1928 in film

The following is an overview of 1928 in film, including significant events, a list of films released and notable births and deaths. Although some movies released in 1928 had sound, most were still silent.

List of years in film
In television

Top-grossing filmsEdit

The top ten 1928 released films by box office gross in North America are as follows:

Highest-grossing films of 1928
Rank Title Studio Box office gross rental
1 The Singing Fool Warner Bros. $3,821,000[1]
2 Wings Paramount Pictures $2,150,000[2]
3 Street Angel Fox Film Corporation $1,700,000[3]
4 Lilac Time Warner Bros./First National Pictures $1,675,000[4]
5 Four Sons Fox Film Corporation $1,500,000[3]
6 Noah's Ark Warner Bros. $1,367,000[1]
7 The Red Dance Fox Film Corporation $1,300,000[3]
8 The Terror Warner Bros. $1,221,000[1]
9 The Circus United Artists $1,200,000[4]
10 Lights of New York Warner Bros. $1,160,000[1]


  • January 6 – The long-awaited Charlie Chaplin comedy The Circus premieres at the Strand Theatre in New York City.[5]
  • January 15 – Five months after its premiere at the Criterion Theater in New York City, Paramount's Wings opens in Los Angeles. The film goes on to win the first Academy Award for Best Picture.
  • April 21 – The Passion of Joan of Arc is released.
  • July 6 – Lights of New York (starring Helene Costello) is released by Warner Bros. It is the first "100% Talkie" feature film, in that dialog is spoken throughout the film. Previous releases Don Juan and The Jazz Singer had used a synchronized soundtrack with sound effects and music, with The Jazz Singer having a few incidental lines spoken by Al Jolson.[6]
  • September 19 – The Singing Fool, Warner Bros' follow-up to The Jazz Singer, is released. While still only a partial-talkie (sequences still featured intertitles), 66 minutes of the film's 105 minute running time feature dialogue or songs, making it the longest talking motion picture yet. (Lights of New York runs a total of 57 minutes.) It is the highest-grossing film of the year, becomes Warner Bros' highest-grossing film for the next 13 years, is the most financially successful film of Al Jolson's career[7][8] and also remains the highest-grossing sound film until the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937.
  • October 23 – RKO Productions Inc. created
  • November 10 – At the beginning of White Shadows in the South Seas, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's mascot Leo the Lion roars for the very first time, giving voice to one of the most popular American film logos.[9][10][11]
  • November 18 – Disney's Steamboat Willie premieres, marking the official introduction of Mickey Mouse. This animated short is the first film to include a soundtrack, completely created in post production, including sound effects, music, and dialogue.
  • December 25 – In Old Arizona, released by Fox Films, is the first sound-on-film feature-length talkie, utilizing the Movietone process. Previously, feature-length talkies used the less-reliable Vitaphone sound-on-disc process. It is also the first Western talkie, and the first sound film primarily shot outdoors.

Academy AwardsEdit

Note: Prior to 1933, awards were not based on calendar years, which is why there is no 'Best Picture' for a 1928 film.

Notable films released in 1928Edit

United States unless stated
























Short film seriesEdit

Animated short film seriesEdit



  • January 2 – Emily Stevens, American stage & film actress (born 1882)
  • January 3 – Claude France, German film actress (born 1893)
  • January 25 – Charles Gorman, American stage and screen actor (born 1865)
  • February 22 – Rudolph J. Bergquist American cinematographer
  • March 5 – Lidia Quaranta, Italian actress (born 1891)
  • March 13 – Poppy Wyndham, British actress and heiress; lost at sea (born 1893)
  • April 22 – Frank Currier, American director, stage & silent film actor (born 1857)
  • June 22 – George Siegmann, American silent film actor (born 1882)
  • June 24 – Holbrook Blinn, American stage & silent film actor (born 1872)
  • July 20 – Scott Sidney, American film director (born 1872)
  • July 21
    • Ellen Terry, British stage actress of the Victorian and Edwardian times and later a silent film actress (born 1847)
    • Ward Crane, American film actor (born 1890)
  • August 10 – Rex Cherryman, American actor (born 1896)
  • August 17 – Frank Urson, American film director (born 1887)
  • August 26 – Colin Campbell, British-born film director (born 1859)
  • October 8 – Larry Semon, American film comedian (born 1889)
  • November 10 – Anita Berber, German film actress (born 1899)
  • November 19 – Jeanne Bérangère, French stage and film actress (born 1864)
  • December 14 – Theodore Roberts, American film actor (born 1861)
  • December 25 – Fred Thomson, American film actor (born 1890)

Film debutsEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Glancy, H Mark (1995). "Warner Bros Film Grosses, 1921–51: the William Schaefer ledger". Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television. 15: 55–73. doi:10.1080/01439689500260031.
  2. ^ Fragias, Leonidas (2017). Annual US Top Film Rentals 1912 - 1979 (Kindle Edition). Leonidas Fragias.
  3. ^ a b c Finler, Joel Waldo (2003). The Hollywood Story. Wallflower Press. pp. 356–357. ISBN 978-1-903364-66-6.
  4. ^ a b "All-Time Film Rental Champs". Variety. October 15, 1990. p. M150.
  5. ^ "The Circus (1928)". British Film Institute. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  6. ^ Neibaur, James L. (2015). James Cagney Films of the 1930s. London: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442242203.
  7. ^ Kiner, Larry F.; Evans, Philip R. (1992). Al Jolson: A Bio-Discography. Scarecrow Press. p. 107. ISBN 9780810826335.
  8. ^ Furia, Philip; Patterson, Laurie (2010). The Songs of Hollywood. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. p. 26. ISBN 9780199792665.
  9. ^ Munden, Kenneth White (1971). The American Film Institute Catalog – Feature Films 1921–1930. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. WH1. ISBN 9780520209695.
  10. ^ Brown, Allen (November 29, 2014). "The Story Behind MGM's Lion Logo". Movie Review World. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  11. ^ Stafford, Jeff. "White Shadows in the South Seas". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved February 20, 2015.