Greta Gerwig films inspired Barbie

A rundown of all 33 films that inspired Barbie, according to Greta Gerwig

The ultimate watchlist sorted


Watching Barbie feels like a historical cinematic event not only because of the pop culture phenomenon that surrounds it, but because of the way the entire film feels like a love letter to cinema in itself. Greta Gerwig has only released a handful of films and has established herself as one of the most consistently astounding directors in the industry. You don’t get to that status without having a huge wealth of film knowledge to inspire your work. In a YouTube interview with Letterboxd, the director has revealed her smorgasbord of influence. are the 33 films Greta Gerwig has revealed directly inspired and influenced Barbie.

1. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Greta Gerwig films inspired Barbie

I mean, it needs no introduction. The most watched film of all time, perhaps? If somehow you’ve never seen it, the film centres on Judy Garland’s Dorothy who gets swept into the magical world of Oz and needs to get home with the help of Scarecrow, Tin Man, The Cowardly Lion and whilst attempting to defeat the Wicked Witch of the West.

2. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

A French romantic tragedy of two lovers where a woman who runs a chic but struggling umbrella shop falls pregnant to an auto mechanic who must go off and serve in combat in Algeria. She must decide whether to wait for him or accept a wealthy proposal.

3. The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)

A film about Delphine and Solange – two girls in well, Rochefort, looking for love.

4. Model Shop (1969)

A man named George falls for Lola, a French woman who works in a shop that rents out beautiful women to photographers. George spends his last 12 dollars on photographing Lola, despite the fact he’s struggling to repair his car.

5. An American in Paris (1951)

Another big MGM musical on the list of films that inspired Greta Gerwig for Barbie, An American in Paris is a classic about Jerry, the titular American, trying to make it as a painter in France.

6. Singin’ In The Rain (1952)

WHAT A GLORIOUS FEEEEEELING! All about the transition from silent films into talkies.

7. The Red Shoes (1948)

WHAT A GLORIOUS FEEEEEELING! All about the transition from silent films into talkies.

7. The Red Shoes (1948)

A man jumps out of a plane and somehow survives, despite the fact he hasn’t got a parachute – it’s a miracle. He falls in love but beings from another dimension realise the error of him not dying and send operatives to collect him. The Final Destination of the 40s, when you think about it…

9. All That Jazz (1979)

The Bob Fosse directed tale of a choreographer and director in the theatre world who has it all but watches his world fall down around him due to an obsession with the profession and a drug addiction.

10. Heaven Can Wait (1978)

An American football player almost dies in an accident and the angels act too rashly, taking him to heaven when he hadn’t actually died. His body is cremated and the angels shove him into the body of a recently murdered millionaire.

11. Oklahoma! (1955)

A frontier musical! Rogers and Hammerstein!

12. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)

Pedro Almodóvar I bow to thee! Recently dumped Pepa plans to kill herself but is saved by the chaotic events of the film. Cherish.

13. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Stanley Kubrick’s epic voyage after humans find something on the moon remains one of the most awe inspiring cinematic events you could ever watch. Barbie notably parodies its iconic opening scene with the chimps replaced with girls.

14. His Girl Friday (1940)

Journalist Hildy  tells her ex husband Walter that she’s engaged, so Walter frames her new fiancé for a series of crimes to keep him in prison so he can get Hildy back working for him.

15. The Philadelphia Story (1940)

A rich woman learns the truth about herself from her ex husband and a tabloid journo just before she remarries.

16. Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)

A millionairess and her children go vacationing in New England.

17. Twentieth Century (1934)

A cranky broadway producer trains up an actress, who starts as a rookie but grows into his equal and more than a match to take him on.

18. The Ladies Man (1961)

Depressed Herbert gets a job working in a house full of women. BUT HOW COULD HE POSSIBLY SURVIIIIIVE in such a place!?!? Etc, etc.

19. Rear Window (1954)

Greta Gerwig films inspired Barbie

Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller, in which a photographer thinks he sees his neighbour murder his wife when he’s apartment bound due to an injury.

20. And The Ship Sails On (1983)

Someone on Letterboxd called it “live action bourgeois Looney Tunes, or SpongeBob” so naturally I am obsessed.

21. Wings of Desire (1987)

Two angels walk the streets of Berlin giving out rays of hope to passersby, one falls in love with a human and wants to become corporeal. Quite Barbie and Ken in the real world coded, so you can see how it’s one of the films that inspired Greta Gerwig with Barbie.

22. The Earrings of Madame De… (1953)

Some earrings are sold to pay off debts, but she lies to her husband and claims she lost them. Tragedy unfolds!

23. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi epic about UFO encounters.

24. Modern Times (1936)

Classic Charlie Chaplin antics. The Tramp!

25. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

Ashamed I had no clue Tim Burton directed this until literally right now, but the bizarre adventures of Pee-wee Herman as he ventures across the land to retrieve his missing bike.

26. Grease! (1978)

Summer loving, had us a blast.

27. The Truman Show (1998)

I have it on literal record that before I saw Barbie I said to my mates I think it’s going to be like a hybrid of The Truman Show and Elf. I was RIGHT. This is one of the greatest films ever and its inspiration in Barbie is clear as day.

28. Mon Oncle (1958)

A suburbs VS city living tale, centred around Monsieur Hulot.

29. PlayTime (1967)

Another Monsieur Hulot romp, our clumsy king. In this one he’s navigating a confusing and technological Paris.

30. Splash (1984)

Oh no! Allen’s fallen in love with a mermaid! Alas not one played by Dua Lipa.

31. Saturday Night Fever (1977)

Greta Gerwig films inspired Barbie

Ar Tony loves a boogie woogie.

32. The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? (2020)

The most modern film on the list of films that inspired Greta Gerwig making Barbie is this HBO documentary on the legendary band.

33. The Godfather (1972)

Ken’s sleeping with the fishes…

Barbie is showing in cinemas everywhere now. 

@harrisonjbrock

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