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8 of The Most Popular Movies of All Time: Debu Living’s Choice

1.The Sound of Music (1965)

This one is a classic. A heartwarming story full of singing, laughter, and happiness. But that’s not the case from the start. Main character—Maria (played by renowned actress Julie Andrews) is introduced as a nun who lacks some discipline, and her superiors at the nunnery send her off to the Von Trapp family to help with raising their children. The head of the family, Captain Von Trapp, is a stern military man who previously raised his seven children alone since the death of his wife. You’ll be thrilled as you watch Maria entwine herself into the lives of the Von Trapp’s—starting with the children and eventually winning the heart of their father.

The movie is light and funny and at the same time serious due to the war undertones. But it’s the singing and the different personalities of the children, Maria, and their father that lightens the mood of this movie, making it one of the most popular movies of all time.

Did You Know?

  • The movie The Sound of Music is a real life story based on the Von Trapp Family singers, who were known worldwide in the era pre world war II as one of the most famous concert groups. 
  • The original story was documented by the real-life Maria Von Trapp in a memoir titled The Story of The Trapp Family Singers published in 1949. 

2. Titanic (1997)

I’m certain that, like me, most people can still remember where they were when they watched Titanic for the first time. I remember sitting in my parents living room with my sister, popcorn and sodas in our hands as we watched what would become one of the best movies ever made. From the storyline of the rich and lower class aboard a cruise ship in the early 1900s, to how the story unfolds into a love story, to the tragic ending of the passengers of the ship—Titanic has stamped itself as a movie that stole the hearts of movie goers worldwide. This somewhat modern day Romeo and Juliet captured my teenage heart and won’t let go decades later. Titanic stars and introduced now Hollywood A-listers — Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as lovebirds from two distinct society classes.  

Did You Know?

  • Titanic was based on the true shipwreck of the RMS Titanic in 1912. 
  • The gigantic ship reportedly hit an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in the death of more than 1,500 passengers on board.

3. The Lion King (1994)

Whether you’re a cartoon lover or not, most people who watched and love The Lion King did so because of the story line and the wonderful musical rendition. The movie follows the adventures of the main characters Simba, his dad Mufasa, and his evil uncle Scar, in the jungles of Africa. Other secondary characters like Rafiki, Timon and Pumba, and the hyena brothers also bring their a-game to this enchanting coming-of-age tale of good versus evil. 

Did You Know?

The Lion King was initially meant to be a non-musical creation. As a matter of fact, it was meant to be told in the form of a documentary.

4. Pretty Woman (1990)

This romantic classic is one of my all-time favourites. With many scenes from the movie remaining stamped in the memories of watchers, the one scene that stood out for me was the scene depicting Julia Roberts going back to the store that once rejected to serve due to her supposedly low-class appearance to show off her huge purchase courtesy of the credit card given her by Richard Gere. In my opinion this is one of the best romantic movies ever made, especially with its Cinderella rags to riches and then love storyline. 

Did You Know?

  • Pretty Woman was originally imagined as a dark cautionary story about sex work and class in Los Angeles, but was later scripted as a romantic comedy. Thank goodness!

5. Jurassic Park (1993)

This science fiction action film was directed by the celebrated director Steven Spielberg. The movie storyline revolves around a businessman who created a theme park of cloned dinosaurs in an island in the tropics of Costa Rica. Everything was going on well, supposedly, until one of the smaller dinosaurs, also known as a velociraptor, killed one of their handlers. The story unravels from there to some startling and dangerous revelations. Jurassic Park is action packed and a good thriller for all movie watchers young and old.   

Did You Know?

  • The Film was based on the 1990 novel ‘Jurassic Park’ by Michael Crichton.
  • The film went on to become a trilogy.

6. Harry Potter Movie Series (1997)

Starting with the very first instalment in this popular book-to-movie adaptation tale that would take the entertainment world by storm — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone also known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, follows the story of Harry Potter, his discovery that he’s a wizard, and his enrollment in Hogwarts, a school of witchcraft and wizardry. 

Did You Know?

  • Harry potter book author, JK Rowling found it extremely difficult to get the book series published, and received rejections after rejections after rejections from publishers. It ended up getting published by a stroke of luck.
  • There are seven more titles after the first movie was released. With the last being released in 2011, fourteen years after the first.

7. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

This classic cartoon has seen many adaptations and remakes of the original. The story follows Snow White and a group of dwarfs and how she ends up in their home caring for them in their little home in the woods. Prior to that, Snow White was an orphaned girl living with her wicked stepmother, the Queen. Because of how beautiful she is, the Queen out of jealousy would always consult her magic mirror to reveal who the fairest between her and Snow White was with the infamous quote – “Mirror mirror on the wall who is the fairest one of all.” And the mirror always affirms the Queen’s beauty. However, on a particular day Snow White falls in love with a Prince who overhears her singing, and the queen’s mirror informs her that Snow White is now the fairest one of all. This revelation leads to the Queen plotting to kill Snow White, leading to her eventual escape into the woods.

Did You Know?

  • Snow White is the first feature film by the famous American producer Walt Disney.
  • The story was developed out of one of the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales.

8. Jaws (1974)

If your age group falls between late Generation X and early Millennial, your childhood wouldn’t have been complete without the movie Jaws. Just like many of the popular movies on this list, Jaws started off as a book. The story revolves around a police chief, and a professional shark hunter hunting a man-eating shark attacking beachgoers at a resort town during the summer holidays. The adventure and nail-biting suspense that follows each attack and discovery of bodies makes this movie an all-time favourite for many horror/gore movie lovers. The foreboding tension that follows before the sharks devour their victims, and the resulting reactions when each victim is revealed can never be easily forgotten. 

Did You Know?

Jaws was the first major motion picture to be shot on the ocean.

Jaws became the first film to earn $100 million in US theatrical rentals.

Chinenye Emezie | Assistant Editor

Spring 2024

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