Films That Have Revolutionised Hollywood

Sarah Harris

Hollywood is an institution that has been around since long before my time. Therefore, as much as I like to think my film knowledge is fairly extensive, I can’t speak for the productions that revolutionised the industry when I wasn’t alive.

Even narrowing down to the below few was hard enough. That’s one of the things I love most about the film industry in general – that there have been such a wide array of powerful films that have each uniquely shaped Hollywood in a different way. The ones that I’ve selected are just a few of the thousands that have had a phenomenal impact on the film industry in the last few decades, in one way or another.

1. Toy Story (1995)

Not only was this 1995 classic the first film to be released by Pixar Animation Studios – for Walt Disney, it was the first entirely computer-animated feature film. The story of Buzz Lightyear and Woody soon became a hit, not just amongst children but also adults, as they delved into the world of Infinity and Beyond.

2. Harry Potter (2001)

Although it may not have exactly been the first film of its genre, the HP series was a revolution within itself and, let’s face it, it’s still on-going and I don’t see it ending anytime soon. After the huge success of the novels, Warner Bros. turned the franchise in to the even more successful film series. I guess what made that wizarding world so extraordinary, was the fact that it stuck so precisely to the details of the book. All I know is, it’s one film series I’ll never get sick of watching.

3. Wizard of Oz (1939)

Now you may be wondering why this 1939 classic is revolutionary per se, but this American Musical was actually unique at the time for its use of Technicolor. Judy Garland received high praise in her role as fresh-faced, Dorothy and even now, the legacy of the film and the yellow brick road lives on.

4. Matrix (1999)

Heavily influenced by Japanese Anime and martial arts films, The Matrix introduced us to the cyberpunk/AI genre that became so popular in the early 2000’s. The film is successful in its incorporation of numerous philosophical, religious and spiritual ideas. It has also been an important influence in action filmmaking. The 4th Matrix film is currently set to be released in December 2021.

5. Jaws (1975)

To this day, Steven Spielberg’s iconic film is considered the first true ‘summer blockbuster.’ Jaws was the first cinematic release to show nationwide, which was something that was practically unheard of at the time. The results, however, were incredibly effective, with the success of the film having changed the industry forever.

There have been such a wide array of powerful films that have each uniquely shaped Hollywood in a different way

6. Titanic (1997)

Despite his extensive filmography, Titanic will go down in history as director James Cameron’s legacy. From the production to the acting, almost everything about this film is impeccable. Apart from the ending, obviously. Although Leo had appeared in some pretty big hits before this, Titanic will always be remembered as one of his best works. I’d let Jack Dawson draw me like one of his French girls for sure.

7. Black Panther (2018)

Bringing us to the magical kingdom of Wakanda, Black Panther was celebrated for featuring a predominantly Black cast. Chadwick Boseman, who played King T’Challa, recently passed away after a complicated battle with Colon Cancer, but received a lot of praise for his role as the Black Panther and for giving young Black people someone to look up to. This film was a cultural reset for Marvel and an important moment for the Black community who had not been hugely represented in previous MCU productions. To this day, it is one of the top 10 highest-grossing films of all time. Boseman has most definitely left behind a legacy that will not be forgotten for a long, long time.

8. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Although it may not be the most critically acclaimed film, The Blair Witch Project was most definitely unique in its production. Being the first of its kind to use the ‘found-footage concept,’ the film began a revolution in the Horror film industry, with films such as Paranormal Activity (2007) and Cloverfield (2008) using identical methods. Despite the fact that it had a $20K budget, earnings were over $250 million.

9. Avatar (2009)

Another James Cameron film, Avatar will go down in history as one of the highest-grossing films of all time. Although it wasn’t the first film to be viewed in 3D and IMAX, it was still revolutionary for its time and Cameron definitely helped make it cool to wear the glasses. The most memorable thing, however, was its innovative use of visual effects and motion-capturing technology, which is the reason behind the film’s unique sense of surrealism. Sequels have been in the works for a while now and are scheduled for 2022 and 2024.

10. Iron Man (2008)

Admittedly, it was pretty hard to pick which film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe was most revolutionary. I’m still not over Infinity War (2018), let alone Endgame (2019) but looking back, it was Iron Man that started it all. Iron Man was created by the late Stan Lee in 1963 and was embodied perfectly by Robert Downey Jr in the films. Since 2008, we can definitely say Tony Stark has come a long way and, has bought the MCU along with him.


If I began to list every revolutionary film that I could think of, we would be here forever. But the few that I’ve mentioned have definitely had a profound impact on Hollywood and the film industry as a whole, and I am sure there are many more to come.

Sarah Harris

Video courtesy of Movieclips Classic Trailers via YouTube.

Video courtesy of 20th Century Studios via YouTube.

Featured Image courtesy of  Ahmet Yalçinkaya via Unsplash. Image use license found here. No changes made to this image.

In article image courtesy of Jules Marvin Eguilos via Unsplash. Image use license found here. No changes made to this image.

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