Pop Culture Action and Adventure Movies
This is our listing of the Top Pop Action & Adventure Movies since 1950. Our Pop Culture Criteria is based upon factors such as initial box office draw, spawning of prequel and/or sequel, crossover into other genres and overall impression on our society.
The Wizard of Oz
Regarded as one of the greatest movies Hollywood ever produced and the first movie to be shot in technicolor, The Wizard of Oz has been truly ingrained into the minds of individuals from all around the world for the last 80 or so years. The Wizard of Oz has had an impact on the world unlike any other movie through many different aspects, such as inspiring many other movie characters like 2019’s The Joker, establishing different rooftop bars with a theme of the Emerald City, and even integrating different Wizard of Oz coin slots in casinos all around Las Vegas.
Back to the Future
A still highly popular movie even almost 40 years after its release, the Back to the Future movie series has become a true pop culture icon and a cult classic. Back to the Future was the highest-grossing movie of 1985 and included hit songs, such as Huey Lewis’ The Power of Love, truly ingraining the movie into the eyes and minds of all of its viewers.
Known as one of the best action movies that everyone seems to enjoy and watch together during the Christmas season, Die Hard has become an incredibly influential Hollywood hot and a classic among fans everywhere! Die Hard has been referenced in many other movies, such as 21 Jump Street, and hit shows, such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine, certifiying it’s pop culture title.
One of the top movies that revolved around aliens coming down to Earth in order to destroy the planet, Independence Day quickly became a hit among moviegoers. Connected to holiday that most Americans celebrate by cooking hamburgers and watching beautiful fireworks, Independence Day is a film about resilience among the human race and a need to get ahold of the world they once knew as their own.
Considered as one of the most successful disaster/action movies of all time, Jurassic Park is a pop culture hit that could be enjoyed by both children and adults! Jurassic Park was one of the first movies to utilize digital special effects in an incredible way, creating dinosaurs and whole animals all by computer. This movie has been transformed into an entire franchise and has influenced many other hit movies throughout the years.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Steven Spielberg directed this timeless story of love and friendship. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is considered one of the greatest science fiction films ever created. This movie portrays the incredible bond and intimate friendship that is built between a 10-year-old boy and an estranged little alien who needs help finding his way home. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial has become a movie that every individual knows and has even been turned into different video games and theme-park attractions, sealing it as a truly iconic movie.
The Matrix is a true classic, in the sense that people from every generation are absolutely astounded by the movie’s storyline and its special effects. Through perfectly choreographed action scenes and truly revolutionary special effects that still wow audiences to this day. The Matrix has spawned additional movies in the series, amusement rides, video games and more. The franchise has had a profound influence on moviemaking and the way special effects teams work when creating movies that are out of the ordinary.
2001: A Space Odyssey
A truly remarkable film revolving around an intense mission to space, 2001: A Space Odyssey was a film that paved the way for later films that would be put into the sci-fi genre. Almost every science fiction movie made after 1968 has, in some way, paid tribute to this fantastic film. Movies like Gravity, Interstellar, and Arrival, all incredibly articulate and cinematic films, take lessons and certain values from 2001: A Space Odyssey as it was one of the first films that tackled humans adventuring out into space.
Even 60 years after its initial release, Alfred Hitchcock’s Pscyho still holds it’s suspenseful nature to all audiences that watch it. With bursts of provocation and intense anticipation, Psycho changed the way that storylines were created for movies and after its release, allowed for other films to include raw emotions that beforehand might have felt a little uncomfortable for movie writers to include within their scripts.
Superman is found throughout Pop Culture from Comic Books to lunchboxes, Radio and Television shows, Superman is an iconic American hero. Superman (Clark Kent) is a figure that embodies elements of “Truth, Justice and the American Way” so it’s no surprise that audiences still hold this Superman in such high regard. When a movie fully revolving around the Man of Steel was released in 1978, audiences all around the world went ballistic for their favorite superhero. This film changed the way that people looked at this indestructible figure and was the first movie to describe this superhero as a refugee from a planet that was being destroyed who was seeking a safe place to reside.
The epic Producer, Director, Filmmaker and overall Pop Culture Maker James Cameron has many titles on our list and Avatar is regarded and known to be one of the highest-grossing movies in the history of cinematography. This truly revolutionary movie took CGI effects to a whole new level when it was released in 2009. This science fiction movie transformed the way audiences looked at this old and not as exciting genre, turning it into the genre that everyone now wanted to be exposed to.
Currently holding the title as the highest-grossing movie series in the history of cinematography, The Avengers has entertained audiences all around the world. This movie series truly was the first movie series to combine a multitude of genres, including comedy, action, romance, and science fiction. A story of resilience, honor, and truth, The Avengers exemplifies what teamwork is all about.
The Lord of the Rings
Based on novels by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings movie series has had an incredible impact on both the Pop Culture and the entertainment industry. There have been an influx of follow-up novels, television series, and video games that were inspired by this sci-fi series, ultimately proving that the popularity of The Lord of the Rings is truly unwavering.