress against the "Hollywood Ten." The
Waldorf Statement is released by the executives of the
United States motion picture industry, marking the
beginning of the Hollywood blacklist. Elia Kazan's
Gentleman's Agreement wins Best Picture and Best
Director. Also released are Black Narcissus, Miracle
on 34th Street, Quai des Orfèvres and Cecil B.
DeMille's Unconquered. The Venice Film Festival
resumes. The year's award is won by Siréna, a
Czechoslovakian film about striking miners.
February 26: The Communist Party takes control in
Czechoslovakia, after President Edvard Bene accepts
the resignation of all non-communist ministers. June
24: Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin orders the blockade
of all land routes from West Germany to Berlin, in an
attempt to starve out the French, British, and
American forces from the city. In response, the three
Western powers launch the Berlin Airlift to supply the
citizens of Berlin by air.
Olivier's Hamlet becomes the first British film to win
the American Academy Award for Best Picture, winning
also the Venice Film Festival's award. Other
releases include The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and
Key Largo, both starring Humphrey Bogart, Johnny
Belinda, starring Jane Wyman and earning her the Best
Actress Oscar, The Red Shoes by Michael Powell and
Emeric Pressburger, Rope by Alfred Hitchcock with
James Stewart, Joan of Arc, starring Ingrid Bergman
and Vittorio de Sica's Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di
4: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) is founded by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France,
the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom,
and the United States, in order to resist Communist
expansion; May 11: The Soviet blockade of Berlin ends
with the re-opening of access routes to Berlin. The
airlift continues until September, in case the Soviets
re-establish the blockade.
Rossen's All the King's Men wins the Academy Awards
for Best Picture, Joseph L. Mankiewicz wins Best
Director for A Letter to Three Wives. Also
released are Sands of Iwo Jima, directed by Allan Dwan,
UK's black comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets. Jacques
Tati releases Jour de Fête. The Cannes Film Festival
Grand Prix du Festival International du Film is
awarded to Carol Reed's The Third Man. The award of
the Venice Film Festival changes its name into the
Golden Lion of St. Mark - the first recipient is
France's Manon, directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot.
Korea invades South Korea, sparking the Korean War.
growth of television prompts the studios and companies
to seek new motivations to put audiences back in
theaters, including epics and new genres, most notably
B movies and science fiction. Samson and Delilah,
produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring
Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr, rules the US box
office. Joseph L. Mankiewicz's All About Eve breaks
Academy Award records by earning 14 nominations. It
wins 6 Awards, including Best Picture and Best
Director. Destination Moon inaugurates a decade
of science-fiction B movies. In Italy, Roberto
Rosselini directs Ingrid Bergman in Stromboli. In
Japan, Akira Kurosawa directs Rashomon.
20: Greece and Turkey join NATO. Churchill and the
Conservative Party re-elected in Britain.
American in Paris wins Best Picture at the Academy
Awards, with Best Director going to George Stevens for
A Place in the Sun, starring Elizabeth Taylor and
Montgomery Clift, Humphrey Bogart winning Best Actor
for John Huston's The African Queen, also starring
Katharine Hepburn, and Vivien Leigh winning Best
Actress for Elia Kazan's A Streetcar Named Desire,
also starring Marlon Brando. The Cannes Film Festival
resumes. Rashomon, directed by Akira Kurosawa, wins
the Golden Lion. The Berlin Film Festival begins.
30: The Marshall Plan ends, with European industrial
output now well above that of 1938. The
United Kingdom successfully tests its atomic bomb in Operation Hurricane. The test makes the UK the
world's third nuclear power. November
1: The United States detonates the world's first hydrogen bomb in Operation
B. DeMille's circus epic, The Greatest Show on Earth
wins the Best Picture Oscar and is #1 at the box
office, followed by Quo Vadis and Ivanhoe. Also
released are The Snows of Kilimanjaro, starring
Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Susan Hayward, 5
Fingers, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, High Noon,
Charles Chaplin's Limelight, Orson Welles' Othello and
musical Singin' in the Rain.
Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes President of the United
States. March 5: Joseph Stalin dies, setting off a
power struggle to succeed him. September 7: Nikita
Khrushchev becomes leader of the Soviet Communist
debuts as the first anamorphic, widescreen CinemaScope
film and takes the top of the box office. It is
followed by Best Picture Academy Award winner From
Here to Eternity; Shane; How to Marry a Millionaire;
Peter Pan (Disney); Hans Christian Andersen, starring
Danny Kaye and Farley Granger; House of Wax, the first
3-D movie to ever make the box office top ten,
starring Vincent Price and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,
starring Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe. Audrey
Hepburn wins Best Actress Oscar for Roman Holiday.
8: Foundation of the South East Asian Treaty
Organization (SEATO) by Australia, France, New
Zealand, Pakistan, Thailand, the Philippines, the
United Kingdom, and the United States. Like NATO, it
is founded to resist Communist expansion, this time in
the Philippines and Indochina.
the Waterfront wins the Academy Awards for Best
Picture, The box office is led by White Christmas,
followed by the The Caine Mutiny, The Glenn Miller
Story and Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window. Godzilla
makes his debut by appearing in Godzilla (1954 film).
Other releases include 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,
Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder, musical Seven
Brides for Seven Brothers, Sabrina starring Humphrey
Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden and Federico
Fellini's La strada.
||May 14: The
Warsaw Pact is founded in Eastern Europe and includes
East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary,
Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, and the Soviet Union. It
acts as the Communist military counterpart to NATO.
grossing films are Disney's Lady and the Tramp. Rebel
Without a Cause and East of Eden, starring James Dean
(who would die later this year), are released, as are
Bad Day at Black Rock, Guys and Dolls, The Night of
the Hunter, Picnic, Rififi (Du rififi chez les hommes),
The Seven Year Itch with Marilyn Monroe and Alfred
Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief and The Trouble with
25 : Nikita Khrushchev delivers the speech "On
the Personality Cult and its Consequences" at the
closed session of the Twentieth Party Congress of the
CPSU. The speech marks the beginning of the
De-Stalinization. October 23: Hungarian Revolution of
1956: Hungarians revolt against the Soviet dominated
government. They are crushed by the Soviet military,
which reinstates a Communist government.
Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston, is the top
grossing film, followed by Guys and Dolls and The King
and I, starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr. The Best
Picture Academy Award is won by Around the World in
Eighty Days. Best Director is George Stevens, for
Giant. Other releases include High Society, Ingrid
Bergman's Anastasia, Invasion of the Body Snatchers,
The Man Who Knew Too Much, Moby Dick, The Searchers
with John Wayne, Douglas Sirk's Written on the Wind
and War and Peace, starring Audrey Hepburn. Elvis
Presley's first film, Love Me Tender, opens. The Palme
d'Or (Cannes Film Festival) is won by The Silent World
(Le monde du silence), directed by Jacques-Yves
Cousteau and Louis Malle, from France.
The Eisenhower doctrine commits the US to defending
Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan from Communist
influence. October 4: Sputnik satellite launched.
on the River Kwai earns Best Picture, Best Director
(David Lean) and Best Actor (Alec Guinness). Nights of
Cabiria (Le Notti di Cabiria), directed by Federico
Fellini, Italy, wins Best Foreign Film. Friendly
Persuasion, directed by William Wyler, wins the Cannes
Film Festival and 12 Angry Men, directed by Sidney
Lumet, wins Berlin's Golden Bear. Jailhouse Rock,
starring Elvis Presley, is released. Also released
this year are An Affair to Remember starring Cary
Grant and Deborah Kerr, A Farewell to Arms with Rock
Hudson and Jennifer Jones, Funny Face with Fred
Astaire and Audrey Hepburn, and Ingmar Bergman's The
Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries.
14: A coup in Iraq, the 14 July Revolution, removes
the pro-British monarch. Iraq begins to receive
support from the Soviets. Iraq will maintain close
ties with the Soviets throughout the Cold War.
earns Best Picture honours at the Oscars. Mon Oncle
(My Uncle), directed by Jacques Tati, France, earns
Best Foreign Film. Soviet Union's The Cranes Are
Flying, directed by Mikheil Kalatozishvili, wins the
Palme d'Or. Bergman's Wild Strawberries wins the
Berlin Festival. The Rickshaw Man (Muhomatsu no issho),
directed by Hiroshi Inagaki, Japan, wins the Venice
Golden Lion. Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo is released.
Other releases include Otto Preminger's Bonjour
Tristesse, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof , The Defiant Ones
with Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier, Oscar and
Hammerstein's South Pacific and Orson Welles' Touch of
Cuban Revolution. Fidel Castro becomes the leader of a
new Marxist Cuba. Cuban-inspired guerrilla movements
spring up across Latin America. December: Formation of
the Viet Cong in South Vietnam. It is a Communist
insurgent movement that vows to overthrow the
anti-communist South Vietnamese government. It is
supplied extensively by North Vietnam.
premieres to win an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards,
including Best Picture. Alfred Hitchcock's North by
Northwest, Some Like it Hot with Marilyn Monroe, Tony
Curtis and Jack Lemmon, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Disney's
Sleeping Beauty, Black Orpheus, from Brazil, which
earns Best Foreign Film and the Palme d'Or. The Three
Stooges make their 180th and last short film, Sappy
1: American pilot Francis Gary Powers is shot down in
his U-2 spy plane while flying at high altitude over
the Soviet Union, resulting in the U-2 Incident, an
embarrassment for President Eisenhower. June:
Sino-Soviet split: The Chinese leadership, angered at
being treated as the "junior partner" to the
Soviet Union, declares its version of Communism
superior and begin to compete with the Soviets for
influence, thus adding a third dimension to the Cold
20: John F. Kennedy becomes President of the United
States. April 15: Bay of Pigs Invasion: A CIA-backed
invasion of Cuba by counter-revolutionaries ends in
failure. August 13: The Berlin Wall is built by the
Soviets to stop the flood of people attempting to
escape East Germany.
Side Story premieres
16: Cuban Missile Crisis: The Soviets have secretly
been installing military bases, including nuclear
weapons, on Cuba, some 90 miles from the US
mainland. Kennedy orders a "quarantine" (a naval
blockade) of the island that intensifies
the crisis and brings the US and the USSR to the brink
war. In the end, the Soviets back down and
agree to withdraw their nuclear
missiles from Cuba, in exchange for a
secret agreement by Kennedy pledging to withdraw
similar American missiles from Turkey, and
guaranteeing that the US will not move against the
of Arabia and To Kill a Mockingbird premiere
22: John F. Kennedy is shot and killed in Dallas. His
vice-president Lyndon B. Johnson becomes President of
the United States.
Hitchcock's The Birds
October 14: Leonid
Brezhnev succeeds Khrushchev to become General
Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
October 16: China tests its first atomic bomb. The
test makes China the world's fourth nuclear power.
Beatles star in A Hard Day's Night, Dr.
Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and
Love the Bomb, My Fair Lady
8: US military build up to defend South Vietnam. North
Vietnam has also committed its forces in the war. US
begins sustained bombing of North Vietnam.
Zhivago The Sound of Music
26: South African Border War begins
Afraid of Virginia Wolf?
25: Uprising in Naxalbari, India marking the expansion
of Maoism as a violent, anti-US and anti-Soviet,
revolutionary movement across a number of developing
Graduate Bonnie and Clyde Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
30: Tet Offensive in South Vietnam begins. Prague
Spring in Czechoslovakia.
Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey
20: Richard Nixon becomes President of the United
States. March 17: The US begins bombing Communist
sanctuaries in Cambodia. July 25: "Vietnamization"
begins with US troop withdrawals from Vietnam and the
burden of combat being placed on the South Vietnamese.
Cowboy Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid The Wild
Bunch Easy Rider
18: Lon Nol takes power in Cambodia. Khmer Rouge
Communists begin attacking the new regime, which wants
to end foreign presence in Cambodia.
and M*A*S*H are released
8: South Vietnamese forces enter Laos to briefly cut
the Ho Chi Minh trail
Clockwork Orange The French Connection
30: North Vietnam invades South Vietnam only to be
repulsed by the South with major American air support.
27: The Paris Peace Accords end American involvement
in the Vietnam War. Congress cuts off funds for the
continued bombing of Indochina.
Sting and The Exorcist are released
9: Gerald Ford becomes President of the United States
upon the resignation of Nixon.
The Godfather Part II
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