MGM/UA Home Entertainment

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum



In 1981, MGM had purchased United Artists from Transamerica after the failure of the movie Heaven's Gate. In 1982, after MGM broke off from its partnership with CBS, it was renamed to MGM/UA Home Video (a.k.a. MGM/UA Home Entertainment Group). MGM/UA continued to use CBS/Fox Video to license several of its titles on videocassette, until ending the partnership in 1990 after a lawsuit.

In 1986, after MGM's pre-1986 library (including most of the pre-1950 Warner Bros. Pictures library, a fraction of some UA material, and most US rights to the RKO Radio Pictures library (although RKO retains the copyrights to their films)) was acquired by Ted Turner and forming Turner Entertainment Co., MGM/UA Home Video signed a deal with Turner to continue distributing the pre-1986 MGM and the pre-1948 Warner Bros. libraries for video release.

In 1990, after MGM was purchased by Pathé (not that one), MGM/UA signed a deal with Warner Home Video to have them distribute its titles exclusively on video. In 1994, this division was renamed to MGM/UA Home Entertainment (though the logo was unchanged) and also launched MGM/UA Family Entertainment. On March 24, 1997, MGM/UA began releasing its titles on DVD (with A Streetcar Named Desire and The Wizard of Oz on launch day), and managed to release over 30 titles from the Turner catalog on DVD (due to their video distribution deal) until it was transferred to Warner Home Video in 1999 (after MGM ended their distribution deal with Warner Bros.) and folded Orion Pictures with all its owned-library into this company. Around 1997, the UA name was dropped, renaming it to MGM Home Entertainment.

1st Logo (July 1982-July 21, 1993, 1999 in Indonesia)

Visuals: On a black background, a bluish metallic "MGM/UA" moves into place, with ("MGM" going from top-right to left, and "UA" going from bottom-left to right). Then, a "/" appears between them as a static picture of Leo inside the circled filmstrip with the drama mask zooms out on top of the text. Yellow lights appear and wipe in the remainder of the filmstrips on the left and right sides of Leo while "MGM/UA" shines. After that, "HOME VIDEO" in Microgramma font zooms out under the completed logo, and two white lines flash in above and below "HOME VIDEO".


  • There is a black and white variant for classic MGM and UA movies in B&W.
  • Some tapes have a slightly different lion/ribbon design. [Examples?]
  • In Sweden, MGM tapes were often distributed through Esselte Video. The byline "From ESSELTE VIDEO" in white appears below. In between "From" and "ESSELTE" is a circle with an "X" inside and eight little "points" around it. The logo is also poorly cropped, as the entire space below the byline either shows the color bars or blank black space.
  • On German releases, "IM VERTRIEB DER IMV AUS DEM HAUSE EUROVIDEO" fades in below the logo.
  • On a Spanish VHS promo for MGM Cartoon Moviestars, after the logo finishes animating, "PROMOREEL" appers below the logo.
  • On some videos from Australia and New Zealand, the logo animates as normal up until "HOME VIDEO" flashes. Then, Leo's static picture becomes Leo roaring, and then the beginning of a promotional reel tunnels in.
  • On tapes from the early 1990s, this was used for preview bumpers (and usually at the end of films). The logo plays like normal, but instead of "HOME VIDEO" appearing, the logo eases back upward, and either "Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You", "Now Playing at a Theatre Near You", "Coming Soon on Videocassette", or "Now Available on Videocassette" appears below. There's an earlier version of this variant (spotted as early as 1989), where "HOME VIDEO" remains intact while the logo eases upward, and "ALSO AVAILABLE" appears below.
  • This was also used for Coming Attraction screens from around 1988-1990. In this variant, the logo plays as normal. When it finishes, the background turns into a gray marble color. Then the ribbons and "MGM/UA" shrink and move to the upper right. "HOME VIDEO" moves slightly to the right and a transparent square flies in behind "HOME VIDEO". The square shines as a purple squiggly line etches itself in below "MGM/UA" and a lime green squiggly line etches itself below the square. "COMING ATTRACTION" wipes itself below "HOME VIDEO" and flashes, and as this happens, the preview begins above "HOME VIDEO", and when the words flash, the screen zooms into the preview.
  • On home video TV spots for Desperate Hours and Death Warrant, the lines above and below "HOME VIDEO" are thicker.
  • On an UK promo for musical films that were released to home media in 1986, the logo appears 9 times (3 logos on three rows), and clips from the films flip over the logos to end one clip and start another.
  • On a 1983 promo seen at the end of some tapes in late 1983/early 1984, the tail end is shown after clips from such works as Poltergeist, Clash of the Titans, Coma, Village of the Damned, Midnight Cowboy, Diner, Shaft, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Diva, Network, Westworld, Fame, The Compleat Beatles, My Favorite Year, A Gumby Adventure, Tom and Jerry Cartoon Festival, Viva Las Vegas, Travels with My Aunt, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, The Goodbye Girl, Singin' in the Rain, Pennies from Heaven, Victor/Victoria, An American in Paris, Easter Parade, That's Entertainment! Part II, and The Wizard of Oz, among other titles in the MGM/UA library.
  • Another variant exists where a “/“ is in the middle of the screen, zooming out and brightly shining. “MGM” and “UA” slide out from behind the “/“, and zoom with it into its usual position. A red trail of a silhouette of the MGM logo zooms out, revealing the MGM logo. “HOME VIDEO” zooms out to the usual spot, but doesn’t flash.
  • On UK VHS releases in the 1980s such as the 1983 UK pre-cert VHS releases of MGM Cartoon Magic Vol. 1 and The Phantom Tollbooth, respectively, among others, a still variant features the logo with the words "MORE GREAT TITLES" and "Available now from your local dealer" in red, appearing above and below the logo, respectively.
  • On a 1983 UK pre-cert VHS release of The Dr. Seuss Video Festival, after the logo finishes animating, the words "Ask your local dealer about availability" in pink fade in.

Technique: Motion-controlled animation effects.

Audio: Same as the second CBS Video logo: in other words, an extension of the second MGM/CBS logo music, but with a different ending.

Audio Variants:

  • The late 1980s-early 1990s Coming Attraction screen starts off with twelve drumbeats played four at a time, then goes into a moving majestic orchestrated theme with Don LaFontaine announcing "The following is an MGM/UA Home Video coming attraction." The tune is called "Destiny" and is composed by Keith Mansfield.
  • On the MGM/UA Home Video Laserdisc Sampler from 1990, the logo is shown at the end with Leo's 1960 roar (aside from the closing theme).
  • The Australian promo logo (with Leo actually roaring) has a different roar track.
  • The TV spots for Desperate Hours and Death Warrant have the sound of Leo roaring, despite being a still picture, possibly because they replaced it from the original TV spots during each movie's theatrical run.
  • On certain UK rental tapes from the 1980s, after the logo finishes, an announcer says "The following new films, which will soon be available from your local stockist, are brought to you by MGM/UA Home Video, one of the leaders in home entertainment."
  • There does exist a silent variant of this logo. It was spotted on a French Canadian VHS release of All Dogs Go to Heaven.
  • The 1983 promo variant features "Help!" by the Beatles from The Compleat Beatles, "I Write the Songs" by Barry Manilow from The First Barry Manilow Special, "Ebben? Ne andrò lontano" by Wilhelmina Wiggins Fernandez from Diva, "Fame" by Irene Cara from Fame, "I Feel the Earth Move" by Carole King from Carole King: One to One, "Shake It Up" by The Cars from The Last American Virgin, and "Le Jazz Hot" by Julie Andrews from Victor/Victoria.

Availability: Appears on many VHS and Laserdisc releases from MGM and UA.

  • The logo lasted for a pretty good eleven years, with the last release to use this being Rich in Love.
  • It also makes a surprise appearance on the 1995 Australian VHS release of Getting Even with Dad, a 1999 VHS release of Annie Hall, and at the end of the documentary Something a Little Less Serious: A Tribute to It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, which can be found on the 2001 MGM flipper disc release of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963).
  • This appears on a 1985 Betamax release of Forbidden Planet, but in an MGM/CBS case and with MGM/CBS labels.
  • Also seen on the Laserdisc and VHS releases of The Golden Age of Looney Tunes.
  • This logo was kept on reprints even past 1993, including 1995 printings of Pink Floyd: The Wall and Diamonds Are Forever, due to those printings still using tape masters from 1993 and 1992, respectively.
  • In a few Asian countries (including Indonesia), VCD releases kept using this logo (instead of having the 4th logo) until 1999. Example of this are the 1997 VCD release of GoldenEye and the 1999 VCD release of Get Shorty (both 1995 films). Other VCD releases probably used the regular 1986 MGM logo as de-facto home entertainment logo.
  • Also showed up on a 1999 reprint of Cotton Comes to Harlem, as MGM used the original 1992 tape master for the release.
  • The variant with the red trail is said to be seen on a 1987 U.S. VHS release of an unknown movie before a trailer.
  • This logo also appears on UK VHS releases such as Terrytoons: The Cowardly Watchdog, MGM Cartoon Magic Vol. 1, Faerie Tale Theatre: Pinocchio, the 1985 UK MGM Classic Collection pre-cert VHS release of The Wizard of Oz (1939, including the 1986 UK VHS re-release thereof), the 1986 UK VHS release of Bugs Bunny: Hold the Lion, Please, the 1987 UK VHS release of Tom and Jerry: Blue Cat Blues, the 1988 UK VHS release of Thunderbirds Are Go (1966), the 1989 UK VHS releases of The Pink Panther Cartoon Festival: Pink Suds, The Pink Panther Cartoon Festival: Pink Paradise, The Pink Panther Cartoon Festival: Pink at First Sight, Porky Pig and Friends, and The Further Adventures of Droopy: Out Foxed, and the 1993 UK retail VHS release of For Your Eyes Only (digitally remastered), respectively, among many others.

Legacy: It's seen as one of the most iconic video logos of the 1980s.

2nd Logo (1983-1987)

Visuals: Same as before, except the text does not move, "HOME VIDEO" is metallic like the MGM/UA text and is a bit smaller with the 1984 MGM logo (minus the Diamond Jubilee text) above the text. Leo roars once.


  • A variant exists, where a Sears logo appears below the logo.
  • On a VHS commercial for Gone with the Wind which aired around 1984-85, it has the "DIAMOND JUBILEE" text (keeping consistent with MGM's 60th anniversary in 1984).
  • At the end of the promotional Laserdisc MGM GREATEST MOMENTS: A Video Sampler, a copyright stamp appears below the logo.

Technique: Live-action footage.

Audio: Leo's 1982 roar.

Availability: This logo appeared at the beginning of a promotional trailer for MGM/UA's video release Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever and a 1986 promo for classic MGM musicals on home video.

3rd Logo (October 24, 1989-August 23, 2005, 2006 on Thailand VCDs)

Visuals: Just the MGM/UA Home Video logo with a copyright stamp on the bottom. against a space background. In the background, there is a pattern of the "MGM/UA HOME VIDEO" text slanted at an angle, which scrolls from right to left while changing in many different colors. The following changing colors are: gray, red, teal blue, magenta, blue, and green.


  • This logo was inspired by the hologram stickers that were used on most VHS releases from MGM before this logo came out.
  • No copyright dates of 1991, 1994, and 2005 were made, these years' tapes just used the prior year's copyright date.


  • 1989-1992 releases show the copyright stamp in a slightly different font, arranged to the left.
  • Some late 1990s-2000 releases had a screen freeze of this logo.
  • The beginning of the U.S. VHS of Tea With Mussolini has the logo almost entirely freeze-framed and only starts moving three seconds before it cuts to black.
  • The size of the logo and the color changing arrangements varies.
  • On some releases, there's an extended version (with the ending part in place either at the beginning or end of the tapes) where we see the colors: rose pink, golden yellow, violet, and dark blue in place.

Technique: Simple computer animation.

Audio: None.

Availability: It can be seen on most MGM/UA VHS releases at both beginning and end of their tapes such as All Dogs Go to Heaven and all the 007 VHS releases of the era, even after the the company's renaming as MGM Home Entertainment. Not all releases may have the opening or closing variants, however. Starting in 2003, it was only used at the end of tapes.

  • One of the first tapes to use this logo was the original VHS release of Leviathan, and some of the last tapes to use this logo were the 2005 VHS releases of Be Cool, Hotel Rwanda, and Beauty Shop; the last of which was their final independent release. All MGM films released on VHS after that were distributed by other parties (mainly Sony).
  • On the 1992 VHS of Fiddler on the Roof, this logo used a 1992 copyright at the beginning of the tape, but a 1990 copyright at the end of the tape. Fiddler on the Roof was released on the format originally in 1990; when they reprinted it in 1992, they changed the copyright info at the beginning, but they forgot to change the copyright info at the end.
  • VCD releases in Thailand also used this logo until 2006, using the 2000 copyright perhaps due to an editing mistake.

4th Logo (August 4, 1993-February 4, 1998 [2002 in the UK])


  • Opening: On a black background, a golden 3D CGI filmstrip swerves in the screen, and the camera pans down, around, and then upwards on it in a rollercoaster-style fashion. While panning upwards, the 1928 MGM logo with Jackie the Lion slowly fades onto the frames of the filmstrip, as Jackie roars once. Blue rays suddenly appear around the filmstrip, and it then suddenly pans down, revealing the then-current MGM logo, redone in a lusher, CGI style (including the drama mask with the reef surrounding it) with Leo the Lion in it. The blue light rays are all around the logo's ribboning, and the "Metro Goldwyn Mayer" and "TRADE MARK" texts are still intact around it all, as well as the "(R)" symbol (this time, in gold gradient coloring). The logo turns and zooms out as the light rays dim out. As the logo makes its way to its normal position, and when Leo roars the second time, the logo flashes, causing Leo and the drama mask to turn gold, the texts around him and the reef to dissolve into dust, then one specular highlight on the right side of the filmstrip turns dark, and at last, the trademark symbol surfaces on the right. The dark blue letters of "MGM/UA" then rotate letter-by-letter underneath Leo, followed by a dark blue line, and then "HOME VIDEO" in Century Gothic. The entire logo then shines.
  • Closing: The completed logo, with Leo in it, the drama mask already in gold, and without the text, as well as the reef, flies in from the left side of the screen with the light rays all around it. After making its way onto the screen, the words "MGM/UA HOME VIDEO", line and all, animate in the same style as the opening variant. Leo roars throughout the variant and does not turn gold.


  • At the end of The Pebble and the Penguin, the logo cuts to black near the end before it fades out.
  • On MGM Greats releases, after the sparkle effects fade out, the words "MGM GREATS" wipe in (instead of the normal "MGM/UA HOME VIDEO" text) without the spotlight gradient effect. It has been spotted on a 2001 UK VHS release of The Great Escape. The logo also fades out slower than usual at the end.
  • On a 1995 syndicated infomercial for James Bond films, the specular highlights for "MGM/UA" were lit up, and "Presents" fades in instead of the home video text that is normally in place. Also, the logo doesn't shine.
  • An edited version of the logo appears on TeleCine bumpers from the early 2000s.

Trailer Variants: There is a bumper that precedes trailers with a still of the end logo, replacing "HOME VIDEO" with one of these below:


Technique: CGI. The whole logo, with the ribboning, text and the reef at its zooming point was screenshotted, then photoshopped to black-out almost every spot of the usual MGM text for the MGM/UA text to fade in, and the gold Leo image was added a layer beneath the ribbon logo.

Audio: An orchestral fanfare composed by David Engel based off the opening theme of The Wizard of Oz, which starts dramatically and then ends in a majestic fashion. During the fanfare, Tanner's roar can be heard, and then Leo's 1985 roar. The closing variant has a shortened version of the opening fanfare's ending.

Audio Variants:

  • On the demo VHS release of That's Entertainment! III, the opening theme from That's Entertainment! III by Marc Shaiman is used.
  • On the retail VHS release of The Pebble and the Penguin, the fanfare has weird stereo mixing due to a video processing error.
  • A different version, with completely different music and different roars, is seen on Mexican Spanish tapes until 2000-2001.
  • Some Polish VHS releases distributed by Warner Bros. have an announcer.

Availability: It debuted with the August 1993 home video release of Untamed Heart, and can be found on VHS and Laserdisc releases of this era, such as The Pebble and the Penguin, Get Shorty, All Dogs Go to Heaven 2, and the 1996 release of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.

  • On the 1996 VHS release of Rocky, both the opening and closing variations of this appear at the beginning of the tape. The opening variation appears before the previews, while the closing variation appears after the previews.
  • Earlier DVD releases also have this logo such as Red Dawn (which has the MGM Home Entertainment logo on the cover), The Wizard of Oz, Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky IV, The Black Stallion, Leaving Las Vegas, Rob Roy, GoldenEye, Blown Away, Species, A Christmas Story and Poltergeist.
  • Even though this logo officially ended in 1998 with the DVD releases of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Moonraker, Hoodlum, and the aforementioned Leaving Las Vegas and Red Dawn, the trailer bumpers were still used into the MGM Home Entertainment days, and the logo itself also made a surprise appearance on the 1999 VHS releases of When Harry Met Sally..., National Velvet, The Cutting Edge, and Moonstruck.
  • Also seen on The Golden Age of Looney Tunes on Laserdisc.
  • The closing variant also makes a surprise appearance at the end of a behind-the-scenes featurette on the 2000 DVD of Spaceballs (this was likely sourced from a 1996 Special Edition Laserdisc release).
  • This logo was used on many UK MGM VHS releases from Warner Home Video and 20th Century Fox until at least 2002, on titles such as Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, and Child's Play. The closing variant didn't appear on the UK VHS release of Tank Girl, however.
  • The opening variant was also made available on the author's Vimeo profile.
  • The logo also makes a surprise appearance before an October 1998 Poland TVP1 showing of For Your Eyes Only.
  • This logo is replaced by the 1996 Warner Home Video logo on all 1999 Warner pressed repackagings of 1997-1998 MGM DVD releases from the pre-1986 MGM library that was owned by Turner.
  • It also appears on UK VHS releases, such as the 1997 UK VHS release of All Dogs Go To Heaven 2: Charlie's New Adventure (1996), the 1999 UK VHS re-release of The Beatles: Yellow Submarine (1968) and the 1999 UK VHS release of The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Pink, Pink and Away, respectively.
  • It also makes a surprise appearance on the 2001 UK VHS re-release of Spaceballs (1987), despite the 1998 MGM Home Entertainment logo appearing on the packaging.
MGM/CBS Home Video
MGM/UA Home Entertainment
MGM Home Entertainment
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