Movies Bigger than the Big Screen - Cultural Phenoms

HubbaBubbaKid

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great insights guys! Re: Xanadu, disco had already started on its way out by the time of its release (1980) but tried to squeeze out a last gasp with the offshoot roller-disco films of which i think xanadu belongs. however, i believe ELO’s title track and Olivia Newton John’s Magic are fantastic . Also, SNF is a much deeper film than the others that followed in its wake and they didn't have anyone with the star power of Travolta at the time.
 

TravisR

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I think Saturday Night Fever had the right music & the right star all as disco was getting bigger and that helped propelled disco to even higher levels but it didn't kick off that phenomenon.
 

Colin Jacobson

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I’d have to go with Saturday Night Fever. It was the zenith of the disco era as disco permeated almost every form of entertainment along with fashion, nightlife , advertising , etc. Would love to hear from those who lived during that era to chime in and describe how big (or not) disco and Saturday Night Fever was as a cultural force.
I agree that "SNF" as a whole had huge cultural impact, but it's impossible to separate the movie from the soundtrack album.

Would the movie have had the same impact without the hugely successful soundtrack? Probably not.

And you could argue that the album needed the movie to succeed, but I think there's a much better chance the album sells really well if the movie doesn't exist than that the movie becomes a cultural touchstone without those Bee Gees songs.,,
 
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Colin Jacobson

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Does Pulp Fiction belong on this list? Perhaps.
I remember a strong buzz about this film when it hit the theaters in the Fall of 1994. There was a good amount of spoofs on it and homages to it
on TV shows and elsewhere. I still remember how thrilled and full of joy I was walking out of the theater after seeing it for the first time- I’ve watched it several dozen times since.
"PF" was a big hit but it didn't transcend films. It didn't permeate the culture in the same way something like "Star Wars" or "Batman" did.

It influenced movies and TV but not much else...
 
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Colin Jacobson

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I think Saturday Night Fever had the right music & the right star all as disco was getting bigger and that helped propelled disco to even higher levels but it didn't kick off that phenomenon.
No, "SNF" didn't create the popularity of disco, but it took it to a more mainstream level.

Consider that the biggest album released in 1976 was "Frampton Comes Alive", a straight-ahead rock album. Then "SNF" came out and became the biggest success released in 1977 - though it sold most of its copies in 1978, as it came out too late in 1977 to make a big dent.

Ironically, "SNF" was the beginning of disco's death. Once everyone's grandma liked disco, it couldn't seem cool anymore and started to fall out of favor.

This didn't really start to manifest until we got to the 80s, as disco was still huge in 1979. By 1980, it collapsed to a large degree, though the myth that it died isn't true.

Disco stayed around, just transmogrified into a more generic "dance" category. Were Madonna's early songs all that different from disco? Nope, and that was only three years after disco "died"...
 

HubbaBubbaKid

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Speaking of Batman , I believe the TV show from 1966 had a greater cultural impact than the 1989 film. i remember when the 89 film came out (and it was huge )but looking back, it didn't seem to me quite on the level as what i was told or read about the 60’s Batman phenomena.

I think Dr.No would be another good candidate as it pretty much kickstarted the 60’s spy craze
 
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cinemiracle

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Wonder why SNF became huge, but not other disco themed films like Xanadu.
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER was a huge hit in Australia but it was restricted to persons 18 years and over..After several weeks into the season (or was it months) , they released a milder version so that the younger generations could see the film. .That too was a hit .
XANADU was a flop as it was one of the worst and most boring films ever made during that era. (in my opinion).
 

Colin Jacobson

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SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER was a huge hit in Australia but it was restricted to persons 18 years and over..After several weeks into the season (or was it months) , they released a milder version so that the younger generations could see the film. .That too was a hit .
The same edited version played in the US and elsewhere, I guess.

I'd seen conflicting claims about when the edited version hit screens. I knew it played in the US in 1978 because of my own situation.

I loved the album so much that I wanted to see the movie, but I was only 10 and it was rated "R". My mom agreed to take me anyway - and then was miffed when the "PG" version hit the screens a short time later, as she could've let me see that one instead! :lol:

Some sources state that the edited version came out in 1979, which I knew couldn't be possible because my mom passed in October 1978 - she wasn't around to feel miffed about the re-release.

Based on what I see on IMDB, I get the impression the edited version didn't hit the UK until 1979, though - and perhaps other places.

So maybe that explains it!

Or maybe the claims of a 1979 edited release are just wrong! :D
 

Colin Jacobson

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Speaking of Batman , I believe the TV show from 1966 had a greater cultural impact than the 1989 film. i remember when the 89 film came out (and it was huge )but looking back, it didn't seem to me quite on the level as what i was told or read about the 60’s Batman phenomena.

I think Dr.No would be another good candidate as it pretty much kickstarted the 60’s spy craze
I wasn't around for either of those - 1967 birthday - but I get the impression the Bond franchise didn't really catch fire until "Goldfinger". I think the first 2 did fine but "Goldfinger" was when Bond became a real pop culture phenomenon...
 
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Mysto

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Wonder why SNF became huge, but not other disco themed films like Xanadu.
Xanadu tried to appeal to both a young and an older audience - and so - failed at both.
I wasn't around for either of those - 1967 birthday - but I get the impression the Bond franchise didn't really catch fire until "Goldfinger". I think the first 2 did fine but "Goldfinger" was when Bond became a real pop culture phenomenon...
Yes and (Dr.) No. The first two Bond films were a sensation.
But it is true that when Goldfinger came out -that is when all the copies started.

 

jcroy

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Disco stayed around, just transmogrified into a more generic "dance" category. Were Madonna's early songs all that different from disco? Nope, and that was only three years after disco "died"...
In the case of something like the Bee Gees, I thought their immediate "spiritual successor" was stuff like Duran Duran.
 

TJPC

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I was in my early 20s when “Saturday Night Fever” came out, and I don’t remember ever seeing it in the theatre. I had just started teaching a year before, and the influence on my teenagers was that they suddenly began dressing sharply, instead of like “stoners” in over sized plaid shirts etc.

A few years later “Xanadu” was released. I had bought the soundtrack and was annoyed with the way the tracks were ordered. We saw the movie a second time, and I took a pad and pencil so I could jot down the song titles as they appeared in the movie. Later I made a cassette with the soundtrack songs in their proper place!
 

Johnny Angell

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@Mysto I don’t think the first two Bond films were a sensation when first released. Successful enough to generate a 3rd film, but not big hits. After Goldfinger, they re-released the first two as a double-bill with the tagline “James Bond is Back to Back.”
 

jcroy

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I was in my early 20s when “Saturday Night Fever” came out, and I don’t remember ever seeing it in the theatre. I had just started teaching a year before, and the influence on my teenagers was that they suddenly began dressing sharply, instead of like “stoners” in over sized plaid shirts etc.
How long did the disco fashion style last among teenagers?
 

BobO'Link

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I wasn't around for either of those - 1967 birthday - but I get the impression the Bond franchise didn't really catch fire until "Goldfinger". I think the first 2 did fine but "Goldfinger" was when Bond became a real pop culture phenomenon...
I listed Dr. No in my original post. It's not truly accurate. IMHO, Dr. No lit the fire, Goldfinger fanned the flames, and it exploded with Thunderball (what prepubescent, or for that matter any, boy didn't want to be James Bond and hang out with hot women?). While I only listed the first I really don't believe it was one Bond film but all of them, collectively, up to 1965 that caused that phenom. They influenced many things in the early to late 60s - toys, TV shows (I Spy, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Get Smart, and others), cars, clothes, and more.

Because of that I'd actually revise my entry to say "The 60s James Bond films" instead.
 

TJPC

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How long did the disco fashion style last among teenagers?
Just a few years. The style was tight pants and polyester shirts for the boys and shorter hair. The effect however for both sexes was of dressing up, rather than looking like a disheveled slob.
 

Colin Jacobson

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In the case of something like the Bee Gees, I thought their immediate "spiritual successor" was stuff like Duran Duran.
DD had something of a disco feel but they were much more rock than the mid-late 70s Bee Gees...
 

Colin Jacobson

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I listed Dr. No in my original post. It's not truly accurate. IMHO, Dr. No lit the fire, Goldfinger fanned the flames, and it exploded with Thunderball (what prepubescent, or for that matter any, boy didn't want to be James Bond and hang out with hot women?). While I only listed the first I really don't believe it was one Bond film but all of them, collectively, up to 1965 that caused that phenom. They influenced many things in the early to late 60s - toys, TV shows (I Spy, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Get Smart, and others), cars, clothes, and more.

Because of that I'd actually revise my entry to say "The 60s James Bond films" instead.
I picked "Goldfinger" because that's the one that I'd heard was the biggest commercial sensation. Ala Wiki:

"Goldfinger's $3 million budget was recouped in two weeks, and it broke box office records in multiple countries around the world.[4] The Guinness Book of World Records went on to list Goldfinger as the fastest grossing film of all time.[4] Demand for the film was so high that the DeMille cinema in New York City had to stay open twenty-four hours a day."

But I agree that it was likely a cumulative thing - ie, if "Goldfinger" or "Thunderball" had come out without the prior films, they probably wouldn't have seen the same $$$,

So year - "60s Bond Films" makes the most sense as the entry in "big cultural impact".

And unlike the Harry Potter series, I think it's really the movies that made a massive dent in society, not the books or the book + the movies.

I know the books were popular but I don't believe they were "Potter popular", so I'd strongly lean toward the movies as being the main reason Bond impacted pop culture...
 

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