These are the essential 25 Gen X films that we feel every member of our generation should watch at some point in their lives. The list is made up of films that are about us and not just the biggest hits that came out during our era. That’s why you don’t see a Star Wars, Rocky, or Indiana Jones movie on the list. Tell us what you think about our choices and let us know if you think we missed a film.
The Breakfast Club
Farris Bueller’s Day Off
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Pretty in Pink
The Karate Kid
Back to the Future
Less Than Zero
Boyz n the Hood
The Lost Boys
Some Kind of Wonderful
Better Off Dead
On May 25, 1977, Star Wars was released in less than forty theaters and Hollywood has never been the same since.
Two Years before Star Wars, Jaws premiered and became the first summer blockbuster film, and it also became the highest-grossing movie of all time. Within six months after the opening of Star Wars and after going into wide release, the film replaced Jaws as the biggest box office hit of all time and kept that title until E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial came out in 1983.
When you add up the box office results of 1977 and the money made from all of the times it has been re-released in theaters, the total amount the film brought in is over 775 million. When you adjust for inflation, the total amount is 2.5 billion. That amount makes it the fourth highest grossing film of all time on the adjusted for inflation list. In North America only, it’s number two behind Gone with the Wind.
When you talk about the impact of the film from 1977, you have to include the ten other Star Wars movies made afterward that have collectively brought in over 9 billion at the box office. This amount has earned the #2 slot on the highest grossing film franchise list. The #1 series is the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
There are several other ways that this film had a huge impact on Hollywood, the world and Generation X: The film ushered in a renewed interest in Science Fiction. Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and the comedy Quark all premiered on network TV in the late seventies. Merchandising and corporate tie ins went to the next level after the huge success of the film. The Hollywood Reporter estimated by 2012 that the film franchise has made 20 billion from toy sales as compared to only 3 billion at the box office at the time. The film’s success also showed Hollywood that there was value in movies aimed at the entire family. One look at the list of top ten movies of the eighties in comparison to the top ten in the seventies will back up that statement.
Generation X has to share Star Wars with Generation Jones, who were those born in the late fifties and in the first half of the sixties. For the purpose of this blog, we consider the Gen X era the second half of the seventies ( when the first wave of Gen X started to have awareness of the culture around them) on to the first half of the nineties, so that makes Star Wars our first blockbuster. What a way for an era to begin!!!!!!
For Gen X kids, afternoon TV was not Courtroom or talk shows. There also wasn’t two or three hours of news in the afternoon. Gen X kids came home from school to two hours worth of Baby Boomer TV.
Soap Operas went off the air at 4 pm. The News came on at 6 pm. Between that time, the airwaves were filled with shows from the fifties and the sixties. Batman, Superman, The Lone Ranger, The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, The Monkees, Leave it to Beaver, The Andy Giffith Show, Gilligan’s Island, Dark Shadows, Bewitched, I dream of Jeanie and the list goes on.
What was your favorite afternoon TV show? Did watching boomer TV shows help us relate to people outside of our age group better than younger generations that had their own cable channels to watch?