Roundhay Garden Scene

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Roundhay Garden Scene
Believed to be the world's earliest surviving motion-picture film
Directed by Louis Le Prince
  • Annie Hartley
  • Adolphe Le Prince
  • Joseph Whitley
  • Sarah Whitley
Cinematography Louis Le Prince
Edited by Louis Le Prince
Release date
14 October 1888; 129 years ago (1888-10-14)
(Private collection)
Running time
2.11 seconds
Country United Kingdom
Language Silent

Roundhay Garden Scene is an 1888 short silent actuality film recorded by French inventor Louis Le Prince. Shot at Oakwood Grange in Roundhay, Leeds, in the north of England, it is believed to be the oldest surviving film in existence, as noted by the Guinness Book of Records.[1]


According to Le Prince's son, Adolphe, the film was made at Oakwood Grange, the home of Joseph and Sarah Whitley, in Roundhay, Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, England on 14 October 1888.[2][3]

It features Adolphe Le Prince,[4] Sarah Whitley (née Robinson, 1816 – 24 October 1888), Joseph Whitley (1817 – 12 January 1891) and Annie Hartley in the garden, walking around. Sarah is walking backwards as she turns around, and Joseph's coat tails are flying as he also is turning.[3] Joseph and Sarah Whitley were Louis Le Prince's parents-in-law, being the parents of his wife Elizabeth, and Annie Hartley is believed to be a friend of Le Prince and his wife. Sarah Whitley died ten days after the scene was filmed.[5]

Remastered footage

In 1930 the National Science Museum (NSM) in London produced photographic copies of surviving parts from the filmstrip. This sequence was recorded on an 1888 Eastman Kodak paper base photographic film through Louis Le Prince's single-lens combi camera-projector. Adolphe Le Prince stated that the Roundhay Garden movie was shot at 12 frames/s (and a second movie, Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge, at 20 frames/s); however, the later digital remastered version of Roundhay Garden produced by the National Media Museum in Bradford, which contains 52 frames, runs at 24.64 frames/s, a modern cinematographic frame rate, so it plays in only 2.11 seconds. The NSM copy has 20 frames; at 12 frames/s, this produces a run time of 1.66 seconds.


  1. ^ Guinness Book of Records, all editions.
  2. ^ "Louis Le Prince, who shot the world's first film in Leeds". BBC. 24 August 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Internet Movie Database Roundhay Garden Scene
  4. ^ Adolphe Le Prince IMDb listing
  5. ^ "Monumental Inscriptions at St. John's Church, Roundhay, Leeds". Archived from the original on May 31, 2015. Retrieved January 26, 2018. 

External links

  • Roundhay Garden Scene on IMDb
  • Roundhay Garden Scene is available for free download at the Internet Archive
  • Roundhay Garden Scene on YouTube
  • Louis Le Prince Centre for Cinema, Photography and Television University of Leeds. (The University is near to the site of Le Prince's former workshop which was located at the junction of Woodhouse Lane and Blackman Lane).
  • St John's of Roundhay. Details of memorial for Sarah (died 24 October 1888) and Joseph Whitley (died 12 January 1891) at Beechwood, Roundhay, Leeds. (map), Monumental Inscriptions (II1) at St. John's Church, Roundhay, Leeds
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