Frames from 'The Corbett Fitzsimmons Fight'

1897-03-17 in Carson City
Enoch J Rector

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Five frames of the film The Corbett Fitzsimmons fight
Science Museum Group Collction
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London

60mm Film strip, made up of five frames of the earliest feature film (and earliest widescreen feature) entitled 'The Corbett Fitzsimmons Fight', directed by Enoch J Rector. Filmed on 17 March 1897 in Carson City, Nevada, USA.

'The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight' is an 1897 documentary film directed by Enoch J. Rector depicting the 1897 boxing match between James J. Corbett and Bob Fitzsimmons in Carson City, Nevada on St. Patrick's Day. Originally running for more than 100 minutes, it was the longest film released to date; as such, it was the world's first feature film. The technology that allowed this is known as the Latham loop. Rector claimed to have invented the device, but its invention is disputed. He used three such equipped cameras placed adjacently and filming on 63mm nitrate film. Only fragments of the film survive.

The film was also the first to be shot in widescreen, with an aspect ratio of about 1.65:1. It was the first motion picture to ever depict the championship prizefight and the film of the fight produced more income in box office than in live gate receipts, it was immensely profitable and the picture served as a long-standing model for future amusement entrepreneurs. Prizefighting was illegal in 21 states and many cities and states tried to ban the film, but their efforts were mostly unsuccessful.[5]

In 2012, the film was added to the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress as a "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant film".


Object Number:
film strip

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.