Robert Osborne’s Legacy – American Film Institute

Osborne Introducing The Classics

Welcome to the Robert Osborne Gallery. Through this initiative, the AFI commemorates the world’s most distinguished movie moderator, Robert Osborne (1932-2017). Osborne’s pioneering tenure as the primetime host of the Peabody Award-winning TCM Network made his name synonymous with film introductions. His encyclopedic knowledge of film history was illuminated by a longtime stint as a journalist for The Hollywood Reporter and by his extensive scholarly research as the official biographer of the Oscars®. Osborne’s passion for classic film was contagious, and he generously shared his passion with the next generation. Osborne’s film introductions, Steven Spielberg observed, “got us excited and reawakened to the greatest stories ever told… he brought us back to the movies.”

The Collection ensures that Osborne’s spirit endures at AFI and provides a dynamic and powerful resource for film scholarship. With The Robert Osborne Collection, AFI gratefully acknowledges his exceptional impact on the world of film scholarship for all and ensures that his life’s work is everlasting.

Highlights From The Collection

PSYCHO

1960

Alfred Hitchcock, the “Master of Suspense,” never won an Oscar® from his five nominations—one of the greatest oversights in Oscar® history, according to Robert Osborne. PSYCHO (1960) marked Hitchcock’s final nomination, and one of his most popular films. When Paramount passed on the project, fearing it was too gory to attract audiences, Hitchcock financed the film himself and reaped the rewards…

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

1939

As Robert Osborne describes this esteemed 1939 adaption of Victor Hugo’s THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, he explains the great lengths Charles Laughton went into making the character “Quasimodo” his own. Laughton followed in the venerated footsteps of Lon Chaney, who portrayed the hunchback in a 1923 silent version of the novel…

NATIONAL VELVET

1945

NATIONAL VELVET (1945) was Elizabeth Taylor’s breakout role, although the 12-year-old had been cast in four features films already. Despite Taylor’s stellar performance and her life-long experience riding horses, Mickey Rooney received top billing. During production, 23-three-year-old Rooney was preparing for service in WWII. Angela Lansbury, who was 19 at the time, made her second film appearance in NATIONAL VELVET…

OUT OF THE PAST

1947

Jane Greer’s character in the film noir OUT OF THE PAST (1947) has been hailed as the quintessential femme fatale. Her role was reprised by Rachel Ward in the 1983 remake, AGAINST ALL ODDS. In that version, Jane Greer returned to the screen to play Ward’s mother…

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY

1953

Deborah Kerr was cast against type in FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953), playing the promiscuous wife of an Army base commander at Pearl Harbor just before the Japanese attack in 1941. The steamy scene in which Kerr and Burt Lancaster kiss on the beach—one of the most recognizable in film history—took three days to shoot…

BRINGING UP BABY

1938

BRINGING UP BABY (1938) was initially a challenging movie for Cary Grant and his co-star Katharine Hepburn. Both were seasoned actors, but they had a hard time mastering screwball comedy until they received coaching from director Howard Hawks.  Although the film bombed at the box office, it is now considered a classic, and one of Grant’s most beloved roles…

IMITATION OF LIFE

1933

Based on the 1933 Fannie Hurst novel and its first film adaptation in 1934, IMITATION OF LIFE (1959). represents director Douglas Sirk’s mastery as the “King of Hollywood melodrama.”  In her most celebrated role, Juanita Moore plays a single mother with a light-skinned daughter who wishes to pass as white. Her onscreen friend, Lana Turner, also suffers troubled times with her daughter…

REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE

1955

REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955) has been hailed as James Dean’s most memorable performance of the three films the actor made before his untimely death in a car accident, one month before REBEL opened. Although the picture was initially slated to star Marlon Brando as a juvenile delinquent, director Nicholas Ray changed the theme to reflect the generation gap between American teens and their parents…

THE STING

1973

THE STING (1973) marked the second and last teaming of Robert Redford and Paul Newman, though the actors are popularly remembered as a pair. The film was nominated for 10 Oscars® and won seven, including Best Picture. For the role of “Johnny Hooker,” Redford received his only Best Actor nomination to date…

BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID

1969

At the time of BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969), Paul Newman was a much bigger star than Robert Redford, but this film catapulted Redford into celebrity. Originally planning to feature Steve McQueen alongside Newman, director George Roy Hill defied studio advice and gave Redford a shot. Hill later directed Redford and Newman in THE STING…

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