The Muppet Movie is a 1979 musical road comedy film and the first theatrical film featuring the Muppets. Directed by James Frawley and produced by Jim Henson, the film's screenplay was conceived by The Muppet Show writers Jerry Juhl and Jack Burns. An American and British venture produced by Henson Associates and ITC Entertainment between the first half and the second half of The Muppet Show's third season, the film depicts Kermit the Frog as he embarks on a cross-country trip to Hollywood, California. Along the way, he encounters several of the Muppets—who all share the same ambition of finding success in professional show business—while being pursued by Doc Hopper, an evil restaurateur with intentions of employing Kermit as a spokesperson for his frog legs business.
Notable for its surreal humour, meta-references and prolific use of cameos, The Muppet Movie was released in the United Kingdom on May 31, 1979 and in the United States on June 22, 1979, and received critical praise; including two Academy Award nominations for Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher's musical score and their song, "The Rainbow Connection". In 2009, the film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
The success of The Muppet Movie spawned several sequels, none of which existed in the same continuity: The Great Muppet Caper (1981), The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), Muppet Treasure Island (1996) and Muppets from Space (1999). In 2002, the film series was a prequel with Kermit's Swamp Years. In 2011, the film series was rebooted with The Muppets and followed by Muppets Most Wanted in 2014. However, the latter acknowledges itself as the seventh sequel to The Muppet Movie.