The United Kingdom has had a major influence on modern cinema and has has produced some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful films of all time. The first moving pictures developed on celluloid film were made in Hyde Park, London in 1889 by William Friese Greene, a British inventor, who patented the process in 1890. It is generally regarded that the British film industry enjoyed a 'golden age' in the 1940s, led by the studios of J. Arthur Rank and Alexander Korda. Despite a history of successful productions, the industry has often been characterised by a debate about its identity (including economic and cultural issues) and the influences of American and European cinema.
The British film industry has produced some of the greatest actors and directors of all time including Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Powell and Pressburger, Sir David Lean, Sir Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Audrey Hepburn, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Sean Connery, Sir Michael Caine and Sir Anthony Hopkins. Critically acclaimed films by British directors include City Lights, The Third Man, Lawrence of Arabia and Rear Window. Some of the most commercially-successful films of all time have been produced in the United Kingdom, including the two highest-grossing film franchises (Harry Potter and James Bond).
Many British films are co-productions with American producers, often using both British and American actors, and British actors feature regularly in Hollywood films. Many successful Hollywood films have been based on British people, stories or events, including Titanic, The Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean, and British influence can be seen in the 'English Cycle' of Disney animated films, including Alice in Wonderland, Robin Hood and One Hundred and One Dalmatians.
In 2009 British films grossed around $2 billion worldwide and achieved a market share of around 7% globally and 17% in the United Kingdom. The British film industry employs around 36,000 people directly and around 63,000 indirectly in the UK. In 2009 the industry directly contributed around £1.6 billion to UK GDP and indirectly contributed approximately a further £3 billion. UK box-office takings totalled £944 million in 2009, with around 173 million admissions.