Best Movies of 1903

1.

The Great Train Robbery

5.1
7.3/10 IMDB

After the train station clerk is assaulted and left bound and gagged, then the departing train and its passengers robbed, a posse goes in hot pursuit of the fleeing bandits.

Starring: A.C. Abadie, Gilbert M. Anderson, George Barnes, Justus D. Barnes, Walter Cameron, Frank Hanaway, Adam Charles Hayman, Mary Snow, Donald Gallaher, John Manus Dougherty Sr. ..
Directed by: Edwin S. Porter
Release date: 1903-12-07
Best Movies of 1903 : Life of an American Fireman
2.

Life of an American Fireman

3.3
6.4/10 IMDB

Porter's sequential continuity editing links several shots to form a narrative of firemen responding to a house fire. They leave the station with their horse drawn pumper, arrive on the scene, and effect the safe rescue of a woman from the burning house. But wait, she tells them of her child yet asleep in the burning bedroom...

Starring: Vivian Vaughan, Arthur White, James H. White, Edwin S. Porter, Arthur White ..
Directed by: George S. Fleming, Edwin S. Porter, James H. White
Release date: 1903-01-21
Best Movies of 1903 : Alice in Wonderland
3.

Alice in Wonderland

3.3
6.2/10 IMDB

This is the first movie version of the famous story. Alice dozes in a garden, awakened by a dithering white rabbit in waistcoat with pocket watch. She follows him down a hole and finds herself in a hall of many doors.

Starring: May Clark, Cecil M. Hepworth, Mrs. Hepworth, Norman Whitten, Stanley Faithfull, Geoffrey Faithfull, Blair ..
Directed by: Cecil M. Hepworth, Percy Stow
Release date: 1903-10-17
Best Movies of 1903 : The Gay Shoe Clerk
4.

The Gay Shoe Clerk

3.0
5.7/10 IMDB

A woman being fitted for shoes exposes her ankle to the shoe clerk, who is intrigued. He kisses her, but her chaperone hits him with her umbrella.

Starring: Edward Boulden ..
Directed by: Edwin S. Porter
Release date: 1903-08-12
5.

The Divorce

2.9
3.7/10 IMDB

A husband walks out on his wife, leaving an incriminating letter behind. She hires a detective, who discovers the husband in a compromising position with another woman.

Release date: 1903-01-01
6.

Diving Lucy

2.7
5.5/10 IMDB

The biggest English comedy hit of the year. The scene is laid on an English estate at the edge of a pond. A couple of laborers discover, protruding from the water a pair of female legs. They hasten to the rescue, secure a bench and a long plank so as to get out over the water to the point where the legs are sticking up. Just as they complete their preparations a policeman runs up and insists on going out to the rescue of the female in distress.

Release date: 1903-01-12
Best Movies of 1903 : Mary Jane's Mishap
7.

Mary Jane's Mishap

2.7
6.6/10 IMDB

Mary Jane tries to light the oven. When she's unsuccessful, she plays around, getting black boot polish on her face. She mugs before a mirror. Then, it's back to work. When the stove still won't light, she pours in paraffin, winks at the camera, and lights a match. Kaboom! Is there any rest for the foolish, even in the grave?

Starring: Laura Bayley ..
Directed by: George Albert Smith
Release date: 1903-02-28
Best Movies of 1903 : An Extraordinary Cab Accident
8.

An Extraordinary Cab Accident

2.6
6.2/10 IMDB

A man and a woman talk beside a street near a corner where a cop stands. Just as a horse-drawn cart rounds the corner, the man backs off the sidewalk saying good-by to his companion. The horse and cart flatten him and continue on, out of the camera's stationary range. The cop runs after the cab, the woman dashes to the body. The cop brings back the driver; is the victim dead?

Directed by: Robert W. Paul, Walter R. Booth
Release date: 1903-11-01
Best Movies of 1903 : The Georgetown Loop (Colorado)
9.

The Georgetown Loop (Colorado)

2.6
6.2/10 IMDB

Georgetown is a silver-mining town at 8,500 feet near the crest of the Rockies. Hooked somehow to the rear of a four-car passenger train is a camera that pans the scenery and, when the train goes around curves, looks ahead to see the engine and passenger cars: the passengers wave hundreds of white handkerchiefs out of the train's left-side windows for the benefit of the camera. The town comes into view; the tracks are above the town, so the camera looks down on dozens of modest rooftops as it pans the area.

Release date: 1903-01-01
Best Movies of 1903 : A Desperate Poaching Affray
10.

A Desperate Poaching Affray

2.5
6.0/10 IMDB

Three hunters surprise two poachers in the act. The hunters take umbrage and give chase over fences and through fields. The hunters fire away, but the poachers have guns as well, and a fight ensues with casualties for the hunters. Two cops appear and so do dogs as the chase continues. Will the poachers escape, or will they, like the game they were after, be trapped?

Starring: Sid Griffiths, Will Haggar Jr., Walter Haggar ..
Directed by: William Haggar
Release date: 1903-07-01
11.

At the Foot of the Flatiron

2.5
5.4/10 IMDB

It's a very windy day, and the pedestrians passing by the Flatiron Building are having considerable difficulty in keeping their hats from flying off.

Directed by: A.E. Weed
Release date: 1903-11-11
12.

Down the Hudson

2.5
5.8/10 IMDB

Film taken from a boat heading down the Hudson is shown at varying speeds, often giving a sense of rapid transit.

Directed by: Frederick S. Armitage, A.E. Weed
Release date: 1903-03-22
Best Movies of 1903 : Skyscrapers of New York City, from the North River
13.

Skyscrapers of New York City, from the North River

2.5
6.0/10 IMDB

A beautiful panoramic view of lower New York from Barclay Street to Battery Park, showing a beautiful stereoscopic effect of the sky-scrapers in the business section of the city.

Directed by: J.B. Smith
Release date: 1903-05-01
Best Movies of 1903 : A Daring Daylight Burglary
14.

A Daring Daylight Burglary

2.5
6.1/10 IMDB

A thief jumps a fence and removes the shutter from a house. He enters, but a lad who's witnessed the crime runs off to hail the coppers. The first officer on the scene climbs the fence, enters the house, and is soon fighting with the thief on the roof. Falling from the roof, the officer is injured and requires an ambulance. Meanwhile, the thief flees, pursued by more men in blue.

Directed by: Frank S. Mottershaw
Release date: 1903-04-01
15.

The Cheese Mites

2.4
5.9/10 IMDB

A gentleman is here shown partaking of a little lunch of bread and cheese, and occasionally is seen to glance at his morning paper through a reading glass. He suddenly notices that the cheese is a little out of the ordinary, and examines it with his glass. To his horror, he finds it to be alive with mites, and, in disgust, leaves the table. Hundreds of mites resembling crabs are seen scurrying in all directions. A wonderful picture and a subject hitherto unthought of in animated photography. Notable for being the first science film made for the general public.(IMDB)

Starring: Francis Martin-Duncan ..
Directed by: F. Martin Duncan
Release date: 1903-08-13
Best Movies of 1903 : The Prolific Magical Egg
16.

The Prolific Magical Egg

2.4
5.7/10 IMDB

A human skeleton is placed upon a table by an attendant. When the attendant leaves the room the skeleton begins kicking his legs and throwing his arms about and suddenly turns into a magician. The magician produces an egg, performing several sleight-of-hand tricks, and places it upon the table with the small end downward. He then crudely draws a human face upon the shell, and the egg immediately begins growing larger and larger until it reaches the size of a normal head.

Starring: Georges Méliès ..
Directed by: Georges Méliès
Release date: 1903-01-31
Best Movies of 1903 : What Happened in the Tunnel
17.

What Happened in the Tunnel

2.3
5.7/10 IMDB

A woman riding a train must contend with the unwelcome advances of a male passenger.

Starring: Gilbert M. Anderson, Bertha Regustus ..
Directed by: Edwin S. Porter
Release date: 1903-11-06
Best Movies of 1903 : Seeing New York by Yacht
18.

Seeing New York by Yacht

2.3
4.7/10 IMDB

Seeing New York by Yacht.

Directed by: Frederick S. Armitage, A.E. Weed
Release date: 1903-09-22
Best Movies of 1903 : The Runaway Match, or Marriage by Motor
19.

The Runaway Match, or Marriage by Motor

2.3
6.0/10 IMDB

A couple elopes; Her father pursues via motorcar.

Directed by: Alf Collins
Release date: 1903-11-01
20.

Move On

2.2
5.0/10 IMDB

In certain sections of New York City large numbers of Jewish and Italian push-cart vendors congregate so closely along the sidewalks that they interfere with traffic. Policemen keep them moving. The picture shows how the frightened peddlers hurry away when a bluecoat appears. Some of the carts are piled high with fruits of all kinds, and it is interesting and amusing to see the expressions of combined fear and anxiety on the faces of the men as they hurry away; the fear of being arrested if they stand, and of losing some of their wares if the carts strike an obstruction in the street. Very fine photographically. (Edison film company catalog)

Directed by: A.C. Abadie
Release date: 1903-10-11
21.

The Ghost Train

2.2
5.4/10 IMDB

Special effects film with a train double exposed on the negative, creating a ghostly image.

Directed by: Frederick S. Armitage
Release date: 1903-01-21
22.

The Messenger Boy's Mistake

2.1
4.7/10 IMDB

"Cholly" wishes to call on his best girl and sends her a large bouquet. To find out if the girl really loves him, he sends a note with the messenger boy requesting her to "wear this" if she does. The boy delivers the note and a package which the young lady opens and finds an old pair of trousers and other masculine wearing apparel.

Starring: Gilbert M. Anderson ..
Directed by: Edwin S. Porter
Release date: 1903-10-22
23.

The Extra Turn

2.0
4.8/10 IMDB

This scene opens with a view of a stage setting and private box. After Miss Dolly Lightfoot has finished a clever dance, a card is placed upon the stage announcing an extra turn. An Italian vocalist appears and starts to sing. He is received with a shower of missiles. (Edison Catalog)

Starring: Dolly Lightfoot ..
Directed by: Edwin S. Porter
Release date: 1903-10-22
24.

Happy Hooligan Interferes

1.9
4.6/10 IMDB

An organ-grinder is playing beneath the window of a cranky old woman. She objects strenuously. The organ-grinder, egged on by Hooligan, keeps on playing until a policeman appears. (Biograph Catalog)

Starring: J. Stuart Blackton ..
Directed by: Billy Bitzer
Release date: 1903-05-31
25.

Next!

1.9
4.2/10 IMDB

Alphonse and Gaston are in an American barber shop. They interrupt business with their exaggerated politeness, and the waiting customers throw them out of the window.

Release date: 1903-11-13
26.

The Dude and the Burglars

1.9
4.5/10 IMDB

Two burglars have just entered an elegant-looking home, but before they can proceed, the woman of the house enters the room. One of the burglars seizes her, but then her husband enters and gets her free of the burglar's grasp. But the husband did not notice the second burglar, who now comes to the aid of his partner - and a tense confrontation is about to begin.

Directed by: Wallace McCutcheon Sr.
Release date: 1903-07-30
Best Movies of 1903 : The Damnation of Faust
27.

The Damnation of Faust

1.9
5.8/10 IMDB

A lost film. Georges Méliès also directed a film entitled Faust aux enfers in 1903 that is frequently confused with this one, but it has little to do with the story of Faust.

Directed by: Georges Méliès
Release date: 1903-04-01
Best Movies of 1903 : The Forbidden City, Pekin
28.

The Forbidden City, Pekin

1.8
4.4/10 IMDB

Panoramic view of the Forbidden City (Imperial Palace), Peking, China.

Release date: 1903-08-19
29.

The Giddy Dancing Master

1.8
5.2/10 IMDB

The dancing master is a dapper little fellow who has been engaged to instruct two pretty girls in some of the niceties of stage dancing. He becomes a little too demonstrative with one of the young girls and her mother takes him out by the ear.

Release date: 1903-06-01
30.

Fireboat 'New Yorker' Answering an Alarm

1.7
3.6/10 IMDB

This picture gives a good idea of how soon one of the New York fireboats can be gotten under way after they receive an alarm of fire...

Directed by: J.B. Smith
Release date: 1903-05-22
Best Movies of 1903 : As in a Looking Glass
31.

As in a Looking Glass

1.6
4.6/10 IMDB

In this short film, a white (or pale grey) vertical line bisects the screen; there are two different rooms either side of the line, with different action in each room.

Release date: 1903-05-22
Best Movies of 1903 : Electrocuting an Elephant
32.

Electrocuting an Elephant

1.5
2.9/10 IMDB

This is a film taken of the execution of Topsy, an elephant employed to help build Luna Park on Coney Island.

Starring: Carl Goliath, Topsy ..
Directed by: Edwin S. Porter, Jacob Blair Smith, Thomas A. Edison
Release date: 1903-01-12
Best Movies of 1903 : Hiawatha, the Messiah of the Ojibway
33.

Hiawatha, the Messiah of the Ojibway

1.4
6.2/10 IMDB

20 scenes: The birth, life, marriage and death of Hiawatha.

Directed by: Joe Rosenthal
Release date: 1903-01-01
34.

Pope Leo XIII in His Carriage

1.4
5.6/10 IMDB

Filmmaker WKL Dickson, one-time right hand man to Thomas Edison, the 'Wizard of Menlo Park', here captures an even greater eminence, Pope Leo XIII. This was one of a series of films that exploited Dickson's unique, hard-won access to the Pontiff. Here the Pope arrives in a carriage and bestows a blessing. Whether this blessing was intended for the camera or for the audience beyond it, capturing it on film was a great prize for Dickson.

Directed by: William K.L. Dickson
Release date: 1903-09-25
35.

Smashing a Jersey Mosquito

1.4
6.1/10 IMDB

A man and his wife are seated at a table in their happy New Jersey home. A huge mosquito appears and buzzes about their heads. The man seizes a broom handle, making a smash at the singing insect. He misses it, hitting his wife a stinging blow that knocks her to the floor. Then they combine their efforts to kill the terrible insect. As they miss the mosquito each time they make a blow, the weapons used hit something else in the room. Pictures, mirrors and other household effects of this kind are quickly demolished. The man then stands upon the table and endeavors to catch it. His wife strikes at it, but hits her husband instead, knocking his feet from under him, smashing the table through which he falls. The woman finally wounds the mosquito, and as it falls to the floor, the man jumps on it, when a terrific explosion takes place, great clouds of malarial gas escaping and wrecking the room. This is a side splitter and will keep any audience in roars of laughter.

Release date: 1903-02-25
36.

The Revolving Table

1.3
5.1/10 IMDB

A diner revolves the table and eats his neighbour's lunch.

Directed by: Percy Stow
Release date: 1903-07-08
37.

A Shocking Accident

1.3
5.4/10 IMDB

The mistress of a country home is going about inspecting the work done by her servant, when she discovers dust on the railing surrounding the porch, and, calling the servant, she orders the rail cleaned, as it should have been done originally. The servant brings a ladder and, mounting same, proceeds to clean it as she is told. A city dude approaches, and, after passing the time of day with the mistress, makes bold to ask for a kiss, and receives a slap for his pains. He is so startled that he bumps into the ladder on which the servant is working, throwing her to the ground, the ladder falling on top of her. She rises in her wrath and, seizing the bucket of water standing close by, she drenches the dude, spoiling his best Sunday clothes. Still smarting from the pain, she takes his walking stick and pounds him until he runs away. This will make you roar with laughter.

Release date: 1903-11-14
38.

Tub Race

1.2
4.4/10 IMDB

A number of boys are engaged in a tub race. They are lined up in a row, and the fun begins from the start. Some of the tubs upset and give the boys a good ducking each time an attempt is made to get in them.

Release date: 1903-09-25
39.

In My Lady's Boudoir

1.2
4.7/10 IMDB

Kathryn Osterman was a legitimate actress who worked occasionally in the movies during the first decade and a half of the 20th century. This looks like a Mutoscope cut-down of an actuality released in 1900, "The Art of "Making Up"". In it, we see her from the rear, sitting in front of a dressing mirror, putting up her hair and powdering her face.

Starring: Kathryn Osterman ..
Release date: 1903-07-31
40.

Rock Drill at Work in Subway

1.2
4.4/10 IMDB

A very interesting and unusual view showing the progress of the deep excavation at 42nd St. and Broadway. The camera is tilted up and down instead of across the field as in most panoramas.

Release date: 1903-06-09
41.

Old London Street Scenes

1.2
5.1/10 IMDB

London street scenes, showing varieties of horse-drawn traffic. Views of Parliament Square, Charing Cross, Pall Mall, the Royal Exchange and others.

Release date: 1903-01-01
42.

Buster's Joke on Papa (I)

1.2
4.8/10 IMDB

Buster Brown plays a practical joke on his mother, persuading her to to put her hands into a pan of lobsters, then puts a bunch of them in his father's bed. They made two versions of this gag. One where a lobster is pinching his butt, the other not. This one has the lobster clawing his backside.

Directed by: Edwin S. Porter
Release date: 1903-11-16
43.

The Boy In The Barrel

1.2
4.5/10 IMDB

A small boy is smoking his first cigarette in the door-yard of a cottage. Fearing detection, he jumps into a barrel. His parents see the smoke rising from the barrel, rush out of the house and drench the youngster with water. The finish is very laughable.

Directed by: Billy Bitzer
Release date: 1903-07-21
Best Movies of 1903 : Man Overboard! 'Indiana'
44.

Man Overboard! 'Indiana'

1.2
4.8/10 IMDB

The USS Indiana stages a rescue operation of a crewman that's fallen overboard.

Release date: 1903-11-13
45.

The Outcast and the Bride

1.2
5.2/10 IMDB

Siegmund Lubin's 1903 film illustrating The Outcast and the Bride survives and is the only vestige of Lubin's myriad attempts at coordinating sound and film extant today. With words by Howard Wall and music by Allen May, the song was published in Philadelphia by Joseph Morris. The morality tale of two friends, Kate and Alice, was a perfect vehicle for an illustrated song...Shot in Lubin's glass-enclosed studio atop 912 Arch Street, the film was originally 250 feet. The surviving footage at the Library of Congress contains six shots utilising four different sets but seems to be missing footage.

Release date: 1903-12-25
Best Movies of 1903 : The Three Musketeers
46.

The Three Musketeers

1.0
4.1/10 IMDB

The adventures of D'Artagnan

Release date: 1903-01-01
47.

Arrival of the Stage at Wawona Hotel en Route to Yosemite

0.0
0.0/10 IMDB

This film was part of a lecture series conducted by Burton Holmes showing a mix of lantern slides and motion pictures of Yosemite entitled, “The Yosemite Valley, Nature’s Scenic Masterpiece.” It was just one tiny piece of a long lecture that illustrated the journey to Yosemite and a visit to all of its wonders.

Release date: 1903-01-02
48.

Carriers Leaving Building, U.S.P.O. (No. 2)

0.0
3.9/10 IMDB

Male letter carriers of the U.S. Post Office are the subject of this series on the Postal Department. The camera was placed to show a large number of uniformed mail carriers as they leave the main post office to deliver letters. They can be seen walking down the steps of the building toward the camera position. Some mount bicycles and ride away, while others just walk. There are also some women in the film.

Release date: 1903-07-01
49.

Leap Frog

0.0
6.8/10 IMDB

Boys play a rough game of leap frog.

Release date: 1903-01-01
50.

Life of an English Fireman

0.0
0.0/10 IMDB

Firemen are awakened by an alarm, drive through London and rescue fire victims.

Release date: 1903-05-01

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