From 1965 to 1995, these are the most iconic films that hit theaters worldwide. Find out which successful movie made waves the year you were born.
1995 – Braveheart
Although claims have been made about the inaccuracy of the film, Braveheart is an undeniable all-time classic. The truth of the matter is that movies do not have to necessarily be factual or spot on when it comes to details – they canjust as well be inspired by true events. As long as the movie is well-made and moves the audience, that’s all there’s to it.
1994 – Forrest Gump
“From hippies to Vietnam, from Sweet Home Alabama to California Dreaming, from Elvis to John Lennon, from Ping Pong to Watergate Hotel,” wrote Rony Gao on Quora, and indeed, Forrest Gump really does offer it all to its viewers. It is hard not to become fascinated with the concept of the way one man’s life was integrated into historical events, but Forrest’s adventures are also some of the most memorable cinematic ones to this day. This is evident through the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company chain restaurant, too.
1993 – Jurassic Park
Through the audible gasps and shrieks across the darkened theater, it became clear that this movie was going to be groundbreaking worldwide. It’s not as though Hollywood was short on monster movies, but rather that it was unique in a sense that it portrayed the perfect storm combining serendipity and limelight science. Spielberg added his signature stamp to the film that focused more on unanswerable questions than the actual dinosaurs roaming around the park – which just goes to show there is no equivalent to natural born talent.
1992 – A Few Good Men
The dialogue penned by Aaron Sorkin is unique in the sense that it was made “without a cut,” which is unusual to find in movies these days. In addition, Jack Nicholson’s notable, climactic speech including the iconic “you can’t handle the truth” outburst, Demi Moore’s word of caution toward Tom Cruise and his later on boozy appearance back at courtroom, all built a stable ground for what later became a record-breaking film that is highly memorable to this day.
1991 – Terminator 2
Terminator 2 proved that sometimes the sequel can be better than the original. Although this is not the first time a film outdid the original, what made this movie so outstanding was a mixture of several variables. To kick things off, the movie began with a daunting narration from Sarah Connor – “3 billion human lives ended on August 29th, 1997.” There is also no denying that one of the greatest action films of all time was made possible by the men steering the ship – James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
1990 – Pretty Woman
Julia Roberts and Richard Gere told the tale of the (somewhat unlikely) but highly praised love story. It may not have been the traditional boy-meets-girl plot, but there was no denying the two had mesmerizing chemistry, especially in the scene in which the two bargain for Vivian’s stay (Vivian: ‘I would have stayed for two thousand.’ Edward Lewis: ‘I would have paid four’). Every woman has dreamed of having their own revenge on a snooty shop assistant since Pretty Woman.
1989 – When Harry Met Sally
The romantic comedy written by Nora Ephron was cutting-edge since it told the tale of two friends crossing that platonic relationship redline in a way that was not done before. Sally’s incredibly memorable scene that included hilarious sound effects and the line that soon followed by the lady sitting beside her in the restaurant (“I’ll have what she’s having!”) had countless audience members crying with laughter, both at Harry’s shocked expression and the awkwardness of the situation.
1988 – Rain Man
Dustin Hoffman’s performance as Raymond Babbitt in Rain Man has arguably been said to be his best acting performance to date. In fact, it was this role that landed him his second Academy Award for Best Actor, after landing the first one for his appearance on Kramer vs. Kramer. Besides Hoffman’s portrayal of an emotionally vulnerable character, the movie made waves as it shared a touching story carrying a message that spoke much louder than common romantic comedies.
1987 – The Princess Bride
“Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die.” If that line does not ring any bells, you should probably stop whatever it is that you are doing and turn to your TV immediately. Fezzik, the master of sass who taught us the meaning of sportsmanship, along with Westley’s heroic presence and smooth talk, has us crying “inconceivable!” too many times a day. Even those who have not seen the movie are familiar with its often repeated catchphrases.
1986 – Top Gun
“Although the Cold War was winding down, Top Gun was patriotic filmmaking at its finest. The acts of derring-do Maverick (Cruise) and Goose (Anthony Edwards) performed against the Russians were so thrilling, the movie has been called an effective Navy recruitment film,” explains Jay Fingers on the New York Post. Although recently Cruise may have made headlines for much less favorable news, but this role put him on a pedestal for acting skills that completely stunned his already vastly growing fanbase.
1985 – Back To The Future
Back To The Future tells the tale of the personal journey Marty goes through, in which he learns the importance of believing in yourself with the famous line: ‘If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything’. There is no denying Marty and Doc’s friendship is a special one – although a peculiar one, as well. It is hard to imagine a world in which an old scientist and a young schoolboy find mutual grounds, but somehow, it works perfectly in this blockbuster film.
1984 – Ghostbusters
Credit should be given where credit is due, and the paranormal laser light show in Ghostbusters is nothing short of cinematic prominence. To top everything off, it is hard to ignore the true personification of friendship that takes form on camera – Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) not only invented neon vacuum cleaners just for the sake of it, but they also all went into business together despite having no capital after losing their jobs.
1983 – Scarface
The 80’s cult classic is seen hanging in posters worldwide to this very day. It does not matter if you are a millennial child or have lived long enough to see the film hit theatres, Scarface will forever be recognized as one that made Hollywood’s timeless Hall of Fame despite its vulgarity (or perhaps, because of it?). However, it has been stated by many that The Godfather saga and The Sopranos series create much more thorough portrayals of the mobster soul than Scarface.
1982 – ET
Both a model movie for children and an outstanding portrait of adolescence, “E.T. is a sci-fi adventure that captures that strange moment in youth when the world is a place of mysterious possibilities (some wonderful, some awful), and the universe seems somehow separate from the one inhabited by grown-ups,” according to Rotten Tomatoes. In 2002, Steven Spielberg delighted many with the re-release of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in a revised edition. The Telegraph ranked E.T. as one of the greatest action-adventure films of all time.
1981 – Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raiders of the Lost Ark became 1981’s top-grossing film. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards in total, including Best Picture, in addition to winning four more awards for Best Art Direction, Film Editing, Sound, and Visual Effects. The fifth Academy Award was granted as a Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing. The critical and commercial success of the film led to three additional films and in ’99, the film named “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the U.S. Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.
1980 – The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon got its fair share of criticism, although there is no denying the movie made plenty of headlines where it was praised as well. The issue most viewers had a problem with was the fact that Brooke Shields, who was very young at the time, was seen with little to no clothing during most of the film. The film left little to the imagination, which was slightly hard to bear considering the actors were supposed to portray teens with the social mentality of 7 or 8-year-olds.
1979 – Alien
The 1979 special effects science-fiction horror film, which was directed by Ridley Scott, and starred Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Tom Skerritt, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto, tells the story of a highly aggressive unearthly extraterrestrial that hunts and strikes a spaceship crew. The prosperity of the film Alien generated a media franchise of toys, comic books, novels, and video games. Alien also kickstarted Sigourney Weaver’s acting career, presenting her with her first lead role.
1978 – Grease
Many consider Grease to be remarkable because of its fantastic cast that featured many triple threats, as skilled actors, talented singers, and captivating dancers. John Travolta was at the height of his career, having emerged into the scene following his Saturday Night Fever debut. Another factor which contributed to the success of the film is the transition the USA was going through during the 1980’s in music: the integration of classic rock bands like Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd with bands like the Village People.
1977 – Star Wars
Science fiction became an abundant and broadly popular genre in the 70’s, both in literature and film. Since they were inexpensive and easy to make, Sci-fi films and TV series became huge. What made Star Wars stand out even more is the fact that instead of being set in a dystopian future, Star Wars is made out to be an entire galaxy filled with numerous planets that are swarming with technologically superior civilizations and countless alien species. Not to mention, John Williams’ impressive orchestral opening.
1976 – Rocky
Stallone’s soul-stirring race up Philadelphia Museum of Art steps with Bill Conti’s invincible funk-fanfare playing in the background is a cinematic moment like no other. Sylvester Stallone’s boxing marvel was nominated for 10 Oscars in total, but this was only official praise. Rocky went on to win three Oscars, including best picture. The movie also turned out to be a box-office hit, raking in $225 million worldwide from a budget of only $1.1 million. Since then, six sequels have been made to the film.
1975 – Jaws
Jaws was the prototypical summer blockbuster, and it is not hard to understand why. Its release was considered to be of monumental importance in motion picture history. Jaws is deemed one of the greatest films ever made, a fact strengthened by the several awards the film had won for both its moving music and groundbreaking editing. Three sequels in total followed Jaws, but for much of our dismay, none of the sequels included Spielberg or Benchley, but instead had many imitative thrillers.
1974 – Blazing Saddles
Blazing Saddles, a satirical Western comedy film, received positive reviews from critics and audiences but was much more greatly acknowledged by the Academy, as the film was later nominated for three Academy Awards. Blazing Saddles is ranked as sixth on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Laughs list. Its satirical nature was considered to be risky at the time, considering the racism which was emphasized with the fact that there was a black sheriff in charge in an all-white town.
1973 – The Exorcist
1973’s The Exorcist carried a notable impact on popular culture. Various publications have considered it to be one of the best horror films in history, Entertainment Weekly named it the scariest film of all time in 1999, and Cinematic Happenings Under Development rated it the 10th best film of all time in 2014. The film landed 10 Academy Award nominations, winning Best Sound Mixing and Best Adapted Screenplay by a landslide. The film grossed over $441 million worldwide and was the first horror film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.
1972 – The Godfather
The Godfather is universally considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made, in addition to being one of the most prominent ones, especially within the gangster genre. The Godfather was ranked the second-greatest film in American cinema (after Citizen Kane) by the American Film Institute. Due to its major and undying success, the film was followed by sequels including The Godfather Part II (1974) and The Godfather Part III (1990), but none of which were nearly as substantial as the first one.
1971 -Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Just like there is no chocolate factory without a Golden Ticket, there is no Willy Wonka without Gene Wilder. Although filming took place in Munich, the film made waves worldwide. Keeping in mind the special effects, extravagant costumes and mind-blowing sets that were used and ahead of their time, the film had a relatively small budget of only $3 million. By the end of its original run, the film earned $4 million. Following this, the film was distributed for home entertainment purposes, which put an additional $21 million in Warner Bros.’s bank account.
1970 – MASH
The fact that when discussing MASH one needs to specify that the 70’s movie is what is being considered (and not the TV series that quickly followed the film), just goes to show the amount of success the movie has accumulated. MASH won Grand Prix du Festival International du Film and was later named Palme d’Or, at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival. The film also went on to score five Academy Award nominations, including the prestigious category of Best Picture. Eventually, MASH won the Best Adapted Screenplay.
1969 – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
The film that essentially made 1969 into what it was earned $15 million in North America during its first year of release. However, not all responses were positive. Time magazine claimed Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid‘s two leading male stars are “afflicted with cinematic schizophrenia. One moment they are sinewy, battered remnants of a discarded tradition. The next they are low comedians whose chaffing relationship — and dialogue — could have been lifted from a Batman and Robin episode.” Still, the film won four Academy Awards.
1968 – Planet of the Apes
The film’s John Chambers won an honorary Academy Award for his outstanding make-up achievement, in addition to Morton Haack’s nomination for Best Costume Design and Jerry Goldsmith’s Best Original Score for a Motion Picture. The orchestration is remembered and acknowledged for its progressive compositional techniques, as well as the extended performance techniques. Planet of the Apes was greatly received by the general public and critics, and to this day is regarded as a classic film much applauded for its creativity.
1967 – The Graduate
IMDB provides a description of the movie that stirred the entire industry and the Western World, reading: “A disillusioned college graduate finds himself torn between his older lover and her daughter.” However, this assessment does not convey the innovative approach of the movie, which landed it 20 award wins (including one Oscar) and 16 other nominations. Rotten Tomatoes evaluated the film fully, then stated that “The music, the performances, the precision in capturing the post-college malaise—The Graduate’s coming-of-age story is indeed one for the ages.”
1966 – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
Time magazine’s “100 Greatest Movies of the Last Century” and number 78 on Rotten Tomatoes’ “Top 100 Movies of All Time” does not come by easily. There is a reason that The Good, the Bad and the Ugly has been referred to as European cinema’s best imitation of the Western genre film – even Quentin Tarantino, who was put on a professional pedestal for his countless successful films, has called it “the best-directed film of all time” and “the greatest achievement in the history of cinema.”
1965 – Sound of Music
The Sound of Music is one of the most lucrative films of all time. Only a few months after its release in the US, the film showed in 261 theaters overseas. It was the first American movie to be completely dubbed in a foreign language, including both dialogue and music. The Los Angeles Times labeled the movie as “three hours of visual and vocal brilliance”, and Daily Variety claimed it was “a warmly-pulsating, captivating drama set to the most imaginative use of the lilting R-H tunes, magnificently mounted and with a brilliant cast.”