15 Movies That Revolutionised Pop Culture Forever

Movies have such great entertainment value that can barely be matched by other forms of media. However, some movies go beyond mere entertainment and become cultural phenomena, shaping the way we think, talk, and interact with the world around us. Here are 19 such movies that have made a huge impact on pop culture:

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-03)

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

Peter Jackson’s three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic novel is a timeless classic that continues to impact pop culture. With its excellent fantasy storytelling, The Lord of the Rings captivated audiences right from its first film in 2001 to its final in 2003 and has inspired several other works, including a 2022 TV series.

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Photo Credit: Warner Home Video.

The Wizard of Oz has managed to stand the test of time since it premiered over 80 years ago. The tale of Dorothy Gale’s adventure in the Land of Oz is one that enthralled audiences all over the world in the ‘30s and ‘40s, and continues to do so even today.

The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix Warner Bros
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

The Matrix is one of the most revolutionary movies in the history of cinema for a myriad of reasons, from its stunning visuals and fight choreography to its complex themes and captivating plot. The film has inspired many memes and popularized terms like “red pill.”

Titanic (1997)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Given how prominent Titanic is in the modern public consciousness, it’s almost unbelievable that it was released over two decades ago. But such is the impact of a film that tells a story as beautiful and tragic as Jake and Rose’s.

Back to the Future (1985)

Back to the Future - Universal Pictures
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Back to the Future is still one of the best executions of a time travel film. With multiple quotable lines and iconic sci-fi tech like the DeLorean, the Robert Zemeckis-directed film has remained a pop culture touchstone since its release.

Inception (2010)

Inception (2010) - Warner Bros
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Inception is one of those movies that leaves you with more questions than answers. The 2010 Christopher Nolan masterpiece revolves around a thief who steals secrets by infiltrating his targets’ dreams. Inception is continually revisited in pop culture through references in TV shows, song lyrics, and music videos.

Star Wars (1977)

Photo Credit: Lucasfilm.

George Lucas’s space opera epic Star Wars transported audiences to “a galaxy far, far away” and introduced iconic characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Its groundbreaking special effects, imaginative plot, and memorable quotes such as “May the Force be with you” have become ingrained in pop culture.

Iron Man (2008)

Photo Credit: Marvel Studios.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been one of the most successful franchises in recent history, but it all started with Iron Man. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man did not only achieve immense commercial success, but also set the tone for the 31 MCU movies that have been released since.

Avatar (2009)

Avatar (2009) 20th Century Studios
Photo Credit: 20th Century Studios.

James Cameron’s Avatar was a groundbreaking film. Leveraging revolutionary 3D technology, the movie transported audiences to the visually stunning landscapes of Pandora while also tackling important themes like imperialism. Upon its release, Avatar became the highest-grossing movie of all time, a record it held until 2019.

Frozen (2013)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Disney’s enchanting tale Frozen melted hearts worldwide with its captivating story of sisterhood and empowerment. The iconic song “Let It Go” became a cultural anthem, and Elsa and Anna’s journey resonated deeply with viewers.

The Avengers (2012)

Photo Credit: Marvel Studios.

The Avengers, starring Marvel’s superhero ensemble, marked a cinematic milestone, uniting beloved characters in a spectacular battle against evil. This groundbreaking film laid the foundation for a sprawling, interconnected universe, and has redefined the superhero genre.

The Lion King (1994)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

The Lion King remains one of the most iconic animated films. This Disney masterpiece brought the African savannah to life with great storytelling and introduced audiences around the world to the unforgettable characters of Simba, Mufasa, and Scar.

Rocky (1976)

Photo Credit: United Artists.

Rocky was the first installment in the Rocky film series. The screenplay for the movie was written by Sylvester Stallone, who also insisted on starring as the lead actor. Rocky would go on to become a major cultural phenomenon in the 1970s.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Pulp Fiction (1994) Miramax
Photo Credit: Miramax.

With Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino left an indelible mark on modern cinema. Characterized by non-linear storytelling, sharp and naturalistic dialogue, and an eclectic soundtrack, Pulp Fiction has achieved the status of a pop culture classic.

Black Panther (2018)

Photo Credit: Marvel Studios.

Black Panther grossed over $1.3 billion after its release in 2018. However, this figure doesn’t quantify the film’s immense impact on pop culture, from the various Chadwick Boseman memes often used on social media to the “Wakanda Forever” pose recently enacted by Lionel Messi.

The Dark Knight (2008)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

The entire Batman trilogy was fantastic. However, the second film, The Dark Knight (2008), has a good case for being the most iconic of the three. With its excellent writing and captivating performances by its cast, The Dark Knight was a major success and set the blueprint for many superhero movies that followed.

Twilight (2008)

Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment.

Love it or loathe it, Twilight ignited a cultural phenomenon, sparking a vampire and werewolf craze that captivated a generation. The romantic saga of Bella and Edward, based on Stephenie Meyer’s novels, left an undeniable impact, sparking debates and inspiring fan fiction.

Forrest Gump (1994)

Tom Hanks As Forrest Gump Forrest Gump (1994) Paramount Pictures
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Tom Hanks has starred in a good number of brilliant films, but this one is definitely up there on the list of his best movies. With Tom Hanks’s superb performance and a host of quotable lines like “Life is like a box of chocolates,” Forrest Gump has an ever-enduring legacy in pop culture.