Movies that changed the movies, can it really happen?

PHOENIX , ARIZONA, USA, July 5, 2020 / — With limited ability to go to theatres in 2020, we should take the opportunity to remember some of the films we enjoyed in the past. These “Ten Movies that Changed the Movies” are not all Oscar-Best-Picture winners; but they were all revolutionary. They were game changers that provided universal memories for all of us who saw them. These movies changed the way movies were made.

The List of Ten

1. Jurassic Park

“Dinosaurs that run:” A dream of Stephen Spielberg led to development of techniques that made clay models and stop action obsolete. Anyone during the summer of 1993 had the same look of shock and awe as the character Alan did when he first saw the brontosaurus.

2. North by Northwest

A four-minute crop duster chase with actor Cary Grant, composer Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock at their heights, created a perfect storm and a perfect movie.

3. The Ten Commandments

Cecil B. DeMille used up to 14,000 extras and special effects that (while primitive by today’s standards and the fact that you already know the ending) created still-exciting, spiritually-inspiring scenes.

4. A Quiet Place

Who would fund a screenplay with no dialogue and a woman giving birth in a bathtub? Luckily, star/director John Krasinski and producer Michael Bay believed. This “silent” picture was actually nominated for a 2019 Oscar in Sound Editing. While this surprise hit did not win that award, it won many others, including AFI Movie of the Year.

5. Get Out

Another surprise was 2017’s Get Out, the first movie by comedian Jordan Peele. Peele explored issues of race in a horror movie, in a way not seen since Night of the Living Dead. The movie inspired lively, sometimes heated, discussion groups at universities and clubs around the country. It showed how differently whites and Blacks experience life in America (e.g., exposing many white people to the dangers of “driving while Black” for the first time).

6. Psycho

Anthony Perkin’s Norman Bates performance was so unforgettable; it probably inhibited his future career. This Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece changed American movie-going habits, like what ages should see what. My mother would not allow me to go see it, but my 10-year-older sister could. During this era, people used to arrive at a theater at any time, even after the movie had started, and could stay, see it through a second time if they desired. When Psycho came out, customers were advised to see it from the beginning and warned not to tell others about the twists. Hitchcock continued to create more great thrillers.

A movie that changed movies - Star Wars copyright 1977 20th Century - Original press release archive.
Star Wars, A Movie That Changed The Movies

7. Star Wars

Kids knew they were in for something special as soon as the opening credits scrolled. This 1977 George Lucas film started a serial saga that would stretch over nine installments and 40 years, into the next century. It did not tackle serious cultural issues, like the Star Trek television had in the 1960’s; the Star Wars movies were strictly fun, fast-paced entertainment for all ages.

8. Do The Right Thing

Spike Lee exploded into the public’s consciousness with this complex urban drama. While many white people were surprised and shocked by the ending, most African-Americans moviegoers understood Mookie’s character arc during the film. Though it was over 30 years ago, the film was prophetic of the current furor over the George Floyd murder.

9. Memento

Many people today might not be able to name the actor (Guy Pierce) or remember who directed it (though this is thought to be one of Jonathan Nolan’s best films); but this Oscar-nominated movie proved movie storyboards did not have to be chronological. It is worth seeing this cult favorite, which was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry, for the first or the 10th time. 

10. The French Connection

Gene Hackman’s 1970’s Jimmy Doyle was nothing like the 1950’s Joe Friday. “Popeye” was flawed, obsessed, and loved by enthusiastic movie audiences: he was the role model for the many anti-heroes that followed. The five-minute iconic car chase also became a required feature of innumerable action movies thereafter.

Honorable Mentions

These are the movies that did not make my top ten For instance, though 1967’s Wait until Dark was not a horror movie, director Terrance Young created one of the most shocking moments in modern movie history. The encounter between Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin would be imitated in every scream-inducing thriller since.

In the Heat of the Night gave us a different type of shock; it delivered a cultural slap heard around the world. Sidney Poitier, a proud, intelligent, and defiant detective shattered the screen stereotypes of Black males, drew cheers from Black movie goers. It would also send chills through whites in the South, where Poitier could not stay in the whites-only hotel during the shooting of scenes for the movie. Unfortunately, this movie is still relevant today.

From A Fistful of Dollars through The Unforgiven-Clint Eastwood changed the look of westerns. Gritty and violent, Eastwood’s silent, no-named characters, in what were called “spaghetti westerns” in the 1960’s, were very different from the clean-cut John Wayne cowboys, and were very appealing to the rebellious youth of America.

Goldfinger–Though 1962’s Dr. No started it, in 1964, this was the blockbuster which made martinis, Aston Martins, a slick, sarcastic spy named James Bond and its star Sean Connery so popular. The theme song, opening credits, soulful ballads and crazy gadgets populated over 25 movies. Americans were always anxious for more. Due to COVID-19, we will have to wait until 2021 for the last Daniel Craig outing–No Time to Die.

Jaws–While Psycho temporarily changed Americans’ shower habits, Spielberg scared people out of the ocean in 1975. While the sequels were not very good, Jaws helped start the trend of summer blockbusters, where the studios competed to release their biggest money-makers when schools let out.

Streaming Brings It Back

With the proliferation of Netflix. Prime Video, Disney Plus, TCM, and numerous other sources, we have the wonderful capability to revisit these films and see how the trends we take for granted got started.

Denise Meridith is CEO of the World’s Best Connectors, a virtual community of executives and a lifelong movie fan.

She can be reached through:

Denise Meridith
Denise Meridith Consultants Inc
+1 602-763-9900
email Denise here
Visit us on social media:

Leave a Reply