Movies That Shook up the World

Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 4:53 pm

This week’s guest post is all about movies that shook up the world. While opinions might vary on what constitutes such a lofty definition, I view it as any movie that had a profound effect on pop culture and spawned generations of imitators. Hope you enjoy the article, and be sure to click on the links to show your support for our guest writer.

Now on with the show…

The movies of our time can capture an audience and catapult them into another world. For two hours, a film can take your mind off the everyday cares and hassles and become the center of your universe. Whether it’s horror, romance, comedy, action, or a tear jerker, movies can inspire viewers to dream big and pursue their fondest desires…at least until they walk back out into the light of day.

Given the number of motion pictures released throughout the decades, there are a select few that fall into the category of movies that shook up the world. We’ve searched high and low for such films, carefully selecting those that influenced subsequent films and filmmakers, as well as redefining the movie going experience. Watching these films in your home theater is guaranteed to be a profound experience.

Star Wars (1977) – The vision of George Lucas, Star Wars was released in May of 1977 by 20th Century Fox, and it quickly developed into a pop culture phenomenon heard round the world. The space opera remains popular some 33 years after the first release. Star Wars is the third highest-grossing film series ever, reaching $5.52 billion by 2008, beaten narrowly by James Bond and Harry Potter.

Star Wars achieved more than just financial gain; it represented the beginning of a film revolution that would bring special effects into the modern, digital age. Congratulated by James Cameron (known for directing Titanic, Aliens, Avatar, and The Terminator) for advances in technology and a shift in the public’s perception of what could be accomplished on-screen, Star Wars expertly weaved advanced effects with solid storytelling and believable characters.

Psycho (1960) – Considered one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best films, Psycho has cemented a place in movie history for its cast and crew. By 1992, the film was summed up as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,“ by the United States Library of Congress, while appearing as number four on Bravo Network’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments. The shower scene alone qualifies it as one of the movies that shook up the world, and many patrons were cowering in their theater seats as Janet Leigh met her untimely end. Even those who’ve never seen the film know about the infamous moment and the accompanying score.

In essence, Hitchcock taught the world how to love murder (in a film, not reality). When watching the film, some may imagine it to be more graphically violent than it really is–a testament to Hitchcock‘s skills as a filmmaker. For helping to stretch the boundaries of terror and suspense, this classic certainly deserves a place on our list.

Breathless (1959) – Directed by Jean-Luc Godard, this French drama encapsulated the public, leading many to summarize it as “immaculate and glowing.” It did, in effect, change the way people watched, thought, wrote about and made movies. Filled with a mixture of impressive techniques, including handheld shots, jump cuts, long unbroken takes, tracking shots, and the use of natural lighting, Breathless was also among the first films to involve the characters directly with the camera (this drawing the audience deeper into the narrative). The film was re-released this year to celebrate its 50th anniversary, and it continues to prove that breaking the mold can pay big dividends.

Gone with the Wind (1939) – Released in 1939, this film is an adaptation of the 1936 novel written by Margaret Mitchell. Directed by Victoria Fleming, the film received ten Academy Awards and sold more tickets in the U.S. than any other film. Even in its 71st year, the legacy of Gone with the Wind still lives on, and its three hour and forty minute run time smashed more than just the box office. It also holds the distinction of being the first film to win an African-American performer an Oscar (Hattie McDaniel).

The Wizard of Oz (1939) – When mentioning 1939, it would be a crime to ignore Victor Fleming’s colorful masterpiece starring Judy Garland in the lead role. The Wizard of Oz is officially one of America’s best-loved fairytales, and the legendary musical about a young girl and her dog trying to return home to Kansas is broadcast yearly to the delight of millions.

Although the legacy is one to be remembered by those who’ve grown up with it for 71 years, another lasting memory is the sorrow suffered by many of those involved. Director Victor Fleming (who also helmed Gone with the Wind), music arranger Herbert Stothart, screenwriter Edgar Allan Woolf, film editor Blanche Sewell, Charles Grapewin (who played Dorothy’s uncle) and Frank Morgan (who played the gatekeeper) all died before witnessing the massive successes of the film. Meanwhile, star Judy Garland battled her own personal problems for many years, attempting suicide on several occasions before dying of a drug overdose at the age of 47.

Jurassic Park (1993) – Directed by Steven Spielberg, this dinosaur classic is rated one of the most thrilling movies of all time, as well as one of the most influential films ever made. Computer-generated imagery allowed the filmmaker’s vision to come alive in a realistic fashion, wowing audiences with the sheer ferocity of the T-Rex or stealthy cunning of the Velociraptors. A worldwide interest in dinosaurs would follow, prompting documentaries such as Walking with Dinosaurs.

The Matrix (1999) – The dawning of the new century saw a peek into how the future could possibly look, with reality and imagination mixing to create an eye-popping action cocktail. Written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, the film is remembered for its “bullet time” visual effects, lots of stylistic gunfights, and Carrie-Ann Moss in her tight leather outfit.

Avatar (2009) – This list of movies that shook up the world wouldn’t be complete without Avatar, the latest blockbuster from James Cameron. Not even a year old, the film has already grossed more than $2 billion, and it’s bound to make even more in the years to come. The visual effects of Avatar once again took the film industry a step further, and riding the coattails of the growing 3-D phenomenon didn’t hurt, either. The actual filming had been delayed since the 1990s in order for technology to catch up with Cameron’s vision. It’s too soon to predict the legacy of the film, but there’s little doubt that the short term effects are immense.

Also recommended:

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 15th, 2010 at 4:53 pm and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Movies That Shook up the World”

Leave a Comment

October 9, 2010

scaber nestor



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *