October’s Long History of Historical Film Releases

Happy Halloween! October is traditionally known for the fall season and for hosting Halloween on the last day of the month. Likewise film distributors tend to look at October as a good time to release horror and slasher films for Halloween on fight-seeking audiences across the country, and around the world. October, however, has a long history of major motion picture releases that is not strictly limited to the horror genre. Read on to see our list of impressive October releases, and enjoy your Halloween Weekend!

Rebel without a Cause (1955)

Director Nicholas Ray‘s iconic film about the American teenager has inspired a plethora of teen movies in its wake. None, however, have had the significance that Rebel without a Cause did. James Dean famously died in a car accident just a week before this film was released, but his legacy went on to inspire generations of actors, musicians, and rebels both here and in the world abroad.

Sans Soleil (1983)

French avant-garde director Chris Marker’s sci-fi drama Sans Soleil has received mixed criticism from movie-goers and critics. Many did not know how they were supposed to interpret the film’s meaning upon the time of its release. Despite its mixed reception, the reviews weren’t all that bad. J. Hoberman of The Village Voice termed it “philosophical journalism”, and the film’s strange array of poetry, visuals, and voiceovers has earned it a memorable light in film history.

The French Connection (1971)

Just before he directed The Exorcist, William Friedkin set a standard of 70s moviemaking with The French Connection. Starring Gene Hackman in one of his most famous roles as Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle, the film won 5 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, and has gone down in history for its memorable car-chase scene that set a record for the film business.

The Manchurian Candidate (1969)

In the midst of lingering Cold War paranoia, the Vietnam War, and the ever present “threat” of Communism, director John Frankenheimer adapted author Richard Condon’s novel about Korean War soldiers who were brainwashed and sent back to the States to carry out an assassination for the Communist agenda. The film was nominated for two Oscars, including one for Best Supporting Actress (Angela Lansbury) and was re-adapted in 2004 by director Jonathan Demme with Denzel Washington and Liev Schreiber.

White Christmas (1954)

“I’m dreaming of a White Christmas…just like the one I used to know…” We’ve all heard that song since were kids and still hear it every Christmas, but it’s actually the title song of Michael Curitz’s White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. White Christmas received the Oscar nomination for Best Original Song, but lost out to Three Coins in the Fountain.

Bullitt (1968)

Before Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” Callahan protected the streets of San Francisco, Steve McQueen‘s Bullitt was on the case. Co-starring Robert Vaughn and Jacqueline Bisset, the film followed Bullitt as he takes on the San Francisco mob in order to find the kingpin responsible for killing the witness in his protection. Bullitt was nominated for two Oscars, winning one for Best Editing for Frank P. Keller (Murphy’s War, Rolling Thunder).

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid might be one of the best known films in American cinema. Starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman at the heights of their careers, the film won four Oscars, including Best Original Song for “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”, and earned another three nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (George Roy Hill), and Best Sound.

First Blood (1982)

Most people today know it simply as ‘Rambo’, but the first installment in the war/action film series was actually titled First Blood, based on the novel by David Morrell. Although it was not well received by critics, First Blood has gathered a huge cult following over the years, and has even spawned three sequels, all starring Sylvester Stallone (Rocky, The Expendables).

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Quentin Tarantino‘s breakout film was released in the U.S. on October 12, 1992. Before that it received raving reviews from Cannes and Toronto International Film Festival, where Tarantino was awarded the International Critics Award (FIPRESCI). Just two years later, Tarantino would again drive audiences at Cannes wild with Pulp Fiction, solidifying his rank among the most important modern directors of our generation.

Fight Club (1999)

David Fincher‘s psychological drama Fight Club, based on the book by Chuck Palahniuk, had one of the most memorable endings ever seen in a drama. It also furthered both Brad Pitt‘s and Edward Norton‘s careers as leading actors, and received an Oscar nomination for Best Effects/Sound Editing. More to the point, however, is the huge cult following Fight Club has inspired over the years since its release.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is probably Audrey Hepburn‘s most memorable movie role. Perhaps more infamous than the film itself, however, is its writer, Truman Capote, the author behind the famous psychological study In Cold Blood. Breakfast at Tiffany’s won two Oscars for Best Music and Best Original Song, and received another three nominations for Best Actress, Best Screenplay, and Best Art Direction.


Bridge Over the River Kwai (1957)

Long before he would be eternally remembered as Master Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, actor Alec Guinness won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as British Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge Over the River Kwai. Adapted from the novel by Planet of the Apes author Pierre Boulle, the film centers around a group of Allied officers in a Japanese PoW camp who agree to construct a bridge for their captors. Little do they know, however, the Armed Forces are making plans to destroy it. The film won six other Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director (David Lean), Best Writing, Best Cinematographer, and Best Editing.

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