Can you imagine a world in which these movies don't exist? Neither can I. In this article, I'll highlight my picks for the top 10 movies with the biggest pop culture influence. We'll be looking at films with the most substantial impact on pop culture, leaving a lasting legacy. We'll include both individual films and film series. Let's get to it.
"One does not simply walk into Mordor." This iconic line epitomizes the cultural influence of The Lord of the Rings franchise. Peter Jackson's adaptation lived up to J.R.R. Tolkien's source material, captivating audiences and winning over fans of the books. With its immersive world-building, detailed special effects, and a blend of action and storytelling, the epic high fantasy became a massive box office success, leaving a precious legacy that includes prequels, video games, and an Amazon TV series in development.
The Matrix franchise left a profound mark on pop culture. Its exploration of dystopian virtual reality and complex ideas reshaped action movies, fashion, and choreography. Countless parodies and tributes in various media emerged. The influence is so pervasive that some might even consider taking the blue pill to wake up in a world without it. With the confirmation of The Matrix 4 in 2019, it's clear we're given another chance to experience its influence.
Jaws, the cinematic oceanic thriller, redefined blockbusters by effectively inventing the blockbuster cycle. It not only gave us the iconic theme music and shark imagery but also instilled a cultural obsession with sharks. Most importantly, it made many of us afraid to go back in the water.
Quentin Tarantino's non-linear crime masterpiece set a high bar for crime films, depicting interconnected stories with naturalistic dialogue, unforgettable scenes, and an exceptional soundtrack. Its memorable quotes and scenes have been parodied extensively, while its influence on film, in general, showed how pop culture references within cinema could craft something of exceptional quality.
Harry Potter's magical world transcended the books, turning into a global phenomenon with its film adaptations. It also played a pivotal role in popularizing young adult literature adaptations, enchanting both children and adults.
Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho isn't just a classic; it's a groundbreaking psychological horror flick. It pushed boundaries at the time with its violence and sensuality, inspiring subsequent filmmakers. The film's critical reevaluation helped it receive multiple Oscar nods, making it a pioneer of the slasher genre.
The MCU, spanning comics, movies, short films, TV series, and web series, is a colossal media franchise. From Iron Man to Avengers: Endgame, the MCU's storytelling prowess keeps audiences engaged, defying claims of superhero fatigue. With at least five more feature films planned for phase four, it's clear the franchise isn't slowing down anytime soon.
The Godfather trilogy is a monumental portrayal of Italian-American mobster Michael Corleone's rise and fall. Its iconic characters, scenes, music, and dialogue have permeated American culture and influenced depictions of organized crime. Real-life mafia members also cherish these films.
The Wizard of Oz may be the oldest film on our list, but it has had ample time to seep into pop culture's fabric. With its enchanting journey down the yellow brick road, classic songs, and countless memorable lines, The Wizard of Oz feels like a second home to many.
The Star Wars franchise is the pinnacle of pop culture influence. With beloved characters, timeless scenes, striking imagery, and celebrated music, it has inspired numerous parodies, tributes, and a vast multimedia empire. It's an integral part of pop culture that, like the Force, will be with us always.
These movies have indelibly marked pop culture, influencing everything from fashion to storytelling. Their legacy will continue to shape the way we think, talk, and enjoy cinema for generations to come.