The University of Wisconsin Press

Film Studies / Popular Culture / Business History


United Artists, Volume 2, 1951–1978
The Company That Changed the Film Industry
Tino Balio
With an expanded introduction

“Balio’s [two] volumes are the finest economic andproduction history of an American studio yet written.”—Scott Simmon, Film Quarterly

In this second volume of Tino Balio’s history of United Artists, he examines the turnaround of the company in the hands of Arthur Krim and Robert Benjamin in the 1950s, when United Artists devised a successful strategy based on the financing and distribution of independent production that transformed the company into an industry leader. Drawing on corporate records and interviews, Balio follows United Artists through its merger with Transamerica in the 1960s and its sale to MGM after the financial debacle of the film Heaven’s Gate. With its attention to the role of film as both an art form and an economic institution, United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry is an indispensable study of one company’s fortunes from the 1950s to the 1980s and a clear-eyed analysis of the film industry as a whole.

This edition includes an expanded introduction that examines the history of United Artists from 1978 to 2008, as well as an account of Arthur Krim’s attempt to mirror UA’s success at Orion Pictures from 1978 to 1991. Volume 1 is also available, see United Artists, volume 1, 19501950.


“Tino Balio’s superb narration of events and personalities is must reading for anyone fascinated by the motion picture industry and behind the scenes stories of one of the true corporate giants in the heyday of the movies!” —Bookwatch: The Midwest Book Review


United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry will make students of Hollywood wish that all studio histories could be fleshed out. Certainly, Balio has provided a more-than-satisfactory model for them.” —Leonard J. Leff, Reviews in American History


• An earlier edition was published as United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry by UW Press in 1987, Cloth ISBN 978-0-299-11440-4, Paper ISBN 978-0-299-11444-2


Tino Balio is the author of this book.Tino Balio is emeritus professor of film studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is author of Grand Design: Hollywood as a Modern Business Enterprise and editor of The American Film Industry, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

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Of Related Interest

I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History

Walter Mirisch

Forewords by Sidney Poitier and Elmore Leonard

Wisconsin Film Studies

"Legendary producer, visionary filmmaker, courageous seeker of truth, especially in troubling times."—Sidney Poitier, from his foreword


the cover of Balio's second volume about United Artists features a photo of Bond, James Bond, played of course by Sean Connary. He is holding what looks like his trademark Walther PPK, with an extended barrel..

April 2009

472 pp.   6 x 9  
81 b/w illus.


Paper $26.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-23014-2
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Updated March 8, 2010

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