TIFF: A history of opening nights

The Judge, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall, to open TIFF 2014

CBC News Last Updated: July 28, 2014

The Toronto International Film Festival's transformation into a global player on the world cinematic stage can be traced through its varied opening film selections.

Over the years, the festival's kick-off titles have been wide-ranging, with choices inevitably sparking debate — or at the very least, spirited conversation — among critics and fans.

An unusual delay marked this year's announcement, with programmers revealing the 2014 opening film — David Dobkin's The Judge — three days after their traditional July news conference. Stranger still, organizers had already announced the family drama, starring Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, and Billy Bob Thornton, would premiere in the festival, but not necessarily in the opening slot.

As we prepare to launch our coverage of the 39th Toronto International Film Festival, take a look back at the films that launched the festival since 1976 by scrolling through the timeline below.