Universal Newsreels on DVD


DVD50 - Newsreels 1932-35
DVD51 - Newsreels 1936-39
DVD52 - Newsreels 1940-43
DVD53 - Newsreels 1944 pt. 1
DVD54 - Newsreels 1944 pt. 2
DVD55 - Newsreels 1945 pt. 1
DVD56 - Newsreels 1945 pt. 2
DVD57 - Newsreels 1945 pt. 3
           DVD58 - Newsreels 1946
           DVD59 - Newsreels 1946-49
           DVD60 - Newsreels 1950-1955
           DVD61 - Newsreels 1956
           DVD62 - Newsreels 1957-1958
           DVD63 - Newsreels 1959-1960
           DVD64 - Newsreels 1960
           DVD65 - Newsreels 1961-1963
           DVD66 - Newsreels 1964-1967

See the Vanguard rocket blast into space! Watch Arthur the robot, parades of bathing beauties, Santa Claus in a flying saucer! In the age before televison, people saw the news every week in their neighborhood movie theater, in the newsreels that were shown with every feature film. These short news films were produced by the Big Five Hollywood studios and contained six or seven stories usually one or two minute in length, covering politics and sports and fashions and whatever might entertain the movie audience to keep them coming back every week. A selection of these newsreels is now available from the Bookstore on DVDs made for history classes at the University of San Diego. These visual historical documents have been copied on miniDV tape at videotape resolution (not broadcast quality) from the public domain reference videocassettes at the National Archives in College Park MD of the Universal Newsreel gift collection made to the federal government in 1970 that included 30 million feet of film made 1929-67. There is no published or online index to these newsreels. The National Archives has microfilm of the index cards made by the Universal company when it was still in business. However, the film referenced in these cards may no longer exist today, or soundtracks may be missing, as is the case with many of the pre-1950 newsreels. Those newsreels that have survived, in living black-and-white and monophonic sound, offer a fascinating and unique view of an era when motion pictures defined our culture.
You need the Apple Quicktime plugin to see this Universal newsreel logo silent animation, and to view the sample clips, in the MPEG4 Quicktime format.

Sample clips:

  • 1944 B-29s Rule Skies Universal 17-356 (1944/12/18) from Universal Newsreels 1944
  • 1945 Ledo Road Opens, Universal 18-372 (2/12/1945) from Universal Newsreels 1945,
  • 1945 Women Marines Overseas, Universal 18-374 (2/19/1945) from Universal Newsreels 1945
  • 1945 Old Glory Flies Over Iwo Jima, Universal 18-382 (3/19/1945) from Universal Newsreels 1945
  • 1945 Nation Hails V-E Day, Universal 18-397 (5/10/45) from DVD56
  • 1947 HUAC "Hearing on Communism in Hollywood," Universal 20-85 (10/23/1947) from DVD59
  • 1957 Ghana "A New Nation, Gold Coast becomes Ghana," Universal 30-21 (3/7/1957) from DVD62
  • 1959 Nehru of India visits Dalai Lama in Tibet, rides horse, Universal 32-35 (4/30/1959) from DVD63
  • 1960 Congo Lumumba Seized, returned to Leopoldville in Congo after caputre by soldiers of Mobutu, Universal 33-98 (12/5/1960) from DVD64
  • 1962 Jackie Kennedy rides elephant in India, Universal 35-25 (3/22/1962) from DVD65
  • 1965 Dominican Diversion rebel movement collapses in Dominican Republic, after U.S. Marines sent in, Universal 38-35 (4/29/1965) from DVD66

  • * Note: these sample clips are reduced in size to 320x240 at 8 fps. All newsreels on each DVD are full-screen size 720x480 MPEG-2 at 30 fps, copied from 280-line NTSC reference videocassettes in the National Archives.


  • Fielding, Raymond. The American Newsreel, 1911-1967. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1972. 392 p.
  • Fielding, Raymond. The March of Time, 1935-1951. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. 359 p.
  • Higashi, Sumiko. "Melodrama, Realism, and Race: World War II Newsreels and Propaganda Film." Cinema Journal 37, Spring 1998, pp. 38-62.
  • Hulbert, Jeff. "Right-wing Propaganda or Reporting History? The Newsreels and the Suez Crisis of 1956." Film History 14, 2002, pp. 261-282.
  • Oriard, Michael. King Football: sport and spectacle in the golden age of radio and newsreels, movies and magazines, the weekly & the daily press. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001. 491 p.
  • Short, K.R.M. and Stephan Dolezel, eds. Hitler's Fall: the Newsreel Witness. New York: Croom Helm, 1988. 188 p.
  • Smither, Roger and Wolfgang Klaue, eds. Newsreels in Film Archives: a survey based on the FIAF Newsreel Symposium. Madison NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996. 224 p.

  • Links:

  • The Newsfilm Library at the University of South Carolina has a searchable index to 11 million feet of the Fox Movietone newsreels, including outtakes from 1919 to 1934 and complete newsreels and associated outtakes from September 1942 through August 1944.
  • Twentieth Century-Fox has digitized its complete collection of 40 million feet of newsreels 1919-1963, and it has been indexed by the ITN Archive.
  • The UCLA Film and Television Archive has a searchable index to 27 million feet of newsreel footage of the Hearst Metrotone Newsreels and smaller collections of other newsreels, and has produced The 1930s: Prelude to War Video Library on 30 VHS cassettes from collection.
  • The Grinberg Film Libraries in Chatsworth CA has a searchable index to the Paramount and Pathe newsreels.
  • The British Pathe Film Archive has a searchable index to the 3500 hours of the British Pathe newsreels from 1896 to 1970.
  • Stock film libraries with searchable indexes include Producers Library Service and Footage.net

  • revised 6/23/05 by Schoenherr | Film Notes for the Film & History Seminar | USD Bookstore | download Quicktime plugin