The 33 movies that inspired Barbie

Chris Tilly
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Barbie co-writer and director Greta Gerwig has revealed the 33 movies that influenced and inspired her movie.

We’ve arrived at one of the most eagerly anticipated movies of the summer – Barbie – releasing globally.

Everywhere you look online, there’s chatter about the movie, from that incredible cast, to the storyline that still isn’t entirely clear, to the amazing visuals and soundtrack.

Now, Greta Gerwig has revealed her Barbie watchlist, featuring films she watched to get inspired, to get creative, and to get in touch with her inner Barbie.

The 33 movies that inspired Barbie

Greta Gerwig provided Letterboxed with a ‘Barbie Watchlist‘ of 27 movies that influenced her movie. Then during an interview with the website, six more flicks were added to said list, making a grand total of 33. These are those movies, laid out in release order.

  • Twentieth Century (1934)
  • Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)
  • Modern Times (1936)
  • The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  • His Girl Friday (1940)
  • The Philadelphia Story (1940)
  • A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
  • The Red Shoes (1948)
  • An American in Paris (1951)
  • Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
  • The Earrings of Madame de… (1953)
  • Rear Window (1954)
  • Oklahoma! (1955)
  • Mon Oncle (1958)
  • The Ladies Man (1961)
  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
  • The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)
  • PlayTime (1967)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  • Model Shop (1969)
  • The Godfather (1972)
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
  • Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  • Grease (1978)
  • Heaven Can Wait (1978)
  • All That Jazz (1979)
  • And the Ship Sails On (1983)
  • Splash (1984)
  • Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
  • Wings of Desire (1987)
  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)
  • The Truman Show (1998)
  • The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (2020)

How The Wizard of Oz, Saturday Night Fever, and Close Encounters influenced Barbie

Letterboxed quizzed greta Gerwig about her watchlist choices, and how they influenced Barbie. You can read the full interview here, but the following are some of the highlights.

The Wizard of Oz

“The Wizard of Oz, obviously is an extraordinary movie and beautiful and beloved. It does something that I wanted to emulate, which is these incredible sound stages and these painted skies and this sense of… I say, ‘authentically artificial,’ which I think is very beautiful and emotional. I think of the painted backdrop of the Emerald City as they go towards it. In our movie, we have the Pink Brick Road instead of the Yellow Brick Road. We also have beautiful painted backdrops of horizons. We executed it like they would’ve done in the ’30s and ’40s and ’50s soundstage musicals. It was something that we kept returning to. I always love the ending where there’s a ceremonial quality.”

Saturday Night Fever

“I always had a sense of wanting this to be a movie with an amazing soundtrack. Saturday Night Fever obviously has this incredible soundtrack by the Bee Gees. There’s a documentary about the Bee Gees, and I’d seen it and was so touched by the Bee Gees, and I thought Barbie seemed so disco to me in her heart, because Barbie’s sort of – and I will say this as a lover of Barbie and disco – a little bit dorky in the best way. Saturday Night Fever was a movie that was driven by music, but not a musical. I guess we’re half of a musical.”

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is also one of my favorite movies. That was there because it was about this maniacal belief in something that seemed sort of crazy, but was actually true, that I thought captured something about Barbie to me.”

The Barbie movie is in cinemas worldwide now. Check out our other coverage below:

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