The Impact of Current Events on Movie Ideas

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures
April 18th, 2012

The Impact of Current Events on Movie Ideas

--Current events and the media project many of the issues people around the globe face daily, and these projections can have a strong impact on a person's choices. The impact of current events is so strong that an individual's ideas, thoughts and feelings are often swayed by what they see on the news, hear on the radio or read in magazines. Like most people, movie directors, writers and actors are also inspired by current events, which is why so many movies are based on real-life situations. Each year, avid moviegoers will likely view at least one film that is about someone's life or an event that happened somewhere in the world.

Some movie ideas are based on events that accurately portray a particular time in history, while others are loosely based on historical figures. For example, the movie "Good Morning Vietnam," starring Robin Williams, was based on actual events that occurred during the Vietnam War. Many events that faced veterans and their families during that time are showcased in this film. In the movie "Braveheart," Mel Gibson's character is loosely based on William Wallace, a 13th century knight that fought tirelessly for the independence of Scotland. The events that happened during the Vietnam War and in Scotland during the 13th century were the inspirations for these two blockbuster films. When movie writers and directors create films based on true facts, they have the ability to incorporate their feelings and ideas about these facts into the movie.

Stories about well-known gangs and gangsters are often in the news, which is why there are many movies on these topics. "American Gangster," starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, is based on the life of Frank Lucas, the king of drug trafficking in Manhattan in the 1960s and 1970s. Frank Lucas made a lot of media headlines during his days as a trafficking king, and his life was so intriguing that director Ridley Scott decided to make a movie about it. Nicki Barns is another drug lord who was so popular that he made the cover of The New York Times magazine in 1977. Like Lucas, he also has a movie based on his life; the movie is called "Mr. Untouchable." Popular movies about gangs include "Freedom Writers," starring Hilary Swank, and "Boys in the Hood," starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lawrence Fishburne. Both of these movies paint a clear picture of the harsh realities of gang life, which is often talked about on local news programs.

Movies about social issues that affect our world are also quite popular. When AIDS became an epidemic in the United States and around the world, information about this disease and those affected by it was often in the news. People were in fear and wanted to know the latest developments about AIDS and HIV, and the media did not hesitate to share its latest findings. During this time, "Philadelphia," a movie starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, and "Longtime Companion," starring Norman Rene brought a human element to this disease. These movies were extremely popular in the early 1990s and gave people a sense of what life was like for those suffering from this ailment.
Current events are not only about the world's problems; information about the latest in business, entertainment and fashion also make news headlines and greatly impact what we see in movie theaters. The first "Sex in the City" movie, which stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon, showcased all of the latest and upcoming fashion trends of 2008. The brands and styles worn by the ladies in this movie were often featured in the top fashion magazines, including Vogue, Glamour and Bazaar. In fact, in the film, Sarah Jessica Parker's character was posing for Vogue magazine. "The Social Network" starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake, is based on the life of Mark Zuckerberg, who has been regularly making news headlines since his creation, Facebook, took the social networking industry by storm and made him one of the youngest billionaires in the world.

Other popular movies based on real-life events include "Schindler's List," a movie based on the lives of Jews during the Holocaust, "World Trade Center," which was directed by Oliver Stone and based on one of the most tragic events in American history, and "JFK," which chronicles the life and death of John F. Kennedy. All of these movies are based on events that heavily impacted society and stayed in the news headlines for many months. These are just some of the countless examples of real events that inspired the making of films.