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Most Parodied Films of All Time

While countless films are parodied, there are a few that filmmakers return to make fun of again and again--the sort of films that revolutionized the industry, and, in turn, pop culture's pool of material worth parodying.

Some of the first films to be released, even as early as the silent era, were parodies. It's hard to imagine they had much a pool to draw from, however, given the massive quantity of films that have come out since that era that are continually parodied and satirized by modern film makers.

While countless films are parodied, there are a few that filmmakers return to make fun of again and again--the films that survive the ages to remain truly immortal targets of both ridicule and reference, the sort of films that revolutionized the industry, and, in turn, pop culture's pool of material worth parodying.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Of all of Steven Spielberg's films, this one is one of the easiest to parody. The whole look of Indiana Jones spells adventure and excitement, so, naturally, people will parody it. But more than just the superficial details about Indy's look, what about that opening scene? "Snakes." The finale where all the Nazis melt like wax candles?

It is clear that Raiders is full of material other films can parody.

But who specifically has made fun of it? Duck Tales. Fanboys. Family Guy. Rugrats. Hell, even My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has parodied it (then again, that show has also parodied The Big Lebowski, which tells me that the writers for that show are a bunch of pop culture nerds)!

Taxi Driver (1976)

"You talking to me?"

Those immortal lines have been satirized throughout cinema. First stated by Robert De Niro's character in this Martin Scorsese classic, countless films have parodied the mirror scene in this classic film.

Some examples include Back to the Future Part III, countless times on SNL, and, of course, parodied by Robert De Niro himself... in The Rocky and Bullwinkle live-action movie. Clearly, the high point in his illustrious career.

The Exorcist (1973)

Counting for inflation, this is the highest grossing R-Rated film of all time next to The Passion of the Christ. It permanently scarred an entire generation. So, naturally, people parodied it to process their collective trauma.

Who parodied it? Well, a lot of people. Surprisingly, many not R-rated films. Obviously, Scary Movie 2 parodied it... but so did Looney Tunes, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Ghostbusters, and, most remarkable of all, Casper the Friendly Ghost. Yeah! All those kids shows? Kids movies? And Ghostbusters? All parody one of the most extreme R-rated films for its era.

Battleship Potemkin (1925)

Never saw this film? Probably not. This silent Russian film is rarely watched nowadays by anyone other than cinephiles and film students, but there is a classic scene that has been satirized by everyone.

There is a scene in the film that takes place on a staircase. People are fleeing as soldiers march down the street, shooting everyone. A mother safeguarding her child is shot, and, as she falls, she knocks the baby carriage down the stairs, where it runs freely down into the chaos.

This scene has been parodied a lot. Naked Gun 33 1/3 has parodied it. Woody Allen in Bananas has parodied it. The Untouchables pays tribute to it, though I can't call that a straight-up parody of the scene. The Critic has a particularly good parody of it.

It's gotten to the point where everyone knows the scene, even if few have seen the original film.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1938)

The Disney classic is another often parodied film that has been parodied by tons and tons of people--including Disney themselves.

Consider Enchanted. Aladdin and the King of Thieves. The Princess and the Frog. All either reference, parody, or subvert Snow White in some fashion directly. Compare Shrek, a Dreamworks film heavily inspired by Disney. 

But more than that, think of all the children's cartoons and movies that make fun of the original film. Think Mirror, Mirror. Animaniacs. The list goes on and on.

Psycho (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece in horror, Psycho remains one of the most parodied films ever made. Or, at least, has one of the most parodied scenes ever.

The Shower Scene is one of the iconic cinematic moments. Few movies really hit the mark as hard as that scene where the actress we believe to be the lead faces her death at her most vulnerable point. The scene is horrific. So it makes sense that people collectively respond to said scene with humor.

National Lampoon's Vacation, High Anxiety, even Dexter's Laboratory have parodied this classic scene. Even more movies have taken the classic music from this scene, incorporating it into similarly shot and edited scenes to illicit that sense of "horror."

A Few Good Men (1992)

"YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"

These lines became immediately the most quotable lines from Rob Reiner's A Few Good Men, and, in turn, became one of the most parodied lines in cinema history.

Consider all the times this court room scene has been referenced in film history. Particularly on television. Doctor Who, 3rd Rock from the Sun, 30 Rock, and even Farscape. It was also parodied on the poster for the classic children's film The Tooth Fairy. Starring the Rock. The poster had the phrase "You can't handle the Tooth," emblazoned on it. Because I'm sure four year olds have all seen A Few Good Men.

Risky Business (1983)

Another Tom Cruise classic, Risky Business has sort of fallen to the way side in terms of Tom Cruise's filmography. It's less watched... but it certainly is well known for a single shot of the film where Tom Cruise skids across the floor in his underwear. 

This one thing has been parodied by everyone. The OC, Married with Children, Scrubs, and, of course, The Office. It's a nostalgic scene that has outshined the entire movie that surrounds it.

If you throw into the silly dance scene while singing along with a song into some boring device, then you can also add in Innerspace, Guardians of the Galaxy, and ALF.


Jerry Maguire

"Show me the money!"

"You complete me."

"You had me at hello."

The number of films that parody those three lines from this Academy-Award Winning Film are endless. In context, these serious, incredible lines become ridiculous and goofy. 

Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me, The Office, and even The Dark Knight, a movie known for being pretty dark, all make fun of these silly lines. They are among the great, classic lines for a reason: they are goofy as hell.

It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

This film isn't exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of parodied movies, but, trust me, this one is REALLY parodied a lot.

The basic premise to It's a Wonderful Life remains a highly parodied concept. The film presents the concept of an angel motivating a person to live by presenting them a view of the world where they had never been born, and how much better everyone is now that he's alive.

But what if everyone is better off without said character?

A lot of children's cartoons love to do this. Johnny Bravo did it. Fairy Odd Parents did it. Donny Darko and The Butterfly Effect do this in a disturbing, dark sort of way.

And then there are the Christmas Special Parodies. Richie Rich's Christmas Wish. It's a Very Muppet Christmas. Way too many Hallmark movies. The point is that it's parodied more than anyone would ever expect.

Oh, and SNL has an amazing parody of the ending of the film where the whole cast gangs up on Mr. Potter, and beats the crap out of him.

Frankenstein (1931)

"It's alive--it's alive--IT'S ALIIIIIIIIIIVVVEEE!!!!"

James Whale's classic adaptation of the Mary Shelly novel has completely outshone the original. For a moment, picture the Frankenstein monster. Flat head? Bolts on his neck? Sewn together? Arms outstretched? You're picturing Universal's Monster, but NOT the intelligent, humanoid creature from Shelley's novel.

Citing Mel Brook's classic Young Frankenstein is obvious, but what about all the others? From breakfast cereals to holiday songs like "The Monster Mash," tons of films have parodied Frankenstein. The Monster Squad, Rocky Horror Picture Show, hell, even the sequel, Bride of Frankenstein parodies it.

Arguably one of the best parodies, however, remains one of the first. Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein remains one of the best parody films of all time, and one of the few parodies that remain in continuity with the film it is parodying. It did what Marvel has done with its characters before Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Thor even existed.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

One of the most beautiful films ever created, 2001 features the iconic song Thus Spoke Tharathustra, a song featured throughout the movie at pivotal moments. It also features the iconic line "Open the pod-bay doors, HAL." And a scene involving a giant floating baby in space.

All of these--and more--have either been parodied or referenced by others.

The song Thus Spoke Tharathustra has been parodied in Sesame Street (complete with a monolithic letter rising into the air), The Jerk, and countless others. Science-themed shows like Bill Nye the Science Guy and Dexter's Lab have parodied HAL 9000. 

And when it comes to science fiction, you add the tributes. Star Trek: The Motion Picture features tons of trippy space sequences that pay the acid trip finale tribute. Neon Genesis Evangelion, a Japanese anime, features tons of monolithic structures identical to the ones from 2001. And... the list goes on and on. 

The Shining (1980)

One of the greatest horror films of all time, this film has so many iconic scenes that it's almost impossible not to parody it.

One of the first times I saw this movie was in another movie. In the film Twister, there is a scene where a tornado rips apart a movie theater playing The Shining

But tons of other horror spoofs make fun of this. Most notably, though, would be The Simpsons, which devotes one of its best Treehouse of Terror segments to making fun of the classic story.

The Matrix (1999)

It's surreal to call The Matrix a classic sci-fi film considering that I was going into middle school the same year the sequels came out, but it's true. While the aesthetic of the film became immediately in style (Underworld, X-Men, and many others take the aesthetic and run with it), there was one particular scene that became immediately parodied by everyone.

Bullet time.

It's gotten to the point where parodying The Matrix is a dead trope. Shrek. Kung-Pow. Hell, train-wreck adaptation Dragonball Evolution references The Matrix more than Dragonball Z. It became THE sci-fi film to reference in an era where technology made it possible to do whatever you wanted on screen.

Star Wars (1978-Now)

This isn't even hard.

Everyone parodies Star Wars. Can I just leave it at that? Which scene? Every scene. The Cantina Scene. The Death Star Run. "I am your father." Even Jar-Jar Binks.

Let's go over the straight parodies of the whole series. Spaceballs. Robot Chicken. Family Guy. Toy Story 2. Half of the Weird Al songs. Austin Powers again. And that's just scratching the surface.

By the way, this isn't even taking into account the internet's parodies of the saga. Tons of independent internet groups have released Star Wars parodies, from College Humor to Channel Awesome. It almost doesn't matter. We've only dented the surface. If you look somewhere, you will find countless parodies of Star Wars.

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