Music & Film

Cultural juggernaut and music star Lizzo will soon be making her debut as an entry in the Times crossword—with a double-Z name like that, who could resist?

How Crosswords Came of Age in the 2010s

Ten of the decade’s favorite entries speak to the color and comprehensiveness of modern puzzles

The top history movies of the decade include Spotlight, 12 Years a Slave and Hidden Figures.

Based on a True Story

What Were the Best History Movies of the Decade?

These ten films (plus one documentary) each took the past and translated it in a way worth remembering

When the special finally aired in 1964, it became such a hit that it has been rebroadcast every year since, making it the longest-running Christmas special in history.

The Magical Animation of 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'

The Christmas television special—the longest running in history—was groundbreaking in its use of stop-motion animation with puppets

The film opens on Christmas Day.

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind the '1917' Movie

A story shared by director Sam Mendes' grandfather, a veteran of the Western Front, inspired the new World War I film

Louisa May Alcott is no longer regarded as a sentimental author for girls, but as a pioneering writer of the first rank.

The New 'Little Women' Brings Louisa May Alcott's Real Life to the Big Screen

More so than in previous film adaptations, writer and director Greta Gerwig weaves the American writer's own experiences into the classic story

James Corden is no common place mouser as he takes on the role of Bustopher Jones, "The Cat we all greet as he walks down the street; his coat of fastidious black."

Purrfect or A-Paw-Ling? Why 'Cats' Still Gives Some Theatergoers Paws

Experts disagree on the hit musical's merits; four of the original production’s slinky, feline costumes are held by the Smithsonian

Maya Angelou’s breakthrough memoir, published 50 years ago, launched a revolution in literature and social awareness.

Published More Than 50 Years Ago, 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' Launched a Revolution

Maya Angelou’s breakthrough memoir forever changed American literature and helped carve a new space for black self-expression

Falling stars as seen on a balloon journey in pioneering aeronaut James Glaisher's book Travels in the Air. A record-setting balloon flight manned by Glaisher is the subject of the new movie The Aeronauts.

Based on a True Story

The True History of the Aeronauts Who Transformed Our View of the World Above

For early balloonists like James Glaisher, the sky was uncharted—and dangerous—territory

Playmobil is sold in nearly 100 countries worldwide.

How Playmobil Went From a Simple, Smiling Figure to a Worldwide Sensation

A new movie plays off the narrative nature of a toy that has been capturing imaginations for 45 years

As leader of the powerful Teamsters Union, Hoffa was rumored to have connections with organized crime and served four years in prison for various offenses.

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman'

Many have suggested Frank Sheeran's claims about the murder of Jimmy Hoffa are mere fantasy; the historical context of Scorsese's epic is more nuanced

American Ingenuity Awards

How Lil Nas X and 'Old Town Road' Defy Categorization

The self-taught 20-year-old musician galloped to global fame with his chart-topping song that fuses country and hip-hop together

Nick Jonas plays Bruno Gaido, a rear gunner who attacked the Imperial Japanese Navy's carrier fleet during the Battle of Midway.

Based on a True Story

The True Story of the Battle of Midway

The new film “Midway” revisits the pivotal WWII battle from the perspectives of pilots, codebreakers and naval officers on both sides of the conflict

Henry V's nine-year reign saw a flourishing of royal authority and military action but ended abruptly with his untimely death in 1422

Based on a True Story

The True Story of Henry V, England’s Warrior King

The new biopic “The King” finds Timothée Chalamet tracing Henry’s evolution from wayward prince to heroic warrior

Though she looms large in the public imagination, Harriet Tubman has rarely received the attention afforded to similarly iconic Americans. A new biopic starring Cynthia Erivo focuses on the decade between Tubman's escape and the end of her Underground Railroad days.

Based on a True Story

The True Story Behind the Harriet Tubman Movie

“Harriet,” a new film starring Cynthia Erivo, is the first feature film dedicated solely to the American icon

Alec Baldwin as Moses Randolph and Edward Norton as Lionel Essrog in Motherless Brooklyn.

Edward Norton on Why He Placed ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ in Robert Moses’ New York

The actor, director and screenwriter brings Jonathan Lethem's acclaimed novel to the screen—with a few unsubtle changes

The laboratory where Frankenstein's monster is created in the 1931 film.

Science in the Movies

The Science Behind Hollywood’s Movie Monsters

Massive hits at the time, the films that brought Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy and more to life also tapped into societal fears and traumas

The Inuit drum-dance group Pamyua will perform in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

Smithsonian Voices

New Music and Dance Fusions Kick Off Native American Heritage Month

The National Museum of the American Indian is webcasting many of these public programs live, then archiving them online

Men feed blocks of ice into a snow machine in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1938.

How Artificial Snow Was Invented

You don't have to ski on cornflakes because Hollywood's quest for authenticity on-screen triggered an avalanche of frozen innovation

The Glenn Miller orchestra recorded "Moonlight Serenade" in 1939 as the B side of a 78 rpm on the RCA Bluebird label.

How 'Moonlight Serenade' Defined a Generation

Bandleader Glenn Miller, who was lost at sea 75 years ago, played and replayed the song before troops serving in World War II

Thomas "Blind Tom" Wiggins (1849-1908), born blind and enslaved, was a musical prodigy who began performing as early as 6 years old.

Hitting the High Notes: A Smithsonian Year of Music

The Tragic Story of America’s First Black Music Star

Thomas Wiggins, an African-American musician marketed as ‘Blind Tom’, had a lucrative career—but saw none of the profits himself

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