What fiction films have had the greatest effects on the ‘real’ world?

I was thinking of “Jaws” and what an effect it had – I know many people who seriously would not swim in the ocean after that movie came out. What other fiction movies have had effects in or on the ‘real’ world?

I read somewhere that Hitchcock’s “Psycho” had a similar effect with respect to showers…

Birth of a Nation. The KKK was pretty much defunct when the movie came out, but it caused renewed interest, and is responsible for the resurgence of the Klan that is still with us today.

Top Gun supposedly increased naval aviator recruiting by 500%. It certainly made flying for the Navy look fun.

“It Happened One Night.” Clark Gable killed the undershirt industry for years.

IIRC, it was also credited with a big uptick in Air Force recruiting.

The rescue of American astronauts by a Russian Cosmonaut in the 1969 film Marooned (based on the book by Martin Caidin, another of whose books inspired the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man) s said to have greased the skids for the Apollo-Soyuz linkup six years later. I know I’ve heard and read this many times before, and this website, for instance, takes it for granted ( http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/23766/Marooned/articles.html ), as does the Internet Movie Database ( Marooned (1969) - Trivia - IMDb )
The Wikipedia page on the film is oddly silent about this, except for this snippet in the “Talk” section:

“Deke” Slayton claimed in his memoir that this film helped convince the Russians to undertake Apollo-Soyuz. (Visions of the Future, Relics of the Past - The New York Times )
Edidently it influenced some Americans in the Space Program:


The movie China Syndrome probably almost single handedly killed the US nuclear power industry.

Three Mile Island had more to do with it, though the movie came out at the same time.

The Jazz Singer changed how we thought about movies.

Star Wars also changed the way Hollywood looked at movies.

IMO one without the other wouldn’t have nearly had the same effect. Talk about bad timing :slight_smile:

Star Wars certainly influenced Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative.

"101 Dalmations". After the film people began buying dalmatians for their families, not doing any research therefore not realizing that dalmatians are not good family pets.

It also wasn’t that great for small privately-owned roadside motels.

The combined Disney films eventually transformed the economy of central Florida.

Star Wars created a religion.

There are now intercollegiate Quidditch leagues.

Reagan was also inspired by WarGames to sign the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in 1984. Congressmen started hearings on computer fraud bills by showing the opening of the film. It’s basically a direct line from the film to legislation.

So did The Big Lebowski. Dudeism.


I suspect that the Three Mile Island incident (which happened at the time of the film’s release) probably had a lot more to do with putting a brake on nuclear power. The film, especially with the eerie coincidence of the timing, didn’t help, though. But Real Life has a persuasive power that film lacks.

What about Philadelphia? For some reason, I think of that film as being more recent than it is, but it came out in 1993, which was still the “Silence=Death” era, really. How much effect did the film have on the AIDS landscape?