List of 35mm features released in 1.37 after 1953

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A guide to 35mm features released in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio after 1953, the year widescreen formats became the industry standard in Hollywood. This list is not comprehensive, but is intended to help familiarize projectionists with the kinds of 'exceptions to the rule' they should be looking for.

Rules of thumb

  • The big one: Soft-matted widescreen is easily mistaken for full-frame 1.37 - don't be fooled!
  • Don't doubt your eyes. The best test of an aspect ratio theory is how it looks on screen (or, in a pinch, on the bench). Test a reel while switching up on aperture plates & lenses. The opening credits and title card are often the best frames to eyeball.
  • Films originally released for TV exhibition or on 16mm are more likely than others to be natively 1.37
  • With very few exceptions, Hollywood films made after 1953 are intended to be projected in widescreen aspect ratios
  • With very few exceptions, Japanese films made before the late 1970s are either 1.37 or 'scope
  • Beware of IMDb. It's sometimes right about aspect ratios, but it's sometimes wrong.

List of films

Title Director Year Release print
format
Country Notes
Meek's Cutoff Kelly Reichardt 2010 Full-frame United States
The Artist Michel Hazanavicius 2011 Windowboxed France
Paranoid Park Gus Van Sant 2007 Full-frame United States
Last Days Gus Van Sant 2005 Full-frame United States
Elephant Gus Van Sant 2003 Full-frame United States
One from the Heart Francis Ford Coppola 1982 Full-frame United States
My Winnipeg Guy Maddin 2008 Windowboxed Canada
Fish Tank Andrea Arnold 2009 Windowboxed United Kingdom
A Summer's Tale Eric Rohmer 1996 Full-frame France
Wild Style Charlie Ahearn 1983 Full-frame United States
The Good German Steven Soderbergh 2006 United States
Celine and Julie Go Boating Jacques Rivette 1974 France
Le Pont du Nord Jacques Rivette 1982 France
Ida Paweł Pawlikowski 2013 Windowboxed Poland
Post Tenebras Lux Carlos Reygadas 2012 Mexico
Parsifal Hans-Jürgen Syberberg 1982 Full-frame West Germany
Prénom Carmen Jean-Luc Godard 1983 France
Passion Jean-Luc Godard 1982 France
Détective Jean-Luc Godard 1985 France
Hail Mary Jean-Luc Godard 1985 France
For Ever Mozart Jean-Luc Godard 1996 France
Notre musique Jean-Luc Godard 2004 France
Hélas pour moi Jean-Luc Godard 1993 France
Breathless Jean-Luc Godard 1960 Full-frame France
Vivre Sa Vie Jean-Luc Godard 1962 Full-frame France
Le Petit Soldat Jean-Luc Godard 1960 Full-frame France
Band of Outsiders Jean-Luc Godard 1964 Full-frame France
Alphaville Jean-Luc Godard 1965 Full-frame France
Masculin Féminin Jean-Luc Godard 1966 Full-frame France
Meek's Cutoff Kelly Reichardt 2010 Full-frame United States
The Decalogue Krzysztof Kieślowski 1989 Full-frame Poland
Close-Up Abbas Kiarostami 1990 Full-frame Iran
Ivan's Childhood Andrei Tarkovsky 1962 Full-frame USSR
The Mirror Andrei Tarkovsky 1975 Full-frame USSR
Slacker Richard Linklater 1991 Full-frame United States
The Devil Probably Robert Bresson 1977 Full-frame France
Tabu Miguel Gomes 2012 Portugal
Wuthering Heights Andrea Arnold 2011 United Kingdom
La Chinoise Jean-Luc Godard 1967 Full-frame France
Keep Your Right Up Jean-Luc Godard 1987 Full-frame France
La Collectionneuse Eric Rohmer 1967 Full-frame France
My Night at Maud's Eric Rohmer 1969 Full-frame France
Claire's Knee Eric Rohmer 1970 Full-frame France
Chloe In The Afternoon Eric Rohmer 1972 Full-frame France
Full Moon in Paris Eric Rohmer 1984 Full-frame France
Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle Eric Rohmer 1987 Full-frame France
Boyfriends and Girlfriends Eric Rohmer 1987 Full-frame France
An Autumn Tale Eric Rohmer 1998 Full-frame France
Triple Agent Eric Rohmer 2004 Full-frame France
Romance of Astree and Celadon Eric Rohmer 2007 Full-frame France
"King Lear Jean-Luc Godard 1987 Full-Frame United States
Northern Lights John Hanson & Rob Nilsson 1978 Full-frame United States
Jauja Lisandro Alonso 2014 Denmark
Son of Saul Lazlo Nemes 2015 Full-frame Hungary

Notes on tricky cases

  • Prints of Frank Zappa's 200 Motels (1971) are printed full frame. Some scenes (in particular the "Dental Hygiene Dilemma" animated sequence) look as if they were intended to be projected full-frame. Other scenes - particularly the scene described under the 'Aspect Ratio' heading in this DVD review - are clearly framed for 1.66. In this case, this projectionist screened the film in 1.66, because it seemed likely that that's the ratio theatrical audiences in 1971 would have seen it in. 1.37 would have been an equally valid choice.


Note on Hollywood films from the 1950s

Some Hollywood films made in the late 1950s, after the rise of widescreen, can be played in either 1.37 or widescreen without suffering. In most cases there is an obvious correct choice. Nonetheless, there is much lively debate among cinephiles about the "correct" aspect ratio of many Hollywood films from this period. We recommend that projectionists steer clear of these discussions!

Instead, focus on the print in front of you (especially any references to aspect ratio written on or printed into the leader) and on primary sources (such as interviews with the filmmaker or historical promotions material).

Further reading