Today I complete my look at memorable movies by selecting the most memorable movie of all time. My last four segments each looked at movies over 20 years and at the end I chose the most memorable movie from each time period. Here are the links to my previous installments:
To recap, here are the criteria for choosing the most memorable movies:
- Memorable movies become part of our culture. They may directly become part of our culture, showcase stars who become part of our culture, or launch a genre that becomes part of our culture.
- Sequels of memorable movies are not eligible.
These were my picks for the most memorable movie of each period:
- 30s and 40s – The Wizard of Oz
- 50s and 60s – The Sound of Music
- 70s and 80s – Star Wars
- 90s and 00s – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Which of these is the most memorable?
The Sound of Music was obviously a highly memorable movie, but I don’t think it has had nearly the same impact on our culture as the other three. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone had had an enormous impact on our culture, but it is still fairly recent. If forty years from now it still is as big as it is now, then if I am still around I will reconsider this elimination, but for now I am thinking it just hasn’t been around long enough to be called the most memorable movie of all time.
This leaves us with two movies: The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars. I have gone back and forth in my mind between these two movies. My first inclination was to choose the Wizard of Oz. The Wizard of Oz was released 76 years ago and it would be difficult to find anybody of any age who was raised in America who doesn’t know and love this movie. With that being said, I don’t think any movie has ever had the impact of Star Wars on our culture.
In December 1977, I worked in the toy department of a department store. Christmas was coming and, over six months since the debut of Star Wars, the toys were still not available. We sold gift cards that could be placed under the Christmas tree and could be exchanged for Star Wars toys when they became available. Star Wars, in fact, was the pioneer in merchandising toys based on movies.
Many years later, in the mid nineties, I remember walking through a toy store, more than ten years since the Return of the Jedi and well before the prequels were released. The toy store still had an entire section just devoted to Star Wars toys. I was amazed how the appeal of Star Wars persevered. Now, almost forty years since Star Wars premiered in 1977, the December release of the new Star Wars movie is possibly the most eagerly anticipated film of all time.
The force is strong with Star Wars. Star Wars is the most memorable movie of all time.