45 years ago, a band of misfits was brought together in a warehouse in Van Nuys. Assembled by George Lucas, who was struggling to figure out the ways his visionary Star Wars would be brought to the screen, and led by John Dykstra, the team was dubbed Industrial Light & Magic. Through their mixture of artistry and technical prowess, ILM would wind up changing cinema forever, bringing to the screen ideas that would have never been possible without them – liquid-metal assassins, ghostly pirates, resurrected dinosaurs, and everything in between.
In the decades since Industrial Light & Magic’s formation, they have become the final word on visual effects, constantly innovating and breaking new ground, all the while pushing forward the art of storytelling. It really is astounding to think that so many of your favorite cinematic memories were conjured with the assistance of a single visual effects studio.
Since its inception, ILM has won 16 Academy Awards (and been nominated for 40), opened several satellite studios across the globe (including in Australia and Singapore) and contributed to the worlds of commercials, television shows, theme park attractions, video games and virtual reality. It’s been a productive 45 years.
In celebration of this milestone, here are 45 of the most unforgettable moments from Industrial Light & Magic’s first 45 years. We can’t wait to see what they’ll accomplish in the next 45.