- Lumiere brothers are invited to show their work at the Paris Exposition
- Cinema habit is born in the U.S. When vaudeville performers go on strike, but theaters remain open by showing movies.
- Stop Thief! and Fire! Are created by James Williamson of England; they are considered two of the original action films.
- Melies makes Le Voyage dans La Lune (Voyage to the Moon) The film, the first science fiction motion picture, brings Melies international fame and establishes the cinema's function as narrative.
- Edwin S. Porter, an employee of Edison's creates the technique of film editing when he remakes Williamson's Fire! Into The Life of an American Fireman.
- Porter makes The Great Train Robbery the first chase movie and first Western.
- The serial is born. Victorin Jasset, of France, transfers Nick Carter pulp novels to the screen.
- Vitagraph becomes the leader in the industry.
- Biograph steals Florence Lawrence from Vitagraph. Also hires actor D.W. Griffith from Edison.
- Emile Cohl (France) and Winsor McKay (United States) begin work in animation
- Gertie the Dinosaur is first animated film of any consequence.
- Patent Company is formed by Edison, Vitagraph and Biograph, which invited Selig, Essanay, Kalem, Lubin, Melies, and Pathe to join. The company is formed to keep competition in check. It is the only legal entity to manufacture films.
- Mary Pickford's first film is released The Violin Maker of Cremona.