Top Gun: Maverick has totally taken the world by storm, and it has just beaten Titanic at the domestic box office, making over $662 million in the United States. Given that the film is a sequel to a 35-year-old movie, has some of the most incredible practical stunts ever, and emotionally brings back the Iceman, the 2022 release absolutely captured lightning in a bottle.
but Top Gun: Maverick isn’t the only movie that has done such a thing, and Redditors have debated about which other films have captured lightning in a bottle too. For a movie to capture lightning in a bottle is to do something completely original and something that hasn’t been done since, whether it’s specifically unique storytelling, seamless special effects, or a horror movie winning Best Picture.
10 The Matrix (1999)
Halbort notes that the 1999 classic was lightning in a bottle for how the fanfare grew thanks to the internet. The Redditor explains, “Probably The Matrix coming out right at the start of the internet boom.” But that isn’t the only way the film captured lightning in a bottle. While The Matrix was cool back then and is still cool now, there’s no way that anybody could get away with making a cyberpunk movie like that today.
The movie has been parodied to death, and even 21 years later, movies like Space Jam: A New Legacy are still parodying bullet time and the leather jackets. And nothing proves that the movie was lightning in a bottle better than the fact that not even the newly released The Matrix Resurrections could capture the same magic.
9 Back To The Future (1985)
TheUltimateFunny thinks Back to the Future was lightning in a bottle. The Redditor comments, “Impossible to do again because of the cast, the score, the songs, and the time period. If one of those elements had been off, I don’t think it would be as celebrated as it is today.” However, that hasn’t stopped the studio from trying, as there have been rumors about a Back to the Future remake being in development for decades. But it just wouldn’t be the same.
Everything perfectly came together despite Back to the Future having major setbacks. Eric Stoltz was replaced midway into production, and it wouldn’t have been half as successful if it kept its original name, Spaceman from Pluto. So while it was lightning in a bottle, it could very easily have been the opposite.
8 Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
JacketChew6113 believes that the Silence of the Lambs was lightning in a bottle, commenting, “Perfection in all categories. I doubt we’ll see something like that ever again.” It isn’t just one of six horror movies to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, but it actually won.
The film is also one of just a few movies to have won in every major category too; Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress. Unfortunately, the sequels are a result of diminishing returns and don’t even compare to the original, even if Hannibal is only bad when compared to its predecessor.
7 Jurassic Park (1993)
Shh-hiding argues that Jurassic Park was lightning in a bottle, positing, “The timing for CGI as well, being so new and something people hadn’t seen before. Really fit perfectly into the spectacle and showmanship of the movie.” The 1993 movie was made better by its limitations, as CGI was far from perfect, meaning that Spielberg had no choice but to use both practical and digital effects, and that led to the most seamless use of the two.
Not only does the film still hold up, but it looks better and more believable than most other CGI-filled movies released today. And while the recent Jurassic World movies deliver on the spectacle of dinosaurs that audiences clearly crave, they aren’t half as well received as the 1993 original.
6 Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)
Relative-Ad-87 recalls when Star Wars: A New Hope was first released in 1977, commenting, “You had to be there, I suppose, but the cultural impact was massive. It was like a before and after.” At the time, the film grossed a huge $3.7 billion adjusted for inflation, and it was an event unlike any other.
However, while it’s true that it’s hard to understand what star wars release was like 45 years ago, there’s no denying the impact the original movie had on the film industry. The mark that the sci-fi adventure left on the cinema landscape can still be seen today, and what’s more impressive is that it had a budget of just $11 million.
5 Cloverfield (2008)
Liazzy believes Cloverfield was lightning in a bottle for many reasons, including the movie’s marketing. There were hundreds of monster movies that had come and gone by 2008, but nobody had ever been as intrigued by them as they were by Cloverfield.
The Redditor puts it best, explaining, “It was also probably the first time I saw viral marketing that successful. The entire build-up from the eerie trailers and THAT poster. Everything aligned perfectly for what was an enjoyable, fresh feeling movie.” Cloverfield had the most memorable marketing for keeping the movie a mystery, and it built the lore using strange websites for companies that were related to the film. Many marketing campaigns for movies have tried to mimic Cloverfield’sbut none have been as successful.
4 Caddyshack (1980)
Rookie512 argues that caddyshack was lightning in a bottle for its cast of comedians. The Redditor posits, “Too many good comedy actors and comedians in one movie to ever remake. The chemistry between them all was amazing.” However, there have been movies released since the 1980 movie that features SNL alumni that were successful and totally refreshing, such as 2011’s Bridesmaids.
but caddyshack was the first example of such a thing, and for the longest time, it was the only example. That also might be why Caddyshack II is considered one of the worst sequels of all time, as most of the original cast didn’t return, and it was missing that crucial chemistry.
3 Galaxy Quest (1999)
OtakuTacos believes that Galaxy Quest was lightning in a bottle. Though Galaxy Quest isn’t the most well-known comedy in the world, something doesn’t have to be successful to still be lightning in a bottle. The movie acted as a parody of Star Trek while still paying homage to it, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Galaxy Quest was more in line with what Star Trek used to be as opposed to the high-octane action blockbusters the series is today. And while the current TV show The Orville does a similar thing, the series only found its groove once it became more of a legitimate sci-fi series and less of a comedy.
2 Die Hard (1988)
Die Hard was original for the way it was a mature and violent Christmas movie, and it was original for the way John McClane was just an everyday guy taking on terrorists (something that was ruined with each passing sequel). Not only that, but it was original in the way the action movie took place in one location too, as McClane took on the Germans in the now-iconic Nakatomi Plaza. And that’s why AJerkForAllSeasons thinks Die Hard was lightning in a bottle.
The Redditor posits, “Think about how many times you’ve heard ‘It’s Die Hard on a…’ and whatever it is it’s usually s*** or subpar in comparison to the actual Die Hard.” There have been so many Die Hard copycats over the decades, whether it’s Die Hard on a plane (Air Force One), Die Hard on a boat (Under Seige), or Die Hard in a high-rise building (The Raid), and they’re never as great.
1 The Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003)
The first Pirates of the Caribbean movie was like lightning in a bottle, especially considering that it was simply based on a theme park ride. Scoob79 makes a great argument for the film, commenting, “It just feels like nobody will be able to create a pirate movie outside of that IP for a very long time and make their money back.”
The Redditor also points out Captain Jack Sparrow for being such an iconic pirate, and as he sailed into the pier on a ship that was half sunk, it was a character introduction unlike any other. It’s a testament to how well Disney crafted a pirate movie that there hasn’t been a major one since. Even on television, networks have stayed away from creating a pirate-based show until the recently released HBO comedy series, Our Flag Means Death.
NEXT: 10 Memes That Perfectly Sum Up Jack Sparrow As A Character