On the day that brought us the first trailer for James Cameron's Avatar, it's only fitting that we throw up a video tribute to the films that have dazzled us with groundbreaking visual effects over the years. This video (featured after the jump), titled Visual Effects: 100 Years of Inspiration, was originally intended to be used in a classroom as part of a lecture, and while it leaves off films like The Matrix, as well as anything from 2009, it does do a pretty good job of doling out some nostalgic flavor as we take a trip through time.

Not all of the films featured in this video tribute are named, so we've included a list of them after the jump. It truly is pretty astonishing to see how far we've come with visual effects, and although there will always be a group of people who complain about everything, at least there are visionaries like James Cameron who continue to create and discover and share their work with the rest of us.

Head after the jump to watch the video and check out the complete list of films. object width="450" height="340">

1900 - The Enchanted Drawing
1903 - The Great Train Robbery
1923 - The Ten Commandments (Silent)
1927 - Sunrise
1933 - King Kong
1939 - The Wizard of Oz
1940 - The Thief of Bagdad
1954 - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
1956 - Forbidden Planet
1963 - Jason and the Argonauts
1964 - Mary Poppins
1977 - Star Wars
1982 - Tron
1985 - Back to the Future
1988 - Who Framed Roger Rabbit
1989 - The Abyss
1991 - Terminator 2: Judgement Day
1992 - The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
1993 - Jurassic Park
2004 - Spider-Man 2
2005 - King Kong
2006 - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
2007 - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
2007 - The Golden Compass
2008 - The Spiderwick Chronicles
2008 - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Additional notes: The music track is "Rods and Cones" from the album "Audio" by Blue Man Group.

[via The Awesomer]