Ever since the motion picture technology was invented more than a century ago, artists started using it for telling stories through it. The media used it for reporting their news whether it was worthy of it or not. It caught the attention of viewers and made people think it was reality. Animated graphics were still in the trial phase until Walt Disney popularized it through Mickey Mouse. And it had reached every household in America and Europe by the early 70’s. Kids were watching Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry while adults in the house were fans of Alfred Hitchcock and Sergio Leone’s western classics.
The 80’s and 90’s saw that television had reached almost the entire world. Indiana Jones became a household name and Darth Vader had become the most iconic movie villains of all time, until of course Lord Voldemort came onto the screen. Theater still played a major role in influencing people but it had become less popular. Cop dramas of the 90’s made actors rake in huge sums of money.
Filmmakers were being named in the list of most influential people in the world. People had started thinking that movies were real. To some extent, there were. Films are a platform for storytellers to make the viewers believe in what they are seeing. Whether it is fiction or a real story that had happened in the past.
But even after seeing a film, people are affected by it for days, months and years. Such is the impact of a good film. It can make people embrace the truth that they had been hiding from or never knew about. It can make them see the future of humanity.
Below is a list of a few movies and documentaries which have made a great impact on people and made the society change its view or start a trend for the better.
1. Jurassic Park (1993)
Dinosaurs were and still are a mystery of us. How did they become extinct? How did they live in their time? What was earth like 60 million years ago?Everything in this movie was fiction. But it became a sensation for the archaeologists and scientists. Channels like Discovery put researchers to find the remains of these amazing creatures. Historians, documentary filmmakers and governments started to realize the importance of archaeology. It made careers for countless people, besides giving some entertainment to children. The movie also presented a fine message man can never play god, it will always have a price.
2. Bambi (1942)
This is an animated film produced by Walt Disney. A deer is killed by a man in front of her baby. This film garnered so much sympathy towards these animals that, later deer hunting reduced by 50% in the US. Many celebrities and activists in the coming decades have been inspired by this film.
3. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Based on global warming, this is the first film which made an enormous impact in making the world aware about climate change. About 70% of the people who saw the film hadn’t heard about global warming before. In the UK, people were even ready to allocate a small budget from their savings, to help create awareness about this in any way possible.
4. Blackfish (2013)
After its release, millions of people were shocked to see the reality behind the entertaining shows of an Orca named Tilikum at the SeaWorld (a theme park chain). The kind of treatment he received in his container had made the Orca kill 3 of his trainers at SeaWorld. A public outcry made SeaWorld close down the Orca breeding program and all of its shows permanently.
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5. Twister (1996)
The movie was about a group of people chasing tornadoes. They were actually researchers and scientists. But that was after the movie was released and people got to know how important it is to have data on tornadoes. Earlier people termed these people as quite insane. More money started pouring in for these courageous people to study the phenomenon of how tornadoes are formed.
6. Schindler’s List (1993)
World war movies have always made people think on how humans can be so cruel. But Schindler’s List took this to another level. The film depicts the way in which the Nazis killed 6 million Jews reminded the world again of the atrocities and inhuman nature of the Nazis and its after effects on children’s psychology for generations. Steven Spielberg donated the profits from this film to his Shoah foundation which has till taken testimonies of over 50 thousand people who had survived these times.
7. The Matrix (1999)
The Matrix is a film about humanity being trapped inside an alternate reality. It took sci-fi to a level that Hollywood hadn’t expected from it. Well Known software companies started taking steps in the direction of developing Artificial Intelligence and CGI.
8. Star Trek & Star Wars
Star Trek was a television serial in the 60’s and 70’s which was a spectacle during its time. Star Wars is a movie franchise and both are very similar, telling stories of space travel. They have inspired video games, space technology, supercomputers, gadgets in the medical field and countless people to study astronomy.
9. Iron man (2008)
The film is based on the comic book character developed by the great Stan Lee. The film made animators, CGI artists realize that filmmaking had no boundaries now in terms of technology. This film started the revolutionary implementation of CGI technology that we see in films these days with a perfect blend for storytelling. Augmented Reality has since become a common term in our world today.
Importance of Films for Society
There are obviously some negative effects of dark films on kids and even adults. And currently there’s no law stopping filmmakers for making dark films depicting the antagonists as heroes and murderers as saviours. But if a film is for a humanitarian cause, many studies have shown us that these inspirational films make a positive impact on society, technology and children in shaping their lives. If films weren’t being made on climate change, natural disasters, children wouldn’t want to become researchers. It inspires them to do something in life for humanity.
Just like books, films play a vital role in developing a society. Films on independence, justice, wars tend to develop a sense of pride among the children and parents. History can be revisited by films.
It’s ultimately the filmmakers who have to understand that a film is only for the betterment, entertainment of society. And for them to do that they in turn have to be influenced by stories that positively impacted lives. Hence it is highly important that people make good use of it for future generations to come.