1917 in film was a particularly fruitful year for the art form, and is often cited as one of the years in the decade which contributed to the medium the most, along with 1913. Secondarily the year saw a limited global embrace of narrative film-making and featured innovative techniques such as continuity cutting. Primarily, the year is an American landmark, as 1917 is the first year where the narrative and visual style is typified as "Classical Hollywood".
- January – Panthea is released, the first film from the company that Joseph Schenck formed with his wife, Norma Talmadge, after leaving Loew's Consolidated Enterprises.
- February – Buster Keaton first meets Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle in New York and is hired as a co-star and gag man.
- April 9 – Supreme Court of the United States rule in Motion Picture Patents Co. v. Universal Film Manufacturing Co. which ends the Motion Picture Patents Company appeal and results in the end of the company.
- April 23 – Release in the United States of the short The Butcher Boy, the first of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle's series of films with the Comique Film Corporation, and Buster Keaton's film debut.
- April 25 – Thomas Lincoln Tally, in a meeting in New York, co-founds the First National Exhibitors Circuit.
- June – Thomas H. Ince and Mack Sennett leave Triangle Film Corporation following Stephen Andrew Lynch taking control.
- September 13 – Release in the United States of The Gulf Between, the first film made in Technicolor System 1, a two-color process.
- November 9 – World's first feature-length animated film is made in Argentina by Quirino Cristiani (El Apóstol)
- December 18 – Foundation of Universum Film AG (UƒA), as a propaganda film company, in Berlin.
- Movette, another revision of the 17.5 mm film format, is made available.
Top-grossing films (U.S.)Edit
|2||Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm||n/a|
|3||The Poor Little Rich Girl||n/a|
|4||The Little American||$446,237|
|5||A Romance of the Redwoods||$424,719|
|6||The Woman God Forgot||$340,505|
|8||Mothers of Men||n/a|
Notable films released in 1917Edit
United States unless stated
- January 8 – Great Expectations, starring Jack Pickford
- January 22 – Easy Street, starring Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance
- January 22 – Her Right to Live, directed by Paul Scardon, starring Peggy Hyland, Antonio Moreno, Mae Costello, John S. Robertson
- January 29 – A Man There Was (Terje Vigen), directed by Victor Sjöström – (Sweden)
- February 2 – The Marriage of Luise Rohrbach, directed by Rudolf Biebrach, starring Henny Porten, Emil Jannings – (Germany)
- February 18 – The Bad Boy, starring Robert Harron, Mildred Harris, Colleen Moore
- March 3 – The Tornado, directed by John Ford (his debut)
- March 5 – The Poor Little Rich Girl, starring Mary Pickford
- March 7 – The Torture of Silence (Mater Dolorosa), directed by Abel Gance – (France)
- April 15 – Teddy at the Throttle, a Keystone comedy starring Gloria Swanson
- April 16 – The Cure, a Charlie Chaplin short.
- April 23 – The Butcher Boy, starring "Fatty" Arbuckle with Buster Keaton
- May 7 – Kidnapped, directed by Alan Crosland, starring Raymond McKee, Joseph Burke, and Ray Hallor
- May 14 – A Romance of the Redwoods, directed by Cecil B. DeMille, starring Mary Pickford
- May 19 – One Law for Both directed by Ivan Abramson
- May 20 – Souls Triumphant, starring Lillian Gish
- May 21 – A Reckless Romeo, a 'Fatty' Arbuckle short.
- May – Frank Hansen's Fortune directed by Viggo Larsen – (Germany)
- June 17 – The Immigrant, starring Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance
- June 24 – Wild and Woolly, starring Douglas Fairbanks
- June 25 – A Kentucky Cinderella, starring Ruth Clifford
- June 25 – The Rough House, a 'Fatty' Arbuckle / Buster Keaton short.
- June – The Labour Leader, directed by Thomas Bentley, starring Owen Nares, Fay Compton – (GB)
- July 5 – Big Timber
- July – The Picture of Dorian Gray (Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray) – (Germany)
- August 12 – Golden Rule Kate, a drama western starring Louise Glaum
- August 20 – His Wedding Night, a 'Fatty' Arbuckle / Buster Keaton short.
- August 27 – The Little American, starring Mary Pickford; directed by Cecil B. DeMille.
- August 27 – Straight Shooting, directed by John Ford
- August 28 – Brcko in Zagreb – (Croatia)
- August – The Gay Lord Quex directed by Maurice Elvey and starring Ben Webster and Irene Vanbrugh – (GB)
- September 13 – The Gulf Between, All color movie.
- September 22 – Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, starring Mary Pickford
- September 30 – Camille, starring Theda Bara
- September 30 – Oh Doctor!, a 'Fatty' Arbuckle / Buster Keaton short.
- September 30 – The Sultan's Wife, starring Gloria Swanson
- September – Fear directed by Robert Wiene and starring Conrad Veidt – (Germany)
- October 14 – Cleopatra, starring Theda Bara
- October 21 – Satan Triumphant (Satana likuyushchiy) – (U.S.S.R.)
- October 22 – The Adventurer, a Charlie Chaplin short.
- October 29 – Coney Island, a 'Fatty' Arbuckle / Buster Keaton short.
- November 9 – El Apóstol (The Apostle), animated by Quirino Cristiani – (Argentina)
- November 11 – A Little Princess, directed by Marshall Neilan, starring Mary Pickford, Norman Kerry, ZaSu Pitts
- November 12 – Harrison and Barrison, directed by Alexander Korda, starring Márton Rátkai – (Hungary)
- November 25 – All Aboard, a Harold Lloyd short
- November 26 – The Silent Man, starring William S. Hart
- December 10 – Tom Sawyer, starring Jack Pickford
- December 24 – Bucking Broadway, directed by John Ford, starring Harry Carey
- December – Raffles the Amateur Cracksman, starring John Barrymore
- Bestia (aka The Polish Dancer), starring Pola Negri – (Poland)
- The Colonel (Az Ezredes), directed by Michael Curtiz, starring Bela Lugosi – (Hungary)
- Dombey and Son directed by Maurice Elvey and starring Hayford Hobbs – (GB)
- Le Cygne (film) (Umirayushchii Lebed) – (U.S.S.R.)
- Der Magische Gürtel ("The Magic Girdle") (Germany)
- The Man Without a Country, starring Florence La Badie
- Mothers of Men, starring Dorothy Davenport
- Runaway Romany, directed by George Lederer; starring Marion Davies and Matt Moore
- Thaïs – (Italy)
- U-Boote Heraus! ("U-Boat Release") (Germany)
Comedy film seriesEdit
- January 2 – Vera Zorina, dancer, actress (died 2003)
- January 5 – Jane Wyman, actress (died 2007)
- January 10 – Hilde Krahl, actress (died 1999)
- January 21 – Lally Bowers, English actress and singer (died 1984)
- January 24 – Ernest Borgnine, actor (died 2012)
- February 6 – Zsa Zsa Gabor, actress (died 2016)
- February 21 – Lucille Bremer, actress (died 1996)
- February 25 – Brenda Joyce, American actress (died 2009)
- March 2 – Desi Arnaz, actor (died 1986)
- March 12 – Googie Withers, actress (died 2011)
- March 22 – Virginia Grey, actress (died 2004)
- April 2 - Dabbs Greer, actor (died 2007)
- April 14 – Valerie Hobson, actress (died 1998)
- April 29
- May 1 – Danielle Darrieux, actress (died 2017)
- May 10 – Margo, actress (died 1985)
- May 16 – George Gaynes, actor (died 2016)
- May 21 – Raymond Burr, actor (died 1993)
- May 22 - Nathan Davis (actor), American actor (died 2008)
- May 25 – Steve Cochran, actor (died 1965)
- June 3 – Leo Gorcey, actor, comedian (died 1969)
- June 7 – Dean Martin, singer, actor (died 1995)
- June 30
- July 1 – Virginia Dale, American actress (died 1994)
- July 8 – Faye Emerson, actress (died 1983)
- July 17 – Phyllis Diller, comedian, actress (died 2012)
- July 26 – Lorna Gray, actress (died 2017)
- August 6 – Robert Mitchum, actor (died 1997)
- August 8 – Earl Cameron, actor (died 2020)
- August 25 – Mel Ferrer, actor (died 2008)
- September 9 – Rolf Wenkhaus, actor (died 1942)
- September 11 – Herbert Lom, actor (died 2012)
- September 17 - June Foray, American voice actress (died 2017)
- October 7
- October 16 – Alice Pearce, actress (died 1966)
- October 17 – Marsha Hunt, U.S. actress
- October 22 – Joan Fontaine, actress (died 2013)
- November 2 – Ann Rutherford, actress (died 2012)
- November 4 – Virginia Field, actress (died 1992)
- November 30 - Ilse Steppat, German actress (died 1969)
- December 7 – Hurd Hatfield, actor (died 1998)
- December 12 – Margaret Marquis, actress (died 1993)
- December 18 - Ossie Davis, American film, television and Broadway actor, director, poet, playwright, author and civil rights activist (died 2005)
- December 22 – Frankie Darro, actor (died 1976)
- February 21 – Fred Mace, 38, American actor & comedian, What Happened to Jones, His Last Scent, A Lover's Might, The Love Comet
- March 6 – Valdemar Psilander, 32, Danish actor, Rytterstatuen, Lykken, Lydia, Klovnen, Favoriten, In Defense of a Nation, John Redmond, the Evangelist
- July 2 – Herbert Beerbohm Tree, 64, English stage & screen actor, Beerbohm Tree, The Great English Actor; Henry VIII; Macbeth; Trilby; The Old Folks at Home
- October 13 – Florence La Badie, 29, American actress, The Man Without a Country, War and the Woman, The Woman in White, When Love Was Blind
- October 25 – Jack Standing, 31, English actor, With Hoops of Steel, The Curse of Eve, The Innocent Sinner, The Price of Her Soul, One Touch of Sin
- November 5 – Howell Hansel, 46, American actor and director
- November 18 – Nino Oxilia, 28, Italian director, Rapsodia satanica, Blue Blood
- December 20 – Eric Campbell, 38, Scottish actor, The Immigrant, Behind the Screen, The Count, Easy Street, The Adventurer(short), The Cure(short)
- Ronald Colman – The Live Wire
- Jackie Coogan – Skinner's Baby (uncredited)
- Marion Davies – Runaway, Romany
- Vittorio De Sica – The Clemenceau Affair
- Richard Dix – One of Many
- Elsie Ferguson – Barbary Sheep
- John Ford – director, The Tornado (short) (as Jack Ford)
- Mary Garden – Thais
- Helen Hayes – The Weavers of Life
- Taylor Holmes – Efficiency Edgar's Courtship (short)
- Buster Keaton – actor, The Butcher Boy (short); writer, director, The Rough House (short)
- Stan Laurel – Nuts in May (short) (as Stan Jefferson)
- Bela Lugosi – Az ezredes (as Arisztid Olt)
- May McAvoy – Hate (1917 film)
- ZaSu Pitts – Uneasy Money (short)
- Marjorie Rambeau – The Greater Woman
- Loretta Young – The Primrose Ring (uncredited)