Archive for December 24, 2018

Dec
24

The History of Prop Money in Movies

Have you ever wondered about those film scenes where huge amounts of cash get blown up or blown around? Some of those scenes involve hundreds of thousands of bills: prop money for movies that has to look real while not being so real that it violates any federal counterfeit laws. Custom fake bills are important film props. Here’s how all this came about.

The First Prop Money For Movies

The first time that money showed up in a film was 1895. That date might seem hard to believe, but that was when Thomas Edison made his first kinetoscope film. In the bit, some men wager on a cock fight. Real money changed hands for that one.

The next time money showed up in a film was in the 1903 silent film The Great Train Robber and, again, real money was used.

A Screeching Halt

In a plot line worthy of Hollywood, the United States government eventually made laws banning the use of real money in any kind of photography—including film. The reason for this was the