Movies That Changed The World:
“The Power of Film” – as the award-winning Director Obaid-Chinoy said in his Oscar acceptance speech, is enough to change the world. Since a century, movies have changed the course of history and shaped the world as it is today. Some of them managed to impact the world for the better and were incredible inspirations.
1. Wonder Woman – Female Superheroes are here to stay
Easily one of the best movies of the century, Wonder Woman is a milestone not just for the DCEU but also for the rest of the movie-making industry. The Marvel Cinematic Universe brought along with it the onset of the popular superhero genre. The MCU was a hit and the DC Extended Universe soon followed. They were only casting male characters in the lead. Female characters were only best at supporting the lead. That changed with Wonder Woman. It was the first movie that portrayed a female lead as a superhero. And it was such a huge hit that it went against all predictions. Nobody thought the world was ready for Wonder Woman. But Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot did it together. Considering superheroes are a huge part of Hollywood now, it was a welcome move for women all over the world. Captain Marvel soon followed.
2. Star Wars – Expanding Hollywood’s boundaries to a Galaxy far, far away
Before Star Wars, Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s were basically more or less dramas and gangster movies. There were some good movies exploring what lies beyond the final frontier but none were able to give us a good peek. When George Lucas came up with the story for Star Wars, everyone laughed at him. An analyst even predicted that with the current American Scenario where the United States of America was locked in a state of perpetual cold war with the Soviet Union, a tussle between two major factions for control of resources of a galaxy would sound too familiar and people would stay away. The prediction was Star Wars would bomb. It could not be more wrong. Star Wars broke major Box Office records and showed the world that with the correct vision and direction, any movie could be a hit. It started an era of cinematic experimentation for many Directors all over the globe.
3. Philadelphia – Fighting social stigma against HIV/AIDS
Philadelphia explores the deep-rooted prejudices people have about HIV and Aids. As hard as it is to believe it, even in the 1990’s the western world, which was supposed to be the bastion of free and liberal thinking, still had conservative perceptions about AIDS and HIV. The Media kept spinning the disease as something that is related to homosexuality and that AIDS only affects people’s unorthodox sexual orientations. The British Media was at the forefront of this smear campaign. And frankly, it was working. Philadelphia, starring Tom Hanks, challenged the status quo. It challenged existing social perceptions. People started to empathize with people tested positive for HIV/AIDS. They started to see them in a different, more sympathetic light. It is not to say that the stigma is totally gone. But the movie influenced entire continents and that’s what counts.
4. Bambi – Helped decrease the Hunting Rate by 50 percent
Bambi was released back in 1942. But its effects are still felt today. If you have seen Bambi, then you know we are right when we say that Bambi’s mother’s death was a shock to us all. Viewers all across the world cried them-selves to sleep seeing her die. It was not to say her mother’s death was in vain. Bambi’s Mother’s Death started an Animal Rights revolution all over the world. It was so prominent that global hunting rates for wild animals decreased by about 50 percent. The phenomenon where Bambi affected hunting practices across the planet is called the Bambi Effect. The numbers we give are a hundred percent accurate. The Bambi Effect did do all this. How amazing is that!!
5. Bernie – The Court acquitted the guy the movie was based on
Not all events need to be huge for them to be termed as world-changing. Sometimes, even the little things count. Even the littlest of changes can create an impact. That was the case with Bernie. The movie stated the story of a local coffin maker who was loved by everyone in the neighborhood. He fell in love with a woman in his locality. One fine day, Bernie accidentally killed her and was accused and sentenced to life in prison on charges of manslaughter. The movie helped change the views of the public on the real-life accounts of the person on which the movie was based. The movie helped the courts retrace their steps and realize that Bernie was actually innocent. He was released from prison soon after.
6. The Birth of a Nation – Revolutionised the World of Cinema
The Birth of a Nation is a classic example of what happens when the power of cinema influences the world for all the wrong reasons. Released in 1915 and directed by DW Griffith, the film is as racist as a movie could be against African Americans. It even glorifies the Ku Klux Klan, making them look like the saviors of America. That is not why Birth of a Nation is on this list though. It is the first movie to use motion pictures to show an actual storyline in a linear fashion with multiple camera settings and a complex enough screen-play. The Birth of a Nation may have had the wrong message but it still set the pace for the future of motion picture in the world. Cinema as we know it, as much as we hate to admit, owes its existence to this movie.
7. A Girl in the River – Pakistan stops Honour Killings
The story describes how honor killings destroy the lives of women in third world countries over the world. A girl gets into a forbidden relationship, falling in love with another person. The father gets to know about this and decides he has the moral and ethical grounds to kill her so that she does not bring disgrace to the family. The movie impacted the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif so much that he enacted anti-Honour Killing Laws in his country, vowing to never let any woman die in such disgrace. Honour Killings in Pakistan are still rampant but they have drastically declined. There’s still room for improvement though – more than 5000 women die every year on accounts of Honour Killing.
8. Super Size Me- Enforcement of Healthy Food Standards
Super Size Me was not a work of fiction. It was a personal video documentary of an experiment. It was based on a novel concept. Morgan Spurlock vowed to eat only McDonald’s fast food products for a whole month. The results were staggering. Weight Loss of more than twenty pounds was merely the beginning of his problems. He encountered liver failure and had gotten into clinical depression at the end of that experiment. The documentary opened the public’s eyes to fast-food chains’ ill effects on health and fitness. It forced all major fast food outlets and brands to change their delivery structure and enforce stricter health regulations.
9. Parasite – Championing Foreign Cinema
A story by bong-Joon Ho, Parasite is a South Korean Production and has developed a massive fan following, almost achieving a cult-like status. It is also the first movie to win the Oscars for Best Picture. Before parasite, the Oscars was a White Man’s world. It stated to be an international arena but only entertained and nominated English language productions. The parasite was a milestone event. Its victory in multiple Oscars categories was symbolic that the West was finally opening up to art and literature from the rest of the world.
10. Volhynia (Hatred) – War Crimes were committed by both sides
Volhynia is a Polish Production. Polish movies reached their peak during the last decade. A famous Polish Director named Wojciech Smarzowski, known for his controversial movies, released Volhynia, literally meaning Hatred. The story is of a Ukrainian Man and a Polish Woman falling in love during the Late World War Two period. The Ukrainians were responsible for the mass murder of Poles in the tens of thousands during the years of 1943 and 1944. It was all carried out under the orders of the Nazis. That is not to say that the Poles were any less savage. Just like the Nazis, they too ended up committing several acts of despicable violence in acts of extensive retaliation. Volhynia ended up being a subject of heated arguments for years since it demonized not just the Axis powers but also the Allies. The world realized that much of World War Two history was redacted and kept out of sight from the public.