Compilation film

A compilation film, or compilation movie is a film edited from previously released or archive footage, but compiled in a new order of appearance.

The video footage can be combined with new commentary and new footage, but most of the footage of a compilation film consists of archive or stock footage that has been used in earlier, different movies. Sometimes it can also be older material shot again, but with a higher budget.

The quality of these types of films is variable. Sometimes the archive footage is just edited behind each other, without adding anything new. Because of running time limits some footage can be shortened or expanded with short, new footage in an effort to make everything seamlessly flow together into each other. These transitions are not always unnoticeable.


Some of the earliest compilation movies were propaganda films. A famous example is the German Nazi propaganda film Der ewige Jude (1940), where only a small part consisted of new footage, namely the scenes with Jews in a Polish ghetto and the animated maps. The lion's share of the film was filled with old newsreel footage showing Albert Einstein, Anna Stern, Rosa Luxemburg and Adolf Hitler and clips from movies with and by Charlie Chaplin, Ernst Lubitsch and Fritz Lang. Other countries, including the United States and Great Britain, also made propaganda films with archive footage to present themselves in the style of a documentary.

Compilation films based on popular film and television series

In the years before the invention of video stores film companies released compilation films in which the best episodes of a film serial were put into one movie. One of the earliest examples were Walt Disney's "package films", based on his popular short animated films.

Film serials shown during a matinée were also sometimes edited into one long movie and re-released again. Today, most of these serials are only available in this form. A well known example is The Phantom Creeps (1939). During the 1950s, 1960s and 1970S many old film serials were re-edited and compiled into one film, for instance the slapstick movie compilation films 4 Clowns and The Golden Age of Comedy. Since in those days the general public had no other way to see these old movies (once again) these compilation movies were very successful and guaranteed theatres full of spectators.

After television became popular during the 1950s some television series were compiled and edited into one film. Even people who had already seen everything on TV enjoyed experiencing the entire series again in one row. A famous example was the 1955 TV series Davy Crockett, which was released as the cinematic feature Davy Crockett and the River Pirates (1956).

When television started to repeating several old films and TV series on a regular basis compilation films became less popular. Films consisting of almost or nothing more than previously released footage, like Godzilla's Revenge (1969) and Trail of the Pink Panther (1982) left the audience with the feeling that they had been tricked into seeing the same material again, while expecting a fully original film with new, authentic material. The arrival of video and DVD, where several episodes or seasons of a series could be entirely collected, also took the need for compilation films away.

Musical compilation films

Another popular form is the musical compilation film, where clips from film musicals, concerts or music videos could be brought together into one format. Famous examples are the movies That's Entertainment! (1974), That's Entertainment, Part II (1976) and That's Entertainment! III (1994), all documentaries about Hollywoodmusicals, in which the narration is frequently interrupted to show full scenes from these musical films. Another example is the movie Moonwalker (1988) with pop singer Michael Jackson which mostly consists of older footage from his music videos and concerts, and some newer footage to give some resemblance of a story.

Compilation films with new footage

A special kind of compilation films are movies where old footage is simply filmed again, but on a higher budget. A famous example is the first Monty Python movie And Now For Something Completely Different (1973), where most of the scenes are recreations of the most popular sketches from the first two seasons of the TV series Monty Python's Flying Circus. So although the footage is new, the content is mostly not.


In Japanese anime, a compilation movie is a feature film that is mostly composed of footage from a television serial. These typically compress the plot of a story arc from about eight to thirteen broadcast hours to a bit more than two hours without commercials. Additional animation may be added that is either of a superior quality to that made for television or which changes story details, often making the ending lead to a sequel not suggested in the original show. Such films may be put on video or DVD, recently even without being shown theatrically.

A compilation movie is often the most available source for the content of the TV series for persons outside the range of broadcasting. Release rights to other countries are often given for compilation movies well before the entire serial is similarly released. A compilation movie does not contain the characterization developed through the series, but it does not have filler material or extraneous plot.


Examples of compilation films include the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex films The Laughing Man and Individual Eleven, Space Battleship Yamato (1977) and the first three Mobile Suit Gundam films. The series Maison Ikkoku also derived a compilation film. Most of Gerry Anderson's Supermarionation series were made into compilation movies during the 1980s by ITC Entertainment under the package title of Super Space Theater.

Difference between a compilation film and an anthology film

An anthology film looks stylistically like a compilation film and some anthology films are compilation films, but certainly not all of them. What distinguishes an anthology film from a compilation movie is the fact that a compilation film by definition shows archive or stock footage shown before, while the short segments in an anthology film are new material.

See also

Anthology film

An anthology film (also known as an omnibus film, package film, or portmanteau film) is a subgenre of films consisting of several different short films, often tied together by only a single theme, premise, or brief interlocking event (often a turning point). Sometimes each one is directed by a different director. These differ from "revue films" such as Paramount on Parade (1930)—which were common in Hollywood in the early sound film era to show off their stars and related vaudeville-style acts—composite films, and compilation films.

Sometimes there is a theme, such as a place (e.g. New York Stories, Paris, je t'aime), a person (e.g. Four Rooms), or a thing (e.g. Twenty Bucks, Coffee and Cigarettes), that is present in each story and serves to bind them together. Two of the earliest films to use the form were Edmund Goulding's Grand Hotel (1932), released by MGM with an all-star cast; and Paramount's If I Had a Million (also 1932), featuring segments helmed by a number of directors.

Captain Scarlet vs. the Mysterons

Captain Scarlet vs. the Mysterons is a 1980 television film based on the 1967 British Supermarionation television series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. It is a compilation film incorporating re-edited footage from the series episodes "The Mysterons", "Winged Assassin", "Seek and Destroy" and "Attack on Cloudbase". A second compilation film, Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars, was completed in 1981.

Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island

Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island (also known as Daffy Duck's Movie: Fantastic Island) is a 1983 Looney Tunes film with a compilation of classic Warner Bros. cartoon shorts and animated bridging sequences, hosted by Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzales. This was the first Looney Tunes compilation film to center on Daffy Duck, as the previous ones had centered on Bugs Bunny.

A note in the end credits dedicates the film to animator and story man, John Dunn, "who inspired it." Dunn died of heart failure in San Fernando, California on January 17, 1983; six months before the film's release.

Documentary film

A documentary film is a nonfictional motion picture intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record. "Documentary" has been described as a "filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception" that is continually evolving and is without clear boundaries. Documentary films were originally called 'actuality' films and were only a minute or less in length. Over time documentaries have evolved to be longer in length and to include more categories, such as educational, observational, and even 'docufiction'. Documentaries are also educational and often used in schools to teach various principles. Social media platforms such as YouTube, have allowed documentary films to improve the ways the films are distributed and able to educate and broaden the reach of people who receive the information.

Down Memory Lane

Down Memory Lane is a 1949 Hollywood compilation film of comedy scenes from early silent films. Phil Karlson directed the film. In New South Wales, Australia, the film was double billed with Tokyo File 212.

Esfir Shub

Esfir Shub (Russian: Эсфи́рь Ильи́нична Шуб; 16 March 1894, Surazh, Russian Empire – 21 September 1959, Moscow, Soviet Union), also referred to as Esther Il'inichna Shub, was a pioneering Soviet filmmaker and editor in both the mainstream and documentary fields. She was one of few women to play a significant role behind the scenes in the Soviet film industry. She is best known for her trilogy of films, Fall of the Romanov Dynasty (1927), The Great Road (1927), and The Russia of Nicholas II and Leo Tolstoy (1928). Shub is credited as the creator of compilation film.

Free! (TV series)

Free! is a Japanese anime television series produced by Kyoto Animation and Animation Do. The anime is a sequel to the light novel, High Speed! (Japanese: ハイ☆スピード!, Hepburn: Hai Supīdo!), written by Kōji Ōji, which received an honorable mention in the second Kyoto Animation Award contest in 2011 and was published in July 2013. The first season, titled Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club for international distribution, aired in Japan in 2013; and the second season, titled Free! - Eternal Summer, aired in 2014. A third season of the anime series titled Free! - Dive to the Future aired in 2018. Hiroko Utsumi directed the first two seasons, while season three was directed by Eisaku Kawanami.

An animated film adapting the second volume of the original novel, High Speed! Free! Starting Days, was released in December 2015. A film trilogy was released in 2017 with the first two films being compilations of both seasons of the anime series titled Free! Timeless Medley - the Bond and Free! Timeless Medley - the Promise. The third film in the trilogy titled Free! Take Your Marks featured a new story. A compilation film encompassing the third season, titled Free! Road to the World - the Dream, will debut in July 2019 with another film slated for release in Q3 2020, airing alongside the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics where swimming will be a featured event.

George Sewell

George Sewell (31 August 1924 – 2 April 2007) was an English actor, best known for his television roles, but also active on stage and in films

Innocence Unprotected

Innocence Unprotected is a compilation film by Yugoslavian director Dušan Makavejev. Makavejev's film is based on a 1941 film Nevinost bez zaštite in Serbia by Dragoljub Aleksić that was never released. In 1968, Makavejev established the film and expanded it with newsreel footage and interviews with surviving cast members.

Itoshii Hitoyo Good Night…

Itoshii Hitoyo Good Night... (愛しい人よGood Night..., "My Dearie, Good Night...") is the seventh single by B'z, released on October 24, 1990. This song is one of B'z many number-one singles in Oricon chart. The single was re-released in 2003, and re-entered at #12. It sold over 354,000 copies according to Oricon.An edited version of the song plays over the opening credits of their video compilation Film Risky, while the B-side, a re-recorded version of "Guitar Kids Rhapsody" from their second album, Off the Lock, is one of the featured videos.

National Film Award for Best Historical Reconstruction/Compilation Film

The National Film Award for Best Historical Reconstruction/Compilation Film is one of the National Film Awards presented annually by the Directorate of Film Festivals, the organisation set up by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, India. It is one of several awards presented for non-feature films.

The award was instituted in 1984, at 32nd National Film Awards and awarded annually for non-feature films produced in the year across the country, in all Indian languages.

Smarty Cat

Smarty Cat is the 95th one reel animated Tom and Jerry short, created in early 1955, and released on October 14, 1955 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The cartoon was directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and produced by Fred Quimby with music by Scott Bradley. Smarty Cat was animated by Kenneth Muse, Michael Lah, Ed Barge and Irven Spence, with backgrounds by Vera Ohman and the layouts by Richard Bickenbach. It integrates footage from previous shorts into the plot. It is the last compilation film in the Hanna-Barbera era.

The House That Shadows Built

The House That Shadows Built (1931) is a feature compilation film from Paramount Pictures, made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the studio's founding in 1912. The film was a promotional film for exhibitors and never had a regular theatrical release.

The film includes a brief history of Paramount, interviews with various actors, and clips from upcoming projects (some of which never came to fruition). The title comes from a biography of Paramount founder Adolph Zukor, The House That Shadows Built (1928), by William Henry Irwin.

The World of Abbott and Costello

The World of Abbott and Costello is a 1965 American compilation film starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello.

Tom and Jerry filmography

This is a complete list of the 164 shorts in the Tom and Jerry series produced and released between 1940 and 2014. Of these, 163 are theatrical shorts, two are made-for-TV shorts and one is a 2-minute sketch shown as part of a telethon.

Ultraman (1979 film)

Akio Jissouji's Ultraman (実相寺昭雄監督作品ウルトラマン, Jissouji Akio Kantoku Sakuhin Urutoraman) is a 1979 Japanese tokusatsu superhero kaiju film directed by Akio Jissoji. It is a compilation film made up of scenes from Jissoji's episodes of the original Ultraman TV series (Compilation of episodes 15, 22, 23, 34 & 35).

Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree

Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree is a 1966 animated featurette based on the first two chapters of the book Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne. The film was produced by Walt Disney Productions. Its songs were written by the Sherman Brothers (Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman) and the score was composed and conducted by Buddy Baker.

This featurette was shown alongside the live-action feature The Ugly Dachshund, and was later included as a segment in the 1977 compilation film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

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